Announcer: This Bumper To Bumper Radio, the car show. Drive in anxious and cruise out confident. With the best automotive information for your vehicle, Bumper To Bumper, helping you and your car feel better and now your hosts, Matt Allen and Dave Riccio.
Dave: Well, good morning everyone and welcome to Bumper To Bumper Radio. I am Dave Riccio, here along with Matt Allen and we are your KTAR Car Guys, heard here every Saturday from 11 to noon. At Bumper To Bumper Radio, we are helping you, the motoring public have a better overall car experience. Today we are talking about air condition and we brought the family from Mesa Auto Works, Stan Sr., Stan Jr., and the other brother. (Both laugh)
Matt: The Stans.
Dave: The Stans are here with us, uh, and we are talkin’ about AC service. Um, and, uh, any questions you might have about air condition service. I know I’ve got coupons in my mail every day sayin’, “Hey, I got an AC service for $19.95 at, uh, at Acme Auto Service and Brakes.” and $19.95, I’m thinkin’ what am I gonna get fixed for $19.95? Cuz last I checked it took a lot more than $19.95 to check out an AC system. What are you thinkin’?
Matt: Well, Dave, I mean there’s all kind- I guess first, it depends on what kind of issue or kind of complaint you’re having with your car. Is it blowing cool but not cold? Maybe it’s cool in the morning but then as it heat soaks and sits out in the sun all day, you get in the car and that sucker just won’t cool down? Maybe you have hot air comin’ outta the dash when it should be cold air? Not just my AC doesn’t blow cold, but it actually blows hot. That’s one problem maybe. Or maybe it doesn’t blow at all. So these are all kind of air conditioning related issues. But the most common complaint I think we get at my shop is that, “My car, it just isn’t as cool as it should be. It feels like it should be better.” And you see these coupons like you said Dave, “Acme Auto $19.95, $28.95” Something doesn’t register with me there. That, that is, is definitely a loss leader, big time. That’s someone trying to get a car in there.
Dave: Mmmm, is it a loss leader or is it a bait and switch?
Matt: Well, you could, it could be that too because it’s, that, I think that’s the problem with, uh, the consumers. Everybody is geared towards wanting the better deal and there’s a misalignment of expectations.
Dave: Well, talkin’ to Stan and Stan and Jeremy before the show and we were just talkin’ about AC, you know, someone comes in for an AC service on a car. Stan Jr., what are you gonna be askin’ ’em if, if they’re at your counter and say, “Hey, I think I want my air conditioner looked up.” Stan Jr: Well I’m gonna be askin’ what, what the symptoms are, uh, what they’re experiencing, and basically just try and get as much information from them as possible so I can fix their car correctly.
Matt: Well, and, and and that information is key. We were talkin’ before the show. If, like we said, if it’s cool in the morning and not so cool in the afternoon, that’s typically gonna be a charge level issue. And if the thing blows ice cold one minute and then it doesn’t blow cold at all the next minute or suddenly, well, that’s not a charge issue, that’s more likely an electrical issue. A fuse, well a fuse is only gonna happen one time but if it’s coming intermittent, you could have a clutch issue, you could have a control head issue, a pressure switch issue. But that information will help us go to the right area. You still may be low on refrigerant, it’s not uncommon to have two problems as well.
Dave: Well I think that people confuse, like, your cooling system for your engine with your cooling or freon for your air conditioning system. And this is a sealed system, there’s a refrigerant in it and the refrigerants have changed a little bit over the years. And most, most cars have R134A in ’em as a refrigerant and that’s what you’re gonna be buying when you get an AC service. In the old days, we used to just throw gauges on it and shoot a can in there, but times have changed. When we went from R12 to 134A, the fills had to become perfect.
Matt:It got- it got much more critical and it’s getting more, it’s still getting more and more critical. So let me walk you through an air conditioning service. And you think you can get this for 29 bucks. So you’re gonna come in, you’re gonna describe to the service adviser or the technician what’s happening with your car. I, as a technician, am gonna go out, I’m gonna get in your car, I’m gonna have my thermometer with me, I’m gonna start it up, drive it, I’m gonna put that thermometer in the dash, I’m gonna record the vent temperature while we’re driving. So after we’ve done that, depending on what I see with that vent temperature, if it’s really nice and ice cold? It’s gonna maybe change the way I look at the car based on a car that’s ehh, a little bit mediocre. So after that 2 or 3 mile test drive, we’re gonna go back to the shop, we’re gonna open the hood, we’re gonna do a visual inspection, we’re gonna look at the lines, the connectors, the hoses, look down by the compressor, look around and see if there’s any obvious signs of oil leakage. And the reason there’s oil in the system, it’s not so much the oil that you’re losing but the oil is the witness mark, the oil’s what’s pushing- or the gas is what’s pushing, is pushing the oil out and that’s what’s leaving the marks. You can’t see that gas, it’s, it’s vapor. So after we’ve done that, if we don’t see anything obvious, now we’ve gotta hook up our machine, we’re gonna measure the pressures, see what the pressure is, and then depending on what’s happening there, it’s gonna determine how we’re gonna service that system. If we think it’s low, now we’ve gotta recycle, recover all that refrigerant, we’re gonna weigh it with the machine, measure it, and then determine if you’re low. So, easy math, your system holds 2 lbs, we pulled out about a lb and a half, we add a 1/2 lb. And we don’t sell refrigerant by the pound anymore, it’s down to the ounce. And, so then after we’ve done that, determine that the system’s low, then we’ve got to recharge it. We’re gonna check the condensor fan, we’re gonna make sure all the dirt in there and everything’s blown out of the condensor. And I missed a couple steps in there.
