I'm an idiot...A/C Recharge Fail - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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I'm an idiot...A/C Recharge Fail

Well my A/C has been blowing warm since last summer. 2 of my friends had bought those DIY Recharge kits from the auto store, used them, and had decent success with them. I figured I'd give it a shot.

Spent 35 bucks on it, followed the instructions perfectly. Get back in the car to see if it worked. Now my air is even warmer it seems. And now my A/C is making a really weird whistling/blowing/sucking/chirping noise. I don't even know what's wrong with it. I'm worried that now I'll be needing a new compressor...And I'm guessing those are extremely expensive.

God Da*&%^


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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thank you for moving this.


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 06:48 PM
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I had the same results last year on an old surburban, I followed the instructions to the letter and now the compressor leaks and there is green crap all over it and it performed worse. Thats a mistake I won't make again.

Currently it is out of service due to a coolant leak but I know when I finish that I will have to buy a compressor and pay a shop to fix the AC.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 10:04 PM
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Start wit any reputable shop and have them evac and recharge the system with 134a. The 134a MUST be at the proper amount or the system will not work properly. Period. the ONLY way to do this is to suck all,the old out, run a vacuum on it, then recharge to the right level. the store bought cans DO NOT have any way of measuring volume or pressure.
Then with the dye in, if it leaks the tech can now see where. A common place is the attach points for the ac hoses on the compressor, and the high pressure hose from the compressor.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Sackett View Post
Start wit any reputable shop and have them evac and recharge the system with 134a. The 134a MUST be at the proper amount or the system will not work properly. Period. the ONLY way to do this is to suck all,the old out, run a vacuum on it, then recharge to the right level. the store bought cans DO NOT have any way of measuring volume or pressure.
Then with the dye in, if it leaks the tech can now see where. A common place is the attach points for the ac hoses on the compressor, and the high pressure hose from the compressor.
this. AC overfilled = high pressure switch pissed off and not letting anything work. AC jobs are expensive but are best left to certified shops, reasoning why if the epa catches you performing AC services incorrectly they can ban you from working on your car in general.

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-11-2011, 11:46 PM
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^^ Only time the EPA would get pissed is if you were purposely venting large amounts (like your entire A/C refrigerant system) into the atmosphere. And yes, it's not a good idea, and in some places VERY illegal to do so, but if you have an accident or a leak, it's no different really. But to stay legal, it's best to have your A/C system (if it's still charged) evacuated by a shop.

To the OP: Working on an A/C system is no different than working on any other part of the car. If it's done right, it'll work right. But without previous experience, they can get a little tricky (like anything else), So here's how you can do it yourself (as I have with great success)....

My A/C compressor was shot completely. So I got on eBay and had one shipped to me for about $100 bucks from a junkyard. Installed it, and recharged it myself using those DIY recharge kits. Mine has been going strong for just over a year now. Blows very cold air, even with having a black car with black leather with a huge sunroof in the middle of summer in the desert where it's been getting up to 100 degrees each day.....and I'm not even sweating.

Now, a couple tips: If you ARE hitting your high-pressure switch and the compressor keeps cutting in and out, you need to let out a bit of refrigerant as it's overcharged. Just press the nozzle in on the A/C line above the intercooler (or the one you used to recharge the system, usually along the firewall). Let out small, short bursts until it stops cutting in and out. Some people will get all crazy if you do this (and that I'm even recommending it), claiming you are ruining the environment and so on, but like I said, it's no different than having a leak or getting in an accident where it breaks a line. Plus, most shops do this as well if they overcharge it.

Now, also to let you know, you might also have a leak, usually due to the O-Rings around the A/C lines that go into the compressor (and that's probably where the original factory refrigerant went too), AND also into the A/C condenser. $5 gets you an assortment pack of A/C SPECIFIC O-Rings which would have been better to install before you recharged the system, being that you now have it charged full of refrigerant, and evacuating that much into the air is technically illegal (and bad for the ozone, but not NEARLY as bad as the old Freon stuff). At this point, a shop would be a good idea, and they should only charge about $80 or so to evacuate your system, add in the proper refrigerant and oil to the existing A/C system. Again, I would ask them to replace the O-Rings on all the lines, and usually they do this anyway. But if you do have a leak, you probably already lost all the refrigerant you put in, and you can verify this if you reconnect the DIY charging bottle and monitor the pressure. If so, pop the lines and replace all the O-Rings. You can also look around for any greenish (like antifreeze) around the connections to see if you can pinpoint where it's leaking from.

