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1997 Seville STS
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When I first bought my STS in May, it was saying "very low refridgerant" so the guy took it and had some freon put in it. I overheard him telling the mechanic to "only put ten dollars..." something-something etc. Yeah it was sketchy but I wanted the damn car.

Anyways, now it has run out, the a/c was not getting very cool and finally the other day the very low refridgerant message came up again.

It's 100-150 dollars to have a place recharge the A/C, but auto places sell kits to do it yourself where it seems like you basically attach an apparatus and screw on a can of r134a and it sucks it out automatically, thus recharging your a/c.

Can I do this? Is it a bad idea? Thoughts and suggestions please?

Also, is the freon/r134a definitely leaking from somewhere, or could it be that it was just so little it kind of got "used up" ? if it is leaking, where could it be coming from? any ideas of what may be involved to repair it?

thanks!!
 

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Super Moderator
2010 DTS
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87,556 Posts
Yes you can recharge it yourself. DO NOT use any R134a with a sealer in it. You do not "use" refrigerant. It can leak though and there are many possible leak points. If it in fact was charged and leaked out this fast, you have a leak that needs to be located and repaired.
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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71,046 Posts
A properly operating A/C system does not leak. At least not enough to get a "low refrigerant" warning in a month and a half.

You can charge R134a from a store kit, but without a proper gauge set it's a guessing game. Lots of people try it with varying degrees of success.

You will probably save money in the long run by having the system checked and repaired by a professional shop - NOT Jiffy Lube or such. A good, local Mom & Pop repair shop.
 

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1997 Seville STS
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the quick response. what do you mean a sealer? are you talking about the ones that say they have some additive to "repair leaks" ?
 

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2002.5 F55 CORSA STS, 2014 Explorer XLT FWD
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71,046 Posts
Yep - refrigerants with added sealers cause more problems than they fix.
 

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1997 SLS
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550 Posts
Do you have any records on the maintenance to your 97 STS (A/C wise)? I had a slow leak on my 97 and I gave it an "oil charge" before adding freon. It worked well enough to stop the leak for over a year now. the oil is PAG oil and comes in small charge cans (2 oz, I believe). But if your first shop added oil, then that won't solve anything. BTW, now that you got the message on the dash, your compressor has been disabled. You need to reset your DTCs in ACM before proceeding.
 

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2005 Deville Base, 2004 Escalade AWD
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275 Posts
As the others have posted stay far away from r134a with a leak fixing additive but you CAN get r134a with a leak detecting dye additive. Fill, locate, and follow the dye color to the source of the leak. In my case I had green dye (and thus, refrigerant) leaking from two different crimp fittings. Gettin' hot outside - good luck.
 

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1997 ETC (GAVE TO STEPSON 2011), 2000 DTS (RIP)
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1,702 Posts
The most common leak point is the AC "manifold" 0 basically the 2 hoses and their connection to the AC compressor. When the front engine mount goes on these cars (common), it allows the engine to rock, causing strain on the AC manifold and hoses. Dealer item, BTW
 

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2005 Cadillac DeVille DTS
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150 Posts
When you lose refrigerant, you also loose oil. If you just keep adding R-134a everytime the system runs low, it's kind of like refueling your vehicle as the oil level keeps running lower and lower. You know what happens when something mechanical runs out of oil...

If you go the refill route, I see a compressor, condenser, accumulator, OT and system flush in the future... along with fixing the source of the leak.

Joe
 

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Super Moderator
2010 DTS
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If it is a slow leak, you should not loose any oil to my understanding. Maybe a tad, but not much at all. A catastrophic failure like an accident is another story.
 

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2007 EXT Supercharged
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1,510 Posts
my car leaks about a can every year. Im thinking its the compressor and wont fix it till its finally dead, cause im a cheap ass....plus i fixed the ac comp in my old car and spent about $500 getting it running then sold it for this eldo. Complete waste of $500....car only brought $1000 then was wrecked soon after. Fixing the ac didnt bring any more value to the car, infact they wouldnt use it cause they thought it got worse milage in town.

anyhow, there are no signs of oil leakage.....and if its leaking that slow, oil wont be able to leak out that same area......oil needs a large hole to seep out of unlike a gas
 

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1997 Seville STS
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Why on earth would a refridgerant leak cause the engine to leak oil?

I took it to a chevy dealership that I have had work on the car, they said they tested it with vacuum pressure and it held the pressure so they don't think it's leaking. They recharged and it has been working since then (about two weeks). They also added UV dye so if it leaks out they can figure out where it leaked from.
 

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2005 Cadillac DeVille DTS
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150 Posts
Who said anything about engine oil??? This is another reason you should not attempt to charge a vehicle A/C system with one of those kits, because ALL vehicle A/C systems need oil. Without oil, the compressor will seize, and every component forward of the firewall will be destroyed.

In the case of the HD6 compressor on your vehicle, it needs 8 oz of PAG ISO 150 oil. The HD6 is prone to both shaft seal and case half leaks, all of which cause substaintial oil loss. Discharge line leaks are also fast leakers with large oil losses. Many of those recharge kits, if they do have oil, have the wrong oil types, like POE or PAG ISO 46.

A vacuum test is not always conclusive, since the system operates under pressure, not vacuum. An electronic leak detector and UV dye should be used for problem leaks, but since this leaked out in only a few months, even the worst of electronic leak detectors should light up like a Christmas tree with a leak that large. Better detectors are sensitive to 1/2 ounce leak per year.

Joe
 

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2007 EXT Supercharged
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1,510 Posts
Why on earth would a refridgerant leak cause the engine to leak oil?

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Engine leak?? Who said anything about the engine leaking......we are talking about oil from the compressor leaking out. You do know there is oil in the compressor right?
 

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1997 Seville STS
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
I did not. Hey, I'm no mechanic! Okay so the compressor has it's own oil, I will ask the dealer if they checked that to see if it had lost oil. Also, please note that when I bought the car at the end of May, it was completely out of refridgerant. The used car dealer took it to a mechanic and I think they just barely sprayed a little r134a in there, just to get it running so I'd buy the car. I am positive he did not fill it, not by a long shot. So it may not be a massive leak, it might be just that only a tiny bit had to leak to make it stop working.

At the dealer, they diagnosed the a/c as described in my earlier post, and they put two cans of refridgerant in. I would certainly hope that they'd know to add oil also if it was needed, but I'll call and check with them. thanks!
 

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2010 DTS
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Depending on how low it is, it might only need a little R134a. The system only holds 2.2 lbs. If they put in two cans it was pretty low.
 

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1997 Seville STS
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54 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I had said this in another thread, but the place I bought it from was pretty shady. I was tired of looking at dozens of these cars and I liked this one so I took a chance. But, back to my point, I overheard the salesman telling the mechanic to "only put 10 dollars-" and I assumed he was being a cheap prick and only barely topping off the refridgerant.
 
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