Dave: You missed pullin’ a vacuum on it-
Matt:Well, yeah, we gotta do a vacuum, there’s a 15 minute vacuum if you’ve got a newer machine. But the most other two things, we’ve gotta check and make sure some- I would call ’em, you know, sometimes Harry Homeowner. (Both laugh) Do it yourself or didn’t go to, uh, the parts store and get the glue or the, the mystery, you know, the snake oil in a can, and, and the fix-all and put that, ‘cuz that will ruin our equipment. And then we gotta check and make sure there’s no flammable gasses in there ‘cuz people wanna use propane or some other kind of gas in the system. And once we’ve done all that, that’s a 45 minute process on a machine that costs $5,000. You don’t get that for $29. It, the math doesn’t, doesn’t work. So I think that’s where, where people need to be cautious.
Dave: Well, we were talkin’ to Jeremy before the show, you know, in the old days we just topped off a little bit of freon. Nowadays, everything gets an evacuate, everything is, you know, unless the car comes in, it’s a relatively low mileage, you know, it’s a couple, 2, 3 years old, we’re probably not goin’ there. But if we got a system that’s 4 or 5 years old, you said you’re suckin’ the freon all out, you’re pullin’ a vacuum on it, what we call an evacuate and recharge, you know? Maybe you wanna touch on that a little bit.
Jeremy: Well, we suck out all the freon that’s in the system, that’s remaining in the system if it’s low. And then we’d uh, like he said, we weight it and everything and then we’ll suck it all into a vacuum after that, after, if we do find a leak, if there is a visual leak, we’ll suck it down into a vacuum, and there, and there’s a process in there that’s a leak check which sucks it down into a vacuum. It has to hold a vacuum for a certain amount of time at a certain level. If it doesn’t then there’s still a leak present in the system.
Matt: And then, and then on top of that but, you know, you can have something that will leak under vacuum, but it won’t leak under pressure.
Matt: Or you have something under pressure that won’t leak under vacuum. And the other thing that we missed, Dave, is putting in dye. When we recharge that system, we’re gonna put a charge of dye in there, ultraviolet dye. So, whether it’s tomorrow, next week, next year, if that system develops a leak, we’re gonna be able to shortcut and find it with an ul- with a dye light or an ultraviolet light to help pinpoint that. So sometimes, and often times, this is not really a repair, this is a service or a diagnostic, it’s a 2 step.
Dave: Well, yeah, that’s the expectation as part of an AC service is that, you know, you’re gonna go in you know, again, if it’s, if it’s a system that’s 2 or 3 years old, there’s probably really not much happenin’, we’re gonna throw the gauges on it, we’re gonna visually inspect everything, but if the pressures look right, not a lot’s gonna happen. But when you get to a 3 and 4 year old system, we’re lookin’ for leaks and other issues. Uh, yeah, you know, we are gonna, you know, do all those steps, the dye goes in it, but some of those cars within 2 weeks are blowin’ warm again and you gotta go back to the shop. But I don’t want you to go back to the shop and be like, “You sons of guns, I just paid you all this money and my car’s blowin’ warm!” That is to be expected, you know, because we, we’re not necessarily gonna see the leak and that’s the point of the dye. The dye won’t necessarily, if it’s a small leak, it’s not gonna show up that day. It’s gotta circulate through the system for a week or two and then it’ll, it’s gotta come out, and you’re goin’ back.
Matt: Yeah and if the system’s empty, we, we can charge it, we, at my shop we use nitrogen. We’ll, we’ll boost up the pressure with the nitrogen, it’s a clean, dry gas.
Dave: You’re saying if it comes in completely empty.
Matt: Empty, yeah, cuz you don’t wanna waste refrigerant, you don’t want that goin’ into the environment and goin’ into the ozone, so you don’t just shoot a bunch of refrigerant in there and, and you know, scramble to find the leaks. You’ve got to, uh, you know get, get it pressurized, pinpoint those leaks. So, if you’ve got AC questions, any kind of car questions, that’s the whole purpose of, of this show is to help you with your car. So if you wanna get in touch with the show, don’t be shy, call us at 602-277-5827, it’s 602-277-KTAR You can also text at 411923
Dave: And hopefully it’s about air condition, but you can talk about whatever you want, it doesn’t have to be about air condition. You are listening to Matt and Dave on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Dave: Well, welcome back to Bumper To Bumper Radio, I am Dave Riccio here along with Matt Allen. And today we have the family from Mesa Auto Works – Stan Sr., Stan Jr., and Jeremy. I wanna put a Jr. behind that for some reason. (Group laughs) So uh, we were talkin’ before the show and I said, “You know, I wanna tell everybody what a great shop you got out there, what a great family environment it is, everything like that. What can I tell people that’s special about your shop?” And Stan Sr. says, “We’re honest.” and I said, “You know, Stan, that is a fantastic quality, but unfortunately the guys who are dishonest say their honest.” (Group laughs)
Matt: But we really are, yeah.
