Things That Make Us Laugh, (and swear !)


Not So funny...

Called to a job and found that the vehicle owner had filled the service ports with Superglue, because he'd "Read on a forum that the service ports sometimes leak". Well...firstly, it is quite rare for service ports to leak and an easy test is to put a few drops of PAG oil into the port and check for bubbles, they are easily replaced during an AC service. Secondly, by filling the ports with Superglue he made it impossible to recharge the vehicle, and meant that as the ports are part of the pipework, both pipes had to be replaced at a cost of over £400. Oh..and the leak he had was actually in the Condenser.      Forums...Don't you just love them !  

Another customer thought that he'd save some money by not replacing his Pollen Filter. When it got so badly blocked that no air would pass through it, he just took it out. Well, his airflow was restored but after a few weeks people were complaining about the smell in the car. When I was called to diagnose the problem and removed the cover to the filter housing, I found it full of dirt, rotten leaves and sludge. The smell was similar to rotten fish!  Despite sanitising and the application of anti-bacterial foam, the smell persisted and eventually I had to remove the Evaporator and housing and clean them in a Sodium Hydroxide solution, dry them and coat with a more powerful anti-bacterial agent.  The total bill was almost £350... and all to save the cost of a £25 Pollen Filter.


The Origins of Air Conditioning

The Goldberg Brothers, Norman and Maxwell invented and developed the first automobile Air Conditioner. On 17th July 1946 the temperature in Detroit was 97°; the brothers walked into Henry Ford's office and sweet-talked his secretary into telling him that two Gentleman were there with the most exciting innovation in the automobile Industry since the self-starter.

Henry was curious and invited them in to his office, but they declined and instead asked him to come into the parking lot and to their car. They persuaded him to get into the car, which was by then around 130°. They turned on the Air Conditioner and the Temperature immediately dropped to a much more comfortable level.

The old man got very excited and invited them back into his office, where he offered them $3 Million Dollars for the Patent... The brothers refused, saying they would settle for $2 Million but wanted the recognition by having a label 'The Goldberg Air-Conditioner' on the dashboard of each car it was installed in. There was no way that old man Ford was going to put the Goldberg name on 2-million Ford cars. They haggled back and forth for a couple of hours and finally agreed on $4 Million and that just their first names would be displayed...

And so, even today all Ford Air-Conditioners display on their controls, the names...

'Norm and Max'

 A little knowledge...

Had a phone call from a garage in Swindon that had recently been sold an AirCon station and were offering A/C servicing. They were confused as to why there were 3 different grades of PAG oil. I patiently explained that each compressor needs a specific viscosity dependent upon the compressor design. After a little thought, the guy on the other end of the phone asked, "So do I need to use a thinner oil in Winter then".

I must admit to a little head shaking before I explained  that the internal temperature of the Evaporator is usually constant when the system is working correctly and no, he shouldn't use a thinner oil in Winter.

Designed by cleaners !

Well, maybe that's a little unkind, but REALLY, what were they thinking ?

Ford KA Streetcar (and others)

Service port is tight up against the brake fluid reservoir, which has to be removed in order to connect the coupler. Also, the AC Condenser is one of the most difficult of all Fords to change. Which makes it expensive!

New Ford Galaxy C-Max  & S-Max

Wow, Ford really make life difficult. As well as placing the Hi side service port under a body panel so that a special tool is required to connect, they then put the Low side service port right down below the induction system making it impossible to find and connect to. 

Ford Mondeo Mk III

Low pressure service port tucked neatly under the wheel arch, need to take out the liner to connect.

Ford Fiesta

Even better than the Mondeo, need to take out the headlight to connect to the low pressure service port. Sadly, need to take the front bumper off to remove the headlight, (well, in theory).

Volvo V50

Low pressure port directly under a wing to wing torsion bar, which needs to be removed to connect. (well, in theory).

Vauxhall Vectra 

Little Torx screw holding the top of the Condenser is positioned so that it is impossible to get a Torx bit onto the head of the screw due to there only being 10mm or so clearance below the bodywork. We use small Stilsons to remove them and replace them with similar sized Hex headed set screws. Far better idea. 

Vauxhall Astra & Zafira

Low Pressure service port tucked away under and behind the air intake pipe and fuel lines. Real pain to get at and could have been placed in lots of easier positions. Also, Vauxhall decided to hold the Condenser in place with steel bolts and nuts held captive in a thin plastic housing attached to the Radiator. A little bit of corrosion make the bolt impossible to remove as the plastic housing breaks and the nut turns with the bolt.   Really, what were they thinking ?

 Renault  Laguna, Megane, Clio etc

A Classic !  HIGH pressure service port on the LOW side of the system. Designed to confuse and trap the unwary.  Usually results in a blown compressor due to liquid charging into the directly into the compressor. Also, some Renaults, but not all, require a dealer level re-set once the AC system has been recharged.