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A/C leak?

Discussion in 'A/C & Heater systems - HVAC' started by Metallic2001, April 4, 2006.

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  1. Metallic2001

    Metallic2001 Active Member

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    City, State:
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    I have a 94' explorer and I have never had any A/C problems but recently I turned on my A/C and it wasnt blowing out cold air (the clutch wasnt kicking on either) so I went and bought some R134a since I have never charged the A/C and the clutch came on and it started blowing out cold air. A couple days later it was doing the same thing and I added some leak detectant and more refrigerant and it hasnt gotten warm but it isnt blowing cold air out like it used to (and the clutch will not stay on continuously...it kicks on and off). I have not seen any of the leak detectant anywhere so I am wondering why it isnt staying cold and the clutch isnt staying on.

    Does anyone have any ideas on this?

    Thanks for all the info.

    Marshall
     
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  3. Brock94

    Brock94 Active Member

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    It's hard to be sure of anything without knowing the pressures in the system (read using a manifold gauge set attached to the high and low side ports.) If the pressure is 0 then there is no refrigerant and you have a leak-- that is probably the case given your symptoms, but there are serious risks involved in over-charging a system and handling refrigerant, so if you plan to mess around with it much more, you should read some excellent threads on A/C written by Glacier.

    The common places for leaks are the service ports-- these ALWAYS leak. I had the exact same problem you described and fixed it by replacing the plastic caps on the service ports with new ones that have a rubber gasket inside. The other common place, especially if your A/C has never been serviced is the reciever/drier canister. The stock ones had insulation around them that retains moisture and rots them out. You usually can not see the corrosion or leak without peeling back the insulation.

    Failing this stuff, I've noticed a couple used electronic leak detectors on eBay for around $15-- you can't beat that, and it's much better than trying to use the dye.
     
  4. Metallic2001

    Metallic2001 Active Member

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    I took the dust caps off of the service port and noticed some green around it and then all of sudden I heard it leaking the R134a out pretty good.

    How hard is it to replace the service ports?

    I know you can buy the repair kits which just have the valves and the caps but mine has a little black rubber ball inside the port that keeps the refridgerant from leaking out I guess. I didnt see that in the repair kit and I was wondering is there anyway the ball could have a hole in it or something.
     
  5. ExplorerDMB

    ExplorerDMB Moderator/Technician Moderator Emeritus

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    the compressor shouldn't stay on continuosly. Also, the dye isn't visible to the eye *unless it's a lot*. It needs to be seen with a black light.

    -Drew
     
  6. Metallic2001

    Metallic2001 Active Member

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    Okay so I went to Ford and purchased a new service port for $9 (which I was surprised) but now I need to know how much R134a goes into the system to be full. I heard (3) 12oz cans. Does anyone know exactly how many oz's it takes?

    Hopefully this will be the fix to the problem or I might just ride without a/c this year :eek:
     
  7. Brock94

    Brock94 Active Member

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    My CD manual says 28oz for a full charge-- that's about 2 1/3 cans if you get 12oz cans-- if you can get a 12 and a 16 oz can that will put you right on the mark.

    Oh-- and they are not "dust caps". They have a rubber seal in them that is essential for preventing leaks. I have one car that is relatively new and if I remove the caps and check with my electronic leak detector, it shows a large leak at the valves, with the covers on snug, nothing. Make sure you get new covers with fresh seals in them and put them on snug.


    .
     
  8. sprint29

    sprint29 New Member

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    2 things.
    First, the "dust caps" are just that. The seals in the caps are put there to satisfy EPA people to help seal the system in case of a leak at the port. They are NOT intended to be the seal for the system. It sounds like replacing the service ports are the answer.
    Second, when you see the capacity for an a/c system, it is for an evacuated and vaccumed (is that a word?) system. You need to pull 28-30 inches of vacuum on the system for a good 30 minutes to do it right, or you WILL end up with moisture in the system which will end the life of some expensive stuff. The "recharge" kits might top off an a/c system, and get working for a while, but it needs to be serviced. The vacuum pump is expensive, maybe not for everyone, but it is the service tool that can make the difference between a top off and a recharge.
    FYI R134a is not the answer. R134a was intended to be used untill the "think tanks" came up with the stuff that will fill the needs. R134a works at the pressures we use, but it isn`t good for the long run either. They figured out that R12 needed to go. And R134a was to be used in the meantime. It`s not even as effcient as R12, but they had to have something, NOW. So, we got R134a. Look for something else to replace R134a before long. I`ve read articles about other chemical compounds that do the job, but I haven`t tried any of them yet. They sound good, but Ford, Chevy, ect. hasn`t gotten behind any of them yet, to the best of my knowledge. If anybody has heard anything, put it out there. I for one would be interested.
     
  9. Brock94

    Brock94 Active Member

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    OK, then make sure your "dust caps" are tight and have fresh seals in them because they'll make a big difference. ;) Replacing my "dust caps" made my system go two years without a refill when it had been leaking to nothing in 7 days. Replacing the main seal (shraeder) is great, but chances are it will leak at least slightly even if it's new.

    As stated above it is best to pull a vaccuum if you had the system open. In addition to moisture, this will remove any air trapped in the system (if there's some moisture and your reciever/drier is relatively fresh, it will pick up the moisture, but if there is air, the system will not work correctly and it is likely to be damaged). Although I've heard of people "flushing" out the system with refrigerant to get the air out, it's illegal, not totally effective and could be dangerous.

    You can buy a decent vacuum pump in the $100 range (well within the budget if you consider the cost of having a shop fix your A/C)-- at least $100 just to go in the door.


    .
     
  10. fairlane_talger

    fairlane_talger New Member

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    This is Metallic2001 posting from another name

    I know it has been awhile since there was a post on this topic but to just update everyone I finally broke down and took it to a shop since I replaced the service ports and it was still leaking out. At the shop they couldnt even find the leak with a black light. They guy said that it was probably coming from the evaporator core since that is only place that you really cant see with a black light (plus the system was fully charged saturday and already almost leaked all the way out by sunday night/monday morning). He quoted me $477 to replace the core, o-rings on the back of the compressor and to recharge system. So I thought that was a little too pricey (sp?)for what I was getting done so I decided to try it myself. I replaced the core, dryer, o-rings, pulled a vaccum and recharged the system for only $222 and change....only about half of what it would have cost to have the core, o-rings and charge done on the system! Needless to say it seems to be working great now and I hope I dont have anymore problems with it.

    Core - $113
    Dryer - $59
    Orphice tube - $3
    Charge - $34
    Vaccum - free - rented from autozone for $210 which you get back when vaccum is returned
    Plus some good times having to return stuff that didnt fit the first time
     
  11. ma96782

    ma96782 Well-Known Member

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    Nice to see you got it fixed.


    When it comes to A/C.....I take mine to Honest-1 Auto Care, 6332 S.E. 82nd Ave. Portland, OR............he's fixed both of my vehicles A/Cs.........shameless plug, but it worked for me.

    Aloha, Mark
     

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