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AC for half wits


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With the hopefully blistering summer on the horizon hrhr.gif I want to try and get the ac working on the car. Assuming I know where the engine is and the ac controls but not too much else, where do I start trying to find the fault?

I know that the switch works . I cannot confirm coolant levels in the system or that it is leak free though. I cant hear the compressor running, and there is no perceptable drop in engine revs if I switch it on like there is on the mondeo. Will free scan show me anything about the ac system.

is this best left to someone who knows whats happening? or is there any simple steps I can take to fault find before the bill inducing step?

thanks

Rick

Twitter @radioRedwards

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There should be a sight glass somewhere on the system, mine is in the front trunk near the dryer unit. Not sure if its the same in the latter cars. if you turn the system on you should be able to see the fluid running through, a small torch will help. This will tell you if the system is gassed up. If you can see the fluid flowing, and its not cooling, it probably needs topping up. If its empty you have a leak.

A good A/C place should pressure check the system to ensure no leak before gassing, if this is so they should gas it, drop a UV tracer in and run the system up. If you get a loss over the next few weeks the UV will allow them to see where it is, and allow them to drop in a chemical to seal the leak

I have a very good A/C man near me. He did not rip me off and does the work properly (I have wasted hundreds of pounds in the past being ripped off) Probably a bit far for you. But if you want his details drop me a PM.

Beware there are lots of A/C monekys about who rip you off.

Chris

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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You should be able to hear the compressor click on and off when the engine is running as its just behind your seat.

Theres only 1 wire connected to the aircon pump via a bullet connector from what I remember so it could be that at some time it has been disturbed during some previous maintenance works?

Chunky Lover

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Check the compressor clutch is engaging and disengageing first, if not sort this issue first. Move on to confirm the refrigerant is in the system, using the sight glass on top of the drier capsule at the front RH side of the front compartment. If the system has been unused for ages there will be moisture in the system and you will need to change the drier. If there is water in the system the evaporator expansion valve will ice up, blocking the refrigerant flow, and the system will not work properly, so its essential the system is free from moisture. If its empty or low on coolant (only way is to confirm is to check pressure on re-gas machine) then re gas and make sure the put UV dye in the system when they re-gas. If the compressor is then running it should now be blowing out cold air, but I bet there will be a leak somewhere. Use a UV lamp to find the leak and fix the source of the leak. Re gas again and hopefully it should last for a few years before another leak appears. The esprit is terrible for AC leaks. You could spend hundreds of pounds getting it fixed and it will have more problems again next year. Do you really need AC? I took my system out and fitted a larger charge cooler rad in place of the condenser rad.

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Or you could go to Halfords and buy a can of refrigerant (you have to pay a little extra for the can with gauge but worth it) and do it yourself ,if the system has worked in the past then you may have a small leak or if you don't use it (ac) regularly it can leak past the seals as they need working periodically (mine does ,i regas once a year and last all summer).Easy to do ,remove belly pan and you will find the gassing points strapped to a cross beam on the chassis (shrader type adapter),nothing ventured nothing gained .

Cheers

Nick S4s

Simplest things first.

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My Bloke dropped in a sealent from WURTH it swells the rubber seals etc as the compressor seals can leak.

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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Not sure about the halfords regassing kit. There may be some incompatability of gas used. There are a number of threads on this and it depends what year car you have.

Hardly worth the air con in the UK. I am stripping mine out as it didn't work when I purchased the car. It seems the compressor weighs a ton and you get a weight loss benefit in terms of performance and further gains through one less drive belt.

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Cliff

Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed. : Albert Einstein

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Hardly worth the air con in the UK. I am stripping mine out as it didn't work when I purchased the car. It seems the compressor weighs a ton and you get a weight loss benefit in terms of performance and further gains through one less drive belt.

It's definitely worth fixing, here in the tropical south west we actually get to see the sun !! really! i know its hard to believe in the UK.

I cant hear the compressor click in so I will spend tomorrow morning doing a bit of fault finding and see if there is a simple disonnected lead (lets face it, its unlikely) and have a look for all the other pointers you have given me.

will report back after the weekend and the blood stops running from my knuckles.

thanks in advance

R

Twitter @radioRedwards

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Rick,

I dont think the compressor will kick in if there is not enough gas in the system.

