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As we are having such a heatwave I needed to use the aircon this weekend, firstly I was surprised to see the aircon was already on (seems like it's on by default and the only way to turn off is via menu? Surely there.a button or something simple?)

The main issue even at LO the air was not cold - I can see from receipts that the aircon was refilled July 2018 so I cannot imagine it would be out already.

Is there some trick or do I have my first issue?

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You can check the level of refrigerant by looking at the sight glass and compare to this:


ref.thumb.png.aaa5013dbc66eba46799c3e8679be825.png

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@jpower if the refrigerant is low it may mean there's a leak somewhere in the system. I don't know much about hybrids so it might be different with those but typically there will be dedicated fan that comes on with the AC compressor. Sometimes the fan or its controller will go out and in that case the compressor will not run because the computers detect that it's too hot. If this is happening you'll often find that the AC works well when you're flying down a motorway and then gets weak again when you're stood still. If it's not working at all then it's likely something else.

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5 hours ago, jpower said:

As we are having such a heatwave I needed to use the aircon this weekend, firstly I was surprised to see the aircon was already on (seems like it's on by default and the only way to turn off is via menu? Surely there.a button or something simple?

Although you can turn off the AC it's not really a good idea.

These cars are equipped with climate control, the idea of which is to set the temperature that you want in the cabin and then the car computers use a mix of hot/cold/AC to maintain that temperature automatically.

Another reason is that the AC system will contain one or two rubber seals in the pipework. If the seals dry out it can lead to a leak of the refrigerant gas, so an oil lubricant is circulated around the system with the gas to keep the seals supple - if the AC isn't running then no lubricant is getting to those seals.

5 hours ago, jpower said:

I can see from receipts that the aircon was refilled July 2018 so I cannot imagine it would be out already.

If it has already leaked out then you obviously need to get the fault rectified but don't go to somewhere like Kwik-Fit, ATS, or Halfords - go to a proper aircon specialist who has the right equipment and the right gas oil lubricant - that is extremely important.

The AC compressors in normal cars are belt-driven from the engine but in a hybrid, because the engine doesn't run all the time, they are driven by an electric motor. The windings of the electric motor are actually immersed in the lubricating oil for cooling purposes, so the oil must be non-conductive. Normal PAG oil found in belt-driven AC systems is conductive and as little as 1% contamination of PAG oil in a hybrid AC system can cause damage to the compressor's motor.

Of course, your particular problem may be something other than needing to be regassed, but it's one of the easier things to check so makes a good starting point.

 

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Damn and I thought it was just AC, never had it default on in any car I have had.

Question - if its not blowing cold air is there any chance it is doing damage to anything, or is it just that the AC is not working as it should?

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Just now, jpower said:

Damn and I thought it was just AC, never had it default on in any car I have had.

Question - if its not blowing cold air is there any chance it is doing damage to anything, or is it just that the AC is not working as it should?

It's not going to be damaging anything, the cool air through the vents is just for your comfort, it's not cooling anything important to the workings of the car. That said some cars have one fan that cools everything in the engine bay so if that fails it can cause overheating of the engine although I suspect this is probably not the case on a hybrid.

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27 minutes ago, jpower said:

Question - if its not blowing cold air is there any chance it is doing damage to anything, or is it just that the AC is not working as it should?

 

23 minutes ago, m4rkw said:

It's not going to be damaging anything, the cool air through the vents is just for your comfort, it's not cooling anything important to the workings of the car.


If the refrigerant has leaked out I'm not sure if it will do any damage to run the compressor without gas/oil or not. I'd assume not but I'm no mechanic so I can't be responsible for anything if you decide to keep running it 😉

First thing, check that sight glass to see what's happening there for a start.

EDIT: - As always, Google is your friend, and it appears that you can damage the compressor if it runs without refrigerant (although a low pressure sensor should stop it from doing so):

http://autotechac.com/ac-facts-and-myths/

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That sight glass is tiny, it just looked blue to me, when off kinda looked clear.  This is if we are talking bout the same one that looks about 1cm.

So called the place I bought the car from private dealer - they are going to regal for me as a start point, it did come with a 6 month warranty so we will see where we go after the regas.  They sell only hybrid motors and mostly Lexus so I would hope they know what they are doing.  They did have a good rating too, and to be fair I called to ask for warranty paperwork and they called me back to say bring it down they would look and regal if required.  A good start.

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Been Re-Gassed and working - claimed there is no other issue.  I'm planning to visit Halfords for there free check and see if I have a leak by seeing what the pressure is left.

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1 minute ago, jpower said:

Been Re-Gassed and working - claimed there is no other issue.  I'm planning to visit Halfords for there free check and see if I have a leak by seeing what the pressure is left.

Don’t do it. The garage that did the re-gas should have put a dye in with it. If there’s a leak they’ll be able to see it.

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3 minutes ago, jpower said:

Been Re-Gassed and working - claimed there is no other issue.  I'm planning to visit Halfords for there free check and see if I have a leak by seeing what the pressure is left.

