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Discussion Starter #1
Oh well, another air condition 101 question. I put 2 cans of freeon in my 99 sebring w the 2.5ltr v6 yesterday. It was blowing hot air and thered wasnt any freeon in it im sure. The compressor turned by hand. I have a multi meter but am not the best at using it at all yet. When I cranked the car up, the compressor wasnt engaging when I turned the a/c on in the car. I then forced it to come on with a paper clip where the fuse is in that junction box under the hood in the area to the right where the battery is. After I got the compressor going I hooked up the hose from the can of freeon w leak detector and leak sealer. That was a little white can and it seemed to take. So then with compressor still engaged I put the 2nd big can of regular freeon in it. There was a little leaking out at the top of the can where the hose punctures the can but I had just used the same little blue hose to fill up sisters car w freeon the other day and hers took just fine. Hose is ok. So I guess im worried about what to do. Any help is sooo thankful over here. Thanks for any advice or suggestions, a lot!
 

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Well, this is not a recommended way to service the A/C. As I understand it, the freon had leaked out partially or fully, so that the compressor would not engage. You then jumpered the A/C relay socket to make the compressor engage, added a can of R134a with leak detector and sealer, and a second can of R134a, which can was leaking where the fill valve connects to the can. So you managed to get most of two cans in.

Several potential problems:
1) Empty of freon does not mean that there is not air in the system. If it leaked out, air went in, and along with it, moisture. Moisture kills A/C systems by causing internal corrosion. Also, water is incompressible and takes up space. Air is compressible and takes up space. So you will be losing some fill capacity to both air and water, which not only hurts the cooling capacity but harms the system long term. You should have pulled a vacuum, seen if it held a vacuum, and put in one can of R134a with leak detector only. Then look with a black light to find the leak and fix the leak.

2) Sealer is bad news for A/C systems. It will likely cause a clog and make the system overpressurize and self-vent, or shut off, or fail. Best to fix the leak.

What is the listed capacity of the R134a? Some cars only hold 20 oz or less. Overcharging is bad, causes higher pressures, leading to self-vent or failure.

Everyone wants to repair A/C cheaply, but the fact is, working on these systems is very dangerous if you aren't trained and if you don't follow proper procedures. And the other thing is that they simply are not cheap to fix most of the time. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that it will cost $500 or more to fix it.

Have you checked for leaks since, with a black light? Is the compressor now engaging? How well does it cool?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, checked for leaks already and havent seen anything yet. But havent checked very well. I will later this evening. Its about a 105 degrees outside right now. Yea, I know just about everything I did was wrong or not right. I knew but I was thinking just like you said. Everybody wants to save money. But after a while of messing with it I knew I'd better check w ya'll. Got a lil worried. So havent seen any obvious freeon leaks yet but havent explored system as well as I could yet. No, the compressor is still not engaging by itself. And how well does it cool, not well at all. No change. Still hot air. I thought there was a couple basic things I could check maybe. Like some resistance or switches or wires? Thanks so far too! All help is great help.
 

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Did you have any gauges on the high and/or low side? That's essential in avoiding problems and making sure you don't overfill or have clogs. I once overfilled when I was young and foolish, and blew up the high side hose. Sounded like a shotgun right next to me. That'll make you think twice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow. I bet you only did that once in your life. Yes sir, Have gauge and low side is at 45. It is saying its exactly where I want to be and that if I put any more freeon in it I may go over and create many problems. I just came in form outside and the air compressor is running by itself. When I take the fuse out it stops running. Put fuse in, running, take fuse out, stops running, etc, etc, and it does it over and over. So, I think the compressor is running fine. But if it is then I wonder why the air is not getting cool. At all. I have plenty of freeon I think, Compressor is running fine, I think, so i'm confused. Its blowing hot air. And I dont have the dial set to heat. Ha! But Ive triple checked everything little and everything I could be overlooking. All good on that. Im lost right now.
 

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The radiator fans should be running to condense the freon as well.
At the firewall, one line (high side) should be warm and the other (low side) should be cold.
If the freon is circulating and being compressed, there should be a temperature difference at the lines. The expansion (H-valve) may have failed if there is no pressure/temperature difference between high and low side.
If the system has been discharged (from a leak) for years and air and moisture has gotten in, the moisture can combine with the oxygen in the lines and form acids and sludge that will kill the system.
Find an A/C service special coupon for a local shop and get the system diagnosed. Like this:
media.jsp
 

