AC Died, 2006 - Acura MDX Forum : Acura MDX SUV Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-18-2019 Thread Starter
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AC Died, 2006

Hey everyone, so my AC wouldn't put out cold air. I took it to the dealership and the said the compressor fell apart, took the condenser with it, and screwed the lines with sediment. The below from them:

Quote:
The parts needed to get your ac working again are as follow:

A/C condenser
A/C discharge hose
A/C main evaporator
A/C rear Evaporator
A/C compressor with clutch and coil
A/C evac and recharge.

As far as total cost goes, estimate runs about $4732.00. $1881.00 would be labor and the rest would be parts. Tech says it would make sense to install a new expansion valve while the evaporator is out but this would add about $273.00.

In terms of you bringing your own parts, that would be ok but unfortunately, they would need to be new parts.
I talked to a non dealer mechanic shop and they said they could do it all for 2800.

Neither of these dollar amounts are in my current budget, so I am going to try and tackle this myself this weekend. I found the condenser and compressor (w/ clutch and coil) at a junkyard (and they warranty for six months for 10$, 30 days for free), but I haven't found a local evaporator yet. The junkyard said one of their sister shops has one but it's many zip codes away, so shipping time and cost.

I'm looking for advice surrounding this job. I know I can do it, but I am a novice and I know it will be very hard for me, but at that price, I have to try. If you have links handy, or know of keywords I can search to point me towards good YouTube videos, or good manuals, that would be appreciated. I am looking on my own, too, but I'm going to be starting tomorrow, so I wanted to get as much info as quickly as possible

Also, will it be a problem to do this without the evaporators?

I'd consider suffering the summer with box fan while I save money, but I have my 3 yo son who I don't want to put through that, and 2800 is just too out of reach for me to not attempt it myself.

Thank you.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019
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Not really a job for a novice. Lots of things require knowledge and experience. Also, if the compressor really failed internally and sent debris throughout the system, yes you will need an expansion valve and a receiver/dryer as well as a full system flush. That is best left to an A/C specialty shop.

It might make sense to get an old Civic or Corolla with working A/C for Summer use.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019 Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluepill View Post
Not really a job for a novice. Lots of things require knowledge and experience. Also, if the compressor really failed internally and sent debris throughout the system, yes you will need an expansion valve and a receiver/dryer as well as a full system flush. That is best left to an A/C specialty shop.

It might make sense to get an old Civic or Corolla with working A/C for Summer use.
I know, and I'm dreading this, but here's my thought process. The ac system isn't critical to driving the vehicle and they dealership already confirmed it needs entirely replaced; I can't make it worse. I'm very good at general handy man stuff, so all my naivete is going to cause in this is a 10x as long work-time and lots of sore and ripped knuckles. And cuss words. Lots and lots of cuss words. When I balance what amounts to frustration (albeit a LOT) against 75% of my *gross* monthly income (110% of my net!) it boils down to "I've got to try".

I found a tear down manual, another junkyard where I gotta pull it out myself (so I'll get a little experience that way), and some videos.

Send me resources, wish me luck, but don't tell me to give up 😉
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019
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2nd Blue pill's recommendation! That is a hefty price tag for a 2006 even at $1800.00 you can save a pile of $ by just rolling down the windows, heck even throw a fan on the dash for under $35.0
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019
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Admire your will and guts to take this on.

Depending on what novice means and assuming you have basic understanding of cars and tools, it’s possible to do if you split the work. If you’ve never or hardly worked on cars and have no access to tools, this would not be a good first project to start. There’s also no guarantee it will all work in the end.

If you do decide to DIY, would stay away from a junkyard compressor because the project will be a lot of time and money that could be for naught if it fails soon. Consider a unit from rockauto that you can get for < $275? The compressor warranty will require a flush and new expansion valve. For all the other parts, you might be into it for $1000-$1500 total.

