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AC Refrigerant

 
  #1  
Old 05-07-2019, 10:01 AM
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AC Refrigerant

It's that time of year. Getting all the maint done and I noticed for the first time in 13 years, an AC issue.
When was the switch form R12 to 134A done?
It starts off fine and as I am driving around, I notice that the air doesn't hold as cold as it usually does. I have it on MAX A/C normally. So I turn it off....wait a minute or 2 then turn it back on and all cold again...for a few minutes. (City driving)
I am thinking that the Freon is most likely low. I didn't see any frosted lines or anything so prolly not a leak. I was thinking that I could just do a refill. It has been 13yrs at least since it was serviced. (I know....smack me later for it). Just couldn't remember when the switch was done. don't want to mix types.

Thanks all!
 
  #2  
Old 05-07-2019, 11:55 AM
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You have R134a in your system. 2# 8oz charge if I remember correctly.
 
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:59 AM
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The switch was in the 90s I believe, maybe earlier. You can't go wrong, R-12 fittings are totally different from 134. Ideally you'd empty the system and refill by weight, which requires spendy equipment. Next best is to have gauges on both the high and low pressure side to more accurately monitor pressures than just looking at the low side. Before I had gauges I filled many with just the low pressure displayed and had no known issues. There are pressure/temperature charts on-line that can give you a reasonably good idea of your charge. Also, there are many flavors of 'specialty' refrigerant cans with great claims of better cooling. While I don't know that it's all snake oil, I suspect it is and wouldn't use any unless it's known to be good stuff.
 
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Old 05-07-2019, 01:18 PM
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It was mid 90's. I don't think R 12 can even be purchased now days. Stick with simple 134a. Might need a little oil, depends on how often you have topped it off?
 
  #5  
Old 05-07-2019, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by trekbasso View Post
It was mid 90's. I don't think R 12 can even be purchased now days. Stick with simple 134a. Might need a little oil, depends on how often you have topped it off?
Ummm Yeah.... this will be the first time in the 13yrs I have owned the truck.
 
  #6  
Old 05-07-2019, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BillyBob69 View Post
It's that time of year. Getting all the maint done and I noticed for the first time in 13 years, an AC issue.
When was the switch form R12 to 134A done?
It starts off fine and as I am driving around, I notice that the air doesn't hold as cold as it usually does. I have it on MAX A/C normally. So I turn it off....wait a minute or 2 then turn it back on and all cold again...for a few minutes. (City driving)
I am thinking that the Freon is most likely low. I didn't see any frosted lines or anything so prolly not a leak. I was thinking that I could just do a refill. It has been 13yrs at least since it was serviced. (I know....smack me later for it). Just couldn't remember when the switch was done. don't want to mix types.

Thanks all!

Buy something like this, then fill your own system.

https://www.amazon.com/Goetland-Diagnostic-Manifold-Refrigerant-Adapter/dp/B07411T9NG/ref=asc_df_B07411T9NG/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312094794461&hvpos=1o20&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8828696261086688986&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060261&hvtargid=pla-485394898249&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=62497261819&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=312094794461&hvpos=1o20&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8828696261086688986&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060261&hvtargid=pla-485394898249 https://www.amazon.com/Goetland-Diagnostic-Manifold-Refrigerant-Adapter/dp/B07411T9NG/ref=asc_df_B07411T9NG/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=312094794461&hvpos=1o20&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8828696261086688986&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060261&hvtargid=pla-485394898249&psc=1&tag=&ref=&adgrpid=62497261819&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvadid=312094794461&hvpos=1o20&hvnetw=g&hvrand=8828696261086688986&hvqmt=&hvdev=t&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9060261&hvtargid=pla-485394898249
 
  #7  
Old 05-07-2019, 09:38 PM
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There is a bit more than a Manifold Gauge or Can of Refrigerant involved to do it correctly. If you are not familiar with the Evacuation, Vacuuming, Orifice Tube Replacement, and Charging, I would suggest you take it somewhere. There are several catastrophic possibilities including Injury or Death.
 
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pirschwagon View Post
There is a bit more than a Manifold Gauge or Can of Refrigerant involved to do it correctly. If you are not familiar with the Evacuation, Vacuuming, Orifice Tube Replacement, and Charging, I would suggest you take it somewhere. There are several catastrophic possibilities including Injury or Death.
Yeah I was beginning to think about going that route. Mainly because .... I just don't feel like dealing with it right now. Got other projects going on so I may just suck it up and pay to have to done. And the other is of some issues i have heard of dealing with it by DIY .
Maybe I Will call to see how much for the service.
 