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I will bet for sure that since you didn't draw a vacuum first, the system is full of air and that's why your efficiency is so poor.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Im about to bet the same thing Mr Lincoln is betting on. But is there a way that we at home can draw vacuum? An inexpensive tool(s) that I could buy to have at home for situations similar to this one? in S Carolina it gets stupid hot. Humid. Heat indexes jump it up 10 degrees higher constantly. You get wet walking to the car. (in the morning!) But yea, if I could just acomplish a little bit more than I already know I could help with a lot of others down here with an a/c issue. But for now all im worried about is this car. The high side gets hotter the longer I have Lisa hold down the gas at 4k rpm's or so. But the low side doesnt get colder. You know, earlier I checked the pressure with the car off. I got a feeling that wasnt to bright. Doesnt it have to be running to check low side pressure? The pressure was at 45 but the car wasnt running. Is there pressure with motor off? As Imperial said the fan needs to be running. I cranked car up and waited, and waited, and then the fan finally kicked on. So the fan is good. I understand from Mr Lincoln not to go over 20oz of freeon. I think the compressor is good, the high side gets hot, the fans are kicking on, and the pressure probably needs to be checked with the car running. I'll check that and get back. If theres very little or no pressure in the low side, can I put 10 or 16 oz on in and hope? Thanks-
 

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Go to this site and look up the refrigerant capacity for your specific vehicle. It is 26 oz so you are full or possibly overfilled with refrigerant.

http://techchoiceparts.com/refrigerant-and-oil-capacities

You need to have a gauge pressure reading for the discharge side of the system to properly evaluate cooling performance. But as others said if the system were completely empty when you charged the refrigerant into the system, you probably have air and moisture in the system.
 

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There is an environmental certification training for those who handle refrigerants. The days of being able to buy a can of refrigerant or even aerosol spray paint may be on it's way out. Refrigerants are considered a destructive emission.
A tool rental place may loan a "Reclaim/Recycle, Evacuation and Recharging" station, but since you have added a 'stop-leak', you risk the possibility of contaminating or damaging their A/C machine. If you are not trained, don't attempt it. Get the help of an A/C-refrigeration technician. A gauge set and vacuum pump are the minimum tools.
There is no driveway service for DIY A/C refrigerant. Never just add refrigerants or stop-leaks. You need special tools. If the system is low, you have a leak. Fix it first. A leak will usually appear as a wet spot as the refrigerant oil is carried around the system by the refrigerant. A halide gas 'sniffer' can help find and confirm a refrigerant leak.
Evaporators were common leak failures in this era and left behind a musty smelling interior. The green oily stain may be visible on the evaporator core under the rubber grommet behind the glovebox. Don't pull on the temperature probe wires.
Getting it diagnosed by a specialist and doing the part replacement work yourself can be done. Then return to the shop for the proper "Evacuate, hold vacuum, add lube, recharge" service.
 

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I invested in the tools, since I have several vehicles. A vacuum pump from Harbor Freight is $99. The entire manifold hose and gauge set is $50. That ensures that you can pull a vacuum and fill it without getting air in, and also read high and low side at the same time.

With the engine off, pressure will be the same on high and low side - it will equalize. So 45 psi with engine off, in my experience, is too low. Typically I find about 75 psi in full systems with engine off. But don't blindly fill it based on this, because with freon and air in there instead of all freon, you can't fill to the proper level.

At about 70F ambient, pressures should typically be about 200 psi high side and about 20-25 low side. That's a rough guide. As it gets hotter outside, system pressures will be higher, as much as 300 high side and 40-45 low side when it's 90F or warmer out. There are charts available online to guide you. However, regardless, the proper thing to do is draw a vacuum and fill the proper weight of freon in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Nice. Everything about this post is Nice. Thank You. If the system is showing empty or next to none on the pressure gauge, can I draw the vacuum still? And that should get the air and moisture out right? I want a vacuum pump and I def need gauges. Not the gauge at the end of that little blue filler hose either, I need the gauges with the two hoses and two gauges. High side and low side. Then I think I could actually get closer to figuring something out and done the right way, without damaging the environment and wasting all that money on freon. Love to get a reclaim/recycle evacuation station set up but thats prob expensive. If I can afford it i'll get one. Want a "sniffer" also. Will certainly get the chart online and print it. No way will I throw another ounce of freon in this car till I know more. I'll def go to AllanC's recommended site for Sebring capacity too. A real gauge set and a vacuum pump are getting ready to be bought and Im going to learn how to use these tools correctly. Once I get good at finding leaks I'll fix them and be able to install freon correctly. Appreciate all the replies! Im def going to take the time to learn what I need to know and start doing this the right way. I will post in a couple few days after I learn lot more and acquire some correct tools. The 1st car I think i'll try to fix is this one. Hopefully my next post will be explaining what I did to find my a/c problem and what I had to do to fix it. Ya'll have def steered me in the right direction and i'll post with the details in a few more days what I needed and had to do to finally fix this the right way. THANKS! Marc C.
 

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First step is to find the leak with a black light. Without a recovery station, you could let the leak 'take its course' until the gauge shows empty. :whistle:

Then you can make the leak repair; always change the drier canister (about $35) and run the vacuum pump down to 29 inches, which will take a few minutes. Then wait about 10 minutes and see if it leaks more than 1" of vacuum. If not, continue with the vacuum pump for 45-60 minutes to get ALL of the moisture out. If it won't hold vacuum for that long, there is still a leak.

Once vacuum is drawn, you can add the correct amount of freon according to the online source or underhood sticker. Watch the high side gauge and don't let it get over 350 psi while filling - stop if it does. Once it's all in, it should work fine.

