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AC gas leak - dashboard removal


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Hi everyone,  I topped up the ac gas as suddenly overnight I lost cooling. I went to at*o in Nugegoda for the top-up. They checked the system and there was no pressure. Said there is a leak and need two days to fix cos they need to remove the dashboard to get access to the evaporator core. I just told them to top-up for now and that I will see.  Well the next day morning, no cooling again. So seems there is a considerable leak. I washed the car yesterday and when i was holding the water hose to the front grille, I noticed some sort of oil (not engine, atf oil) mixed in the collected water on the ground. I suspect it came from the condenser side. So it could be the leak is at the condenser. 

My question is.... can I tell them to check the front end cooling components first for leaks BEFORE removing the dashboard and getting access to the core. I don't want them to unnecessarily remove the dashboard if this leak can be fixed at the front.

Thanks !

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it is straight forward to locate the leak, they call it "UV light". any auto AC workshop can do this if they have the tools. AFAIK refrigerant comes with the dye (if it is not they can feed it external). so they can first check the areas in the engine bay as you said. if all components in the engine bay is OK still they can proceed without removing the dashboard (in most of the cars i have seen it is possible to remove the cooler without removing the dashboard, then they can separately test it to identify leaks, normally this last part is done in a full AC service).


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Short answer: Of course you can. 

Two days to diagnose a leak and fix it? That's absurd! It's a one man, one day job at most, even for a car with an evaporator that requires significant dashboard disassembly.

The method used to detect leaks is to pressurise the system using compressed air and observe the pressure reading. If it drops over time, the joints and fittings (starting from areas that require least disassembly - i.e. engine) are checked for leaks and repaired/replaced as necessary. The system is pressurised again and the above process followed until the pressure stays intact. Once the system is confirmed to be sealed, it's lubed up and filled with refrigerant.

Since you seem to be having a visible leak, ask them to fix it and do the pressure test to see if it holds up.

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