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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2003 GLS 1.8T. I bought it new at the end of April 2003 with 400 miles on the clock. I live in Seattle which is a pretty mild climate and does not require much use of the AC. HOT to us is the few days a year it's in the 90s. Typical summer weather is high 70s to high 80s, so the AC only gets used a few days a year.

Right around the one-year point (May 2004, 8000 miles) I tried to use the AC for the first time and got nothing. I took it to the dealer under warranty and they had to replac the condensor! Worked perfect for the few days I actually used it. The following year it also worked perfectly for the few days I used it. One year later (May 2006) I turn the AC on and nothing. It goes back to the dealer under warranty and they top it off and add dye. Back to working great on the few occasions that I need it. About a month ago I tried to use it, and again, nothing. Of course the car is a month out of warranty...

I took it in yesterday and they said the condensor needs replaced again, and they can tell by the dye that there is a leak at a seam and they ask if my car was involved in an accident. It wasn't. They said the part is not in stock and will have to be ordered, then it'll be a 10-hour job to fix it and the bill will be at least $1500, plus I owe them $100 for the diagnostic. I was pissed! I tried to explain that this is the third time the car has been in over 3 1/2 years for the same problem and it still doesn't work correctly, and I shouldn't have to pay for it. She said the Service manager was on the phone with VWOA to see what they could do for me... I picked up the car and the Service Manager called me back this morning.

The Service Manager and I went round and round about the car being in a few times under warranty and still not working correctly, But there was no way to make him understand that this wasn't my fault. He said the car was probably in an accident and I told him he could run a CarFax report or whatever he needed to do but that this car had never been in an accident. He went on to say that it may have been bumped in a parking lot, and if it was they wouldn't be responible. I told him there wasn't a mark on the car, but he said you could just tap the front end and the condensor is damaged.
He then explained that VWOA wanted me to pay $500 for the system to be torn down so they could inspect it, and then they would decide whether or not they should help me, but since my car is out of warranty I need to take responsibility for my vehicle. I told him it was rediculous that I had to pay anythng and he guaranteed that, at best, VWOA might pay for the condensor but I would pay the rest, but they could also choose not to help me at all, and I could apply yesterday's $100 diagnostic fee toward the rest of the job or he would send me a bill.

I'm so pissed off right now I can't even think straight! I don't need AC very often, but the point is that I've brought it in a couple times for the same problem and it still doesn't work correctly, and if I only need AC 5 or 6 days a year I'd like it to work without having to take my car to the dealer annually, especially since it's now out of warranty.

Anyone have suggestions on what I should do next? Right now it looks like the best case scenario will stil have me paying at least $1000 out of my own pocket. What would it cost to charge the system myself? It might all leak out within a year, but that's all I'm getting now.

Thanks,
Mike
 

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Yes, one of the things I don't like about our VW is that VWOA is sucks! Bad customer service.
Did you try to go to a local Indy near by you and get estimation from them based on your situation or going to another dealership?
Because if dealer doesn't want to help, there is nothing you can do, unless if you want to make it legal issue (law suit) with them which will take time and there may be a change that you'll get nothing at the end.
Another option, have you ever thinking about selling it (to get rid of the problem) and get another one?
Tough situation, if I were you I just sell it and get another one if you still like B5.5 but that's just my two cents. Good luck.
 

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Skip out on giving any more of your hard earned $$$ to VWOA and find a good independent shop to diagnose problems with the A/C system.

After everything is fixed, you should run the A/C compressor at least ~15 minutes every month regardless of the weather so that the seals stay conditioned and oil gets circulated throughout the system. I've been doing this for nine years...no A/C problems so far.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The more I think about it I don't want to give them a penny. I shouldn't have to.
How much are the AC recharge kits at the auto parts stores? Are they fairly easy to use? That will at least get me by for a while and I won't be out $1000-$1500.
 

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When you get it fixed, be sure to turn on your AC for 5 minutes every month. If you go a year between turning it on, you'll have your seals dried out, shrunken, and leaking. That's the way to keep it running once it's fixed up.
 

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The A/C recharge kits really don't work very well. If your system isn't cooling as well, I'd find an independent shop to charge the system properly for you.

SirWired
 

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It's easy to damage a condensor. Stones kicked up on the highway could do it on any car. You need to see why and where it is leaking. Since they already put the dye in, a black light should be all you need.
 

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I'm surprised you never seem to need to use your a/c, since that's the best way to de-fog the windscreen. When it's raining or even in winter, if the windscreen fogs up, I flip the dial up, turn on the a/c and just turn up the temp up a bit so it's not cold. It seems in modern systems, the a/c runs the de-fogger. I easily run my a/c every month of the year.
 
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