Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/16/17 5:12 p.m.

And I drove the Civic to work. I don't drive it much but had to drive the boy this morning. In the way home from work I attempted to use the A/C for the first time since I bought it. It worked back then. Nothing but hot air today.

I've heard that Honda A/C isn't very good even when working properly. Would it be worth it to even attempt to repair it? It's an old R12 system so I imagine it's not going to be cheap if it's even possible to charge it anymore. I haven't kept up with that stuff.

aircooled MegaDork
6/16/17 5:28 p.m.

You can use that blend stuff in an R12 system. Get some with some leak fix in it and take a shot at it. I did this on an old Mazda truck that leaked down. Worked and lasted for years. You really want some pressure left in the system though. Tap one of the valves and see if there is pressure.

I am guessing you don't have a gauge set, so you would likely want one with a built in gauge.

You also probably want to make sure it's actually low refrigerant and not a broken compressor or something.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/16/17 5:31 p.m.

In reply to aircooled:

Didn't know that was a thing. I'll look into it.

Donebrokeit Dork
6/16/17 5:33 p.m.

Just get the 134A retrofit kit, charger it up and see what happens. I had a car that needed a can every summer.

Cheap and easy.

aircooled MegaDork
6/16/17 5:39 p.m.

I used Envirosafe, but I don't think they sell it in a recharge can. Walmart sells the stuff below, but I am not sure how the seals will hold up to pure 134. Probably worth a test if nothing else though. I am not sure if the fitting will work on an R12 system either.

spitfirebill UltimaDork
6/16/17 6:05 p.m.

That won't work on an R12 system without adapters.

I am going through right now with my truck. Just can't make up my mind on what to do. I have some R12, but I feel like that would just be kicking the can down the road.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/16/17 6:27 p.m.

So out of curiosity I just took a look at it. Looks like it already has the adaptor fittings on it. And I found the leak, or at least one of them. As soon as I turned the cap I could hear a hiss. The more I turned it the louder it got. I poked at the valve with my knife and got it seal a little better but it's still leaking.

6/16/17 6:29 p.m.

It's just a large schraeder valve. Maybe it got stuck open?

That's a pretty cheap and easy fix even if you have to replace it.

aircooled MegaDork
6/16/17 7:09 p.m.

The problem is, to replace it you leak down the system which means you really need to vacuum it down before recharging.

The Mazda that I charged had the same issue, a leaking valve on the high side, but it did not have the adapters. What I did is buy the adapters, block one off with JB weld, the screw that on the high side to seal it. Maybe you can do the same. You will just have to be quick to avoid leaking it down.

Alternatively you could just pack the current valve with JB weld (puddy might work best in this case) to seal it and put the cap back on, then charge from the other port.

conesare2seconds Dork
6/16/17 7:15 p.m.

I've got leaky schraeder valves on the ZR-1. Not a big hissy leak but leaky. The very elegant solution was to find a short bolt with the same thread pitch and tighten it down. Magic. I'll post a pic tomorrow.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/16/17 9:40 p.m.

The compressor clutch is not engaging so it's lost a considerable amount of refrigerant anyway.

aircooled MegaDork
6/16/17 10:58 p.m.

You just don't want it drop to atmospheric because it can draw in air/moisture which needs to be boiled out.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/17/17 2:55 p.m.

I now have functioning A/C!

I bought a recharge can but turns out I don't even need it. According to the gauge that came with the can it actually may have a little too much pressure in it. I'm not sure.

I wanted to get the compressor to engage so I decided to jump the relay. No dice, but while I still had the relay jumped I noticed a red wire coming off of the compressor that had a bullet connector on it. The original rubber protector has long ago melted away and it looked very corroded. I reached down and as I move it with my hand the compressor kicked on! I took it apart, cleaned up the connection really well and reinstalled the relay. Fired everything up and the A/C is working!

It's not ice cold by a long shot but it is cool enough on max and recirc that I'm not sweating!

According to the little gauge that came with the recharge can it has about 60psi at idle which is well into the warning section of the gauge. But at about 1500rpms it's down into the blue at around 35psi which is good. I'll need to figure out why the idle compensation is not taking place. According to the FSM it should increase the RPMs when the A/C is on and that seems to not be happening.

