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AC works, needs recharge? estimate $3300

2775 Views 17 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Playdrv4me
hey guys, i have a 1985 cadillac deville, i went to firestone for a recharge, and waited about two hours, i had to wait because i think the ac tech did'nt show up, that is why we where waiting, the shop manager knew we where waiting, so to discourage us he came back and told me i would cost about $3300 or more to get the system working. he said i needed a blower, air comp, fans, evapator, and other things, i had this system checked by cadillac when they put a new compressor in about three years ago, and that is when the converson to the new freon systems was done, the system does work it just does not seem as cold as it should be, the car was in the bay about 45 min, can all things be checked it that period of time? he would not charge the system because he said it would not be practicale,(was the ac tech even there?) well know what do you think, sounds like i'm getting the run around. you option would greatly be appreciated.
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I'm not a mechanic but that sounds like a bunch of bull because it should not cost that much. Anyways I have a 97 Deville and my A/C was having the same problem after i got my reservoir tank replace because it had a leak they had to remove the accumulator which more than likely lead to my system becoming low on freon because after that my A/C was blowing ok but not as cold as it use to be. So i took it back to that shop and they said i had a leak and said i would have to replace the entire a/c system which was around $1200 and i was hell no. I tried recharging the system myself but i could not get the compressor to turn on so i gave up and took to another shop around town and they said that system was was slightly under charged which was the reason for the compressor not engaging. They charged it up some more and then my compressor engaged and i had wonderful freezing A/C again i also asked them to put a shot of a/c dye just incase i did have a leak and i ended up paying $51 for the recharge and shot of a/c dye so i would get a second and third opinion because honestly some of the shops don't know what the hell they are doing they just figure if we replace everything it should work again.

Well Good Luck and sorry for the long essay response.
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Stay far away from that shop. You might also sit down with Firestone mgr and see what he has to say. He needs to know if he has an incompetent or rip-off mechanic. If not luck with your (and his conversation), I would contact either Firestone regional or corporate people. Those shops are likely franchised, and corp might not have much influence on them, but...
I recently had the compressor and accumilator replaced on my Deville. It was no where near $3,300. I feel that even dealer would be hard pressed get an A/C job to that price unless every single thing was being replaced. When you have it fixed elsewhere and it turns out to be less then $600, call the Better Business Bureau or your lawyer.
hello everyone, i just went to pepboys auto, and got the ac system checked, no leaks, all parts working correctly and a evac and recharge, its 95 degrees in florida today and the ac is so cold i had to go from 70 to 75 on the climate control. today i learned a very important lesson once again, always look around and get a second opinion. also i'm not kidding about this, he told me i had a massive oil leak (small leak valve cover), and that i might want to remove the engine, although he would not be able to do it, he said but the car looks great for its age, maybe this guy was drinking the night before. stay away from firestone in west palm beach, your better off having you grandmother fix it. to view my cadillac, please click on jetengine to see my posts, its the maroon deville, thanks guys, mike
why dont you just try recharging the system your self?? the self recharge kit cost around $20 and that includes freon, if that dosent work youll just be out $20
WOW! Sounds like that Firestone dealer was on a real fishing expedition. Glad you did not bite. Imagine how many people do.
He was trying to scare you away, he didnt actually think anyone would ever go for a 3300.00 A/C repair. Thing is, lying to get you to leave is no better than charging you the 3300.00 to begin with. Thats downright terrible service.
I hate these lousy lying Bastards, I just had my own issue with some scumbag mechanic that I documented & posted on the our board, u should have had him put everything in writing & than sued his ass after Pep Boys fixed it for $75.00
Many times shops will BS owners of older cars (especially Cadillacs) because they don't want to work on them. The logic works like this: If they work on a 22 year old Caddy, it's A) harder to get parts, B) harder to find techs who understand the car, C) they won't make much money off you, and D) it's more likely you'll turn into a 'comeback' - that is, someone who complains about having problems with your car that didn't exist before they worked on it. Shops don't get paid for comebacks.

