Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Odyssey of Epic Proportions

I hesitated to tell this tale because of its length-but it let me blow off steam and, perhaps, it can provide solace to those of you who have struggled to get things repaired.
In the summer of 2010 our rear heat pump started blowing hot air in the A/C mode. (Much of what is written here is written in hindsight.) Repairman number one checked the unit out and added freon, missing the fact that years of vibration had worn a hole in the tubing. It didn't blow cold long! Lack of money prevented further repair till the summer of 2011. Repairman number two, a very knowledgeable tech, one of the few we encountered, found the leak and soldered it closed. The unit blew cold for a couple of hours then started blowing the circuit breakers. Diagnosis was that the compressor had gone bad. Now Missy was getting a bit perturbed about the expense and the lack of progress. We then put a window shaker  in the rear bedroom to help cool the coach which helped some. This unit is not manufactured anymore, so I began searching for parts. I succeeded in finding a reasonably priced compressor, but couldn't get it installed until we got on a gate in late 2011. Repairman number three flushed the unit and did a good job of installing the compressor and a service tap on the low side. As soon as we fired it up the fan started making a racket. After finding a fan-no easy deal-we had it installed by repairman number three. The unit would not cool properly and a pressure check revealed that it was overcharged. Repairman number three used the wire from a coat hangar to hang a portable scale from the freon bottle while adjusting the charge. We were assured it was accurate. Remember hindsight here ( -: After adjusting the charge confused repairman number three said the units reversing valve was going bad. I ordered a solenoid for the reversing valve and still had warm air. I called repairman number three, who said I must have screwed up something while installing the solenoid. Or that there was wiring problems with the coach. I found a technician on Craigslist, who asked that we remove the unit and bring it to him to save money  Some weeks later; he was involved in an accident which slowed things up, he brought the unit to us. This was repairman number four and he couldn't figure out how to wire the unit up. Insisting there were missing wires, he jumped the control board and left. He charged us an arm and a leg, saying that he had to replace the solenoid I had just installed because it was the wrong part. Really frustrated, I had repairman number five look the unit over while he was repairing something else on the coach. He patiently checked it out and discovered that the accumulator was freezing up which caused the unit to not cool. He had not come prepared to work on the heat pump, so he said he would return. In the meantime, to cover all the bases, I ordered and installed a replacement board. (BTW Missy had no problem hooking up the wires to the board...HMMM?) Repairman number six really knew his business. After thoroughly checking out the unit, he announced that its freon charge was incorrect. He evacuated the unit and found little or no freon! He installed a tap on the high pressure side and added freon. Voila! We had a functioning heat pump. Had repairman number three realized his mistake, we would have saved over a thousand dollars in parts and labor. 

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