Repairs to AC Hoses And Pipe Work

Hose and pipe repair

Some of the worst horror stories we hear are where pipework has been damaged or is leaking and needs replacement.

On cars where there is a separate AC evaporator in the rear of the passenger cabin, any leaks in the pipework can sometimes be horribly expensive to replace due possibly to the design of this pipework. Often, but not always, an alternative solution can be found which drastically reduces the cost of repair and which should also ensure that the problem would never re-occur. Examples of this which are quite repairable might be the Land Rover Discovery 3, the Kia Sedona, the Mitsubishi Pajero and the Toyota Land Cruiser.

On a few models the design can make even repairing the pipes to the rear extremely difficult and thus expensive (I can think of two well known examples but will refrain from naming the makers). These systems can still be brought back into use by isolating the rear system entirely so that AC in the front of the car can still function as designed, which is usually perfectly adequate in the UK.

It is not just those models with front and rear AC that can suffer from leaking pipework of course. Frequently a standard bit of pipe can develop a leak for a variety of reasons, mostly corrosion from a retaining clip or possibly something which is touching another component or pipe and has rubbed through. Many of these leaking pipes are most economically repaired with the manufacturer's actual replacement if the pipe is easily accessed but occasionally we find pipework which seems to be designed to be fitted to the chassis before the engine is installed and is subsequently almost impossible to replace without removing many other components. One hose on a Jaguar S type is very difficult to access to replace and the most economical but permanent solution has been to repair the hose where it can be reached, cutting out the damaged part of the existing pipe completely and replacing with a modern flexible hose to be able to fit into the confined space available.

On occasions we are asked to cut and change pipework for other reasons. For example we have changed the pipework on a prototype vehicle with the brand new refrigerant HFO1234yf to enable the development company to gain enough room to install a hydrogen powered fuel cell under the bonnet. Another example was one of a very nice kit-car with a high powered V8 engine, a real enthusiast's muscle machine. Once built, the owner was unhappy with the appearance of some of the AC pipework which was visible at the front of the car. This was all perfectly functional rubber hosing from the kit but did look rather untidy on such a smart vehicle. We removed some of the rubber hose and substituted with some much neater aluminium pipe bent to fit the front of the car.

Another example was a Bentley just 10 years old which had experienced a fire under the bonnet when a headlamp burst into flame. This had seriously damaged the AC hoses which were not easily replaceable, we were able to make some useful repairs to bring the car back into use again.

We have managed to source some AC hose which looks identical to that was fitted to some classic car models in the 1970's and 1980's to ensure that repairs to those models matches the existing hose for cars which participate in Concours events.

On Stretch Limos we sometimes find leaks on pipework within the drivers cabin where there usually is a solenoid valve to control the AC to the rear passenger compartment. Mostly these are fairly easy and cheap to cure.

On midi-buses, ambulances and larger vans some hoses can leak after several years use. Many of these are Eberspacher or Diavia kit systems which have not always been installed very intelligently, allowing hoses to rub against other components or to have insufficient slack for normal engine movement. Mostly these are quite repairable and an intelligent repair can save a considerable sum of money together with reduced time off the road. If the main dealership wants simply to install the same hose as originally fitted there is every likelihood of the same damage re-occurring later. Examples might be the Snap-On Tool sales vans, mini-coaches and high security money or prison vans. We have repaired hoses on a London double decker bus which had suffered a fire under the chassis and on others which had damaged the AC hoses in front end collisions or also on a coach which had torn metres of AC hose from the chassis in a high speed accident.

There are many occasions on cars where a pipe might have been damaged in an accident (perhaps months before the leak happened) or has developed a leak under a retaining clip where the most sensible solution is to simply replace with the manufacturers standard hose. Sometimes however the total replacement of the faulty hose can make for a very expensive repair due to the labour involved. In some of these cases the cutting and joining of part of the new hose to the undamaged section of the original pipe can be make for a far less expensive result. Many things are possible to obtain a permanent leakfree system.



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