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How Do I Recharge My Ac

Discussion in 'Minivans · Pacifica' started by greg.owen, Jul 27, 2003.

  1. Racerock

    Racerock Guest

    Just don't get caught selling it. The fine is pretty hefty.

    Where do you live?
     
  2. stu & morpar

    stu & morpar Member

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  3. 94Grand

    94Grand Member

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    I watched it. Oh it was awful. I wouldn't let those guys touch anything of mine! Their electrical testing left out real details. They really just wanted to show the use of their "product", which was a HFC-134a charge can, with integral low-side gauge, and it also contained a leak sealer. Never put a leak sealer into an A/C system!!!!

    Then, they replaced the receiver/drier, and recharged the system. They did not evacuate it with a vacuum pump, check that it held vacuum, pump it down good, etc. They just "charged" it. So the system is loaded with air, which is a non-compressible in an A/C system, and moisture.

    Their "leak detecting" was just to show off the stuff they sell. They missed leak checking most of the system, such as the evaporator, condensor, hoses, compresser shaft seal, etc.

    A much better approach - forget them entirely. Get a basic auto A/C book, such as one from Mastercool, for $20. Then can really learn. To do this kind of work, you need a gauge set and hoses, and know how to purge them of air. Really need to see both high and low pressures to know what you are doing. And opening up a system, or charging a system that has gone down to zero pressure for a while, requires a vacuum pump. A real one, powered by an electric motor. Not one of those horrible venturi tube things powered by shop air. Those will not pull a deep enough vacuum to do a good job.

    You asked what we thought... well, I ripped it to shreds!
     
  4. Astor123

    Astor123 Guest

    There's a StopLeak and not the $6-7 regular size can. It is a smaller can and it runs about $19. It will clog a leak in plastic and metal and it is injected into the system before the freon. You need to fill the line with 134 right after you put in this leak stopping stuff in. It works great and I never had a problem with leaks after I used this stuff. I got mine in AutoZone
     
  5. ImForReal

    ImForReal Likes AA bodies

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    I don't own a Van, but I was reading this post in the van forum and thought I'd add a reply. I have a 1990 Dodge Spirit, 2.5L, 3 speed auto. It was a one owner car with 59K miles when I got it three years ago. Now it has about 105K or so. The AC system is all original, R12, and still blows extremely cold air. I've been very fortunate in the three years I've owned it to not have any AC related problems. The car is 14, going on 15 years old and I consider it a marvel every summer when I turn my AC on, to find it still blowing cold. I live in the Deep south of Louisiana, and the humidity here is just unbearable without AC. My aunt's 1995 Intrepid had lots of AC problems when she bought it new, but my car has been problem free so far. The original owner was a lady in her 50's, and a good friend of mine. I knew the car all it's life and know for sure she never had any AC work done.

    So I agree, if it works and it ain't broke, DON'T FIX IT!! I've been tempted to have mine checked out several times, just for safety's sake, but I've decided against it every time in case they were to mess up something. Plus I can't get R-12 to easily anymore and don't want to go to the expense of properly retrofitting it to R-134A right now.
     
  6. mmahamm

    Level 2 Supporter

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    One word of advice to everyone:

    When working with A/C ALWAYS wear safety goggles.

    I know it's cliche, (like there are stickers on hammers that say wear safety goggles, and who wears them when you are hammering a nail?), but DO IT.
     
  7. malcom

    malcom Member

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    I thought I would update my post in quotes copied here from Nov 2003 in this thread about using a sealer.
    The a/c sealer still works after 20 months but I added about 4 ounces of r134a yesterday just to make it a little colder. The sealer is still working and I would use it again on an older vehicle.
     
  8. ZookGS550E

    ZookGS550E Member

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    My van had non-functional AC when I bought it. Compressor wouldn't even engage. I just emptied a 12oz. can of R-134A into it (95 van, no R-12 conversion needed). Compressor kicked on as soon as I started adding coolant to the system. It took the whole can, and could probably take a little more. It's already blowing cold air, though, so we'll see how it goes. If it stops working again, I may try a can of sealer in addition to another 12oz of coolant.

    I used Napa's "high mileage" coolant, btw. I have no idea what makes the high mileage version different than normal, but it's what was available in a can only (I already have the rest of the recharging kit from recharging my Miata), and with 175k miles on my van, I think it qualifies as high mileage. :)
     
  9. Paul_VR6

    Paul_VR6 Guest

    HELP!