Dave: But, but these guys are truly, they are very honest and genuine and I work with Stan Jr. a lot with, with customer stuff, and the detail he goes to to really take care of these people, because it is very much a family environment. You go down there and it’s family and they say, “Hey Dave, I’m gonna refer this customer over to you, he’s been comin’ to us for years, you know, if you could just look out for him as he comes through your shop and make sure he gets taken care of?” Not that he wouldn’t anyway, but he likes to make that connection and hand it off to me. And I always appreciate that because I know he’s diligent to take care of his customer.
Matt: How’s, how’s, is there any, you guys ever go to blows over there? Is there a family feud goin’ on or who, who settles the score? I guess Stan Sr., when you put the hammer down, the buck stops with you when there’s a dispute in the shop or do you…?
Stan Sr.: As long as they’re, uh, in my sight.
Matt: Yeah? Is that right? (Group laughs)
Stan Sr.: Now, it may change, they may say, “Ok Dad, yeah.” and then I leave and it’s like, “Yeah, we ain’t doin’ that.” (Group laughs)
Matt: I get the feeling there’s not many disputes over there, it’s uh
Stan Sr.: No.
Jeremy.: No, not at all.
Matt: Just pluggin’ along and doin’ the right thing.
Dave: Both are friendly and, and a lot of their history, uh, is really in Volvos, but you guys really work on all makes and models. But with, uh, you know, Volvo and Mazda you got some specialty there.
Dave: Uh, you know, because, Stan Sr. you started out in Volvo workin’, workin’ the dealership forever.
Stan Sr.: Mmhmm, forever.
Dave: Volvo’s a weird brand, it just is. (Laughs)
Stan Sr.: Yeah, but not, we’ve got a, we’ve got a new tech ‘cuz we lost our Volvo tech, he died, unfortunately.
Stan Sr.: And we got a new guy and he used to teach the Volvo techs.
Stan Sr.: And, uh, he knows all the ins and outs now.
Dave: I’ve, I’ve talked to him a couple times, he’s pr-
Stan Sr.: Yeah.
Dave: He’s pretty, he’s pretty smart.
Stan Sr.: Yeah.
Matt: So what you’re sayin’ is if you’ve got a Volvo, you want to, uh, that’s the guy to call.
Stan Sr.: Yeah.
Matt: We’ve got 2 Volvo specialists on the, uh, Bumper To Bumper deal, Tanner in Central Phoenix and you guys over there in East Valley that, uh, can handle anything, whether Volvo or not, so.
Dave: Well, and just to reintroduce the show a little bit, Matt and I both own auto shops and we’re networked with a bunch of other great shop owners that we feel just have the right way of doin’ business and wanna take care of people. Mesa Auto Works, you can find them at mesaautoworks.com But really for a list of other great automotive shops in our network, bumpertobumperradio.com and it looks like we gotta get to the phones. I’m gonna go with Jim in Gilbert, he’s got a 2005 looks like Mercury Montego. Go ahead Jim, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Jim: Hey good morning guys, thank you for taking my call. I got an, uh, ’05 Mercury Montego Premier and it, it’ll blow cold air, it’s not real cold but only when I’m drivin’. When I stop at the light, it starts blowin’ warm air and uh, just wanna know what you guys think that is.
Matt: Ok, do-
Dave: Well, Matt, Matt says since I’m a transmission guy, that I can’t answer this question. (Laughs)
Matt: Well, we’ll, we’ll answer the question. I know you know the answer Dave, but I’ll tell you about that. You know, if you’re drivin’ down the road as Joe Customer and you see this “AC Special” sign, “$2” outside of a transmission shop (Dave laughs) that now suddenly does, is auto care experts uh-
Dave: Chances are they don’t have the $5,000 machine you were talkin’ about. (Group laughs)
Matt: Yeah, they might or they may not or they, they just got one ‘cuz now they’re AC experts because the transmission business isn’t goin’ so well. Who knows? But on that, on that Montego, that’s a classic symptom of cold drivin’ down the road and not so cold sitting still. So the question is what’s happening? There’s, when you stop there’s no air flow. You’re goin’ 60 mph down the freeway or 45 on a service street, you got air runnin’ across the radiator and across the condenser. When you sit still or sit at a stoplight, if it’s not, the fan’s not mechanically hooked to the engine and driven by the belts. You’re gonna have one or two electric fans, one to cool the radiator and a second one to cool the condenser off in the front of the car. The radiator one is only gonna come on when the radiator temperature is high enough. Both of them will come on when commanded to do so by the air conditioner. So probably what’s happening is you have a bad fan motor or some type of control for the condenser fan. If the car’s overheating also it seems in this deal, then maybe it’s just that single fan.
Dave: Mmm, could low charge do that?
