close

Privacy guaranteed - Your email is not shared with anyone.

A/C Recharge for vehicle

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by Mr King, May 26, 2012.

  1. Mr King

    Mr King XD40 Service

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Messages:
    966
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Indiana
    Im wondering if it is worthwhile to attempt to recharge the A/C in my vehicle myself (never done it before) or take it somewhere that does it. Any suggestions?

    No idea what it costs either way.:embarassed:
     
  2. G23Gen4TX

    G23Gen4TX

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,313
    Likes Received:
    67
    If you need to recharge there is probably a leak. A pro can find it.
     

  3. goldenlight

    goldenlight

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2007
    Messages:
    5,098
    Likes Received:
    69
    It is normal for automobile AC systems to need addition of refrigerant every few years, especially in an older car.

    If you live where it gets cold, that tends to allow the refrigerant to leak more easily than where is doesn't get cold.

    You can buy a kit with a pressure gauge for R-134 systems for about $30 at Walmart.

    It's not hard to do at all. Just be careful not to overcharge the system.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  4. Mr King

    Mr King XD40 Service

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2004
    Messages:
    966
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Indiana
    its a 2004 Freestar and Ive never had it recharged. It does get cool, just not Cold like usual.
     
  5. ThePhoneGuy

    ThePhoneGuy

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    8,500 ft in Colorado
    I have done some research on this because I had to replace a compressor on an older car. Also Youtube is full of folks "showing you the right way" to recharge a system. Do your own search, but I personally would never use one of the available kits where the charge includes a stop leak. The pros call the results "black death' which is what the compressor looks like when it fails. If you top it off yourself, use the 134 alone. AND DO NOT invert the can.
     
  6. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 1999
    Messages:
    3,532
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Western WA
    Do it. 10 minutes+$30= icy cold AC. Your compressor oil should still be good, so just get straight 134.
     
  7. CigarandScotch

    CigarandScotch Fartacus

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    163
    Location:
    Naw Cackalacky
    I ran a repair shop in my previous life. I wouldn't recommend doing it yourself, but it might work if you are lucky...
     
  8. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 1999
    Messages:
    3,532
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Western WA
    Of course you wouldn't. Repair shop guys HATE the thought that anyone could do the simple jobs themselves, thus taking away 90% of their business. :upeyes:
     
  9. aircarver

    aircarver Descent Terminated Silver Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    30,572
    Likes Received:
    8,489
    Location:
    Ft. Worth, Republic of Texas
    I've been doing it since the old days when R-12 was 59c a can .....:shocked:

    & it works all the time, if you know what you're doing ....

    .
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  10. Dragline

    Dragline

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2003
    Messages:
    4,907
    Likes Received:
    2,845
    Location:
    Coastal SC
    On the other hand...repair shops love it when a
    do it yourselfer screws up even what should be an easy job and ends up bringing it in anyway for what is now an even costlier repair.

    Gun shops also get their fair share of folks bringing in a bag of parts after somebody screwed up what they thought would be a simple gun adjustment.
     
  11. ray9898

    ray9898

    Joined:
    May 29, 2001
    Messages:
    14,931
    Likes Received:
    2,685
    Location:
    Georgia
    I recharged one myself a few years ago with a kit from Wal-Mart. It came with gauges and 134. Took 10 minutes and worked great.
     
  12. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Messages:
    25,144
    Likes Received:
    3,339
    Location:
    Where the buffalo roam
    What little I know about automotive AC includes stories of the do-it-yourself stuff containing something that will ruin a commercial shop's recharger so if you try it and it doesn't work, they have to clean the car's system out entirely before recharging. Anyone? HH
     
  13. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 1999
    Messages:
    3,532
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Western WA
    No. Evacuation is a standard part of the shop procedure when you've opened the system to atmosphere to eliminate moisture and start fresh with the proper amount of oil. Doesn't really apply to a simple recharge from leak down over time.

    Note: I have no idea what the stop leak stuff is. I've never used it.
     
  14. aircarver

    aircarver Descent Terminated Silver Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    30,572
    Likes Received:
    8,489
    Location:
    Ft. Worth, Republic of Texas
    Ditto.

