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Thread: '93 Ciera makeover project

  1. #106
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    Trivial pursuit: "Armco" stenciled on the bottom of my '93 Ciera's old gas tank stands for Armco Steel, the manufacturer of the tank. "Armco" stands for American Rolling Mill Company, based in Ohio. Today, the company is known as AK Steel Holdings, reflective of Armco's subsequently entering into partnership with Kawasaki in 1989. Now you know.



  2. #107
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    They've been a GM supplier for a long time. Seen their name on the structural areas of Corvairs when cut apart too.
    Jerry

  3. #108
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    I'm finally uploading my '93 Ciera's a/c system rebuild pics, no thanks to Photobucket. As an alternative solution, I'm experimenting with and am trying to get accustomed to using Imgur. The following images document my experience with my project and provide a lot of detail. Turbokinetic previously uploaded some excellent videos on this same subject. My still pics complement his videos for anyone who's interested.

    When I bought this car the a/c didn't work. I fixed a bunch of other problems before finally getting around to disassembling the a/c system last summer. I ran into some major problems. One, I couldn't get the evaporator out due to a stuck fitting. Even after copious doses of penetrating oil, the liquid-line-to-evaporator inlet fitting wouldn't budge. Three months later, I finally got the fitting to turn after multiple sessions of adding heat with a torch. Two, I couldn't get the Dowty washers to seal the manifold hose block to the inlet and discharge ports on the back of the compressor. I wasted a lot of time finding that leak, too. Summer had come and gone and it was no longer hot. It was well into autumn as I found myself stuck on the question of what washer combination would work. At that point I had other stuff I had to deal with, so I called it a day and packed it in for the winter. The following sequence of pics documents what work I had done to-date.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 1 - inspection.

    Before disconnecting anything a/c related, I did a preliminary inspection of various system components for potential problems and anything else that might be noteworthy.

    The yellow and blue a/c refrigerant label is located on top of the blower motor housing (top left corner of photo).


    Refrigerant label indicates charge specification.


    Grime stuck to compressor is likely due to refrigerant leak(s).


    Compressor has a 6-groove pulley.


    Grime stuck to manifold discharge line/hose is also suggestive of a refrigerant leak.


    Close-up of grime on suction line/hose coming from the accumulator and leading to the compressor inlet port. Most likely due to refrigerant oil leaking out and attracting dirt. Hard to believe otherwise.


    The high-side service port is located on the discharge line going to the condenser.


    What the? There's no Schrader valve inside the high-side port!


    This is the infamous OEM "deep throat" fitting installed by GM during the transition years from R12 to 134a refrigerant, purportedly to prevent people from attaching manifold gauge set hoses to the wrong service port. To access a pressure reading through this port, a special "deep throat" adapter is required.


    Low-side service port is located on the vapor line coming from the evaporator coil and leading to the accumulator.


    Unlike the high-side service port, there's a Schrader valve inside this low-side service port.


    Close-up of Schrader valve inside the low-side service port.


    The front side of the condenser isn't in bad shape - just some small pebbles embedded in the lower fins.


    Looking up towards the support bracket, the rest of the condenser appears to be in good shape. But what about possible compressor debris inside the coils? Will pull the orifice tube to check.


    The right-side condenser support bracket is rusting away. Possibly salvageable, but will replace.


    Left-side condenser support bracket is in worse shape. Rust has perforated the thin sheet metal. Will replace.


    Checking static pressure: high-side hose hook-up.


    Checking static pressure: low-side hose hook-up.


    Gauge readings.


    Close-up of compound gauge.


    To confirm zero static pressure, I pushed in the Schrader valve pintle on the low-side service port - no hissing, no residual pressure, nothing. The system was completely empty. Time to open up the system.

    Next up: Part 2 - compressor removal.
    Last edited by 93CieraDude; 08-21-2017 at 12:37 AM.

  4. #109
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    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 2 - compressor removal.

    The compressor body is secured to its mounting bracket by two bolts in front - one high, one low - and one bolt in back. The two front bolts enter their respective holes in the compressor ears by first passing through the holes in the compressor bracket from the back-side of the compressor, so that's where you'll see the bolt heads. In this image, the top front ear is seen at the 12 o'clock postion above the compressor pulley. The very end of the top front bolt is visible in the ear hole.


