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Old 12-04-2021, 12:40 PM   #1
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Who Can Explain How Dash A/C and Heat Work?

I have been reading all of the posts I can find about the dash A/C, but none seem relevant to my problem.

Problem: AC Condenser mounted next to radiator appears to be leaking a rusty colored fluid (more like seeping than actually leaking)

Confusion: According to all I can find, the condenser should not actually contain any rusty colored fluid. It looks a lot like the engine coolant, which happened to be a maybe 1/4 gallon low. Coincidence or related? Also confusing is that I read if there was a leak in the A/C system, we should not have had any cooling, but we did not notice any issues at the time. The leaking fluid was spraying our toad but we didn't figure out where it was coming from until later and we had no issues with the A/C during that drive.

We have pulled the condenser away from the radiator enough to be able to see that the leak does NOT look like it originates in the radiator. I have obtained a copy of the Tempcon/Evans Technical Training Manual which hasn't been terribly helpful (to me), but I gather the condenser is converting a gas to a liquid. So what does this liquid look like? There is a section of the manual on dash heat and engine coolant. Is there some connection between the heating and the cooling components or are they completely separate? Can engine coolant get into the AC system?

Attaching photos of the section that is leaking and also the color of the leak.

Oh, yes...... it is a 2017 Dutch Star 4018.
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Old 12-04-2021, 12:58 PM   #2
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Are you sure it's the A/C coil. Looks to me like a transmission cooler. If it was freon, you would not see anything but a oil stain, not liguid , and your dash A/C would not cool. My .02
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:19 PM   #3
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I would suspect that you do not have a refrigerant leak as if you did you would have noticed the A/C not cooling as well as you stated (with time). Can you see behind the condenser to see if something is leaking behind this? Also, was the fluid on your paper towel oily or more like the coolant in color and feel? ~CA
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:24 PM   #4
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I would think you have trans cooler leak. If the A/C was leaking you would not have any dash air. It may be another cooler, like power steering, but since I don't know you model that would be the end of my guesses. Have you checked the fluid levels in all your systems?
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Old 12-04-2021, 01:40 PM   #5
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Hello, from the picture you posted it looks like oil to me. Over a period of time this will degrade the efficiency of your A/C and it would not be as cool as it normally is during the summer months. Again this would depend on the severity of the leak. I am inclined to believe that this is oil coming from the a/c condensor although there are 3 things that can be mounted in front of your radiator, they are: oil cooler, transmission cooler, and last but not least an A/C condensor. Either way when any of them start leaking it is a good idea to change them out. Oil cooler and transmission cooler are going to be cheaper than an a/c condensor simply because the system has to be evacuated and then filled again after the repair. Most people dont carry the specialized equipment required to service a/c which is why most people go to a certified a/c shop for this. The oil in the condensor is for the lubrication inside the a/c system which will need to be replaced when this part is changed out. Hope this helps explain some of your issues and concerns. Good luck and ley us know what you discover.
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Old 12-04-2021, 02:48 PM   #6
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Crack open one of the lines going onto it, you will find out pretty quickly what it is.
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Old 12-04-2021, 04:44 PM   #7
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Listen to everyone that says it's a transmission oil cooler leak. Normally, on a DP, the A/C condenser is under the coach up around the front axle. If an A/C system leaked enough of its oil to spray your toad, you would have been out of air conditioning.
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Old 12-04-2021, 07:41 PM   #8
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Just to double check some obvious things...this is a Diesel Pusher. And the radiator is in the rear. And the cooler mounted next to the radiator in the rear is where the leak is. And it looks like oil. And it's 'rusty" looking...That sure sounds like transmission cooler, not A/C. Like others have said, the AC condenser is much more likely to be mounted at the front of the RV, not at the rear. Can you follow the hoses back to see if they go to the transmission?

As another has said, the bottom hose can be slightly opened to see what color the fresh fluid is. If it hisses out cold mist, then that MIGHT be AC freon. If so, immediately close it. If freon, it will be very cold...so use gloves and eye protection and work carefully. But I doubt it's AC...

The good news is transmission coolers are not that expensive and easy to replace. Shut the motor off and let things cool down. Take the hoses off, catch the leaking transmission fluid in a container, remove the cooler and replace with same. Start the motor, warm it up, check the fluid level, add proper fluid until full.
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:07 AM   #9
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We are about as sure as can be that it is the AC Condenser. There are several part numbers listed on it; every one that you enter into google comes up AC Condenser. It looks exactly like the attached diagram from Tempcon, right down to the Tempcon tags on the hoses as "Discharge Hose" and "Liquid Hose". Called Spartan with the part number and they also called it the AC Condenser.
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Old 12-05-2021, 06:28 AM   #10
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Your dash air condenser is behind the fuel tank in an open area ahead of the first pass thru bay…and between the frame rails. It isn’t back by the radiator.
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Old 12-05-2021, 11:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DustyMom View Post
We are about as sure as can be that it is the AC Condenser. There are several part numbers listed on it; every one that you enter into google comes up AC Condenser. It looks exactly like the attached diagram from Tempcon, right down to the Tempcon tags on the hoses as "Discharge Hose" and "Liquid Hose". Called Spartan with the part number and they also called it the AC Condenser.
This^^, settles the discussion as to whether or not the picture shows the AC condenser, so let's move on.

You stated in your op that you moved the pictured condenser away from the the radiator and the leak does not appear to be coming from the condenser. You had an abundance of "spray" on your toad, and have not lost AC function at the dash. You are down 1/4 gallon of coolant. All of these things add up to a leak from somewhere else in your radiator stack, or from a hose connection in that stack.

You have a side radiator system. Any leaking of coolant from the stack will be drawn inward toward the engine and blown out from under the coach, toward the rear if you are driving. That would account for the spray on your toad and lack of evidence of a leak on the outside of the stack, shown in your picture. You will probably have to inspect the engine side of the stack/fan to see from where the leak is coming. There would probably be lots of wet, dirty, deposits on the fan as well.

BTW, the radiator stack includes coolers for other things like the transmission and hydraulic pump possibly. The fluid may not be coolant, but coolant is the likely suspect because of the low level you mentioned. Regardless of what the fluid is, you have a leak somewhere that needs to be addressed. As we all know, they do not fix themseles.
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Old 12-06-2021, 02:51 PM   #12
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https://www.irv2.com/forums/f103/a-c...ml#post6003965

You had your answer there.
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Old 12-06-2021, 03:49 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Martin View Post
Your dash air condenser is behind the fuel tank in an open area ahead of the first pass thru bay…and between the frame rails. It isn’t back by the radiator.
That's true for Freightliner and some other chassis, but a lot of the side radiator chassis have the AC condenser next to the rear radiator.
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Old 12-06-2021, 05:57 PM   #14
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It looks exactly like the attached diagram from Tempcon, right down to the Tempcon tags on the hoses as "Discharge Hose" and "Liquid Hose".
Can't disagree with your checking the part numbers that you have checked.

You say it looks just like the attached diagram from Tempcon, did you notice the diagram you posted is for a FORD chassis? Probably not very similar, other than all A/C systems have the same basic components.
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