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Old 07-26-2015, 01:56 PM   #1
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Dash Air- leaking freon

I know this has been posted many times, but I can't seem to find a resolution from prior posters.

I definitely have a freon leak in my dash air. Three different service facilities in one week filled the freon three times. The longest the freon lasted was 2 days before I was blowing hot air again.

One repair facility added dye and could not find a leak. Another repair facility used an electronic sniffer and couldn't find a leak. All repair facilities put the system under 300 lbs of pressure and the pressure held firm... ??

Obviously no one could trace the hoses from front to back completely and they say maybe the leak is hidden, which means an expensive hose replacement run.

Someone on the forums mentioned putting the system under suction pressure and I am not sure if that was tried. One poster said they had all the same issues as me and found that the leak was in the compressor shaft seal, but wouldn't that be obvious with leaking dye? Or with the sniffer?

I am tempted to just replace the compressor, but if that doesn't do it, should I then move to the condenser, then the evaporator.....ugh.

Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 07-26-2015, 03:36 PM   #2
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The dye should have shown the leak, particularly one that drains the system as quickly as yours does. Even if the leak was in the evaporator the dye should have shown up in the drain tube.
I would think that perhaps ; if your system of A/C lines and tubes is like mine; there may be connections in the hoses , part way up the frame rail.
A parts diagram, that I saw for my coach , showed the A/C lines were in 8 foot lengths , down the frame rail, with a short or long , connector to the evaporator , depending on chassis length. So there are hidden connections.
Why the pressure held is a big question. What cannot be tested when the system is under air pressure or vacuum is cycling the compressor to see if the shaft seal leaks when the compressor is turning. But a leak there should have been obvious from the dye.
I know , no answers , just more questions.
The lines from the front to the rear, run along the passenger side frame rail through the basement area, along with the heater hoses and wiring harness, and are surrounded by a plastic channel to prevent damage by cargo, the channel is secured by zip straps and the tubes, hoses and wiring can be exposed and examined by removing them and the channel. Any leak in the A/C line connections will be obvious , because the Freon contains compressor oil, that would be sprayed around the leak point , where the rad fan can't dissipate it or road spray wash it off. Before you start replacing parts, I'd say a crawl through the basement is in order. Could be none of the shops involved did that.
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:02 PM   #3
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The way I found mine was to look for refrigerant oil. Bright light and clean rag is required for checks. I found oil on the back of a leaking pressure switch. Yours probably isn't that easy. Check everything. Evaporator, condenser, lines especially at the connections. Take your dry white rag and inspect connectors by wiping them and then immediately checking for oil on the rag.

If you open the system change dryers and pump down with a good pump. Could be just a bad o ring on a connector. At any rate a leak should show oil. I had help from a retired pro. Oh the desicant in the dryers have a tendency to come out and get in the lines.
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Old 07-26-2015, 04:59 PM   #4
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I thought of some more things that might help.

I bought a set of gages from harbor freight to help with my problem. They are not super expensive with coupons.

You need to hook up the gages with engine off. high and low pressures will be equal, if not there is some kind of blockage. The pressure on the gages should be above the min, depending on your low pressure switch setting. If it is your compressor will turn on when the engine comes on.

Now with the compressor running it will stay running if the high side pressure is below a safe value usually above 300. So if the pressure gets to high the compressor safely shuts off.

Now look at the gages for proper pressure. The following are best guess values that are safe. In Florida at 100 degrees the pressures are approx. 45 for low and maybe 250 for high with a center vent on high temp of 54.
Different charts read a little different.

You can loose cooling if the pressure gets too high or the pressure gets to low. I have one combo sw for both but some systems have two safety switches.

So if you cannot maintain these pressures then you may have a leak but if you lose cooling the first thing to check is the pressures. Could be a malfunctioning switch.

If you can't hold the original pressures you charged it to then troubleshoot for leaks as in my previous post.
The Pro that helped me does not think much of the dye method.
Be advised I am just a novice at this.


Oh if it is your lines remember that there are O-rings in the connector so if you find Pag Oil at the connector it may just be an o-ring. Don't replace lines unless you have to.
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Old 07-26-2015, 05:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomp4801 View Post
I know this has been posted many times, but I can't seem to find a resolution from prior posters.

I definitely have a freon leak in my dash air. Three different service facilities in one week filled the freon three times. The longest the freon lasted was 2 days before I was blowing hot air again.

One repair facility added dye and could not find a leak. Another repair facility used an electronic sniffer and couldn't find a leak. All repair facilities put the system under 300 lbs of pressure and the pressure held firm... ??

Obviously no one could trace the hoses from front to back completely and they say maybe the leak is hidden, which means an expensive hose replacement run.

Someone on the forums mentioned putting the system under suction pressure and I am not sure if that was tried. One poster said they had all the same issues as me and found that the leak was in the compressor shaft seal, but wouldn't that be obvious with leaking dye? Or with the sniffer?

I am tempted to just replace the compressor, but if that doesn't do it, should I then move to the condenser, then the evaporator.....ugh.

Any help would be appreciated.
You need an A/C repair service not some jack leg shade tree shop.

