AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby Clayboy [OP] » July 28th 2012, 2:59am

So can someone tell me whats wrong with my AC?

This thing has sat for several years, I just recently got it going again. Its a 99, only has 40k miles on it.

The compressor does not cycle on under any circumstances. Low on refrigerant I assume.

Bought this can, followed the instructions, I squeezed the trigger for about 20 seconds at most and checked the pressure, it was still low. I squeezed it again and instantly the Compressor clutch engaged and then cycled off.

I took some video, you cant see the gauge clearly but you can see it rise and fall with the engaging of the compressor clutch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJfCPml0q3s&feature=youtu.be


So what should I do, dump more in? Is the low pressure switch bad?

All input would be appreciated.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby chevymaher » July 28th 2012, 3:05am

Nothing is wrong. Hold that can upside down let it suck the liquid in. Or you will be there all day waiting. You don't check pressure when your filling.
Once you fill it enough to get it to stay on. Then check pressure. With out squeezing the trigger. Then fill some more. Then check again. Till you reach the zone where it charged when the compressor is running.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby Clayboy [OP] » July 28th 2012, 3:07am

So the gauge has to be in the Charged zone with the compressor running?

Maybe Im a fool but I didnt realize that.

Thanks
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby chevymaher » July 28th 2012, 3:12am

Directions are not real clear. You don't know till you done it.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby 'cudapaul » July 28th 2012, 3:12am

Basically, you want continue to fill it until the compressor takes longer to cycle at idle.

Start out with the first can and get it added to the system. Then check the pressure, which will change as the compressor goes on and off. It should vary between (about) 25 psi when it shuts off and about 50-75 psi when it comes on.

Since you are only reading the low side of the system, you won't be able to get the amount of refrigerant exact, but you should notice cooling after the first 12-16 ounces of refrigerant are added.

You can find lots of information on refilling the AC system on the internet.
Proceed cautiously, and with knowledge.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby Clayboy [OP] » July 28th 2012, 3:47am

Thanks,

I guess seeing the clutch engage on and off caught me off guard. I didnt want to add too much refrigerant. Guess Im only halfway there.

Thanks for the help
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby chevymaher » July 28th 2012, 4:01am

Welcome. I have no rear air, only front. It took 36 ounces to get mine to the upper range of full/charged from a empty start. Mine blows ice cubes. Even in extreme heat,100 degrees, I got cold air.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby redfury » July 29th 2012, 5:10am

Ideally, you want to have a gauge on the high pressure side and fill until you reach the proper pressure per ambient air temperature as it will affect pressure in the system. Being slightly undercharged is better than over...you won't blow a seal that way. The engine needs to be running with the A/C on MAX cool. If you turn it off or the engine, the pressure can build up and blow up the can of refridgerant. The LOW side while the system in turned ON is the "SUCTION" side and will draw in the refridgerant...having the can upside down just means that you'll get all the liquid in the can out first, then any refridgerant gasses that it can draw out.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby DEDon » August 1st 2012, 10:45pm

Clayboy, I'm not an expert but, my 2001 Astro hasn't worked in a few years and I ordered a used compressor from a jy on the Internet, last winter. Recently I found a guy that has been really helpful in getting my mother-in-laws mobile home air conditioner running. He did a great job so, I called him after I replaced the compressor and put the used one on.

He said that air in the system causes condensation and the system needed to be "evacuated" before freon was put in. So he came over, last night, and ran a vacuum unit on the system for a little over a half hour until the gurgling sound had almost completely stopped. He said that the gurgling sound was the air getting vacuumed out of the system. With front and rear air, it states right under the hood that I will require about three pounds. I bought a gage set at Pep boys for $60 and he was watching the gages as he put the first 38 oz (two 19 oz cans) of freon in it. I should have asked him what he was doing because I still don't understand the gages and I know that you can overfill the system and then it won't blow as cold as if it is just right. I did go to the store and bought a small can to "top it off," after he left.

My rear air blows cold but, I have a vacuum line broken up front and so my front air isn't going through any of the vents and I'm waiting until tomorrow for the vacuum line to come in at the local Chevy store.

I hope that I shed a little light on your issue. I think that, anytime a system sits for a long time, it probably needs the air and moisture sucked out of it.

I have attempted "topping off the system", before, and it didn't work for me because I think, all along, it needed to be "evacuated."
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby Clayboy [OP] » August 1st 2012, 11:25pm

Hoping my system didnt need to be evacuated. Can I ask what you paid to have it evacuated?

Im already into it for 70 bucks with the two cans. But it was 96 hear today so AC really isnt optional. I put in the two cans and it blows cold now.


My pressure on the low side with the compressor is about 37 PSI. Hope that is about right.

PS why did you have to replace your motor?
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby redfury » August 2nd 2012, 2:16am

37psi isn't terrible, you are pretty close. It doesn't cost that much to have a system drawn down with vacuum, it'll help identify if you have any leaks in the system as you can see if it'll hold a vacuum and for how long. If the vacuum is lost really fast, then there is no point in putting refridgerant in it...it's coming right back out.

The Best thing to do for a system is to replace the orifice tube and the dryer since it will help maximize the operation of the system, especially one that had had atomospheric air in it as the dryer will not be able to pull any residual moisture out of the system. They are cheap, but you need to have the system drawn down with vacuum for sure if you replace any components. The cost for an evac comes in if they need to capture the coolant. Hooking up a vacuum pump and running it shouldn't run any more than half an hour shop time...which could run as high as $75 depending on the shop. Honestly though, I'd bet the right shop wouldn't charge you at all, or only charge you a 20 spot to do it if the equipment wasn't being used and they had a little free time, or if you were patient with them about it....it's good customer service, and they have a better chance of having you come back if your A/C experiment fails.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby chevymaher » August 2nd 2012, 2:57am

To properly pull a vacuum is going to take an hour and a half. It has to sit and hold the vacuum for an hour. Or whoever is doing it has no clue.
Drawing a vacuum take a while. Then it has to sit. If there is moisture in the system it will be boiling out of the refrigerant and oils. Vacuum will drop. Then it must be drawn again. Process must be repeated untill it holds an hour.

