It's not summer yet, but you wouldn't know it in the Sonoran Desert. Our summer starts in mid-to-late April and ends some time around the week of Halloween. So it may seem that I picked an odd time to fix the Eagle's heater.

But, of course, the irony is that the heater is an integral part of the cooling system, and it had been bypassed because of a heater core leak. Last weekend I de-bypassed it, as part of a larger pre-summer cooling system service.

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I also drained and refilled the coolant and used a wire wheel to clean up the business end of the coolant temperature sensor. I threw some stop-leak in as well, and so far the cooling system works as it should, the heater makes heat (and I haven't seen any evidence of leakage), and the temperature gauge on the dashboard is more functional than before.

So that's cool. Speaking of which, it's time to turn my attention again to the air conditioner. When I got the Eagle, I was concerned that the A/C might be running R-12, the refrigerant of choice in the bad old days. This concern was based on both the age of the car and this sticker on the compressor:

It's expensive and hard to find today, and supposedly it's bad for the environment, but it's less prone to leaks, and has more cooling potential.

I could also tell that some of the fluorescent-dyed refrigerant had leaked...

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and that the system wasn't cooling as well as it should. Before anyone suggests it, "A/C delete" is not an option. While you (most likely) won't die without A/C in this town, you'll wish you did.

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And it's a moot point anyway, because after some research and a look at the hardware on the system, it turns out after all that it runs R134a (YAY!), which is being phased out in the EU but is still the only game in town on this side of the pond. I already had a can of it, so I added some on Monday night to get the system's operating pressure where it should be. So far, so good.

  • Reinstall starter and brace
  • Put in the transfer case
  • New transmission fluid cooler line to replace the one I had to break
  • Fix speedometer
  • New u-joints for the driveshafts
  • A new driver's side CV axle in the front
  • Install new exhaust components
  • Change oil and brake fluid
  • New driver's seat belt ($$)
  • New (stock) rims and tires ($$)
  • New shift indicator cable (which keeps the gearshift from moving accidentally)
  • Service the front and rear differentials
  • New gas springs for rear hatch
  • Insurance, operation permit, emissions, title, registration
  • Flush coolant and repair heater core with some stop-leak and a prayer
  • Fix whatever makes the A/C compressor scream when it's on
  • De-grease the engine bay
  • 4-wheel alignment
  • New under-hood insulation
  • Interior detailing
  • New paint job. Desperately needed. ($$$$)