But don't let anyone tell you that you can't DIY charge your A/C, because I have, and it works absolutely perfectly. But like I said before, it's like working on anything else and having to diagnose it. If it's broke, it's broke. You could do everything correctly with the DIY recharge, and it still doesn't work because the A/C compressor is broke, or you have a leak. Fix the problem, recharge and voila......everything works again.

Good luck.

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Last edited by Blue Fox; 06-11-2011 at 11:52 PM.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 04:59 AM
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^^ Only time the EPA would get pissed is if you were purposely venting large amounts (like your entire A/C refrigerant system) into the atmosphere. And yes, it's not a good idea, and in some places VERY illegal to do so, but if you have an accident or a leak, it's no different really. But to stay legal, it's best to have your A/C system (if it's still charged) evacuated by a shop.

To the OP: Working on an A/C system is no different than working on any other part of the car. If it's done right, it'll work right. But without previous experience, they can get a little tricky (like anything else), So here's how you can do it yourself (as I have with great success)....

My A/C compressor was shot completely. So I got on eBay and had one shipped to me for about $100 bucks from a junkyard. Installed it, and recharged it myself using those DIY recharge kits. Mine has been going strong for just over a year now. Blows very cold air, even with having a black car with black leather with a huge sunroof in the middle of summer in the desert where it's been getting up to 100 degrees each day.....and I'm not even sweating.

Now, a couple tips: If you ARE hitting your high-pressure switch and the compressor keeps cutting in and out, you need to let out a bit of refrigerant as it's overcharged. Just press the nozzle in on the A/C line above the intercooler (or the one you used to recharge the system, usually along the firewall). Let out small, short bursts until it stops cutting in and out. Some people will get all crazy if you do this (and that I'm even recommending it), claiming you are ruining the environment and so on, but like I said, it's no different than having a leak or getting in an accident where it breaks a line. Plus, most shops do this as well if they overcharge it.

Now, also to let you know, you might also have a leak, usually due to the O-Rings around the A/C lines that go into the compressor (and that's probably where the original factory refrigerant went too), AND also into the A/C condenser. $5 gets you an assortment pack of A/C SPECIFIC O-Rings which would have been better to install before you recharged the system, being that you now have it charged full of refrigerant, and evacuating that much into the air is technically illegal (and bad for the ozone, but not NEARLY as bad as the old Freon stuff). At this point, a shop would be a good idea, and they should only charge about $80 or so to evacuate your system, add in the proper refrigerant and oil to the existing A/C system. Again, I would ask them to replace the O-Rings on all the lines, and usually they do this anyway. But if you do have a leak, you probably already lost all the refrigerant you put in, and you can verify this if you reconnect the DIY charging bottle and monitor the pressure. If so, pop the lines and replace all the O-Rings. You can also look around for any greenish (like antifreeze) around the connections to see if you can pinpoint where it's leaking from.

But don't let anyone tell you that you can't DIY charge your A/C, because I have, and it works absolutely perfectly. But like I said before, it's like working on anything else and having to diagnose it. If it's broke, it's broke. You could do everything correctly with the DIY recharge, and it still doesn't work because the A/C compressor is broke, or you have a leak. Fix the problem, recharge and voila......everything works again.

Good luck.

im a little confused........... you got on ebay, got a good used a/c comp. pulled the old broken comp, replaced it with a good used one. now while pulling the old a/c pump u must evac all the freon. (or let into the atomosphere) after you installed the new one. all o rings ect. how did you diy pull a vacume on the sys?
im guessing you dont have a vacume pump. one who would have a pump would also have gauges and a cylinder of freon, and not have to buy a DIY kit.

so saying that, if your a/c pump is bad and you are trying to save $$$ yea install the new pump, o rings, and re connect your lines. the DIY kit is i waste of time and money!!!! take it to a shop. for around 65$ they will pull a vacume, recharge your sys, and throw in some dye and oil......... u have cold a/c
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 05:26 AM Thread Starter
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i'm having a really hard time finding an a/c shop in my area. the only luck i've had is jiffy lube but they want an outrageous 180 dollars to do the vacuum, and refill