Matt: Uhhh, no, I, well it could, it could, but, but that, that’s pretty much a symptom of of-
Dave: That’s why I’m a transmission guy, I don’t get it. (Group laughs)
Matt: But you still need to go through it. Now we could find that that fan motor is bad and you could still be low on charge. So it wouldn’t be uncommon, especially on a 2005 car we’re comin’ on 9 years old, it might be just a little bit low. Now in a perfect world, the AC system’s never gonna be low, that’s not a consumable gas. But they are gonna leak a little bit every year.
Dave: Well, thanks so much for the call Jim. We’re gonna go with Bill in Scottsdale on a 2012 Ford Escape. Go ahead, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio. Bill: Hey good morning guys. K, on my uh Ford Escape, I used to get about 27.8, 27.9 miles per gallon for my gas mileage. And a couple of weeks ago I put new tires on the truck and almost immediately I shot down to about 26.2, so I lost about a gallon and a half per mile, a, uh, a mile and a half per gallon on my gas mileage. Is that normal?
Matt: Well, I’ve heard that, I had a customer that a Volkswagen TDI and he knew his mileage like down to the tenth of a mile per gallon, it was the, like I said, the diesel. And he used to drive between Phoenix and Wisconsin constantly.
Dave: He was, he was an engineer though, right?
Matt: No I don’t know what, what he does. But he knew his mileage, just because, I mean if you’re driving, he was put-, I mean he was runnin’ some serious miles on this car a year, we’re talkin’ 40, 50,000 miles. I don’t know, runnin’ drugs (Laughs) Who knows what he’s goin’ back and forth to Wisconsin? He went from his Michelins to another brand and lost 3 miles a gallon. I said, “No way.” He went back to the tire store, got rid of the- the brand that he put on, another very high quality brand, by the way, put on what he had on the car, and got his fuel mileage right back.
Dave: Mmm, you believe that Stan Sr.?
Stan Sr.: Oh yeah, that’s possible, but it’s, uh, also are you still getting your fuel at the same place? Because different gas stations have different quality of fuel and that’s gonna ruin your mileage. Or make it better.
Dave: The other thing I was thinkin’ about too when he was askin’ the question was, you know these cars, they kinda have a real time estimated fuel mileage right there? And, and I was wonderin’ if people were checking their mileage against uh, against, you know how many gallons did I put in it and how far did they drive. Do they, are they doin’ the math?
Matt: Well truly doing the math. But even if you’re not, if you’re still watching that gauge, if, if nothing else changed but the tires?
Matt: If it walks like a duck, quack quack.
Dave: Do you think it’s possible when he bought ’em maybe they were underinflated or something? Or just, just that tire has more tread on it and it’s got a different rolling resistance?
Matt: It’s, it’s just the rubber compound, it’s a lighter weight tire, the carcass is lighter, who knows exactly what it is? But I’m tellin’ ya, (Group laughs) that’s the deal.
Dave: So, AC service, I’m a consumer, I’m gonna go to the shop, I’m gonna make an appointment, and you’re talkin’ about, well Dave, you’re tellin’ me I can’t get my AC checked and fixed for $19 on a coupon I just saw. What should they, what should they be planning on? It’s a 2 step process in many cases and I’m, I’m seein’ a range of a good thorough AC service from $50 to maybe $110?
Matt: Right, well, if, if you want someone that is, cares about their job to be working on your car, you want someone that’s compensated properly. I mean, I’ll tell you, we just went through this, it takes an hour to do the service, we’re using a $5,000+ machine, um, that doesn’t work for 20 bucks. So my point is how much should that cost? Well, you’re gonna spend between $50-100 probably for the labor and there’s nothing wrong with discounting that down a little bit, but we can talk about that more.
Dave: When we come back, we’ve got open lines at 602-277-5827, 602-277-KTAR
(Announcer: You’re listening to Bumper To Bumper Radio on NewsTalk 92.3 KTAR)
Dave: Well, welcome back to Bumper To Bumper Radio. I am Dave Riccio, here along with Matt Allen and we’ve got the guys from Mesa Auto Works here with us. They are in Mesa and you can find them at mesaautoworks.com
Matt: Are yoooou in sloooww moootion todaaaay Daaave? (Group laughs)
Dave: I might be. We’ve got open lines at 602-277-5827, 602-277-KTAR and you can also text your questions at 411923 and we’re gonna go first this segment with Jim in Mesa on a 2003 Trailblazer. But hold on a second Jim. Matt is a guy that pauses when he’s talkin’ and for him to be pickin’ on me? (Matt laughs)
Dave: Just sayin’. (Laughs) Go ahead Jim, what can we help you with today?
Jim: Hi, yes, good morning guys thanks for taking my call. I’m calling about my ’03 Trailblazer, it’s uh intermittently turning uh, blowing cold then kinda warm every 7-8 minutes. Um, it doesn’t matter if it starts up in the morning or in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter, as soon as you start the car, it runs and then 7-8 minutes later it stops cold. And it’s just drivin’ me crazy ‘cuz my wife took my truck and I gotta get this fixed so I can get my truck back. (Group laughs)
Matt: So, when you say, so it’s nice and ice cold, now when it, when it starts to blow warm, does it feel a little bit of humidity in the car? A little musty or anything like that? Like moist?
