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Adding Freon to your automobile's Air Condtioning system


by Gort on August 2, 2008 Table of Contents Adding Freon to your automobile's Air Condtioning system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intro: Adding Freon to your automobile's Air Condtioning system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 1: Install the hose on can . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 2: Familiarization with your cars freon system. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 3: Hooking up the freon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 4: Charging the system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 5: Final thoughts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 3 5 6 7 9

Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Author:Gort
Making or fixing things is how I relax.

Intro: Adding Freon to your automobile's Air Condtioning system


Every automobile parts store I walk in these days has freon for sale. When R-12 was around I was licensed to buy and use it. I thought that was a good thing because you can be severely injured and or do $$ of damage to the system your working on. I decided I would do this instructable for the following 2 reasons . First to help people to understand and be safe. Second to equip you to make a repair to your AC system if it just needs a Freon charge to bring it back to good working order. First a few Rules you need to always follow. 1. Since your car engine is running to charge the AC system there are moving belts and pulleys,fan(s) and very hot parts. You can easily loose your fingers if you put them where they don't belong! 2. Freon if sprayed as a liquid on your body parts will freeze them instantly- FROSTBITE 3.Don't release freon into the atmosphere. It is not good for the earth. 4.Wear safety goggles at all times incase a hose blows or something goes wrong and freon is sprayed on your face. 5. If after reading this instructable you feel unsure about doing this then you should not be doing it. THIS CAN BE DANGEROUS AND THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR INJURY. I ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR YOUR TRYING THIS. THIS IS JUST A DEMONSTRATION OF HOW TO DO IT. IF YOU DECIDE TO DO IT YOU DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK. Ok lets get started. Tools needed: 1. The adapter to connect from the freon can to your freon SUCTION SIDE of the AC system. Found where you buy freon. 2. Freon- probably 2 cans if your system is barely cold. If it is cool but not as cold as it was buy 1 can 3. A thermometer to see the temp drop from the dash vents or cold air out. 4. An AC system in need of some freon.

Image Notes 1. Freon 134A. There are different types of freon and number is how you tell the difference. In an older car Freon 12 was used but good luck finding it and you need a license to buy it and it is pricy. I'm not getting into conversion here so we all assume your car needs 134A . A bit later you will find out how to know what your car uses. 2. The charging hose adapter you can buy where you buy the freon. They still sell the adapters for freon 12 so if your not sure ask before you buy this as they are not interchangeable.

Image Notes 1. The little point sticking up is what opens the can. This should not be visible when you screw this on the freon can. if you see it back out the silver colored lever on the bottom until the point is down in the rubber grommet in the can adapter

Image Notes

Image Notes

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

1. This end snaps onto the fitting on the freon SUCTION SIDE LINE. I am holding the sliding collar back so it can be installed or removed from the fitting welded on the freon SUCTION SIDE LINE.

1. my 20 year old fancy smancy digital temperature probe. I paid 70 bucks for this back in the mid 1980's today they are much nicer and cheaper

Image Notes 1. The outside temperature is 87.4 degrees 2. Note on the hose it tells you what number freon you can use in this hose. Not all freons are alike chemically and can attack hose compounds. 134A is on this hose.

Step 1: Install the hose on can


We now make sure the pin in the tool is backed out so we cant see the point. We install the hose tool on the can. The can is not punctured. Once you screw the pin down into the can you can not remove the hose tool until the can is empty.When you screw the pin in to the can the pin seals in the freon. The other end of the hose also has a safety seat built in it so if the pin is backed out it will not vent freon to the atmosphere. AS LONG AS THE CAN IS UPRIGHT ONLY VAPOR COMES OUT OF THE HOSE IF THE CAN IS UPSIDE DOWN LIQUID COMES OUT SO KEEP IT RIGHT SIDE UP! I spent a lot of time on this simple step but that was so you do this SAFELY.

Image Notes 1. NOT READY TO SCREW ON CAN AS PIERCING TIP IS OUT.

Image Notes 1. This is what the tool looks like when your adding freon 134A to your system. Notice the can is upright and NOT UPSIDE DOWN. Note that as the freon level drops in the can you can usually see a line of dampness on the can.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Image Notes 1. READY TO SCREW ON CAN AS PIERCING TIP IS BACKED OUT.

