Recharge Air Conditioning
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  1. #1
    Overdrive
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    Recharge Air Conditioning

    My 2000 doesn't seem to cool as well as I remember it doing before, and it definitely is no much for my 2003 Silverado. I presume the A/C could use a charge? If so, is there any good reason to take it to the dealer, or should I find a shop that specializes in A/C?

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  3. #2
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    Passat A/C does not compare to most american cars. More than likely it is just fine and as good as it is going to be. They lose efficiency with age because the evaporator get plugged and the condensor gets damaged. Big bucks to replace.

    Have a shop the specializes in AC or atleast has good equipment to check it. The dealer can try but they usually do not know much about A/C there other then charge it.

  4. #3
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    I have a 02 passat and I had to give imy baby a recharge today. The cheapest way is to buy a recharge bottle w/guage from your local auto store i.e. Walmart, autozone..etc. This is the cheapest route as you'll use only a little bit of freon during the recharge. Besides it takes less than ten minutes to recharge. The directions is on the bottle and is straight forward. Good luck.

  5. #4
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    I agree with disVWkat, it will save you lots of cash and time if you buy a small bottle of fridge gas (R134a) and charge it yourself, when you do it follow the instructions on the bottle, dont be tempted to put loads in as overcharging can cause big problems

  6. #5
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    They tend to lose a little charge over time. Eventually it is enough to notice. Like the others have said, just buy a recharge kit (about $20) at a parts store. It is pretty easy to recharge the system.

  7. #6
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    What kind of tools are needed, and where in the system do you hook up the bottle?

  8. #7
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    No tools needed. On my 2002 passat the AC ports is located on the passanger side next to the battery. There should be to metal lines going into the car with black caps on them. The two ports should be different sizes so you can mix up the High and low port. By the way you'll have to remove the entire black cover to gain access the port.

  9. #8
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    I've just got my climatronic a/c serviced by an a/c specialist - the dealer doesn't really know much about a/c systems. Here is a list of things to check based on my experience:

    - Low pressure in system (make sure not to overcharge the system or else you get flashing diagnostic codes on your a/c display and the system trips out). Make sure to include a/c oil, if necessary.
    - Small in-line filter gets clogged up. On my 2000 B5 this filter is located in the a/c line where it runs under the battery. Your a/c specialist should have a replacement in stock.
    - Dryer gets clogged up. My dryer located at front RHS behind the bumper, close to the horns. Best access is by removing the bumper. Can get low cost OEM replacement, but check to make sure the replacement is the same height. VW uses a plastic clip over 1 of the valves on the dryer to hold it in place. So you want to ensure the clip will fit. The replacement I bought was 1 cm. taller so I had to break off the clip to fit the dryer.:Yikes:

    I've done all the above and my a/c is running great - set to recirculate & 68 deg. F (I live in Jamaica so the a/c gets a good workout almost every day!!)

    Other more expensive possibilities:
    - Leaking condenser (inside car under the dash?)
    - Failing compressor (usually can hear bad noises?)

    So far I haven't had these $$$$ issues

  10. #9
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    Just called my local store to find out the price on one of these recharge kits and they said they can't be bought in the state of Wisconsin. What's the big deal? And can I get it online do you think? TIA

    Edit: Just called my local dealer and they said that there has to be a leak somewhere because they should never have to be recharged, he said it's just like a refridgerator. Geez now I'm really confused.....
    Last edited by 02PassatGLS; 05-30-2006 at 09:10 AM.

  11. #10
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    The dealer is correct...Freon is not a consumable and everyone else posting here has a slow leak but hasn't found it yet. Which means they'll be buying freon next year too.

    Find the leak, fix it...then add freon.


  12. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Electron Man
    The dealer is correct...Freon is not a consumable and everyone else posting here has a slow leak but hasn't found it yet. Which means they'll be buying freon next year too.

    Find the leak, fix it...then add freon.

    Thanks for all the posts. I think I'll do the recharge thing, then track down the leak.

    Sooo, Electron Man, how do we track down the leak?

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02PassatGLS
    Just called my local store to find out the price on one of these recharge kits and they said they can't be bought in the state of Wisconsin.
    Not to be a total geek but I do think a point needs to be made that may help clear some of the confusion up. None of our B5/5.5s have Freon (aka R-12) as a refrigerant - they have R-143a (tetrafluoroethane according to google) - at least from 99 forward because my 99 has 134a, as does most modern cars and consumer refrigeration systems.

    Freon was discontinued as a refrigerant because it depletes the ozone layer. Too many people were just venting Freon directly into the atmosphere so the Federal Government regulated it. You can still get Freon, but you have to be licensed to handle it.

