Bulletin: Andy Recharges A/C Himself; World Does Not End - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 07-29-2004, 11:54 PM   #1
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Default Bulletin: Andy Recharges A/C Himself; World Does Not End

Okay, so it'* 85F outside, the Bonneville A/C has been a little marginal this year since its major surgery last year (replaced the evaporator core myself, along with replacing assorted missing parts and getting a complete evacuation and R-12 recharge): it would start out cold, then decide to stop cooling about 10 minutes into my drive, unless I made a sharp left turn, which got a little annoying because on hot days I couldn't go further than 10 minutes from home before abruptly turning around and coming back... ...and today I have to drive a good 80-100 miles.

For the past 25 years I've been lugging around this 1-lb. can of Freon and a charging hose in a little Interdynamics kit that probably cost all of about $3.95 in 1979, and today I finally said the hell with it and pulled it out. Instructions had no surprises in them; figured out how the goofy cam lock can connection worked, got the car turned around and nosed into the garage so I could work inside the garage with the engine running, cranked down the A/C control to 60F, and the compressor started up. That was my 10-minute window of opportunity starting, so I unscrewed the low-pressure/suction cap, screwed on the filler hose, got a little reassuring squirt of Freon and oil leaking out as I did so, cranked down the can tapper, cautiously backed it out to open the can tapper valve, and... woosh... the can starts getting nicely cold... condensation forming on the A/C lines... everything going as advertised.

After a few minutes it felt like I had at least half the can gone, so I closed the tapper valve, disconnected the hose, stuck my hand in front of the dash vent, and... Oooooh...

So I don't know what those little cans are going for on eBay these days, but mine has gone to a good home: my Bonne. Hopefully the leftovers will stay sealed in the can (I lubed the tapper seal before screwing it on to the can; can't remove it now until the can is empty), so we'll hope for the best.
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Old 07-30-2004, 12:07 AM   #2
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I'm glad that your comfort has been restored.

You have some of the best topic titles too
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Old 07-30-2004, 12:28 AM   #3
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Yup, I do this to about 4-5 vehicles per summer. Seems like that'* how many friends and family members get new vehicles each year. Only I use R-134A, which isn't quite as cold, but it still does the trick and is available at practically every auto parts store and any of the big chain stores like K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and even Menards and Home Depot have it in St. Cloud.
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Old 07-30-2004, 10:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randman1
I'm glad that your comfort has been restored.

You have some of the best topic titles too
That and very clear, concise directions to follow (much like all the other gear heads and admins)!
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Old 07-30-2004, 12:12 PM   #5
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Awesome! Just had mine recharged with 134a as well. A friend of mine does heating/cooling and did it for free. :P
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Old 08-02-2004, 06:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randman1
I'm glad that your comfort has been restored.

You have some of the best topic titles too
Thanks, but unfortunately bad news, gentlemen: we have a leak. By the following morning the A/C system was back to its practically nonexistent self.

Good to know that it can function nicely with as little as a pound of Freon in the system (actually less, since I did see the compressor start up even before I tapped the 1-lb. can), but it looks like we're going to have to have a sniffer session to see what'* leaking. Depending on where the culprit is, I may end up converting to R134a now. (i.e. If it'* a Duh-type problem like a loose connection or bad O-ring, I might do R-12 one more time, but if the compressor or condensor is leaking this time, such that everything needs to be opened up yet again anyway, then I might as well go the whole R134a route this time.)

I see we're compiling an OBD II reader registry now; maybe we can start building a Freon/R134a sniffer registry as well?!
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Old 08-09-2004, 11:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acg_ssei
Quote:
Originally Posted by randman1
I'm glad that your comfort has been restored.

You have some of the best topic titles too
Thanks, but unfortunately bad news, gentlemen: we have a leak. By the following morning the A/C system was back to its practically nonexistent self.
And in an update to our previous update: The A/C _is_ still working after all, so now I don't know what to think.

Took the Bonneville to the train station last Friday since it was going to be a nice day, and zapped the remote starter from the train as we pulled in that evening. When I got in the car, I was surprised to find that the HVAC was working and had already cooled it down nicely inside.

Hmmm. I had some errands to do right away, so I left the car running at every stop (gotta love that pit-stop feature on the remote starter), assuming that the A/C was going to poop out on me soon, but after a half hour it was still going. It finally seemed to fade while I was idling for a while in a shady spot, so I figured that was it for that driving session, but then once I got going again on a road in full sunlight, it came back cold again.

So like I said, I don't know what to think at this point. I'm wondering if the temperature mixing door is a little too gung-ho about decreasing the amount of cold air it allows in if the outside temperature is within a few degrees of the inside temperature, unless the Solar Intensity sensor on the dash gets a good blast of sunlight.

There are no error codes set in the controller, and the worst ongoing problem I've got right now is the Low Coolant Sensor coming on half the time (the usual false alarm). I wish there was an easy way to figure out exactly how much Freon remains in the system... Any other ideas welcome...
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Old 08-09-2004, 11:42 AM   #8
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i guess ur bonnie loves da sunlight and so does ur ac
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Old 08-09-2004, 01:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kennginn
i guess ur bonnie loves da sunlight and so does ur ac
Yeah, really...

I was thinking: What'* the system supposed to do normally, once the need for maximum cooling goes down? Say you've got this situation:

Car'* been sitting in the sun on a not-too-hot day, say 70F outside, and you start the car. So due to the sunlight, it'* probably 100 or so inside to start with, so the controller cranks up full blower and maximum cooling. (I don't know if the automatic system has a recirculate feature or not.) After some time has gone by, the cabin temperature is now down to let'* say 73, and it'* still 70 outside.

Okay, at this point the blower'* probably been slowed down to 20%-40%, but what'* the temperature of the output air from the vents supposed to be? I mean, should it still be 100% chilled air at a lower speed, or should it be less-chilled air, maybe with some outside air mixed in? (For the inside preset temperature setting, I tried from 68 to 72, but that didn't seem to affect the system behavior much, if at all.)

It did seem to react properly when sunlight hit the solar sensor on the dash and I got chilled air again, but while driving on cloudy days or after dark, it seems to go lazy with the cooling, unless there'* a dramatic difference between outside and inside temperatures.
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Old 08-09-2004, 09:35 PM   #10
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It will give you recirculated air when the differential between inside and desired temp is great for maximum cooling, but when the differential is small, you get outside air. Then you'll notice that the cooling effect is not as great.

The temperature mix door also starts to have an effect if the inside temperature comes close or goes below desired temperature.

I don't think the recirculation damper can be in-between, it'* either open or closed.

So you're probably feeling a mix of the non-recirculation effect and also the temperature mix door changing the temperature of the air coming out. Only at 60 degrees will you get the 40 degree air from the vents every time.
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