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Probable Source of Leak

JLHAWKINS on Sat April 25, 2009 12:29 AM User is offline

Year: 1997
Make: Oldsmobile
Model: Cutlass Supreme
Engine Size: 3.1
Refrigerant Type: 134A
Ambient Temp: 87 F
Pressure Low: 26
Pressure High: 230
Country of Origin: United States

The above vehicle has been in our family since it was new being originally purchased by my wife's mother. It currently only has 92K miles, has always been stored under shelter and is probably a 9.5 out of 10 as far as condition and appearance. The a/c system has never been opened nor had any refrigerant added. It is equipped with the "automatic" climate control with dual controls

A couple of days ago when this crazy north Alabama weather suddenly jumped from the 60's to mid-80's, my wife informed me it was just blowing warm air. Upon checking, the compressor was not engaging. I checked the fuses, connections, etc but found nothing amiss. I put my gauges on it and to my surprise the system only had 20 psi static at an ambient of 85 F. I charged the system until the above data was achieved at an engine speed of 1500 rpms, both fans running and a center vent temperature of approximately 40 F.

I seldom drive the vehicle but I do recall the a/c performed well last summer. My question to the forum is "are there any particular places that this vehicle is prone to leak?" I looked at all the components/connections that are visible including the compressor (shaft seal and body) and found no sign of any oily residue. However, one familiar with this particular vehicle is aware that all the components are not readily visible.

Any assistance with areas prone to leak would be greatly appreciated and could greatly shorten the time spent in locating this leak.

One additional comment, and this concerns the value of the information shared on this forum. Without the information gained by reading this forum, I would not have understood the operating principle of the compressor used on this vehicle and been able recharge the system to achieve the results shown. This forum contains a wealth of knowledge for DIY's like myself; I read it every couple of days!!! Thanks Tim and AMA for this valuable service.

Chick on Sat April 25, 2009 5:19 AM User is offlineView users profile

Common leak areas I have found are the shaft seal, and compressor body halves.. Look for leaks there first..If there is dye in the system, use a black light, might have to get under the car to see the compressor well, and the dye will jump out at you.. Do it in a dark place or at night.. Hope this helps..

Email: Chick


Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose

Dougflas on Sat April 25, 2009 5:34 AM User is offline

If there is no dye in the system, try putting a shower cap around the compressor over night. Use a leak detector and place the probe in it. If the leak is the seal, it'll show up.

GM Tech on Sat April 25, 2009 11:33 AM User is offline

Ditto on shaft seal and body leaks.....Just did a '97 W-car last week- it was the condenser- driver's side lower corner- corroded away and leaking--also bad shaft seal.

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......

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