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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, in preparation for driving the car again (finally! Less than two months!) this summer, I've noticed my A/C does nothing at all. When i first got the car, this was the case too - the compressor didn't kick in because most all the refrigerant had leaked out. The car was converted to r134a by the previous owner, so all the little gaskets and such have already been changed out. Thing is, my local shop actually wants to charge me an hour labor(!) to refill the A/C setup, plus the cost of r134 (2-3 pounds i think.)

I've seen at the local auto parts store they sell cans of r134a with a connector hose type thing. Looking at both the Haynes and Bentley, they basically say "go to a dealer and have them do it!" I think that's freaking unacceptable and want to do it myself. How do you fill the A/C system? How do you know when to stop? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-James
 

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How long do you think it will take you?
lol...you can buy those cans at any auto parts store and read the directions. But, it's likely that you have air in the system and all the good stuff. The best way would be to have the shop do it.

Also, if the compressor is not coming on I think you need to put power to the compressor to get it to turn on before you can put any refrigerant in the system. Be careful, as you can damage your compressor. Also, the refrigerant will freeze anything it gets on as it expands (hands, eyes) so be very, very careful.

Dustin
 

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lol...you can buy those cans at any auto parts store and read the directions. But, it's likely that you have air in the system and all the good stuff. The best way would be to have the shop do it.

Also, if the compressor is not coming on I think you need to put power to the compressor to get it to turn on before you can put any refrigerant in the system. Be careful, as you can damage your compressor. Also, the refrigerant will freeze anything it gets on as it expands (hands, eyes) so be very, very careful.

Dustin
i guess you could bypass the compressor charge safety switch to run it, while you're feeding in refrigerant?

and yeah R134 is COLD. I think some thick gloves would be in order. This is sounding a bit dangerous. Might just pay someone to do it for me :-\ makes me feel so lazy though.
 

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i guess you could bypass the compressor charge safety switch to run it, while you're feeding in refrigerant?
Shouldn't have to, I believe the the switch is in the low side circuit anyway so the compressor should kick on once the low side is charged. Then just either use the gauge on the can or the sight glass on top of the reciever drier to determine when it is charged.
 

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I went to a local shop that has a sign out front "free ac check". They topped off my system for $20.00. Last year the system was empty and they charged me about $40.00. Any good shop can check the system and top it off for a reasonable price. It shouldn't take an hour. They will attach the hose, check the pressure, then fill and see if it holds. If it doesn't you have a leak or a bad evaporator, etc. They can check that with a scanner. I would be a little concerned if the PO just converted the system and it's empty. Either it's been a couple of years or there is a leak somewhere.
 

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Doing the AC is not hard but you need a vacuum pump able to pull 32in Hg and a good set of gauges. And know which pressures you should expect with your refrigerant in the high and low pressure sides.

The first thing you need to find out is where it is leaking from. Does it still hold pressure? If so, fill it up with the same gas + leak detector die and then use a black light to find the leaks. Also, if it still has gas chances are the drier is still ok. If you are a really cheap *******, you can also take the drier out (specially if you need to change o-rings) and cook it at 212F+ to bake the moisture off the dessicant.

FYI, after I evacuate the system I like to let it sit, gauges still connected, for at least an hour. In my Volvo we let it sit overnight to make sure it did not leak.
 

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Where in the world is the low pressure side fill ? I cannot find it!!!
 

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It's on the A/C compressor, marked "S" for suction, or it's on the fat tube that goes into the A/C compressor.
Please wear safety glasses if you're playing with this stuff for the first time.
 
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