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#4779246 - 06/06/18 03:02 PM A/C System R134a
Yah-Tah-Hey Offline


Registered: 05/26/14
Posts: 3572
Loc: Columbus,Nebraska
Yesterday was 94F here and I noticed A/C system on 04 Camry was not cooling as in summers past. Compressor is engaging and low pressure line is somewhat cool to touch but not cold and sweaty. I usually have an A/C thermometer stuck in the middle discharge vent but haven't got around to installing it yet so I don't know what discharge air temp was NOT cold enough for sure for my wife. All fans functioning normally. Local Toyota dealer and another shop want to completely evacuate system/dehydrate and then refill R134a as measured on a digital scale. Something about EPA regs. My question is: are the A/C refill kits accurate enough to just add refrigerant? I have the gauge and hose setup from a kit I purchased years ago. I'm considering purchasing a can of R134a without sealer and adding enough to get the gauge reading in the green.I realize that A/C service is best left to trained techs, but vehicle is on 18th summer cooling season and I'm weighing cost of purchasing a new vehicle. My war department is very,very much bothered by hot weather and I don't want the #@&^%[email protected]$^ about a hot car. Advice appreciated.

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#4779249 - 06/06/18 03:06 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Yah-Tah-Hey]
FowVay Offline


Registered: 06/02/02
Posts: 2689
Loc: Southeastern USA
The purpose of doing an evacuation and refill is to know precisely how much refrigerant is in the system. If you just dump a can of refrigerant into the system then you have no idea of what you have.

If your system has never been topped off in 18 years then you're low. Even though they say they are closed systems,, everything leaks a little bit over time. I'd just put a 12 oz can into the low pressure port and see how it goes.
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#4779251 - 06/06/18 03:06 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Yah-Tah-Hey]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 11483
Loc: Idaho
Bring it in the the shop and have it leak tested then the evac and recharge if good. a new car is a great idea . If you want to milk the car yes add some gas with leak stop.
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#4779257 - 06/06/18 03:09 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: FowVay]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 11483
Loc: Idaho
Originally Posted By: FowVay
The purpose of doing an evacuation and refill is to know precisely how much refrigerant is in the system. If you just dump a can of refrigerant into the system then you have no idea of what you have.

If your system has never been topped off in 18 years then you're low. Even though they say they are closed systems,, everything leaks a little bit over time. I'd just put a 12 oz can into the low pressure port and see how it goes.
The evac removes the moisture from the system.water boils in a vacuum.
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#4779262 - 06/06/18 03:14 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Yah-Tah-Hey]
Dave Sherman Offline


Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 1099
Loc: Ohio
If you're going to add, at least get a gauge with some kind of temperature correction for the "green" zone. It's easy to overcharge if you just dump a can in there. Although I used the A/C Pro successfully on a car I wasn't planning on keeping, word on the street is the shops really hate that stuff because the stop-leak fouls up their machines.

Tip: Get a bucket of hot water to dunk the can in as you're adding, it will get cold and you may not be able to get it all out without some help.
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#4779264 - 06/06/18 03:16 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Yah-Tah-Hey]
hatt Offline


Registered: 01/03/12
Posts: 4535
Loc: Florida
I put a can in my F150 the other day. It's working much better now.
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#4779269 - 06/06/18 03:19 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Yah-Tah-Hey]
mclasser Offline


Registered: 04/13/13
Posts: 2289
Loc: The Northeast
Sounds like you might just need a top off. The chintzy gauges that come with those kits aren't the best but you've just got to add refrigerant slowly. I added about half a can of pure R134a (none of that stop leak [censored]) to my Accord a couple of summers ago. It was a 90 deg day and I only charged up to 32 PSI. The temp & pressure chart they provide is on the higher side, IMO. A/C's been working great ever since. I can tell the charge is good since the compressor doesn't cycle too much.


Edited by mclasser (06/06/18 03:22 PM)
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#4779285 - 06/06/18 03:28 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: CT8]
Yah-Tah-Hey Offline


Registered: 05/26/14
Posts: 3572
Loc: Columbus,Nebraska
Originally Posted By: CT8
Originally Posted By: FowVay
The purpose of doing an evacuation and refill is to know precisely how much refrigerant is in the system. If you just dump a can of refrigerant into the system then you have no idea of what you have.

