1999 Dodge Grand Caravan - Dual Zone AC problem


#1

1999 Dodge Grand Caravan dual zone ac driver side is not cooling nearly as well as the passenger side. The passenger side is really good and cold. I think one of the louvers that adjusts the air flow across the evaporator or heater is partilly malfunctioning. It will change to hot when moved to the hot side and cools some when moved to the coldest setting. Just not nearly as cold as the passenger side. I took it to the local Dodge dealership. They called today to tell me the evaporator is leaking causing the system to be low on coolant. I don’t see how that can be the case when the passenger side is putting out very cold air. They want $1300+ to replace the evaporator since it takes a complete tear down of the dash to get access. I personally think it will take a complete tear down to properly diagnose and they don’t want to go in with out prior approval to replace something that will be quite expensive to insure they make money. They have a policy to charge a flat $89.95 dignostic fee if a repair is declined once diagnosed. Do you guys have any ideas? Can being low on coolant really cause just one side to be less cool?


#2

There could be a small leak but you are right in thinking that it isn’t going to cause the problem you are complaining about. Most likely the vent door on the driver’s side isn’t moving as it should be.

You may want to have another shop that specializes in AC problems look at this.


#3

I took it to the local Dodge dealership.

Dealers are no better (or worse) than independent mechanics for almost anything you might need done on your car.  They will almost always charge more per hour and often more for parts and supplies.  They also tend to look at repairs a little different than the independent. 

A dealer may well recommend work that strictly may not be needed, but could be connected to the problem or maybe replace a part when a little repair would fix it ALMOST as good a new.  

There is no need to bring your car to the dealer for any service other than service that is going to be paid for by a recall or original warrantee. 

I suggest that most people would be better off finding a good independent (Not working for a chain) mechanic.  In the north often the radiator shops also so the A/C work.

#4

look in the yellow pages for air conditioning/ automobile

repair shops.
.
pay the $89.00 to the dealer, and get it checked out elsewhere.

from your description the dealer is just making sure his mechanic is busy for the day