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A/C Problem and Fix Confirmation?

a/c air conditioning ac air

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16 replies to this topic

#1 potter2010

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:21 PM

I've been reading around and I think I've figured out my a/c issue but due to my rather novice knowledge I'd be interesting in hearing some other opinons.

 

Oh, my car is a 2001 Subaru Legacy L with 220,000km on it.

Air conditioning worked last summer, there was a warm spell early in the summer and the a/c seems to work decently enough but I only used it for five or ten minutes. Now that summer has set in I went to turn it on a couple weeks ago and nothing happened. It still blew air but nothing cold, compressor didn't turn on and clutch (?) didn't do anything. I turned to the Internet, my Hayes manual and USMB.

First thing I found to do was clip the two green plugs togethor under the steering wheel. Both fans on the rad turned on and off as they should and the relay seemed to work for the a/c.

 

Went back to do more research and came back out. Took the caps off the pressure lines for the a/c and stuck a screwdriver onto the pins. Both gave a hiss, so not completely empty. I only did each for half a second, didn't want any getting out that didn't need to.

After some more reading the third thing I tried was jumping the pressure switch located near the back of the passenger side of the engine compartment. Unplugged the cord, jumped the contacts and pressed the a/c button. The compressor came on and clutch caught. I tried turning off and on the a/c by the button a few times and the compressor and clutch went off and on. I let it run for a few minutes (with the a/c on) but it just blew warmish air. From my reading if jumping that works then it could be two things, either the switch or low freon.

Since jumping the pressure switch worked but it only blew warmish air even though there was still some pressure in the system I'm guessing low freon is my problem.

Would anyone with more experience care to comment? Hopefully I'm on the right track. Thanks!



#2 Fairtax4me

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:33 PM

The switches almost never fail. The condensers like to corrode in the bottom corners and leak. Also leaks around the lines on top of the compressor are VERY common.

The refrigerant is low. Find the leak, probably an o-ring on the compressor, fix it, recharge, and you'll be good to go. If you don't have time to mess with it right now add a can of refrigerant and it'll probably last until the end of the season.

#3 potter2010

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 10:52 PM

I'm glad to hear that I was on the right trek Fairtax4me. We're going on a 4 hour round trip drive on Saturday so I don't think I'll have time to fix anything by then. Maybe I'll add more refrigerant so we don't die from heat on the way there and back.

After we get back it'll be the top of my priority list. I've been reading up on the whole process and changing the o-rings seems easy enough but between getting the remaining refrigerant evacuated at a shop, renting/buying manifold gauges and a decent vacuum I'm wondering if it would just be cheaper to have a shop do it all. Normally I don't mind buying the tools but this seems like something I'll rarely have to do. Any thoughts?


Edited by potter2010, 03 July 2014 - 10:56 PM.


#4 Fairtax4me

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:33 PM

Probably around $150, depending on labor rates in your area, to have a shop service the AC system. It's usually not much cheaper to only have them evacuate and vaccum the system since those actions take the longest amount of time. Freon is only like $10-15 for a system this size. If you had a Chevy Suburban with the rear AC system that would be a different story since those hold like 48oz of freon. Newer Subarus only need like 18oz. The older systems hold 21-24oz.

If the system isn't open for long it can generally be recharged without vacuuming it down. Especially if you can do the work on a dry day (low humidity).

But if you have to pay someone to do it, might as well have them do everything.

#5 grossgary

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 12:57 AM

replace the orings on compressor and recharge.

20 minutes and $20 and done.  vacuuming is completely unecessary, i've done it a billion times without issue.

 

one issue with having a shop do it is they typically want to replace more than necessary like the compressor and/or lines.  they'll see a leak, test, and see the orings leaking and mis-diagnose as compressor and/or lines leaking when it's only 50 cent orings.

 

but yes - i would just do the simple 20 minute and $20 repair or have someone else do it.  dabbling in between in terms of effort/savings isn't a good fit many times.



#6 potter2010

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 07:58 AM

Thank you both.

I haven't been able to find any way to see how much you need to put in with a partially filled system. I don't want to overfill and cause other issues. I'm figuring if I put a small can in, as Fairtax4men mentioned, it should be good as it would take about two cans to fill completely. That'd get me going for a bit. If I do the whole thing including the o-rings I'd rather not let the refrigerant escape into the atmosphere. Is there any way of recovering it at home? I've seen vacuums but none that apparently do a great job and none that recover the refrigerant.



