Thanks to everybody for the advice and enlightenment.

For the most part, you have all reinforced what I was thinking.  Just
wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Actually, the evaporator itself is probably not leaking.  The service
adviser described the leaks as being in the o-ring joints that connect the
several lengths of aluminum tubing connecting the front condenser to the
rear evaporator setup.  Those joints were all too corroded to separate.
Presumably the tubing connections at the rear evaporator were similarly
corroded. Of course the dealer's solution is to rip it all out and replace
it. And from a dealer's -spare no cost to the customer- perspective this
makes some sense.  When I googled the problem, I saw some photos that
showed the couplings are aluminum, tapped and held together with steel
bolts.  As you would expect, a little road salt would make the dis-similar
metals fuse into an inseparable mass. It would take mucho time, skill and
tools to replace just those joints.

My wife says she doesn't care about the rear air conditioning, now that the
kids left the nest.  So I'll probably plug or bypass, as appropriate, the
lines to the rear.

To keep the records accurate, I can't speak extensively about Toyota, but
this Sienna has been remarkably trouble free for the last 175,000 miles.
The four Mercedes diesels I've driven over the past 30 years have never had
an air conditioner failure.  The only significant air conditioner failure
we have ever experienced was in a Dodge Caravan my wife previously drove.

Thanks again for the advice and help,
Ned Kleinhenz

Heat the joints with an acetylene torch. Heating dissimilar metals with break the nearly unbreakable bond. A microtorch may generate enough heat for this.


Was the caravan a pre-97 boxy kind?

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