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95 Voyager AC compressor locks up intermittently

bk7794 on Wed August 05, 2015 5:15 PM User is offline

Year: 1995
Make: Plymouth
Model: Voyager
Engine Size: 3.0
Refrigerant Type: R134a
Ambient Temp: ~80-90
Pressure Low: ~25-35

I'll start off by saying I do not know the high side reading. I'm in the process of acquiring a proper manifold gauge. So these are my findings by doing all I can with what I have.

When the AC is running I'm getting around probably 25psi with an outside temp of around 80-90 degrees. However, I'm starting to run into this problem where my compressor is locking up. The whole compressor locks up and the belt just turns over the stopped compressor. Basically from what I am seeing as I rev the engine up the low side is dropping and the compressor clicks off. When the compressor goes to re-engage thats when it locks up usually. However, this is not always the case. Sometimes it locks up right when I press the AC button. But if I turn it off and turn it back on maybe a couple seconds later the compressor will turn freely and I have cold air again. When the AC is running I see I am probably a bit low on freon because I am seeing white bubbles pass across the sight glass. However, that usually won't cause this type of a problem, correct? Any insight is appreciated.

I want to state this. The car is 20 years old with over 200k on it. The thing was probably barely designed to go 115. I am not going to dump all sorts of money just so the AC system outlasts the rest of the car.

Edited: Wed August 05, 2015 at 5:17 PM by bk7794

HECAT on Wed August 05, 2015 6:32 PM User is offline

Compressor is most probably trying to lock up. If so, there will be some dumping of money to fix.

But the Low side drop and cut out indicates possible low charge; you did not indicate any noises (rattling, grinding, etc.), and Cold air when it does run is positive. With nothing to lose, I would tighten or change belt, recovery refrigerant (note weight - verify low charge), vacuum and leak decay test (you may find a issue here - verify low charge cause and correct), recharge (full charge by weight - no additives other than maybe 1 or 2 oz. oil); and see what happens. You will need that gauge set, and a vacuum pump. For very few dollars; you might be lucky, or you may just finish it off.

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mk378 on Wed August 05, 2015 7:36 PM User is offline

I'd agree-- try just "tighten or change belt" first. Also make sure the condenser fan(s) are working.

Edited: Wed August 05, 2015 at 7:37 PM by mk378

bk7794 on Wed August 05, 2015 8:47 PM User is offline

Alright, I'll give tightening the belt a try. No noises when the compressor is running or when it is off. Maybe a little bit of a bearing rattle but that could be coming from the top pulley. In fact, the funny part was last week it was like 90+ in my area. The thing was doing quite well. Would only lock up every so often. Very cold air etc. One thing I do notice is the condenser fan kicks on and kicks off when this happens. I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

Thanks for helping to keep it on cheap.

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