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Thread: A/C Woes

  1. #1
    Senior Member Howard's Avatar
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    A/C Woes

    Summer has arrived in Texas! As if on que, my A/C performace was dropped off a great deal, and that's putting it mildly. I was wondering, just how low does the R12 have to be before the "low" warning appears on the CRT? I've searched the shop manual, but did not see the information stated. I'm assuming that the R12 is indeed low. On "Max Cool" the outlet temp is 79 deg. There is no longer any water dripping out of the evaporator case and the compressor, while it does engage, does not cycle as it has in the past. Both the radiator fan and condensing fan are turning on. I've owned the car since August of 98 and have never had the R12 checked. What's odd, in the winter when the temp is between 60-50 degrees sometimes the "low warning" does appear. However, a number of other forum members have reported the same problem when it's cold. Currently, there are no warnings on the CRT for any Climate issue. Everything reads OK. Any thoughts?

    Along that same vain, I have a set of A/C guages, but I don't know which ports to connect them to. Can anyone tell me. I would like to know what the pressures really are.
    Howard
    Former Silver 1989 Reatta Owner

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shelby's Avatar
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    Re: A/C Woes

    Do you get good air flow? If not you might have the crud on the evaporator.

    I sold my A/C gauges on ebay and go enough money to have some body that knows what they are doing fix my A/C.
    Reatta less but looking for an 89 Red Gray
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Howard's Avatar
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    Re: A/C Woes

    Airflow is very good. I just replaced the fan motor a few weeks ago. The old one bit the dust. It had been acting up for a while. But no, airflow is very strong. I've also checked the condensor for blockage too, and did not noticed anything remarkable.
    Howard
    Former Silver 1989 Reatta Owner

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    Re: A/C Woes

    you know those tire pressure pens?? well the auto parts stores sell them for auto ac units..get one and use it..look around for the leak (if there is one).
    do a search (good luck) this topic was just covered.. good luck, wally
    90 reatta red w/tan interior w/245/45ZR17's
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Howard's Avatar
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    Re: A/C Woes

    Wally, thanks. I was not aware that there was such a thing. However, my problem my be more that I thought. I've been to three auto repair shops today trying to find one that has R12. I knew it was going to be a problem. Saturday is never a good day to get a car fixed, but I work during the week. My last stop was at Firestone. Wonders of wonders they said they have R12. After waiting for two and half hours, a grim faced service writer approached me and said he had bad news. He stated that the car was so sophicated that the computers has shut down the compressor and he was unable to unlock the codes to get the compressor to run. I won't tell you what I said, but it had to do with a bull! I went to the car and checked all the Codes via the CRT (you should have seen his face). No code had been set! I then looked at "Summary" and discovered the the unit had not been turned on! Touching the screen, the compressor sprung to life, so did his gauges. The low side jumped to 235. He told me with that reading, the compressor was not working and would have to be replaced. I find this odd, since there is still slightly cool air being produced. There is however, no cold lines or sweat anywhere as there used to be. You guessed it, the estimate for repairs were touching $1400!!! While I agree with the parts he listed for replacement, this estimate did include the 134a switch (I'm not sure that's a good idea, the results seem mixed from other Reatta owners). The price of the parts were stagering. $745 just for the compressor. The labor was $475, which I did not think was a lot out of line. I will now be on a quest to find more resonably priced parts. Here is where I need some help. Can anyone provide the correct part numbers for all the items I would need to replace the compressor and then 134a switch? The Firestone guy claims that his firm could not put R12 in a new system because of EPA regulations. Has anyone ever heard of that? GMpartsdirect here I come. As an aside, this must not be my week for cars. My 2001 Acura as at the dealership right now because the transmission crapped out last Wednesday. Thanks as always for any help.
    Howard
    Former Silver 1989 Reatta Owner

  6. #6

    Re: A/C Woes

    235 is too high for an equalized reading with system off---and sounds like a high side (condenser line) reading (same smaller line that has the filter drier on it) with the compressor running. He needed (and you, using your gauges) need to check the difference between the equalized pressure (with system off) and the running pressure on the LOW side (the fitting on the larger line which runs directly from the compressor to the firewall/evaporator. Pressure off probably about 150-180 depending on ambient temperature, and should pull down with a properly charged system to about 30-35 lbs with compressor on and an engine raised to around 2000 rpm. Higher pressure at idle. If your equalized pressure is about right but doesn't change much (pull lower) when compressor comes on you have no valves left in the compressor (and need a compressor). If your equalized pressure is much lower you have a slow leak and you don't need a compressor, you need to (maybe) find the leak, and recharge system with a partial additional R12 charge--or try just adding charge and praying it is a VERY slow leak.
    If changing the compressor definitely convert to 134a--SO YOU WON'T BE DESPERATE AS R12 GETS EVEN HARDER TO GET! Use the left gauge (blue) and hose to connect to the low side valve to check pressure. You can connect the other gauge and rt side hose to the high side and that should go UP from equalized pressure when compressor comes on--250 or a little higher when running would be about right--which is about what the bozo who "worked" on yours found--and why I suspect he was on the wrong line.
    Good Luck.'
    Dave

  7. #7
    Senior Member Howard's Avatar
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    Re: A/C Woes