  #9  
Old 05-09-2019, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by pirschwagon View Post
There is a bit more than a Manifold Gauge or Can of Refrigerant involved to do it correctly. If you are not familiar with the Evacuation, Vacuuming, Orifice Tube Replacement, and Charging, I would suggest you take it somewhere. There are several catastrophic possibilities including Injury or Death.
Changing your engine oil could also lead to injury or death. Every day thousands of novices are topping off their systems with a simple DIY kit, a can of 134 with a gauge & dispense trigger; I wonder what percentage of them has been injured or killed.
 
  #10  
Old 05-09-2019, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by BillyBob69 View Post
Yeah I was beginning to think about going that route. Mainly because .... I just don't feel like dealing with it right now. Got other projects going on so I may just suck it up and pay to have to done. And the other is of some issues i have heard of dealing with it by DIY .
Maybe I Will call to see how much for the service.
You'll spend a lot more time and money having it done, but you should obviously do whatever's comfortable for you.
 
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Old 05-09-2019, 09:49 AM
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Re-reading your original post, I'm wondering if maybe your fan clutch is bad. Seems odd that turning it off for a few minutes would make it blow cold again for a little while. If the fan isn't cooling the condenser this could happen. A low charge might be able to cause it too, but I don't think I've ever experienced that. See if it does the same at sustained highway speeds, if high speed makes it work better I'd be even more suspect of a fan problem than an A/C problem.
 
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Old 05-09-2019, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by '88 E-350 View Post
Re-reading your original post, I'm wondering if maybe your fan clutch is bad. Seems odd that turning it off for a few minutes would make it blow cold again for a little while. If the fan isn't cooling the condenser this could happen. A low charge might be able to cause it too, but I don't think I've ever experienced that. See if it does the same at sustained highway speeds, if high speed makes it work better I'd be even more suspect of a fan problem than an A/C problem.
I will check that out this weekend. Heading out to check on a newborn foal so will be hitting highway speeds a few times.
 
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Old 05-10-2019, 02:47 AM
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Originally Posted by '88 E-350 View Post
Changing your engine oil could also lead to injury or death. Every day thousands of novices are topping off their systems with a simple DIY kit, a can of 134 with a gauge & dispense trigger; I wonder what percentage of them has been injured or killed.
I use to be one of those guys, then I got trained properly and am very happy I did - it's paid off multiple times, especially in the 'oh crap!' moments at work. Dealing with a refrigerant system is a bit different than changing one's oil. Refrigerant poisoning is some nasty stuff and can cause you to drown, among other things. I've drawn the unlucky card of having a system fail while I was working on it a couple times, with the most memorable being under a truck when the low-side Schrader valve on an APU failed, lovingly dispensing refrigerant directly into my face. I've been quite fortunate that none of the accidents I've had with refrigerant have resulted in health issues.

FWIW, if you're caught handling/disposing of refrigerant improperly, fines start at $45k and escalate - especially if you don't have your 609 card.
​​
If you were closer Billybob, I'd say come on down to the shop and we'd get you taken care of!
 
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Old 05-10-2019, 03:21 AM
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They sell the refill stuff over the counter to anyone that wants to buy it and nobody's following a guy home to see how he recharges his A/C. A guy with the 609 card is much more likely to be scrutinized for improper handling than a DIY guy doing an occasional refill. Most duster cans and hand held air horns are powered by the same stuff so it seems that dispensing 134a into the atmosphere is perfectly acceptable, except by licensed A/C people who must recover/recycle the stuff.

I don't know how it is in other states. In Ca. anyone can buy the small refill cans but to buy a cylinder of the stuff you need a license, if the vendor cares about the law. I'm not licensed and haven't bought the little cans in many years. It's all about the $; the OTC/DIY cans are way more expensive than buying the large cylinders of the same stuff. Some people use adapters to fill their A/C from duster/air horn cans because they're not regulated/charged at the same rate as 134a labeled as refrigerant. Same chemical, but if it's labeled "refrigerant" it's super harmful.
 
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Old 05-13-2019, 02:02 PM
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OK So today I drove home for lunch, 15 minutes and all speeds above Outside temp at 76 per the truck thermometer.
all the way home...worked fine.
Left to come back about 45 minutes after being home, it started cold then faded to barely mediocre by the time i hit my 300ft driveway.
I turned it off for a few seconds then back on....no go. Still almost warm air.
So I turned it off for about the next 12 minutes and then tried again. at first, just the barely warm air then it suddenly started getting colder and by the time i was back at work, it was cold as it usually was.

So any additional thoughts?
If it is just the Freon then I will stop by the parts store and pick up the can with the gauges. Did that once for my folks Buick and it worked out. Figured $30 isn't a bad try...unless there is something else to check first.

Thanks all!
 

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