Having a leak is a valid concern. It had lost coolant or it would not need charged. mine held 2 years on a charge. Then a year. Then 2 summers in a row it lasted the summer. Next year it only went 2 weeks. Then the seal gave out totally. That whole process took 5 years. My original issue was the seal behind the clutch. I used a junkyard compressor for 20 bucks.

Secret to buying the coolant is buy it in the fall when it is only 10 bucks or so a can. In the summer it goes way up because they know you need it.

I have had my system open 3 times, once for 2 weeks while I re-built my engine. I never drew a vacuum. Never replaced orifice tube or dryer. And like I have said before I have a vacuum pump. I offer a pepsi challenge. Ride in mine and I will ride in yours. See who's air is coldest.
My experiment is working out really well.

If the system has never been open moisture cant get in. Acids are the issue. Acids are formed from overheating the coolant and parts like the compressor burning up. Lock up type burning up. Once a system is closed the dryer can handle anything in the system untill it is opened again.
And if you push it like I have opened many times. The dryer is fine till it blocks then you lose cool air. So if it is working and making cold air all is well. The oriface should never need replaced unless it gets blocked. From shavings from a bad bearing or such. Again if the air is cold there is no problem. A leak is the only foreseeable problem that would need addressed.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby redfury » August 2nd 2012, 6:05am

moisture can get in an uncharged system, especially one that has been sitting unused for a while. I didn't draw a vacuum on my wifes explorer when I opened the system up to replace the evaporator core. Half the summer it was great until something gave. the compressor can kick in, but I get no compressor function. Something blew internally. It's still charged, the system technically runs, but the coolant is no longer getting compressed. Likely it was due to moisture boiling in the system and causing compressor damage. I had a perfect charge as far as low and high side readings went when I recharged it, and there was no loss of oil that was significant, plus I added a small amount to account for the small loss. I plan to replace the compressor with the JY one I picked up, but I will be replacing the dryer and orifice tube, as well as flushing everything I can with a flushing solvent and then running shop air. All O rings will be replaced and then the system will be tested by drawing vacuum on it.

You might be able to get away with opening the system up and recharging it without drawing out atmospheric air/moisture and relying on the dryer to prevent boiling. I'm not taking that risk, there's no point to it as the cost to do it right is relatively cheap for the extra parts on most vehicles including our Astro's. The last thing I want to do is put my rear a/c van back in action and have all of that precious coolant leak out and have to do it the right way when it isn't under my terms.
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Re: AC Recharge question, whats wrong? VIDEO

Postby tedanderson » August 8th 2012, 1:00am

I'll add my 2 cents here.

I've had my system completely open for the better part of 2 months. In fact I had the dryer sitting out in the rain for a few days. Prior to that I couldn't hold any freon because the high side valve was stripped and it couldn't be tightened down.

Long story short, I got a high side refrigerant line off of an older Gen 1 van and used a tubing cutter to retrofit the valve on to my existing system. I went to Home Depot and bought a 3/8" brass compression fitting coupler that's normally used for household plumbing. Then I did some unorthodox custom bends on the line to take up the excess slack and reinstalled the dryer.

After making everything tight, I started the van up, turned on the AC, and started adding the refrigerant. I got 2 cans (12 oz. ea) of the store brand refrigerant and the instructions on the can said to use it in the upright position only. But based on previous instructions that I've read in the 134a retrofit kit that I got 2 years ago, they said to agitate the can by rotating it from the 12:00 to 3:00 position every 10 to 15 seconds. So I went from straight up, to sideways, to upside down hoping that the can wouldn't explode in my hand. :eek:

And after the first can went in, the pressure was very high but the compressor didn't engage! :o Then I realized that I didn't connect the electrical lead to the dryer. :doh: I guess this connector tells the compressor that there is freon in the system so that it does not run dry. Anyhow, I turned the van off, plugged it back in, and resumed the process. When I saw the needle on the gauge go down, I felt much better. :thumbup:

At $15 a can, I could only afford 2. I figured that I would put 2 in now and then run a third can after payday. But surprisingly, I am getting cool air! :banana:

I am getting about 30 psi on the low side.. and I wonder if that's enough or if I need to get it up to 45-55. I don't know how cold it's supposed to be but after having no A/C for most of the summer, any amount of cooling is a welcomed addition. Right now it's working well enough to where you can feel that "bite" in the air that comes out compared to that luke-warm feeling that you get when the system is starting to break down. So I know that the operation was a success.

Also it seems to cool down the van very quickly. I have a thick curtain over my partition wall so I am sure that helps keep the air in the passenger area contained but I am still wondering if my system needs a third can.

The other thing that I notice is that when the compressor engages, it causes a lot of excess vibration on the motor. It doesn't really affect the performance of the van but the vibration concerns me so I periodically cycle the slider knob from MAX A/C to VENT.

OH. Also, when I do hard acceleration or go up hills, the compressor seems to go off temporarily. I don't know if that's normal or if it's a lack of refrigerant. But I assume that the compressor stops because the speed of the fan also varies from when I have it on MAX A/C vs. having it on VENT.

I'll post pics later.
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