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Discussion Starter #1
Hello friends. I've worked on many aspects of vehicles, but one that I've never touched is the A/C. On my cars, they either worked- and they kept working, or they didn't work, so I just left them like that. I'm curious if you guys still maintain your A/C systems, and if so- how difficult is it?

My 92 OCC A/C does not work WHEN I press the A/C button. However if I jump the compressor, it will kick on and continue to run until I remove the paper clip.

Would this mean that there just isn't enough freon to keep the compressor running? Could I just hook up one of those autozone rechargers to the low pressure line, with the compressor jumped and charge the system that way?

Thanks for the help/guidance in advance.
 

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Take it to an A/C shop for diagnosis and then decide whether or not you want to spend the money. Attempting to do it yourself with no knowledge of what you are doing will more than likely cause damage. For example, using those self charge kits can have the effect of blowing the seals on your compressor. The original problem may have been something simple like a switch and now you have an expensive compressor to replace.
You save nothing by trying to do it yourself.
 

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If you press the "econ" button, and it runs, you are probably low on refrigerant. I do not know what refrigerant you have in the system. Before you add any refrigerant, find out what you have. If it has been converted to 134a, you can use one of the kits at the parts store. If you have 134a, it will take at least one standard can, and you can use the kit that has a gauge on the "blue" side of the system. Stay within the noted range, and you should be OK.

If it is R12, you should see an AC repair shop. There is a replacement for R12 that is compatible with R12, and they may have a source for it.

If it is not labeled for 134a conversion, the type of fitting on the line can be used to determine the refrigerant. The 134a has a smooth fitting, and the R12 has a screw on fitting.
 

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I disagree. If you are low on refrigerant, you have a leak. Take it to a shop and have it located and fixed. You will be buying a lot of refrigerant if it keeps leaking out and you keep replacing it, even if you replace it successfully.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
http://www.impalassforum.com/vBulletin/showthread.php?t=272137

Found this thread from a few years back, pretty much what issues I'm running into right now.

I don't have an "econ" button Fred, only A/C. And it only kicks on when I jump the connector. The system last used R134 so I'm good there.

Obviously there's a leak- but I just want to see if I can get the system to take in the freon on its own, then from there see how long it ends up staying in the system. I can use a dye and light to figure out where the leak is and repair it myself.

If the compressor goes- then it would've been like I never would have tried it at all, so I'm not worried about ruining it. I'd rather blow an air compressor, be out 180 bucks and learn what it is I'm doing so that I have that experience for the future- than just blindly paying someone to diagnose it for me, then paying them to find and repair the leak, then pay them to recharge the system.

Like I said, the system kicks on if I jump it. In the thread I posted above- he had similar issues like mine. He stated that without jumping the compressor, when he added the freeon- the compressor came on, on its own. This is where I'm thinking mine is at. Once I see the compressor take the freon, and the air get cold- I'll know where I stand. I'll buy the dye kit, see where the leak is, repair it- and refill the system.
 

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What I have learned through the years is to use the air conditioner all year around to keep everything lubricated, I live in Colorado and even in winter I turn it on even if I don't use the car, but if you have problems now is better to go to a good shop like the Chevy dealer to have it checked.
 

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What I have learned through the years is to use the air conditioner all year around to keep everything lubricated, I live in Colorado and even in winter I turn it on even if I don't use the car, but if you have problems now is better to go to a good shop like the Chevy dealer to have it checked.
Exactly! I run mine all the time also in this car and many others over the years.
 

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Yeah I never thought much about that but one thing I learned on the internet is to periodically turn on the AC in the winter to keep the seals and everything lubricated.

Though just using the defroster will cycle the compressor so it's not such a big deal to make sure you do it. If you drive your car regularly I mean.
 

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I've had good luck with the cans that include a seal sealer. I first had A/C issues back in 2009 and had to charge it once since then. It has been 2-3 years since I've touched it and it works great still. Even if you have to charge it once or twice a summer it would take a lot of re-charging to cost more than a repair, especially if you are paying someone to do it. Maybe I've just been lucky. I did have to jump the low pressure switch to get it to come on and take the refrigerant.
 

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the reason your compressor isn't running is the low pressure cutoff switch. those cans of R134a and various other refrigerants with oils and sealers mixed in are under pressure in the can. So when you hook it up it will start to dump into your system. unless your system is absolutely bone dry and the leak bleeds pressure VERY quickly, you can generally get the system to build enough pressure that the compressor will kick on eventually and start sucking from the can...so shouldn't have to jumper it unless you're really really impatient.
 

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What SoIL9C1 said. Shorting the low pressure switch is not necessary. After a few minutes of dumping R134A into the low side port, the compressor will start to cycle and then cycle and stay running. In an empty system, this can take minutes. This is actually useful to see ... helps diagnose problems.

