Get Cool Without Getting Ripped Off
Many on-board-air systems come into existence directly after a guy takes his Jeep to a shop for an estimate on fixing the A/C system. All too often, the shop comes back with a quote of right around $2,000 when the parts total is well under $1,000. Anyone who can fix a brake system or power steering system can fix an A/C system.
The reason the shops get away with charging so much is because so many of us don't really understand the automotive (or any) A/C system. It really isn't any more complicated than many of the systems we already understand, we just haven't had it explained to us in the right way.
When I scored my new Comanche, as with every other Comanche I'd ever owned, the A/C didn't work. With this truck, it was because the condenser was hammered from an accident. Even I could see that. Like with the other MJs, I went to a few shops and got the $2,000 estimates as expected, so I decided to see if I could fix it myself.
A quick Internet search turned up Jeep Air. I sent an email about the shops charging too much, how I wanted to figure it out for myself, and how I needed some tech help. I then got a quick response. I was planning on doing this one outside the magazine; it would keep Cappa and Hazel from razzing me too much and I wasn't sure it was really worth a story, so I didn't include my title, my job, or anything (I was just some guy off the street).
The response I got floored me. The guy at Jeep Air responded with things like, "I hate that shops take advantage of the consumers," and "It would literally take under $700 to replace every part in that A/C system," and "I'm actually working on a book that covers this very subject right now." I was further shocked to see that the email was written by the CEO of the company himself, Jon Delucia.
I wasted no time in wasting his time asking all kinds of technical questions, and he batted every one of them back to me with clear and concise answers. I soon came to the realization that A/C wasn't that hard to understand, explained to Jon who I was and what I did, and asked if he wanted to help with a story. He agreed immediately and further decided the only way to really learn was to do it hands-on, so he flew out to Jp magazine's corporate headquarters to share 19 years of A/C repair and diagnosis with all of us.
So join us on the other side of the shroud of A/C mystery as we team up with Jeep Air to explain the ins and outs of A/C systems and explain symptoms you might see when parts go bad.
Jon Delucia is working on a book that goes much more in-depth than we were able to here and it should be available soon after you read this. Also, Jon sent us a huge four-page, single-spaced mini-story in response to some of our questions, which we used in this story. If you want to see the entire four-page answer which gives a bit more background and other information, we've got Jon's story right here on the following pages, starting on Page 2!