Not sure a 'free' check is always free?

I would go to an independent specialist...

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To be honest I don't know what they have done, I just know currently it works and hope they done the right thing.

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I don’t think they can test the gas level, I think all they can do is an evac and re-gas again. The evac will show how much was sucked out of the system. I’d leave it alone unless it stops working again.

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2 minutes ago, m4rkw said:

I don’t think they can test the gas level, I think all they can do is an evac and re-gas again. The evac will show how much was sucked out of the system. I’d leave it alone unless it stops working again.

My thoughts exactly.

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28 minutes ago, m4rkw said:

I don’t think they can test the gas level, I think all they can do is an evac and re-gas again. 

They can't test for "level" as such but can test for correct pressures using a manifold gauge set, although I'd say it's a pointless exercise at the moment. May be worth doing in a month or so, or at least looking for the dye.


gas2.thumb.png.09a054cb56f43a9fc95dce95553c3dcc.png

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I would not go to Halfords under any circumstances, and have them even check the AC pressure. The hybrid Toyota/Lexus cars use a different lubricant in the AC system (ND11). This lubricant has a high electrical insulation properties compared to the lubricant used in normal cars (PAG) where the compressor is driven by the engine, and not by an electric motor as with the hybrids.
Just using gauges, and lines that are contaminated with PAG lubricant can cause compressor motor failure sometimes months down the line because of it's conductivity to electricity. This makes it impossible to prove damage by contamination some time later when it occurs. A new combined motorised compressor is I beleave around £2500. You have been warned.

The compressor will not be harmed by low gas pressure as the system has a pressure switch built into it to restrict it's operation in this event.

John.

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Two and a half grand for an AC compressor? ***** on a bendy bus I'm glad I bought a Harrier!

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Just now, m4rkw said:

Two and a half grand for an AC compressor? ***** on a bendy bus I'm glad I bought a Harrier!

All the  T/L hybrids use the same type of motorised scroll compressors. The motor is a three phase AC variable frequency unit cooled by the gas that it pumps that is very efficient being speed controlled dependent upon cooling load requirements.
The compressor has to be driven by an electric motor because with a hybrid at any given time the engine may not be running, but there may still be a call for cold air "as with sitting in a traffic jam or even cruising down a long incline on a motorway.

John. 

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1 minute ago, Britprius said:

All the  T/L hybrids use the same type of motorised scroll compressors. The motor is a three phase AC variable frequency unit cooled by the gas that it pumps that is very efficient being speed controlled dependent upon cooling load requirements.
The compressor has to be driven by an electric motor because with a hybrid at any given time the engine may not be running, but there may still be a call for cold air "as with sitting in a traffic jam or even cruising down a long incline on a motorway".

John. 

 

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Oh man. Ok now I'm worried because when I was speaking to the dealer asking questions I did get him speaking freely and he mentioned to me that same gas and they used to use Halfords and Kwik Fit for years but now they use a small independent. The car was taken away to do this and there is a Halfords very close by. 

Would just a single regas cause this kind of issue? Should I go get it emptied and refilled by a specialist?

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Ask for a piece of paper indicating what has been done.

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The gas used in both types of system is the same (R134A). It is the lubricant that is different, but in answer to your question yes a single re gas from contaminated equipment can cause compressor motor failure. This is not usually an instant failure, but a breakdown of the motor insulation over weeks or months.

John. 

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1 hour ago, jpower said:

Would just a single regas cause this kind of issue?

As I said in post No.4 above, just 1% contamination of PAG oil can damage the compressor motor, so yes, a whole regas would, without doubt, cause major problems.

Quote

they used to use Halfords and Kwik Fit for years but now they use a small independent.

That's good, you may be safe then but you do need to know exactly what they used because the problems usually don't become apparent for a while as the conductive PAG oil breaks down the winding insulation and causes short-circuits - and you may be out of warranty by then.

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I would think even Halfords or Kwik Fit would be sensible enough not to put the wrong gas in an AC system for fear of liability.

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2 hours ago, m4rkw said:

I would think even Halfords or Kwik Fit would be sensible enough not to put the wrong gas in an AC system for fear of liability.

You're probably right but I wouldn't give them the benefit of the doubt. And it's not just about putting the wrong gas (more properly, lubricant) in but about cross-contamination, so they need to use dedicated machines and hoses for each lubricant.

Anybody can make mistakes but from what I've read and from personal experiences of places like those, I'd think their working practices probably leave them more likely to make mistakes than a specialist aircon place.

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  • Club Hybrid Poll

  • 69 Hybrid Reliability

    1. 1. If you were to consider buying a Hybrid model over 5 years old, would you be worried about the reliability of the Hybrid system?


      • Not really as Hybrid systems are always reliable
      • Not if it had a Manufacturers Warranty on the Hybrid system
      • I would not buy a Hybrid model over 5 years old