Monday, April 4, 2011

Peugeot 206: Air Conditioning Leak

Last year, my BB Lion’s air-conditioning failed… Well, sort of, or more accurately, the cooling efficiency drop and I thought it was due to the climate change, hahaha… Top up the gas and at first it was OK, but the cooling efficiency drops again in about probably 2-3 month or so. Went back to the Service Centre and ask if they can check, but they said it would take a lot of time to find any leaks, so they suggest to top up first and if still out of gas, they will check on it. True enough, in about 1 month++, the cooling efficiency drops again and it’s getting worst, and it happen when I’m going out with my friends, so stop by an air-cond repair shop to top up the gas. The air-cond man wanted to open up to check on the condition or possible leak but he’s not familiar with Peugeot and don’t know where it’s located, so he just top up and told me it’s better to go back to Peugeot Service Centre.

BB Lion all ready for operation...

In about less than a month, it got worst, like totally out of gas, no sign of cold air, it’s like driving in sauna room under the hot sun,… Well, serves me right for delaying so long… Since it’s sort of emergency and a week day where I need to work on the next day, I went to another air-cond repair shop for top up before I planned the day to send to the Service Centre. This shop, my friend used to go there and said it was good and honest shop (it’s hard to find one in Malaysia , really). The boss is a very nice chap, he check with me on the situation and advice me, if there is a suspected leak, it’s better not to continue to top up as later it will damage the compressor when the compressor oil runs out. Since I’ve done some research and found information that usually the leak is at the evaporator coil or cooling coil (thanks to Tysontalenta), I took this opportunity and ask him about the leak and if whether he can fix it.

It was a joy to know that he can do it, not only that, he have done it before and it was also leak on the evaporator. Knowing he’s able to fix it, I check with him the “damage” on my wallet if I were to repair this, and as usual, he asked if I wanted original parts or third-party, and for third party, there is Taiwan brand/made and China brand/made. The China brand/made (Dowson) is the one similar with the one replaced by Tysontalenta.

The price gap between the 3 is huge. Original parts cost over RM2000! The Taiwan brand/made is around RM700++ while the China brand/made is around RM300++. He recommended not to get the China brand as they deal with those parts before, whereby when it leaks, it leaks badly. As the original parts is too expensive, he recommended me to go for the Taiwan brand. Since my original parts can’t even last me 3 years, I decided what’s the point of getting original? I also check with some other members who face similar issue with the evaporator. The main problem is,… for this car, it’s hard to service the evaporator as the entire dashboard needs to be dismanteled which will take a lot of time and you’ll also be charged for the workmanship.

Anyway, after checking out the shop, saw many pictures of the cars they have work on, many of it are continental cars which also requires dismantling the entire dashboard. Knowing this, I’m more relieve and decided to let him fix up BB Lion’s air-conditioning system.

BB Lion's Dashboard removed...

The total time required for the entire repair process will took about a day, from morning to evening. So, I send in my BB Lion on Saturday morning around 9AM when they start work. To cut things short, they started working on my BB Lion about almost 10AM and they finish around almost 7PM. When they dismantle the dashboard, it’s really heartache to see but at the same time, it’s interesting and amazed to see all the details in the car itself. The dashboard looks really cool, futuristic and complicated with all the curves and details, unlike some of those plain straight dull looking dashboard. It looks like a sophisticated cockpit from some cool ship, and it’s big.

The cool and sophisticated looking "cockpit" or dashboard with curves and detail...
Unlike our typical B-Segment cheap and simple looking dashboard...

After dismantling the dashboard, you will be able to see the “pollen/cabin filter” compartment and the pollen filter itself, and also some “holes” at the middle of the body which can be accessed from the front engine compartment. Here, you can see how important is the pollen filter as it’s required to filter out dust, contaminants, etc from outside. I took out the pollen filter and gosh it was dirty! This is also important to prevent dust from entering and clogged up your evaporator which eventually causes it to fail. Similarly, it’s important to keep your cabin always clean or you might risk polluting the evaporator (I was inform about this long ago when I was driving another car, but back then the car I was driving, the evaporator can be removed easily and be cleaned).

The pollen/Cabin filter.

The pollen/Cabin filter (Closer Inspection).

View from the inside of the car...

After some long hours of work, they managed to take out the evaporator and check for leaks. Found out there is leaks and it’s quite obvious as well, the boss also checks on the pipes and everything else. He mentioned one of the part, "Expansion Block Valve", is “still” working but not in good condition, though, he let me decide if I want to re-use it back. He also mentioned that in case it fails it, it can be replace “quite” easily (at least not needing to remove the entire dashboard). After some short consideration and checking the price of a new unit (3rd party - made in France, also used by Merz), I decided to change it to prevent the “hassle” of coming back again and probably paying for additional workmanship. I also decided to replace the "Receiver Drier" since it’s old; Well, better to get it all done at once than doing it one by one, unless I’m very free or I’m working as Sales with lots of time to spare, or I have more than 1 car…

The leaking evaporator oil or cooling coil...
(Can't see here, taken using phone camera)

Finally, it’s done. Everything is assembled back, now the biggest fear I have, can the car start “normally”?..... Hearts pumping and the worker switch on the ignition and… cranks…… Thankfully, it started normally. It was a great relief =)
The air-conditioning gas as well as the compressor oil was also topped up, and final inspection is done to make sure everything is OK and the air-cond is cold again.

While on my way back, I notice something wrong… the lighting is very dim… Oh gosh… At first I thought they damaged something… but luckily one long lost memory somehow find its way back to me before I embarrass myself; The “brightness” can be adjusted from the controls, but since I’ve only adjusted it once long long ago, this “memory” was lost somewhere in the memory bank. Luckily it’s smart enough to come back to me before I embarrass myself =P

Anyway, overall everything was all good, only have 2 main complaints:
It seems the cover of the middle steering is now unable to close “properly”, this is due to the way they open it when they want to take out the steering. To fix it, I suppose I’ll need to remove the cover and try “bend” it inwards to make it “bend” slightly inwards.

The 2bd issue is more problematic, my gear-knob is damaged… It seems they thought the gear-knob is removed by twisting it at first (the right way is to pull upwards)… Now my gear-knob is loose, it can turn around… and I also found some pieces of the plastics “peeled off”. Recently, while trying to fix this using glue, twisting it caused the entire gear-knob detached as the plastics already broken. Having no choice, I glued everything with ‘Super Glue’, but not sure if it can last… or how long can it last…
But guess what? It didn't last long, the whole thing broke BUT luckily it happen when I've reach the destination... What I did then was... bandage it up like an injured gear-knob, haha...
Luckily and many thanks to Intermilan (Zaid), he have a spare GTI gear-knob, and he was very kind enough to sell it to me and also help me to fix it up. BIG THANKS to Intermilan!!!

Lastly, here's the breakdown of the repair cost:
1 X Evaporator/Cooling Coil (1 Year Warranty): RM783.00
1 X Expansion Block Valve (1 Year Warranty; Made in France): RM363.00
1 X Receiver Drier (6 Months Warranty): RM178.00

Vacuum Top Up Gas R134a: RM55.00
Compressor Oil (Denso) Top Up: RM40.00

Labour Charge: RM280.00

Total Damage: RM1, 699.00

Here's more photos:

Dials by Jaeger

The Single Climate Digital Air-Cond Control Unit

The Multi-Function Display (MFD)

Infamous Com2000

The evaporator unit...


Putting all back together...

Awaiting for "key" (steering cover) insertion....

Ready to form Voltron...
Activate interlocks!
Dynotherms connected!
Infracells up!
Megathrusters are GO!

BB Lion all set and ready to go~