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Hey guys, I new to this forum buy have been active in the car community for years. I've been using Lotustalk since I picked up my Elise a couple months ago and its been a fantastic resource for DIY and general info. I say this because I used the search option and went through just about every AC thread on here but didn't seem to find anyone with a similar issue.

So about a month ago I had my AC charged as it wasn't blowing cold when I got the car. The AC worked for about a day and then went cool and then to warm after another day. So okay I have a leak. I then took it to my local Lotus dealer to check on recalls and they did a few service items for me. I asked them to take a look at the AC as well. The first shop did add dye to the system. The dealer couldn't find any obvious leaks so they charged it and added more dye themselves to make sure there was enough. They then had the car for a few additional days as they did some other service work.

The AC then went warm again. This time they checked everywhere including the famous hard sill lines with a stethoscope and could not find any leaks anywhere. They did not go as far as to remove the front clam but did give it a thorough look through with out any luck. I didn't have them go much deeper than this. They were a bit curious themselves but I needed the car back and wasn't sure how much I wanted them to dive into this as they're labor rate/vs an independent shop is a pretty big swing.

So I come to you guys. Has anyone had a similar issue. Is there something were missing. I've read about the condenser but there doesn't seem to be anything there for leaks.

Thanks!
 

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Hey guys, I new to this forum buy have been active in the car community for years. I've been using Lotustalk since I picked up my Elise a couple months ago and its been a fantastic resource for DIY and general info. I say this because I used the search option and went through just about every AC thread on here but didn't seem to find anyone with a similar issue.

So about a month ago I had my AC charged as it wasn't blowing cold when I got the car. The AC worked for about a day and then went cool and then to warm after another day. So okay I have a leak. I then took it to my local Lotus dealer to check on recalls and they did a few service items for me. I asked them to take a look at the AC as well. The first shop did add dye to the system. The dealer couldn't find any obvious leaks so they charged it and added more dye themselves to make sure there was enough. They then had the car for a few additional days as they did some other service work.

The AC then went warm again. This time they checked everywhere including the famous hard sill lines with a stethoscope and could not find any leaks anywhere. They did not go as far as to remove the front clam but did give it a thorough look through with out any luck. I didn't have them go much deeper than this. They were a bit curious themselves but I needed the car back and wasn't sure how much I wanted them to dive into this as they're labor rate/vs an independent shop is a pretty big swing.

So I come to you guys. Has anyone had a similar issue. Is there something were missing. I've read about the condenser but there doesn't seem to be anything there for leaks.

Thanks!
Even though they didn't see a leak there I'd be willing to bet the leak is in the sill lines if you still have the aluminum tubes. I had a similar problem. Changed to the new flexible lines and no problems since.
 

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I had the same problem, all the a/c would leak straight away after refilling.
The mechanics did not seem to find where the a/c was leaking without removing the front clam, once the front clam was off
the leak was found at the a/c pressure sensor. Simply replacing the pressure sensor fixed the problem
 

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craigyirush
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I posted about my leak last week. Another member replied with some useful information about replacing the sill lines.
 

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craigyirush
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Even though they didn't see a leak there I'd be willing to bet the leak is in the sill lines if you still have the aluminum tubes. I had a similar problem. Changed to the new flexible lines and no problems since.
How difficult/expensive a job was it to change to the flexible lines?
 

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My mechanic diagnosed everything inside the front clam when it was off for repair, and has a strong suspicion it is in the door sill lines, as posted in #2. Didn't get a sense of how expensive a repair that would be because I live in Seattle and it doesn't matter too much.... anyone have insight?
 

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I posted this in one of the other threads, but I'll cover it again here. I went through this last summer and replaced the sill lines myself. Step one for anyone thinking they have a leak in the sills is to take the car to an automotive AC specialist that has a leak sniffer. They'll charge the system and can probe the sills through one of the access holes to test for the leak. This is money well spent to prove that your leak is there before you invest in the new lines and go through the work to replace them only to find a leak somewhere else. Don't trust leak dye as there are too many hard to reach places on the Elige that would be invisible. The sniffer is the way to go. As for the cost/difficulty - it isn't a difficult job, but the parts alone (two lines) are close to $600. And if you run into a problem at the passenger side door jam where the two hard lines coming from the expansion valve and condensor connect to the sill lines (common problem), then you may need to replace one or both of those hard lines as well. I had to replace the one coming from the expansion valve after a corroded joint forced me to cut it. I recommend breaking these two connections before you start ordering parts so you'll know whether you need these or not. The connections at the compressor are typically not a problem and easy to access. Another tip - remove the shear panel at the back of the car. It gives you another 10"-12" of access to the sill lines at the rear of the car and there are zip ties there that will need to be cut in order to pull the old hard lines out. You'll need new o-rings at every joint. I picked up one of the little kits of various sizes on Amazon like this:


The correct o-rings for A/C are typically green, but I understand there is a black version that works as well. The Lotus parts diagrams list some of the actual sizes in the parts descriptions, but Dino at Gator had a few more in his system and read them to me over the phone.

As for what this would cost to have someone else do it, I have no idea, but it wouldn't be cheap. It isn't difficult, but it is time consuming. There is no clam removal necessary, but there is a lot of disassembly of other parts of the car (both passenger side wheel liners, belly pan, shear panel, sill cover, right side dash cover). And you'll need a full AC recharge when you finish, best handled by a professional since you'll need both oil and refrigerant after replacing the lines.

This is a good primer on what's involved:


The article shows a complete A/C tear-out, but it will give you an idea of what's involved with the sills. Step 22 shows the two connections at the passenger side door jam (with wheel liner removed). The author of the article had to cut both lines. The photo at step 24 shows the shear panel still in place. With that removed, you can pretty much see all of the lines with the exception of what's under the door.

I'm happy to answer any questions or provide further info for anyone looking to take this on.
 

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Amazing detail Ghia... thanks for the information. Great to have, should I decide to tackle this.
 
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