View Full Version : Replacing Evaporator (1999 Prizm)

07-19-2010, 05:37 PM
I've used Haynes manuals for many many years, and they are really the best out there. Extremely helpful and accurate. I have a question in my current situation.

My 1999 Prizm won't hold freon, and my mechanic believes there's a leak in the evaporator. According to the Haynes Repair Manual for this model (#92036), Chapter 3 Section 16, removing the evaporator housing for this car requires 1. Removing the glove compartment, 2. Disconnecting the a/c lines at the firewall and 3. removing two nuts and three screws that retain the evaporator housing to the fire wall. Very simple.

But my mechanic insists that in order to remove the evaporator housing much or all of the dashboard needs to come out. And peering behind the glove compartment, he seems to be right. Because there's a black plastic housing that seems to extend in one piece past the opening created by the glove compartment.

This makes a huge difference to me. Because I would do it myself if it's as straightforward as the Haynes manual describes it, but what this mechanic is describing sounds very intimidating. Also, I have no manual to guide me in that approach, since the Haynes manual describes a simpler procedure, as above.

So my question is: does Haynes stand behind this description of the required steps? Can I rely on this description to go ahead and order the part? Or is this perhaps an error in the manual?

If indeed the mechanic is correct, does Haynes have a revised description of the correct method?

You assistance will be greatly appreciated.

07-19-2010, 07:30 PM
Hello Fotheringay-Phipps,

Unfortunately, your mechanic is correct with regard to the instrument panel and HVAC housing assembly removal for replacement of the A/C evaporator on your particular model and year vehicle. Our manual reflects the correct procedure for earlier models (prior to an apparent design change). Yes, the procedure is considerably more involved with the later design as compared to the earlier one. Even for experienced technicians, challenges exist. In considering this undertaking, it's crucial to be absolutely sure of the diagnoses. We can send you additional information for doing the procedure yourself, but the information is intended for experienced technicians and may not provide the step-by-step information that you may require.
Should you decide to do the procedure, email one of our tech service reps at research@haynes.com, or call them at 1-800-442-9637. Give them the number/letter combination on the title page of the manual, just to the right of the Haynes logo; it looks something like this: (4JR - 36055). They'll do what they can to help.

08-03-2010, 07:55 PM
I received the instructions in the mail.

I must say that while it's unfortunate that the manual contained incorrect information, it was very gratifying to see that you stand behind your manual sales to the extent of mailing revised instructions to people who've been misled. Mistakes happen to everyone, but it's what you do when they happen that tells the tale. I've always felt that Haynes was the best of the manuals I've seen, and this reinforces my opinion.

Thanks a lot!

[PS: in this case it turned out that the mechanic may have been right about what it takes to replace an evaporator, but his diagnosis of the evaporator being faulty was incorrect. Having seen the complexity of replacing evaporators, I took it to another mechanic for a double-check and they found and repaired the leak elsewhere. So everything worked out for the best in the end.:)]

08-09-2010, 04:52 PM
Hello Fotheringay-Phipps,

Thanks for your kind comments. We're glad to hear that your vehicle is repaired and that a correct diagnosis saved you a considerable amount of time, labor and expense.