#7 heartless

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 09:00 AM

look for DIY cans of 134a refrigerant that come with a gauge that will help keep you from over filling - not the greatest in terms of accuracy, but something is better than nothing - worked well enough for me & my car.



#8 Fairtax4me

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 10:42 AM

If the charge is low enough to keep the compressor from engaging, a 12oz can will not overfill the system.

#9 zombieforce

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Posted 04 July 2014 - 11:24 AM

This is one time where I say have a pro do it only because you wont have a way of recovering refrigerant at home. Even if you want to do it yourself at least let a shop evac and charge system and you swap the seals.

#10 01 Outback

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Posted 06 July 2014 - 05:09 PM

My 01 Outback had both orings fail on the low and hi pressure lines where they go onto the compressor. I had the system open for 2 minutes maybe. I put 2 cans of 134A in and it cools to 50 degrees. Didn't vacuum. Air conditioning repair is a racket. Get a cheap ac thermometer and a couple cans of freon and a servicing hose. Service it with freon on a good warm day until the low pressure line has droplets of condensation on it like a coke can on a hot day and you will be very close. If you get too much the line will have ice on it and turn white. Let a little out. I check for leaks with a strong dish soap solution applied with a spray bottle. Most of the time it is orings or bad schrader valves at the high and low pressure servicing ports.

#11 spencer.SVX

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 03:19 PM

I've got a 1994 SVX which may have some of the same problems. Is there a good step by step reference for checking the pressure in various places and looking for leaks?

Thanks! :)



#12 potter2010

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Posted 16 July 2014 - 09:28 PM

I got my hands on a recharge kit and topped it up. As soon as I got some of the can in, the compressor started right up so definetly low refridgerant. It worked for our trip, cool but not cold, did the trick though. Got home and I figured I would try the second can. Opened the hood and noticed green liquid around the low pressure valve, guess I'll be replacing the o-ring there. The extra pressure must have made the leak more visible.

The only thing I'm wondering now is that I noticed the cans of refredgerant in the kit were r134 and not r134a. I can't seem to find much online about the difference. Anyone want to fill me in?

Thank you for all the help!

Oh, two links that other may find helpful:
http://www.subaruout...nutes-less.html

http://honda-tech.co...d.php?t=2818297



#13 Rooster2

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 11:03 AM

I got my hands on a recharge kit and topped it up. As soon as I got some of the can in, the compressor started right up so definetly low refridgerant. It worked for our trip, cool but not cold, did the trick though. Got home and I figured I would try the second can. Opened the hood and noticed green liquid around the low pressure valve, guess I'll be replacing the o-ring there. The extra pressure must have made the leak more visible.

The only thing I'm wondering now is that I noticed the cans of refredgerant in the kit were r134 and not r134a. I can't seem to find much online about the difference. Anyone want to fill me in?

Thank you for all the help!

Oh, two links that other may find helpful:
http://www.subaruout...nutes-less.html

http://honda-tech.co...d.php?t=2818297

Don't think there is any difference between 134 and 134a. It is all the same product.

 

Use a Schrader valve tool to tighten the valve. Good chance it is just loose, or partially depressed. There is no O ring at the valve. If that doesn't fix the leak, then the valve insert spring may need to be replaced.



#14 Olnick

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 01:00 PM

Thanks for the info about the Schrader valve, Rooster.  Those are the little gems that are very helpful to folks on a board like this. 



#15 Rooster2

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 01:30 PM

Thanks for the info about the Schrader valve, Rooster.  Those are the little gems that are very helpful to folks on a board like this. 

Just glad to help..........Larry (Rooster2)



#16 Fairtax4me

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Posted 17 July 2014 - 08:57 PM

These use JRA style valve cores. A standard core tool will not fit over them. A few seconds with a dremel should widen the gap enough to make it work.

#17 potter2010

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 12:21 AM

Just as a long after update, the kit came with a sealant can. I put that in after the second can of coolant and it seemed to seal it up. I'll see next summer if it holds. Might replace the o-rings if it starts leaking again, if not then I won't bother.

 

Thanks all for your help!


Edited by potter2010, 13 November 2014 - 12:21 AM.






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