Not Cool II: The Heat is On


There are certain things in life that aren’t contagious. I can’t “catch” unibrow by sitting next to someone who’s got one, nor am I likely to contract dentures by sitting next to someone’s grandmother.

Air-conditioning malfunctivitus, however, seems to transmitted through the air (or perhaps concrete), because the MVoD caught it just by parking in the driveway of a house that had a non-working AC unit.

Before we left for vacation, I brought the MVoD to the dealer to have them look at a couple of things. First, water had gotten into the left taillight assembly and one of the bulbs was dead. Second, the AC had ceased conditioning air.

The taillight was no big deal. The bulb was replaced and the assembly sealed free of charge. My wallet says thank you. Ah, but the AC. Seems there’s a crack in the condenser and the coolant leaks out as fast as it can be pumped in. Estimated cost to replace the condenser: $950. My wallet says it’s time to roll down the windows.

The AC doesn’t work in Laura’s Sunbird, either. Further evidence that air-conditioning malfunctivitus is communicable. In the Sunbird’s case, I think a simple coolant recharge will remedy the problem, at least temporarily. If I’m proven wrong, it’ll be like attempting to treat tuberculosis with a Band-Aid.

Edit: After some consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that the proper spelling is most likely malfunctivitis, with an –is as opposed to the originally presented –us.

7 responses to “Not Cool II: The Heat is On”

  1. Thagg Avatar

    In the Sunbird’s case much depends on the model year, grasshopper. If the Sunbird is pre-1995, it will most likely have R-12. Better performance but expensive(not made anymore).

    If it is R-134a, a refill kit can be purchased most anywhere and the a/c recharged in your driveway. Not too spendy, but works best on systems where the deterioration has taken place over time. If it just up and died, your wallet will have you rolling down the windows on both vehicles. Newer vehicles aren’t really designed for open window driving. Unless you have a sunroof, the airflow seems noisy but weak.

    We lost a/c in two of our vehicles shortly after purchasing them. One we eventually deposed of, and the other is still without. Same diagnosis. Would cost more than the car is worth to fix. I cut the drive belt (it had one just for the a/c) because it tried to work and locked up. On the van I just unplugged the clutch connector. Lotsa luck.

  2. KJToo Avatar

    The Sunbird is, indeed, pre-1995. In fact, it’s a ’94, if memory serves. We’ve had the AC recharged before, but I don’t recall how much it cost. Either it wasn’t that much, or the memory is so painful that I’ve blocked it.

    The noise:airflow ratio when driving the MVoD is pretty high, but we didn’t have much choice. We managed to get there and back without succumbing to heatstroke, so I guess it was sufficient.

  3. Thagg Avatar

    Should be a fairly prominent yellow(?) sticker under the hood near the radiator announcing the ‘freezone’ in the system. Another sticker is on the compressor. I have a gauge and servicing tool, but only a for R134a.

    I don’t know if you drove North during the last heat wave, but the ride home should have been pleasant, if noisy.

  4. KJwon Avatar

    Way to go, pal.

    My suburban heard yer whinin’ and cryin’ about cooling, and decided to join in your vehicle’s rebellion. $850 and one (1) each compressor, receiver/dryer, orifice, and serpentine belt (thrown in for good measure) later, we’re back in the comfort zone.

    Oh, it’s funny alright. Ha, ha. Kiss my cool ass.

  5. KJToo Avatar

    “Orifice”? You paid money for an “orifice”? Is that some sort of weird, Wile E. Coyote hole-in-a-box from Acme thing?

  6. KJwon Avatar

    Not only did I PAY for it, but I said, “THANK YOU”!

    The cooling gods demand humility and respect – ignorant bliss wins favor, as well. When you start asking them questions, the $$ amount starts to rise.

    Ha, ha. Kiss my new, cool orifice.

  7. KJToo Avatar

    “Kiss my new, cool orifice.”

    That is an entirely unpleasant prospect, sir. Entirely unpleasant.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *