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Irrelevant to this thread but driving and comfort is a dream in this thing. 

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Mystery solved - and I prob *******

So Halfords customer services got the store to ring me and they said the same line if the nozzle fits its the right one, I managed to get out of him what they put in:-

https://www.halfords.com/motoring/engine-oils-fluids/air-con/ez-chill-auto-air-conditioning-recharge-gas-r134a

And it quite clearly states:-

Quote

Please be aware that this product must not be used on hybrid vehicles.

 

Warnings!

The above products are not suitable for application with Hybrid Vehicles. Customers with hybrids should use straight gas for their top-offs or take to a mechanic. 
The hybrids mostly use electric compressors.  These compressors need 'dielectric oil' that prevents electric current from reaching the exterior metal housing.   The industry advises this is a serious safety issue as the electric power involved can be quite high and dangerous.

 

Obviously they are giving a refund and say if compressor is damaged then it would be a different issue to resolve with customer services, re compensation.  I am looking up zircon specialist that knows what they are doing to see if I can get it emptied or whatever they next course would be.

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Wow, that's bad news Jeegnesh!

I sincerely hope that a proper aircon specialist can do something for you but the damage may already be done. I'd say that you now need to go to the Halfords branch and get the manager to put it in writing that they acknowledge that they've used the wrong thing because, as I've already said previously, the symptoms of insulation breakdown can take months to appear. If the worst does happen, 4, 5, or 6 months down the line, you need proof that they accepted liability, otherwise it's just your word against his/theirs - the person you spoke to may even have moved on and be working somewhere else.

And as if it wasn't bad enough already, it also says on the can that it "seals leaks", which is not a good thing. Anything that can seal a genuine leak can also seal non-leaky pipes too.

Hope all goes well for you mate.

EDIT: I would seriously get some legal advice now because it was the dealer you bought the car from who sent it to Halfords in the first place, so I'm not sure if the responsibility would rest with them or Halfords!

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Not great, but hey at least you caught it early and at least they've admitted fault. Should be a slam dunk to get this resolved. Pretty shocking to me but I guess you live and learn. Never letting them touch anything of mine more complicated than a lightbulb now!

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Yes next challenge to get it into writing.  Guessing they are not going to be so quick to do that.

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Call them and discuss it again. Record that call. Just in case they try and weasel out of it later.

This is pretty shocking imo, you’d be well within your rights to get Trading Standards involved. I’d keep that in your back pocket though in case you have trouble getting them to put it right.

I wonder how many other cars they’ve done this to!

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15 hours ago, jpower said:

Mystery solved - and I prob *******

So Halfords customer services got the store to ring me and they said the same line if the nozzle fits its the right one, I managed to get out of him what they put in:-

https://www.halfords.com/motoring/engine-oils-fluids/air-con/ez-chill-auto-air-conditioning-recharge-gas-r134a

And it quite clearly states:-

 

Obviously they are giving a refund and say if compressor is damaged then it would be a different issue to resolve with customer services, re compensation.  I am looking up zircon specialist that knows what they are doing to see if I can get it emptied or whatever they next course would be.

I would take the car to Lexus, and explain what has occurred, and ask what the cost would be of putting things right. Do not be surprised at a figure totaling £5000. 

Not wishing to alarm you, but when the fault does appear the complete car will shut down, and amongst the many fault codes issued will be POAA6  "HV Battery voltage isolation fault". This means the high voltage from the Battery is leaking to the body of the car, and as such the high voltage relays in the Battery pack will disconnect the Battery to prevent electric shock. This could happen at any time even in the middle of a motorway.

Go to Halfords with the estimate from Lexus, and demand that they pay all costs. 

John.

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6 minutes ago, Britprius said:

I would take the car to Lexus, and explain what has occurred, and ask what the cost would be of putting things right. Do not be surprised at a figure totaling £5000. 

Not wishing to alarm you, but when the fault does appear the complete car will shut down, and amongst the many fault codes issued will be POAA6  "HV battery voltage isolation fault". This means the high voltage from the battery is leaking to the body of the car, and as such the high voltage relays in the battery pack will disconnect the battery to prevent electric shock. This could happen at any time even in the middle of a motorway.

Go to Halfords with the estimate from Lexus, and demand that they pay all costs. 

John.

I am alarmed, I can't believe the possible outcomes from just the AC system, arrrggghhhhhhh.

The funniest part is Halfords responded and even against the manufacturer's advice they are saying its ok for some Hybrids, I will battle on anyway.

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Could someone confirm is the AC belt driven or motor driven?

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Hybrid AC's are driven by an electric motor so that the AC still works when the combustion engine is off.

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12 minutes ago, jpower said:

Could someone confirm is the AC belt driven or motor driven?

The petrol engine doesn't run all the time in a hybrid so it can't be belt-driven, this is why the aircon and the power steering pumps are electric.

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Thanks just wanted to confirm.  After a few phones calls, (not with Lexus as my closest dealer is far away and the phone is just engaged all the time) I found a specialist who seems to know what he is talking about and has spent time to look into further.

The advise was to take gas out (special machine to do that), take the compressor, receiver and expansion vessel out, drain oil, flush the system.  New receiver leak test, then regas/oil estimated cost £750

I am just in disbelief that all of this is over aircon regas DISBELIEF.

 

 

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That doesn't sound too bad as a solution. Is he saying the compressor is probably not damaged then, presumably given that you caught it early?

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2 minutes ago, m4rkw said:

That doesn't sound too bad as a solution. Is he saying the compressor is probably not damaged then, presumably given that you caught it early?

Correct as its early little mileage driven, the suspicion is that its unlikely but not impossible. I have been told do not turn the fan on or get the compressor disconnected till this is resolved.

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1 minute ago, jpower said:

Correct as its early little mileage driven, the suspicion is that its unlikely but not impossible. I have been told do not turn the fan on or get the compressor disconnected till this is resolved.

Is it possible to know with certainty whether it's been damaged or not? If not I would argue with Halfords that they should replace it.

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8 minutes ago, m4rkw said:

Is it possible to know with certainty whether it's been damaged or not? If not I would argue with Halfords that they should replace it.

Interesting, this is why forums are good.  I will get a new quote which includes replacement compressor and see where we go.

I hope we are not going to have a heatwave anytime soon.

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1 hour ago, m4rkw said:

Is it possible to know with certainty whether it's been damaged or not? If not I would argue with Halfords that they should replace it.

It would be very difficult to say with certainty, but the probability is high.

The problem is that the windings of the motor are actually immersed in the oil for cooling purposes (as you'll see in this article here) so even if Jeegnesh doesn't use the aircon at all until it's sorted, the damage is still happening even as we sit here and type these posts.

Below are two photos of electric motor windings (just random motor failures, not actual Lexus aircon motors) and you'll see that they look just like bare copper wires. Of course, they aren't bare - they're insulated with a lacquer coating and the oil in there now will be attacking and destroying that lacquer insulation, eventually breaking it down to the point where it fails.


shortc.thumb.png.6e394a933430105f99450a16a7972c84.pngshortt.thumb.png.7d4aa338166fabd20ec9ab6cd6dd6bd4.png

 

If an electrician were to rewire your house, one of the tests he would have to do to complete the job would be an insulation resistance test. In essence, this squirts 1000V down the wires for a set time period, the theory being that if the cables can handle that without shorting out somewhere, then they're definitely OK to handle our 240V mains supply.

It would be possible to do the same sort of test on the compressor motor once you've got it out of the car but I don't know how long you would have to run the test to be certain that it hadn't suffered any damage.

Like I said earlier though, you really do need some legal advice at this point Jeegnesh. If I remember correctly, you took the car back to the dealer and it was him who sent it off to Halfords. If he asked Halfords to sort out the aircon and he paid the bill directly to them, then I would imagine that the contract is between him and Halfords. Your contract is with the dealer and he sub-contracted the work out to Halfords, so he should be sorting this mess out.

I must stress that I am not a lawyer and what I've just said may be complete rubbish, I don't know - that's just my personal take on it.

Anyway, good luck and I hope you get a speedy solution to the problem.

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2 hours ago, jpower said:

Interesting, this is why forums are good.  I will get a new quote which includes replacement compressor and see where we go.

I hope we are not going to have a heatwave anytime soon.

Jeegnesh I am not trying to alarm you, but this is a serious problem, and even if the nearest dealer is some distance away a phone call to them should be enough for them to give you a price for clearing the system to how it should be. Even if it means replacing every component.

The problem with trying to remove all traces of PAG oil from the system is that there is a large condenser "looks like a radiator" at the front of the car with many small tubes between two tanks from which all traces of the oil must be removed. Similarly hidden deep in the dashboard is another unit "the evaporator" on much the same lines. The oil will have been pumped round the complete system as soon as it was run for the first time.

The only certain way to clean these items is to remove them first, and as far as the compressor goes as has already been said the damage has already started. Having checked the price for this alone I can confirm to you it is £2800 The compressor motor runs at 500 volts double that of your house electrical supply any leakage to ground "the body of the car" is monitored, and will shut down the car completely for safety reasons if or should I say when it occurs.

John.

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8 minutes ago, Britprius said:

Jeegnesh I am not trying to alarm you, but this is a serious problem, and even if the nearest dealer is some distance away a phone call to them should be enough for them to give you a price for clearing the system to how it should be. Even if it means replacing every component.

The problem with trying to remove all traces of PAG oil from the system is that there is a large condenser "looks like a radiator" at the front of the car with many small tubes between two tanks from which all traces of the oil must be removed. Similarly hidden deep in the dashboard is another unit "the evaporator" on much the same lines. The oil will have been pumped round the complete system as soon as it was run for the first time.

The only certain way to clean these items is to remove them first, and as far as the compressor goes as has already been said the damage has already started. Having checked the price for this alone I can confirm to you it is £2800 The compressor motor runs at 500 volts double that of your house electrical supply any leakage to ground "the body of the car" is monitored, and will shut down the car completely for safety reasons if or should I say when it occurs.

John.

Thanks not sure I can be alarmed anymore, pretty much expecting the car to explode.

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@jpower how long have you had the car? If it's less than 30 days it might be easier to just give it back to the dealer and demand a refund and leave them to deal with it. Even if it's after 30 days you may still be able to do this - https://www.carbuyer.co.uk/tips-and-advice/your-new-car-rights

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So here's the complex part.  It was booked in for the dealer to get done, he called up saying his usual place the machine is broken, so I can wait or go to a local place and they would reimburse.  That sounded decent to me as it also saved me a long drive back to them and waiting around.  I asked them can you recommend me any places and he said yes before we used the place we use now, we have always used Halfords.  So you know the rest I went to Halfords asking them is it fine for a Hybrid etc etc.  Then I forwarded the bill to the dealer and they reimbursed by bank account with the funds.  So I believe the issue would then be between me and Halfords.

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Jeegnesh the main reasons that I recommend going to the Lexus dealer are twofold.

One while the work is carried out you will get a free loan car, and the work will be guaranteed, by Lexus. 

Two if you go the local £750 AC company, and in a few months the compressor fails Halfords are going to say we have paid once to have the car repaired we are not going to pay again. I am not disputing the AC company good intent,but.
The AC company are going to say well we cannot guarantee the compressor because the wrong oil was put in, and the damage was already done we did what we could. All the work would then need to be repeated with a new compressor.

This problem has been highlighted for some time on the "Prius Chat forum" the Prius uses the same AC system as Lexus. 

John.

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Just now, Britprius said:

Jeegnesh the main reasons that I recommend going to the Lexus dealer are twofold.

One while the work is carried out you will get a free loan car, and the work will be guaranteed, by Lexus. 

Two if you go the local £750 AC company, and in a few months the compressor fails Halfords are going to say we have paid once to have the car repaired we are not going to pay again.
The AC company are going to say well we cannot guarantee the compressor because the wrong oil was put in, and the damage was already done we did what we could.

John.

I understand, I have continued to ring Lexus every 30 mins and busy tone every time.  I've also upgraded my ask the specialist has provided me a quote which replaces the compressor as well as the flush and clean.  I will pursue Lexus some more.

 

Question - I'm afraid I am not in a position where I can not use the car, so keeping fan off/ ac off I assume restricts the catastrophic failure? Can the fan be on and AC off, is that still ok?

I know its not ideal, I just want to know what's the safest approach apart from not driving it.

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FWIW if the quote is for the same piece of work I would trust an independent specialist with a good reputation more than any dealership.

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The only way you can safely use the car is if the compressor is disconnected "there is a plug, and socket arrangement in the supply cables. Once disconnected the plug, and socket ends should be well taped up to prevent water entry into the high voltage plugs.

John.

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  • Club Hybrid Poll

  • 196 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