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Old 05-14-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
outdoorman
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Default AC stopped working

noticed that cold air stopped blowing out of 1999 SL2. It worked fine last year when son bought it. I dont know anything about AC but saw the compressor clutch was not turning. After I added alittle R134a refrigerant, the compressor began turning but still no cold air. strange but only took very little refrigerant before compressor kicked on and was upto about 55 psi pretty quickly (about 5 seconds worth of refrigerant).
Any suggestions or ideas what could be wrong? Im having someone I know come over tomorrow to take a look at it but want to get some idea where the problem could be.

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Old 05-14-2011, 09:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Sounds like you have a leak in the system and you did not add enough refrigerant. A low charge will be indicated by frequent cycling and barely cool air. You may want to get the 134 with dye to see where the leak is. You really need to use a set of gauges for the high and low side for an accurate diagnosis.

Last edited by hoseppi; 05-14-2011 at 09:44 PM..

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Old 05-14-2011, 10:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Saturns already came with dye added. All it takes is time spent examining the system to find the source of the leak. Look at this as refilling a leaking tire except more expensive using R134a. And stay away from leak sealer unless you want to make your local a/c shop rich from amateur mistakes.

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Old 05-26-2011, 06:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Saturns already came with dye added. All it takes is time spent examining the system to find the source of the leak. Look at this as refilling a leaking tire except more expensive using R134a. And stay away from leak sealer unless you want to make your local a/c shop rich from amateur mistakes.
Is it possible for sealant to "gum" up a compressor or other part of the system? Had a shop insist it was the best way to go only to realize it did not "seal" upon hitting the air as promisd and R-134 leaked out anyway. Now Im wondernig at what cost.

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Old 05-26-2011, 06:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Quote:
Originally Posted by cryptic View Post
Is it possible for sealant to "gum" up a compressor or other part of the system? Had a shop insist it was the best way to go only to realize it did not "seal" upon hitting the air as promisd and R-134 leaked out anyway. Now Im wondernig at what cost.
I can't imagine what good could come from using a sealant. Just find the leak and fix it. The leaks are VERY easy to see with a UV additive. I had a super slow leak (took about 4 weeks to leak down). It was so slow that my sniffer didn't pick anything up. After putting the UV in it was very obvious where the leak was from.
However, if you are asking where A/C systems typically leak the answer is anywhere. Just use the UV die and it will be obvious.

-Robert

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Old 05-26-2011, 07:05 PM   #6
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Default Re: AC stopped working

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Originally Posted by RobertGary1 View Post
I can't imagine what good could come from using a sealant. Just find the leak and fix it. The leaks are VERY easy to see with a UV additive. I had a super slow leak (took about 4 weeks to leak down). It was so slow that my sniffer didn't pick anything up. After putting the UV in it was very obvious where the leak was from.
However, if you are asking where A/C systems typically leak the answer is anywhere. Just use the UV die and it will be obvious.

-Robert
Hind sight is always 20/20. Had I known, i wouldnt have considered it even. I did find the leaks btw. My particular question was can sealants gum up the compressor?

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Old 05-26-2011, 07:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Yes it can. Some searching around on the 'net will turn up a nice picture of a fouled up compressor from indiscriminate use of sealer that went wrong because of amateur attempts at repairs. As I understand it, sealer reacts immediately to either air or moisture, the enemy of all refrigeration systems. In a normally sealed system only refrigerant and oil circulates over and over again. All air and moisture was originally removed before oil and refrigerant was installed along with dye. This closed system works perfectly until a leak occurs that allows releasing refrigerant/oil/dye while sucking in air and moisture. This contaminated system is then refilled/topped off with refill kits and if sealer is used the stage is set; the contamination that already took place before recharging occurs allows sealer to react almost immediately - to start sealing in all the wrong places in addition to where any real pinhole leak occurs (where it was designed for). So instead of sealing a pinhole leak by reacting to air and moisture outside this system to plug the hole it reacts internally to wreak untold damage.

I warn against using sealer. I never use it in any repair I make to vehicle a/c systems.

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Old 05-26-2011, 07:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Thanks for the tips fdryer, can I also assume that once a system is opened, i.e. replace o-rings on hoses, that it will need to be vacumed and charged as opposed to simply adding refrigerant back in?

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Old 05-26-2011, 08:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Quote:
Originally Posted by cryptic View Post
Thanks for the tips fdryer, can I also assume that once a system is opened, i.e. replace o-rings on hoses, that it will need to be vacumed and charged as opposed to simply adding refrigerant back in?
Goodness yes. Compressing air doesn't give you A/C and air is what is in the system. To make things worse, when air gets cold the moisture freezes and those bits of freezing stuff destroy the compressor. So yes, evac. I used to use one of those $20 venturi pumps. They actually work well but are a pain (I was so happy when I got a real vacuum pump). However, the venturi pump is MUCH better than nothing. You want to hold it in vacuum for about 30 minutes to ensure you have boiled out all the compressor destroying air molecules.

-Robert

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Old 05-26-2011, 08:54 PM   #10
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Default Re: AC stopped working

If you replace the compressor on suspicion of sealer fouling it, replace the filter/drier too. The three greatest choke points are the expansion valve, filter/drier, and compressor. What sealer does to the rest of the system, hoses, condenser and evaporator coils cannot be answered easily; examining each one from the opened fittings may reveal the extent of damage otherwise flushing out the entire system may have to be considered. I wouldn't want to be in your shoes.

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Old 05-26-2011, 10:09 PM   #11
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Thanks, Im gearing up to replace just about all of it. the compressor not withsatnding, the parts are not too expensive. Was definately going fro the expansion valve, evaporator and hoses, now guess the dryer too. Expensive but required in Florida

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Old 05-26-2011, 11:58 PM   #12
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Quote:
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Thanks, Im gearing up to replace just about all of it. the compressor not withsatnding, the parts are not too expensive. Was definately going fro the expansion valve, evaporator and hoses, now guess the dryer too. Expensive but required in Florida
Compressor, dryer and expansion valve are all good ideas. The hose and core are probably overboard unless you have a problem. However you might want to replace all the seals around the system (put a bit of mineral oil on them), this includes the ones to the coil, etc. A pack of misc A/C seals is about $5 and just like hotdog buns, its scientifically designed to be one seal short so you need two. I guess it depends on your cost to refill if you have a leak later. I have all the equipment so my cost is $20 in refrig, however, if you are paying $200 for an evac and charge, perhaps it makes more sense to replace more stuff.

-Robert

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Old 05-27-2011, 01:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: AC stopped working

Thanks guys. yes I do feel better safe than sorry. I mean its not working now so might as well and replace all i can. And I must apologize to outdoorman for hi-jacking this thread! Sorry,

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Old 05-27-2011, 02:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: AC stopped working

One thought.

Might be worth a one-time charge (two cans) to determine how fast it leaks. A leak that calls for a DIY evacuate and recharge once a year may not be worth fixing from a cost stand point - if the environment is not an issue for you. Your car, your money, your conscience.

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Old 05-27-2011, 03:34 PM   #15
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One thought.

Might be worth a one-time charge (two cans) to determine how fast it leaks. A leak that calls for a DIY evacuate and recharge once a year may not be worth fixing from a cost stand point - if the environment is not an issue for you. Your car, your money, your conscience.
I wouldn't. If you don't evac the system first it will be full of air, which includes moisture. When the system gets cold it will turn into little ice daggers and kill your compressor.

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