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kalamykid
kalamykid, Shop Owner/ Tech
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 3840
Experience:  I HAVE OWNED MY OWN SHOP FOR OVER THREE YEARS. I HAVE THE TOOLS AND SOFTWARE TO ANSWERE ALMOST ANY Q
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1997 chev. 1500 4x4 3 door Z71 a/c blowing hot air. I've

Customer Question

1997 chev. 1500 4x4 3 door Z71 a/c blowing hot air. I've been told that the freon leaks out as fast as they put it in and I need to replace my compressor, accumulator, orifice tube, condenser and high pressure switch. They're quoting over 1K to do the job. I can buy the parts for about $600 plus installation of the freon. If I do the work would a shop normally agree to just pumping to vacuum and installing freon having not done the work? And is there anything else I need to worry about? Flushing system, releasing whatever pressure is there safely, etc.?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Chevy
Expert:  Ron Z. replied 4 months ago.

Hi! Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm Ron Z and I'll be helping you with your question today.

Most local shops usually will just vacuum and re-charge the system. It's probably a better idea that you don't mention you did all that work yourself, but yes, it shouldn't be a problem.

If the freon is pumping out as fast as they put it in, there's a major leak somewhere. Given the shopping list of items they say need to be replaced, I'd venture to say the actual "source" of the leak will be the condenser, as these are very common fail/leak spots. In any case, seeing as the freon comes out as fast as it goes in, there shouldn't be any pressure in the system. So no need to release/relieve any pressure here.

As for the items mentioned to be replaced- like I say, strong chance the condenser is the source. If the compressor is not damaged, it probably doesn't need to be replaced. If it is, the accumulator and the orifice tube are replaced at the same time, because the compressor manufacturer requires this to uphold the warranty on the compressor. If not replaced, no warranty. As for the high pressure switch- not very common fail items here. Might not need to be replaced. Might be a good idea to get a second opinion on what "really" needs to be replaced before spending all that money.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
do I need to flush the system or have any special tools other than normal
Expert:  Ron Z. replied 4 months ago.

No need to do a flush of any sort here. No special tools required- with the exception of an A/C Charging Station. Seeing as there is a major leak, I would not recommend those DIY'er re-fill cans. Have the system professionally vacuum and recharged for best performance.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
any sealant needed for the threads on the hose fittings or are they self-sealing? I realize it will take me much more time than a mechanic but for an average shade tree mechanic maybe 6-8 hours w/o the A/C charging stuff?
Expert:  Ron Z. replied 4 months ago.

No special sealant needed. Everything is self-sealing as it's designed to work and hold under vacuum.

As for time- The compressor is an hour. The condenser is 1.3 hours. The accumulator is a half-hour. The orifice tube is .6hr. And the pressure switch is .4hr.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
hey, forgot that I had added a can of freon couple days ago and is is blowing cool/warm air sometimes. It must not be leaking as bad as they thought. ha. I've been adding freon several times each summer but has gotten worse is the reason I took it in.Can I just loosen a line and slowly release any pressure? Which fitting would be best to do? thanks
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
btw...when they checked it out..they said it had 400 PSI somewhere, high side low side I don't know....does that make sense?
Expert:  Ron Z. replied 4 months ago.

Best way to relieve the pressure is via the Low Side Service Port. It's located on the Accumulator. Remove the cap and press the "pin" in the center.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Got it all off w/o destroying anything. There is yellowish dye (I guess leak detection) in all the hoses. Should I flush them or does it matter? Do I put any oil in the accumulator when installing? thanks again
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

I am a new expert here to help you. Can you tell me where you are with the repair and what help I can give you?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
please see previous message in thread. thanks
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

I have looked over all of it, I just need to know what you have done so far and what you still need help with.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
This is where I am. Just waiting on a reply to the last question. Ready to put it back together but worried about flush lines or not and whether to put oil in the accumulator and compressor to not. thanksGot it all off w/o destroying anything. There is yellowish dye (I guess leak detection) in all the hoses. Should I flush them or does it matter? Do I put any oil in the accumulator when installing? thanks again
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

If there is alot of die in the system, then yes You do need to flush the system. And NO do not add oil to the accumulator, you have to put 4 oz in the compressor and 4 oz in the evap core itself.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hey, just saw your response, thanks.
I'm obviously not a mechanic.... and I'm assuming the evaporator is under the dash and the condenser is in front of the radiator..correct? I purchased a compressed can of flush. Does it matter the direction I flush the evaporator? Since I'm not replacing the evaporator the only access are the tubes that connect to the accumulator. Just add the 4 oz. of oil through one of these tubes or do I need to remove the evaporator unit from under the dash? thank you SO much for your help.
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

It does not matter what direction you flush the lines, but the evap core does need to be flushed from the top line out the bot***** *****ne. And yes you are correct about there locations. When you flush the system, you need to use a chemical flush that will evaporate. Do not use a oil based flush, as you will not be able to gt the flush to come out of the lines or the evap or condenser. After you flush the lines you will want to blow the lines out very good with compressed air to make sure every thing is clean and dry. Then add 4 oz of oil into the top evap line. The compressor should come with 4 oz of oil in it all ready, so read the directions that come with it to make 100% sure it does. You do not have to remove the evap core to fix this system, unleas it has a leak in it.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Thanks for the info. Putting it all back together and have some followup questions. The 2 pipes going to the evaporator are side by side on the firewall, one line goes to the accumulator and the other to the compressor. Would the accumulator pipe be the top of the evaporator and the one to the compressor be the bottom? Is the one from the evaporator to the compressor the suction line as the instructions say that that is the line I add oil to the compressor. thanks again for your help.
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

