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2003 Impala 3.4L AC Issues


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MCH86GN
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Jun 18, 2012, 4:32 AM

Post #1 of 21 (2020 views)
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Ok, I'm posting on behalf of my sister-in-law(SNL). I am somewhat familar with automotive AC systems, I have replaced my compressor and condenser on my 1986 Grand National. I also replaced some of the AC lines that had seen better days. I following the instructions, added my Pag Oil, seal up the system and hooked up and left my vacuum on for 10 minutes and then checked 10 minutes later to make I had no leaks. I then ran the vacuum for 45 minutes or so and then 12 hours later checked again for leaks.

Now on to my SNL's car. The AC systems is set up a little different, definitely hard to work or look over the system as compared to my Grand National, everything is in plain view.

So my initial though was that a fuse was pulled, or switches were unplugged. I checked what I could in that department and there didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary there. It is worth mentioning my SNL and husband are getting a divorce and he took the car for a week. Before he took it the AC worked fine, when he returned it not so good. However, I don't believe he would do anything to permanently damage the car because he believes he will get the car back. So I figured he unplugged something and/or maybe even took some refrigerant out. I do have a set of gauges and I hooked them up. The low side pressure was about at 27PSI and the high side when from 50 to 100 PSI. I don't know enough about the compressor, as compared to my Grand National to know if anything else is unplugged, but it did appear to come on and even stay on.

Any other trouble shoots tips would be greatly appreciated. BTW, what should the high side pressure read for this particular car or is the pressure standard for most vehicles. I know my S10 is about 180psi on the high side. I watched it go up as I added r134a. I'm just wandering my SNL's soon to be ex. didn't just remove some r134a, he has buddies with auto shops.


(This post was edited by MCH86GN on Jun 18, 2012, 4:53 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator


Jun 18, 2012, 5:32 AM

Post #2 of 21 (1988 views)
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Quote- ">>I know my S10 is about 180psi on the high side.<<"

That one comment alone means you should send this out. I mean no harm but this Impala isn't as basic as the Grand National or whatever year S-10.

The pressures mean little if you don't have presice temps and the RPMs when observed. That and known good air blowing thru condensor on Impala is now electric not belt driven.

This should be checked for leaks first while there's something in the system as I find it unlikly for this 'to be ex' to have let some out but how could anyone know?

If no leaks found let a shop that has the right equipment and know how find it or charge this back up to exact weight listed underhood then testing if not operational will be more meaningful. Right now I'm not too thrilled with the 50 to 100 readings on high side varying that much and still too low but may not be low charge so don't go adding anything.

There is no standard for what pressure should be that are that exact without knowing all the factors that can alter it,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


MCH86GN
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Jun 18, 2012, 10:24 AM

Post #3 of 21 (1963 views)
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Thanks for your input. She has been instructed by her lawyer to do nothing beyond routine maintenance on the car, because he did buy the car originally and during the split she was given one of the vehicles per the judge. It might not be her vehicle in the end. She is just going to have to suffer, because even if I wanted to the most I could do is plug in any connectors. Adding anything to it is out of the question, because he could claim she tried fixing it and broke it and then have to pay for a shop to repair and rip her off.

Not to argue or belabor the point, she is still married to this man and he took the car without her consent and was ordered to return it a week later. Like I said, I had just rode in the car with her before it was taken and the AC was ice cold and I even commented on it. Then just one week later, it seems like everything is still functional, just doesn't blow cold air anymore and at idle the static pressure is 50psi then only to go up to 100psi when turned on AC max, that was my only question. His buddy owns an AC shop and has the equipment to store the refrigerant and her husband not ex. is a vindictive man.


(This post was edited by MCH86GN on Jun 18, 2012, 10:44 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Jun 18, 2012, 11:12 AM

Post #4 of 21 (1956 views)
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In light of this bummer that's a total reason not to touch it. Not funny and may not have been anyone's fault about the A/C. By this year there are computer controls all over A/C or could be like dual controls, a thermistor perhaps, fan and fan speed and on and on. Know when to stop and get help. You can still do work with a shop in many cases but unlikely to see pay back on the scanners and other tools needed for whatevers. A decent mistake can cost many times letting a pro do it or fully diagnose it for you and go from there.