Image Notes 1. As you can see the can has a threaded boss the tool screws on to. You just screw it on until it is tight. tight does not mean as tight as you possibly can it means so the rubber grommet seats to the can. spin on the can until it contacts the rubber and go a 1/3 to 1/2 turn more.

Image Notes 1. I have screwed the needle down into the can. Just tighten this until it seats and is finger tight. Now the can is punctured and you NEVER SCREW THE TOOL OFF THE CAN NOW UNTIL AFTER THE CAN IS EMPTY. If you don't use all the freon then leave the tool on the can with the needle screwed down in and put it in a safe cool childproof place.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Step 2: Familiarization with your cars freon system.

Image Notes 1. My id tag for freon. If its gone look in owners manual, call a dealer or trusted shop who will tell you what you need. Pretty much anything mid 1990's and up is all 134A. If you call have the make model VIN and year. You can also look at the fittings to see if they look like those pictured here. Freon 12 fittings are much smaller and have external threads not a snap on connector.

Image Notes 1. Freon compressor electromagetic clutch which turns on when you turn on the AC system. Yes the freon is always there but not in the correct pressure / temperature/ state until this locks up and drives the compressor 2. The engine drive belt 3. the freon compressor. They can look very different than this and be almost anywhere under the hood. You don't need to know where this is

Image Notes 1. The back of the freon compressor. 2. The SUCTION SIDE LINE OR LOW PRESSURE SIDE LINE. This takes the cold gas back to the compressor to be recompressed. 3. Yes the high pressure side has hose in it but its high pressure hose to be sure

Image Notes 1. Note the high pressure side is SMALLER DIAMETER TUBING than the low pressure side

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Image Notes 1. This is the low pressure service fitting. Notice how large the pipe is and hose is compared to the High side Smaller diameter tubing. On my car this port happens to be right where the tubing exits the evaporator 2. heater / evaporator housing on firewall 3. windshield

Step 3: Hooking up the freon


Remove the SUCTION SIDE port cap. This can be in a number of places on your car so you may need to look for it. It will always be on a bigger tube. By that I mean the high pressure side tubing is smaller diameter than the low pressure side. Thankfully the ports are not interchangeable so you can't plug on the wrong port. The air in the line is vented now by loosening the fitting (see pictures) Then retightend and The can punctured by screwing in the pin until it bottoms. Now start the car and turn the AC or climate control to high and the fan on high. Make sure the temperature control is at full cold or set it to the lowest temp you can if it has numbers. Now we are ready to charge the system.

Image Notes 1. This end snaps onto the fitting on the freon SUCTION SIDE LINE. I am holding the sliding collar back so it can be installed or removed from the fitting welded on the freon SUCTION SIDE LINE.

Image Notes 1. The black cover is unscrewed off the port.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Image Notes 1. The quick connect is slid back and the hose pushed on quickly and then let go of the slide or push it up towords the SUCTION SIDE port so it locks. The tool hose should not come off now but can swivel.

Image Notes 1. I now seated the puncture pin so the can is opened but before i open the fitting and allow freon to enter the hose i must bleed the atmospheric air out of the hose.. Humm how .. 2. To vent the non freon air out of the hose just slightly loosen this fitting until you hear what sounds like a tire air leak. You only need to do this a couple of seconds. The freon in the cars system will purge out the air. Then retighten this fitting with your fingers only. You purge air as freon systems can have NO MOISTURE IN THEM.

Image Notes 1. Stick your thermometer or digital temp gage in the vent. Or hold up your hand and say this is not cold enough...

