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Old 02-07-2020, 09:43 PM #1
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Noob to AC work needs help

New member here with a 3rd gen 1998 2.7 2wd SR5, I bought it with the AC not working, the clutch does not engage at all, my 1st stab at AC service was to replace the drier, as I am in Florida it seemed prudent, I vac'd the system down for about an hour with a 4cfm pump, then left it for an hour and the manifold stayed at 28 bar, I then tried to recharge the system, opening only the low side and it will not accept much refrigerant at all, maybe 3-4 oz tops, the compressor does not kick on, the motor is running, the AC switch on and lit.

I am wondering if I can do a bypass to the exciter coil to get the compressor to engage. Or to now replace the expansion valve just cuz, vac it out and start over.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

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Old 02-07-2020, 09:59 PM #2
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I havenít fixed my AC yet because itís still winter here, but this is what I learned fixing it on a mustang I used to have

The compressor needs to be on for it to take any refrigerant, and thereís usually a sensor that keeps the compressor from turning on if thereís no or low refrigerant in the system, at least there was on the rustang, so what I ended up having to do was use a paper clip to jump a connector and make the compressor cycle so I could add refrigerant, and once I got it full it worked fine since the low pressure sensor was no longer keeping the compressor from cycling

Thatís my experience with working on a huge piece of crap ford, but it might give you some insight on your issue
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Old 02-08-2020, 05:06 AM #3
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How cold is it where you are in Florida? Your low side switch could be bad.....

I only charge a system when itís above 80 outside.

When you are trying to charge the system what pressures are you seeing on your high and low side gauges? You are opening the low side valve to charge the system, correct?

make sure you are operating the gauge set hand valves correctly. Hand valve closed isolates the gauge from the can. So if you evacíd the system with the low side valve turned in all the way all you did was pull a vacuum on the gauge set.




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Old 02-08-2020, 07:48 AM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VincentGsrq View Post
...
Or to now replace the expansion valve just cuz, vac it out and start over.
...
Always replace the expansion valve when recharging system.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:37 AM #5
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Outside temps were low 80s and I vac'd with both sides open, then closed both sides for the vac test, when I went to recharge, motor on, ac switch on and 28 bar of vac on the system, I pressurized the line with refrigerant before opening only the low side on the manifold, the low side gauge went up to approx 8 o-clock position and the high side did nothing, I will replace the expansion valve today and restart the whole process after this cold front passes (an hour of vac and an hour of test), today's high is only low 70s, there is no obvious spot to jump the exciter on the compressor harness, I will look and see if the low limit switch can be bypassed
Thanks for the help, I will report back
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:09 AM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VincentGsrq View Post
Outside temps were low 80s and I vac'd with both sides open, then closed both sides for the vac test, when I went to recharge, motor on, ac switch on and 28 bar of vac on the system, I pressurized the line with refrigerant before opening only the low side on the manifold, the low side gauge went up to approx 8 o-clock position and the high side did nothing, I will replace the expansion valve today and restart the whole process after this cold front passes (an hour of vac and an hour of test), today's high is only low 70s, there is no obvious spot to jump the exciter on the compressor harness, I will look and see if the low limit switch can be bypassed
Thanks for the help, I will report back
Probably just low system pressure causing the low pressure cut off switch to disable the compressor. The magnetic clutch, fuse or the relay could also be bad. Try jumping the cut off switch or the relay to force the compressor on. It should take refrigerant then. Also will tell you that the circuit it good.
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Old 02-08-2020, 11:36 AM #7
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Iíve never had to jump a low switch to charge a system. Including my 4Runner after I put the engine in.

What pressure is 8 o clock.

The vacuum should have pulled enough refrigerant into the system to close the low side pressure switch and energize the clutch. The pressure will rise and fall as the compressor cycles on and off. Running a little longer each time until there is enough in the system to keep the suction pressure above 25psi or so.

Was the system empty before you started vacuuming it?

You said the high side stayed at zero? Even if the expansion valve was blocked with debris from a grenadeíd compressor the pressure still should have equalized between the high and low side through the condenser.