Doesn't matter now with this one but just know that the newer things get the less refrigerant they are using so exact charge becomes ever more important not like some old 5lb systems with a sight glass + some old monsters could be off by a pound and still work.

Sure seems like you care and want to help but more likely step in poop on two fronts,

Tom
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MCH86GN
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Jun 18, 2012, 1:47 PM

Post #5 of 21 (1944 views)
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Trust me, I know about the costly mistakes. I learned the hard way with my Grand National. It appears to have sprung another leak and this time I'm taking it to a shop and having the technicians localize it.


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator


Jun 18, 2012, 3:23 PM

Post #6 of 21 (1934 views)
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The 86 GN is a bit more straight forward. Should be starting a new thread but let it fly for now.

Leak finding: Dye or oil evidence anywhere on items that contain refrigerant but more likely on parts that move OR a simple stone hits your condenser.

Check for oiliness behind clutch to front of compressor for shaft seal. Other testing is dye and electronic sniffers. check where condensate used to drip out normally. Oil there won't make your day!

Here's a neat chart for what pressure you should see. Just know (cold engine) the real temp underhood and compare it to this chart or link to it, not sure if it will copy directly.

OK: Just like checking a tire this time. If your pressure is under the #s listed by anything much more than an error it's quite low. If very far off there's almost nothing left. This only tells you that some is in there not how much - plain static pressure.

See if this shows.......





Tom
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MCH86GN
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Jun 18, 2012, 5:45 PM

Post #7 of 21 (1920 views)
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Thanks for the chart.


(This post was edited by MCH86GN on Jun 18, 2012, 5:46 PM)


Tom Greenleaf
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Jun 18, 2012, 6:10 PM

Post #8 of 21 (1909 views)
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With info like that you can use a touch-less infra-red thermo and know the pressure without gauges if test is accurate! More and more cars don't have a high pressure port at all (azzholes will do anything to save a buck) and also good to find a blockage if that happens. Radio Shack of all places has one just a tad larger than a key fob. cheap thing but works. Not good for vent temps - it goes nuts so cheapo crap you have to get acquainted with or just as back up for other tests,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


nickwarner
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Jun 18, 2012, 8:53 PM

Post #9 of 21 (1896 views)
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This car is a decade old. So are the hoses, o-rings and compressor seal. Don't be so quick to blame the ex on this. I doubt he did anything. Do you really think he would get a giggle out of wrecking the AC system on a car he obviously wants for himself and would have to fix? Trust me, I've been married twice and been in more jails than you've ever driven by but the last thing I would use for revenge is to make my ex roll down the damn window. Welcome to the world of owning a used car.


Sidom
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Jun 18, 2012, 8:55 PM

Post #10 of 21 (1891 views)
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Since it sounds like an ugly divorce.....Personally I would have the sister-inlaw bring up about the a/c not working now and that it was working before the car was taken without permission......If your worst fears are true and the system was sabotaged and the guy gets the car back. There is nothing stopping him from claiming she did the the damage to the system because she knew he was getting the car as his own.

A judge is probably going to believe that the person losing the car would be the one more likely to damage the car than the person who was getting the car. So if he doesn't get the car he wins because system has been damaged. If he gets the car he wins because he can make her pay for it...........

If it was me.....I would put my gauges on it, throw a can of virgin 134 in it and see what that does for pressures & temp. No paper trail and if he wants know why its working now when it didn't work when he "stole" the car.....I would say.."I dunno..it has always worked fine for me, maybe there is an intermittent problem with the system?" Now he's just confirmed he has a working a/c system and any problems from there on out would be on him......






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Discretesignals
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Jun 18, 2012, 8:59 PM

Post #11 of 21 (1884 views)
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Quote
I would put my gauges on it, throw a can of virgin 134



Q:Is there any way a guy can know whether or not a can of refrigerant is a virgin when they stick it with a can tap? Does the can always bleed if it's the first time?





Since we volunteer our time and knowledge, we ask for you to please follow up when a problem is resolved.

(This post was edited by Discretesignals on Jun 18, 2012, 9:21 PM)


Sidom
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Jun 18, 2012, 9:15 PM

Post #12 of 21 (1878 views)
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The can will blush when you tap it................Cool






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Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator


Jun 18, 2012, 9:19 PM

Post #13 of 21 (1871 views)
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Quote
How can you tell it is a virgin?