    Sorry for being so dramtatic but I'm in a charging bind.

    Sister in law needed a new AC compressor in her 94 Caravan, so I tossed one in but it doesn't seem to want to charge up.

    I get about 45psi until the compressor cycles on and then it drops out to 0-10psi somewhere.

    It's getting a bit but not enough to trip the pressure switch and keep the system running.

    Using the re-charge kits from a can, and I haven't done much AC work before so I'm probably missing something, please, enlighten me!!

    Any and all help is greatly appreciated! :blink:
     
  10. Tweety Bird

    Tweety Bird Member

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    If you've opened the system and don't have the tools, just take it to the man for a recharge. The system needs to be completely evacuated of all air, then a pre-charge added before the low-pressure switch will allow the compressor to run.

    Take it to the man.
     
  11. Paul_VR6

    Paul_VR6 Guest

    The compressor is running, but only for a few seconds at a shot.. I was going to give it two more cans of junk but if what you say is true I won't bother.

    Crap.. no way to do that myself huh? Vacuum pump needed, etc? Guess the cost of tools is more then the job would cost.. Autozone rent that stuff?
     
  12. Tweety Bird

    Tweety Bird Member

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    Well, you can do it, but you need a way to evacuate the whole system. I have an ejector pump which uses compressed air through a venturi to produce vacuum. Compressed air to make a vacuum? Yep. Anyhow, got it at Harbor Freight. Connect the suction line to the system, the pressure line to the compressor, and let her rip. It makes a LOT of noise, and you need a compressor big enough to pull the system down to nearly a complete vacuum and hold it there for 30 minutes or so. This will get all the air and moisture out.

    Then close the system off, disconnect the pump, and start putting the refrigerant in.

    You'll need a set of gauges to get the pressures right when you add the refrigerant.

    A factory service manual is invaluable in this task.

    I did it with an 89 Dakota. It was a black truck with no AC. I drove it for many years like that, until I started going deaf in my left ear. Went to the boneyard and bought the parts to install it. It actually went together pretty well. I changed the entire heater box (put one that had the condenser in it), added the compressor, evaporator, lines, controls, the whole works. I ended up using the compressor as a core toward a rebuilt one, had to replace one hose with a new one, and buy a new receiver-dryer. In the end, it got a bit pricey, but with the tools I bought, it turned out pretty well.

    If you already have or want to invest in the tools, go for it. It's not rocket science. It's probably cheaper to pay the man, though.
     
  13. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
    Staff Member Supporter

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    Don't forget to put in a new reciever/drier (filter-dryer) unless you want to replace stuff next year too.

    It isn't rocket science but too many people refuse to tend to the details and I'm including irresponsible professional mechanics there. Best bet for a/c systems IMHO is professional a/c shops who specialize in it. There are lots of trustworthy mechanics too, but they're outnumbered in my area by slimeballs who lie about a/c and are incompetent with it. (Same problems with steam heat.)
     
  14. Paul_VR6

    Paul_VR6 Guest


    Thanks for the tips guys. Bit the bullet and had it charged professionally for a mere $89.95 :blink: Has a few leaks I have to fix first, compressor snout seal, inlet/outlet seal and a seal at the pressure switch. Wanted to replace them but couldn't get the parts on the weekend. Oh well. Thanks for the tips and I'll probably pick up the vacuum setup/gauges for the next time I want to charge it.
     
  15. NeonHomer

    NeonHomer Active Member

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    Something I wanted to add to all this..

    I did a conversion on my 85 Chrysler Fifth Ave about a year ago. I had to replace the compressor. I also replaced the drier and expansion valve.

    I had my old R-22 vacuum pump left over from my A/C days (did a complete oil change on it, now it's only for R-134a), and let it pull vacuum on it overnight. Got up the next day, and unhooked the pump and began to add the 134a.

    a little over a year later, it still blows cold, and I have not had to add to it.

    Now for what I wanted to add!! I remember reading somewhere that a system converted to 134a will not cool as well as it did w/ 12. It had to deal with the fact that the condenser was designed for the 12, and 134a requires more surface area to condense back down. On my 5th ave, I was going to scout out a bigger condenser, but I ended up buying a 94 Caravan, so the 5A is sitting in the driveway for now.

    Speaking of R12, I ended up with two 30lb bottles of it, along with five 30lb bottles of 22 and other misc A/C equipment. I got that in lieu of pay, because my boss hadn't paid me for 2 weeks.

