: Very low refridgerant?? Please advise.



blocker11
03-08-04, 09:46 AM
I was driving back from Indy this weekend and this message came up on my dash. I have couple of questions for you guys about this...

What type of refridgerant does a 1997 STS take?
What is the best plan of action to take regarding this?

I'd appreciate anyone's input with this situation.

Thank you

kb
1997 STS: 140K+ miles and still running strong.

Lawrence
03-08-04, 11:52 AM
Take's 134a availible at any auto parts store.

Have it refilled and leak tested. If you do it your self refill it and visually leak check it, soapy water on all the connections you can get at, drive it and see how long it holds. You first need to know if it is leaking.

It is normal for them to leak down in time. Has it been charged recently?

blocker11
03-08-04, 12:09 PM
I bought the car off my dad about a year and a half ago and I never had a problem with A/C over that time. I don't think it's ever been recharged.

After getting the 134a refridgerant, should I take it to my mechanic to let him handle it? Or should I attempt to do something myself? If so, I don't know how to refill refridgerant.

Thanks Lawrence

Lawrence
03-08-04, 02:57 PM
It's very normal then for it to leak down over that time.

If you can swing it, you'll get a better job at your mechanic if you're not familiar with charging these. It shouldn't cost you much to have a lb or so added.

The two biggest mistakes beginners make when charging is introducing air into the system and overcharging, which in time will destroy the compressor. Most newer systems are designed to be operated at what is referrred to as "critcal mass", meaning simply they are disgned to operate with much lower charges of freon by volume. Thus making them very sensitive to over charging.

If you do decide to do it yourself, be sure to charge from the low pressure side ONLY (blue cap). Purge your charge line to remove any air while hooking it up. And charge only until the AC becomes cold, no more.

If you can hook up the charge line with the AC running do it that way as the pressure will be lower. After you hook up turn the AC and turn the motor off. Get a bucket of warm to very warm water. (not so hot you can't hold your hand in it). With the charging valve open, put the can upside down (liquid) in the bucket of water. You should be able to dis-charge the whole can like this, without the engine running. One can should be enough to put you where you need to be. If you can't get the whole can (12oz) in try another bucket of warm water. It will cool off quickly. If it still won't go in put the can upright (gas) and start the engine with AC on. This should finish it. Check that the AC is cold. Likely will be and you're done. Close the valve at the can and disconnect from the car with the engine running (if possible). If it is still not cold, repeat all above, adding only 1/2 can. Re-check for cold. Do not add more than 2 cans. If it is still not cold after 2 cans take it to the shop.

BeelzeBob
03-08-04, 04:25 PM
I was driving back from Indy this weekend and this message came up on my dash. I have couple of questions for you guys about this...

What type of refridgerant does a 1997 STS take?
What is the best plan of action to take regarding this?

I'd appreciate anyone's input with this situation.

Thank you

kb
1997 STS: 140K+ miles and still running strong.

You can easily charge it yourself. Your system uses R134a which is available in small cans at any Walmart or auto parts store. While you are in there buy a recharging kit/adapter/hose...they are all the same for R134a systems. Hook up the can to the hose, attach the hose to the low pressure side (the cold side) at the fitting on the pipe. The R134a fittings are unique for that refrigerant so it is pretty fool proof. If the low refrigerant code has set then you will likely have to disconnect the battery negative terminal for 30 seconds to reset the code so the compressor will come on. Disc the battery and reconnect. Hook up the can of refrigerant , turn it on at the valve on the charging hose and turn the can upside downwards so the liquid is at the valve and start the engine with the AC in AUTO. It should suck the can in in about 20 seconds. close the valve, attach a second can and let it suck in the same way. If the low reforgerant code has set you will need about two of the cans to fully recharge the system. You would have to put several more cans in to risk "overcharging" it so that is not really a big deal if you use common sense. The code to warn you of low refrigerant is set up to trip when it needs about two cans....it is pretty low but not low enough to damage anything...yet.

blocker11
03-08-04, 10:00 PM
I appreciate all the help gentleman. I've got a guy that will help me with the process that has experience working in a garage, so we won't have to worry about mistakes.

Thanks again.