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How I got to be the AC guy in the shop

befuddled on Sun August 17, 2008 1:11 PM User is offline

Well, since I have a common moment of too much time on my hands, and considering the anal retentiveness of the AC experts who reside here, I thought you might enjoy the tale of my AC career.

Once upon a time, between being expelled from school, and being vacuumed up in the draft, I worked in the shop of a dealer for one of the big three. AC was a rare option then, almost never ordered from the factory. The big laugh was when a convertible came equipped with it. No laugh about that today, but I digress. I'll probably do it again. There were plenty of after market units though, and the haves would buy them. It seems that the other mechanics in the shop (i need another digression here. To call me a mechanic was a real loose interpretation of the word). Anyway, the other mechanics in the shop did not want to install them. I did not mind, so they came my way. Turns out, they did not want to install them because they hated working under dashboards. It had much to do with girth. I did not have any girth back then, I did not mind. BTW, I have since rectified the girth issue, I have plenty to go around, anybody want some? Luv the pun.

So anyway, by the third unit I had installed, I was 'the' AC guy. Here's how it went. You opened the box, spread it out on the bench so you could lose half the parts. Then you bolted the components on, being especially careful to mis-align the clutch on the tapered shaft of the compressor so you could ruin the hub on the key, and claim it was a product defect. Then you vacuumed down the system. The gages were there merely to provide connections to the vacuum pump, the tank, and the system. The dials really did not mean too much except to check to see if you had any vacuum. As soon as the vacuum gage dropped as far as it was going to, you could start to add refrigerant. Never did put any oil in any system. The only thing I had oil for was to put it in a squirt gun so I could lube the fittings so I could tighten them up real good and not get a leak. The boss was adamant I use only refrigerant oil for that. Motor oil and ATF were a big no no. No scale, the way you charged the system was to start the engine, run it at about 2500 RPM, no matter how hot it got, and watch the sight glass. When the bubbles disappeared, you were done. Then you took the propane torch around and looked for leaks. The only fittings that ever leaked were those under the dash. After you tightened up the leaky fitting, you were good to go.

In all seriousness, kudos to the aftermarket manufacturers in those days. After following the above procedure, they worked pretty well. In all the months I worked at it, I never had a come back, and I never had to fix any malfunctioning AC system. So I am an Expert.



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