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How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? #4813576
07/13/18 09:17 PM
07/13/18 09:17 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 4,321
Midwest USA
LoneRanger Offline OP
LoneRanger  Offline OP
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 4,321
Midwest USA
How hard is it to give your car a shot of R134A or whatever? How do you know how much to put in, or does it take only what it needs? Talking about those DIY cans in the auto parts store. I cannot find any visible leak, just looking for oil on the lines which would seem to be a clue since the freon has oil in it. Unless the leak is in the evap coil buried in the dash.

Not completely sure what's going on. I loaned the Forester to a friend for a few weeks on account of his car got totaled in a hit & run. AC isn't working as good as of getting the car back today. Before, the compressor would cycle on and off frequently, but now it stays engaged without disengaging and the air isn't as cold as before. Condensing coil at front of radiator is clean, not bugged up.

There is a chance it's the compressor. It made a quick momentary screech when engaging upon switching on the A/C tonight, when messing w/ it in garage. And the car is a garage queen sitting in garage through week and maybe getting out on weekend (or not), due to fact I drive an employer provided Ford Fusion to and from work and can use that car for personal errands at will, too. So I'm thinking maybe the compressor might just be going south from lots of parked time then being used steady for three weeks in really hot weather.



'09 Subaru Forester ...................(QS HM 5W30)
'16 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 .....(ENI i-Ride PG 10W60)
Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813579
07/13/18 09:26 PM
07/13/18 09:26 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,689
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,689
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Those cans keep us in business! You don't know how much to put in. The low side gauge is a Gimmick as low side pressure has nothing to do with high side pressure. And high side is what you need if not using a scale.

My summer is spent sucking out overcharged systems after the customer goofed with it.


02 Wrangler carlube 5w30
87 F250 traveler 15w40
07 fjcruiser Chevron 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor 15w40
Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813583
07/13/18 09:32 PM
07/13/18 09:32 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,401
Georgia
AVB Offline
AVB  Offline
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,401
Georgia
It is not hard, it also isn't hard to overcharge the system. I have seen several vehicles lately come in for a/c problems that I found had been overcharged. Since the compressor was cycling before and isn't now, I think at least part of the problem is increased ambient temps.

Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813587
07/13/18 09:38 PM
07/13/18 09:38 PM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,485
Toronto Canada
WobblyElvis Offline
WobblyElvis  Offline
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 1,485
Toronto Canada
I am not %100 familiar with the AC in your Subaru but a compressor will normally cycle more often when it get low on refrigerant or not run at all. This is the opposite of what you say is happening.
It shouldn't cost much for a professional diagnosis.
If you are sure you are low on refrigerant those cans with gauges can work well for small top ups.

Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813596
07/13/18 09:50 PM
07/13/18 09:50 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 7,205
USA
slacktide_bitog Offline
slacktide_bitog  Offline
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 7,205
USA
Get a hose that has a gauge smile

Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813600
07/13/18 09:53 PM
07/13/18 09:53 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,493
Northeast
sxg6 Offline
sxg6  Offline
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 2,493
Northeast
I notice with my Subaru when recirculate is on, the compressor will cycle on and off frequently, and obviously the air is colder with recirc on. I notice when recirc is off, the compressor stays engaged longer.. So I just have to check... maybe recirc was on before, and now it's off? My AC performance is terrible with recirc off, I have to keep recirc on to have vent temps below 50F. I'm not sure if anyone around you will rent out a manifold gauge set, you can check the pressures that way. I'd check the pressures with a manifold gauge set before doing anything.

Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813602
07/13/18 09:58 PM
07/13/18 09:58 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,401
Georgia
AVB Offline
AVB  Offline
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,401
Georgia
The screech could be the clutch slipping, maybe your friend already overcharged it.

Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813605
07/13/18 09:58 PM
07/13/18 09:58 PM
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 158
NY
fcjeep Offline
fcjeep  Offline
Joined: Feb 2016
Posts: 158
NY
LoneRanger

I evacuated and recharged my system in May 2017 for the first time ever. It was easy and my AC was ice cold afterwards.