It's got a red dot on the can




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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MCH86GN
Novice

Jun 19, 2012, 10:19 AM

Post #14 of 21 (1854 views)
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She will bring it up and I don't want to get too far off topic here. She has a list of txt the he sent and everything else. You don't understand the vindictiveness of this man. Remember he took the car without permission.

To the person who said that this car is a decade old, first off this man is still her husband and second his buddy owns an AC shop and he just had it serviced in 2010, because he told me that if I took my Explorer there the guy would only charge for parts and material.

Also the AC went out on my 2002 explorer in 2006. My 2000 S10, I have only had to recharge due to negligence.

Anyway, enough about my sister-in-laws personal life, I'm way off topic here and that is not what this forum is for.
I was here just to see if I was missing anything simple to check that would cause the AC not to work.

Thanks for your input(s) regardless.


(This post was edited by MCH86GN on Jun 19, 2012, 10:21 AM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator


Jun 19, 2012, 10:23 AM

Post #15 of 21 (1847 views)
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Quote
I have only had to recharge due to negligence.


No, you had to charge due to a leak.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator


Jun 19, 2012, 10:39 AM

Post #16 of 21 (1844 views)
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Ditto - it had a leak. Can't know everyone else's vehicles but one of my own is MY 1997, built in Nov, 1996 and all records (bought used with details) nothing has been touched A/C wise since new.

Saw somewhere that systems could normally lose a small fraction of an ounce per year normally but can't verify that. Best of equipment isn't going to find a multi year leak with any dependability,

T
_________________________________________
Long retired now


Sidom
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Jun 19, 2012, 2:15 PM

Post #17 of 21 (1832 views)
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1st you would need to verify the charge is correct. The only real way of doing that is to recover the refrigerant & measure how much you took out..
That being said, as long as there is enough 134 in the system, it should come on, electrically when it's turned on. It may not cool correctly, cycle to fast, etc but that is when it goes from a electrical problem to a system/charge problem.

by the pressures you posted, it sounds like the system is coming on & either its low on refrigerant or there is a component failing.

For reasons you posted earlier, it sounds like you don't want a shop looking at it. So at this point your only out would be if he agreed for her to take it to his buddy to look at....






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MCH86GN
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Jun 19, 2012, 3:50 PM

Post #18 of 21 (1805 views)
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In Reply To

Quote
I have only had to recharge due to negligence.


No, you had to charge due to a leak.



No I had to recharge it because my engine was replaced and the seal on my AC was broken, meaning the compressor was disconnected. I asked the guy if I just needed to recharge it and he said yes that I didn't need to vacuum and get all the air and moisture out. I did it in spite of what he said, because I didn't want to mess up the compressor or take any chances.

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MCH86GN
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Jun 19, 2012, 3:53 PM

Post #19 of 21 (1802 views)
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In Reply To
1st you would need to verify the charge is correct. The only real way of doing that is to recover the refrigerant & measure how much you took out..
That being said, as long as there is enough 134 in the system, it should come on, electrically when it's turned on. It may not cool correctly, cycle to fast, etc but that is when it goes from a electrical problem to a system/charge problem.

by the pressures you posted, it sounds like the system is coming on & either its low on refrigerant or there is a component failing.

For reasons you posted earlier, it sounds like you don't want a shop looking at it. So at this point your only out would be if he agreed for her to take it to his buddy to look at....


Unfortunately nothing can be done until the final ruling is confirmed. If she does end up with the car, I have good information as a starting point.


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator


Jun 19, 2012, 3:59 PM

Post #20 of 21 (1796 views)
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Quote
he said yes that I didn't need to vacuum and get all the air and moisture out.


You gotta be kidding................... what an idiot.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



MCH86GN
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Jun 19, 2012, 6:21 PM

Post #21 of 21 (1784 views)
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In Reply To

Quote
he said yes that I didn't need to vacuum and get all the air and moisture out.


You gotta be kidding................... what an idiot.


You would think that they would at least pay for the R134a.




2003 Impala 3.4L AC Issues


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