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My adventures with A/C and my '98 Mystique (Need some help too)

djunified on Tue April 19, 2011 10:21 PM User is offlineView users profile

Year: 1998
Make: Mercury
Model: Mystique
Engine Size: 2.5L V6
Refrigerant Type: RedTek 12a
Ambient Temp: N/A
Pressure Low: N/A
Pressure High: N/A
Country of Origin: Canada

Its time to do some more work on the Mystique! YAY! Not lol.

I'll first give a brief explanation of my presence here. I don't trust garages.. anymore. With specialty garages being the worst. Unfortunately, A/C classifies under the "specialty" category of repairs. So they wont be seeing my business. For this reason. My car, which I love to death, has had A/C problems since the summer of 2009. My dad brought it to the dealership at which we purchased the car, and they refused to cover the repair which was UNDER warranty. $175 went to pay for 2.5 lbs of R-134, some PAG 46 oil, and 2 hours labor?!?! Heres the funny thing. The car has been undercoated for the years that I've owned it, so theres the typical black grease under the hood. Under some of that black grease is the R134 sticker, which was mysteriously still covered with oil and dirt after the car returned. The charging sticker said 1 lb 10 oz AFTER I wiped it clean with a rag. The A/C worked tremendously at that point though. I thought my $175 paid itself off as it wouldn't normally. Well a week passed, and the air started warming gradually, eventually cutting the compressor completely out. I told my dad to bring it back, which he did. He arrived saying that they did not want to cover it, once again, and that the evaporator had developed a leak costing $900 to fix. Running out the door is what he did. So it sat over the winter uncharged...

I left it until the summer of 2010, or last summer to fix myself. Okay. I can't stress how much being a DIY'er in Canada sucks hard. For some bull**** reason, R134 can only be sold to garages, so Duracool and RedTek are the only available refrigerants. You guys in the US are lucky though, I bet R134 is found in every auto parts store on the shelf. So I was stuck buying RedTek at CT, which is a hefty $17 each. Two cans is what I bought to recharge. I know about the flammability and whatnot, and I was impressed by this blend because of the performance I got after I installed it. My evaporator wasn't leaking by the way.. If it was, i would've smelled the distinctive pine smell that was added.

This is where I'll admit something. Im actually a 16 year old high-school student that has a big interest in everything related to trades. That kinda explains why I am posting here. I used a can of sealer which I regret doing, but the A/C worked today when I tried it, so its still working I guess. My lack of experience told me that all of the a/c components were still ok. I now realize that every a/c job should be done with an orifice tube change (in the case of fords and many others), along with an accumulator/drier replacement, and an o-ring job. Those springlocks have problems I hear. My A/C job will be carried out with a thorough flush using some liquid a/c flush and compressed air. And no, i will not try to flush the compressor, orifice tube, or accumulator. Just the lines, condenser and evaporator.. although i dont suspect any debris in the evaporator, because the orifice tube screen would of caught it before entry..

Well that gives you some background information about my situation. Now to the question part. My ford shop manual says something about a fixed orifice tube, which I assume cannot be removed. On the internet though, people are saying that the refrigerant line comes apart near the power steering reservoir and PCM connector. Inside is the orifice tube. Maybe somebody can clear this up for me. I'll change the orifice (if possible), replace ALL o-rings, and throw in a new accumulator. Then we can survive the summer unlike last.

Oh yeah for anyone wondering about my equipment. It sounds kind of redneck but its true. My gauges are legit, they are a set of US General R134 gauges which I assume came from Harbor Freight. Those came from ebay. Now about my vacuum pump. Its actually 40 year old fridge or freezer compressor from my cottage, which originally ean on R12. My dad was a partial hoarder, so this thing was lying around up there. After attaching fittings to it, it pulled 29 inHG with ease, and from what I learned in science, moisture boils based off vacuum level, and not the equipment you are using. So if my little fridge pump pulls what a normal vacuum pump can pull, why not use it right?

Well hopefully you guys can help me a bit. I am still learning new things you know! But i think I got the basics of A/C covered. You may think not, but me and my dad just don't trust a/c shops anymore. Thanks for the help guys!

mk378 on Tue April 19, 2011 11:35 PM User is offline

My advice would be not to mess with it as long as it keeps working. Sealer is generally impossible to remove, so the first step in any service work now would be a total system replacement.

You're not too far from the border, right? Just don't go to Wisconsin, since they don't sell R-134a in cans there either. Maybe in Canada it's the same-- anyone can buy a 30 pounder, just not the 12 oz cans?

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