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Old 04-22-2017, 05:20 PM   #1
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Starcool underhood fitting: sourcing?

Today while doing some underhood work I moved one of the Starcool hoses slightly (really, not much) to make room to remove the fan and shroud. One of the add-on Starcool copper fittings had a joint fail, resulting in an AC refrigerant leak (sorry, ozone layer, and on Earth Day no less...). It's obvious that this failure was waiting to happen; there was no reinforcement between the two copper pipes and the T-junction was not reinforced, either.

Anyways, I need to source a new replacement fitting. I poked around Danhard's site a bit, but didn't see anything that matched. Does anyone know what this might be called, and where I could get a new one? I guess you could call it a "T" or a "splitter," maybe, as the purpose is to tap into the OEM AC system and run a second line back to the rear Starcool. This is from a 1998 Starcool system.

Worst case I guess I could have a local AC shop fab me one, but I think that will be a huge hassle. Alternately, if anyone has pulled out their Starcool system and has one of these laying around (loooong shot), I'll be happy to pay you for it!
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Old 04-22-2017, 10:56 PM   #2
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Have it brazed back together, should be easy.
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Old 04-23-2017, 12:21 AM   #3
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Have it brazed back together, should be easy.

Thought of that, but the tubing is looking a bit crushed there too, probably from multiple times if being tweaked when the hose was moved. But if all else fails I'll go that route. Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2017, 05:23 AM   #4
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It looks like the stock rear set up modified by starcool

Have a AC guy silver solder it back up. Use an adjustable wrench to re-round the pipe.
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Old 04-23-2017, 01:56 PM   #5
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It's copper, easy fix. No need to worry.
As mentioned...
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Old 04-24-2017, 05:02 PM   #6
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Hey Brian,

If you still need this part, I have an extra one that you can have as long as you pay for shipping.

A little background: I was having all sorts of issues getting my starcool working in my van and one of them was what looked like a bunch of pinholes in this very part. I would see a bunch of little green specks of refrigerant die near the three connection points on this part after running the A/C for a while. I'd clean it off and it would show back up pretty quickly. It looked to me like the refrigerant was leaking out through these pinholes. It turns out that it was simply tiny condensation droplets of refrigerant die near the couplings due to bad o-rings in the fittings (make sure you use all new o-rings!!!). SMB North actually sent me one of these parts that they still had sitting on their shelves, and they didn't charge me a thing for it. I ended up installing the one they sent me, but after comparing the two of them, I could find zero differences.

So, you're more than welcome to the part. I cannot say for sure that it's in perfect shape, but it looks to be a lot better than the one that you've got now. You'll want to clean the threads up, also.

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Old 04-24-2017, 06:36 PM   #7
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Hey Brian,

If you still need this part, I have an extra one that you can have as long as you pay for shipping.

A little background: I was having all sorts of issues getting my starcool working in my van and one of them was what looked like a bunch of pinholes in this very part. I would see a bunch of little green specks of refrigerant die near the three connection points on this part after running the A/C for a while. I'd clean it off and it would show back up pretty quickly. It looked to me like the refrigerant was leaking out through these pinholes. It turns out that it was simply tiny condensation droplets of refrigerant die near the couplings due to bad o-rings in the fittings (make sure you use all new o-rings!!!). SMB North actually sent me one of these parts that they still had sitting on their shelves, and they didn't charge me a thing for it. I ended up installing the one they sent me, but after comparing the two of them, I could find zero differences.

So, you're more than welcome to the part. I cannot say for sure that it's in perfect shape, but it looks to be a lot better than the one that you've got now. You'll want to clean the threads up, also.

capn
That would be great! Really appreciate it. How long ago were you able to get the part from SMB North? Curious if they are still stocking these things. I'll PM you with my contact info. The Forum comes through again!

BTW, your's looks more reinforced than my fitting. Mine failed where the top tube was soldered into the main elbow. Over time and moving back and forth the tube started to bend and the weld cracked. They really should have put a lateral reinforcement between the two tubes (I might epoxy a bridge in there or something).
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:42 PM   #8
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It was about two years ago when I contacted them, and it sounded like it was a bit of a surprise to them that they had any left. It might be worth getting in touch with them first though.

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Old 04-25-2017, 11:12 AM   #9
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Hey Brian,

Here are the photos of what I ended up having to do with my compressor after the forward-most fitting broke off when trying to remove the blown hose. The first one is the compressor's body after the new fitting was tig-welded on. It's a much more durable material than the original brass fitting. The second picture is the broken piece and the the third shows where it broke off. Now the compressor works better than ever, likely because I was able to flush out all of the debris and replace the oil with fresh stuff.

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Old 05-13-2017, 02:52 PM   #10
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Got it all back together this week and had the system recharged by a good local A/C shop that didn't seem the least bit intimidated by the Starcool system (actually, he looked at the system schematic and thought it was a clever design). To avoid this problem again, I had him build a short "jumper" hose from the radiator fitting to the brass splitter, and move it back out of the way. The problem with the original one was that the hoses were in the way of the fan shroud, so mechanics over the years likely kept pushing the hoses out of the way, eventually causing the brass fitting to fail and a poorly reinforced joint. I'll take a photo and post when it's not raining out so much.

For people with older SMBs with Starcool (mine is a 1998), you may want to take a look at how your hoses are run in the engine compartment where that brass fitting is (shown at the top of this post).

Props to @capnkurt who totally saved me by hooking me up with a spare part! Comparing my failed part with the one he sent me, it's obvious that SMB redesigned it a bit and beefed it up where the "extra" tube joins the main section.
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