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Old 04-30-2013, 12:39 AM   #41
thefrog1394
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Originally Posted by MJLavelle View Post
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...

So you didn't call me out by name but my guess is that this is primarily directed at me since I seem to be the only one arguing that a DIYer recharging their A/C system is not, in fact, a horrible idea. So I will establish my credentials as not a dumb cheapass.

I've replaced my A/C compressor myself (bought the car with a knocking compressor). This includes changing the receiver/dryer (always a must anytime you open the A/C system or allow it to be depressurized). Vacuumed the system and refilled. A/C manifold and a vacuum pump can both be had for reasonable prices at harbor freight.

So, now that I have established that I am not in fact a moron cheapass cutting corners to save a buck, but in fact have more experience working on vehicle A/C systems than most likely anyone in this thread (no, paying $50 for a checkup ever 2 years doesn't count as A/C experience), I say again:

There is nothing wrong with, as a first DIY step to troubleshoot a newly nonfunctional A/C system, topping up the refrigerant. But if it takes more than a can to fill the system then you probably have a big leak and should seek professional assistance (or recharge with and include a dye and look for the leak yourself ). As I said before I am not recommending that you continually refill the system, because that begins to pose other problems not to mention is not environmentally responsible.

Oh, and the statement by wibbles...
Quote:
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).
Um what? It makes zero difference what state the refrigerant is in. That is going to depend on the temperature and pressure. The 25lb containers may very well be under higher pressure which is entirely irrelevant to whether the r134a is "the good stuff" whatever the hell that means. Many stores will sell name-brand refrigerants such as DuPont.

Final thought: I am not one to nitpick, but do notice I say refrigerant and not freon. Cars no longer use Freon (R-12) but instead use r134a. The reason I say this is because throwing around freon seems to lend a "scary" view to A/C because freon is very tightly regulated by the EPA these days due to environmental reasons.
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:30 AM   #42
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So you didn't call me out by name but my guess is that this is primarily directed at me since I seem to be the only one arguing that a DIYer recharging their A/C system is not, in fact, a horrible idea. So I will establish my credentials as not a dumb cheapass.

I've replaced my A/C compressor myself (bought the car with a knocking compressor). This includes changing the receiver/dryer (always a must anytime you open the A/C system or allow it to be depressurized). Vacuumed the system and refilled. A/C manifold and a vacuum pump can both be had for reasonable prices at harbor freight.

So, now that I have established that I am not in fact a moron cheapass cutting corners to save a buck, but in fact have more experience working on vehicle A/C systems than most likely anyone in this thread (no, paying $50 for a checkup ever 2 years doesn't count as A/C experience), I say again:

There is nothing wrong with, as a first DIY step to troubleshoot a newly nonfunctional A/C system, topping up the refrigerant. But if it takes more than a can to fill the system then you probably have a big leak and should seek professional assistance (or recharge with and include a dye and look for the leak yourself ). As I said before I am not recommending that you continually refill the system, because that begins to pose other problems not to mention is not environmentally responsible.

Oh, and the statement by mango... Um what? It makes zero difference what state the refrigerant is in. That is going to depend on the temperature and pressure. The 25lb containers may very well be under higher pressure which is entirely irrelevant to whether the r134a is "the good stuff" whatever the hell that means. Many stores will sell name-brand refrigerants such as DuPont.

Final thought: I am not one to nitpick, but do notice I say refrigerant and not freon. Cars no longer use Freon (R-12) but instead use r134a. The reason I say this is because throwing around freon seems to lend a "scary" view to A/C because freon is very tightly regulated by the EPA these days due to environmental reasons.
You better check your facts. I did not make that statement. You quoted the wrong person. Check before mentioning my name
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Old 04-30-2013, 01:53 AM   #43
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You better check your facts. I did not make that statement. You quoted the wrong person. Check before mentioning my name
Edited the post. Sorry mango!
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:43 AM   #44
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If you have an incredibly slow leak, which E46s are prone to have, there is nothing wrong wtih "topping off" using low/high pressure gauges and cans of straight freon (or the cans with stop leak and meters at worst) if you know the proper amounts to put in. Again, this isn't nuclear science. If you know how to do a/c re-charges properly, it is nothing to be scared of. I changed receiver driers on my E30 and pulled vacuums on the system. To me, a/c work is a lot less complicated than most other DYI jobs.

For example, I bought my 325i last September and it was low on R134a. I topped it off and the a/c nearly froze me to death last week.

