AC not very cold

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  #1  
Old 07-22-05, 08:59 PM
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Location: Columbia, SC
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AC not very cold

94 Honda Civic EX Coupe 1.6 5spd, 151,000 miles.

My fabulous Honda Civic's AC isn't doing terribly well in keeping me cool on hot summer days. Admittedly, I live in Columbia, SC and it is July; the time and place combining to make one of the hottest places in the US.

Compressor was replaced in June of 2002.

I bought a can of 134a refrigerant with a built-in pressure gauge. The gauge advised that anything over 45psi should be considered an issue. I followed the directions, waited until the outside temperature was 82 degrees, and tested the pressure. It was exactly 45psi. This tells me that refrigerant is not the problem.

The engine was still very warm when I ran the test. I also noticed some fluid bubbling up inside the low pressure valve just before the test and a little more afterward.

Was I doing everything correctly? Is my diagnosis of eliminating refrigerant as the problem correct? What's next in the diagnostic stream? Can I handle it myself with my limited AC experience?

Despite the mileage, the car is strong and tight. I recently inherited a 97 Camry with 70,000 miles (which incidentally has the COLDEST AC I've ever experienced) and I'm selling the Camry because I feel the Honda will last longer (and is much more fun to drive). If I must invest some money, I am willing. I am notoriously cheap (ask anyone who knows me) and would love to save the labor cost if at all possible.

Any ideas would, as always, be most appreciated.

Sweating in SC
Allenzachary
 
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  #2  
Old 07-23-05, 06:42 AM
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Location: Indiana
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Originally Posted by allenzachary
94 Honda Civic EX Coupe 1.6 5spd, 151,000 miles.

Was I doing everything correctly? Is my diagnosis of eliminating refrigerant as the problem correct?

Sweating in SC
Allenzachary
No. Those gauges are useless, as are the "directions" with most of them. Only way to determine charge is with a manifold gauge set, allowing you to monitor pressure on both hi and lo sides with A/C engaged.
 
  #3  
Old 07-23-05, 08:09 AM
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Location: Columbia, SC
Posts: 219
Manifold gauge set...

Excellent. Great information.

Manifold gauge sets seem to run about $100 in stores.

Does it matter what brand I get? Obviously a higher quality tool will last longer and provide benefits, but would a cheapy suffice? Will it be accurate enough? I'm looking at a unit from ATD on ebay...I told you I am notoriously cheap.

Places like Auto Zone will often test equipment, such as batteries and starters. Do you think they will test the AC as well? If they do, can I trust their answer?

Also, where can I get the specs for my Civic? Will it be in the owner's manual? I did a brief scan in my Chilton's reapir guide and AC is essentially skimmed over. I will look again more closely.

Thanks
Allenzachary
Still sweating in SC (but learning "cool" new stuff)
 
  #4  
Old 07-23-05, 08:49 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Indiana
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$100 should get you a perfectly capable gauge set. As far as AZ testing it, I doubt it, and remember that those guys sell parts - that's their one and only function (if they were mechanics, they wouldn't be working at AZ). So no, I wouldn't trust a diagnosis from them. For vehicle specific procedures, charging specs, pressure charts, etc. - I'd recommend dropping an extra $20 for a single use subscription to alldata.com. You could also check your local library to see if they have Mitchell manuals available. Simply adding refigerant is NOT recommended. Also, keep in mind that if you're refrigerant is low, it's got to be going somewhere. It needs to be checked for a leak, preferably with UV dye.
 
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