Sometime back, the little vacuum door that redirects the A/C to the 2 middle vents (vs. sending to the windscreen & side vents) stopped working.
So now, the only places it will blow air out (A/C or heater) is the 2 side vents (not enough flow) and up the windscreen (useless).
(Aside: I can't believe they made that the default, rather than have the air come out the 2 middle vents as the default. If the vacuum breaks, you still get maximal airflow through the middle vents.)
As a result, I've had to make do with turning the A/C on Max Cool with High fan setting to get enough cold airflow when the temps get up over 85°F here in Los Angeles. It can barely keep up.
I finally took it in and asked my mechanic to fix it.
Problem #1. He told me that the refrigerant was leaking someplace, so that's why the cool air coming out the side vents wasn't all that cold. He drained and refilled the refrigerant to fix that.
Problem #2. He then said that the leak was likely coming from the evaporator(?), and that the vacuum leak was coming from the "heater box". He said the evaporator was also inside the heater box, so to kill both birds with one stone, he'd have to get into the heater box.
The catch? "You have to rip apart the dash and the firewall to get at the engine box. By the time you're done, you can actually see the engine from the driver's seat. It's about 20 hours' worth of labor just to get at the thing.
At $80/hour for labor alone, just to pull the box out becomes more money than my 1989 W124 300E (with 201,000+ miles) is worth!!!
Is my mechanic slow? Or is this basically the
worst possible positioned assembly in the whole car, and sooner or later, you're stuck with having to get it out to fix it?
After looking at this page (with over 130 steps!!!): MercedesShopWiki: Replacing the A/C Evaporator
, I'm starting to think he might be right
Is it time to take her out back and shoot her in the head?