Anyone recharge their air conditioner?

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Thread: Anyone recharge their air conditioner?

  1. #1
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    Anyone recharge their air conditioner?

    The one in my 99 only works ok below 85 degrees. After that it is not effective. How hard is it to recharge the system? I did a search and came up with nothing.

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by High Gear View Post
    The one in my 99 only works ok below 85 degrees. After that it is not effective. How hard is it to recharge the system? I did a search and came up with nothing.
    Very easy if you have the right equiptment.

  4. #3
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    They sell kits now that come in one bottle, find the low side and fill.

    Something like this...

    http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web...T|GRP2004A____

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaWaxShop View Post
    They sell kits now that come in one bottle, find the low side and fill.

    Something like this...

    http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/web...T|GRP2004A____
    What do you mean by the low side?

  6. #5
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    There are two ports on your ac lines, one is a high side and the other the low side, sometimes identified by red (high) and blue (low) caps. They have schrader valves to measure pressure and/or fill the system

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    I'm in the same boat, can some one post a diagram or a better description of the location of the low pressure port. I have spent 2 hours looking. I'm sure it is right in front of my eyes.

    2004 VW Passat 1.8T

  8. #7
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    Note that attempting to "top up" the A/C system, or check the fill by pressure, is not recommended. This commonly overfills the system, and causes a loss of cooling efficiency. Proper technique is to evacuate the system and fill with a measured weight of coolant.
    V6er likes this.

  9. #8
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    Yes that is the proper way but the equipment to do so is pricey compared to the top off, and releasing it into the atmospehere is illegal. Shops usuall charge a good premium to do so. Truth is if you ac isn't working right you have a leak somewhere

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    Thank you. I appreciate the guidance and am aware of how it is normally (and should be done) but just want to check the pressure before making the decision to get it fixed professionally or just put it out to pasture. I'm an engineer by trade and probably just can't see it becuase I don't have a diagram. I've had that issue before; don't know where it is till I know where it is . Appreciate any help anyone can give on pointing me towards the low pressure port.

  11. #10
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    It's behind the 2nd firewall next to the battery. There are two caps (high and low). The ports are different sizes, so there's little chance of putting the meter on the wrong one.

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    Thank you, found em rather quickly once I got the cowl off. It was indeed under the optimal pressure; put in some leak stop with dye so if it drops again in the next two weeks it ought to be real easy for me to spot the problem and determine if I'm in need of professional intervention.

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    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaWaxShop View Post
    Yes that is the proper way but the equipment to do so is pricey compared to the top off, and releasing it into the atmospehere is illegal. Shops usuall charge a good premium to do so. Truth is if you ac isn't working right you have a leak somewhere
    Could it just be that the car is eleven years old?

  15. #14
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    See the system is sealed, and since its sealed the only way to lose refrigerant is a leak. If your pressure is low it might need refrigerant but keep in mind why the refrigerant was lost in the first place (bad o rings in the system, small leak somewhere). It could also be a bad relay or low side pressure switch. Can you hear the clutch engage? My car is also 11 years old with ice cold flowing ac

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaWaxShop View Post
    See the system is sealed, and since its sealed the only way to lose refrigerant is a leak. If your pressure is low it might need refrigerant but keep in mind why the refrigerant was lost in the first place (bad o rings in the system, small leak somewhere). It could also be a bad relay or low side pressure switch. Can you hear the clutch engage? My car is also 11 years old with ice cold flowing ac
    Since I do get cold air on cooler day, wouldn't the cluch be engaging?

  17. #16
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    Maybe its your fan clutch. There is a second fan on the driver side of the car attached to a clutch that might not be working. Turn on the ac and let it go and see if that fan is spinning the way it should. In more heat it might not be working right and not flowing the air needed to condence the coolant back to a liquid

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    Be careful using stop leak it is a band aid and is a temporary fix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaWaxShop View Post
    Maybe its your fan clutch. There is a second fan on the driver side of the car attached to a clutch that might not be working. Turn on the ac and let it go and see if that fan is spinning the way it should. In more heat it might not be working right and not flowing the air needed to condence the coolant back to a liquid
    Good point. I'll check that first. I did store the car for a year and started it every month. It worked great before it was stored. I just have to see if it engages. If not, I'm sure that would be it. I'll post back.