This is an abbreviated set of instructions, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Its excellent abbreviated instructions. I'm printing em now! And getting the tools and stuff I need to do exactly what they say in the morning. If there is a leak in a system, should you do a vacuum for moisture/air just in case BEFORE you throw a can of leak detector, then break out the black light, find and repair leak, vacuum again for the 45-60 mins and then fill up w freon? Or no to the vac prior to putting can of leak detector in to black light it? Like maybe a sniffer would be the answer prior to vac? Man, I'm actually looking forward to working on car issue for a change. THANKS a lot! Marc C.
 

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I would draw a vacuum first and see if it holds. If it doesn't, then you haven't wasted the leak detector. If it leaks, then add the can.
 

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It may already have the factory added green (florescent) dye in the PAG oil. You may not need to add the leak detector.
Look for oily stains at the condenser out front (these commonly look stone hits), at line joints where they connect and at the evaporator inside the dash HVAC housing.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ok. Heres where its at now. Theres no leaks. The compressor is engaging all by itself and the air is ice cold. BUT, that cold air only lasts a couple minutes or 5 mins or 2 mins. Whatever the a/c feels like doing each time I turn it on. And, when I give the car a little gas to idle it up ir put it in gear or something like that, it starts getting warm air again. The compressor seems to be ok but it cuts on and off by itself and I sometimes think its not staying on long enough but Im certainly not sure about that or how long the compressor's supposed to run then cut off then cut on then off, etc, etc. What is weird to me is the giving it a little gas to idle it up makes the air start getting warmer after its sitting there blowing good and cold. It just quits with the cold and goes to warm. And the rpm's start jumping around as well every time I turn on the a/c. But when i am just in park and not moving and the a/c is actually blowing cold for those few mins it doesn't seem like the rpm's are jumping. Thats where Im at. These are the current details. Anyone ever had this issue or anyone that knows what this might be Id be grateful for the insight. Thanks lot!
 

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The last pressure reading that you posted, unless I missed something, is that the system was at 45 psi with the compressor off. That indicates that it is low on freon. Typically a full system will be about 80-100 psi or more with compressor off. And typically when the system is low enough on freon to be at the threshold of shutting down due to low pressure/low fill, the AIS motor will be driven back and forth as the compressor engages and disengages, and the idle will be unstable. On one of my cars, the AIS flickered back and forth so fast that it ramped up the idle to 3000 RPM due to the freon leak being on the verge of shutting down the compressor. It was trying to turn the compressor on and off so fast that the AIS could not keep up with the commands.

You need to take high and low pressure readings with the compressor engaged, and also let us know the approximate ambient temperature.

There can still be a leak. If you don't see dye glowing under a black light anywhere underhood, but there is evidence of a leak by way of pressure dropping over time, then it's possible that the evaporator is leaking, behind the dash where you can't see it. But before assuming that, check pressures with it running.
 

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If you empty the glovebox and squeeze the sides inwards, the glovebox stops will release and you can let it drop down. There may be a mesh catch basket behind it that will need moving out of the way.
There is a rectangularish soft rubber grommet about 3"x4" with a connector on it. This is the evaporator temperature probe connector and access. The grommet can be removed to see the evaporator and service the probe. The probe and its wiring is fragile, so avoid any tugging on the wires.
Any dark stains on the evaporator may be refrigerant oil stains indicating a core leak. These were a common leak back then.
If the pressures are low due to a leak, the low-side may drop into a vacuum when engine speed is raised and stop cooling.
The temperature probe should turn off the compressor if it sees temperatures drop below ~36℉ to prevent icing. If the evaporator frosts or ices up, it will also stop cooling. This can also be seen through the evap probe grommet hole.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ok, got the 60 dollar set of gauges and that was supposedly on sale from 70. But anyway, they dont look cheap. Probably are. Theres blue, red and yellow hoses. I hooked em all up correctly. The ambient temp is 85 degrees right now. Heres the readings off the low and high side. After starting the 99 sebring 2.5 ltr v6 with the gauges /hoses attached to high and and low side, I opened the coupler valve and watched the red high side eventually get up to about a hundred psi, and the blue low side got up to 70 when air compressor was NOT spinning, and when it starts spinning it instantly goes to about 50 psi. See, the round piece in the middle of the compressor wont stay spinning. It starts then stops. starts, stops. When its spinning it usually spins for about a minute then stops for about 30 seconds. Sometimes it spins longer or not quite as long but after it stops spinning it always starts back to spinning pretty quick. So 70 psi on the black numbers when the clutch I think you call it is NOT spinning and it drops instantly to around 50 psi as soon as the "clutch" starts spinning again. And again, it spins then stops spinning over and over while car is running with a/c on high. Also it blows good and cold in the morning before I go anywhere for about 3 to 6 minutes. Those old readings were off that blue hose you install freon with. The one that comes with a can of freon. Its is a cheapie for sure. Im doing the behind the glove box in morning when I get that purple or black light from Wal mart or wherever. Ambient is averaging between 70 in the a.m. and 90+ in the afternoon/evening just about everyday now. THANKS!!!
 
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