The vid in the link below should help you but do some more research. You can borrow the vacuum pump and manifold gages at AZ and other parts stores. Make sure your wear protective goggles and gloves to protect yourself from the refrigerant in case something goes wrong.
Good luck.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdq8JAlct6s


2006 Jeep GC 4.7L, Died @ 153059 mi frown
2008 Xterra 4.0L, 104500 mi
2016 Jeep GC 3.6L, 19100 mi
2017 Benz C300 14000 mi
Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813627
07/13/18 10:53 PM
07/13/18 10:53 PM
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 7,928
Canuck living in California
KrisZ Offline
KrisZ  Offline
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 7,928
Canuck living in California
It's easy to mess up, but there are stapes you can take to prevent this.

Stick a thermometer into the center AC vent and get the temperature. Then slowly, maybe half a turn of the valve, and about 10-15 seconds at a time, add the refrigerant. Each time take note of the vent temperature, compressor cycling behaviour, coldness of the return line and the pressure. I'm not sure about Subaru, but low 40s vent temp is a good target and safe target.

If you just hook up the can, fully open up the valve and expect to catch the magic full point on the gauge, you will most likely mess up.


2015 Dodge Grand Caravan-27k miles.
2006 Mazda 3-163k miles
Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813628
07/13/18 10:58 PM
07/13/18 10:58 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,093
Michigan
ZZman Offline
ZZman  Offline
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 6,093
Michigan
Not hard. But you gotta take your time and go easy or you can overcharge. I know from experience.


2003 Mercury Grand Marquis. PP HM 5w-30 and Fram Ultra
2008 Sebring Hardtop convertible. PP HM 5w-30 and Fram Ultra
2006 Kawasaki Vulcan 900 LT. Motul 7100 10w-40 and K&N
Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813650
07/14/18 12:33 AM
07/14/18 12:33 AM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 2,031
southwest Mo.
wtd Offline
wtd  Offline
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 2,031
southwest Mo.
It's not hard if you have the right tools and follow the correct procedure. I learned how to do it by going to AC forums, reading books, asking questions and watching videos.

I bought a vacuum pump, gauges, weight scale and other various AC tools and went to work on one of my 92 Cavaliers which I converted over to 134a. That was a success and since 2006 when I did my first car, I have fixed the AC in approximately 15 vehicles.

My latest repair was doing my other 92 Cavalier which I had done previously about 10 years ago. The compressor started to leak so I had to do it again. I kept this car R12 and it blows ice cold.


2014 Mustang GT
1998 Chevy K3500
1998 Chevy K1500
(2) 1992 Cavaliers
1970 Monte Carlo
Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813658
07/14/18 01:38 AM
07/14/18 01:38 AM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 41,418
'Stralia
Shannow Online content
Shannow  Online Content
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 41,418
'Stralia
Hardest but is making your own refrigerant...and even that's not hard really.

Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813704
07/14/18 06:13 AM
07/14/18 06:13 AM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 1,169
Lyndhurst NJ
Audios Offline
Audios  Offline
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 1,169
Lyndhurst NJ
Just pay a shop to evacuate, weight the charge, and recharge with the proper weight. The shop across the street from me doesnt have a machine and uses gauges and a 30lb bottle, and every 1 out of 5 jobs he ends up screwing it up and overcharging it or having no idea how much is in there. One time he took the entire console out of a GMC Terrain to get to the controllers since it was only blowing on the passenger side, and it was because he didnt have enough in. I recovered about 3/4 of a lb and it took 2 lbs. Simple recharge, and handed it back to him for the 3 hour reassembly from not doing it correctly and chasing his tail around the car.
I also frequently see these systems overcharged from these recharge cans, same idea, no clue about the weight or pressures in the system.


2002 VW Golf TDI-Mobil 1 5/40 TDT
2007 Mercedes GL320 CDI Fuchs 5/40 GT Pro XTL
2005 BMW M3 BMW Twin Power 10/60
2003 BMW M5-Fuchs 5/40
1998 BMW M3/4/5 Fuchs 5/40
Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813723
07/14/18 06:47 AM
07/14/18 06:47 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,978
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,978
Upstate NY
If the A/C system is low on refrigerant, it has a leak that should be fixed.

If you are going to try yourself, you need a manifold gauge set (high and low). Only R134a. No stop leak.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger] #4813724
07/14/18 06:47 AM
07/14/18 06:47 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,978
Upstate NY
Donald Offline
Donald  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 20,978
Upstate NY
If the A/C system is low on refrigerant, it has a leak that should be fixed.

If you are going to try yourself, you need a manifold gauge set (high and low). Only R134a. No stop leak.


2015 Subaru Forester 2.5 engine/CVT
2015 Ford F250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
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