Jim: No, nothing like that, it’s just, it’s just like a, like a cycle. It just keeps, it’s uh cold and then it’s not cold.
Matt: And then how’s the air flow out of the vents? If you turn that blower, the fan blower on and you put your hands up, is that gonna be pushing back?
Jim: Full speed, yeah, full speed.
Matt: Full speed it works well. Ok.
Matt: Well, what I’m thinkin’ is that maybe the system is low on pressure, that’s why it blows cold, remember pressures and temperatures are relative to each other. So if you’ve got 250 lbs of pressure in the high side, that might be 250 degrees, if you’ve got 40 lbs of pressure on the low side, you might have 40 lbs of output air temperature, or there about. So if that’s low on refrigerants, what’s gonna happen Jeremy? It’s gonna make some cold air for a little bit, but then what’s gonna kick in?
Jeremy: It’s gonna start blowin’ hot because it just doesn’t have that full charge.
Matt: Well, so the, what, so the low side pressure cycling switch. There’s a protective switch in the system that, if the pressures get too low, it’s gonna shut off or open the switch and interrupt the, the, uh power to the uh to the compressor clutch so that the system doesn’t overload. There’s also a high side pressure switch if the pressures get too high. So it could just be getting low pressures or it could be freezing up from lack of air flow possibly.
Jeremy: Correct. So, and then once that pressure, low side pressure goes back up, then the compressor clicks back on and then it works for a while and then until it drops down again. It also could be going into a vacuum too and it might have an issue there too.
Matt: It just keeps repeating that cycle.
Dave: Well, you guys are all talkin’ about pressures, but I’m thinkin’ as a transmission guy, maybe I’m a little laymen here on this. Lame. (Matt laughs) But uh, we talked a little bit before the show about blend door problems. You know, these cars have a blend door, there’s a mode door, which kicks it from your feet to the vents to the defrost, they call it a mode door. And there’s a blend door, which is gonna mix hot and cold air to get you to the temperature you’re lookin’ for. That’s why you can dial it in to 78 degrees and put it on auto, and just let it go.
Matt: Yeah, and I, in his case though, I would say it’s, it’s more along the lines of a, of a low charge issue. So Jim, if you need a shop, Mesa Auto Works is not open today, is that correct guys? (Stan Sr., Stan Jr., and Jeremy laugh)
Stan Jr.: No we are not.
Matt: You’re all three here, so you can’t be open, but-
Dave: You can down to use their tools today, if you want. (Group laughs)
Matt: Just kick that back door open, don’t worry about the alarm, but Mesa Auto Works would be, is, uh, may be in your area, check them out at bumpertobumperradio.com and go on there and ask for one the Stans or Jeremy on Monday morning and I bet they can help you.
Dave: Well, let’s go with Carmen in Mesa with a 2004 Mazda Protege. What can we help you with today Carmen?
Carmen: Ok, well, um, I don’t have an AC unit right now that’s functioning and I was given an estimate of $1,000 uh, to, uh, get a new one. And I have a small income, so I was, um, I have an opportunity to get, uh, a used, um condenser and uh, that it would be, uh, put into my car. And I’m wondering about the pros and cons of doing that versus getting a new one.
Matt: Well, Dave, Dave’s gonna answer this question for ya. (Dave laughs) He’s over there- he’s pointin’ at himself, he’s ready to roll. Dave?
Dave: Well, I, you know, AC units are, are expensive, so I mean $1,000 isn’t, like, abnormal. That’s a, that could be a normal complete AC system. The only thing is, that I get worried about, when we’re on a limited income and we wanna save money? Here’s a thing that I worry about, if we don’t have money to do it the first time, we’re certainly not gonna have money to do it the second time. And I think we’re takin’ a big chance goin’ with used AC parts.
Matt: Yes, but, but she said condenser, ok? Now, $1,000 is not abnormal to, if the, it depends on how the system fails though. If, if you get the compresser that grenades and blows up internally, that’s a pump, and that pumps all that debris through the system. That’s a different repair than maybe if you just have a compresser or a hose that’s leaking. Or, in her case, she said condenser. So maybe she just got a rock off the freeway and blew a ho-, you know, knocked a hole in the condenser, and it’s no good now, and that’s the repair. $1,000 seems a little bit high for just doing the condenser.
Matt: So, but she brought up the condenser, so I wouldn’t be too worried if the situation is I picked up a rock, the rock punched a hole in the condenser, I lost the charge, and I found a good used condenser out of a car that got creamed in the rear end or had a, had a fire in the interior, or something like that. I wouldn’t be so worried about that condenser, what do you think?
Stan Sr.: The problem with that is that you don’t know if that car grenaded the compressor and you don’t know if that condenser’s really any good. So yeah, they’ll warranty it, they’ll give you another one, but you got double the labor.
Matt: Well, yeah, if the condenser-
Stan Sr.: for a used part. is, yeah, but I mean, chances are, the car gets creamed, the AC was probably working, who knows? But I would not go with a used compressor.
Stan Jr.: No most definitely not.
