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Discussion Starter #1
So I am now turning my attention to AC on this car. I bought a charge kit with a pressure gauge and discovered the car is showing zero PSI.... so there is a leak ( And i will work that issue before attempting to charge it) . This car has only 52K miles on it so I'm guessing more age related challenges than wear issues. I was planning on breaking the lines down and replacing green O-Rings etc. Possibly doing the pressure port values for high and low side and then trying to pull a vacuum on the system and see if it holds delta pressure.....

Anything else easy to check / do before I attempt a charge? Just trying to do things right. I can just try to add every so often but I think the responsible thing to do is trouble shoot first.

Thoughts? PS is there dye I can add prior to charging to help assure I fix any remaining leaks?

PS- I see NO issues with working on a car that does not currently have a charge ( positive pressure) so please keep those comments to your self.

As always thanks for the advice.
 

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AC can be a frustrating beast.
It's my unproven belief that most leaks are at the compressor, and for a car this age, you might as well replace the entire system. Rockauto has kits for surprisingly affordable prices the last time I checked.

That philosophy is obviously flawed if it turns out you had a bad 50c O-ring all-along, but thats just what it is. Also, full disclosure, My AC has been out for probably 10 years and I've put exactly zero effort into figuring out why.

I also see no problem with working on an already empty system... HOWEVER; When you think its fixed and ready for a charge, I would go to a pro at that time. The system really should be brought to a vacuum, vacuum drop tested, then charged, then pressure tested and unless you have the vacuum rig in your garage, you need a pro to do that right.
 

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I've saved myself a bit of money by going to harbor freight and picking up a set of AC guages that are less than $50. Watch a few youtube videos on how to run them properly. IF there is a leak, the worst that will happen is that it leaks out. So go to walmart, buy a can of refrigerent with dye in it, and fill the system to (about 250ish high side) and 25-30 low side. There are methods to weigh out how much exactly you put in. But pressures will be good enough. IF it works for a day and then quits, the leak is big. IF it works for a week then quits the leak is small, if you're lucky, you can drive the rest of the warm weather because the leak is so small. You can do all this for less than the cost of 1 hour of labor at your mechanic. AT least if you fill it for them with dye, they can detect the leak without charging you to refill it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Got a manifold kit off amazon with a case for $30 and spent a little more on dye. Put 90 PSI of shop air in and found a blown front condenser...( Was nice to do that without wasting/ polluting with a 134 recharge can)

Buying a condenser plus an O-ring kit on Rock auto and see where this goes....
 

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that's a good way to go about finding the leak. did you listen for a hiss? or did you add dye only to the system?
 

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also a good idea to poke your head under the dash if you didn't and look for any dye leaks inside the cabin as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
also a good idea to poke your head under the dash if you didn't and look for any dye leaks inside the cabin as well.
I added dye but it was clearly a bad condenser. Not sure if it just gave way or had a rock strike but either way its a horrible leak ( Goes from 80 psi to zero in just a few minuets) . New condenser from rock auto arrives tomorrow with luck will be installed by the close of the weekend. If I have any other leaks the dye will prove useful. Time will tell if there is more than one...
 

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For future reference, one of these puppies, will let you inject R152a, also known as keyboard cleaner, which for testing purposes is much better for the environment than R134a, while still being a clean, dry fluorocarbon refrigerant.

It's also common practice to fill the system with Nitrogen, or really known dry gas. The problem with shop air is that it's still got quite a bit of water in it, plus some of whatever oil the compressor is using, which may or may not be compatible with the PAG in our AC sytems.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
lus some of whatever oil the compressor is using, which may or may not be compatible with the PAG in our AC s
My plan is to pull a vacuum on the system to get the moisture out as I'm sure there is a a bunch given its been an open system ( No pressure) with Michigan humidity levels likley for years.... The oil is a potential concern I guess but I think its very very small risk ( I paint cars with this rig and don't have problems that would indicate oil being present)

Still need to get caught up on house jobs so that I can get back to the car...

PS- I really like the nitrogen idea...maybe next time
 
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