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A while ago my air con system stop working. Some white misty gas appeared to come through the centre vents into the passenger cabin. That lasted for about 5 mins, off and on, whilst travelling down the motorway. From then, the air con has not blown cold at all. It just replicates the air temp outside and the fans blow hard when hot outside as desired temp in the cabin is not being attained.

More recently, some small pieces of grey foam material (max. 0.5cm squared and similar texture to a kitchen sponge in density) started to be blow through the centre vents of the ventilation system into the cabin; the same place the white mist emanated from originally.

I had a Toyota garage check the air con system and they gave it a clean bill of health saying that the compressor was functioning fine and had been tested and that the system had been dye-tested to check for any leaks, of which they found none to my surprise. They re-gassed the system and sent me on my way but it quite quickly became apparent that the system was still not blowing any colder than the air temp outside. I recently took my car to a mechanic friend and he tested for any gas in the system by undoing the cap on the refiller and touching it with a key to see if any sprayed out the top but there appears to be no gas left in the system in spite of Toyota having re-gassed the system AND apparently giving it a 'no leak' diagnosis.

I have had to replace the original condenser before when the air con stopped working so my questions to the knowledgable forum readers are these:

1. Is it likely, given the above, that the white gas leaking out was in fact the air con gas during a fatal parts blow-out , either of pipework or condenser?

2. Has anyone had the incident I described with the foam pieces coming through the centre vents before after the air con failed?

3. Could the bits of foam be some form of lining/seal for the air con pipework or is it something unrelated?

4. Is the condenser the most likely problem now given the above information?

5. Does anyone know how long it should take a good mechanic, in hours, to replace the condenser please?

Many thanks too all that reply in advance.



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Hiya, if the evaporator (The cooling matrix in the dash) springs a leak, then you can get a blast of refrigerant out of the vents but there are certain conditions that could cause a visible water vapour to be seen coming from the vents that are not linked to refrigerant also.. I don't get why there would be bits of sponge coming from the centre vents as there is a mesh grill behind the vents to prevent that, so the foam must be pretty local to the vent outlets.

I think that you need to take your car to someone who knows how to test and diagnose air conditioning as the gear that main dealers and most general mechanics have is crap and most of their guys are clueless when it comes to fault finding..

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