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My beautiful, otherwise flawless 2009 R8, which I purchased 24 months ago, has developed an air conditioning problem. It all started last year, when I took it out of storage. On the first hot day of mid May, I turned on the AC and barely got any cooling. I happened to be talking to a friend who was for many years, high up in Audi management, and who is also a master mechanic. He said, given the age of the car, it's not uncommon for it to need a recharge, to bring it over to his garage and he could help me accomplish that. While not nearly as easy as on normal vehicles, the recharge was fully accomplished and all was fine.

All was well until late July, and while on a weekend trip, and a 90 degree day, the AC suddenly was blowing nothing bot hot air. After we returned home, I arranged an appointment and took it to the areas most highly rated Audi dealership. The identified that a pressure switch in the AC system had failed, and it was replaced, under my extended Fidelity warranty (big thanks to Neil Brenner!). At the time of the switch replacement, the dealers technical staff also noted that the freon was low, and fully charged it. They also added dye to it, so that they could locate any potential leak should the AC performance start to decline. All was well for August and September when air conditioning was needed. In early December, the car went back into its winter storage facility.

Fast forward to this spring. The car is out of storage, all is well, but when the hot weather appeared again, I am driving the car, and again, nothing but warm air from the air conditioner.I took it back to the Audi dealership where it was serviced before. It was literally there for two entire weeks. During that time, after identifying that virtually all of the freon had again gone from the system, per the service manager, they had run four vacuum tests, the last one for six hours. They had put dye in the vehicle, driven it on a hot day with the AC on max, land also left it to idle for an extended period with the air conditioning on max. They had also used electronic sensor wands multiple times in search of the leak. They said they have been over and over every inch of the system, repeatedly during those two weeks and could find nothing. They freely admit that there must be a leak, they simply cannot find it.

I even engaged Audi management about my dissatisfaction with no leak being found. They looked into it, talked to all of the tech personnel at the dealership who were involved, and then communicated back to me that they were sorry, and it was unfortunate, but that at this time, nothing else, insofar as troubleshooting could be done. I was then contacted to come and pick up the car, and pay my bill, which was supposedly lowered due to an Audi Management credit due to the inability to find the leak. At that point, I picked up the car, paid the bill, and drove home. The AC is working now, but it certainly will not for any extended period, because clearly, full charges of freon has leaked twice in eleven months.

In the past few days, in speaking to two friends who are automotive mechanical engineers, as well as my friend the expert mechanic formerly of Audi, they are all essentially in agreement on what they believe the issue is. Per them, an AC system needs to be used regularly so that the internal seals, in particular in the compressor and evaporator, stay lubricated. When I purchased the car two years ago, the original owner who purchased it, had only driven it 17k miles in over nine years. They believe that some, or all of the seals dried out due to that. I am left between a rock and a hard place, because, as they noted, no one at an Audi dealership is ever going to agree to do the massive work necessary to remove and open up that compressor, or the evaporator to see if seals are bad. Unless it's clear one or the other have failed, nothing will happen. So it would seem I am left with having to, at significant expense, recharge the freon every spring, and again in mid July, just to get through the summer. The other option is to simply sell the car, which would be too painful to even consider.

Any thoughts, expertise or perspectives on this unfortunate situation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 

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The compressor is always turning whether AC is on or not. There is no clutch, so the Audi "experts" dont even understand the system they are giving you advice on.

There is no clutch on this ac. It is always 'on' and turning.
 

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that's why i always use the a/c when i use my audis...even winter time. i don't like fresh air and heater anyway so it works out well for me. if you don't use your a/c the freon will eventually leak out bec of the seals will dry up.
 

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I understand that using the AC is very important. I will occasionally run it in November and early December, for the reasons you point out. However, its in storage from no later than early December, until at least mid-April, so no way to do that then. Still, unless the seals in the compressor have already dried out, that time period alone should not cause the problem, I have been told by mechanics.
 

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I also have an '09 that had AC issues. The dealer I ordered the car from replaced everything and no working AC. They had the factory regional rep that lives in Chicago fly in to look at my car. It took him two hours to find the leak, but he did find the leak. My AC blows 40 degree now. If would INSIST the dealer call in the regional tech expert! They can schedule a time when he will be in your town so you are not without your car.
If you PM me I will look to see what he finally found wrong.
 
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I have an '08 with similar problem, no leaks detected but over the last few years has stopped working twice during really hot weather. First time was 2 or 3 years ago and then it happened again last month. Both times a visit to the dealer for a £90 AC service have sorted it. I'm pretty sure it is down to a slow leak from dry old seals too, I didn't used to use AC much. I'm hoping it doesnt get any worse and I can get away with a £90 AC service every 2 or 3 years. Might even just take it to a friend next time to pump some gas in next time it happens.
 

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Refilling the freon yourself is not an easy task. The cold connection is buried underneath the car and takes some work to get to, not to mention a lift, removing a wheel, etc. etc.
 

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Refilling the freon yourself is not an easy task. The cold connection is buried underneath the car and takes some work to get to, not to mention a lift, removing a wheel, etc. etc.

Not really difficult. But you need the right tools if you want to do it right. I recharged my own ac after a failed front high pressure sensor that let out all the refrigerant.

I have a HVAC buddy so I borrowed his vacuum pump and gauges. I drew a vacuum on it and weighed in the proper charge. The high and low pressure taps are under the engine trim on the right side. Pretty easy to get to.

I made a thread about it, and how I weighed the charge into the system. Took a little rigging but not bad. Think the entire fix (including my failed sensor cost me less than $50 to fix.

But for most people I would say take it to a place that services AC and get it done with a proper charge. Also, lots of people report that they went to the higher side of the charge recommendation on older cars. That is what I did and my ac worked perfectly.
 

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Here is the post where I showed how I recharged

 

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I also have an '09 that had AC issues. The dealer I ordered the car from replaced everything and no working AC. They had the factory regional rep that lives in Chicago fly in to look at my car. It took him two hours to find the leak, but he did find the leak. My AC blows 40 degree now. If would INSIST the dealer call in the regional tech expert! They can schedule a time when he will be in your town so you are not without your car.
If you PM me I will look to see what he finally found wrong.
This is the right approach. If the shop acknowledges there's a problem and they, alone, can't fix it, it's time to escalate - that's why they have access to people up the food chain in Audi. It's not cool to say to a customer, "yes, you have a problem - now go home."

As for the A/C, I may need to use mine more often given these stories. I'm usually always driving with the windows down given that I tend to go out on nice summer days. But on the front and back ends of the season (early spring and late fall) I have the windows up, and I'll usually switch on the system to have "crisp" air and certainly not fog up windows.
 

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I also have a 2009 with the same miles and I am afraid I have the same situation. Bottom line: How much did they quote you to replace the compressor?
 
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