    Rear of compressor bracket with rear bolt head visible in top right corner of photo.


    The manifold hose assembly is secured to the rear of the compressor via the manifold block by the bolt located between the two metal refrigerant lines. The starter motor is nearby so there's a risk of shorting the hot lead from the car battery while manipulating a metal tool to remove the bolt. I made sure I disconnected the battery first. When disconnecting the electrical connector to the hi-pressure cut-out switch, care should be taken not to damage the exposed plastic portion of the switch while removing the compressor. The switch will be transferred to the new compressor.


    Have to also disconnect the electrical lead to the compressor pulley coil.


    While no Corvette, it's tight quarters in the Ciera's engine bay. I removed the electric cooling fan and radiator to make it easier to drop the compressor. Got more room to work now.


    Compressor is out and headed for the bench. I lowered the compressor out from underneath the car instead of pulling it upwards and out through the top of the engine bay. Caution: the compressor is heavy enough to easily drop it without a firm grip, so easy does it. Having the radiator out made a big difference.


    Stuck-on grime is definitely suggestive of a compressor body o-ring leak.


    Good view of one-piece compressor bracket bolted to the engine block. Now that is a stout bracket! Starter motor immediately to the right.


    Since evaporator removal ultimately proved to be problematic, I wanted to be able to drive the car in the meantime while I continued to work on the seized evaporator inlet fitting. So I installed a bypass pulley in place of the compressor pulley for the belt to run on, reinstalled the radiator, and refilled the radiator with coolant. (I did eventually get the evaporator coil out. See part 4.)


    I had to install a couple of washers to shim the bolts securing the bypass pulley in order to provide proper pulley alignment for the serpentine drive belt.


    Back-side view of the bypass pulley.


    Next up: Part 3 - disconnecting the lines.
    Last edited by 93CieraDude; 08-21-2017 at 08:10 PM.

  5. #110
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    93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 3 - disconnecting the lines.

    In the previous section on compressor removal, I covered disconnecting the manifold hose assembly block from the rear of the compressor. Next, after applying some penetrating oil, I loosened the fitting at the evaporator coil outlet with adjustable wrenches. I used a second wrench for backup in order to avoid twisting and possibly cracking the aluminum tubing. The fitting at the accumulator end of this vapor line was also loosened in order to free up the line for removal.


    I had to loosen the main electrical harness and remove the fasteners securing what I think is the windshield wiper motor. That gave me enough clearance to wiggle the vapor line out.


    Here I'm loosening the fitting on the outlet side of the accumulator.


    The manifold assembly discharge hose loops up in back of the radiator and contains a cylindrical muffler.


    Here's another view of the loop.


    The manifold assembly discharge line then passes through a grommet-ed opening located on the right side of the radiator.


    It was a bit tricky to wiggle the line out through the opening, but it's doable.


    On the other side of the grommet-ed opening the discharge line turns upward after passing through a shroud en route to its connection with the condenser inlet. The condenser inlet is on the right side of the car, behind the bumper.


    Dissimilar metals used in the fitting can cause seizing and stripping of threads. Fortunately for me, a little penetrating oil did the job.


    On the other side of the condenser, the outlet port fitting has to be loosened. The dimple in the aluminum line indicates the presence of an orifice tube. The condenser outlet is on the left side of the car, behind the bumper.


    Dissimilar metals here, too, but lucky me - no seizing. Used penetrating oil again.


    The inner sanctum revealed - exposing the end of the orifice tube.


    A typical kit for servicing orifice tubes.


    The correct adapter is mated to the handle and will be used to pull the orifice tube. Needle-nose pliers might also work if the tube is not stuck.


    Orifice tube being extracted from the liquid line.


    Orifice tube looks pretty clean - better than expected and no black stuff. Hard to see, but maybe that gray stuff is a little bit of contamination from compressor damage. Will flush the condenser to see what's inside there. Anyone care to chime in on the condition of the orifice tube?