Step 4: Charging the system


You now start the car with the AC system on high. You open the can tap so freon starts to travel from the can to the suction side. You only need to open the can tap 3 to 4 turns and you will feel the top of the tool getting cooler. This tells you the can is open enough. Don't try to unscrew it all the way to make it go faster as the needle can be screwed out of the can tool and then you have a fountain of freeze spraying all over- not good. Freon moves from the can to the suction side because the can is under low pressure but the suction side is under even lower pressure so the freon leaves the can and moves to the system. Now watch the accumulator can. If you can safely touch it you will see it's warm if your low on freon. As you charge the system it will become cooler. Finally it will start to sweat. That is when you stopAdding freon. Now you have about the right amount. If you add too much your over stressing the system and it is not going to work any better in fact it will not be as efficient. Overcharging also adds stress to the system since pressures are higher than normal. So now that the accumulator is sweating close the can tap. Check the temp in the car and you should feel very cool air . I dropped from 87 to 50 degrees with a can and 1/2 of another. The cans come in preset quantities. I don't ever buy the large completely charge your system can as it is usually too much. The smaller cans are what you need. I don't recommend the sealer in a can. If you think you need to add oil to your system take it to a shop so its done correctly. Any left over freon do not vent to the atmosphere. tighten down the can tap and leave the tool on the can. You can tell when a can is empty as if you shake it it will feel empty. Close the tap before you remove the hose off of the fitting. Then recap the fitting. If your system does not work properly ( no cold air ) it is time to go to a pro. Open freon can be used at a later date but must be stored in a cool place That is CHILDPROOF. The temperature coming out of your vent can vary depending on a lot of factors so don't think you have to see the temperatures I saw.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Image Notes 1. fan on high mode = AC Max Temp control on max cold

Image Notes 1. This is what the tool looks like when your adding freon 134A to your system. Notice the can is upright and NOT UPSIDE DOWN. Note that as the freon level drops in the can you can usually see a line of dampness on the can.

Image Notes 1. Again the suction line . It runs around the engine compartment to the accumulator which can seen in the next photo.

Image Notes 1. This sort of hidden can is the accumulator. It will get very cold and even have water droplets on it when you have enough freon in your system. The Big brass nut hooks the can to the back of the freon compressor inlet through a pipe 2. NOTICE THE ENGINE FAN HERE. IT RUNS WHEN IT WANTS TOO AND IT DOES NOT CARE IF IT TAKES OFF ALL YOUR FINGERS SO STAY CLEAR OF THIS EVEN IF IT IS NOT TURNING. 3. HEAT SHIELD OVER THE SCREAMING HOT EXHAUST MANIFOLD.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Image Notes 1. A close up of the accumulator can. When freon is low it is warm and dry. When you have enough freon the can gets very cold and starts to sweat or has water condensation form on it. That condensation is the tip off you have enough freon and you should stop putting in freon. Of course the car engine is running all the time your putting in freon.

Step 5: Final thoughts


As you can see in the photos we dropped 30 degrees and it actually went down to 51 degrees. Good enough. A recap: SAFETY GLASSES AND IF YOU WANT GLOVES... Charge the system with the can upright position. By the way it can take up to 1/2 hour to charge a system... If your system is very low when you start putting in freon the compressor may not start turning until a sensor sees you have a predefined minimum amount of freon. Add 15 minutes more for charging. This is a safety so you don't damage the freon compressor... If you see oily goo all over your compressor or at a line fitting don't bother charging it as it needs pro service or your shooting your wallet in the foot in the long run... If after you charge your system the cold air comes and goes and comes and goes you have moisture in the system and it needs to go to a pro... If things don't seem to be working as I have described in this topic then something else is wrong and you need to have a trained pro look at it... Remember a pro uses gauges to check pressures on the high and low pressure sides. He factors in ambient air temp and even humidity levels and he can pinpoint complex problems like that. We used the >watch the symptoms< process to determine we are in the ball park in terms of the amount of freon we have in our system. My feeling is a little low is way better than too much... After your all done check the port cap to see its in place. Put your tools away. Go for a nice cool ride. If it all works ok go look in the mirror and say. I DID IT AND PAT YOUR SELF ON THE BACK FOR A JOB WELL DONE!

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Image Notes 1. Stick your thermometer or digital temp gage in the vent. Or hold up your hand and say this is not cold enough...

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Comments
12 comments Add Comment

Derin says:
How would I be able to remove A/C from a car?

