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Old 04-19-2017, 03:00 AM   #21
fdryer
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 L200 A/C Diagnosis and Repair

I cannot stress this point any more; you do not have a compressor failure. Ignore my advice anyway as you'll learn sooner or later. AC repairs are unforgiving of mistakes. As you see it, you're under the impression that replacing a compressor will fix everything. Well, your search with a uv light exposed several areas where leaks occurred. For the moment, ignore your leak findings and go with compressor replacement. You already found a moment of cool air from your system and then it faded away. This alone means the compressor is operating. Remove blood from your body and how long do you expect to live? Refrigerant is always under compression whether or not a/c is used. Lose refrigerant and the compressor cannot work, period. Lose blood and you're likely to faint since loss of blood to the brain simply means starving the brain of oxygen rich blood. People with low blood pressure can faint easily - the heart pumps at an ideal pressure but when pressure drops below normal, many can faint from not enough blood circulating thru the brain. Lose refrigerant and the compressor can't function because................nothing is there to compress. Refrigerant is the lifeblood of a/c systems. Not a little. The full amount as labeled on every vehicle. Your gauges are showing nearly a complete loss of refrigerant. Whether you put the (deliberately left off) service caps back on last year compounds your problems. Both service valves are leaking and should be replaced. Bubbling from the high side (or low) simply means oil is bubbling as refrigerant percolates thru. You're witnessing a fast leak. The shaking videos aren't helpful as anyone viewing them are not seeing the greater perspective you see when recording. All the video does is give a narrow view of where you're pointing the lens. Normal system pressures@2k rpm; 25-35 psi low side, 125-250+ psi high side. 40 psi on both sides simply means a great deal of refrigerant was lost............thru a leak or leaks. The high side valve is at least one major source of leaks in this system. If I'm not mistaken, this port is replaced by unscrewing it and using a new O-ring. The low side valve may just need a replacement valve stem.

Back to ignoring the leaks. If you replace the compressor and nothing else, you'll quickly find out how poorly a repair is the moment a vacuum pump is turned on; either the gauges simply won't move both needles to negative pressures or move little - after 10-15 minutes of evacuation, turn off the pump and watch the gauge needles quickly go back to zero instead of remaining in a vacuum. Unless you understand why gauges are needed and why leaks are a priority repair before assuming/presuming parts failure (compressor, txv, evaporator coil), you'll be chasing your tail around. A leak simply means this system will never hold and retain refrigerant. Like a tire leak, you'll be refilling a leaking tire. Until you accept the fact that any leak means the same thing as a tire leak, but more expensive with refrigerant use, you'll never restore this system back to factory condition. Whether you know it or not, you're the sole a/c repair person responsible for the entire repair if you do not want to fork over $1200 for shady repair shops to restore your system. This is not a simple diy project. If you care to see how difficult a/c repair is, search recent threads about one member in the S-series forums thinking his repair was simple. Not. His unfamiliarity, like yours, with refrigeration systems has already revealed less than quality refrigeration gauges as his brand new equipment failed - after struggling, he determined the high side gauge hose is leaking. If you cannot trust the equipment and are unfamiliar with refrigeration repairs, there's a steep learning curve. Unfortunately, he has an equipment and leak problem. After repairs were made and gauges put on, cooling may have occurred but was lost. From descriptions given, a complete repair wasn't made despite insisting no dye leaks are found. Without a set of gauges to trust, this member is stuck until replacing the faulty hose.

A/c compressors are considered the 'holy grail' of many ill informed diyers and a great profit margin for every repair shop whether its a dealer or 'professional' repair shop. I don't consider compressors the holy grail as "That's it Harry!? It was a faulty compressor!?" If this is the case then I would have failed in all my repairs over the years as I overlook every leak that was the cause of lost cooling. Not the compressor. Consider a/c systems as nothing more than a tire. Once filled, tires stay inflated. Puncture a tire and a leak flattens a tire. A/c systems don't suffer punctures but flex and parts get road rash thrown into it (condenser coil, tubing below/exposed to rocks/stones, shock from potholes, and normal wear and tear. Service valves, when not used to repeatedly refill a system, are usually good for the life of a system with caps sealing off any miniscule leak. Bubbling is not minuscule. That high side service valve will blow out more refrigerant as the high side is normally running between 125-250 psi when a/c is used. On hot days, summer, 250 psi is normal. Now think how quickly a bubbling valve will leak out and empty a system in less than a day or two......

Find and fix the leaks first. If you use refrigeration equipment, a vacuum will tell you how good or badly repairs went. Either a leak still exists or not. The aim of every a/c repair is to restore a system that will hold a complete vacuum for days (some do it but 30 minutes is more than sufficient time to determine a system is repaired). A system that holds a vacuum will hold pressures when refrigerant is recharged into a repaired system at full capacity.
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Old 04-19-2017, 05:20 PM   #22
remitten
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2003 L-Series 2.2L Sedan
Default Re: 2003 L200 A/C Diagnosis and Repair

I'd like to thank fdryer for the virtual shellacking he gave me as my AC is currently working.

I just kept adding refrigerant until my high and low pressure gauges matched the "recommended psi given ambient temperature" chart. For whatever reason,yesterday I was convinced that the compressor wasn't working because, despite the compressor's clutch engaging, there was no change in psi, low or high. But apparently, and as fdryer pointed out, there wasn't enough pressure in the first place to correctly diagnose my problem. My bad.

Now when I say "working" (I'm treading lightly here) I mean that the compressor works and now I just have to find the leaks that obviously lead to my initial loss of refrigerant.

Fdryer, keep doing what you're doing. It might be a little wordy, but it gets the point across and just saved me at least $500. Thanks again man.
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Old 04-19-2017, 07:00 PM   #23
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Default Re: 2003 L200 A/C Diagnosis and Repair

I'm told from a reliable source that I can put people to sleep from my monotone voice....... Let's see if my long winded posts do the same........

Since you discovered your compressor miraculously working again, I don't know what removes dye but wash off whatever dye stains found and check these areas again for fresh dye. With fresh refrigerant, any leak will simply release refrigerant, oil and dye to mark leak sites. Your learning curve depends on what you accept or reject whether or not learned here or elsewhere.
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