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2004 Mazda 3i AC repair... $2800.00?!?

Discussion in 'Car Forum' started by grenadier, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. grenadier


    May 4, 2000
    Sounds crazy, but this morning, my AC stopped putting out cold air. The fan still blows out air, and I can hear the compressor working, but no cold air comes out.

    Anyways, I took it to the Mazda dealer, and I just got a call from them... They want $2800 and one week to repair it. They claim that the way the vehicle is designed, that they'll have to rip out the dash, and the front fender, to get to the AC unit, to replace the compressor and clutch assembly.

    $1400 in parts, $1400 in labor.

    The way I see it, there's no way I'm going to go through with it, and I'm going to get another opinion tomorrow morning from the nearby garage instead.
  2. engineer151515


    Nov 3, 2003

    I guess it is a complication of cars becoming smaller and smaller but you have to think that some


    could design a more maintenance friendly system - particularly for AC.


  3. Sm0key369


    Jun 1, 2005
    Las Vegas, NV
    If it is still blowing somewhat cold air, but not enought cold air, you may have a leak. You can actually get a chep leak detect kit from auto zone. 1# of collant should fill it back up. For $20 you can get the fill hose, with gague, and a 20oz bottle. Pretty simple. May cost you $7 a month after that to keep the a/c cold. 2-3 months out of the year.

    Do you hear a loud click, normal operation? If so, the compressor still works.

    If it is the compressor, or something more serious, then it will cost good money. Not sure about $2800, but it won't be cheap.
  4. FoxMustang

    FoxMustang We Deal in Lead

    Dec 15, 2001
    I can understand the front fender, but why would you need to remove the dash to replace the compressor and clutch? Sounds like they want to replace the evaporator, too.

    I'll give a +1 to checking the charge yourself first off. Don't automatically shotgun more refrigerant in, check the pressures first using the AutoZone kit to see if you really need more. (More refrigerant does not equal more cooling, you need a specific amount.)

    Believe it. Cars are designed to be easy to manufacture, design for service is a secondary concern except when it may affect warranty repairs.

    My brother tells me the first step in changing the evaporator in a Jeep Grand Cherokee is to remove the front seats :shocked:
  5. epsylum

    epsylum Boolit Hoze

    Sep 4, 2004
    Racing Capital, USA
    In my parents Mercury Sable (an '02 IIRC) the heat was stuck on. They took it in. $10 part, over $1000 for labor.

    Mazdas are Japanese Fords unfortunately.
  6. bps72


    Jul 12, 2007
    I spent over a year thinking about a Mazda3s, but every time I drove it, the A/C felt like crap. I too, live in AL, and A/C is a must. In that time, I read Edmunds forums and looked at Mazda forums and saw that the poor A/C was a widespread issue, with some people calling it acceptable and others pathetic. I heard they fixed it, finally, but I bought a Civic sedan instead and am happy with my decision.
  7. grenadier


    May 4, 2000

    I may just end up trading it in, if the other places agree with the dealer... I'd hate to do that, since this car has been great for me, but no way am I going to spend that much $$$ for a repair, when the trade-in value of the vehicle won't be affected too much by the "lack" of AC.
  8. grenadier


    May 4, 2000
    Well now...

    Looks like my mood went from horribly sour, to a much more calm state, once I took it to a smaller garage place.

    This place said they could do the job for about $850.00, including parts and labor. Basically, they'd replace the compressor and evaporator.

    While this means I'll have to hold off on my Bushmaster M4 purchase, at least it's better than having to hold off for my next several gun purchases.
  9. bps72


    Jul 12, 2007
    I hope you have better luck. Could it be you had a slow leak from something like a rock hit to the condensor? I've heard that moisture in modern A/C systems can cause pH changes in the lubricant and corrosion that precipitates compressor failure, as would the loss of oil altogether. Mazda really seems to have issues with A/C performance and I couldn't overlook those, no matter that the 3s was otherwise a nice handling car with decent performance when equipped with a manual.
  10. Sulaco

    Sulaco Guest

    The only car I ever regret selling was a 2005 Mazda 3 GT. I loved that car. It was grey with dark tinted windows and a manual transmission. I could haul stuff that I never thought I could've hauled. I took it up to the top of Currahee in Toccoa, GA, I've been down some real steep and rocky roads and across a creek in it (all on hiking trips). It got 29-32mpg, would outrun a stock Mustang GT (the older body style) and looked good doing it. I loved that car.

    But yes, the AC was weak and my buddy had an '04 that had clutch troubles. I think all imports are expensive to work on with Honda at the top of that heap.
  11. bps72


    Jul 12, 2007
    But Honda has fewer issues than Mazda and most of the others, so that counts for something.
  12. Defenatly take it somewhere else to double check but I wouldn't doubt that they have to take apart odd parts of the car to get to things.

    One of my good friends is a mechanic that works on only import cars and he tells me all the time about how he had to do 37 steps to replace something small because of the way that alot of asian imports are built that arn't mechanic friendly.