Honda Civic A/C Thermal Protector

I was in a low speed collision in April, requiring the replacement of a good deal of the front of my 2002 Honda Civic, as well as my A/C condenser (see below for full list). I went to the auto body shop (Shop 1) that my insurance company recommended. After approximately 10 days, I had my car back but immediately noticed a short, repetitive humming noise accompanied by a brief jerking feeling that happened only when I had my A/C on. After giving Shop 1 several attempts at fixing it (and their admissions that they had no idea what was wrong and it would need to be taken to the Honda dealership for more testing), I brought it to my regular shop (Shop 2). After a few hours, Shop 2 discovered that the A/C had been overcharged and just needed to be charged appropriately. After they evacuated and charged the system, the noise and jerking sensation completely vanished. I didn?t use my A/C much after that ? mostly to clear moisture off my windshield.

After a cool and rainy spring and early summer, my A/C got its first real test in late June. After driving most of the morning with a functioning A/C, it no longer worked when I got back in my car after it had been sitting in the sun. After that, it worked intermittently, mostly when the weather was cool. I brought my car back to Shop 2 and they determined that the thermal protector was no longer working properly ? the thermal protector was extremely corroded. Shop 2 replaced the thermal protector and the A/C is working like new again.

My question: is it more likely that the thermal protector became corroded over time or because of Shop 1?s negligence? I?ve been told that a failure to ?draw down? the system after installing a new condenser (with dust and moisture accumulated from sitting on a shelf) may have introduced corrosive materials to an otherwise closed system and cause the thermal protector to corrode. I?m also concerned that having the A/C system taken apart for close to a week could also be the reason that the part started to corrode. Shop 1 and the insurance company guarantee their work, so if this problem was caused by their repairs, they should be responsible for the $370 it cost to fix it.


Parts Listed on Shop 1?s Bill:

1. Front Bumper

2. Upper Tie Bar

3. Center Support

4. Battery Hold Down

5. Grille

6. Cover (front lamps)

7. A/M Capa Rt Lens & Housing

8. A/M Capa Hood

9. Right Hinge

10. Left Hinge

11. Molding Sedan

12. Lock

13. Right Radiator Assay Upper Bracket

14. A/M Condenser