In Nashville and surrounding areas, A/C checks are $80-$120.

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Old 04-30-2013, 06:59 AM   #45
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If you have an incredibly slow leak, which E46s are prone to have, there is nothing wrong wtih "topping off" using low/high pressure gauges and cans of straight freon (or the cans with stop leak and meters at worst) if you know the proper amounts to put in. Again, this isn't nuclear science. If you know how to do a/c re-charges properly, it is nothing to be scared of. I changed receiver driers on my E30 and pulled vacuums on the system. To me, a/c work is a lot less complicated than most other DYI jobs.

For example, I bought my 325i last September and it was low on R134a. I topped it off and the a/c nearly froze me to death last week.

In Nashville and surrounding areas, A/C checks are $80-$120.
Yes, there are 2 types of Fanatics. Ones that can DIY and the ones that can't.
It seems line the ones that can't are jealous and try to convince the DIY not to do it. Instead of accepting the ability of the one who can do it DIY.

The ones that don't also create false facts to make it sound like it is the end of the world.

Here is the comment by WIBBLES

" 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)."

He is just trying to create this illusion that cheap cans do not have "Good Stuff", when in fact a 12oz, 20oz or 25lb can will have R134a in liquid state. This is just trying to create false facts to make it sound like it is bad, but in fact R134a is R134a no matter what can or where you get it.

What is an oil state too? That is a new one for me!

Anyone try to buy R134a at the Stealership? Probably not, too expensive, so they buy it from other sources where it is cheaper. We do that for other parts, why wouldn't people do it for R134a? People that DIY do, but again the ones that don't don't want the ones that can to do it.

This place is for information sharing and not a dictatorship. People have to be more accepting of people who have the ability to DIY.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:37 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by BMWCaptain View Post
Yes, there are 2 types of Fanatics. Ones that can DIY and the ones that can't.
It seems line the ones that can't are jealous and try to convince the DIY not to do it. Instead of accepting the ability of the one who can do it DIY.

The ones that don't also create false facts to make it sound like it is the end of the world.

Here is the comment by WIBBLES

" 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)."

He is just trying to create this illusion that cheap cans do not have "Good Stuff", when in fact a 12oz, 20oz or 25lb can will have R134a in liquid state. This is just trying to create false facts to make it sound like it is bad, but in fact R134a is R134a no matter what can or where you get it.

What is an oil state too? That is a new one for me!

Anyone try to buy R134a at the Stealership? Probably not, too expensive, so they buy it from other sources where it is cheaper. We do that for other parts, why wouldn't people do it for R134a? People that DIY do, but again the ones that don't don't want the ones that can to do it.

Good reply. I was wondering why he was calling R134a "Freon" and claiming that inside the can it's in a gas state. It is most definitely a liquid inside the can. You can shake the can and hear that fact.

Quote:
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This place is for information sharing and not a dictatorship. People have to be more accepting of people who have the ability to DIY.
You're going to have to accept the fact that there will be disagreements within every thread. Nobody's word is final around here, unless Jake or Tim says you suck and bans someone.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:09 AM   #47
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If you care about your car, take it to a pro.

The correct balance is key to a good A/C. The key is the evac of the system. That said, I have a POS Ford Explorer that didnt have air when I got it, the system was empty and I used one of the cans of R134A (I have the gauges for both) with stop leak and charged it to the correct pressure and it has worked fine for 2 years. Also, Ford Explorer A/C systems are cheap at bone yards so I was not worried about replacement. If it leaked I was going to fix. BMW A/C system - not as cheap.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:13 AM   #48
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This place is for information sharing and not a dictatorship. People have to be more accepting of people who have the ability to DIY.
Cool. I don't consider those cans "DIYing" anything. Like I said before, that's like "fixing" something with a can of stop leak. The proper way to fill a system is by using a manifold gauge set. If you don't have one then you run a risk of damaging your system.

I'm not saying don't DIY your own AC repairs. I do it. I have the proper tools, though. It's not rocket science, but people severely underestimate its complexity. Hell, the OP was LOOKING for refrigerant leaks. No offense.

If you're going to do it then do it right. With AC repair that means having a minimum set of tools. If you have them then by all means DIY away, if you don't then for the sake of your AC system take it to a professional.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:34 AM   #49
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Cool. I don't consider those cans "DIYing" anything. Like I said before, that's like "fixing" something with a can of stop leak. The proper way to fill a system is by using a manifold gauge set. If you don't have one then you run a risk of damaging your system.

