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Old 04-29-2013, 12:56 PM   #21
brokensmile209
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You guys wanting to do your own A/C recharges without the metering device are idiots. There is a high AND low pressure system and if they are out of balance, your system will degrade faster. Take it to a pro to do it with the metering device. Its only $50 and they check for leaks. Sheesh.


Pretty sure it isn't $50
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Old 04-29-2013, 12:58 PM   #22
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what if it leaks out again?
Where would it leak from? I check I couldn't see any leak, do I have to go under the car
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:03 PM   #23
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Pretty sure it isn't $50
I pay $55 for my a/c service. Get it done once every two years, regardless of whether or not it's "working good," etc or other barnyard excuses
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:09 PM   #24
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Where would it leak from? I check I couldn't see any leak, do I have to go under the car
1. R-134a is a colorless gas. You will not and cannot "see" leaks.

2. Even if you could see R-134a, the leak rate is likely so slow, that it would be almost impossible to notice.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:14 PM   #25
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Where would it leak from? I check I couldn't see any leak, do I have to go under the car
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:20 PM   #26
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Ok I'm going to break down this whole thing, and then you the reader can come to whatever opinion you want.

1. A Freon A/C System is a closed system. Meaning nothing can get into the system and nothing can get out. If your A/C isn't working it generally means you are low on freon. Which in turn means your have a A/C Leak. You can throw hot shot or whatever can of R134a from Walmart into your car all you want, but its going to leak out. It can maybe take a year (i highly doubt it) Or it could be as short as 2 days.

2. Freon is a GAS in most states, and you cannot see it, it also doesn't have an odor either. To detect this leak you need a Freon Leak Tester, an expensive piece of equipment.

3. Your Car needs 1.63 +or- 0.05 lbs of R-134a Freon. Those cans only hold what like 20oz? Simple conversion will tell you the can doesn't have enough. ALSO the cheap can is mostly Freon in its Gas state, rather then a professional 25lbs can where most of it is in its liquid/oil state (AKA the good stuff).

4. To do a charge correctly you need not only a decent set of gauges which will set you back 100-150 dollars, you also need a Vacuum pump to bring your A/C system down into low pressure vacuum, this is to get all the contaminants out of the system before charging it with freon. As well as knowlage to do it, someone said he charged it to 40PSI thats great dude....low or high pressure side? if its the low side congrats your freon is only running at about 48F on the low side...It should be about 10degrees cooler at least

5. When i say contaminants I don't mean dust and dirt, No even worse to a A/C system is condensation/humidity in the air. If you have a leak I can 100% guarantee you, your system will get / has contaminants in the system. Water is bad, really bad for your system seeing as how most of it is oil. at least on the high pressure side.

6. Yes you can DYI, HOWEVER DYI means that you have A) the right tools as well as B) The knowledge. How many people here do their own Tire aliment? Probably not a lot since not only do most people here no have the proper tools and equipment to do it correctly, let alone know the correct settings. To do an A/C charge correctly you need Gauges,a leak tester, a Vacuum pump,a vacuum gauge to make sure their is no leak and no contaminants. Oh and hey also a Freon Reclamation tank because again its illegal to release freon into the atmosphere. That equipment alone is easily a grand.

7. To get it done at an mechanic, leak test, fixed (which $50 its your evaporator coil that is leaking anyways) and properly recharged would be around $200 range. But go ahead and keep recharging that system, eventually the leak will get bigger to the point you'll leak out every week or eventually the compressor will just lock up due to changes in pressures due to the leak or just contaminates will eventually kill it.


All I'm saying is, fixing your A/C system with a Can of Freon from wally-world is like seeing a small leak on your radiator and instead of replacing it or at least patching the hole, you just keep adding water to it...

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Old 04-29-2013, 01:22 PM   #27
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Ok I'm going to break down this whole thing, and then you the reader can come to whatever opinion you want.

1. A Freon A/C System is a closed system. Meaning nothing can get into the system and nothing can get out. If your A/C isn't working it generally means you are low on freon. Which in turn means your have a A/C Leak. You can throw hot shot or whatever can of R134a from Walmart into your car all you want, but its going to leak out. It can maybe take a year (i highly doubt it) Or it could be as short as 2 days.

