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How should I handle it?

  • Just fix the leak, don't be a hero

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  • Gut it and do the work once and for all

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2006 EX-L (Should be an EX-V, 'cuz vinyl, lol)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So...I recently bought a (very) used '06 with 205,000 miles on it. It seems as if the maintenance wasn't attended to very well, but the thing seems mechanically sound anyway. Currently the only codes it's showing are for the ABS and the Triangle+! light.

I'm in the process of fixing the obvious problems, one of which was the blower motor resistor I just swapped out. That fixed the blower, but of course the AC isn't functioning. The belt is on the compressor and it turns okay with no noise, so I don't think there is any catastrophic failure.

I'm perfectly willing to do the job right, and have identified every component and how it functions in the AC system. Naturally I'll get the refrigerant vacuumed out before doing anything. I don't mind the work, so that part's no issue.

So my main question is, given the age, mileage, and general lack of care shown to the vehicle, should I just start from scratch and buy the whole raft of parts for about $400 and swap it all out at once? Just to find the leak (if there is one) will cost $50-60 for the UV die kit, and I guess the compressor is probably either gone or soon to go. If I find a leak and fix it, is it likely that I'll just be right back where I started soon? Personally, I'd rather just deal with this once and be done with it.

Thoughts? Prayers? :p
 

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I just don't know if there is a right or wrong answer here. It's a shot in the dark to pull a vaccum and recharge. If I were going to attempt to use what's there, I'd at least buy O-ring gaskets for each conection. If the rubber AC line is showing any signs of deterioration, I'd replace. The AC condenser is out front, taking hits from bugs and rocks. Is it in good shape?
 

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If the compressor spins but won’t engage the clutch the refrigerant level may be low. Depending on your skill set, time, desire you could invest in some a/c gauges, iv dye and a couple cans of refrigerant. I’m not a fan of fix-it-cans or sealants.
 

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2006 EX-L (Should be an EX-V, 'cuz vinyl, lol)
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103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just don't know if there is a right or wrong answer here. It's a shot in the dark to pull a vaccum and recharge. If I were going to attempt to use what's there, I'd at least buy O-ring gaskets for each conection. If the rubber AC line is showing any signs of deterioration, I'd replace. The AC condenser is out front, taking hits from bugs and rocks. Is it in good shape?
The condenser doesn't seem to be banged up at all. I'd definitely replace all the seals once the refrigerant has been evacuated, so I'm going to be disconnecting all the major components and fittings anyway. I suppose my question is basically this: am I throwing money away needlessly if I start from scratch, or is this an investment in a (hopefully) long future with my Pilot?
 

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2006 EX-L (Should be an EX-V, 'cuz vinyl, lol)
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103 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If the compressor spins but won’t engage the clutch the refrigerant level may be low. Depending on your skill set, time, desire you could invest in some a/c gauges, iv dye and a couple cans of refrigerant. I’m not a fan of fix-it-cans or sealants.
No, the easy route is usually just a bandaid that doesn't fix anything. I'm not a temporary-solutions-kind-of-guy, either.

As far as the equipment, I can borrow all of it for free via Loaner Tools at the local AP store. I've seen how the dye kits work and I think they're excellent. I just wonder if it's not worth it to do it right now and not have to screw around with it a year down the road if I leave old parts in the mix.
 

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The condenser doesn't seem to be banged up at all. I'd definitely replace all the seals once the refrigerant has been evacuated, so I'm going to be disconnecting all the major components and fittings anyway. I suppose my question is basically this: am I throwing money away needlessly if I start from scratch, or is this an investment in a (hopefully) long future with my Pilot?
IMO I can drive with leaky whatevers but I have to have functioning a/c. I think I spent around $500 in a/c parts a few years ago on my daughter’s Avalon and it’s been working fine 🤞
 

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The compressor is the expensive part. If adding a little freon would tell me if the compressor is working, I'd try. If good, I'd replace the hose, o-rings and ac condenser. I've had good success with AC condensers on RockAuto. OSC or CSF.
 

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My A/C quit working about 1 year ago. I bought one of those refrigerant kits from Walmart and “charged it up”. Works like a dream now. I guess I was just low on refrigerant.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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It depends on how important A/C is to you. Personally, I hate to sweat, so I'd do whatever it takes. Lots of good advice here.

But to address your other problem...

Currently the only codes it's showing are for the ABS and the Triangle+! light.
There are three ways to deal with those, as they are sometimes a lingering side effect of a bygone problem. If they are...

  1. dealer$hip's HD$ (Honda's Dollar-Sucking) machine
  2. OBD2 port pin jumping (free, but careful not to short circuit by mistake Traction control light causing VSA system light 2007 Pilot
  3. a Foxwell NT630 Plus scan tool (what I have gone with) How Do You Clear VSA Dash Lights with a Foxwell NT630...
 

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First you should probably establish if you even have a leak. My AC was not working for 1.5 years (never knew because I never used it, I live in the high country in CO), and I found out when I went home to NC. I replaced the compressor and condenser, charged it up, and no problems.

What you can do is get a vacuum pump and a manifold gauge, and see if it holds a vacuum for 30 minutes or so (after clearing refrigerant of course). Best case scenario, it holds a vacuum and you know you don't have a leak!

Then, the easiest solution is to charge it up, add some dye, and hope for the best. If the AC stops working, you either have a super slow leak (which the dye will help detect), or you have an issue with the compressor/condenser (personally I would change both, not one or the other).

--Chris N.
 
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