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a/c just went out. Troubleshooting time

stevenf on Fri August 15, 2008 12:40 AM User is offline

Refrigerant Type: 134A

When I bought my 97 Jimmy, the a/c was not working. I checked the preassure and it was low. I added cans of 134A as needed and it worked fine. After four weeks it stopped working because it had a leak. Once a month I would add freon for the past 4 months to keep it running cold. It then stopped cooling all together but the preassure hasnt changed. When I turn on the a/c, it makes a loud terrible noise. Is this the clutch making the noise of the compressor is seized?

HECAT on Fri August 15, 2008 6:25 AM User is offline

Unfortunately, you cannot check the pressure to be low like a tire. Sounds like you have one of those low pressure gauges only. IMHO, such a cheap low pressure only gauge has done its job (swiped some bucks from your pocket) and you can now properly dispose of it.

To properly measure pressures, you must first start by knowing the exact (OEM spec) refrigerant charge is in there, then you will need a real set of gauges to read the high and low pressures at 1500 rpm, max air recirculating, doors open; noting ambient temp when this is done. Pressures are used to evaluate the system performance and they do not function as a refrigerant dipstick.

Adding a can every month indicates a substantial leak that will need to be found and corrected. When you have been adding cans, do they contain dye, oil, conditioners, or leak seal? You can take the belt off the compressor and see if it spins freely or grabs and catches in places, let us know.


HECAT: You support the Forum when you consider for your a/c parts.


GM Tech on Fri August 15, 2008 8:11 AM User is offline

Knowing that vehicle pretty well- you have a really good chance that the compressor bit the dust- but all is not lost-- the leak was probably at the compressor as well- is the bottom of the compressor oily/greasy? Does compressor turn very easily, with one finger- does it have little "catches" as you rotate it? if so all your woes can be solved with a new compressor. There are many options available- others will help you out there...

The number one A/C diagnostic tool there is- is to know how much refrigerant is in the system- this can only be done by recovering and weighing the refrigerant!!
Just a thought.... 65% of A/C failures in my 3200 car diagnostic database (GM vehicles) are due to loss of refrigerant due to a leak......

mk378 on Fri August 15, 2008 8:44 AM User is offline

If indeed you have a "belly leak", that explains what happened. All the system's oil leaked out too, as you were only replacing the refrigerant. Then the compressor failed from lack of oil.

Chick on Fri August 15, 2008 6:39 PM User is offlineView users profile

Sounds like you need a compressor, but I would recommend using one of the clones. Sanden makes a good one and I used the Seltec on mine, which is still operating perfectly. No more belly leakers... hope this helps..

Email: Chick


Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose

JJM on Sat August 16, 2008 12:20 AM User is offline

If you have a leak - especially one that big - you lose oil, and most likely "just throwing a can in" is kind of like refueling without ever checking or adding oil. The engine will keep going, until it seizes. Now you likely have a firewall forward replacement in your future.


When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you:

stevenf on Sun August 17, 2008 8:50 PM User is offline

Thats what I was affraid of. I did put the dye in it once to find the leak. I found a small one on the bottem of the compressor and used jb weld to seal it up once all the 134a was out. I did notice that there is lots of the green dye all around the area where the compressor is now that its not working.
How do I make sure its the compressor? Dont want to spend an arm if its something else. It makes that bad noise (coming from the compressor) when the unit is turned on. Also, would I be of skill set to rebuilt the compressor? How difficult is this? Is it cost benefitial?

I have another question but answer the first one also please! The compressor went out in my old bronco. My aunt has a 91 toyota car that has been sitting for a few years and the a/c worked fine. Would it be possible to use that compressor in my bronco? I know I will have fitment problems(some thinking and fabbing will take care of that), but will the compressor run the same with components not meant for it like the condensor?

ACClueless on Mon August 18, 2008 6:20 PM User is offline

Just my opinion, but you would be much better off just repacing the compressor with a Seltec or Sanden. I encountered the same situation on my 98 GMC about two years ago, and on the advice from Chick, bought a new replacement from AMA. Luckily for me, I made the right choice and have no regrets.

kylea on Tue August 19, 2008 7:21 PM User is offline

An undercharge of oil/freon could cause your compressor to make a racket. You mentioned that you have been filling it with freon which is good but you have to remember that oil circulates through the system with the freon so chances are that you lost a bit of oil too. What I suggest doing is sucking that system down and take a look at the oil. If your oil is more of a grey color (which is more than likely if you have ran it low for this long of time) chances are that your compressor has degraded to the point where the smart thing to do would be to replace it (as well as the drier... and this system has a parallel flow condenser so you would want to make sure to flush that really well too, and that you dont backflush on it).

Now lets say you took a look at the oil and it does not have a greyish hue... If thats the case I would recommend to flush the system out, turn over your compressor to get all the oil out of it and then proceed to fill your system back up with an accurate charge of 8oz of pag 150 oil (which is what a 97 jimmy takes... btw the freon charge is 2lbs)

If the system has any small metal flakes or a greyish hue you will need to remember the importance of flushing it. If you dont flush the system and just slap a new compressor on there the old metal flakes and oil will do a number on your new compresssor and chances are that it wont last too long.

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