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AC Evaporator (Probably) Leak, Best Don't Fix Options

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by WillT11, Apr 21, 2023.

  1. Apr 21, 2023 at 3:14 PM

    WillT11 [OP] Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2018
    First Name:
    What to do...

    Long story shortened: Live in Miami, no cold air in July 2022, took to AC shop, system low on refrigerant, he visually inspected everything (minus evaporator d/t location), added dye and refrigerant, system working. 8 months later, no cold air and slight whine noticeable inside cab when compressor engaged (AC button pushed/un-pushed). Took it back, neither of us able to locate any area of dye with UV light. Probable evaporator leak per mechanic, he topped off refrigerant based on gauges again. (2nd time he didn't check high pressure, only low pressure... moved it from 8 psi to ~35 psi). Working again, no whine, although he basically did a sloppy quick fix and gave me another shop that I could take it to who do visuals (via fiber optic?) of evaporator.

    So I've read tons of threads. Ideal world, rip out the dash, drain the system, change the evaporator, change receiver dryer (open system) and O rings (the easy ones) and inline filter (?), vacuum system, and recharge via AC manifold/gauges and can weights of R134...

    Truck is 17 years old, I'm looking to do whats more economical at least for now since the cold air lasted 8 months. Since there is a known slow leak that isn't fixed, is my best bet next time to get a set of AC manifold gauges, check my high/low pressures, use a R134 temperature/pressure chart to slowly add R134 to low pressure side while truck running with AC on full until pressure is approximately at appropriate PSI? I figure if I add some and wait, let pressures balance, this might be the way to go.

    Based on what the guy did today, he basically did that only ignoring the charts I've seen (83 degrees, so 43-53 PSI low, and 200-220 high). Air isn't that cold, so i figure that might be part of the reason.

    Another option would be the suicide cans everyone says to avoid, but use one of those like AC PRO with stop leak and see what happens.

  2. Apr 21, 2023 at 3:27 PM

    shmn Well-Known Member

    Aug 2, 2022
    Pacific NW
    2007 Tacoma 2.7L 5sp
    I would get a freon detector for about $20 (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015FK1EH2) and see if you can pinpoint the leak. You can remove the rubber grommet that leads from engine to evap and sniff in there and also sniff around glove box see if you can confirm the leak. I would also run it along all lines, sensors, condenser, compressor etc and see if you can find the leak. You can set sensitivity on the freon detector to assist.

    I wouldn't use the stop leak which can gum up the system.

    I would fix leak as the leaking refrigerant is bad for the environment and your wallet.

    Best way to fill is start with complete vacuum in system then fill be weight not the gauges.

    If you're up for it, get yourself gauges and a good vacuum pump and fix it yourself. Evap replacement is pain since dash needs to come apart but cheaper than having a shop do it.

    Lot's of AC posts and videos to help you out.
  3. Apr 21, 2023 at 3:44 PM

    Dm93 Test Don't Guess

    Mar 3, 2015
    2014 DC OR 6spd 4x4
    Predator tube steps, Ranch Hand grill guard, Magnaflow CatBack exhaust, Toyota tool box & bed mat, 2LO Module by @Up2NoGood, Rearview Compass/Temp Mirror.
    Typically with an evaporator leak you can see dye coming out of the A/C drain with a UV light but being it lasts 8 months between needing charge you may not see it.
    Typically when evaporators leak they leak out pretty quick though.

    Don't use stop leak in an A/C system, if any air ever enters the system it will plug things up.
    HondaGM likes this.
  4. Apr 21, 2023 at 3:53 PM

    b_r_o RLLR LRRL

    Nov 17, 2016
    First Name:
    2015 DCLB
    And check the condenser closely for rock damage
    HondaGM and Dm93 like this.
  5. Apr 21, 2023 at 8:02 PM

    RockfordTaco2006 Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2022
    First Name:
    2006 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road 4x4
    2 Inch Lift
    I just took out my heater core today. It wasn't too bad, I watched a bunch of youtube videos, I went slow and labeled all the wiring connector as best I could. A good pick and a good flashlight is a must. I used a lot of wipes too cause things under there are super dusty and dirty. If it comes down to you having to remove yours, it's a job that you can definitely do yourself. I'm happier after doing a deep clean all the way down to pulling up the carpet. I had a whole beach under there! I'm about to open the box, deep clean it this weekend and put it all back together. Of course I had to remove mine due to a wreck, I didn't have a choice but, it wasn't as hard of a mountain to climb as I thought. Good Luck!
    Greenbean and HondaGM like this.
  6. Apr 22, 2023 at 8:06 AM

    flatfour Member

    Dec 4, 2013
    07 SR5
    Just went through this. Had a slow leak no one could find and compressor was locked up on my 2007. Had no choice but get the compressor replaced and a slow leak was found around condensor/lines, so those got replaced also. Pricey but now I have working A/C. I planned on keeping the vehicle so I went ahead and got it fixed, but everyone's situation is different.

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