Matt: I, I definitely wouldn’t do that. But then what do you guys think about, you know, it used to be you replaced the, the compressor’s bad, let’s say it’s leaking. Then they say, “Oh, you gotta do the compressor, clutch, uh clutching hub, orifice tube, or expansion valve, and a dryer. You gotta replace everything.” And, and I’ve gotten away from that. At least we have at my shop, because the reason you wanna replace those things is there’s either debris in the system or it’s been left open so long that the desiccant in the dryer isn’t working anymore. But if you simply just got a leaky seal on the compressor that’s not serviceable? I will put a compressor on that car all day long without replacing those other components.
Stan Sr.: Exactly. That’s the way it should be done.
Matt: Yeah, there’s, there’s just no need to go throw the whole thing out and sometimes that’s necessary. Sometimes it’s a condenser, it’s the whole nine yards. Especially if it gets the, we call it The Black Death, when that thing’s just pumped through the system.
Dave: Mmmm, well Carmen, thanks so much for the call. I see you are in Mesa, if you do need a good shop to do that repair, you’ve got Mesa Auto Works, as well as other shops at bumpertobumperradio.com I’ve got a text here from a gentleman, he’s got uh, a 2005 Silverado 4.8L 2 wheel drive, 275,000 miles on it. Barely broken in I guess. “I got a lifter makin’ noise and was wondering if I run a heavier oil, uh, will the ticking stop and help with it?” He would appreciate it. Gary. Thanks Gary. Come on, what do you guys think?
Matt: Thicker oil’s not gonna, not gonna do anything.
Stan Sr.: At, at that mileage, uh, that engine? He coulda lost a lobe on a cam shaft, it needs more diagnostic than just puttin’ heavier oil in. Heavier oil’s not a fix.
Matt: It’s kinda like takin’ aspirin for that pain. It’s, it’s still there, you just can’t feel it.
Stan Sr.: That’s caused by cancer. (Group laughs)
Matt: Yeah you can’t, you can’t feel it anymore. But I don’t know that I would be, I mean, puttin’ in a cam shaft. That’s a lot of, that’s a big job to put a cam shaft and lifters in that car.
Stan Sr.: Mmhmm.
Matt: You know, I’d be really thinkin’ twice about makin’ a significant repair to that engine. It may be one of those deals where you reevaluate and just consider putting in a new engine. All the other stuff that goes along with it, maybe you can squeeze another 200,000 out of it.
Stan Sr.: But, you know, take a valve cover off, you can look, you can see and you can tell him that’s what he’s got.
Stan Sr.: You know.
Dave: Mmkay. Well, I got another text here. He’s got a 2005 Ford F350. “When driving down the freeway, my truck seems to wander, which requires constant correction. I used to drive a Chevy 2500 and the steering was very tight. My Ford steering scares me sometimes.”
Matt: Well, I drive a 2005 Excursion, so if it’s 4 wheel drive, it’s probably got the same as mine, it’s got a straight front axle. And those things just don’t track as nice as the, the Chevrolets with the independent front suspension, so I would be, you could jack that up and see if, get the weight off the wheels, and see if the front end turns smoothly. You could have bad ball joints binding, you could have a, uh, steering stabilizer shock that’s bound up, So th- there are some things in there that, that could be causing that. You wanna check the tire pressures, make sure you’ve got even tread on the front tires, you don’t have a one tread of another style and a different brand tire, that’s gonna make all kinds of havoc on any kind of car havin’ two different tires on the steer axle. So you need to get it in, just get it, have somebody shake down the front end, so to speak, and look at the tires, set the pressures, check the alignment, check the ball joints and make sure nothing’s binding up in there.
Dave: Well I’m looking here, we got a bunch of texts here, we’ll go through some of these. We’ve got, uh, someone “CR-V AC repair $2300 all the time.” CR-Vs, I, I hear a lot of people bad mouthing CR-Vs for air conditioners.
Matt: They’ve had some, some problems. They have. But Honda’s, in some cases, Honda’s really stepped up to the plate and just actually reimbursed people for repairs. But they did have some issues a few years ago with CR-Vs and, and I don’t know why.
Matt: Uh, Dave, there’s another text. “Dave, why is one condenser $100 and the other one is $350?”
Dave: Oh, fantastic question.
Matt: Jim Atkinson from Car Repair Company would be the best person to answer this question. But, it’s like a battery, it’s like anything else. You get a steak. Well, there’s a heck of a lot of difference between a steak from Durant’s and one from Sizzler. Or one from you know, just make your analogy, the $6 burger or the 99 cent Big Mac. There’s a big difference. So, the, the, the manufacturers spend millions and millions and millions of dollars getting these cars’ air conditioners, air conditioning systems dialed right in. And, so the difference in the condensers, and I know Jim’s done a lot of testing on this, he’s on the Board of the Mobile Air Conditioning Society and, and does a lot of work in his shop on air conditioning. There’s a difference between the number of fins per inch on the condenser. If it’s cheaper, oftentimes it’s ‘cuz you’re getting less. So there’s a huge, huge difference between an after market and an original equipment condenser or any air conditioning parts. And I always think you want new parts.
Dave: When we come back, we’ve got open lines at 602-277-5827, 602-277-KTAR We’re talkin’ about air conditioning and anything you wanna talk about in relation to your car. You’re listening to Matt and Dave, your KTAR Car Guys on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
(Music – Hot Rod Race – Arkie Shibley / Announcer: Bumper To Bumper on Newstalk 92.3 KTAR.
Dave: Well, welcome back to Bumper To Bumper Radio. I’m Dave Riccio here along with Matt Allen and we are here, hopefully lowering your anxiety when it comes to car repair or just keeping you in the know. So when you go in you know what the heck you’re talkin’ about, you know what to ask for, you know what to tell ’em, all that communication stuff. We’ve also got the guys from Mesa Auto Works, Stan Sr., Stan Jr., and the other brother Jeremy, are in with us. (Group laughs) And, uh, they’re here to help us help you with your car. And up first this segment, well, I wanna talk about my Toyota Camry. My wife drives a Toyota Camry, she got in a car accident last year. I’m tryin’ to see if I get Matt to diagnose it for me. But, uh, got in a car accident, it had ice cold air, and now after the front end has been fixed, the AC got touched. And now the AC doesn’t work so good, ok?
Matt: You got that look on your face Dave, doesn’t work so good, huh? (Guests laugh) Well, I, I know part of this story Dave, but, so in your case, you get in a car accident, your car goes to the body shop and the body shop and the insurance company, “Ohhh, that’s a pretty expensive condenser from Toyota, we’re gonna get one from Acme.
Matt: And so they put in the after market condenser, it’s got less coolant for inch per inch, maybe it’s a different style, it doesn’t, it’s not made as well, the materials aren’t so good. And uh, so that could be the problem, but I know that you changed it out back to a factory condenser.
Dave: First thing I did.
Matt: And it still doesn’t blow cool. So what I’m thinking is that thing got smacked in the front end, there’s some aluminum or rigid lines going up to that condenser, and if it got smacked enough to bend or break the condenser, it could have kinked one of the high pressure lines. And what’s happening in the air conditioner, we’re making, when a refrigerant is under high pressure it’s a gas, when it’s low pressure it’s a liquid. And we use an orifice or an expansion valve, I, I got that backwards didn’t I? High pressure it’s a gas, low pressure it’s a liquid. So, it’s a high pressure gas out at the front and it’s gotta go through an orifice tube or an expansion valve to lower the, to change it from a, to a liquid to make it cold. And that’s, and that is probably, that tube is probably bent and it’s happening uh, it, it’s changing the gas before it gets to the orifice tube, it’s converting it before. And you’re doing this backwards, low pressure is liquid and cold, high pressure, yes.
Stan Sr.: High pressure is liquid.
Matt: No it’s not.
Stan Sr.: Yes it is.
Dave: You’re backwards.
Matt: We’re gonna have to get Jim in here to, to settle that one. Low pressure is liquid. The liquid line is a low pressure line.
Dave: So if I can bring it to your shop Matt, can you, can you uh, can you get it diagnosed for me?
Matt: I’m sure, I am sure we can handle that.
Dave: ‘Cuz we’re tranny people. (Laughs)
Matt: I’m sure we can handle that. Well, would you take your air conditioner to a transmission shop?
Matt: That specializes in everything now?
Dave: No, I wouldn’t. No, don’t, we don’t even own air conditioning gauges, you know? So. (Laughs)
Matt: Alright, we got some calls Dave.
Dave: Let’s get with Lis-
Matt: Stan and I can argue later. Jim, send me a text.
Dave: We’re gonna go with Lisa on a 2007 Silverado. Go ahead Lisa, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Lisa: Good morning, I am calling, I am um, my son’s truck is what I’m calling about. It’s an ’07, he changes his fluids regularly. We just had all the fluids changed. He’s actually in Afghanistan, so I’m in charge of his truck. Um, he puts in Royal Purple Oil, he does everything he’s supposed to, and all of a sudden it’s coming up with a low oil pressure. And I’m concerned about taking it back to where I had all this work done ‘cuz it seems as if, I don’t know, something changes every time I go there.
Matt: Does the engine make any noise when that low oil pressure light is on?
Lisa: Umm, no, but it, it did start that uch, my dad called it, I think the lift, it kinda ticks. It’s never done that before and it’s not leaking anything.
Dave: How many miles are on it?
Lisa: Mmm, about 90,000?
Dave: About 90,000 miles.
Matt: Well, the, the, some of those Chevy trucks did have camshaft lobes that got wiped off and the roller lifters were having problems, but the first thing I’d wanna be doing is we need to do a mechanical oil pressure test. Where we’re not gonna rely on a light, we’re gonna unplug the sensor, where, where, uh, that sends the signal back to the instrument cluster, if you will. We’re gonna take that out, we’re gonna put a gauge in place of that, and we’re gonna measure the oil pressure on a cold start up and all the way through a warm up cycle and see what that pressure is. If we have good pressure, then what we’re probably gonna do is just replace the oil pressure sending unit that we had to take out and that might just be the problem. But, if you’ve got a tick noise along with that, you, it, maybe you have a mechanical issue that has nothing to do with low oil pressure possibly.
Stan Sr.: First, first thing is did they fill it with oil? Check the oil level.
Lisa: Yeah, we checked that, it’s good.
Stan Sr.: That’s good.