    Here's a couple of questions I don't know the answers to

    How much refrigerant would have to leak out before the low-pressure switch would deactivate the compressor?

    How much damage would the compressor have incurred up to that point?

    Any comments from other forum members?

    Entering the engine bay from the condenser, the thicker line on the right is the liquid line en-route to the evaporator (the thinner line on the left is the hood release cable).


    The liquid line runs past the accumulator and parallel to the much thicker vapor line between the accumulator and evaporator coil outlet. In front of the accumulator is the low pressure cutoff switch mounted to the vapor line.


    The liquid line runs under the power brake booster and attaches to the evaporator coil inlet at this fitting.


    Loosening this fitting proved to be a nightmare. It was seized and held up the project for THREE months. I applied copious amounts of penetrating oil and let it soak. Room for tools was so minimal as to be exceedingly difficult to work.


    Close-up of wrenches on fitting.


    During these many sessions of frustration I tried many combinations of wrenches and positions to gain leverage without luck. The nut just wouldn't budge. Considering all things automotive, this was one of the most challenging dilemmas I ever worked on.


    I finally resorted to multiple sessions of heat applied with a propane torch and more penetrating oil. I FINALLY was able to get the nut to turn a little while using a piece of metal electrical conduit over a wrench for leverage. It still took a while before I finally got the fitting completely disconnected. THREE MONTHS just to crack that fitting!


    More frustration: despite my best efforts using a backup wrench, I still twisted the line at the inlet where the line is secured by a small clamp. Forget flushing the OEM evaporator - gonna have to install a new one.
    [img]http://i.imgur.com/7zFjfLC.jpg[/img

    After a lot of tugging and wiggling, all the lines were out of the engine bay. Here they sit on top of my washer - manifold hose assembly up top, thinner liquid line in the middle, and fat vapor hose at the bottom.


    Old OEM manifold hose assembly with Dowty sealing washers still in position on the manifold block. Note that this block has a flat face.


    Hose assembly muffler. Does it contain baffles?


    Not knowing the internal structure, I wasn't sure if the muffler could be flushed successfully, but I gave it a go.


    Those tiny, shiny metallic flakes in the brake cleaner flush liquid are suggestive of compressor damage, or at least the beginning of it. So I opted for a new manifold hose assembly and condenser.


    Here's the used liquid line about to be worked on. I decided to reuse it. Hope there aren't any pinholes. Just above the fitting, you can see the dimple marking the location for the orifice tube.


    I needed to true up the inlet threads a bit with a dye. The threads are aluminum and easily damaged or stripped.


    The dye is from my rethreading set.


    For a DIY'er like me, this set has been very handy at times.


    The die I used was NF 3/4 - 16.


    Running the die down the threads.


    Next up: Part 4 - evaporator removal & replacement.
    Last edited by 93CieraDude; 08-21-2017 at 01:24 PM.

  6. #111
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    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 4 - evaporator removal & replacement

    Man, it's tight in there! To facilitate removal of the evaporator coil cover, I moved the power steering reservoir out of the way and removed the blower assembly (seen in the upper left corner of the image). Likewise for the alternator and serpentine belt tensioner assembly.


    The blower fan wasn't as dirty as I thought it would be, but I cleaned the blades anyway.


    With the blower assembly removed, the evaporator coil is visible. How much debris is clogging the fins? I don't know, but I'm about to find out.


    I also had to remove the heater core hoses to access the fasteners securing the bottom of the evaporator coil cover. Those fasteners are also obstructed by a thin, rusty-looking sheet metal heat shield, seen here just under curve of the heater core hose to the right. Sharp-eyed observers will notice my flexible clamp removal tool affixed to the spring clamp of the hose on the left.


    I discovered that the heat shield has some flex to it. I used a pry bar to bend it back away from the evaporator cover enough for me to get to the cover's bottom fasteners with the appropriate size socket mounted to either manual or battery powered ratchets - whichever fit best.


    Close-up: pushing the heat-shield back with the pry bar. You can see my red battery-powered ratchet down in that very tight space.


    In this image, the head of my ratchet is directly in back of the corroded heat shield.


    Blower/evaporator cover removed. Note the slots at the bottom of the cover for those hard-to-reach fasteners.