2. Freon is a GAS in most states, and you cannot see it, it also doesn't have an odor either. To detect this leak you need a Freon Leak Tester, an expensive piece of equipment.

3. Your Car needs 1.63 +or- 0.05 lbs of R-134a Freon. Those cans only hold what like 20oz? Simple conversion will tell you the can doesn't have enough. ALSO the cheap can is mostly Freon in its Gas state, rather then a professional 25lbs can where most of it is in its liquid/oil state (AKA the good stuff).

4. To do a charge correctly you need not only a decent set of gauges which will set you back 100-150 dollars, you also need a Vacuum pump to bring your A/C system down into low pressure vacuum, this is to get all the contaminants out of the system before charging it with freon.

5. When i say contaminants I don't mean dust and dirt, No even worse to a A/C system is condensation/humidity in the air. If you have a leak I can 100% guarantee you, your system will get / has contaminants in the system. Water is bad, really bad for your system seeing as how most of it is oil. at least on the high pressure side.

6. Yes you can DYI, HOWEVER DYI means that you have A) the right tools as well as B) The knowledge. How many people here do their own Tire aliment? Probably not a lot since not only do most people here no have the proper tools and equipment to do it correctly, let alone know the correct settings. To do an A/C charge correctly you need Gauges,a leak tester, a Vacuum pump,a vacuum gauge to make sure their is no leak and no contaminants. Oh and hey also a Freon Reclamation tank because again its illegal to release freon into the atmosphere. That equipment alone is easily a grand.

7. To get it done at an mechanic, leak test, fixed (which $50 its your evaporator coil that is leaking anyways) and properly recharged would be MAX $200 range. But go ahead and keep recharging that system, eventually the leak will get bigger to the point you'll leak out every week or eventually the compressor will just lock up due to changes in pressures due to the leak or just contaminates will eventually kill it.


All I'm saying is, fixing your A/C system with a Can of Freon from wally-world is like seeing a small leak on your radiator and instead of replacing it or at least patching the hole, you just keep adding water to it...
professional post. great points. +25mp
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Old 04-29-2013, 08:52 PM   #28
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Pretty sure it isn't $50
+1, Yeh, nobody does it for $50.
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Old 04-29-2013, 09:10 PM   #29
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Ok I'm going to break down this whole thing, and then you the reader can come to whatever opinion you want.......


All I'm saying is, fixing your A/C system with a Can of Freon from wally-world is like seeing a small leak on your radiator and instead of replacing it or at least patching the hole, you just keep adding water to it...
Didn't include the whole quote in order to save space, but well stated! The AC system doesn't help your car run better, but it does make it comfortable on those hot, sunny days. Equating AC system work to tire alignment was appropriate as well. Both need expensive equipment and training to use it.

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Old 04-29-2013, 09:34 PM   #30
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Wibbles is correct, the fill volume window is quite narrow.

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Old 04-29-2013, 09:35 PM   #31
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Where would it leak from? I check I couldn't see any leak, do I have to go under the car
That is why i said you sould have it done professionally. you have to recover everything, vacuum it, fill with oil (fluorescent dye) and then recharge the proper amount of freon (r-134a) is added.
If your car was missing freon, it means that there is a leak where it leaked from. when the freon & fluroscent dye is added to the system, usually you have to drive your car for few days and then have to check the leak with special tools. Since freon is colorless, the dye is added so the leak could be found.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:07 PM   #32
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You rarely need to ever charge your cooling system. Just have a pro do it with the right equipment. The max you'll pay is $100. They will properly remove any moisture in the system as well. If you regularly need to do it, you have other problems and should use some UV dye to figure out where the leak is.

