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Leaking A/c Condenser At 340 Miles


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Hi all - just registered as a new member. I bought a new '11 RX350 for my wife three weeks ago. We enjoyed the car very much the first couple weeks until we finally had a warm day in the DC area. Lo and behold the A/C blew out warm air regardless of what temperature we set the thermostat to. We took it into the Lexus dealer (Pohanka in Chantilly, VA) and found out that the A/C condenser had sprung a leak due to something having hit it. The dealer said it was probably road debris and that the damage is not covered under warranty. We called Lexus customer support and they likewise said they would not cover the vehicle repair ($1400 incl. parts/labor). There is no external sign of any damage on the grill or bumper. Looking at the condenser itself reveals a very, very small dent. It's so small I'm left scratching my head wondering how the condenser can be so vulnerable to damage.

Is this a common problem with RX's in general? Needless to say having this issue so soon after we bought the car isn't giving us the greatest impression of Lexus. I happen to be a loyal Toyota customer - I've leased two Camrys and a Sienna over the past six years for my business and my '94 truck is serving me to this day. We also have in the family an '02 BMW 325i and a '99 Infiniti Q45. Neither my wife nor I have ever experienced a problem like this, regardless of the age of our cars. I was thinking of buying another RX for my parents later this year, but now I'm researching other makes/models.

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Hi all - just registered as a new member. I bought a new '11 RX350 for my wife three weeks ago. We enjoyed the car very much the first couple weeks until we finally had a warm day in the DC area. Lo and behold the A/C blew out warm air regardless of what temperature we set the thermostat to. We took it into the Lexus dealer (Pohanka in Chantilly, VA) and found out that the A/C condenser had sprung a leak due to something having hit it. The dealer said it was probably road debris and that the damage is not covered under warranty. We called Lexus customer support and they likewise said they would not cover the vehicle repair ($1400 incl. parts/labor). There is no external sign of any damage on the grill or bumper. Looking at the condenser itself reveals a very, very small dent. It's so small I'm left scratching my head wondering how the condenser can be so vulnerable to damage.

Is this a common problem with RX's in general? Needless to say having this issue so soon after we bought the car isn't giving us the greatest impression of Lexus. I happen to be a loyal Toyota customer - I've leased two Camrys and a Sienna over the past six years for my business and my '94 truck is serving me to this day. We also have in the family an '02 BMW 325i and a '99 Infiniti Q45. Neither my wife nor I have ever experienced a problem like this, regardless of the age of our cars. I was thinking of buying another RX for my parents later this year, but now I'm researching other makes/models.

Take your RX to a known reputable A/C specialist shop/technician.

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I have heard that problem before...I installed a mesh over the front of the air intake to prevent that kind of damage...funny had a 99RX for 12 years and never experienced that...the new condensors must be cheap...cant even take a small hit...I would further be furious with that dealership...If they really wanted customer loyalty they would have covered it.

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Hi all - just registered as a new member. I bought a new '11 RX350 for my wife three weeks ago. We enjoyed the car very much the first couple weeks until we finally had a warm day in the DC area. Lo and behold the A/C blew out warm air regardless of what temperature we set the thermostat to. We took it into the Lexus dealer (Pohanka in Chantilly, VA) and found out that the A/C condenser had sprung a leak due to something having hit it. The dealer said it was probably road debris and that the damage is not covered under warranty. We called Lexus customer support and they likewise said they would not cover the vehicle repair ($1400 incl. parts/labor). There is no external sign of any damage on the grill or bumper. Looking at the condenser itself reveals a very, very small dent. It's so small I'm left scratching my head wondering how the condenser can be so vulnerable to damage.

Is this a common problem with RX's in general? Needless to say having this issue so soon after we bought the car isn't giving us the greatest impression of Lexus. I happen to be a loyal Toyota customer - I've leased two Camrys and a Sienna over the past six years for my business and my '94 truck is serving me to this day. We also have in the family an '02 BMW 325i and a '99 Infiniti Q45. Neither my wife nor I have ever experienced a problem like this, regardless of the age of our cars. I was thinking of buying another RX for my parents later this year, but now I'm researching other makes/models.

I would suggest you take a trip to WalMart and buy a can of 'EZ Chill auto air conditioning R-134a Refrigerant Plus Oil with System-safe Leak Sealer' 18 oz. The tall container comes with a gauge to allow you to properly fill up your system. It sells for about $25. At the same time, you might also pick up a refill container of the same, minus the gauge. The smaller container sells for about $18. If your A/C is empty, the tall container that came with the gauge might not be enough.

Make sure to follow exactly the instruction. There is also another product for bigger leaks. I haven't tried it as the first one I mentionned solved my issue.

I paid ~$1600 to get the A/C fixed some 4 years prior to the leak and I wasn't glad since that particular vehicle was seldom used. So I decided to give this product a try and it solved my problem. Also, I had figured that even if it would only last me 2-3 months and I would end up spending $100/summer to get A/C by doing occasional refills, it would still be cheaper than paying $1600 for 4-5 years of usage.

It is really a bummer to be treated like that by the dealer.

P.S. Make sure to go Walmart early as by mid-summer, all their stock of such products will be sold out and they will only get it again by the fall.

P.P.S. I have never done that on a Lexus. I assume it has the A/C low pressure port that you can access. Also, although this product is for leaks on hoses, gaskets and 0-rings, you might still want to give it a try. If it doesn't work, try the second product I mentionned for bigger leaks.

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I have heard that problem before...I installed a mesh over the front of the air intake to prevent that kind of damage...funny had a 99RX for 12 years and never experienced that...the new condensors must be cheap...cant even take a small hit...I would further be furious with that dealership...If they really wanted customer loyalty they would have covered it.

It might sound childish, but could you post a pic of your setup and tell me where you got the mesh from?

Thanks.

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I actually used window screen on my RX300 tied it on with cable ties through the bumper support struts...worked well.You will laugh but I used a barbeque grill from big lots and cut the grill in half and again attached with cable ties...

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Thanks for the info. But I shall improve on your creation... lol! :whistles:

P.S. I was also thinking about using window screen and re-inforcing with something like 1/4" screen netting.

P.P.S. Does anyone know where the a/c low pressure port is on the second (2007-2009) and third generation (2010+) of RX 350? I know where it is on the first generation, but a quick search left me without an answer for my 2009. Thanks.

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