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Old 02-08-2020, 04:38 PM #8
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Agreed, Iíve also never needed to jump the compressor To get it to allow a charge. Most of the capacity is in the rest of the system. Could be too much oil in there, for example, if you only vacíd and then added the type of refrigerant that contains oil (big no-no on a full system), or if previous owner did that. Assuming itís not debris or a fragged compressor, you can try turning the compressor side by hand to push some oil around and give the refrigerant a chance to equalize, but that shouldnít be necessary. The next step (before replacing anything else) would be to vac it down again, then pull the lines and drain/purge all oil from the system With one of those compressed air loaner things and a no residue cleaning fluid. Inspect that oil for any bits. Then turn the compressor by hand and feel for anything ďnot rightĒ. Youíll also want to empty it of any oil as well. If all is good, you can then add the correct amount of oil, maybe get a new dryer for good measure(sorry), vac and charge again.
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Old 02-09-2020, 07:11 AM #9
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I have worked on numerous cars with A/C. It is not that uncommon for systems that have been pulled all of the way down and completely evacuated to need some help by jumpering the compressor to initially pull some refrigerant in to overcome the low pressure cutout switch (that protects the compressor on low charge). There is also some variance in the setpoints of the low pressure switches installed. Most service manual / shop manuals will have a few steps to show you how to jump across the clutch relay coil to energize the coil. When I am investigating the initial stages of a non-working system it is helpful to know how to do this anyway..... with the engine off you can jumper the contacts across the A/C relay and listen to hear the clutch engage.... if you can't hear it (a large click) you probably have a bad clutch coil. Because it is relayed it is usually wired directly to the hot side of the fuse box and you don't need the ignition on to energize it with a bypass around the contacts. I say probably because now days a lot of clutch circuits will also have a protective thyristor (usually mounted on the compressor itself) that senses whether the compressor is too hot and will also open the clutch circuit to keep the compressor from destroying itself. Haven't seen many failures of this.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:04 AM #10
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1st thing I will try is to hand rotate the compressor, thanks.

The 8-Oclock position on the needle was approximate and since the compressor never came on there was no cycling at all, the high side never moved.

I have not added any oil at all nor used refrigerant that contained oil, I always thought you only add oil when you change the compressor, if you dont install one that is pre-oiled.

With the car off I will check at the relay if I can excite the magnetic clutch, if the compressor does rotate freely by hand.

Thanks again to all suggestions
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:11 PM #11
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1st thing I will try is to hand rotate the compressor, thanks.



The 8-Oclock position on the needle was approximate and since the compressor never came on there was no cycling at all, the high side never moved.



I have not added any oil at all nor used refrigerant that contained oil, I always thought you only add oil when you change the compressor, if you dont install one that is pre-oiled.



With the car off I will check at the relay if I can excite the magnetic clutch, if the compressor does rotate freely by hand.



Thanks again to all suggestions


In my opinion the high side should have moved. If you measure the static system pressure what do both gauges read? They should be the same when the compressor is not running and system is cold.


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Old 02-10-2020, 03:06 PM #12
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Most replacement compressors have an oil recharge in them so that you don't have to check or add oil to them but it just depends on the supplier.

Oil is normally distributed witihin the system (carried along by the refrigerant) so the total amount of oil is more than just in the compressor.. If you replace individual components of the systems such as drier, evaporator, condenser, etc. the service manual will normally specify a small amount of oil be added based o the size of the component (e.g. 50 - 100 CC of oil). It will be slightly different for each component. If you don't replace it then that oil will be replaced by the total amount of oil in the system and could show up as a low level in the compressor. Different manufacturers also specify different viscosity oils for their their cars...... although most auto suppliers will carry a generic replacement that is "close enough" if you don't use too much of it to blend in within the existing system. But if you add oil you might want to research it to see what they specify and get something close to it. Almost none of the dealer service departments use manufacturer refrigerant oils so that probably tells you that its ok to use aftermarket oils. The only car that I know makes a really big deal about this is VW..... and their refrigerant oil is very expensive ($90 / pint)..... or used to be.
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:52 AM #13
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I changed out the expansion valve, found an ancient rodent nest in the bottom of the evaporator housing, cleaned it all up reassembled, vac'd system for 40 mins, leak tested for an hour, started it up and it took almost 9oz of 134a, low side got up to 75psi high side was around 20psi, compressor never kicked on, I unplugged the hot lead on the compressor and hooked a jumper to + and it did not start the compressor:-(

Rather than change out the magnetic starter at $65, I am thinking of changing the entire compressor for $135-150.

I bought an AC compressor relay but cannot find an "ac relay" in the relay box, there is one marked "heat" and it is a different relay type, the one they sold me looks like all of the others ie EFI, Tail, Head, power outlet.

Rockauto has an AC kit that has evaporator, condenser, compressor, drier and expansion valve plus gasket set for $250.

I have been told that either the condenser or the evaporator can have accumulated blockage.

I did find that the high side was full of leak test dye, the PO was likely the cause of that, but I don't know how he got it into the high side, I would think the cans with the single gauge only connect to the low side, but I don't know.

I would welcome any advice. While this should be the season where I have plenty of time, it is hot here in Florida, lol.

TIA
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Old 02-18-2020, 10:30 AM #14
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You need a compressor
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Old 02-19-2020, 04:59 PM #15
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I bought the OEM Denso at Rockauto
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