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 09:38 AM
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theres a AAA shop here that priced me to vacume my system charge it and oil and dye for 65. look up AAA recomended shops in your area
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 10:17 AM
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im a little confused........... you got on ebay, got a good used a/c comp. pulled the old broken comp, replaced it with a good used one. now while pulling the old a/c pump u must evac all the freon. (or let into the atomosphere) after you installed the new one. all o rings ect. how did you diy pull a vacume on the sys?
im guessing you dont have a vacume pump. one who would have a pump would also have gauges and a cylinder of freon, and not have to buy a DIY kit.
Sorry, I should have explained more. Back when I was dealing with my 4-Month Nightmare (you can read about that in my Journal), the dips**ts at the dealer decided to remove my engine and disconnected my A/C compressor instead of simply moving it aside, so my system was completely bone dry already. During the reinstallation, I found my compressor was damaged, and it squealed badly just connected to the belt. So I figured that if I couldn't shut it up, there was no point in charging it, so I eBayed a junkyard one that had a 2 week warranty. From there (with no refrigerant in the system), I installed it with all new O-Rings, and then recharged the system myself with the DIY kit. Has been absolutely perfect since.

I even took my car to the shop a couple weeks later (because I thought that I should have it done "correctly") and advised them that I DIY charged it myself to make sure the compressor worked because I only have a two week warranty on it. Told them I wanted it vacuumed and recharged. They told me that I was already blowing very cold air, and they measured with a laser temp reader. The guy said it was blowing a few degrees colder than some other cars they've done, and said it was working just fine, no need to have it redone. That alone tells me that the DIY kits do work, and work well.

Quote:
so saying that, if your a/c pump is bad and you are trying to save $$$ yea install the new pump, o rings, and re connect your lines. the DIY kit is i waste of time and money!!!! take it to a shop. for around 65$ they will pull a vacume, recharge your sys, and throw in some dye and oil......... u have cold a/c
I agree. A shop is still the best place to have this done, ESPECIALLY if you can have it done for $65. Most reputable shops will charge up to $100 max. Since I knew what the problem of my A/C system was, I knew what I needed to replace, and charged it myself. And Like I've said before, it's blowing very cold air, and works perfectly. DIY WIN.


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Last edited by Blue Fox; 06-12-2011 at 10:26 AM.
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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 08:45 PM
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^^ you really shouldn't refill a fully empty system with a DIY kit as those do not add the oil needed for the compressor. You really need to vacuum the system, add the oil, and then refill, or it is not going to last very long.

The DIY kits are terrible, they only give you one pressure value to base your charge off of, which usually ends up with overfilling the system (as you need to know the volume/weight that you're charging, not just the pressure!)

Really just bring it to a shop, 90-200$ is about the norm, depending on if theres a leak or not and if anything else needs to be done. I wouldn't trust jiffy lube to change my oil, so I wouldn't let them do the AC either, but your local one may be fine.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 06-12-2011, 10:40 PM
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^^ you really shouldn't refill a fully empty system with a DIY kit as those do not add the oil needed for the compressor. You really need to vacuum the system, add the oil, and then refill, or it is not going to last very long.

The DIY kits are terrible, they only give you one pressure value to base your charge off of, which usually ends up with overfilling the system (as you need to know the volume/weight that you're charging, not just the pressure!)

Really just bring it to a shop, 90-200$ is about the norm, depending on if theres a leak or not and if anything else needs to be done. I wouldn't trust jiffy lube to change my oil, so I wouldn't let them do the AC either, but your local one may be fine.
AMEN!

Also note, a/c epa laws very from state to state. Some state say "if a leak is found and the customer does not wish to repair it you must evac the refrigerant from the system" others have no rule, so every year you can just add more.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 12:30 PM
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Bringing back from the dead, but yes, I did that too over the weekend. Ordered a new condenser. Need to find some O-rings and then get it recharged. I was freaking out when the freon was spraying out of there.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-18-2014, 12:39 PM
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I'm a newbie. Just had my coolant tapped off on my '07. Never had touched it before w/74K. As soon as I left the garage (not Subaru), there was a noise that almost sounded like winshield wipers go back and forth. I turn off the AC and it goes away. It's intermittent. Could it be as simple as too much coolant? Or he screwed up a hose?
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