  20. #19
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    Almost all a/c systems leak a little. It's not unusual to have to top them off after 5 years. I had great luck with the DIY kits from Autozone. Just make sure you don't overfill. I've seen several people just dump a can in without reading pressures.

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    I have an 06 armada...it blew cold until last year I noticed It was not ice cold anymore. I bought one of the kits and filled it til the gauge said it was good. It stayed cold all summer...and still cold so far this year.

    My Passat is kind of in the same boat now, the reason why I read this topic. So I think I may go buy another kit and try it on my 03 Passat. It's cold but doesn't seem ice cold like I think it should be.

  22. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaWaxShop View Post
    Maybe its your fan clutch. There is a second fan on the driver side of the car attached to a clutch that might not be working. Turn on the ac and let it go and see if that fan is spinning the way it should. In more heat it might not be working right and not flowing the air needed to condence the coolant back to a liquid
    I did check and the fan and it is working. So, it must just be low on refrigerant. I called a friend thats a mechanic. He will the proper top-off for $50. Thats $30 more than a can of "do it yourself". Maybe it's worth it. I just know that I need to do this before it gets real hot.
    Roger Smith likes this.

  23. #22
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    I have the low/high side gauges, which you can get for ~$30-$40 from Harbor Freight. For my wife's QX4, the pressure readings made perfect sense, and cooling was fixed by adding R134a. For my Passat, the readings were a bit cryptic. I added a left over 1/2 can (6oz) to the 2001 Passat a year ago, and the cooling was a bit better, but it was never that bad anyway.
    Roger Smith likes this.

  24. #23
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    No cold air in my car, I took off the red cap and heard a light hiss. Is that a leak or does that just happen when you take the cap off

  25. #24
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    Sounds like your valve core is leaking. It should hold pressure with or without the plastic cover/cap on.

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    Just put a whole giant can from WallyWorld in (came with gauge, which showed barely in the green and way below the blue "optimal" zone), and went from taking at least 15 minutes to cool down to better than I remember it being new!! I'm beyond impressed. Best $24 I've ever spent!
    Don't worry about the hook-up, at least on the '98s the connectors are very different sizes. Impossible to hook to the high side.

  27. #26
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    When I purchased my 2000 wagon (ATW) 5 years ago the air was perhaps 5 degrees cooler than ambient. I purchased a kit containing a can of r134a, and a gauge ( I have a set of professional gauges as well, one for r12, and a set for r134a). I brought it up into the green on the gauge, and it was very cold. 5 years later it is still very cold (to the point I have to turn it down a little, a result I look for in an air conditioner!) Just asking....why is it recommended that you evacuate and refill by weight? Every other air conditioner on the planet seems to be OK filling by pressure (which is how the unit does it's thing) and VW is an exception?
    aTOMic likes this.

  28. #27
    Moderate Moderator Steve in Chicago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aTOMic View Post
    Don't worry about the hook-up, at least on the '98s the connectors are very different sizes. Impossible to hook to the high side.
    On most all cars the service ports are designed to be somewhat idiot-proof.
    aTOMic likes this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve in Chicago View Post
    On most all cars the service ports are designed to be somewhat idiot-proof.
    I know some idiots that would take that as a challenge.
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  30. #29
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    The whole 'evacuate and fill by weight' is a pretty standard A/C practice.
    The evacuate, really means pull a vacuum to flash off any moisture that is in the system from a repair or leak.
    You don't need a ice block on a critical part.
    Refill by weight? Always done that be it a small car or an industrial A/C system.
    The gauges are for diagnosis and evaluation of the system operation.
    There are charts that will give you apx pressures/Ambient temp but they are really a guide.
    There are too many variables to use these on our cars.

    Experience and knowledge will give you an idea if the pressures / AC outlet is functioning as it should be.
    Tomvw and aTOMic like this.

  31. #30
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    Thanks for the heads up, I used to have a pump to pull a vacuum (lost it in the NEPA flood) it was a learning experience! What you say makes sense. Most garages you go to do not do it this way, had me wondering. I have a 73 T-bird using R-12. I only have 3 cans left....

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