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Tool Talk Discussion Forum

Automotive A/C leak detector question

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Author  [Modern View]
atlarge54

06-07-2014 04:39:10
69.35.194.123



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What experience does anyone have? How much will I need to spend on something that works ok? I've had cars that needed charged once a year but this one leaks down in about a week. I assume the condenser is more prone to damage than the other components. If the system has pressure does checking the condenser with a bubble solution work very well?

Thanks




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Steve@Advance

06-07-2014 15:43:00
107.203.134.67



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to atlarge54, 06-07-2014 04:39:10  
If it's leaking down in a week, that should readily show up as an oily spot, really oily like a liquid drip. If you don't see it, check the condensate drain, see if it's oily.



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atlarge54

06-07-2014 15:50:25
69.35.195.241



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to Steve@Advance, 06-07-2014 15:43:00  
Thanks to all for the help. Actually I've got a couple different vehicles that need A/C work. One shows oily deposit at the compressor pulley the other looks pretty clean everywhere.



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Dick2

06-07-2014 15:41:50
184.101.236.132



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to atlarge54, 06-07-2014 04:39:10  
If the leak is at the compressor, you can have the compressor resealed at a good AC parts supply place. Some of the suppliers do that as a sideline here.

Auto AC shops just wanted to put on a new compressor (several years ago) that would cost me $600. I checked around and found a place that resealed the compressor for $75.



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pete 23

06-07-2014 11:26:49
74.33.91.170



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to atlarge54, 06-07-2014 04:39:10  
Like others have said, no one answer to finding a ac leak. Some leak under high pressure, some low pressure, some when hot, some when cool. I though dye was the answer, found out it was not. Electronic leak detector has found a lot of leaks for me, missed a lot also. Some compressor seals will not hold a vacuum but still not leak refrigerant. . Others will hold vacuum and then leak refrigerant. Some hose will hold vacuum but leak pressure. Drive you crazy if you let it. Usually a leak you cannot pinpoint that leaks out quite rapidly is indeed the compressor. Have seen that many, many times.

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Hobo,NC

06-07-2014 08:35:25
151.213.98.26



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to atlarge54, 06-07-2014 04:39:10  
If this wont find it its not worth going after... I have 2 of'em I paid full price for the first one and picked the other up on Craigslist cheap...
http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/221113932429?lpid=82

I also have a Bacharach H-10PM but its has a price :shock:
http://www.jbtoolsales.com/yokogawa-3015-0627-all-in-one-refrigerant-leak-detector-r12-r134a/?gclid=CJi6qd-K6L4CFStk7Aod33oACA

These are the only electronic leak detectors I trust...

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JMOR

06-07-2014 08:57:30
72.181.173.171



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to Hobo,NC, 06-07-2014 08:35:25  
But, as I said, "You can buy a $500 unit specified to detect 1/10 of an ounce per year leak & still not find an evaporator leak, because the evap is so inaccessible that the refrigerant leak will disperse so much as to be undetectable before the sensor sees it. Eventually the UV dye from the evap leak will mix with the condensate and you see it there."

That is my experience with this $500 unit. If you can sniff a small leak in evap while still installed in duct work, you do better than I have been able to do.

http://products.inficon.com/en-us/nav-products/Product/Detail/D-TEK%20Select?path=Products%2Fpg_ServiceToolsforHVAC_R
This post was edited by JMOR at 09:34:22 06/07/14.

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Hobo,NC

06-07-2014 18:13:09
151.213.98.26



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to JMOR, 06-07-2014 08:57:30  
You sniff at the drain are if it has a blower resister remove it for a good shot at the evap...

The TEK-Mate is some times to sensitive on a large leak its then I use the Yokogawa to nail the leak...



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Maark

06-07-2014 08:13:45
207.177.117.7



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to atlarge54, 06-07-2014 04:39:10  
Your leak is more than likely at the seal on the compressor, not the condensor.



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JMOR

06-07-2014 06:04:57
72.181.173.171



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to atlarge54, 06-07-2014 04:39:10  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to seeYou can buy a $500 unit specified to detect 1/10 of an ounce per year leak & still not find an evaporator leak, because the evap is so inaccessible that the refrigerant leak will disperse so much as to be undetectable before the sensor sees it. Eventually the UV dye from the evap leak will mix with the condensate and you see it there.



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George Marsh

06-07-2014 16:11:54
50.121.45.85



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to JMOR, 06-07-2014 06:04:57  
Jessie I had a 91 grand caravan. It had one leak after another. Replaced evaporator, expansion valve, then the steel lines going to the rear evaporator had many pin hole leaks, then I got rid of van. It became a money pit after 15 years and 150K.

I have seen so many AC, dehumidifier, refrigerator and heat pump leaks, it's hard to say where you will find them.

I've concluded that anything that has freon it it, if it doesn't leak, just wait, it may leak tomorrow. I sometimes think some leaks are caused by the very thin, cheap copper and aluminum used. Then sometimes, it's gasses like 410a that run at such high pressures.

It's no wonder the HVAC people make a good living with service calls. It reminds me of the old TV repairman making service calls to replace vacuum tubes.

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jdemaris

06-07-2014 05:43:15
70.209.130.164



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to atlarge54, 06-07-2014 04:39:10  
I've used the dye and the electronic sensor. Both with mixed and sometimes poor results. I've pulled a vacuum on some AC systems and they'd hold steady for 24 hours. Then I'd charge and it would leak out in a week. Sometimes a leak will not show under vacuum or under high pressure. Some leak when shut-off at low pressure.

I've had the most success with the problem mystery leakers by hooking an air-chuck to the AC and pressurizing with 20-30 PSI. Then spraying with a hand-held spray bottle with soapy water. THAT has found problem leaks for me when nothing else would.

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dcarp

06-07-2014 05:34:28
107.77.64.45



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 Re: Automotive A/C leak detector question in reply to atlarge54, 06-07-2014 04:39:10  
Get the UV type leak detection. Lots of auto parts places sell them as a kit. The can with the fluid, a pen light, and the glasses. Most of the other stuff, like the red dye make a mess. The kits don't cost much.



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