    Evaporator drain hole.


    Debris inside the evaporator cover which fell down into the evaporator space through the cowl fresh air intake.


    The debris is mostly tiny twigs and bits of leaves.


    More debris inside the evaporator coil space.


    I vacuumed up all the debris and sprayed the evaporator coil space with a solution of bleach. I then wiped the area down with a sponge immersed in clean water and let it dry.


    Note the coils at the top. I presume they are relevant to blower fan speed or temperature control. They look like resistor coils. Can anyone explain why there are three coils and how they work with the a/c system?


    I decided to touch-up the rust along the bottom edge of the cover.


    I worked over the rust with a wire wheel mounted in a cordless drill.


    Rusty area was treated with rust converter, masked and painted. That paint is good stuff - a bit more expensive but dries fast!


    Note the electrical connector on top of the evaporator cover which connects to coils inside the evaporator cover.


    Inspecting the pins inside the connector reveals that the pins are corrosion-free.


    I decided to sand-blast those rusty coil mounting tabs in order to forestall further corrosion.
    [img]http://i.imgur.com/R6cJeir.jpg[/img

    Sandblasting done.


    Another view before remounting the coils to the evaporator cover.


    Here's the twisted/broken evaporator fitting that gave me so much trouble.


    The OEM evaporator coil has some debris embedded in the fins, mostly in the lower corner on the right.


    Close-up of the debris: bugs, dirt, pine needles & bits of leaves - all helping to impede air flow.


    There is a filter affixed to the back of the OEM evaporator with cross-shaped plastic pins.


    The filter seemed to be in good shape - just dusty; I removed it for cleaning.


    I washed the filter in a bucket of detergent and water, followed by a rinse.


    I placed the filter on a towel and let the filter dry in the sun.


    Here's the label on the box containing the new replacement evaporator coil.


    The new replacement evaporator coil out of the box.


    Delphi but USA made?


    Positioning the filter pins for reattaching the cleaned filter.


    Filter reattached.


    New evaporator coil in place.


    Had to remember to reattach the small clamp that secures the inlet tube.


    View of new evaporator coil in place through the blower assembly opening in the evaporator cover. Time to replace the cover, reinstall the fasteners and button her up!


    Next up: Part 5 - condenser removal & replacement
    Last edited by 93CieraDude; 08-21-2017 at 01:20 PM.

  7. #112
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    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 5 - condenser removal & replacement

    Prior to removing the condenser, I had disassembled the front end in order to be able to treat the rust I found on the bottom radiator/condenser support cross-member. It was more work, but well worth it in terms of additional clearance to remove and reinstall components. While at it, I also removed and repaired degraded transmission oil cooler lines and removed and flushed the radiator and cooling system.


    Before the condenser can be dropped, this support in front of the condenser must be removed.


    I removed the fasteners for the left-side condenser support bracket - the small hex-head screw pictured on the left and a nut over a stud located on the right. The support bracket on the opposite side has a similar arrangement.


    The left-side condenser lower support bracket has been removed. The right-side bracket has been loosened. I'm about to drop the condenser which is being supported by the jack. I also had to pry the condenser shrouds/skirts free from the rear of the condenser.


    The condenser is down, sans shrouds/skirts.


    The condenser is out from underneath the car; inlet is on the left, outlet on the right.


    Rust never sleeps. After removing the radiator, and prior to installing the new replacement condenser, I treated, primed, and painted the condenser/radiator support cross-member.


    The right-side condenser shroud/skirt left hanging behind the bumper will be removed and re-pinned to the new condenser.


    Ditto for the left-side shroud/skirt.


    New lower support brackets for the condenser. The packaging uses the word "retainer".


    The condenser lower support bracket from the right side of the car is rusted.


    Its replacement looks much better.


    The rubber pad contained in the old condenser lower support bracket must be transferred to the new bracket as replacement pads are not available.


    The condenser lower support bracket from the left side of the car is in bad shape - perforated by rust.


    Its replacement is in such contrast to the old one.


    Side-by-side comparison is pretty drastic.


    The old bracket is definitely shot.