I'm with you on the A/C its a god send

Chris

Amateurs built the Ark

Professionals built the Titanic

"I haven't ridden in cars pulled by cows before" "Bullocks, Mr.Belcher" "No, I haven't, honestly"

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Not teaching you to suck eggs etc ,but you do have the temp setting to max cold and the vent control set to recirc (furthest clockwise),along with a/c on and fan on? Apologies if i am stating the obvious to you.Mine is a 1995 model and the Halfords kit is compatible and has a supposed "leak" fixing magic agent in the gas,as i said i do mine once a year as i don't run the a/c enough to stop the seals shrinking through the winter period.

Nick S4s

Simplest things first.

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  • 1 month later...

OK. after getting no joy from any of my DIY efforts it came to getting it checked by someone who knew what they were doing.

The system seems to hold the pressure so hopefully no leaks. The compressor works. The gas was low but not empty.

The best guess is that in a previous life the system was repeatedly topped up in an effort to get it to work and there is a build up of oil in the dryer unit. The next step is to empty the system and refil it a few times in an effort to draw the oil out as well, if that doesn't work they are going to take out the dryer and empty the oild from the system and see if that solves it.

Twitter @radioRedwards

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Rick

When they shorted the compressor to get it to work did the vent system blow conditioned/cooled air ?

Cliff

Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed. : Albert Einstein

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There was no need to short it out. When the system was re gassed it word on the controls as it should and was putting out cold air. What was happening was that the compressor cut in and out as it was at max pressure and the funky air con refil testometer dials and lights machine ( FACT LM3000 :thumbsup: ) showed that it was cutting in and out at the right point but it was behaving like there was a blockage in the pipes. The tracer was bubbling a way in the dryer viewing glass when the compressor was running but as I say it was just cutting in and out every 2 or 3 seconds.

I was at Peninsula Lotus and Paul ( the chap there) says that he has come accross it before but its not common. The emptying of the system and the hopeful purge of the oil is an attempt to avoid the removal of the dryer and potential replacement with a new one. Paul is going to connect the FACT LM 3000 and regas and remove several times to see if that clears it.

Twitter @radioRedwards

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interesting post Rick, good luck with the continuing investigation . Keep posting :thumbsup:

Cliff

Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed. : Albert Einstein

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Rick,

Was he talking about oil in the drier or evaporator? The reason I ask is that the drier is simple to replace (10 minute job) and the part is fairly cheap and usually if there is any question of contamination, the drier should be replaced anyway.

It wouldn't make sense to empty/fill the system several times to get oil out of the drier.

1995 S4s

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Rick,

Was he talking about oil in the drier or evaporator? The reason I ask is that the drier is simple to replace (10 minute job) and the part is fairly cheap and usually if there is any question of contamination, the drier should be replaced anyway.

It wouldn't make sense to empty/fill the system several times to get oil out of the drier.

the drier. the bit behind the light pod with the viewing glass

Twitter @radioRedwards

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  • 1 year later...

Jason,

Is it the same as the SE? I replaced mine last year and it was a very cheap and easily had replacement.....That being said, installing it in it's proper location under the passenger side dash is not an easy task for a 245 lb monkey like myself! It was a bugger! Got it installed, however, and promptly broke a shift cable! Then a head gasket! So I never even got to enjoy the car last summer!

Artie

89 White Esprit SE

...a few little upgrades....

93 RX7.....Silverstone

....slightly modded...Muahaha...

New Addition:

1990 300ZX TT......Hmmm

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Jason,

This cross ref. should work for the expansion valve. I believe they were the same in all 4 cyl from at least 1987 on. I have fitted this one to an S4 and S4s.

4 seasons 38604

1977-83 BMW 320

NAPA 207587

Edited by lotus4s

1995 S4s

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks to the usefull cross referencing on the evaporator part I just bought a new BMW four seasons one for 28 quid of the ol' ebay...cheaper than from the specialists!Its a just in case purchase :)

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