It's annoying and unethical, but there's the reality.
When charging a low AC yourself, if the AC won't turn on you can put the freon can in warm tap water to raise the can pressure to help push it in until the low psi cut out switch will engage. Or you can unplug the switch and put a wire jumper across the two connectors in the plug to fake the switch to turn on the AC (thats what I do then I use hot water to push it faster). either one will work. Don't put the can in water warmer than you can put your hand in to avoid overpressuring the can. Also FYI R-134A Leaks out of just about every system it was ever put into, usually about 1 can every year or two (if your lucky maybe 3-4). Sytems that were converted from R-12 to 134A leak a lot because 134A is a much smaller molecule than R-12 so the system is not as tight as a new 134A system. So if your AC is not getting as cold as it should, try adding a can with leak stop before going to a shop. If you end up adding every few years do not keep using the stuff with leak stop, just use regular 134A. Also if you do AC work yourself be sure all O rings you replace are Viton, anything else deteriorates in 134A.

Just my 2 cents.
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No need to go through all that. Just clear the codes and the compressor will be enabled so you can add refrigerant.

My wifes '96 Bonneville has had the refrigerant topped off once and that was only a year or two ago. Likewise my '97 Deville. I have not found R134a to be anymore leak prone than R12, even though it has smaller molecules (conversions excluded).
Maybe so in your cars, glad to hear that. Just because you clear the codes won't the low psi switch just come back in until it is satisfied, always has? Chrysler has not been so lucky as they used Buna N -O- rings and had tons of failures. Also as 134A leaked out in the early 134A years 92-96, companies installed membrane liners in the hoses to help slow it down. I have helped lots of DIY's add 134 A & R-12 to Chevy, Ford, mostly Dodge & Chrysler and a few Hondas & Toyotas and they are usually only a few years old and just need a can. Some of these have came back every few years for another can, some have not. I have the books and I have the manifold gauges so I do know I am charging them correctly. And when I am done the cars blow 38-42 F air. However I have a 1976 F-250 that blows 40 F and has never had a thing done to it (the AC that is) in over 190k miles. I have a 1994 sunuban I have owned for 5 years and have not had to add. If all systems were this good we never would have needed to replace R-12 because it would not have leaked out. Also science has now proven 134A is worse on the O zone than R-12 as it affects a higher and weaker section, and without any regulation it is causing more harm than the old R-12. Don't be suprised when you need a license to buy 134A. One last comment, If the 134A sytems don't leak where is it all going, our stores can barely keep it on the shelf? Just my 2 cents
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Just because you clear the codes won't the low psi switch just come back in until it is satisfied
Yes. That is why you have to have the can hooked up and ready to go so it will take the charge quickly or it will trip again.

I am not saying that they don't leak. R12 systems leak too. It is not uncommon to have to add a can every few years. I have added a can about every 5 years as well as I can recall R12 or R134a.
Also science has now proven 134A is worse on the O zone than R-12 as it affects a higher and weaker section, and without any regulation it is causing more harm than the old R-12. Don't be suprised when you need a license to buy 134A.
Great :bigroll:
Thanks for explaining, I just always jumpered the lo cut out switch so I never really thought about trying to beat it to the punch. Most leak a few don't.
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Good information, both of you. Skank you get an experience point.
I have had my run in with Firestone in the past and I believe they are a bunch of crooks. I put my car in to have it aligned and they come to me saying that the battery was bad and needed changing. I specificly told them no not to change it and when I went to pick it up the manager had changed it and charged me $39 for a replacement charge on a 1 1/2 year old battery from them. I went on and paid them since I was on my lunch break but later I called and had them recharge my battery and after work I had them give me my money back and put my old battery back on. Funny I have not had an issue with my battery even now.

What I found out they do is every time you take you car in for service or anything they always do or say they do an inspection of the car. This is their was of phishing for poor fools that don't know any better. About the only think I like and do with them is the lifetime alignment but no matter what they always have a list of things that are wrong with my car when I put it in for that.

What I have learned to do is use them for any services I need to do or if they do happen to do a check, which has happen, they may catch some thing I have over looked. They did find a bad ball joint and low break pads on these types of inspections but since I do the work I just tell them Thanks but no Thanks.

The moral of the story here is DO NOT TRUST THEM. Always get a second opinion and if you can do the work yourself like the $20 recharge what did you have to lose?
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Firestone is the mechanical equivalent of McDonald's, so it should be treated as such. Sears is the same thing.
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