If your system has never been topped off in 18 years then you're low. Even though they say they are closed systems,, everything leaks a little bit over time. I'd just put a 12 oz can into the low pressure port and see how it goes.
The evac removes the moisture from the system.water boils in a vacuum.
Thanks. I understand the fundamentals of dehydrating a refrigeration system from a seminar put on by Robinair (?) at our power generation station decades ago. We had many A/C systems for our various control rooms, training and admit buildings.I remember Robinair was trying to sell the company several two-stage vacuum pump carts. They were nice units and being on wheels they both rolled right off the plant site never to be seen again.

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#4779289 - 06/06/18 03:30 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: FowVay]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 17116
Loc: Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Originally Posted By: FowVay


I'd just put a 12 oz can into the low pressure port and see how it goes.
No way! Terrible advice! His camry only holds 19oz total! It may only be 3-4oz low. Adding 12oz will be a huge overcharge.
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#4779292 - 06/06/18 03:34 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Chris142]
Malo83 Offline


Registered: 08/08/08
Posts: 2067
Loc: Cali
Still have R12 in my 83 Silverado, Ice Cold. cheers
Had the AC system reworked 2 yrs ago.

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#4779297 - 06/06/18 03:40 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Chris142]
Yah-Tah-Hey Offline


Registered: 05/26/14
Posts: 3572
Loc: Columbus,Nebraska
Originally Posted By: Chris142
Originally Posted By: FowVay


I'd just put a 12 oz can into the low pressure port and see how it goes.
No way! Terrible advice! His camry only holds 19oz total! It may only be 3-4oz low. Adding 12oz will be a huge overcharge.
Right you are Chris. My OEM shop manual shows system holds 19.37 ozs, plus/minus 1.76 ozs. Somewhere between 18 and 21 ounces. That's the problem I have with adding refrigerant since the range between low and overfilled is only about three ounces. Depending on how accurate my old gauge set up is, I could easily put too much 134 in the system. Got to do something soon as temps in nineties approaching 100 are continuing.Thanks

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#4779340 - 06/06/18 04:25 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Yah-Tah-Hey]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7557
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I would recharge with a can and a gauge. These cans don't empty all at once, unless you fully open the valve.
I always purge the line, hook up the gauge, close the valve on the can and let the pressure settle before adding anything. When it comes to adding, I would open the valve just enough to see the pressure rise on the gauge about 10psi, add for few seconds, close the valve and see the new pressure reading. Repeat until pressure looks good and the line is nice and cold.
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2006 Mazda 3-155k miles

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#4779374 - 06/06/18 05:18 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Yah-Tah-Hey]
another Todd Offline


Registered: 05/15/06
Posts: 2205
Loc: Lakeside CA
Sometimes mechanics want to evacuate your system so they can tell you that your system leaks and it will be illegal for them to put YOUR refrigerant back into your system, then they sell you a compressor, evaporator, drier etc. That is basically how most operate in San Diego, one big rip off industry here.

I agree with above, just add slowly until it's working again...and stop there, don't give it a little extra.
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2002 GMC Yukon
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#4779397 - 06/06/18 05:43 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: Yah-Tah-Hey]
rustypigeon Offline


Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 211
Loc: PA USA
I was in a similar situation a couple years ago with my '99 Mazda. I didn't want to put much time or money into a car that old. Many cars that are over 15 years old have leaked enough refrigerant that the AC system does not work so well.

I just bought a manifold set and a thermometer. I watched both the gauges and the thermometer that was stuck in the center vent and added 134a until I got acceptable readings.

That was 2 years ago and it has been working good since.
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1994 Toyota Pickup 202,000mi
1999 Mazda Protege 220,000mi
2000 BMW 323i 126,000mi
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#4779423 - 06/06/18 06:07 PM Re: A/C System R134a [Re: another Todd]
nthach Offline


Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 4064
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: another Todd
That is basically how most operate in San Diego, one big rip off industry here.


And there's always the drive to Tijuana to get it worked on cheaply as well. smile

Newer AC systems are sensitive to oil fill and refrigerant charge, the tolerances for oil fill are +/- 5cc and +/-10-50g for refrigerant.

There will always be small losses through the hoses.

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