    Last time I checked, the bottles of 12 were in the far back corner of my shed, wrapped in oilsoaked cloths to keep the bottles from rusting. I sold 2 of the 5 bottles of 22, and trading one for 2 bottles of 134a. Needless to say, I have freon comin out my ears!
     
  16. adomin1000

    adomin1000 Member

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    I saw some links to epatest in this posting. Anyone have any results and comment as to the relaibility of this site? Just don't like giving out my SSN just to take a test.
     
  17. bob p

    bob p Member

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    (new user - first post)

    i just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's posted to this highly informative thread. i've read all 4 pages, and the thread has answered almost all of my questions about recharging my AC. after reading the thread, i do have a couple of questions, though. i hope that they're not off-topic and that they don't seem stupid.

    i have a 96 Concorde whose AC had been running strong since it was new. a couple of years ago it had a front end collision and got a new condensor at the body shop in December. i didn't notice that the AC started blowing hot until the spring, and it seems that because the defroster uses the AC compressor, the compressor had been running through the winter on an inadequate charge. now the compressor is extremely noisy and the AC blows hot. i imagine that its only a matter of time until the compressor completely self-destructs and needs to be replaced.

    here are my questions:

    1. When the compressor gets replaced, do I necessarily need to also replace the evaporator or the condensor? i was told by a tech that because of the shavings that have been introduced into the system by the failing compressor, either the evaporator or the condensor (i don't remember which) would have to be replaced at the same time that the compressor is replaced, otherwise the shavings in the system would ruin the new compressor. i was told that the manufacturer would not warrant the compressor for replacement unless a receipt was presented that showed that the evaporator or the condensor (i don't remember which) was also replaced at the same time.

    i understand that the compressor's shedding of shavings could cause a problem, but is it true that nobody will warrant a new compressor unless you also change the condensor or the evaporator? isn't it possible to just flush the system and filter the coolant before it enters the compressor? the prospect of replacing all of these components is going to amount to a $1000 repair job, so i'm wondering if i'm being taken for a ride.

    2. when DIY recharging an R-143a AC system that blows hot, how can you determine whether you need to add oil, and how much to you need to add to effectively lubricate the system? should one always use the cans that have R134a (11 ounces) plus 1 or 2 ounces of polyol ester? or do i need to add a fixed amount of oil and then add plain R-143a?

    unfortunately, although i've found a table that lists the charge capacity of the vehicle's system in ounces of R-134a, i haven't been able to find any information that quantifies how much oil is necessary to effectively lubricate the system. at this point i don't even know how much oil (if any) is present in the system, so i'd appreciate some help.

    thanks in advance!

    bob
     
  18. NeonHomer

    NeonHomer Active Member

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    Okay, some dealer service departments try to sucker you into get a condenser when one is not needed.

    It is true some condensers trap particles, but unless it is specifically noted that your vehicle does, I wouldnt, unless the price is right. Get the old condenser and evaporator flushed REALLY WELL, and then have it flushed again. If they still get particles out of it, then the condenser is kaput.

    As for charging the system. If it has not been open for any reason, then you would not need any oil unless it is majorly loosing it somewhere.


    Putting a filter in line would help prevent any shavings from getting in the compressor if you dont replace the condenser.

    Feel free to ask any other questions you feel necessary.
     
  19. bob p

    bob p Member

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    thanks for your help. no, my AC system is not visibly leaking oil. am i correct in understanding that when an AC system loses its refrigerant charge it retains its oil charge? i was under the impression that since the oil and refrigerant are miscible, that the oil would be lost via evaporation as the refrigerant is lost.

    no, i haven't opened my AC system (physically disconnected anything) though it is open to the atmosphere somewhat, as it has a slow leak.

    in a situation like this, should you just refill with 134a, or 134a plus oil?

    thanks again.
     
  20. NeonHomer

    NeonHomer Active Member

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    A little oil is lost when refrigerant escapes, but usually the refergerant is lost as a gas, without the oil..

    I am not sure if adding too much oil will be a bad thing or not. Most likely, the excess oil will collect in the low spots in the system. If you buy a can of the freon & oil charge, I think there is 1oz or so of oil... Adding this should not hurt things

    Remember, that when you replace a compressor, condenser or evaporator, that you have to drain out and measure the amount of oil the part had in it, so you can put correct amount of new oil in the new part.
     

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