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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 01 Taurus SEL had this slow refrigerant leak for a couple of years. My former mechanic did a leak check but I chose not to replace the whole thing (do not remember exactly where, but am sure the price was not cheap). So I ended up having my mechanic recharge it every other year or so. Now the car is my wife's daily commuter and she complained about the AC not blowing cold air today.

I called around and the cheapest check+refill I could find is $100-120. Of coz I'm not certain if the recharge fix it or it's something new. So what's my best bet? Buy a recharge kit and refill it to see if it works?

Any recommendation on the refill kit? There are just so many different kinds of kit listed on AAP website.

Thanks a lot.
 

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Depends how much you need. If you don't need a gauge you can probably buy R134a for around $20 bucks a can from AutoZone or the like. Bigger kits can be $50 or so.
 

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My 01 Taurus SEL had this slow refrigerant leak for a couple of years. My former mechanic did a leak check but I chose not to replace the whole thing (do not remember exactly where, but am sure the price was not cheap). So I ended up having my mechanic recharge it every other year or so. Now the car is my wife's daily commuter and she complained about the AC not blowing cold air today.

I called around and the cheapest check+refill I could find is $100-120. Of coz I'm not certain if the recharge fix it or it's something new. So what's my best bet? Buy a recharge kit and refill it to see if it works?

Any recommendation on the refill kit? There are just so many different kinds of kit listed on AAP website.

Thanks a lot.
If you have on going issues, it might pay you to get a R134 gauge set
to help you see whats going on. Harbor freight frequently has them on sale.

If its still working with the compressor running, you could just try one
can at a time and pray. A can of 134 is about 10/15 bucks. then you will
need a can tap kit also.

At this point if you refill it, you might as well buy a can of R134 that has
UV dye in it, and then track down the leak after the AC is run for awhile
 

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Yeah and one other comment. You didn't specify but if this was a sudden loss of cooling instead of a gradual one, then you have a new problem that topping off the refrigerant isn't going to resolve.
 

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Yeah and one other comment. You didn't specify but if this was a sudden loss of cooling instead of a gradual one, then you have a new problem that topping off the refrigerant isn't going to resolve.
If its empty, that's a whole nother ball game. you really should NOT refill
a empty system until its pumped down and leaks fixed. At the least if its
empty, i would replace all the o rings and any other known leak issue
before pump-down and refill. If its pumped down and does not hold vacuum,
there is another leak out there somewhere.

The condenser in front of the radiator should be inspected for any impact
damage from objects that might have caused a pin hole leak in the condenser.
There may be a oily spot around the leak.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Can you guys recommend a brand/type of refill kit? I guess I'll have to go with those with gauge. Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah and one other comment. You didn't specify but if this was a sudden loss of cooling instead of a gradual one, then you have a new problem that topping off the refrigerant isn't going to resolve.
The problem is AC comes and goes, some times it blows cold air immediately after starting, some times it just blows air for a while then started to cool down.
 

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At this age car, likely loss is from compressor seal. Remember you are also losing oil so you may want to choose a charging kit that has oil as part of the charge.

R134 is getting expensive; unfortunately, a compressor seal overhaul and/or other replacement components is even more expensive and if you are not thinking long-term ownership (5 - 10 more years), it won't pencil out to get it fully repaired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
At this age car, likely loss is from compressor seal. Remember you are also losing oil so you may want to choose a charging kit that has oil as part of the charge.

R134 is getting expensive; unfortunately, a compressor seal overhaul and/or other replacement components is even more expensive and if you are not thinking long-term ownership (5 - 10 more years), it won't pencil out to get it fully repaired.
Exactly. I only plan to keep this one until next spring at most. Actually I dug out my receipt from my NC mechanic for this problem, they did a leak test in 08 and 09 but did not find out leak, so they top it off and it last through these years. Compared to their price (41 for leak check +top it off), these guys in MD are asking way too much for the same service.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)

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Tho I have never used it, the general advice is avoid sealant unless you have a short-term exit strategy for your car/AC as it could cause further problems down the road.

The standard R-134 charge is I believe 34 ounces so almost 3 12 ounce cans will be needed if it is completely empty.

All R134A is synthetic - it is not refined from anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Looks like almost all of the A/C refill sold on AAP has either oil or leak sealant inside (listed in the specs) which make me worried. Upon reading in the forum, I've seen people saying both not adding anything beside R134A and add oil (says you) or leak sealant.
 

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The issue with the sealant is its potential effect on the orifice tube. Sealants work by getting gummy when exposed to oxygen. That's why when it runs to an outside opening, it hardens and hopefully seals the hole.

If you have sealant running through a system and for whatever reason have to open it up to the atmosphere, when air enters the system, whatever sealant you have in the system that is exposed to air is likely to change state to gum and potentially block off close passages like the orifice tube.

If you are going to ditch the car and never plan to have the A/C overhauled, go for it. It may solve the problem but be aware of the possible consequences.
 
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