    .
     
  15. oldman11

    oldman11

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2012
    Messages:
    5,537
    Likes Received:
    2,812
    Location:
    Texas
    I just recharged my P/U. Close to $30 and it works fine. Cost at a dealership? How about $165. A lot of difference there. If you have a bad leak, and it doesn't work then you've only lost $30 and you have something major wrong, and the dealership can earn their money.
     
  16. knightkrawler00

    knightkrawler00

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Prosser, WA
    There is a large difference in price, because there is a large difference between throwing a can of refrigerant at a problem and having your system serviced. Throwing a can of refregerant at a leaking system is not the right way to fix it no matter how many times somebody tells you I am screwing you.

    When a car comes in with an A/C problem, I install a gauge set and see where pressures are at. If pressures are low, then I install an identifier and see what's actually in the system. If there is sealer, the entire system will need to be replaced, which I will explain later. If there is no sealer, I pull the system down and measure the amount of refrigerant left. Then pull the system into a vacuum and see how well it holds. While this is happening I'm inspecting for leaks. With R-134A, the oil doesn't travel well with the refrigerant and leaks aren't as apparent, most systems have some sort of dye so a UV light is used. If a leak is found, it must be repaired before charging the system or fines equalling more than I make in a year can be placed upon me by the EPA. For each day the vehicle is in service after charging the system! Once the leak is repaired, the system is pulled into a vacuum for 30-45 minutes to make sure all air and moisture are removed and that the system doesn't leak. Then it is charged with the proper amount of oil, containing a dye, and refrigerant. Pressures are checked and vent temperatures verified to make sure the system is working properly before being returned to the customer.

    By now, I've used approximately $6,000 in equipment, and the vehicle has taken up a stall for about an hour and a half. The training and certification to be able to legaly repair your A/C has cost another $5,000. Repairing an A/C system correctly takes time and money. Again, throwing a can of refrigerant at a leaking system is not the correct way to repair an A/C system.

    As far as leak stoppers are concerned. They are more damaging than helpful. The chemical is designed to solidify when it comes into contact with air. As it passes a leak it will solidify at that point, hopefully plugging the hole. Stop leaks rarely work as advertised and eventually they vehicle will be taken to a repair facility. If the stop leak is pulled into the machine, it will ruin it. A lot of shops will refuse to work on the system if the identifier finds leak stops. Otherwise we rely on filters that are added to the machine to remove contaminants from the system. Leak stop will stay in the system after the refrigerant is recovered and when the system is opened to the atmosphere all the leak stop in the system will solidify immediately and it will not be removeable.
     
  17. aircarver

    aircarver Descent Terminated Silver Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    30,572
    Likes Received:
    8,489
    Location:
    Ft. Worth, Republic of Texas
    Be that as it may,

    An older car that needs punched up a can a year is normal leakage, is the major percentage of A/C 'work' needed, and doesn't need hundreds of $ spent on it.

    .
     
  18. knightkrawler00

    knightkrawler00

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Prosser, WA
    And again, if I were to charge the system of the vehicle you describe. I could be fined by the EPA $70,000 a day that the vehicle is in service after I charged a known leaking system. As well as losing my certifications and licenses.

    To me, the car most certainly does require the proper amount of money for the proper repair. That may not be the case for the owner and the owner can choose to not pay me to fix their car.
     
  19. aircarver

    aircarver Descent Terminated Silver Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2002
    Messages:
    30,572
    Likes Received:
    8,489
    Location:
    Ft. Worth, Republic of Texas
    How does the EPA define a 'known leaking system' ?

    Engineeringwise, there is no such thing as a system that doesn't leak.

    Looks like a statutory 'happy hunting grounds for them......

    .
     
  20. knightkrawler00

    knightkrawler00

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Prosser, WA
    If I charge a system that is low on refrigerant, then it was leaking.

    It is possible charge a system that is probably leaking, as long as I was unable to identify a leak and add a dye to the system for future leak diagnosis.

    Generally, the EPA isn't going to be charging everybody that has charged a leaking system, but I'm not going to be the guy they make an example of.