    I suppose the old bracket could be salvaged by welding in a new piece of metal, but with replacements available (I got lucky finding them), why bother? Out with the old, in with the new.


    Rubber pads inside the metal brackets cushion and support the bottom of the condenser. A pad nipple passes through a hole in the metal bracket to secure the rubber pad to it. The pads are difficult to remove because the nipples are difficult to extract out of their holes. I had success by first lubricating the nipples with Sil-Glyde lubricant, then using the blunt end of a hemostat to push the nipples out of their holes. I installed the pads in the new metal brackets using the same technique with the hemostat, pushing the nipples into their holes.


    In an effort to try to preserve the rubber, I coated the pads completely with Sil-Glyde. Good stuff - useful for brake work, too.


    Coated pad inserted and secured in new metal bracket.


    The rubber pad cushions the bottom of the condenser against the metal portion of the support bracket.


    The profile of the support bracket fits the bottom of the condenser.


    New condenser box in box.


    Parts label.


    Open box: condenser shrink-wrapped.


    Comparison of old condenser vs. new - they match!


    The condenser shrouds/skirts were pinned to rear of the old condenser frame with plastic pins. I was going to reuse them, but I couldn't pry them out without damaging them.


    I couldn't get the pin shafts back through the holes in the old condenser frame.


    So I bought similar replacement pins at an auto parts store. The heads were a little bigger than the old ones.


    For proper fit depth-wise, the pins had to be the right length - about 3/4".


    Condenser shrouds/skirts correctly positioned on the new condenser before pinning.


    Since the left-side and right-side shrouds/skirts were different, I used witness marks to be sure they were correctly installed. The witness marks were transferred from the old condenser.


    Inverted view: rear of new replacement condenser with shrouds/skirts attached with new plastic pins and ready for installation. Top of condenser is at the bottom of the photo.


    New condenser on the ground in front of the car, ready for installation. Condenser inlet on the left, outlet on the right.


    Right-side of new condenser installed and secured with new metal support bracket. Note that the bottom support cross-member has been repainted black. Condenser inlet is protected by a black plastic cap.


    Left side of new condenser installed and secured with new metal support bracket. Condenser outlet is protected by a red plastic cap.


    Space in front of center of condenser will be occupied by large support which was repainted.


    Repainted support awaiting reinstallation in front of condenser.


    Next up: Part 6 - new compressor prep & installation.
    Last edited by 93CieraDude; 08-21-2017 at 01:27 PM.

  8. #113
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    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 6 - new compressor prep & installation.

    New replacement compressor in box.


    Label on box advising to ADD OIL to empty compressor.


    Delphi brand - appears to be made in the good ol' USA.


    Part label with reminder to ADD OIL to compressor.


    Orange plug removed from the new compressor's ports. Inlet & outlet ports are clearly marked: "S" for suction, "D" for discharge. Unlike the old compressor, the discharge port sealing surface on the new compressor is at a deeper depth than the suction discharge port. A different sealing washer combination will be required.


    Comparison: old compressor side-by-side with new compressor.


    Rear view. Note the plastic high-pressure cut-off switch that will have to be transferred to the new compressor. The new compressor has a metallic plug in the port where the switch will go. Also note the bolts in their respective holes in the old compressor. That way I will know what goes where when installing the new compressor without relying on my memory.


    Top view. Electrical connectors are in the same location on both compressors.


    Front view.


    Same 6-groove pulleys.


    Old electrical connection.


    New electrical connection. Same configuration as old.


    Old Harrison compressor label.


    Oil charge amount listed on old label. Model # of old compressor not listed.


    Getting ready to transfer the high-pressure cut-off switch.


    High-pressure cut-off switch is secured with an internal snap ring.


    Snap ring being removed with snap ring pliers.


    High-pressure port plug in new compressor is also secured with an internal snap ring.


    Prying out the plug to the high-pressure switch port.


    Locking pliers come in handy for this job.


    Gently pulling on the plug with the locking pliers.


    Plug is out.


    Checking o-ring in the high-pressure port of the new compressor.


    Penetrating oil applied to circumference of high-pressure cut-off switch.


    I used two screwdrivers to pry out the switch.


