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A mechanic would check the system with a set of pressure gauges. If the compressor is running, the low side would read around 30psi and the high side would be around 250psi. That is how you know if the system is full of freon or not. You may have to get a professional diagnosis to proceed. If you replace the compressor, the accumulator needs to be replaced and a vac pump is used to pull all of the air out before the freon is added.
There are 2 safety switches in most A/C systems. A high and low pressure sensor will cut off the Compressor clutch. You can borrow a gauge set, called Manifold gauges, from tool loaner programs at Autozone, Advance, or Oreilys autoparts.
There are several ways to try to fix this. It depends on what the pressure gauges show.
If the pressure is low, but not empty, there is hope. The old Freon leaked out. It will happen again. But there are products which can plug some leaks. Then add Freon using the gauges. The ideal amount is an amount that makes the compressor stay on the longest. There are gauges that can tell you, color coded, and reasonable priced.
If the system is completely empty, it is contaminated with outside air. The Freon will not function correctly if added and a new Dryer(A/C part) should be installed. There is a Vacuum pump which must be attached to draw down the system to a negative vacuum. So even changing a part will not decontaminate the system without the pump. Pump can be loaned from Autozone with big deposit which is returned, no hassle. Some parts require special pliers and "O" rings to reinstall.
The price of Freon has skyrocketed. What once costed $12 to refill a car now costs $50. So going to a repair shop can be a better idea if you waste Freon doing it yourself. If you don't repair the leak, imagine $50 evaporating into the wind with the Freon.
Hello: You will have to service the system (add freon) and clear the code so the compressor will come on. If you keep adding freon without repairing the leak you will run the system out of oil and ruin the compressor.
You shouldn't ever have to add freon to an a/c system. It is a closed system - like your refrigerator. When was the last time you added freon to your refrigerator or home a/c when there wasn't a problem?
If you are needing to add freon, then you have a leak somewhere that needs to be repaired. Your local automotive technician can diagnose the problem for you. Freon should only be added by trained professionals. If you don't know what you are doing, you can charge the system incorrectly causing significant damage to the system.
If you still want to do it yourself, reference this article. You will need a set of A/C Gauges, and freon. Do NOT put any type of stop leak into the system - this can cause irreversible damage to the compressor.
usually the service port is located on the accumulator. this is the big can looking silver thing under the hood. although i dont recommend just throwing freon in it without the proper gauges to monitor the high and low pressure. you can damage the compressor and components. if your leaking freon having it repaired is more logical then adding freon and having it leak out again. hope this helps
Diod you charge the a/c, if its low, by that I mean if it needs a charge the compressor has a cut out switch inline with the power wire going to the a/c compressor clutch(it can also be referred to as a fuse depending on who you arer speaking with), it is there to protect the compressor from burning out.
You see if the a/c system has a leak....any air conditioning system not just a car.... along with the freon leaking out a/c compressor oil can also leak out with it especially if its on the high side lines or the compressor front shaft seal(which is behind the a/c clutch). That is why it is equally important to buy a 1 pound can of freon + oil combo and a freon 1 pound can with leak dye combo in it, if its down a little in other words the compressor turns on but isn't real cold then only install the freon + leak dye as the leak dye will travel through the system and expose its colors when it appears at the site of the leak, giving you a visual on where the leak is.
try adding some freon to the "low" pressure side of the suction lines of the compressor(larger lines with a larger fill port, be certain to purchase the proper fill hose and attachment needed for your particular car.
The auto parts store will assist you in this proceedure.
You may have to locate the a/c compressor cut out I think its a threaded one that has a black electrical connector on top, remove the connector and jump the wires together to get the compressor to turn, then add the freon. Walla, the compressor is working and accepting the charge, if by jumping out the low pressure cut out switch no sound is even heard at the clutch you may have to replace the low switch as well.
This test also tells you if the a/c compressor and clutch are working properly, if you jump it out and it doesnt engage replace the clutch. You will need a puller, Auto Zone will lend you the tools for the job free if you buy the parts from them,cool aye?
Below is a guide to troubleshoot and check system function. This can be done by most folks.
Look at the front of the ac compressor and have someone turn on the ac from inside the car. The front of the pulley(clutch) will spin when turned on.
If it does not spin, the low pressure switch (LPS) is not satisfied. Meaning there is not enough freon in the system to operate the system. Means low freon capicity because of a leak.
The LPS can be jumpered to cause the compressor to run (clutch to engaged) which will draw the freon in the system.
The LPS is usually a two wire sensor on the suction of the compressor. (between evaporator and compressor) Unplug the sensor and install a jumper, this will engage the clutch. Connect a new can of freon and fill to system capacity.
The capacity of the ac system will be on a label under the hood, do not overfill. Probably about 2 lbs. Local parts stores (Auto Zone and Advance) will have freon with stop leak. This may help the leak. They also make a freon with a UV dye. I always add a single can with dye so that if stop leak does not work I can find the leak in the future.
The system should be filled until suction pressure is about 30 to 38 psi..
Remember the flow for the a/c system is : 1. From the compressor a high pressure (HP) gas goes to the condenser in front of the radiator. 2. From the condenser a HP liquid goes to an expansion device (orifice tube or expansion valve) 3. From expansion device the low pressure gas enters the firewall to the evaporator. 4. From evaporator the low pressure liquid/gas mixture goes through the dryer back to the compressor suction.
I would start with adding freon to system, from what you are stating freon is low. You may have a small leak, so use freon with leak seal, also use freon with gauge so you dont over fill and blow orings.
Its a leak ...probably concealed like in an evap housing or rear air unit and lines (if it has that). Prob at this juncture I would remove all the freon and bring system into a vaccuum with a pump and see if it will hold vaccum for an extended period of time. A bad leak will not hold srong vacuum very long and much cheaper than wasting expensive and enviromental un0friendly refrigerants.
the number one cause of the AC not cooling is low refridgerent charge in the system (caused by a leak), the next is a defective compressor, the average cost for a leak check/repair and a recharge is around $300.00