    The reason I make the point is that, knowing that working at the parts counter at the local auto parts store doesn't always attract the best and the brightest, if you say "Freon" they may not make the leap that what you really want is R-134a. Wisconsin may have different rules, but here in Maryland you can walk into Advance Autoparts and buy a R-134a recharge kit off the shelf.

    Like I said, not trying to be a total dweeb but just wanted to clear the air.

    -K2

  14. #13
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    My 98 has never had its' AC serviced and hasn't had to, until now.
    It seems to take a long time to get cold.
    Yesterday for example it took about 15-20 minutes to get nice and cold. Prior to that it was cool but not as cold as it can be.
    Once it hit that cold point it was nice and frosty as usual.

    Any ideas what would cause the system to take a long time to reach that frosty point? I would think that if it CAN get that cold then it's not the refrigerant but something else causing it to pressurize slowly.

  15. #14
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    R-134a (or any other refrigerant) leaks are found quickest by using a special dye.

    While you're at your favorite independent shop having your A/C system serviced, they pull a vacuum and weigh the freon. If the weight of freon (grams) is below spec, they repressure the system and check for leaks using dye.

    OTOH, you could just keep buying freon (and some amount ? of compressor oil) and topping it off. Reason I mention oil is that R-134a isn't the only thing that leaks out. Some of the A/C system oil leaks out as an aerosol.

    FWIW, German automotive A/C systems (exception: Mercedes Benz) has roughly 2/3 the capacity of American auto A/C systems for cars with the same interior volume.

    Since the "lack of A/C cooling capacity" issue comes up every summer in these forums, you might need a car with a better A/C system (i.e. A/C cooling capacity of a B5 is limited) if the shop tells you the R-134a charge is "in-spec" and/or there are no leaks. Otherwise, check the front of your A/C condenser for bugs.

  16. #15
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    Thanks for the followup. I always felt my VW a/c was adequate, but it seemed in the last two summers to really fall off. I know that the one thing American manufacturers do better is heating and cooling<g>, but I really think the VW should be better than it is.

    BTW, my truck was getting too cold yesterday.

    ABTW, I'm rooting for another summer like last year, where it's hot early on and then actually gets milder in July and August.

  17. #16
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    Just did a search and came across this site. http://www.id-usa.com/how_to_recharging.asp I'm not promoting their products, but they have a variety of kits and info, including videos showing how to use some of the kits. BTW, some of the kits include oil, it seems some don't. They also have leak detection kits and there are vids for those, too. The delivery on the high bandwidth vids is a little slow this morning. (I'm a guy that likes seeing what he's getting into before heading for the store!)

    Now, the leak detection kits also includes a "leak sealer," and I'm wondering if THAT is a good idea. (you inject it into the system and it plugs very small leaks)

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Wallbanger
    Just did a search and came across this site. http://www.id-usa.com/how_to_recharging.asp I'm not promoting their products, but they have a variety of kits and info, including videos showing how to use some of the kits. BTW, some of the kits include oil, it seems some don't. They also have leak detection kits and there are vids for those, too. The delivery on the high bandwidth vids is a little slow this morning. (I'm a guy that likes seeing what he's getting into before heading for the store!)

    Now, the leak detection kits also includes a "leak sealer," and I'm wondering if THAT is a good idea. (you inject it into the system and it plugs very small leaks)
    Thanks for all the replies guys. I found this deal on line http://www.autobarn.net/inrcosekit.html. Looks like it comes with the sealer and ac charger. Seems like a pretty good deal and it looks like they ship to Wisconsin!

  19. #18
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    I vote for the DIY recharge first. 2 yrs ago A/C was not cool, took it to dealer, estimate was close to 3K, compressor, drier, orafice, charge system. That's telling me they have no idea. Autozone gauge/kit- charge system, works fine. Maybe stop leak stuff worked. At least then you'll know and maybe save 3K. In CA central valley we use A/C 9 months out of the year100+ in summer is normal. Black/black color does'nt help

  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harvey Wallbanger
    Just did a search and came across this site. http://www.id-usa.com/how_to_recharging.asp I'm not promoting their products, but they have a variety of kits and info, including videos showing how to use some of the kits. BTW, some of the kits include oil, it seems some don't. They also have leak detection kits and there are vids for those, too. The delivery on the high bandwidth vids is a little slow this morning. (I'm a guy that likes seeing what he's getting into before heading for the store!)

    Now, the leak detection kits also includes a "leak sealer," and I'm wondering if THAT is a good idea. (you inject it into the system and it plugs very small leaks)
    I would strongly recomment to NOT use any product that you inject to "seal a leak" in your a/c system. Sure, this may fix your problem - but for how long? If you want a quick fix and won't bring it into a mechanic, then sure, try it.

