Hole in A/C Condenser - Can I Patch it? - Mazda Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-27-2009, 12:07 PM Thread Starter
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My A/C stopped working last Fall, until now NOT a big deal. Now it's a big deal (assuming the car remains drivable after fixing the TCS and 1170/1173 codes).

I used the leak detector/sealer type product to recharge and the A/C actually started to work, not GREAT but it was working. Next thing I know I heard a big hissing noise and looked at the front side and saw a stream spewing out like a little geyser from the front of the condenser.

It's right where the fins are, looks like a typical little ding from road debris but this one spot is as stated leaking.

Does anyone have any experience with being able to seal this type of leak with JB Weld for aluminum or other products?

I'm thinking I'd need to clean the area and actually think I'd probably have to "grind" away a little bit of the fins in that one section carefully with a dremel type tool to help get a good seal, but I'm all ears for anyone who has had success doing something like this.

Otherwise, how much could I find a replacement for and is this something that a DIY type person (who is not a pro) could do at home? (I've heard the whole job at a shop is something like $500-650, which is too much to spend for this car right now.

99S with 110K miles fwiw.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-27-2009, 01:08 PM
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First of all I think both of us can agree that $500-$650 is a total rip off. You can get a whole new condenser for ~$75-$100 IIRC. The best way to fix that leak is to tig it (if you lived close I'd do it for you). Second I would use this product called Alum-Alloy. It is sort of like a aluminum brazing rod only stronger. I've used it before with ok results. Alum-Alloy is a trademark name but there are many other similar products out there. Costs is about $20 a lb.

If all else fails you can try the JB weld route but as you said make sure you get a good substrate to bond to. Grind out some of the Aluminum and clean with acetone.

I don't know how the epoxy will hold up considering the freon is under great pressure in the condenser but they are all worth a try.
Of course once you get the hole filled you are going to have to pull a vacuum for some time to remove all traces of moisture before you even think about refilling with R134a.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-27-2009, 11:40 PM
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The condenser gets extremely hot. Does JB weld hold at that temperature? If so I will use it to fix my broken exhaust hanger

The need for a pump is the main obstacle for a DIY IMO.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 01:30 AM
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Saint which hanger are you talking about? I can bend or cut you a new one that you can weld up to replace the broken one.

JB weld holds up to quite a bit of heat. Anything other than exhaust headers and your fine.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 01:57 AM
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When the condenser sprung a leak on my Talon, I picked up another one from a salvage yard for less than $20. JB Weld can tolerate heat, but is usually considered temporary for such applications. It becomes brittle after a while with heat cycling.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 04:02 AM
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JB weld is just a band aid , I don't recommend using it to seal a freon leak , when the freon goes from a high pressure state to a low pressure state the temperature will drop well below freezing point and will turn the JB weld in to some really brittle material if not sealed properly. Get it brazed or get a new/used condenser.

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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 04:27 AM
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Saint which hanger are you talking about? I can bend or cut you a new one that you can weld up to replace the broken one.

JB weld holds up to quite a bit of heat. Anything other than exhaust headers and your fine.[/b]
The one between the resonator and the muffler. It is broken from the pipe. I need to take the car to the shop. When I asked they said $100 years ago, I dont wanna write what I said to them. So it was hanging like that for years. Last time I put a C-clamp it holds for eh 10 minutes.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 04:09 PM
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The one between the resonator and the muffler. It is broken from the pipe. I need to take the car to the shop. When I asked they said $100 years ago, I dont wanna write what I said to them. So it was hanging like that for years. Last time I put a C-clamp it holds for eh 10 minutes.[/b]

Is it the one where the rod is held to the pipe by what looks like a " [ ". If it is just use a pair of SS hose clamps one on each side of the rod to hold the " [ " to the pipe. Its a cheap fix that has worked for 2 yrs for me.

19 x 8 Katana GR-5's Wrapped in 235/35/19 General tires.
Alpine 9887 Imprint HU.
Kicker KX650.4 powering :
Eclipse 5 1/4 seperates up front.
Eclipse 6 x 9 's out back.
2 12" Kicker XPL's in a sealed box.
2 Cerwin Vega 2 channel amps :
amps bridged at 350 watts each.
LED lights in the turn signals and brake lights.
Custom mounted 32 LED panel in the 3rd brake light.
Blue LED lights in the interior.
5% limo on side windows and 35% on rear window (will be going to 5% soon).
Avistart 4300 remote start alarm.
8000K HID Headlights.

Coming soon: Drop springs , CD rotors , Headers , Custom exhaust , CAI and some new carpet. Oh and more LED's
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2009, 01:50 AM
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Is it the one where the rod is held to the pipe by what looks like a " [ ". If it is just use a pair of SS hose clamps one on each side of the rod to hold the " [ " to the pipe. Its a cheap fix that has worked for 2 yrs for me.[/b]

Its the last one on the muffler. Mine is between the muffler and the resonator.




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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-29-2009, 02:08 AM
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Ouch! Where did all that rust come from? Are you not in Cali? Ocean breeze perhaps?
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