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Thread: Air Conditioner Repair Videos - Full System Restoration...

  1. #16
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Century7667 View Post
    Just got around to watching this one. Well worth the time. I paid $600 to replace a "fractured" aluminum line at the compressor on my 2001 S10 several years back. Had I known then what I know know, I could have attempted this for pennies on the dollar. It would have been worth a shot.

    Ken T.
    Wow that is brutal. Alumalloy and its variants has been around a long time. Surely it was available back then.



  2. #17
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbokinetic View Post
    Wow that is brutal. Alumalloy and its variants has been around a long time. Surely it was available back then.
    I had no idea you could do such a repair at the time. I understand why you can't weld aluminum without MIG; it just never occurred that you could do braze with it. I know now though! Thanks!

    Ken T.

  3. #18
    Senior Member Ciera91's Avatar
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    Man turbokinetic I wish you were within driving distance. If pay you to do my ac. The car was professionally converted over before I got it in 2010.

    Last summer I went to a reputable service shop had it leak tested with uv dye and it held vac. They said they didn't find leaks and everything looked good. They refilled it and I had cold ac all summer.

    This summer again no ac so I pumped a can of r134a in from O'Reilly and ├žompressor kicked in with ac. I'm sure next summer it will be dead again. I don't want to keep paying 100$ to get ac every year!

  4. #19
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    No matter how ruputable shop is, I've found that a lot of folks just have low standards. I'd dye that thing yourself, and see what you find. If they didn't find it with the dye, it could be in the evaporator core. That's where my leak was. Of course replacing the evaporator core is a ....back breaker, unfortunately.

    Ken T.

  5. #20
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ciera91 View Post
    Man turbokinetic I wish you were within driving distance. If pay you to do my ac. The car was professionally converted over before I got it in 2010.

    Last summer I went to a reputable service shop had it leak tested with uv dye and it held vac. They said they didn't find leaks and everything looked good. They refilled it and I had cold ac all summer.

    This summer again no ac so I pumped a can of r134a in from O'Reilly and ├žompressor kicked in with ac. I'm sure next summer it will be dead again. I don't want to keep paying 100$ to get ac every year!
    It is very hard to locate a leak that holds refrigerant longer than one month or so. The volume of the leak is incredibly small. I have found that most of the "very slow" leaks are in the compressor. Probably because it has a lot more joints and seals than the entire remainder of the system put together.

    Quote Originally Posted by Century7667 View Post
    No matter how ruputable shop is, I've found that a lot of folks just have low standards. I'd dye that thing yourself, and see what you find. If they didn't find it with the dye, it could be in the evaporator core. That's where my leak was. Of course replacing the evaporator core is a ....back breaker, unfortunately.

    Ken T.
    The evap core is indeed a PITA to change. And I don't mean a Greek sandwich, either.

    Depending on the engine type, it can be nearly impossible to remove and install without removing the engine from the car.

    In my humble opinion - in the case of Ciera91 with the one-year leak; I would "wildcat" a reman compressor and see if that fixes the leak. Based on experience, if I can't locate a leak after making a detailed attempt, it has been in the compressor. Once I took the clutch and pulley off the compressor and sprayed soap all over it. There was a VERY VERY small foam developing around the shaft seal. You would never find it with the pulley and clutch in place.

    The compressor has large and relatively "flexible" aluminum housings. There are some small-cross-section O-rings that seal the segments of the compressor to each other. There is always some relative movement between the compressor housing segments, leading to these O-rings wearing down and losing their seal over time. My Ciera XC had this problem when I got the car. It was a one-season-wonder. New seals for the compressor fixed it.

    Sincerely,
    David

  6. #21
    Senior Member Ciera91's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info guys, maybe I'll get through this summer on the charge, have it evacuated and lines caped, take compressor out and put new o rings in. Then maybe new o rings on the lines and have the system serviced next year.

    I just hate the idea of getting another compressor if this one can be fixed, I hate wasting car parts haha.

  7. #22

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    I have a question. Had a buddy check out my system. It had been converted to 134 at some point before I got my century. He said I have a good charge. He vacuumed it and recharged but had no power at the ac clutch (he jumped it and it functions well). He thinks it's an electrical issue, possibly a bad wire. I was in all data today and found a wiring diagram. It looks like the power steering pressure switch is tied into the compressor feed. I happened to break mine by accident when I replaced the p/s rack last winter. Knowing some wiring diagrams aren't totally accurate, I have to ask, can this be why I have no power at the clutch? I have power everywhere else. I mean it makes sense, but I just want To be absolutely sure before I buy the new switch.