    The issue I see with this stuff is when you bring it in to your mechanic and he uses his gauges on your system. Their is a possibility that this will gum-up his equipment. I'm not even sure mechanics will work on your system if they know you put leak sealer in.

  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by burb56
    I would strongly recomment to NOT use any product that you inject to "seal a leak" in your a/c system. Sure, this may fix your problem - but for how long? If you want a quick fix and won't bring it into a mechanic, then sure, try it.

    The issue I see with this stuff is when you bring it in to your mechanic and he uses his gauges on your system. Their is a possibility that this will gum-up his equipment. I'm not even sure mechanics will work on your system if they know you put leak sealer in.
    That's kinda what I was wondering, if this was anything like that Fix a Flat crap that makes a mess when you finally have the tire replaced. What an embarassment that is!

  22. #21
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    Have the same problem; AC won't get cold.

    I tried the DIY method but the system was overcharged according to the gauge on the refill bottle.

    However, I'm not sure if my compressor is coming on. I've heard that if the compressor doesn't come on, you won't get an accurate reading on the gauge when you refill the system.

    Anyone know where the relay/fuse is for the compressor?(not the blower/fan).

  23. #22
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    In the industry this is called "Gas and Go."
    If you have a 2000 and this is the first time the a/c is inadequate, you may only have a tiny leak. In this case, "Gas and Go."
    If next year it is inadequate again then I would look for leaks.
    An a/c system should not leak at all. But this is rare. Most develop leaks eventually.
    Get a thermometer, put a/c on recirc, run for 5 minutes. Check the Delta T (this is the difference in temperature between the supply (vents) and return (intake). Generally anything about 20F degreesis healthy. 15F degrees is probably the lower limit of acceptable.
    I've also noticed that Climatronic doesn't work too well when it is hot and sunny outside (>90F degrees). I find it works best when I override it with the fan or temp buttons at these speeds.
    Americans know their a/c !! No foreign car can match a good a/c, esp a GM. GM knows their stuff about a/c.

  24. #23
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    I just checked my pressure and it's running 30 PSI at 1500 RPM. Would I benefit from boosting it up a bit? Still haven't pierced the can.

  25. #24
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    I stopped in at Advance Auto on Friday and bought one of the Interdynamics tall cans with hose and gauge for $24, haven't had a chance to try it out yet. I'll do the thermometer check before and after as well.

  26. #25
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    after a can and a half of 134a i can tell zero difference in my B5s cooling. it was only 75* yesterday and still took 5 minutes to get past the "a little cooler than ambient" spot.

    during my recharge i could not get the pressure to go very high at all, i don't know if there's a leak or what. i'll try another time after the air is running for a while perhaps.

  27. #26
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    You need to get a set of gauges on it and see what your pressures are. Have you made sure that your condensor is clean and clear of debris? Fans working when a/c is on? 30 psi on which port? High side? If so that isn't good.

  28. #27
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    had same issue two summers ago....

    I went to an indy and they charged me $110 for some "maintenance and recharge" well when they couldnt really tell me what they actually did except clean off front condensor from bugs etc, and refill the system I was happy it was only $110 and I was cool again (It was middle of summer in S La) , well next season I just went and bought the can with guage for $24 @ advance auto and turned on ac while engine is running and checked the pressure, hold trigger and wait awhile, it slowly gets "sucked in" to the system and now it runs fine havent had to "recharge " again yet and it has been 95 the last week here. BTW, I think IIRC that ALL of those can + guage combo's are Coolant+Oil already in there.
    I also agree that VW a/c system is on the weak side compared to american cars/trucks.

  29. #28
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    As a preventative measure it's always good to try and run the A/C for a least five minutes a week so that all the components are kept lubricated.

    Also having a good feel of the pipes when the system is running to make sure that they are cold is a good way to check that the system has not leaked all of its gas.

  30. #29
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    We had such a moderate winter that I was often kicking on the a/c only to defrost the windshield in the morning.

    Also, I think I saw one kit on the Interdynamics site that didn't include (or at least didn't mention) oil, so I would be sure and read the can carefully.

    It's too cool here (and rainy) to mess with the a/c, I presume you want a fairly hot day to check for that cooling differential.

  31. #30
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    OK, checked my AC with the gauge this evening, and another foolish question.

    If I follow the instructions for attaching the gauge hose to the valve on the AC line, the needle is in the green, but if I press down a little on the connector it pops just barely into the blue. (charged) Which should I believe? Am I charged, should I give it a hit (like I said it's just barely in the blue when I press down)?

    BTW, why is it "bad" (needs gas) in green, and "good" (charged) in blue? Wouldn't you think green would be OK?

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