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Old 07-16-2009, 10:43 PM   #1
IllNastyImpreza
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Default Anyone diagnose and repair their AC ??

I am in the market for an air conditioning diagnostic and repair kit. I would like to be able to find the leak(s) in my system and charge it myself. any ideas guys ?

I really havn't messed around with air conditioning THAT much... other than replacing the compressor a couple times on various cars. But I always just bring it to the shop to get charged.... maybe thats why this one isn't working now
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Old 07-17-2009, 02:24 PM   #2
crampfan
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Finding a a/c leak is not that easy. my shop has U.V. equipment and sniffers. along with 30+ years in the biz. we still get beat by them. As far as diagnostics, it's all gauges. and knowing what the pressures mean.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:42 PM   #3
IllNastyImpreza
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well the thing is, if there is a common place in the subaru AC system that likes to leak... finding it shouldn't be too hard. Swap out a couple O rings and charge away.

But if its always a shot in the dark... I might just bring her in to the shop... it just sucks dumping 150+ bucks for something I could do myself... for much less. especially when I have no money to do so...
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:44 PM   #4
HappyIdiot
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Shoot, I called up two of my local Subie dealers and they said $281 would be the minimum to look at my A/C unit.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:46 PM   #5
tamadrumr88
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Just had the o-ring go on the high-pressure hose side of the compressor on my '97 Legacy 2.5GT. Simple fix, 1.3lbs of refrigerant later and I'm back in business. Oh yeah, and I got new tires mounted too for only $60 total. Today was a good day

Before today the a/c compressor clutch would never engage, I was hoping the compressor wouldn't need to be replaced. We jumped the compressor off of the battery and it engaged so the compressor luckily didn't have to be replaced. The low refrigerant switch kept it from turning over and saved the compressor when all of the refrigerant had leaked out
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:11 PM   #6
IllNastyImpreza
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyIdiot View Post
Shoot, I called up two of my local Subie dealers and they said $281 would be the minimum to look at my A/C unit.
yeah **** that. If I had to I would bring it to my buddy who works @ Hogan Tire... But even then it'll still cost me more than it would to do it myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tamadrumr88 View Post
Just had the o-ring go on the high-pressure hose side of the compressor on my '97 Legacy 2.5GT. Simple fix, 1.3lbs of refrigerant later and I'm back in business. Oh yeah, and I got new tires mounted too for only $60 total. Today was a good day

Before today the a/c compressor clutch would never engage, I was hoping the compressor wouldn't need to be replaced. We jumped the compressor off of the battery and it engaged so the compressor luckily didn't have to be replaced. The low refrigerant switch kept it from turning over and saved the compressor when all of the refrigerant had leaked out
so the Orings on the highside that connect to the compressor ?? I'll check that first... I really hope I can figure this one out myself.

Where do you guys buy the R13 or whatever we use? Should I fill it with some oil and stop leak as well??
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Old 07-17-2009, 10:17 PM   #7
09rexwagon
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R134a can be bought at any auto part store or even walmart. The oil shouldn't come out at the leaking point so you shouldn't need oil. You will need a vacuum pump to purge the system before refilling (assuming you opened the system).
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Old 07-17-2009, 11:12 PM   #8
tamadrumr88
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I believe it takes between 19 and 23lbs of refrigerant... without the necessary gauges this may be hard to achieve

Quote:
Originally Posted by IllNastyImpreza View Post
so the Orings on the highside that connect to the compressor ??
If you're looking at the compressor from the front of the engine bay, it's the hose that enters the compressor from the driver side of the engine bay (proceeds toward the front of the car after coming out of the compressor)
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Old 07-18-2009, 12:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamadrumr88 View Post
I believe it takes between 19 and 23lbs of refrigerant... without the necessary gauges this may be hard to achieve
16-19 ounces

If you don't start from zero you are just guessing.
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:45 PM   #10
09rexwagon
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Yes 19-23lbs is way off. The best thing to do is to evac the system with a pump and leave the vacuum guage on the nipple for 5+ hours to make sure it holds the vacuum and confirm a leak or not. After that you can start adding a can or so. When it hits atmospheric pressure it won't suck in anymore and you'll have to start the engine and turn the a/c on (turn on max with doors open so it doesn't turn off. Continue doing that until it stops drawing refrigerant. I know that doesn't sound very scientific, but the compressor will stop being able to take on more refrigerant when it's full so there really isn't a concern with overfilling it.
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Old 07-18-2009, 04:59 PM   #11
IllNastyImpreza
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so you guys are saying, since I have a leak somewhere... that I should purge the entire system first? How much does this vacuum pump and the equipment cost ?

I'm really a newb when it comes to AC....
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:51 PM   #12
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If there is a harbor freight nearby youcan get a set of manifold gaugesfor about 40 and a vacuum pump for around 90. Autozone will let you use them for free if you give them a deposit.

Big leaks are easy to find. Small ones are a pain. I actually got tired of searching ffor a leak on a friends car and just went ahead and changed all of the o rings. took a little time to do it but to me it was much less aggravating than trying to find a tiny leak.
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:55 PM   #13
Rickyh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 09rexwagon View Post
Yes 19-23lbs is way off. The best thing to do is to evac the system with a pump and leave the vacuum guage on the nipple for 5+ hours to make sure it holds the vacuum and confirm a leak or not. After that you can start adding a can or so. When it hits atmospheric pressure it won't suck in anymore and you'll have to start the engine and turn the a/c on (turn on max with doors open so it doesn't turn off. Continue doing that until it stops drawing refrigerant. I know that doesn't sound very scientific, but the compressor will stop being able to take on more refrigerant when it's full so there really isn't a concern with overfilling it.

You most certainly can overfill it. I have seen guys just start dumping in 134 until the compressor starts squealing and locking up.
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Old 07-19-2009, 01:53 AM   #14
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buy those A/C dyes, it's also refrigent oil, charge it, run it, look under a black light in the dark and see where the leak is.
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Old 07-21-2009, 12:57 PM   #15
crampfan
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Some of the answers here could cost some folks some big money. trust me, it is cheaper to have your system diagnosed and repaired by someone that knows a/c, than it is to buy the proper tools to do it right.(not counting the training needed) If you insist on doing the work yourself, at least have a shop, evacuate, and charge the system properly. without training do you know why you need to evacuate the system? it's just air, right? (I wish I had one of those rollie eye smileys)
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Old 07-24-2009, 02:00 AM   #16
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To answer the original question: if you know the system is low on charge, you can start by adding some refrigerant pre-mixed with dye, and see where it takes you. You do need to have a set of gauges.
There are two well-visited auto AC forums with very friendly members, sponsored by ackits.com and by acsource.com (two competing supply houses, both based in AZ).
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