  8. #23
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonye66 View Post
    I have a question. Had a buddy check out my system. It had been converted to 134 at some point before I got my century. He said I have a good charge. He vacuumed it and recharged but had no power at the ac clutch (he jumped it and it functions well). He thinks it's an electrical issue, possibly a bad wire. I was in all data today and found a wiring diagram. It looks like the power steering pressure switch is tied into the compressor feed. I happened to break mine by accident when I replaced the p/s rack last winter. Knowing some wiring diagrams aren't totally accurate, I have to ask, can this be why I have no power at the clutch? I have power everywhere else. I mean it makes sense, but I just want To be absolutely sure before I buy the new switch.
    You are correct, the power steering pressure switch is in series with the compressor. I usually just remove that switch and bypass the connector so the compressor does not depend on that. It's pretty stupid to have those two systems tied together, anyway!

  9. #24

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    I agree. I jumped the connector with a paper clip and the ac works great! I'm simply amazed how lucky I got with this car. I really needed that ac today and boy did it help. Thanks David!

  10. #25
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonye66 View Post
    I agree. I jumped the connector with a paper clip and the ac works great! I'm simply amazed how lucky I got with this car. I really needed that ac today and boy did it help. Thanks David!
    Glad it fixed you up!

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    Hi guys,

    I watched David's video a few times and plan on doing the same thing to my 87 Ciera. The system started out just ok this morning but on the ride in it was very weak even on full blast.

    I have a ton of questions so please bear with me:

    1. Why did he get a new dryer? It seems to me that's just aluminum that can be cleaned.
    2. What should the pressure readings be on the high and low side?
    3. How many and of what size size O rings should I get?
    4. When you vacuum a line do you plug up the other end(s) of it?
    5. How and what can I quickly diagnose before doing all the cleaning? I think the compressor is "fine" no weird noises..
    6. It seems an R132a "upgrade" just means a different oil, and different charge and charge volume...yes?
    7. I think the hardest part will be removing one of the pulleys to clean the evaporator...any advice here? Is it hard?
    8. What is the purpose of the white plastic piece (I forget the name) that goes in the tube before the condenser I think? How do I know if I need a new one?

    Note that I've never done anything like this before...what might my sticking points be?

  12. #27
    Senior Member turbokinetic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by statustician View Post
    Hi guys,

    I watched David's video a few times and plan on doing the same thing to my 87 Ciera. The system started out just ok this morning but on the ride in it was very weak even on full blast.
    Don't keep running it if it's not cooling correctly! You will end up damaging the compressor.

    I have a ton of questions so please bear with me:
    1. Why did he get a new dryer? It seems to me that's just aluminum that can be cleaned.
    Inside the dryer, there is a "bag" of chemical pellets that absorb water and purify the oil and refrigerant. This chemically binds to water and can't be cleaned.

    2. What should the pressure readings be on the high and low side?
    The high-side depends on the temperature of the condenser coil. If it's hot out, you may see 250 - 300 PSI. Usually it's around 250. Lower with HFC152A than with R134A.

    Very Important Note: You can NOT tell the charge amount based on the pressures.

    The low side is regulated by the compressor. It will be around 25 to 35 PSI when everything is working correctly, with engine at 1500 RPM. The low-side pressure may become as high as 40 PSI when the engine is at low idle.

    3. How many and of what size size O rings should I get?
    They sell a kit for these cars. I have a big pack of many sizes, so that I can pick through them. Maybe someone else can chime in and call out specific sizes.

    4. When you vacuum a line do you plug up the other end(s) of it?
    Yes, the goal is to make a high vacuum in the line, thereby boiling off all the residual cleaning solvent or any moisture.

    5. How and what can I quickly diagnose before doing all the cleaning? I think the compressor is "fine" no weird noises..
    If the compressor is quiet, and it quickly pulls the low-pressure side down to 25-30 PSI, then the system should function once it's fully charged.

    6. It seems an R132a "upgrade" just means a different oil, and different charge and charge volume...yes?
    This is correct. The main difference is the oil compatibility and charge mass. R134A works best with a dual fan setup, because it is not as efficient as R12, and requires a cooler condenser temperature. The HFC152A a much better option for converted R12 systems, as it doesn't require as much power to condense it.

    7. I think the hardest part will be removing one of the pulleys to clean the evaporator...any advice here? Is it hard?
    On the 2.8 engine, it is a bit of a pain to get the blower out. You can take off the top motor mount (the torque strut) and then "rock" the engine forward a little bit to get more access. But, I believe you will probably have to take the alternator off.

