SaabCentral Forums banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I had my MY07 Saab 9-3 SW booked into my local Saab for the Summer Check, and one of the items they came back with was 'Air Conditioning gas is low on charge'. I did think it was not blowing as cold as it should, but I was shocked when they quoted £176.25 to recitify it!

Is that normal, does anybody know what the difference is between the Saab gas recharge at £176.25 and the Kwik-Fit £49 one?

Thanks,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,510 Posts
£127.25? I purchased a can of do-it-yourself A/C recharge at a local auto parts store and it worked fine. I don't know if these are available in the UK, but even so, I see no point in paying dealer prices for what is a generic service. There's nothing special about the Saab system as long as they use the correct refrigerant type as marked on the label under the bonnet.

The hard part, actually, is getting to the correct low-pressure inlet port. It's behind the right-side (driver's view) headlamp and, I found that it was helpful to remove the air cleaner cover to get at it. A repair shop will have experience with this and probably better tools.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,583 Posts
176....???
If all they do is spend 1/2 hour or less in "topping off" the AC charge, and nothing else, you are being ripped off.
On of these days, when the conservatives are not looking, there may be a law against this.
A real AC service should consist of completely evacuating the system of old Freon, doing a vacuum/leak test, cleaning the cabin air filter and the evaporator and assuring that all is serviceable, maybe more.. This level of service is , unfortunately rare, involves knowledge and hard work...well, not that hard...Also this high level, comprehensive work should be done every 2 to 3 years, IMO.. Two hours or so in labor, plus the R134a and a possible filter.
And, with a red face,;oops:, I must admit that no comprehensive work has been done on mine for at least 5 years. But, I have serviced the cabin filter and have checked the charge(its fine).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,410 Posts
That's a ripoff!

These systems are not really charged by any reasonably accurate means to begin with. A system with a thermostatic expansion valve can only be accurately charged by checking subcooling. No one does this. You would also need to somehow latch the compressor to its highest output stage, which I'm not sure is possible with our Sanden variable displacement compressors. The factory charge is done by weight, which will be accurate on a new system only.

"Topping off" typically involves adding enough r134a to get high side and low side pressures within a certain range. That's how car A/C guys do it. That gets you close, but can't be accurate. Accuracy is not really the standard here-- cold air is. You demand accuracy in your home A/C, where you are paying for the electricity.

If you are a do-it-yourselfer, the best way to charge a car A/C is to get a probe thermometer and watch the duct temps as you add r134a. The pressures will get to a point where they stabilize, but you can still add r134a. The car will blow cold air as you add refrigerant. It will start to warm when there is too much. So you release a bit to get back to the lowest duct temp and you are done.

See my old thread on this topic. I was able to get a duct temp of 40 deg F after I replaced my evaporator. That's exceptional considering:
1) It's an r134a system
2) I barely know what I'm doing!
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=128838&highlight=a%2Fc%2F+duct+temp
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
69 Posts
If the system is low - and you cannot tell with evacuating it with the proper charging equipment - there is a leak in it somewhere. And I think the 2007 should have dye in it from the factory - most manufacturers (included GM) have been doing this for some time now.

The proper way to check the system is to evacuate it, check the charge and re-charge it and check for a leak (dye or sniffer).

No A/C system should ever need to be "topped off" or "recharged" unless there is a problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
As everyone else has mentioned, if your system needs to be charged, you obviously have a leak. Which means you can pony up the cash and have the leak found, repaired and system recharged or add 134-a yourself until you have the cash to fix it properly. For reference, you can spray soapy water on the refrigeration line connections to possibly locate the leak yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the replies,

Saab did say that there was no leak, just that over time it had lost charge. The Air-con is blowing cold, but just not as cold as I would expect, and obviously because of that it takes longer for the cabin to cool down to the correct temperature. It is something I can live with for the moment, but I was just shocked at the price that Saab quoted.

My first experience of using a Saab dealer!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
Thanks for all the replies,

Saab did say that there was no leak, just that over time it had lost charge. The Air-con is blowing cold, but just not as cold as I would expect, and obviously because of that it takes longer for the cabin to cool down to the correct temperature. It is something I can live with for the moment, but I was just shocked at the price that Saab quoted.

My first experience of using a Saab dealer!

Forget the main stealership and go to a reliable independent garage, air con recharge is usually around £50. Dont let the main stealers rip you off.;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,410 Posts
Most leaks can be found by doing a self-recharge with r134a+dye. Buy a recharge kit that includes a UV penlight. If you don't see an obvious leak, but still lose charge, then the evaporator is a likely source.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
Thanks for all the replies,

Saab did say that there was no leak, just that over time it had lost charge. The Air-con is blowing cold, but just not as cold as I would expect, and obviously because of that it takes longer for the cabin to cool down to the correct temperature. It is something I can live with for the moment, but I was just shocked at the price that Saab quoted.

My first experience of using a Saab dealer!
I can understand the sticker shock......Let me assure you that there is not any refrigeration system on the face of this earth that just loses its charge over the course of time unless there is a leak in the system. I would definitely follow "ctrlz" advice with a recharge kit and uv penlight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks,

One of the other items that cropped up on the inspection sheet was the need for a manual diesel particle filter regeneration, so I've tried contacting a Saab Indy near me, and am just waiting on a response. They also do Air-Con stuff, so will probably ask them to diagnose, they will have the experience and kit to do it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
Thanks,

One of the other items that cropped up on the inspection sheet was the need for a manual diesel particle filter regeneration, so I've tried contacting a Saab Indy near me, and am just waiting on a response. They also do Air-Con stuff, so will probably ask them to diagnose, they will have the experience and kit to do it.
Yep go with your Saab indy if you can, only use the main stealership as a last resort.:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
"Topping off" typically involves adding enough r134a to get high side and low side pressures within a certain range. That's how car A/C guys do it.http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=128838&highlight=a/c/+duct+temp
Many of the shops around here use an AC machine which evacuates the r134a out of the system (and puts it into the cylinder--and tells you how many ounces/lbs/kgs of r134 it took out). Then you tell the machine how much to put in (per the label under the hood) and it does that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,410 Posts
Then you tell the machine how much to put in (per the label under the hood) and it does that.
Next time I evacuate I plan to charge by weight, since I have a spare electronic balance I salvaged from trash at work (corroded switch, easy fix). The kicker is always the amount of PAG oil pesent, which you can only know for sure on a new car, assuming you don't drain the compressor, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Just did mine in my parking lot, have done this for years by myself, I charged to 35psi, mine was low at 19psi. Back to cold a/c! Does anyone know the max charge by "psi" for our system, I have an 03 2.0t Sticker indicates 696g, my recharge canister was 396g, so I assume it was enough, I am in the middle of the green "charged" indicator at 35psi
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top