Monday, April 5, 2010

The Air-Conditioning Saga

Last installment:
The Rav4's a/c had once again quit working on day 15 after having the leak welded.

Today's episode:
Don got over being so disgusted with our failed air-conditioning repair job that he couldn't even think about it. He decided to follow up on a suggestion to add a can of sealant to the a/c in the hope that that would fix the leak. 

We first needed to go to the bank, which we did and which only took one hour. Don got in one line and I got in another. My line never moved. The first person in line had about 15 transactions, the next 3 people had been sitting, waiting their turn in the old people/pregnant women line, and I was still waaaay back in the line when Don finally got to move up to the window. We ran a couple of quick errands and then stopped at the refrigeration shop.
It looked like it was going to work at first. The sealant was put in and then they began charging the a/c. They even had pressure gauges! Don was keeping watch on the sight-glass, watching for it to clear, which means that it is fully charged. He saw it clear, but then saw a few more bubbles and suggested that they might want to add just a little more refrigerant; they did. It had been starting to cool. Suddenly, it stopped cooling, the electric fans quit working. I was sitting on the wall, watching, and caught a whiff of boiling water. Sure enough, the guys noticed that the radiator was extremely hot and that steam was beginning to rise. While they were puzzling over that, the one guy noticed little spits of water coming from the condensing unit which sits right in front of the radiator and pointed that out to me.  I told Don, who was sitting in the car watching the temperature gauge. Just then, the spit turned into a squirt. A big squirt. Don got out to investigate and immediately saw that it was the radiator squirting water out through the condensing unit. The problem had just gone from bad to worse.
One of the guys hollered at a man in an orange shirt across the street and had him come over. Mr. Orange Shirt is a mechanic of some kind. He took a look and decided that he might be able to solder the leak. Did Don want him to do that?  Don was quite upset at this point and needed a few minutes to think.
 He told Mr. Orange Shirt that we would go across the street to the pulperia, get a cold drink and think about this. Don soon decided that we might as well try the soldering, otherwise, we're looking at having to order a new radiator from the mainland, wait for it to come in while hoping that they ship the right one the first time. Did we trust this mechanic? Not really, we don't even know him or anything about him. It's pretty much a crap-shoot around here for car repairs. Even when we've gotten recommendations, it doesn't seem to turn out well. 
I called our pal, Debi, to see if she could pick us up and give us a lift home; she could and she did. She came right away. Once again we are sitting at home, car-less, having no idea how long this will take or if it will work, but we can always hope. 

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