Re splitting the work, you might consider before you get into it to find a shop that will bleed the system, flush, and work with you to leak test/recharge it once you replace the components. If you have a shop do this work, then it’s basically a component swap project. Getting under the dash will be a pain but it’s doable.

Google AC replacement for your X. You can get a factory manual on line. The usual Haynes type manual will not cover it. You’re taking the right approach to research, learn, and estimate costs before hand.

I replaced almost all ac components in a 92 Civic about 5 yrs back (about $900) and and it’s still going strong.

Good luck.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019
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Unless you pull it apart you are not going to know what you actually need? You can have a shop remove the refrigerant and refill it afterwards if need be. Start reading up on inspecting the parts to determine what needs replacing and what does not. You are only replacing parts and turning (nuts/bolts).It is definitely something you can do if you read up on it first and follow the procedures and you can afford the down time! Biggest issue is pressure test and refill of system if you do not have the equipment but it can be purchased reasonably and there are lots of DIY videos on procedure if you are interested for pressure testing and refill although you will need a big tank of refrigerant to do the refill of system . (small cans are for topping off and then not really adequate for fully charging system)
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-19-2019
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Couple more thoughts. What are the symptoms besides not blowing cold air? Not saying the dealer is out to rip you buts there's a couple things you could check for free:

1. With engine off, look at the compressor wiring. If OK, run the engine and look at the clutch - it should not be turning. But is the compressor making a lot of noise?
2. Turn the AC on full cold and look at the clutch again. It probably won't be spinning. That could indicate low refrigerant or bad clutch relay.
3. With engine off, key out, swap the clutch relay with another one like it. The relay should be in the fuse/relay box on the passenger side of the engine bay. The box lid is marked. Find another relay that looks just like it and swap them. Run the engine, AC on, and see if the clutch rotates.
Next item has some cost:
4. Try a DIY recharge kit to see if the AC will get cold. A full charge kit (19-20 oz) might cost $30-$40 but it's a cheap way to test the system. But it could also be tossing $40 in the trash. If it gets cold but only lasts a few days, you probably have a leak. A shop could find the leak and give you an estimate.

Assuming the dealer is correct, I spent a few mins looking at the factory manual on replacing the evaporators under the dash and console since those will be the hardest parts to change. If you have handyman skills, all looks doable. The hardest disconnect looks like it will be the line connections under the dash at the firewall to pull the main evap housing out. If you can access those fittings, then you'll be good. The console will require you to drain the coolant enough to remove the heater/evap/blower housing. You can Google for images of the evaps. Compressor is an elec plug, 4 bolts that secure it, and 2 bolts for the lines. The condenser should be accessible - after you remove the trim pc above the radiator, you should be able to unscrew and flex the top of the front bumper cover out of the way to unbolt it.

I think you'll have to replace the condenser and evaps bc flushing them well enough is going to be hard. If you can get the oil to drip out on a clean white rag, you can check if there are any shiny metal particles.

Good luck!
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips everyone. I had a friend recommend a shop that specializes in Hondas and Acuras (one of those kinds of shops you might see in Fast and the Furious, where the just work on their cars for the fun of it, not because it's needed, lol) and that mechanic agreed to a minimal job of just replacing the condenser and compressor (using the parts I got from the junkyard) and a full system flush and recharge for 470$. That balances the DIY-or-spend-money scale A TON and I'm going to take the risk of letting him do it. If it lasts the summer, I'll consider it a victory and will start setting money aside now for a full repair next year.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Sounds like a smart move.

Good luck on a Summer of Chill.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 4 Weeks Ago
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I agree that your "minimal" quote sounds like the way to go. I did this exact job on a buddy's Dodge truck once. Rebuilt compressor, new condenser and evaporator, and I flushed the system using brake cleaner IIRC (it's very volatile, so evaporates out quickly). It's really not that difficult a job, though getting the right amount of refrigerant in can take a little "touch", and you DO need a quality vacuum pump. The A/C system on my buddy's Dodge worked like a champ until he ran the truck out of oil six months later... sigh.
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