    8. What is the purpose of the white plastic piece (I forget the name) that goes in the tube before the condenser I think? How do I know if I need a new one?
    That's the orifice tube. It is what separates the high side from the low side. It restricts the gas flow, thereby causing pressure to build up in the condenser, and starting the refrigeration cycle when the compressor is moving gas around the circuit.

    It is cheap and normally replaced when you refurbish the system. If the screen around the tube is not torn, you can clean it with brake cleaner and re-use it. Often, when there has been a catastrophic compressor failure, there are so many sharp metal chips caught in the screen, that you have to mangle it away to remove it and there is no choice but replacement. If it comes out easily and the screen is not torn, then just shoot it off with solvent and put it back in after you flush out the oil from the evaporator coil lines.

    Note that I've never done anything like this before...what might my sticking points be?
    The biggest thing is having the correct equipment, such as the gauges and vacuum pump. When you put brake cleaner in the lines to wash out the old oil, you will need to blow out the residue with air, then use the vacuum pump to remove the solvent vapors, liquid, and moisture.

    Don't get in a hurry - let the vacuum pump run at least one hour, preferably 2, after flushing. Air and other material in the lines is Very Bad.

    The 2.8L engine has a V5 compressor. That compressor has its own oil compartment. The compressor MUST be removed, the drain plug taken out, and the oil poured out by hand. Then, you must pour the new oil in it through the drain plug.

    Hope this helps!

  13. #28
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    Don't keep running it if it's not cooling correctly! You will end up damaging the compressor.
    I should have clarified here...the "flux" of the air coming through is strong...it's just not cold...

    Inside the dryer, there is a "bag" of chemical pellets that absorb water and purify the oil and refrigerant. This chemically binds to water and can't be cleaned.
    So is the whole point of buying a dryer simply to acquire a new bag of dessicant?

    On the 2.8 engine, it is a bit of a pain to get the blower out. You can take off the top motor mount (the torque strut) and then "rock" the engine forward a little bit to get more access. But, I believe you will probably have to take the alternator off.
    This seems pretty daunting for me...how crucial is this step? Or...how can I determine how necessary it is?

    This is correct. The main difference is the oil compatibility and charge mass. R134A works best with a dual fan setup, because it is not as efficient as R12, and requires a cooler condenser temperature. The HFC152A a much better option for converted R12 systems, as it doesn't require as much power to condense it.

    So is your recommendation to do a HFC152A upgrade?

    That's the orifice tube. It is what separates the high side from the low side. It restricts the gas flow, thereby causing pressure to build up in the condenser, and starting the refrigeration cycle when the compressor is moving gas around the circuit.

    It is cheap and normally replaced when you refurbish the system. If the screen around the tube is not torn, you can clean it with brake cleaner and re-use it. Often, when there has been a catastrophic compressor failure, there are so many sharp metal chips caught in the screen, that you have to mangle it away to remove it and there is no choice but replacement. If it comes out easily and the screen is not torn, then just shoot it off with solvent and put it back in after you flush out the oil from the evaporator coil lines.
    My compressor seems fine, I will visually inspect it when the car is in idle, if it doesn't seize up I'll assume everything's ok and go with just cleaning the orifice tube.

    The 2.8L engine has a V5 compressor. That compressor has its own oil compartment. The compressor MUST be removed, the drain plug taken out, and the oil poured out by hand. Then, you must pour the new oil in it through the drain plug.
    In your video I think you poured the oil into the dryer...are you recommending a different plan of attack for me?

    Hope this helps!
    OMG, you have no idea how grateful I am...I feel smarter already and even if I'm not able to do as thorough a job as you, the frequent "AC doesn't run" line in car ads is completely undaunting to me now that I understand the system.

  14. #29
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    The biggest thing is having the correct equipment, such as the gauges and vacuum pump.
    I'm also noticing different kinds of gauge manifolds on craigs list for sale that are charge specific...does this matter? If not, I'm guessing there is a mathematical conversion I can make to interpret a displayed pressure into an actual pressure if my gauge manifold is made for a different charge type.

    Apologies for the meticulous questions, I'd just rather cover my bases than reach a dead end with my AC system completely dissembled.

  15. #30
    Senior Member Century7667's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turbokinetic View Post
    You are correct, the power steering pressure switch is in series with the compressor. I usually just remove that switch and bypass the connector so the compressor does not depend on that. It's pretty stupid to have those two systems tied together, anyway!
    Could be a dumb question, but "power steering pressure switch?" What would that be for?

    Thanks,
    Ken T.

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