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Get it done once every two years
LOL

This is a massive waste of time and money. If your A/C is working, your A/C is working. You don't need to do anything to it until it stops working. Mine hasn't been changed in 9 years now - still blows cold.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:49 PM   #33
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This isn't DIYing. This is the equivalent of patting yourself on the back after "fixing" your radiator using stop leak instead of replacing it.
No, I think this is a lot more like telling someone, when their low coolant light comes on, to take it to a shop. The cooling system, like the A/C system, is a closed system and shouldn't leak. But, with these cars being 10+ years old, sometimes slow leaks can form. If an e46 owner had low coolant, I would first recommend they top it off and monitor it. Of course if it continues to leak coolant rapidly then they should figure out where the leak is. But if its a once-every-five-years top-off like the A/C leaks often times are, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with filling it up with a can from autozone.

As far as maintenance items go, a refrigerant recharge is not a particularly hard task. The low side gauge will give you a good enough indication to fill up to a reasonable level. Its not like there is a technique that allows you to balance the low and high side during filling or anything. Yes, there is such thing as overcharging but this will mainly hurt the efficiency of the system. The compressor has over and under pressure shutoffs which do a pretty good job of protecting it. Compare this to other common maintenance items like filling oil or coolant where overfilling can cause severe engine damage, the small risk of damaging a $150 A/C compressor is really not a huge deal. Especially when the risk is very small.

The biggest difference is that putting stop-leak in the radiator has a very good chance of seriously damaging the engine by gunking it up with crap. You are not risking the engine (or really any part of the A/C system, considering the compressor pressure shutoff failsafes) by recharging the A/C system. I mean just don't be a moron and pump like 50 cans into the system.

All this being said, yes moisture in the system is bad. But if you catch the problem soon enough you may be just below the low-pressure shutoff level on the condenser. You will know this because the compressor will kick back on very soon after you start filling it. If this is the case, the system will still have been under enough pressure to have prevented moisture from seeping in.

So basically, yes. The system is closed and you should absolutely not continually recharge your A/C system. On the other hand if your A/C just recently stopped working, there is nothing wrong with trying to recharge it yourself once to see how long it will last.

Oh, and finally, Re: Mango on his $50 A/C service. I can almost guarantee for that price all they are doing is hooking up a gauge manifold and checking pressures. If you do this every two years, your system is probably fine and all they are doing is checking pressures and sending you on your way while laughing behind your back.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:03 PM   #34
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+1, Yeh, nobody does it for $50
not sure where you and other member is located, but in my area it can be done anywhere from $45-70 dollars.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:07 PM   #35
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not sure where you and other member is located, but in my area it can be done anywhere from $45-70 dollars.
What, exactly, is "it"? Is that vacuuming and recharging the system or merely topping it off?
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:10 PM   #36
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vaccum and recharging, complete service..
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:33 PM   #37
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Where would it leak from? I check I couldn't see any leak, do I have to go under the car
The most common area is at the crimps on the AC hoses. While freon is colorless, there is usually oil that leaks out with it. So, if you see oil near the crimps on your AC hoses, then you have found your leak.
But, there are other places that can leak, including a worn out compressor, which will cause you to lose freon as well.
But, I also agree that this is something better left to professionals, unless you have the proper equipment. A plastic gauge on a can is not going to be accurate. Think about it. If it was an accurate gauge, it should cost at least $15, probably much more. Do you think they are just eating the cost of an accurate gauge?
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:48 PM   #38
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LOL

This is a massive waste of time and money. If your A/C is working, your A/C is working. You don't need to do anything to it until it stops working. Mine hasn't been changed in 9 years now - still blows cold.
I'm noticing these types of posts from you more and more lately. Very concerned.

As I've said before in my a/c thread (go search) periodic maintenance of the a/c system is vital to keeping your refrigerant and lubrication renewed. Over time, the compressor loses some of its charge and thus its ability to lubricate itself.

Compressor oil (especially R134a) is hygroscopic. Another thing to keep in mind when considering its potentially corrosive nature. It's amazing the things people subcribe to to save a few bucks on properly maintaining a vital system. I guess we shouldn't change brake fluid either huh since if your brakes are working, they're working? Riiiiiiiight.

