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Hey everyone. I have a 92 Shadow with a 2.2 and 87k on it. I am having some electical issues and was wondering if someone can help. The problem started with charging up my A/C the other day. The car took freon and the A/C was working great. The next day, I went to start the car, and these weren't working: the turn signals, blower motor, rear window defroster, radio, and the airbag light was on. I drove it to work that way. After about 4 or 5 hours of it sitting at work, I went to start the car and everything starting working again, except my A/C. I push the button, and the A/C compressor won't even turn on. If anyone has any ideas on this, I would appreciate the help.
 

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Possibly an ignition switch wasn't fully in the 'Ign' position? Try rocking the key a little towards 'Off' and 'Start' to see if the switch may be getting touchy.
You will need to trace out a possible wiring problem while the vehicle is acting up as there won't be anything to trace with everything working. Look for corrosion, melted plastic or partially connected plugs. Use the diagrams here for wire colors and routing:

http://www.autozone.com/autozone/repairinfo/repairguide/repairGuideContent.jsp?pageId=0900c15280268885
 

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It does sound like the typical ignition switch problem. There is one contact inside the switch that engages certain accessories in the "run only" position. That contact can get burned and sometimes doesn't make connection. Also, after you remove the steering column shrouds, look for a burned wire or connector right where it plugs into the ignition switch.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I will move the key a little back and forth and see what it does when I go to work later. So, if that is the culprit, I would assume the ignition switch would need to be replaced, if the wires are ok and not burnt?
 

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Simmer71 said:
Thanks for the replies. I will move the key a little back and forth and see what it does when I go to work later. So, if that is the culprit, I would assume the ignition switch would need to be replaced, if the wires are ok and not burnt?
Correct. There is a trick to changing the lock cylinder from the old to the new switch. Sometimes the instructions come with the switch, but if not, search for the instructions or use a manual if available. We can always look it up. I reluctant to test my memory but I have posted the procedure before on this board. You will need a set of torx screwdrivers for the column shells and security torx bits for the switch/lock combination. This is not a difficult job.
 

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The security torx have the hole in the center of the bit to accommodate the pin in the center of the star. The tools are more common now than they used to be (A good(?) car thief wouldn't waste time unscrewing an ign switch). Try Harbor Freight unless you know someone you can borrow the tool from. Steering wheel and airbag don't have to come off, although you want to disconnect the battery for safety. Reset the clock after the service.
As long as there is no internal burning, deep wear or breakage, I have disassembled and serviced ign switches successfully. The 21 year old grease has probably dried into wax and the copper contacts have tarnished. Do it over a workbench and watch for a key-in switch spring. Very gently and slightly re-bend the rotary contact tangs toward the stationary contacts. Reassemble with fresh light grease.
If the key cylinder itself is worn or the pot-metal switch actuator end has broken (fairly common), a locksmith, dealer or a hardware store that advertises auto lock cylinder repair may be able to code you a new replacement cylinder for your key.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I work at a dealership, so the torx and the security torx isn't an issue. Lots of techs have a set of each. I haven't had the issue since the day I posted this, excpet the A/C still won't come on. I started the car and moved the igniton switch back and forth a little and had no problems, other than the A/C not working, which may be a another issue with freon, etc. I did notice the ignition switch feels loose when I turn the key, but the key will stay in the switch. Later on in the week, I will take out the switch and have a look at it and see if it's what you mention.
 

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The lower steering shroud unscrews from underneath and both plastic upper and lower halves can be removed for inspection and servicing of the upper steering column components without removing the steering wheel or airbag.
The main symptom of the pot-metal end-piece breakage on an ign key cylinder was not going all the way to the start position when the key was turned. Find out where the looseness is.
If your dealer still has the old paper service manual for the car, use that as a guide. The Spirit/Acclaim (AA) vehicle was similar electrically and steering column-wise.
Your A/C system is still the old R-12 type system. This refrigerant is becoming unobtainium nowadays. A refrigerant leak would likely also have a wet oil spot along with it. Diagnose the A/C first, then see what might not work. Electrical can be intermittent.

Edit: I just noticed your other thread in the EEK section. You will need to locate and address the refrigerant leak before refilling it. You must be converted to R-134a?
Some of the R-12 components don't work well with the newer stuff, even with the 'hybrid' refrigerant oils. PAG oil is not compatible with the seals and R-134a may not reach the correct pressures with an R-12 compressor.
 

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Simmer71 said:
I work at a dealership, so the torx and the security torx isn't an issue. Lots of techs have a set of each. I haven't had the issue since the day I posted this, excpet the A/C still won't come on. I started the car and moved the igniton switch back and forth a little and had no problems, other than the A/C not working, which may be a another issue with freon, etc. I did notice the ignition switch feels loose when I turn the key, but the key will stay in the switch. Later on in the week, I will take out the switch and have a look at it and see if it's what you mention.
So if all the other items have started working (i.e. blower, rear defrost, turn signals, and air bag light is now out), then your none working AC is not related to the ignition switch. There is another problem. With the AC ready to come one (AC button pushed, blower on, and vehicle running), try tapping the relays on the driver's side inner fender.to see if the compressor kicks on. I had a dirty contact once in the rediator fan relay and just tapping it caused the compressor relay to come on. I replaced both the radiator fan relay and the AC compressor relay and that took care of my problem. If you have no luck there, have one of the techs check your system pressures. They may have to bypass the low pressure cutoff to get the compressor to start..
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks again for the info. Just for a test, I did bypass the low pressure cut off, and the compressor did start. So at least I know the ignition isn't the issue, or the A/C switch. The sight glass was nothing but liquid, no foam, and no bubbles. I have yet to check the pressures, but it's either: all the freon leaked out and it's just oil floating around in there, or what ImperialCrown said, R134A isn't compatable with my system. Looking back on this, right before I converted the R12 to R134A, the system worked just fine. Driving down the road with the blower on high on recirc, the air was about 40-42 degrees at the center panel vent.
 

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If it worked fine, why did you convert? How did you do the conversion? What oil did you use? How did you judge how much R134a to put in? Did you draw a vacuum first?
 

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Bob, the reason I switched was because I was knew it was getting hard to find cans of R12, and with the car being old, I figure I would have to recharge it when it needed to be. I used the R134a retrofit kit I got at a parts store, with all the seals and other goodies. The only thing I didn't change was the compressor and the part with the sight glass, and had my dad use the machine at work to evacuate the system, add the oil and recharge it. What type of oil I used escapes me at the moment, but it was added then recharged. I will say I actually wish I would have just kept the old R12 system. :facepalm: . It worked, and I didn't have any issues with it. I am one of those, "if it's working, try and make it better" type of people, instead of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" people.
 

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Yes, there was no reason to convert until it actually died. My 92 Dakota still has its original R12 system and works great.

You should have used ester oil for the conversion, PAG will clog and kill the system. And the drier canister should always be changed when converting and when the system is opened.

The capacity of the R134a charge should be about 85% of the original R12 charge, and also judged by pressure vs vent temperature.
 
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