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Old 07-25-2013, 01:22 AM   #1
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2004 AC clutch issue

To set the picture I have been working on family cars since 1966 and currently have 9 cars at the moment. Naturally I have learned to rebuild engines, automatics, clutches, brakes, suspensions, weld, body work and paint. Only thing left is electrical and AC.

Since I just acquired 15lbs. of R-12 for some of my older cars I decided to take a look at the AC issue in my Focus. It worked fine for 3 summers and then on the 4th summer (2007) it failed to blow cold. Oh well, no big deal to me since I can get by without it. Yet with starting into the R-12 systems and my wife's 98 Sable AC working great I decided to investigate.

Right off the bat the clutch does not ever engage. Since it was dark already I managed to check the fuse and it was fine. I swapped relays back and forth finding no defects. AC green light goes on inside the car as it should. Moving around the car with flashlight showed perfectly clean hoses and connections. Actually the whole engine is clean top to bottom.

Still need to check power to the compressor once I get access to the plug and after that the low pressure switch for continuity. I gather that if I put a gauge on the low pressure fitting either I could see 0 (total leak?) or a pressure equivalent to the ambient temperature. Am I correct in that? Any other possible electrical gremlins that would need to be check before moving on with the diagnosis?


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Old 07-25-2013, 09:57 AM   #2
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If you are getting power to the compressor it's more likely that the clutch is bad. You can also try and carefully send power directly to the compressor in short bursts if you have something like a power probe. If the clutch engages when you put power directly to it then I would go after the low pressure sensor.

Also, this should be a R-134a system not R-12. Don't try to put R-12 in or you will ruin the system. The oils are not compatible and can cause an explosion if mixed.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bile0026 View Post
If you are getting power to the compressor it's more likely that the clutch is bad. You can also try and carefully send power directly to the compressor in short bursts if you have something like a power probe. If the clutch engages when you put power directly to it then I would go after the low pressure sensor.

Also, this should be a R-134a system not R-12. Don't try to put R-12 in or you will ruin the system. The oils are not compatible and can cause an explosion if mixed.
That is why I said the R-12 was for my "older" cars but would now look into the Focus since I was starting to learn about diagnosing/working on A/C's. Obtaining the R-12 was the factor that got me off my butt concerning the R-134a Focus.

Will check power directly to the compressor this Sunday when I rotate tires and can easily get to it from the passenger side.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:04 PM   #4
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Just wanted to make sure. Don't want anyone blowing themselves up :)
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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Pretty sure the oils won't 'blow up', but they clog and then things tear up, they are NOT compatible. R12 uses mineral oil and 134 uses PAG of various weights. Retrofit kits often used ester oil since ester would mix with mineral oil when converting R12 to 134. PAG (polyalkylene glycol?) will not mix.

The system shuts off and will not cycle until at least 25 psi in it. Normal to not come on at all under that. Jumper from battery straight to clutch to verify clutch itself is working.

So, what's with you and Avengers? I remember one from the CAF that parked for awhile at Grand Prairie Airport, Dad and I talking one day in front yard when it flew over, we jumped in the car and searched out where it was at. Beautiful plane. No mistaking the sound of that P&W radial when in the air either.
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Old 07-27-2013, 02:20 PM   #6
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I'm back. PAG doesn't work in R12, the chlorine in R12 destroys the oil, mixing with mineral oil can make heavy sludge and tacky deposits that lock up parts. Mineral oil in 134 systems does not mix nearly as readily as PAG does and therefore can lead to lube problems since the refrigerant does not carry oil well.

Found nothing about oil blowing up at all. You should not smoke while using either refrigerant as inhaling it through the flame produces poison gas. I've heard that under certain conditions blowing high pressure air while mixing it with R134 can make for an explosion.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:58 PM   #7
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Well today I find that the AC doesn't even pass the first diagnostic test. I disconnected the power lead to the compressor, started the car, put AC in max, fan on and got no voltage at the lead at all. From what I can see in the fuse schematic there is one inside the car and one in the engine compartment besides the relay. They all looked good so I guess I'll just swap them out to see what happens.

amc49 as to your question that Avenger happens to be the one I restored for the USS HORNET Aircraft Carrier Museum.

Here is what the plane looked liked after I started to disassemble it.


http://www.usshornet-cv12.com/aircra...s/TBM_08B.html
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:17 PM   #8
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That is freaking awesome. I would love to work on something like that.

My Dad was a maintenance crewchief on LTV A-7 Corsair IIs and the flight bug struck me long ago when he used to take me as a child out to watch the new at the time F8Us flying in and out all the time. We got sent to Pax River MD. for him to maintain A-7s at Navy trials. Still remember watching 20mm. cannon testing using derelict PT boats. One 2 second BURRRRRP and boat simply became toothpicks falling out of the sky. Man, that gun was loud.

Beautiful airplane, even in the unrestored state. Thanks for the pics.
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Old 08-18-2013, 10:57 PM   #9
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Well as usual one gets side tracked when you have 8 cars. The AC was a low priority item for one and I wanted to obtain the needed equipment for dealing with AC units. Bought two manifold gauge sets for an R-12 and R-134 system. No mixing besides different access ports. Bought a strong vacuum pump to evacuate all air. Have a ready supply of R-12 and R-134, plus appropriate oils, to recharge an empty system

So today I went to the low pressure switch, dug it out, and then bypassed it. Bingo, the compressor works so we are low on R-134. Where it went I have no idea after looking high and low at all the connections for any telltale signs like oil. So now have to look into locating the leak unless I just want to take my chances and fill the system up. Taking to a shop is out of the question since leaving it for a day is something I won't do. Means wasting a day off waiting for the car when there are more pressing matters for that day off to be used on.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:09 PM   #10
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Common for the o-rings to slowly leak and if so you may only need to recharge. Depends on how slow it's leaking. I have two that leak down in maybe 1 1/2-2 years, I simply fill them back up. Until they leak worse I will not break into them. No evidence of oil anywhere and none added at charging time.

Vac it down and some indicator of leak size from how fast it leaks back down.
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