Engine Size: 1600
Refrigerant Type: 134a
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
I have a 4year old car. Ac is working (but perhaps not as cold as original).How often should servicing be carried out?
Should the ac be topped up (i.e without removing the existing gas), or removed, and recharged by weight.
When recharging, does any oil need to be added?
No it should be recovered , and recharged. But maybe there is a leak also which should be inspected. Oil should be added if oil is removed.
I responded to your other post, and here you state the AC performance is worse than when new. Likely there is a refrigerant leak, since the performance is low after four years, not fourteen. Four seems quick for typical loss over time through compressor seal. So the leak must be found and fixed before any refrigerant is added. Just adding a half-can might be a temporary fix, and against regulations. Plus, unless the entire refrigerant charge is known, performance of the AC will be compromised.
So have the leak fixed at a dedicated auto AC shop, not a Brake-O.
Edited: Sat October 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM by Cussboy
Im comparing to a new model, where the performance might be different.
In the UK, ac companies claim that 10% refrigerant is lost each year due to natural leakage, and Letting the system run low on refrigerant which in turn provides poor oil circulation can lead to wear and even serious component failure. I am starting to suspect that this is not the case, as as long as it is cooling, to leave it alone.
Ha, you asked for opinions on a general question and received responses from people that never even seen your vehicle. Apparently topping off is quite common, as seeing these top off kits even in Wisconsin now, but they all contain sealer. Would stay far away from those.
Then the vehicle, a Citroen, use to see a couple of those in the USA a long time ago, apparently we are not importing cars from France. Last time I have seen a Citroen is was in a French movie. But didn't go into detail on the capacity of the refrigerant in these cars.
A decline in performance can be more than lost of refrigerant, like debris build up on the evaporator and/or the condenser cores and/or fan or electrical related problems. Its just everyone assumes the only problem is lost of refrigerant. The inept on this subject will overcharge the system and create even more problems.
A leak can be of several types, in like Ford springlok couplers, a bad joke, oil gets trapped in the O-rings, so eventually can lose most of your oil without losing the refrigerant resulting in catastrophic compressor failure. Oil leaks like this can also occur in the compressor seal, in particular if the compressor is dragging on the ground like most newer vehicles are made.
Assuming the engine compartment is clean without other fluids splashed over all over the place, these oil leaks can be seen. I didn't ask for an opinion when I recently topped off my 88 Supra, was in storage for ten years. AC worked, but the cooling wasn't as great as I recalled. So the first thing was to carefully visual check for any oil leaks that included removing the clutch plate for a good view of the compressor seal and also the blower motor for a good view of the evaporator, condenser and all fittings were in open sight. Also proper fan operation and making sure the evaporator and condenser was clean.
After all this, topped it off, only took 4 ounces, but still used my electronic leak detector. The unknown is that did this leakage occur slowly over the last ten years, like 0.4 ounces per year, or did it occur just suddenly? This I didn't know, but couldn't find any leaks, then I topped it off. This was last spring, still getting a clear sight glass at 2,000 rpm on a 85*F day.
If you don't check for oil leaks and top it off, pop goes your compressor. You also have those ridiculous R-134a quick coupler ports where that wide neoprene seal doesn't seat properly. Whoever came out with this should be tortured and shot for the misery these things have caused. Examine your caps for additional leak protection, cheap plastic, just replace those.
If you do find an oil leak, only choice is to recover, flush, replace the accumulator or receiver, put in the proper amount of oil and recharge. Your question is general and cannot really be answered until your system is seen by a person that knows what he is doing. Then was this leak gradual or did it all happen at once, need a good leak detector to determine this and know how to use it.
With recovery and a poor shop, least in the USA, always the possibility of contaminating your system with all this crap on the market. Recovery method does have benefits in learning how much refrigerant has been lost. But with years of experience using pressure gauges, equally effective under strict humidity and ambient temperature conditions. A lot depends upon your skills, also need a set of very accurate manifold gauges to observe both the high and low sides.
Don't know if you have these kits in the UK, if you do, stay far away from them.
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