I'm not saying don't DIY your own AC repairs. I do it. I have the proper tools, though. It's not rocket science, but people severely underestimate its complexity. Hell, the OP was LOOKING for refrigerant leaks. No offense.

If you're going to do it then do it right. With AC repair that means having a minimum set of tools. If you have them then by all means DIY away, if you don't then for the sake of your AC system take it to a professional.
Definitely. 95% of people, including myself, don't have the proper tools. People going into walmart and using those cans are thinking it's safe and proper to just add to the system. Since the cans are about $21-30 each and you likely needing two or more of them, I just got mine properly done for $55. Done deal. Another one of those cases where people are paying more to screw themselves yet at the same time thinking they're cheating or beating the system when all they're really doing is effing it up.
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Old 04-30-2013, 12:01 PM   #50
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You can DIY it, and it's very possible to do. You just need the right equipment, that's all.

All you need is refrigerant w/ lubricating oil built-in, gauges, and a vacuum pump. I've seen the gauges at pawn shops for very cheap, and you can probably find a working vacuum pump off of craigslist. Look up the right pressures you need using the Bentley manual.

Then, follow this video:



But the money you'd spend on DIYing that job is about the same as having a professional do it.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:57 AM   #51
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So you didn't call me out by name but my guess is that this is primarily directed at me since I seem to be the only one arguing that a DIYer recharging their A/C system is not, in fact, a horrible idea. So I will establish my credentials as not a dumb cheapass.

I've replaced my A/C compressor myself (bought the car with a knocking compressor). This includes changing the receiver/dryer (always a must anytime you open the A/C system or allow it to be depressurized). Vacuumed the system and refilled. A/C manifold and a vacuum pump can both be had for reasonable prices at harbor freight.

So, now that I have established that I am not in fact a moron cheapass cutting corners to save a buck, but in fact have more experience working on vehicle A/C systems than most likely anyone in this thread (no, paying $50 for a checkup ever 2 years doesn't count as A/C experience), I say again:

There is nothing wrong with, as a first DIY step to troubleshoot a newly nonfunctional A/C system, topping up the refrigerant. But if it takes more than a can to fill the system then you probably have a big leak and should seek professional assistance (or recharge with and include a dye and look for the leak yourself ). As I said before I am not recommending that you continually refill the system, because that begins to pose other problems not to mention is not environmentally responsible.

Oh, and the statement by wibbles... Um what? It makes zero difference what state the refrigerant is in. That is going to depend on the temperature and pressure. The 25lb containers may very well be under higher pressure which is entirely irrelevant to whether the r134a is "the good stuff" whatever the hell that means. Many stores will sell name-brand refrigerants such as DuPont.

Final thought: I am not one to nitpick, but do notice I say refrigerant and not freon. Cars no longer use Freon (R-12) but instead use r134a. The reason I say this is because throwing around freon seems to lend a "scary" view to A/C because freon is very tightly regulated by the EPA these days due to environmental reasons.
Uuuummm, sorry to tell you this, but I have no idea who you are, and you certainly were NOT the one I was referring to. I don't recall reading one of your posts about adding r134a (Happy? I tend to say freon because I am old. I am certainly not trying to scare anyone. I'm not Al Gore).
In fact, I was not speaking about one specific person, and some of my comments were not even specifically targeted at just adding r134a to the system, but many other procedures as well.
So, there was no need to list your credentials. But, you made a good point. You have the correct equipment, and know how to do this. It is obvious that the OP has none of these things, so he would be better off taking it to a pro.
I replaced the entire system in my previous e46, but I had a shop evacuate the system, and refill it when I was done.
I also drove around for one whole summer with no AC in my Miata, until I was able to get a book (this was before there was so much information on the Internet), and learn about how AC Systems work, and I was able to diagnose and repair it myself. I also had a full set of gauges, and was able to refill it with freon (Pre-r134a car, and freon was still available). There was nothing to evacuate, since there was no freon left in the system. The gauges are MIA now, and most likely in storage somewhere.
So, I'm sorry you went to the trouble to be offended by me, but you certainly were not the target. I would say "if the shoe fits", but you don't seem to be one of the people who starts trouble just for the fun of it, so I won't. I do not, and have not, had an issue with you. Carry on.

