Engine Size: 3.0
Refrigerant Type: R12
Country of Origin: Japan
I recently acquired a used Viper Eyes leak detector, model 414600. My 89 Mazda has been leaking refrigerant for a while now. I sort of understand how this injector works. I am thinking I need to charge up the system until it at least can engage the compressor clutch. Generally it has been taking a small can of R12 to get running and it does cool when it's working. Will the leak detector like this work with only a partial charge in the system? How well do these things actually work? If I discover the A/C compressor is the leaker I will most likely replace the compressor, expansion valve, and dryer, flush as best I can the entire system and convert to R134A. If it's just a bad seal someplace I'll replace the seal, check for leaks again then evacuate and re-charge with R12.
Basic question is regarding the detector, how well do these type work? It's a good sized leak, looses charge in 2 to 3 days.
I would think bubble solution would also be good to find a leak that large.
The electronic detector is better though at leaks in the compressor seal, or in the evaporator/evaporator drain tube if that evap case hasn't been disconnected for access.
OK, my 1988 Mazda B2200 truck AC, which I still use: I did have a leak in my evaporator about 8 years ago. And I did have aleak in the high pressure line at the crimp. I also had a "heat fuse" screwed into the receiver-drier that went bad and leaked, I don't use that anymore. By the way, I'm still using R-12 (Arizona).
Edited: Mon February 28, 2011 at 1:40 PM by Cussboy
Under the service caps, do you see any evidence of dye already being used? It will be yellow/green (UV dye) or red (old red dye used in some R-12 systems). If there is already UV dye circulating (and presumably leaking), use your UV light to look for it. This works best at night or inside a dark garage. Also check the evaporator drain area for dye. In older Japanese cars the evaporator and TXV can almost always be serviced without pulling the entire dash. but you have to recover the refrigerant and pull the evaporator case out of the car first in order to work inside.
The UV dye mixes and travels with the oil not the refrigerant. This means that when the system is not running, many leaks will leak only refrigerant gas and no oil or dye. So you have to have a full charge for normal operation (which gets the oil circulating) and run the compressor a lot.
A leak that large should be readily detected by other means. An electronic leak detector is the best bet because it doesn't require a full charge or direct access to the leak. Soap bubbles will also work if the leaking part is where you can apply soap.
I have opened up some hoods with a combination of AT, PS, brake, coolant, AC, and even windshield washer fluid leaks, everything is coated with oil. Driven on dust gravel roads with a layer of mud, also in road salt. On those, rather difficult to find the source of any leaks. Afraid if I touch anything, would die of some weird virus. So how does your engine compartment look? Of the interior of these vehicles, my trash can is a lot cleaner.
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