Jun 22, 2009. 5:56 AM REPLY

skunkbait says:

Aug 3, 2008. 8:49 PM REPLY Hey, you did a gret job on this ible. Five Stars! I was intimidated by A/C systems until a couple of years ago. I had to make a trip to New Orleans (in August!) and my Suburban's A/C had just crashed (compressor). I had one day to figure it out or burn up. Necessity is the mother of A/C repair!

Gort says:
Thanks. Good for you for not giving up and figuring it out. Don't things just pick the worst time to break?..lol

Aug 4, 2008. 4:52 PM REPLY

Derin says:

Dec 26, 2008. 12:16 PM REPLY I know...the brakes on our VW failed right when we were about to go home which was 50m away...had to take it to two service stations because one didnt have the part.

Derin says:
NEVER;EVER touch the fan if its not unplugged.I have seen cars that are off and still have the fan running full blast.

Dec 26, 2008. 12:13 PM REPLY

Gort says:

Aug 10, 2008. 11:17 AM REPLY As a side note you can dust talcum or baby powder onto the accumulator and then easily watch for moisture accumulation on it.

PATSY001 says:

Aug 4, 2008. 4:03 PM REPLY Not trying to be petty, however "Freon" was just a brand name used by the DuPont corporation. The appropriate term to call such substance would be "Refrigerant". The term refrigerant can refer to all the different types such as R-12, R-22, R-134a etc.(and many more). But most importantly true Freon is composed of chlorofluorocarbons.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/

Gort says:

Aug 4, 2008. 5:08 PM REPLY Your right. My intended audience for this was folks who wanted to get their system going but really did not understand what was going on behind the scenes. Nine times out of ten if you walk into a parts store and ask the counter guy "I need some of that stuff that makes your AC cold" The guy will say "you mean freon and its over there." Freon is the accepted street name if you will and most people recognize That name. Take a look at this big chain auto parts seller's web page and see how they identify refrigerant on their web site http://www.autozone.com/N,101308/shopping/accessoriesLanding.htm

PATSY001 says:

Aug 4, 2008. 8:50 PM REPLY Yes, I see your point, but that is not right. Not even for large corporations, unless it is manufactured by DuPont, but even they don't call it that anymore. Not picking on you, but maybe someone could make a buck or two by letting DuPont know someone is "ripping off" (using without permission) their trade name. Like for example if you invented the "Gort" recharger, and someone else marketed a similar product, and called it a "Gort" ... you should get millions due to inventors rights and copyrights... but maybe now I'm just being silly. But someone out there should offer their legal services to DuPont against "un-named big name auto parts store" hint hint... if anyone does this, keep Patsy001 in mind for compensation of his idea.

Gort says:
It's your idea ..have at it

Aug 4, 2008. 10:06 PM REPLY

thematthatter says:
Is there a concern about accidentally putting moisture in the system when you recharge it?

Aug 3, 2008. 3:48 PM REPLY

Gort says:

Aug 3, 2008. 4:47 PM REPLY Moisture will cause freezing of your system. Usually at the expansion valve which is where the freon escapes high pressure into low pressure through a tiny orifice. Moisture likes to freeze that orifice closed. It will unfreeze in about 10 minutes and your ac will work again. 134A boils around -15 degrees F. So its very cold at the expansion valve and that is why you don't want moisture. The oil in the compressor also likes to absorb the moisture and this can cause it to go acid over time.All AC systems have a "drier" in them. That is a powerful chemical that absorbs and holds any moisture. If you accidentally allow moisture in your system most likely there will be absolutely no problem because the drier will immediately grab it. But I wanted everyone to know the correct procedure. The quick answer to your question is don't lose any sleep over it. In my summary you noticed I stated that if after you charge your system it goes from cold to warm over and over its probably moisture. Remember that when an AC system is recharged by non pros they have no way of knowing if their system is moisture saturated or not. On older cars there was a little view window on top of the receiver / drier and if it was blue you were good if it turned pink you were moisture saturated. If you have a leak and lose ALL your freon then the drier will actually pull" outside of the system" moisture in through the leak path and saturate itself. Then when you Recharge it there is moisture mixed with freon and that is a major problem in terms of it working as it should.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-Freon-to-your-automobiles-Air-Condtioning-/