Matt: Yeah, so, I, I mean, but there’s nothing wrong with taking it back to them, maybe, it, it, it could happen, maybe a, a, a wire got pinched, you know, the oil pressure switch sometimes is near the filter. That could, that could be the issue, so, yeah, it’s worth to give it a shot. Go back.
Dave: Go back, let ’em know what’s goin’ on and I’m sure they will be happy to help you. Thanks so much for the call Lisa. We are gonna go with, looks like
Pedro: in Avondale on a 2001 Chevrolet Malibu. Go ahead
Pedro:, you’re on Bumper To Bumper Radio.
Pedro: Yes, I have a 2001 Malibu and, uh, the, it’s about the AC. It’s cooling real good, no issues with the cooling, but I noticed that lately the air compressor started making noise. It’s, uh, something, uh, the compressor need to be replaced or- And it sounds like internally inside the compressor, not the, the clutch.
Matt: So, it’s just, the whole thing just rattling? Just (makes rattling noise) makin’ noise?
Matt: Well, I mean, you could have the compressor that’s coming apart. I mean, I mean, that’s what we call The Black Death. When you open that thing up or open up the line, it just looks like graphite was pumped through the whole system and that’s a total system failure.
Stan Sr.: And it plugs, plugs up everything so you have to replace it all. So it’s not a matter of him just puttin’ a compressor on there.
Dave: Is that sumthin’ where he wants to address that now or is it sumthin’ you just run until it blows?
Stan Sr.: I would do it now. (Laughs)
Dave: Yeah? Do it now?
Matt: Yeah, I mean, in that case, that’s a system where you’re still gonna need everything so to speak, the, the orifice and the dryer. You might be able to get away without the condenser but if it totally grenades,
Stan Sr.: Well, plus the fact if he’s drivin’ down the road and it seizes up and the belt goes, then he overheats the engine and then he needs a motor.
Matt: Yeah, yeah, ‘cuz you’ve only got one belt on that car. But the other thing that’s important to check too is make sure that we’ve got good belt tensioners, make sure that the belts and the idlers are noisy. Because we’ve had cases where people come in and say, “Oh, my air conditioning makes noise.” Well, yeah, the car only makes that noise when you turn the air conditioner on, but you have to think of what’s happening when that AC is turned on. It’s loading the belt, it’s loading the, loading the system more. All that belt and pulley system, you could have a balancer that’s going bad, you could have other things, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the air conditioning compressor.
Dave: Well, the other thing we didn’t talk too much about, but we talked about it before the show, is these cars that blow nice and chilly cold and after you’ve been driving on the freeway for 10 minutes, they starts to blow warm ‘cuz of the clutch, the clutch on the front of the compressor is, is not holding like it should anymore, the clearance is gettin’ too big. Did you wanna talk about that? You’re starin’ at me like uh, “What the heck are you talkin’ about?” (Group laughs)
Matt: Well Stan was talking about that earlier, yeah. There’s a, there’s an air gap, an electromagnetic clutch and, and when we send a voltage signal down to that compressor, the magnet’s gonna kick in and suck the face of the, of the compressor or the clutch and every time that does that, there, there’s some slippage. There’s two pieces of metal, there’s no clutch material, it’s just two machine services and those suck together and build that instant pressure. They’re gonna slip a little bit and that starts to, starts to wear off a bit, and that, that gap becomes too large to overcome.
Stan Sr.: Yeah and just the magnet, you know, and then sometimes you’ll be on the road it’s blowin’ warm, 5 minutes later it’s ice cold again because it’s just that close that, that gap and it’s just, it’s too wide for the magnet to overcome.
Matt: Yeah, I mean sometimes that diagnosis is very easy. You look down, you turn on the AC, the light on the dash is on, the fan’s blowing, but there’s no compressor working, you just go take a long screwdriver and just tap the front of that, the front of the face of the clutch and bam, it just kicks right on so. And sometimes you can adjust those, that doesn’t mean, I mean there’ no adjustment, there’s no screw, but when you build that system or add that conden- or the, the uh clutch and coil and everything to that compressor, there’s spacers in there and shims. You can just pull a couple thousands out and maybe solve that issue.
Stan Sr.: But not necessarily a cheap job ‘cuz of where the compressors are sometimes.
Matt: Right. All the, I mean, the, the labor’s the big component, is getting to that. And then, hopefully that’s it. (Group laughs) Hopefully that’s not the on-, you know that’s the only problem.
Dave: Well we gotta a couple calls here on the line. Matt and Chris, we’re gonna take you after the show. Thanks guys for comin’ in to help our listeners with their cars. Tell us again how we can get a hold of your shop if they’re lookin’ for a good shop in Mesa.
Stan Jr.: Uh, it’s Mesa Auto Works, uh, 480-969-1954 or mesaautoworks.com
Dave: And it’s a great shop, if you guys are looking for a family run business where you don’t have to go up the chain to get very far to get to somebody who can make a decision, Mesa Auto Works is a great shop. And you can also find them at bumpertobumperradio.com Thanks Peter for runnin’ the dials. Remember never to text and drive, it never ends well, you know, you think about it, it’s, it’s, you almost gotta put the phone in the trunk ‘cuz it’s so easy to do. So we will see you next week.
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