    Close-up of me gently prying on the tabs on the switch with the screwdrivers.


    Switch is out.


    Note: Turbokinetic has a great tip posted in his '89 Ciera a/c rebuild video (part 1). He used a different technique to get the switch out. He inserted a deep well socket into the switch to support the plastic and then surrounded the socket with a piece of hose. Locking pliers were clamped onto the hose and the switch wiggled free.

    I noticed these numbers on the bottom of the switch. Not sure what the numbers represent.


    Old switch port looks fairly clean.


    This silicone lubricant is good for a/c o-rings and seals.


    Lubricating the o-ring in the new compressor's high-pressure port.


    Lubricating the switch to ensure ease of removal in the future if necessary.


    High-pressure cut-off switch inserted into its port in the new compressor.


    Using a small screwdriver to ensure that the snap ring is fully seated in its groove.


    Old Dowty sealing washers that were removed from the pilots on the hose assembly's manifold block.


    Pictured together: two sealing washer kits that came with the new compressor.


    Reverse side of the two sealing washer kits that came with the new compressor.


    Individual image: first of two sealing washer kits that came with the new compressor.


    First kit contains two pilots, plus three different size sealing washers of different thicknesses - one with a red edge, one with a green edge and one with a yellow edge.


    Individual image: second of two sealing washer kits that came with the new compressor.


    Second kit contains two medium-thickness washers.


    Third sealing washer kit that came with the new manifold hose assembly.


    Manifold hose assembly kit contains two thin sealing washers, similar to the used washers on the old manifold hose assembly.


    Old compressor suction and discharge ports have identical shallow-depth sealing surfaces, requiring two "thin" sealing washers.


    Old thin sealing washers in place on old compressor.


    New compressor suction and discharge port sealing surfaces are at different depths. The sealing surfaces require washers of different thicknesses. But which ones?


    Can't forget to ADD OIL to the new compressor!


    Since this is an R12 system and I still have some cans of R12, I will add mineral oil to the new compressor.


    Getting ready to add 1 ounce of oil to the new compressor.


    Weighing out 1 ounce of oil in a cough-syrup measuring cup. Eight ounces total are required for the a/c system.


    I used this small stainless steel funnel to add the oil to the new compressor.


    Funnel inserted into the suction port of the new compressor.


    One ounce of oil has been poured into the suction port of the new compressor. The other seven ounces of oil will be added to the new accumulator right before the new accumulator is installed.


    I used blue painters' tape to cover the port holes. Don't want any dirt to fall in there during compressor installation.


    Need to remove the temporary compressor bypass pulley.


    Replacement compressor bolted into place.


    Ready for rear-end connections.


    Hose assembly manifold block connected to rear of compressor with bolt. The bolt was later torqued to spec.


    Electrical lead reconnected to high-pressure cut-out switch.


    Cycling switch reconnected.


    I was not able to turn the new compressor shaft by hand. It was stated in the installation instructions to expect this. I wanted to be sure that the shaft turned in order to distribute the oil I had poured into the compressor. I attached a special turning tool that threads on to the front of the compressor shaft and accommodates a 19mm hex socket.


    The socket was attached to a 1/2" drive ratchet.


    A cheater pipe over the ratchet provided more leverage. Using this setup, I applied some pressure and the compressor shaft "popped" free and turned as desired. While I turned the shaft, the compressor pulley was held stationary by the serpentine drive belt.


    Next up: Part 7 - reattaching the lines.
    Last edited by 93CieraDude; 08-24-2017 at 12:15 PM.

  9. #114
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    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 7 - reattaching the lines

    More pics coming as soon as I have time to upload them ...
    Last edited by 93CieraDude; 08-24-2017 at 02:36 AM.

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    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 8 - vacuum results & manifold block seal fitment leak problem

    Pics coming as soon as I have time to upload them ...

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    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 9 - charging with refrigerant.

    Pics coming as soon as I have time to upload them ...

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    '93 Ciera a/c system rebuild: Part 10 - project complete!

    Pics coming as soon as I have time to upload them ...

  13. #118
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    Very nice! Love the pics! Can't wait till the charge!

    Ken T.

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