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#4813576 - 07/13/18 10:17 PM How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself?
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4095
Loc: 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 ...................(QSED DEXOS1 5W30)
'16 Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 .....(ENI i-Ride PG 10W60)

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#4813579 - 07/13/18 10:26 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
Chris142 Online   content


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 16946
Loc: 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 durablend 10w40
87 F250 traveler 15w40
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#4813583 - 07/13/18 10:32 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
AVB Offline


Registered: 05/20/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: 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.

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#4813587 - 07/13/18 10:38 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
WobblyElvis Offline


Registered: 09/23/14
Posts: 1381
Loc: 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.

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#4813596 - 07/13/18 10:50 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
slacktide_bitog Online   content


Registered: 03/20/08
Posts: 6342
Loc: USA
Get a hose that has a gauge smile

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#4813600 - 07/13/18 10:53 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
sxg6 Offline


Registered: 05/23/04
Posts: 2481
Loc: 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.

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#4813602 - 07/13/18 10:58 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
AVB Offline


Registered: 05/20/12
Posts: 1326
Loc: Georgia
The screech could be the clutch slipping, maybe your friend already overcharged it.

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#4813605 - 07/13/18 10:58 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
fcjeep Offline


Registered: 02/03/16
Posts: 120
Loc: 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
_________________________
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#4813627 - 07/13/18 11:53 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
KrisZ Offline


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 7507
Loc: Toronto, Canada
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-21k miles.
2006 Mazda 3-155k miles

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#4813628 - 07/13/18 11:58 PM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
ZZman Offline


Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 5832
Loc: Michigan
Not hard. But you gotta take your time and go easy or you can overcharge. I know from experience.
_________________________
2003 Mercury Grand Marquis. Rotella T6 Multi-Vehicle oil
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#4813650 - Yesterday at 01:33 AM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
wtd Offline


Registered: 06/25/02
Posts: 1941
Loc: 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.
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#4813658 - Yesterday at 02:38 AM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
Shannow Online   content


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 40126
Loc: 'Stralia
Hardest but is making your own refrigerant...and even that's not hard really.

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#4813704 - Yesterday at 07:13 AM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
Audios Offline


Registered: 11/19/11
Posts: 940
Loc: 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
2005 BMW M3 BMW Twin Power 10/60
1998 BMW M3/4/5 Fuchs 5/40
2007 Mercedes GL320 CDI Fuchs 5/40 GT Pro XTL

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#4813723 - Yesterday at 07:47 AM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20547
Loc: 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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#4813724 - Yesterday at 07:47 AM Re: How Hard to Charge car A/C Yourself? [Re: LoneRanger]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20547
Loc: 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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