All in all a glorious success

Vigo UltimaDork
6/17/17 9:36 p.m.

Sounds like your system is overcharged to me. Typical result of people assuming a system needs refrigerant because they know jack about how the system works.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/18/17 7:20 a.m.

In reply to Vigo:

Well the low side valve is still leaking so it may be a self correcting problem

Vigo UltimaDork
6/18/17 9:58 a.m.

Service ports cost <$10 and there's about $10 of refrigerant in the system. The only thing holding you up from an incredibly simple repair is that you wouldn't be able to pull a proper vacuum on the system without a vacuum pump. Maybe you know someone who has one?

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/18/17 7:45 p.m.

In reply to Vigo:

Maybe I could have found one back home but I don't know anyone out here.

I'm probably just going to take it to a local shop and have them sort it. I'm just glad I got the compressor working.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/18/17 9:32 p.m.

Breaking news!

I'm a dumbass!

I was sitting here on the couch and got to thinking that the low pressure may be a little high according to that cheapie low side gauge, but it should be cooler than it is. I got to thinking about how the knob that adjusts the temperature won't turn all the way to the hot side and that it pulls off very easily.

Sure enough I was able to re index it so that it actually turns all the way cold. And guess what? That E36 M3 works wonderfully now! My guess is that it was only going about a quarter of the way to the cold side.

I'll try to get a temp gauge in the vents to see what it's really doing but it feels like there is not much room for improvement. It's really cold.

I'm super stoked. Started the weekend with no A/C and fumbled around enough that I now have really good A/C. Basically for free even though I bought that can of refrigerant, I really didn't need it and didn't use any. I think I'll keep it around just in case.

Thanks for all the help everyone!

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/19/17 7:30 a.m.

Just checked with the bosses infrared thermometer.

It's only 75 this morning but high humidity. Measuring at the back of the center vent I got 32.5 degrees.

I'll check it again this evening when it 95.

floatingdoc New Reader
6/20/17 4:30 p.m.

Wow, that sounds like some of my repair jobs, only cheaper and with a happy ending.

My hondas have had decent ac.

bmw88rider SuperDork
6/20/17 5:58 p.m.

Great job Nick. Glad you got it all worked out.

dean1484 MegaDork
6/20/17 7:19 p.m.

I need to get my but out and diagnose the av system in my truck. Thaught it was low on charge. Went to add some and found it was full up. So anyone have a step by step repair guide? I already jumped the pressure switch and no go. I assume the next thing is to check the fuses. I was next going to apply power to the compressor clutch to see if it is working. After that where should I go.

Vehical in question is a 03 GMC Sierra Denali

Vigo UltimaDork
6/20/17 9:11 p.m.

32.5 is so good it's almost bad! If the evaporator drops below 32 condensation will freeze onto it and block airflow eventually disabling the system until the ice melts. As long as it stays above 32 you're golden.

Nick (Bo) Comstock
Nick (Bo) Comstock MegaDork
6/20/17 10:55 p.m.

In reply to Vigo:

Hmm, I did check it again that evening and I got a 19.5 reading in the same spot. That was with an infrared thermometer pointed at the back of the center vent with the fan on 2. With the fan on 1 it was in the 40's. I don't think I'll have an issue but just in case, what would be the procedure for fixing such an issue?

BTW, those little IR thermometers are pretty cool. My shift knob was 117.6 when I got int he car and was 74 when I got home. I may have to pick one up just to play with

Vigo UltimaDork
6/21/17 11:33 p.m.

Yeah, they're cool. Since you're in Texas you might be amused to know that i once found a 193f spot on my mom's black Volvo in the summer sun. Black pavement is typically 140+.

IR pyrometers aren't good for measuring AC outlet temp though. Their reading depends on the 'emissivity' of whatever they're pointed at and even if you have 32f air blowing on something its actual temp will depend on how fast it can soak heat from whatever else is around it. The pyrometer numbers are usually way off.

Our Preferred Partners