AC Refridgerant

Old 05-09-08, 05:36 AM
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AC Refridgerant

I have a 2002 Chevy venture. The AC worked at the end of last season and now it has sit idle for the last 6 months and I went to turn it on and it blows warm air. I have a feeling that it has low refridg. so I would like to add 1 small can of 134A from the store to see if this works prior to taking it in for service. Any reccomendations when adding a can from the store. And also is it possible to overcharge the system and cause damage, I wouldn't want to do this. Thanks
Old 05-09-08, 12:18 PM
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yes, it is possible to overcharge the system. the ONLY way to know how much refrigerant is in a system is to weigh it. equipment used today has a scale and weighs what's removed and what's put in because today's lightweight compressors won't tolerate any abuse. low on charge results in lack of lubrication while overcharge results in too high operating pressures. DIY adding of refrigerant is a risk...and there are those who disagree...but causing damage due to over or under charge is ALWAYS expensive.
Old 05-09-08, 10:23 PM
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In the last few years, there has been a sharp drop in the Capacity of auto a/c systems. Back in the 70's and 80's. most passenger cars used between 4 and 5 lbs of refrigerant. The 90's came, 134a was introduced, and it dropped to 3 to 4 lbs. Unless it's a Full sized Truck, with Dual zone A/ is very rare to see a 2000 or later that holds more than 2.5 lbs. The reason for this, is as technology gets better, The lighter, and more efficient the parts.

The drawback......Due to the small Charge amount, There is next to NO TOLERANCE for over or under charge. The DIY cans are usually 12 ounces. Adding a full can, when only 4 or 5 ounces short, can at best reduce cooling efficiency, and likely cause irreparable damage.

Im not "PLUGGING" for the Industry, But it is Cheaper in the long run, to have a Pro do it, than to save a few bucks now, and get burned later.

A little food for thought. There is also a Personal safety factor, where as overcharging can rupture a DIY can of refrigerant. Frostbitten AND Blind is not worth the savings of DIY.
Old 05-10-08, 09:08 AM
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These vans are known to leak from the AC condensor and the AC lines for the rear air. If you do not have rear air, you need the condensor replaced . GM has redesigned the condensor, and will run you about $500 to have it replaced, then recharged.

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