May 20, 2008 8:29 p.m.

Well, after going through the trouble to replace Chuppy's AC compressor and inspect the clutch, I decided to test the compressor and clutch on the car to make sure I got the installation right.

I send power to the compressor "Click--whirrrrrrr." "How nice" I thought. Then, a mysterious fluid began squirting--straight from the condenser.

The condenser has developed a crack where the fitted was welded to the core.

Can this be fixed easily? How about cheaply? Some super aluminum epoxy would be great--if it works...


foxtrapper New Reader
May 21, 2008 4:53 a.m.

Never done it, but I'd be inclined to try cleaning and soldering with those aluminum solder rods. You've got to be able to get the area very clean.

cwh None
May 21, 2008 6:48 a.m.

I would try JB weld. Clean well, smear it on. Might not work (I think it will), but much faster and easier than solder.

dean1484 New Reader
May 21, 2008 7:25 a.m.

2nd JB weld. I even seem to remember an article that Tim wrote about fixing the AC in something (Miata may be???).

Per Schroeder Technical Editor/Advertising Director
May 21, 2008 9:32 a.m.

That was my column on the Neon. JB weld works pretty well...I reinforced it with a hoesclamp.


Dr. Hess SuperDork
May 21, 2008 10:53 a.m.

I feel your pain. The AC went out on the Truck the day before we headed to Chicago to pick up the Europa. Line cracked. Of course, that line is not available and the fittings used are so different that a replacement couldn't be made. I started to make fittings on my lathe and after figuring that it would take me a full day and still wouldn't be right, broke down and called the Toyota dealer and ordered the right part for a bill. Even R134a is getting expensive these days.

You repair and JB Weld would depend on where in the system your crack is. Remember that the pressure involved is probably around 80 PSI with everything off to around 20 to 160+ PSI with the system running, depending on where the leak is. Whatever you do to fix it needs to handle that. JB Weld and a hoseclamp might work if you can get the hoseclamp around the break. If the break is directly at a junction of the aluminum tube and the condenser, that's going to be tough. As with repairing most broken things, it broke because it couldn't handle the stresses on it. Whatever repair you do needs to be stronger than it was in the first place. I personally have had mixed results with JB Weld in pressure areas like an air tank.

I'd consider: Trying that magic aluminum rod, taking it to a TIG welder, replacing the condenser, JB Weld. You'll probably be best off just sucking it up and replacing the thing.

May 21, 2008 8:53 p.m.

Well, I managed to find a brand new replacement for $38. Bummer to have to replace it but at that price--I can't complain too much.

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