Why three different shops. Find on stick to them until they fix it. Don't pay until then. Filling the unit is not the way to fix this. It may not be a freon problem. It could be a blockage in the expansion valve. A real A/C shop will be able to see if there is a difference in the pressures as it runs and then what happens when it shuts off.

This is not that hard.
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:38 PM   #6
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May want to take a look at this thread and QT's # 3 for MFG diagrams to find Evans trouble if its not in the lines from front to back of coach.
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Old 07-27-2015, 05:49 AM   #7
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Tom, if you are still near Fort Myers I recommend Modern Auto Air. They were recommended to me from this forum and were very good at finding my leak at the condenser and welded the crack instead of replacing the part. Free estimate. Call the day before to make sure they don't have another big rig in as they can only accommodate one RV or over size truck at a time. If you get there when they open they will look at it right away.


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Old 07-27-2015, 07:51 AM   #8
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just last week i was having the same problem until i put 250 pounds of nitrogen to the system and walla hose was leaking on top of compressor, took hose to local fab shop and had new one made for $54.80 recharged and cool air is now great to have.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:34 PM   #9
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My system was put under 300 lbs nitrogen pressure and the pressure held for about an hour before the shop said he didn't think there was a leak that he could find.



I just got back inside tonight after spending an hour in the back engine compartment, front compartment, and crawling around all the basement compartments with a black light and yellow eyeglasses and I could not find any signs of a leak. Of course there is 8 to 10 feet between the front bulkhead where the hoses run, to the first basement compartment...... I can't see the hoses in that area because they are running over the fuel tank and are hidden. I also can't see about 8 to 10 feet of hose that runs from the engine area over the rear 2 axles and over the holding tanks...



Also, Spartan says they provide the chassis with the a/c compressor installed by the engine and the hoses coiled up and zip tied. He said there was more than enough hose in the coil to run the full length of the coach to any place that Newmar would place the evaporator And condenser....... With no breaks or splices in the coil. So if there is a leak in any of the hidden areas, it is a hole, not a joint.


Still frustrated...
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Tom, if you are still near Fort Myers I recommend Modern Auto Air. They were recommended to me from this forum and were very good at finding my leak at the condenser and welded the crack instead of replacing the part. Free estimate. Call the day before to make sure they don't have another big rig in as they can only accommodate one RV or over size truck at a time. If you get there when they open they will look at it right away.


Jeff
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Jeff... Thanks for the referral. We are traveling across country over the summer and if we don't trade in or sell our coach before getting back home, I will get in touch with Modern Auto Air. I am also considering an appointment with Cummins in Elkhart, IN the first week of August, which is when we are heading through that area. The other option depends on when I get a call from Newmar with an estimate and appointment schedule.
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Old 07-27-2015, 08:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP Chianese View Post
You need an A/C repair service not some jack leg shade tree shop.



Why three different shops. Find on stick to them until they fix it. Don't pay until then. Filling the unit is not the way to fix this. It may not be a freon problem. It could be a blockage in the expansion valve. A real A/C shop will be able to see if there is a difference in the pressures as it runs and then what happens when it shuts off.



This is not that hard.

Three different shops because we are traveling across country and not interested in spending days in a town that we don't want to stay in.....and it was 105 degrees and having a day's worth of air was better than nothing. As for the freon, each shop found that the refrigerant level was down from the normal 3.5 lbs to about 1 lb. so there is absolutely a leak someplace.

While they may not have been dedicated a/c shops, they had full automated equipment that purged the lines, pressurized them with nitrogen to 300 lbs. and then cleaned and recharged the lines to the proper 3.5 lbs. one shop added dye before pressurizing and there was no evidence of dye escaping anywhere visible. This is not as easy as you think...lol.
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:10 PM   #12
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When we were in Napannee last year I had Newmar look at our can air. We took had freon loss but slower than yours. They had the Evans tech work the problem he replaced several fittings as well as replacing a couple of components. Knock on wood it has been operating well since. Perhaps a trip to the factory may be warranted
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Old 07-31-2015, 07:15 AM   #13
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I've got a theory based on a different vehicle that i had similar frustrations with. Had a 1985 dodge van, 3/4 ton v8. Dual air, losing freon left and right, no visible signs of a leak anywhere. Finally figured out, because of the engine compartment being tight quarters, all of the heat from the engine would get trapped near the radiator and condenser. On very hot days, this build up of heat after shutdown was causing the condenser to blow off the excess pressure. The fix was we added an electric fan and put a thermal couple on the upper rad hose so that, after shutdown air would still be moving cooling things off. Might be worth the try depending on where your condenser is located

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Old 08-02-2015, 12:41 PM   #14
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OK, I have a gaser DS but all ACs work the same...
The High & Low Shrader values can leak...
Take a bicycle value cap & tighten the Shrader values..
Put a little spit on top to see if it will bubble...

You can also pick up a Pump from Auto Zone loaner program..
Pump down to 30 inches & should hold the vacuum for over an hour plus...

Most likely not your problem as you are losing a lot of freon...
Bob
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