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Discussion Starter #1
Alright ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to do my AC this next weekend. I might end up with some swing shifts along with my graves. Graves- it’s 75 on the way to work and about 65-70 on the way home, swing- heat of the day on the way in, around 110-115. That said, I need to get it going. I’m going to start with having it evacuated at a shop to see if it holds a vacuum. If she does, I’ll go ahead and charge it myself (shops aren’t cheap here). Now, I have no backstory on how long it’s been down or what went wrong, or even if it’s just due to being 18 years old. That said, any trouble spots or equipment that I should replace other than orfice tube and maybe some o-rings if she leaks?


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Well the first thing I'm going to say is, because I've ran the equipment used to evacuate refrigerant. It's the same machine you use to recharge it, so I can't imagine it being any more expensive financially other than the cost for refrigerant which is basically not jack.
After you do the vacuum check with the machine you then do the recharge.
It's very hard to say what to check without hooking up pressure gauges to it and stuff like that.
I have a 2010, my Brother has a 2005 and he did get a leak in the hose by the compressor. I can't speak for a 2001.

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So, the reason for charging myself is cost. Here in commiefornia, the amount required will be about $80, plus core charge on the cans. However, if I do it at work, the refrigerant is free, but, the equipment is no longer on site, just the refrigerant.


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So, the reason for charging myself is cost. Here in commiefornia, the amount required will be about $80, plus core charge on the cans. However, if I do it at work, the refrigerant is free, but, the equipment is no longer on site, just the refrigerant.


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That's crazy I understand now.

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So how are you going to properly charge it? Draw a vacuum, add appropriate amount of oil, add refrigerant??? If they pull two pounds of refrigerant out of your system, and you drive off with your system empty you're essentially "gifting" them two pounds of refrigerant..... Better find out how much oil they recovered as well.....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So how are you going to properly charge it? Draw a vacuum, add appropriate amount of oil, add refrigerant??? If they pull two pounds of refrigerant out of your system, and you drive off with your system empty you're essentially "gifting" them two pounds of refrigerant..... Better find out how much oil they recovered as well.....


I was planning on doing it the same way as the f150 and Sti. Replace orfice tube, vacuum, charge with factory oil and refrigerant requirement. As of right now, on a cheapo gauge, it shows flatlined no pressure. So I have reason to believe that there is more than likely nothing in it. But, only time will tell. Probably going to do this Friday, don’t have much time till then.


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Discussion Starter #8
Well, had it evacuated. Upon the “tech” hooking up his manifold, it was just below the threshold to get the pressure switch to activate the clutch. Got it refilled, it’s sitting at 40psi with compressor on, ac is cold, but not freezing. Not sure if I should tempt fate and try to get some more in there. It’s to the point that driving in the day will be fairly decent. But I think before messing with more refrigerant, I need to replace the blower motor and wheel. It sounds like a coyote in a trash compactor. But, for now it’s no rush, still on graves so the drive in with windows down is fairly chill. I might even just keep driving her how she is, I came across an SVT on Craigslist close to me, visually it’s in great condition, very clean, but, no compression in cylinder 1, or might have been 4, I’d have to read the ad again. He’s asking 1500 for it. I’d have to buy it and fix it without selling the zx3 as I still need transportation to work and the truck costs just too much to drive it like that. Hmm, decisions.


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it’s sitting at 40psi with compressor on
Who refilled it? Sounds fishy because 40 psi doesn't mean anything. You need to know what the low and high side pressure readings are.

If you're refilling with those crappy ass freon recharge cans with a low-side gauge that the parts stores sell, you're doing it wrong. Them things are trash sold to people that don't know any better. That said, Autozone is known to loan a manifold gauge set that you can use to do it properly. Doing it that way, you won't be tempting fate, it's either properly charged or it isn't.
 

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I partially agree with that but I guarantee you I can give you ice cold AC off one of those gauges. I operated the machines I have my AC license. I have a proper gauge set and vacuum pump in my garage. Experience is a beautiful thing.

The biggest mistake people make is overfilling. I find most Vehicles when you get a steady 30 PSI on the low side just go ahead and stop there. If you don't know what you're doing playing with the high side can seriously hurt you.

I wouldn't be surprised if you actually have a little bit too much in there, but there's no way of knowing unless you have a high side reading as well.
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Discussion Starter #11
That I would have to go back. I just had that shop do it as it’s way to damn hot to work on a car right now here. Temp in my driveway yesterday was 116, no breeze. As long as it works at this point I’m okay with it. Don’t want to be outside in this heat more than I have to. Only times to work on a car here is at 0100 or winter, and I work graves, so 0100 is out. Lol. I swear I hate the desert, but, it’s better than being back in bear and having to chain up twice a week in the winter. Usually I wouldn’t even put chains on, but the apartment I rented at the time was on top of a steep hill, my f150 had problems getting up it with chains on.


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Does the shop have A/C ? Most shops don't.

If it's really that hot out there then 40 on the low side is probably too low. The higher the ambient temp, the higher the psi readings will need to be to reach the desired charge.

You can Google "a/c pressure chart" to get an idea of what the readings should be.

I recently did my own on a nearly 20 year old vehicle, which had mostly air in the system (first time recharge). I got it down right at the freezing point. What I did was: filled until charge was good enough for the compressor to kick on, then had someone rev the engine to 2k rpm as I slowly filled it until the thermometer stopped dropping, which was at the 32 degree mark. At the same time I made sure the psi on the high side was within normal range based on ambient temp, or at least close to it. But I used a manifold gauge set for this.

zacautomotive is right though, you need to be very careful working on the system as that high side port is dangerous, if you choose to check it yourself.

If it were me I'd ask the shop for details on the work they did, which hopefully will include psi readings for both low and high and then-current ambient temperature.
 

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I really don't like the low side pressure charts for filling AC systems. I don't recommend them. I tell people fill to a good steady 30 PSI and stop. Regardless if it's 70 or 95. Example connect to the low side and take a reading on a 80 degree day, now do it again on a 95 or 100 degree day. You would be surprised how small the difference is on the low side.
High side pressure is much more accurate than low side.

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A most reliable way to know when to stop charging is to watch the compressor, when it quits cycling 100% at idle speed to stay on all the time then stop charging and check by revving engine higher, the clutch MUST then go off and on while at maybe 2500 rpm, stop there.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Does the shop have A/C ? Most shops don't.

If it's really that hot out there then 40 on the low side is probably too low. The higher the ambient temp, the higher the psi readings will need to be to reach the desired charge.

You can Google "a/c pressure chart" to get an idea of what the readings should be.

I recently did my own on a nearly 20 year old vehicle, which had mostly air in the system (first time recharge). I got it down right at the freezing point. What I did was: filled until charge was good enough for the compressor to kick on, then had someone rev the engine to 2k rpm as I slowly filled it until the thermometer stopped dropping, which was at the 32 degree mark. At the same time I made sure the psi on the high side was within normal range based on ambient temp, or at least close to it. But I used a manifold gauge set for this.

zacautomotive is right though, you need to be very careful working on the system as that high side port is dangerous, if you choose to check it yourself.

If it were me I'd ask the shop for details on the work they did, which hopefully will include psi readings for both low and high and then-current ambient temperature.


Out here it’s pretty much a necessity in the shops to have ac or at least two big portacools. I don’t think they could actually function if it was one of our hot days. Last year we had a couple 122’s.


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