Why doesnt the Air Conditioning run out in my car?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Mark Giles, May 25, 2005.

  1. Mark Giles

    Mark Giles Second Unit

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    My car is almost 15 years old and every hot day, since then the Air Conditioner has been blasted and ran almost non stop. My question is, doesnt it use Freon or something like that? and if so, does this ever need to be refilled? I'm dreadin the day, it runs out of...whatever it uses to cool the air. Can someone educate me on this?
     
  2. Jon_Gregory

    Jon_Gregory Stunt Coordinator

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    As long as you don't have a leak, it will never run out. Google is your friend in this question. Just look up how air conditioners work. More than likely, a component such as your compressor is what fails and needs to be fixed.
     
  3. Kyle McKnight

    Kyle McKnight Cinematographer

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    I don't know what fails that causes my car temp to rise A LOT when I run the AC...Jon, got an answer before I google? [​IMG]
     
  4. Brian W. Ralston

    Brian W. Ralston Supporting Actor

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    [in a Simpsons-esque, spanish accented voice]

    It is the magic...of the AC. [​IMG]
     
  5. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    load on the engine for one, second the AC condensor coil is ahead of the radiator, so outside air is getting preheated before passing through your radiator. Check your fan operation though.

    cars use flare fittings, which like to leak. Lucky you for not needing a topoff since your car is probably a 1990 MY and probably R12.
     
  6. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Usually running excessively hot with the ac on is just due to a malfunction in or poor maintenance of the engine's cooling system, almost never a malfunction in the AC system.

    Modern cars usually have enough engine cooling capacity so without ac they virtually never overheat even if not maintained well (clogged up radiator, malfunctionning fan clutch on models with engine driven fans, etc.) but the added load imposed by AC makes good cooling system upkeep a must.

    If your car has electric fan(s) for the radiator check to see if the electric fans work when you turn on the AC. If your coolant looks muddy you need the radiator rodded out. Most cars also have an "idle up" feature so the compressor doesn't reduce idle speed, some actually idle a bit faster with the AC on. If your idle speed drops significantly with the AC on then the idle up may not be working properly. In rare cases an obstructed expansion valve in the AC system can cause excessive "high side" pressure in the system and cause the compressor to bog the engine down for a while until the strain finally grenades the compressor. Usually this will cause poor ac performance though.

    The AC condenser is mounted in front of the radiator and I have seen crap collect in the narrow gap between the two and obstruct airflow thru the radiator.


    Other likely causes are thermostat not openning and of course combustion leakage due to blown head gaskets and/or warped cylinder heads.
     
  7. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've seen lots of cars 15+ years old that have never needed refrigerant added to the AC system. It's really not supposed to leak out.

    Rule of thumb on auto ac is that if it's cooling fine and not making any unusual noises leave it alone, just make sure the compressor drive belt is in good shape and keep the front of the AC condenser fins cleaned out of bugs and debris. Newer models that have a replaceable in-car filter should have that changed regularly, they crud up remarkably fast--check this if your car has one about once a year.
     
  8. Joseph S

    Joseph S Cinematographer

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    Well mine is doing a great job leaking for all of you. Have to get a new condensor plus work for $400.
     
  9. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    when my engine caught fire it toasted the rubber o-rings inside the schrader valves and leaked out all the refrigerant, oops. Anyone got a vac pump they want to loan me? :b
     
  10. DaveSarcevic

    DaveSarcevic Agent

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    Can you tell when the compressor comes on when you turn on the
    AC? Try a little test. Turn the car on with the ac off, turn on the ac look at the tachometer if you have one and watch for a slight increase in the rpm. Or have some one look to see if the clutch engages when you turn on the ac. If the compressor does engage , most likely you just need aboost of freon. On a 15 year old model, it will be using R-12.Most auto part stores sell kits, which includes a can of freon and hose. Youll also need to get an adaptor that will let you put R134 into a R12 system. It's a simple conversion to R-134a.Freon has gotten more expensive in the last few months, but I think you can get a can for 8-9 dollars.This would be the cheap fix.Under 50 bucks.

    If the compressor doesnt engage, take it a place that fixes ac's, where I live most have a sign to test the ac for free. There they can tell you whats wrong with it and see if it's worth it to fix.
     
  11. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    I wouldn't convert a system from R12 to 134a, 134a is less efficient and runs at a little different pressure, it'll work sure... but not as well as R12 will.
    You can get 16oz cans of 12 on fleabay for 15-20 bucks each. You can get your EPA cert for 20 bucks online at the ASE website.
    there are other products like freeze12 that claims to work as well as r12 and be compatible with r12, I've used it but I suppose they have their own set of problems...

    but that's just me.
     

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