1996 Nissan Maxima AC Evaporator Case Dripping

On my 1996 Maxima, the evaporator drain is plugged. After doing some research, I found out that this is a common problem with this car. What’s more, there’s a TSB on the subject because the water can drip into the ECM, causing it to corrode; this ruins the unit. On a 1996, I’d consider this a “death event.”

I’m not that far yet. No CEL, and the car runs terrifically.

In order to clean this evaporator case, however, one has to remove the evaporator from the car. You simply cannot get the case apart without removing the case and evaporator from the car – they come out in one unit.

Conceptually, this is a simple job, but I’ve never worked on A/C, and I want to do this in as responsible way as possible. I could, in theory, just vent into the atmosphere, do the mechanical work, then take it in to have the system recharged – but I won’t do that.

In a nutshell, you drain the A/C, disconnect the high and low pressure lines into the evaporator, remove the glovebox, pull 4 screws holding the evap unit in place, disassemble the evap box, clean it out, reinstall it, put the glovebox back in, charge the A/C, and you’re done. Removing the evap box takes about 5 minutes; it’s really easy.

Is there some way for a home mechanic to economically, responsibly and safely recover the refrigerant from a car? Or is the best way to pay someone to do this (I’ve had one estimate for this job so far – $350-$400)?