CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

2011 toyota camry evaporator replacement how to

There’s a leak in my 2011 toyota camry evaporator. How do you replace it?

Do you mean the evaporator coil for the air conditioner? If you have to ask, you should hire a certified automotive HVAC technician. This kind of thing isn’t for the average do-it-yourselfer.

2 Likes

Agree with @Whitey, Replacing it is a rather involved job as it buried behind the dashboard inside your car. Once replaced you need to re-charge the AC by drawing a vacuum on the system and adding refrigerant. All that takes specialized equipment and knowledge.

1 Like

Pretty unusual for a 6 year old evaporator to leak. How do you know that’s the problem?

There’s no sign of a leak any where under the hood, but the system won’t hold pressure. I put freon in and the next day that a/c is hot again. My mechanic friend suggested asking here to determine if we need to take apart the dash or if we can replace it through the glove box compartment.
I have the specialized equipment for all that.

Before taking on the HUGE job of replacing the evaporator, you need to make sure that’s the problem. Have you gone over the entire system with a leak detector?

2 Likes

Search for that on YouTube. There are a few very scary videos showing the entire dash out of the car to replace it. Here is one from an '05 Camry.

I’d search for leaks EVERY other place possible with dye before I’d conclude the evaporator was the culprit.

5 Likes

I’m waiting for the freon sniffer to be returned to look, but we’re pretty sure it’s the evaporator. Have you heard of an evaporator replacement through the glove box compartment?

No - and no way that could work, seems to me.

There is a problem with the anti corrosion coating peeling on those evaporator cores, I have replaced a few that were less than 4 years old.

Remove the blower motor and inspect the evaporator with a mirror and flash light or fiber optic scope, you will generally see oil on the evaporator core if it is leaking.

You will have to remove the steering column, instrument panel and instrument panel support cross brace before removing the A/C unit assembly.

2 Likes

Thanks for that info. Now I understand how that can happen on such a new car. 4 years? Yikes!

Hope you took the extended warranty. That job is costly

Don’t look too difficult. The guy did it in less than 10 minutes :grin:

1 Like

Losing refrigerant overnight means a huge leak. Other than the obvious oil dye and sniffer methods you might consider (if possible) admitting some smoke to the A/C system. I would think with a leak that big smoke would be rolling big time somewhere.

The smoke method is unorthodox I admit, but feasible…

@kurtwm2010 has a point. Take that video to the mechanic and tell him that you’ll pay for that repair and you’ll even throw in 5 minutes for the guy to take a bathroom break and wash his hands after the work is done.
If they bill you for mare than 15 minutes …you’re getting ripped off.

Yosemite

1 Like
  1. That video is just amazing and intimidating. The tech must have done this job a bunch of times.

  2. Were the leaves and crud on the evaporator caused by not maintaining (or omitting) the cabin air filter, or do they all look like that after a while? Did the leaves and crud contribute to the evaporator’s failure?

  3. After the tech has the big black ass’y out on the floor (doesn’t he have a workbench?) and he starts taking it apart, at 3:53 of the video he extracts a silver-colored piece with a couple of tubes attached. Is that the heater core?

  1. I don’t think so
  2. Yes
1 Like
  1. In my experience, yes, my air conditioning components collect lots of leaves and “crud.” At least they did when I had a working air conditioner. Stuff like that still manages to get inside the blower motor.

The vehicle in the video is an older car not equipped with a cabin air filter. It is common to find an inch or two of debris blocking the lower portion of the evaporator, the amount of dirt blocking the one in the video is excessive.

Debris in the evaporator housing remains damp for period of time after the vehicle is parked and can cause corrosion and leaks.

The job pays 6.5 warranty hours, about 10 hours out of warranty or in the aftermarket, don’t allow the speed of the video make one believe someone is getting ripped off.

I agree with Nevada . . .

I’ve done my fair share of evaporators, on both cars and trucks

If the dashboard has to come out . . . and it does on most cars and many trucks . . . it’s no 1 hour job

That guy in the video worked earned his pay

1 Like