    Dave, Dave, Dave. I think you might have saved me a lot of money. Let me tell you of the results. Taking my guages, I connected to the low side (upper port on the dyer, drivers side hose heading away from dryer to firewall, I guess that's the right one). With unit off the reading was 55 at about 90 outside temp. Started engine and turned unit on. Reading went to about 40. Raced engine and the reading dropped to about 20. At idle went back up to about 40. Turned unit off and now back to about 55 again. Based on those readings, what do you think? Compressor shot or not? I think I'm just low on R12. There may be a leak somewhere. Wally's advice may help there. Based on your great info, I think you saved me from getting screwed. When charging the system, is the low side port on the dryer the one that would be used?
    Howard
    Former Silver 1989 Reatta Owner

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    Re: A/C Woes

    theres no law anywhere saying r12 cant not be used or bought..
    dupont and who ever else was making it is not anymore but what is left( and theres plenty of it around) is still legal to use..slap that service writer for me the next time you see him.

    the drier port is where i add freon...

    dave, have you used any of the 414b??? i used it for the 1st time in a walk in fzr, i really was impressed with the head PSI, was like using r12..
    90 reatta red w/tan interior w/245/45ZR17's
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    Re: A/C Woes

    Aye Spongebob. However, you need a whatever license to buy it.

    Which is why my dad bought a load of it right before that requirement was put into place.
    Philip Croff

    '74 LeSabre Luxus convertible (code U 455) '89 coupe, '94 Century wagon, '07 Subaru Forester, '90 white coupe (brother's)

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  10. #10
    VeloCity CarPets padgett's Avatar
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    Re: A/C Woes

    a) few a/c mechanics really understand an a/c system, are more parts changers. All an a/c compressor needs to operate is 12v to the clutch, compressor is entirely mechanical. Jumpers are easy to make.

    b) Reatta uses a latching system to avoid damage to the compressor. Have to cycle power to the computer before it will tell the clutch to engage again.

    c) Over time compressors do wear out. One sign is a system that cools well when driving down the road but warms up at idle. Your presure variation sounds like that might be an issue. 70+ degrees out the vent after running for a while does not sound right.

    d) here I guages for simple stuff but have a shop that I trust for more complex issues. With five cars over ten years old in a hot climate it is about once a year that something needs help.

    I do have some laid back for the Judge but everything else that needs the system opened or loses a charge is changed to R-134. Works well for us.

    Might want to check http://www.azmobileair.com has a ton of information but you need to wander a bit. They do push Seltec (Diesel Kiki) compressors. I use only AC Delco/Delphi.

    Would run not walk away from that shop. Aside from charging full list he seems to be charging for each item individually (to change the compressor you need to purge and recharge the system so the only extra step for a changeover to R-134A is to flush out any oil.

    I would use only a new AC Delco/Delphi H6 compressor (have verified with Delphi that the guarentee is good for both R-12 and R-134A), new dryer, and a R-134A oriface tube (believe the size of the oriface is slightly different). Also you use less R-134A than R-12.

    Besides compressor, dryer, oriface tube (all normal for a compressor replacement), and changeover what else were they going to change ? IMNSHO all of that should have been less than a grand.

    What you want is an a/c compressor with clutch AC p/n 15-20210 which crosses to a large number of GM part numbers but 01136477 was not one of them.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Booreatta's Avatar
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    Re: A/C Woes

    Howard last summer my compresser shut down and the crt said that
    the system needed service and I got to talking to my mechanic about a
    different car and I told him what the ac was doing. He told me to bring it by and he unhooked the battery and charged the system with a product called freeze 12. I have had several people tell me that it will mess us the system, but guess what the system was not working before and it does now. I was afraid that it might not work this season but I got the car our this weekend and it worked like a champ, and the temp hit 100. You might want to check it out. Oh by the way he only charged me around 40.00. Then other est I had was around a grand and it was to change all of the parts that you mentioned. with the freeze 12 I dont think he had to change anything.
    Good luck
    Chuck Kerls
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Howard's Avatar
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    Re: A/C Woes

    Here is the closing chapter of A/C Woes. After my saga with Firestone, I contacted a service writer who used to work with me in the days I was employed in auto dealerships (25 years). He directed me to a retired A/C guy who runs a unnamed shop on the outskirts of town. After introductions, I felt like I was being interviewed for a job, he instructed me to run the car into a very little, but clean and well lit shop. Frankly, he looked somewhat like Santa. He slowly put on his glasses and carefully connected his guages. After about ten minutes studying the readings, he concluded that the compressor, while not DOA, was on its last legs. He actually seemed sorry to give me the news. (I guess Firestone was right after all). He asked if I wanted to see if he could find the parts and give an estimate. I told him to go ahead. His estimate was $800! While I think that is still too high, I told him to go ahead with the repair. Hell, it was almost 100 today. I was so hot, the estimate at Firestone was starting to look pretty enticing. In a few hours I was cool again and with 134a. No more R12, now if it leaks, I can refill it myself. As always, thanks to everyone who came to my aid. Case closed, I hope for a while. May this compressor last another 16 years and 149,000 miles.
    Howard
    Former Silver 1989 Reatta Owner

  13. #13
    VeloCity CarPets padgett's Avatar
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    Re: A/C Woes

    $800 sounds reasonable for a new Delphi compressor, dryer, oriface tube, and *proper* flush and fill, is about what I paid for same three years ago and still works just fine. True, you can get the parts for about $400-$500 and install it yourself (takes a full day by someone who knows what they are doing and has the right tools) but then if anything goes wrong you can call yourself also.

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