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Old 05-12-2011, 10:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Do-it-yourself A/C Recharge?

Ive seen at local autostores these kits that recharge your A/C. They come with a tube of some sort and a pound of freon I believe. Can this be done on a 99 sable with the DOHC? And how easy is it?
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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hi, I believe your 99 sable uses newer R134A not the older R12 aka Freon.

If you do the charge, be sure to buy the canister WITHOUT seal conditioner.
that chemical can cause problems with your system.

you need to identify the low side of the system, follow directions exactly.

Wear eye protection and gloves too, you can get a bad cold burn from the
refrigerant.

get a small thermometer to place in the a/c center vent so you have an idea
how cold the air is when you are doing the charge.

is your system low or empty of refrigerant?

regards
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:24 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I will not recommend to use them.They call them "dead kits".But if you decide to use them do not put anything else in your AC then R134A.I mean no sealants, oil or anything else (most of DIY kits are coming with some kind of crap added to the refrigerant)
In order to properly charge your system you need vacuum pump, manifold gauge and some basic understanding of auto AC.
The problem is that there is no way to tell how much has to be added.
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Old 05-12-2011, 10:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james27613 View Post
hi, I believe your 99 sable uses newer R134A not the older R12 aka Freon.

If you do the charge, be sure to buy the canister WITHOUT seal conditioner.
that chemical can cause problems with your system.

you need to identify the low side of the system, follow directions exactly.

Wear eye protection and gloves too, you can get a bad cold burn from the
refrigerant.

get a small thermometer to place in the a/c center vent so you have an idea
how cold the air is when you are doing the charge.

is your system low or empty of refrigerant?

regards
I still call it freon. sounds better then 134a haha. I dont know how the system is to be honest. It blows no cold air and I was thinking of just doing it myself to save some money.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You still call it Freon is a trademark name for R-12. For clarity sake, call it what it is, it is R134a.

If you don't know what you are doing, you stand to do far more damage doing it yourself. Unless you have a lot of vehicles, you will not save any money doing it yourself unless you have several vehicles. You will need as a minimum, a good vacuum pump, a good set of gauges, a good thermometer, a good book on how to service AC systems, and misc other tools. You up front cost on tools alone is about $200 depending on the quality of the tools.

If you don't know how the system is, you can't fix it reliably. As stated above, you need to know why, how much, where, and what. If you add refrigerant, and it has a leak, it will continue leaking. If the oil escaped too, you will not have enough oil, if no oil escaped and you add some, it will be overfilled. If the system was already full, it will be overfilled. If the compressor is dying, it will die worse if you refill.

A pro can refill for cheap, and most of the time, they count the recheck in the initial price plus any charge that is lost. If you have further problems, they can help fix them.
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Those little cans with the gauge are far from fool proof. They almost always overfill. You cannot fill a system properly by monitoring the low side only. You need a manifold gauge set as a minimum. The el cheapo cans with the gauge won't hook up to a gauge set.

those DIYer kits at the parts store are a "I blew up my AC system, can you fix my screw up" in a can. I think auto repair shop actually love it when customers use those. Because fairly often, they end up causing more damage, which means a larger more expensive repair.

As I stated, just adding refrigerant is never a good idea, because you don't know whats wrong. If your coolant is low, it might help except is has the stupid "leak stop" or seal conditioner that it adds, that will cause your system to fail. If you system has any other problems, adding coolant indiscriminately is the last thing you should do.
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Old 05-13-2011, 10:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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To add to the above..... There are MANY reasons for not "getting cold air out" of the system. Low / completely gone 134a is just one of them. AC clutch not engaging due to coil failure, clutch gap not in spec, failed compressor, failed pressure switch on the accumulator (relatively common problem), plugged orifice tube, etc, etc. Even if the problem is just low 134a, just adding some is not a permanant fix. 134a just doesnt vanish into the fourth dimension..... if the system is low, you have a leak, which will only get worse with time. If 134a is low, you need to find the cause of the leak and fix it.
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Old 05-13-2011, 11:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KhanTyranitar View Post

If you don't know what you are doing, you stand to do far more damage doing it yourself. Unless you have a lot of vehicles, you will not save any money doing it yourself unless you have several vehicles. You will need as a minimum, a good vacuum pump, a good set of gauges, a good thermometer, a good book on how to service AC systems, and misc other tools. You up front cost on tools alone is about $200 depending on the quality of the tools.

If you don't know how the system is, you can't fix it reliably. As stated above, you need to know why, how much, where, and what. If you add refrigerant, and it has a leak, it will continue leaking. If the oil escaped too, you will not have enough oil, if no oil escaped and you add some, it will be overfilled. If the system was already full, it will be overfilled. If the compressor is dying, it will die worse if you refill.

A pro can refill for cheap, and most of the time, they count the recheck in the initial price plus any charge that is lost. If you have further problems, they can help fix them.
Amen.

If you have multiple cars that you service, a set of gauges, maybe a vacuum pump is worth the expense. Harbor Freight has sets for about $50 on sale and pumps as well.

Otherwise, you're guessing on the charge and while the likelihood that adding 16 ounces of R-134 will somewhat revive the cooling, remember that the total system charge is around 34 ounces so you could be less than half charge on a near empty system.

R134 is getting pricey these days and you don't want to waste it by letting it escape through a system leak.
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