The top line should go to the accumulator and will be the suction line, and the lower is the pressure line to the condensor. Did you replace the oriface tube when you had it apart?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I did thanks. they had a standard for $2, a self adjusting for $20, and one for above 105 degrees for $35. I opted for the standard cheaper one. Should I buy a different one..I haven't put the condenser on yet...just been flushing the lines. I'll do the evaporator now, add the oil and start putting back together with new o-rings.BTW The new compressor says to turn the drive pulley at least 4 times..if can't by hand then use a special tool they sell. I turned it by hand about 3 turns. I'm assuming its starting to pump the oil. Think I'll be okay with that? Nobody has the spanner wrench or special tool in stock.
Think of anything else I should do before putting it back together? thanks for your help....on a Saturday even..
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

The oriface tube goes into the bottom port of the evap core. The cheap one is just fine and is what i use.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The old one was in the bottom of the condenser that connects via hose to the bottom of the evap. core. Sound right? Hopefully cause got her done and taking it to get a vacuum pulled and charged tomorrow. Hoping no leaks.
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

Ya that is correct. I forget some times that gm does crazy things. Most of the time it is in the evap core. I have my fingers crossed for yu that the system has no leaks.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I'll let you know....thanks so much for your help.
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

You are very welcome.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Well, I've done some really stupid things but this takes the cake.
I went to get the vacuum pulled and freon installed. The young technician hooked the machine up and the vacuum part of it went ok. I should have known this was not going to be a good day when he asked "do you have your owners manual?" When we looked at the manual he wanted me to look up the capacity of freon he should add., it didn't say and there was no service plate under the hood to tell us and he didn't have a shop manual (now this is a national type business). Last resort I googled the info. and it showed 36 oz. He added that amount and couldn't get it to go in quickly. I asked him if starting it would help (that's what I usually would do) seemed to help, but then it never would cool. The machine said it had added 36 oz. So he added another couple ounces with no good result. I looked and the clutch was never engaging.......He told me that I would need to bring it in when the manager returned that he could figure it out. I know that he really was trying his best.....he never dreamed what a stupid thing I had done.
Now the rest of the story....
I had to run to pick up one of my grandsons so I didn't have time to deal with it so I left the truck at the house and used my car. I was walking with my youngest grandson around the block and thinking about the problem..thinking about why the clutch wouldn't engage....THEN IT DAWNED ON ME.....I installed a low pressure switch but never installed the high pressure switch.Now that I've given you a good laugh I have to ask....apparently the switch cavity in the new compressor has a plug, o-ring, and retainer in it. Since the oil didn't escape and the automated freon machine didn't show normal pressure, and no line blew, do you think I messed up the compressor and would it have actually taken any freon? It will really be fun trying to get the plug out and switch in with the compressor in place. i guess I can unbolt it and see what I can do w/o removing the manifold and releasing any freon. Other than how stupid I am...what are your thoughts about how to proceed. I guess I can't screw it up anymore than I already have. I'll see what I can tear up in the morning but would appreciate your ideas. I guess I've figured out a good reason to pay a shop a lot more than I spent. Actually I got a good chuckle out of it too. Thanks
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

You will have to drop the freon out to install the high side pressure witch. If you do not, when you remove the snap ring the plug will blow out and can hurt you, or the freon can freeze your hands.

Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

If you have the type that screws into the head of the manifold, you still have to drop the freon out.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
The bolts just go through the compressor and screw into the intake or block.
Very good point about the pressure switch....that would have been ugly to say the least. I'll return to the young technician and ask him to drop the freon out and then we'll start over with a no pressure system. I feel really bad about it as he didn't charge me for the freon because he couldn't figure it out. Thanks again..you saved my eyes and hands and I hope you did get a grin or two.
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

I can not tell a lie, I laughed my butt off.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I thought so..I would too..and DID.
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

At least you can laugh at yourself. That is a good quality to have.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hey....there wasn't much pressure so I released it slowly low and then high side..wasn't any freon and didn't lose and oil. Took compressor off and installed the elusive high pressure switch (new one). They pulled a vacuum and put freon in and it cooled ok. It was a hot day yesterday 95F and 50% humidity and it blowed out about 55F and 45F after adding the 4 oz. of extra freon and recirculating some. Didn't seem good enough to me but that's about where it was in the past when it did work (maybe 40F). They had put 32 oz in and the internet said 36 so they added the difference and helped. It has never blown hard enough so I suspect there is trash blocking the evaporator. The fan seems to blow properly and I think the baffles are working correctly. I had replaced the heater core a few years back and it was really trashy. Is there an easy way to get to the evaporator and see? Some mechanic told me to cut a hole in the heater box to reach the trash and then seal it back...Is it on the drivers side of the heater core or to the right? I know this is a somewhat unrelated question so i'll understand if you choose not to answer. Would like your thoughts on the cooling temp. thanks
Expert:  kalamykid replied 4 months ago.

The first thing I would want to know is what where the high and low side pressure readings? As for cleaning the trash out of the hvac box, DO NOT cut a hole in the box. This will only make things much worse for you and you may cut into the evap core. Try pulling the blower motor out and see if there is anything in the fan wheel. You can see the evap core through the opening after you pull the blower motor out.

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