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Old 05-01-2013, 01:23 AM   #52
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The truth is, if you have the proper tools, and the knowledge, or the ability to learn, then by all means do it yourself. Good for you for having the tools and know how. That does mean you are somehow better than everyone else, it just means you have invested in tools that some people do not have.
I have not seen anyone make the argument that NO ONE should DIY. I have seen plenty of people who said that if you do not have the tools, and do not know anything more than where to connect the can of r134a, then it is better to let a professional do it. Why that sparks so much debate, is beyond me.
If you want to add a can of r134a to your car, do it. But don't expect everyone to encourage you to do so, since some of us believe in the right tool for the job, and not risking damage to our cars because we don't have the correct tools. So, we recommend taking it to a professional.
If you do have the propper tools and e46 specific know-how, why not start a thread that explains the tools needed and where to buy them, and give everyone a walk through on how to do it properly on an e46, and list the specific values for the low side and high side pressures? it seems that would be so much more constructive than criticizing those who know how to DIY, and those who don't. After all, you weren't born with the knowledge, and you learned it somewhere. If you have the knowledge, share it. That is the one of the points of this forum.

Again, this is not directed at you, thefrog1394. It's just a general observation.

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Old 05-01-2013, 07:57 AM   #53
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This is directed directly at you thefrog1394. You are an idiot.

@Mango. I love how I summed this up first page and then it blows up.
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:36 AM   #54
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This is directed directly at you thefrog1394. You are an idiot.

@Mango. I love how I summed this up first page and then it blows up.
Yep that's what you get when people with low or no standards attempt BMW ownership. They start touching extra sensitive equipment that requires proper tools or making their own car parts
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:55 PM   #55
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This is directed directly at you thefrog1394. You are an idiot.

@Mango. I love how I summed this up first page and then it blows up.
I am an idiot because I understand how the A/C system in cars works and am able to DIY it? Yea that makes sense.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:00 PM   #56
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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.
Nope. Full evacuation, inspection, and recharge. Whole process took one hour. Would you like photos?

Why would you even question me? Or even think of it?
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:36 PM   #57
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I am an idiot because I understand how the A/C system in cars works and am able to DIY it? Yea that makes sense.
That's what these people here do. They don't like you do it yourself, so they have to revert to calling you names.

Creating false facts to male it sound like no one should do it.


They create some convoluted story that everyone who goes to Walmart is trying to beat the system. What are they trying to beat? Maybe they are fixing their car themselves.

People just can't accept others opinions here and have to attack you.

Look at all the people here trying to share information here DIY. They are not trying to convince the others here not to take their car to a shop to get worked on. But the folks here that don't DIY are trying to berate the folks that DIY and convince they they have to have a shop do it and they cannot DIY.

A/c work is very easy, if you are not comfortable working on it, then don't. There are many other threads for you get into arguing about. If you have info to share on charging your ac, then do that.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:14 PM   #58
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That's what these people here do. They don't like you do it yourself, so they have to revert to calling you names.

Creating false facts to male it sound like no one should do it.


They create some convoluted story that everyone who goes to Walmart is trying to beat the system. What are they trying to beat? Maybe they are fixing their car themselves.

People just can't accept others opinions here and have to attack you.

Look at all the people here trying to share information here DIY. They are not trying to convince the others here not to take their car to a shop to get worked on. But the folks here that don't DIY are trying to berate the folks that DIY and convince they they have to have a shop do it and they cannot DIY.

A/c work is very easy, if you are not comfortable working on it, then don't. There are many other threads for you get into arguing about. If you have info to share on charging your ac, then do that.
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:40 PM   #59
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R-134a A/C Pro Professional Formula Refrigerant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brokensmile209 View Post
i have a 2001 bmw, i wanted to do a ac recharge, can i use any
R-134a? my choice would be R-134a A/C Pro that could be found at walmart and autozone....
I think we've pretty well vetted this subject. Worst thing that can happen here is bodily injury and a trip to the hospital. The AC system can be repaired if you screw it up; and you can drive your car without the AC system.

Try it and let us know what happens. Just remember to wear thick gloves and eye protection.


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Old 05-01-2013, 03:54 PM   #60
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Also remember not to violate section 608 of the clean air act. Proper handling and disposal (assuming the DIYer has the proper equipment and training) must be strictly adhered to. Violations will be met with fines and/or imprisonment. You can clearly see why taking this to a qualified professional is not only easier and safer for everyone including the environment, it's cheaper!

EPA is performing random inspections, responding to tips, and pursuing potential cases against violators. Under the Act, EPA is authorized to assess fines of up to $37,500 per day for any violation of these regulations.
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