What FBI9C1 said. Geez, A/C systems are not "top off" systems. The balance of oil and Freon, pressures and such are important. It is a closed system. Low Freon means a leak ... no other reason. Can you add a little Freon now and again to cover a slow leak? Hey, done that. Lazy ass fool when I do.

If your system has been empty (hence the low pressure switch indication), you need to see the A/C guru. You don't want to put Freon in a system that has pulled air into it. Your compressor will die in time from the moisture and efficiency losses.

Could be as simple as a leaking port valve. Nothing broken, just a leak. Properly fixed, evacuated, and filled, no harm no foul. Just dumping Freon in ... not recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Just an update.

Today (a hot day) while walking through wal-mart with the kids, I made the decision to try and refill the A/C using the cans again. Not sure why exactly? It didn't work out too well the last time. All I could get it to do was short cycle... but this time for some odd reason I thought I could make it work. I bought a large can, went out to the car and turned the A/C up on high. I noticed that it was no longer short cycling like it had been the last time I tried to fill it up (6 months ago?). So now I knew it was low- and that there was a definite leak.

Out in the parking lot, with the kids piled in the back and the windows rolled down, I tried a second attempt at recharging the A/C. This can I got seemed to work a lot better than the all black A/C refill can. Soon the compressor began to short cycle. I'm thinking "Good. I've seen this before..." and I continue to shake the can while depressing the button- determined to get the A/C working. After a good five minutes, I began to notice that the compressor would stay on for longer periods of time, where the last time I tried- it stayed at the same interval for almost 20 minutes. This might be why I was confused on my first initial attempt.

It would only stay on for 2 whole seconds. Then up to 3 1/2 seconds. When I began to realize this- a huge grin came upon my face. With the kids in the car sweating- playing on their phones- I began to shake the can even more ferociously. Soon the compressor would stay on for 9 seconds. After I got over that initial hump of worry- and I realized that it was actually working, I was more than confident that today- today was the day that I would have A/C. Even if it all leaked out over night- today, this day I would drive home with the windows up and the A/C on full blast.

The first can ran out while the A/C would stay cycling for around 10 seconds. I left the car running with the wife and kids inside and ran in to grab another can. When I came out the compressor was no longer cycling, but running continuously! I was able to actually read the gauge this time- and understand where exactly I was trying to get the needle. Before I was unsure, as when it was short cycling- the needle would be everywhere. I threw in the last little bit- got in the car giggling with the biggest grin on my face. I literally could not stop laughing like a mad man. This car is amazing. This is my ultimate cruiser!




The kids didn't really seem to care less either way though...






I have been in contact with an A/C shop local to San Diego. I DO plan on taking my car by there (Probably after this little bit runs out- just to see how long it will last) since I know exactly what types of issues he'll be tackling. Before I was unsure- and didn't want to go a pay a guy a diagnosis fee- just to have him tell me I'll need to dump an extra 600+ dollars into the system.

However, now that I know that the system WORKS and that there IS a leak- I can go in there with that knowledge and not expect to get ripped off.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm curious. I've noticed when I got WOT onto the freeway- the air seems to cut out a little- as in it doesn't blow as much cool air. However when I release the gas pedal, you can feel the air resume at full blast. Is this normal for our cars?
 

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I'm curious. I've noticed when I got WOT onto the freeway- the air seems to cut out a little- as in it doesn't blow as much cool air. However when I release the gas pedal, you can feel the air resume at full blast. Is this normal for our cars?
Normal for just about any car…the pcm usually turns off AC compressor @ WOT.
 

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Normal for just about any car…the pcm usually turns off AC compressor @ WOT.
Wow really? I could've sworn in my other cars the A/C got cooler the harder I drove. I think this is the first car I've driven that the A/C cuts away at WOT. At least it seems normal then. Good to know!!!


You have Kids babywag? I've got two little ones, 4 and 9. We should do a little BBQ up there in Ocean Side one day.
 

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Appreciate that. With my back issue(s) I'm forced to work like a turtle.
Very slow, short durations, have to spread it out over days/weeks, really frustrating. A job that should take a few hours is days 4 me.
Kids keep me pretty busy as well.
 

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1. The refrigerant capacity of a 1992 car is over 3 lbs. What that means is, one of those big 24 oz cans is not even close to the amount of refrigerant needed for correct operation.

2. If a vehicle's AC gets warmer at higher rpms (with WOT), that is because the system is low. At low rpms, when the compressor is at lower suction, it works fine. At higher rpms and higher suction, the low-side pressure gets too low, and the compressor cuts out.

3. Stay away from leak sealers. They will destroy your system eventually.
 
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