Oh and I'll just leave this here:

http://www.autokool.co.uk/faq_13.html

Q. How often should my vehicle's air conditioning systems be serviced?
A. Unlike the domestic fridge, automotive air conditioning systems operate in a harsh environment and are subject to moisture, vibration, extremes of temperature and mechanical shock. Service intervals can vary depending on the conditions of use and the annual mileage of the vehicle. For average use and 12,000 miles a year intervals of every 12 months to 18 months should be sufficient to ensure the air conditioning and all components operate at maximum efficiency. Vehicles that are used off-road or have annual mileages of over 24,000 miles should be serviced more often.

Q. What's involved in a service?
A. We measure the pressures in the system, check the quality of refrigerant present to make sure that it is not contaminated and check all functions. Then we recover the contents of the system separating the refrigerant and oil. The process involves subjecting the entire system to a complete deep vacuum which causes any moisture in the system to boil off. We then re-charge the system with the required weight of refrigerant and replenish the lubricant. At this stage we can also add a UV dye that will show up any future leaks under ultra violet light.

Q. Why does my car air conditioning system run low on refrigerant ?
A. A/C systems will tend to lose refrigerant over time as refrigerant permeates through the physical joints between components. In normal working conditions all automotive air conditioning systems will lose about 10% to 15% of refrigerant each year which is considered natural leakage. Letting the system run low on refrigerant which in turn provides poor oil circulation can lead to wear and even serious component failure.

Q. How often should I run the air conditioning in my car?
A. Ideally, all the time. It is false economy to turn the system off in the winter. This can lead to deterioration of the seals and gaskets in your system and, even more rapid refrigerant loss. On the coldest of days turn the system on to ensure that the windows are demisted and the interior of the car is comfortable. Contrary to popular belief this does not greatly reduce your mpg or performance. With modern engines and increased fuel efficiency the cost of using your vehicle air conditioning system has been considerably reduced with modern advancements in engineering.
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Old 04-29-2013, 11:51 PM   #39
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The problem with adding freon to an AC system is that people are fooled by the fact that you can buy a can of it just about anywhere, including convenience stores.
That gives people the impression that there is nothing to it, so they try it. It may even blow colder air for a while. That does not mean all is well.
There are those of us who realize this, and take the car to a professional. Then, there are those who just do not get it, and believe their backyard bullsh!t will work. They are no different than the people who believe they can buy brake rotors off of eBay, and those who believe they can select a better motor oil than what BMW recommends.
Some people want to believe they can beat the system (they also believe there is a system to be beat), and that there is an easy, ultra-low cost alternative to everything, and they can find it. There are also those who encourage them, for their own amusement.
You are wasting your breath trying to change their minds, since you are not dealing with a single decision, but a mindset.
Post a recommendation to do it the right way, with some information to support your argument, and call it a day. It is a waste of time and effort to try and have a logical discussion about it, plus, it draws in other idiots who smell blood in the water, and decide to jump in and stir things up for their own amusement.
There are at least 10 recommendations for him to handle it the correct way. Stick a fork in it, it is done. Darwinism will take over from here.
Life is too short...

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Old 04-29-2013, 11:52 PM   #40
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The problem with adding freon to an AC system is that people are fooled by the fact that you can buy a can of it just about anywhere, including convenience stores.
That gives people the impression that there is nothing to it, so they try it. It may even blow colder air for a while. That does not mean all is well.
There are those of us who realize this, and take the car to a professional. Then, there are those who just do not get it, and believe their backyard bullsh!t will work. They are no different than the people who believe they can buy brake rotors off of eBay, and those who believe they can select a better motor oil than what BMW recommends.
Some people want to believe they can beat the system (they also believe there is a system to be beat), and that there is an easy, ultra-low cost alternative to everything, and they can find it. there are also those who encourage them, for their own amusement.
You are wasting your breath trying to change their minds, since you are not dealing with a single decision, but a mindset.
Post a recommendation to do it the right way, with some information to support your argument, and call it a day. It is a waste of time and effort to try and have a logical discussion about it, plus, it draws in other idiots who smell blood in the water, and decide to jump in and stir things up for their own amusement.
There are at least 10 recommendations for him to handle it the correct way. Stick a fork in it, it is done. Darwinism will take over from here.
Life is too short...
Well said, my friend.
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