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87 K5 Air Conditioner Problem

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by BlackK5, Jun 9, 2002.

  1. BlackK5

    BlackK5 Registered Member

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    The AC on my 87 K5 is not working. I notice the compressor (or compressor clutch?) is not kicking on. I first noticed it this winter when the defroster was on. The compressor was not kicking in. Where do I begin to troubleshoot this? All help is very much appreciated.
     
  2. YtseJam

    YtseJam 1/2 ton status

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    The first thing I would do is put a set of manifold gauges on it and see what your pressures are. If the system is too low or empty it will not work. If your pressures are there and it is not kicking on it is electrical. If you don't have access to a set of gauges, Jump the low side switch with a paper clip (the one near the receiver dryer) with the ac turned on. If the compressor kicks on your system is either low or empty. Probably have a leak although it may be minor enough that a system recharge will do the trick. If you are using R-12 I'd recommend a retrofit to R134A. It's easy to do and cheap.
     
  3. BlackK5

    BlackK5 Registered Member

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    Reciever Dryer? Where might that be? By the way, I disconnected the lead going into (or out of?) the compressor & put a 12 volt test light on it. No juice. Is that normal? Also put the test light on the leads coming off the compressor. No juice. Normal? When it comes to electricity Im an idiot!!!!
     
  4. jwduke

    jwduke 1/2 ton status

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    You have a low (freon) pressure switch. When the freon level is low, it will not send juice to the compressor clutch. Take
    it somewhere like Jiffy lube, and tell them you want your system checked for leaks, but not charged. (R-12 is around
    $60 per lb.!) Fix your leaks, do the changeover to R-134a, & enjoy the cool again!
     
  5. YtseJam

    YtseJam 1/2 ton status

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    The receiver drier also called an accumulator often is that silver canister that is nex to the evaporator. Hook everything back up and check it like I explained. Turn on the ac and jump the switch with a paper clip. If the compressor turns on you have a low refrigerant charge.
     
  6. XHitman396

    XHitman396 1/2 ton status

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    wait, your tellin me that jiffy lube will find my leak (got the same problem but i got air blowin, just not cold) for free???
     
  7. Stickseler

    Stickseler 3/4 ton status

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    If you talk to some one about recharging your system ask them about the new r-12 replacement, I saw a can today while working on my truck and my buddy says its a new gas thats the same as r-12 but cheap.its somthing like rf-12c or somthing.
     
  8. YtseJam

    YtseJam 1/2 ton status

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    I believe it is called freeze 12. It is a new product which I have not used but heard it was compatible with either system at about the same cost as R134A.
     
  9. Storm Trooper

    Storm Trooper 1/2 ton status GMOTM Winner

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    Be careful, the laws have changed and if you are not licensed to have gauges and don't have recovery equipment for freon you could get a big fine if the catch you. Enviromental thing now. Best take it to someone after you check it out to get it charged if you need to. Maybe it's just out here but be careful. Got a friend in the heating and AC biz?
     
  10. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    There are a lot of "R-12 replacements" on the market today, but generally you need a licence to buy them. That isn't much of a dilemna, though, because if you want a license, all you have to do is apply and take a short test to show that you understand the laws.

    If you can find a shop that will sell you an R-12 replacement gas (i.e. not R-134 or R-12), I say go for it. I really can't understand why people don't sell this stuff. It may have to do with the recovery equipment, since you need a whole rig for each and every type of gas. Also be aware, that most other shops won't touch a system with anything but R-12 or R-134 in it.

    You can get R-12 in Mexico, but it is even harder to get in Canada than in the U.S. If you really have initiative, do some research and make your own refrigerant out of Butane and Propane. It works for the Australians!
     
  11. jwduke

    jwduke 1/2 ton status

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    I think I was charged $17, for the check. Thats easier than shelling out $300 for 4 lbs of R-12. The parts to change over
    to R-134a, will cost around $10. The freon + a can of R134a oil, will probably be under $50.
     
  12. behemoth

    behemoth 1/2 ton status

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    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    ...make your own refrigerant out of Butane and Propane.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    You got a death wish or something?
     
  13. XHitman396

    XHitman396 1/2 ton status

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    LOLOL. THATS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKIN MOTH, HAHA
     
  14. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    This is not really a joke. Many people have done this with good results. In fact, some of the "R-12 replacement" are based on hydrocarbons, with some additives for safety. In Australia, there have been cars on the road (legally) for years using hydrocarbons, such as the isobutane/propane mix. Yes, it is flammable, but you really have to vent all of it at once to be dangerous, and for that matter, it would have to all vent into the passenger compartment. Did you know that R-134 will sustain a flame? Did you know that R-134 is poisonous? Again, you have to have a catastrophic leak into the passenger compartment to be dangerous.

    Here is part of one of the articles that I found on the subject. I have never tried this and am not promoting it:

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    ************************************************************************
    Disclaimer Some of the procedures described in this section may not be legal. Refilling some types of pressurized containers is illegal, as is replacing R-12 directly with a non EPA approved substitute.

    Several states have banned flammable refrigerants outright. The current list is: Arkansas, Conn., Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington , DC.

    Check with your state to see what the exact restrictions are, if any.

    Hydrocarbons weight much less than CFCs, consequently much less mass is required to achieve the same pressures. Always charge using gauges to prevent overfilling. Check the pressure and temperature of your blend if you pre-mix and store. The pressure should be the same as R-12 at the same temperatures. Adding propane will increase the pressure at a given temperature, adding iso-butane will reduce it.

    ************************************************************************

    The most commonly asked about hydrocarbon mix is 21% isobutane, 79% propane, by weight. Note that is isobutane, not butane or n-butane. This mix has the same temperatures and pressures as R-12, but performs better in your A/C system, partially due to being a blend. Hydrocarbons weigh less than CFCs, so you will need about half the weight of hydrocarbons to achieve the same performance. The paragraphs below describe how to charge this mix directly into your A/C system from the can, and how to pre-mix it in a large container for future use. Be sure to charge with gauges so you can stop at the appropriate pressure. Do not add the same weight as you would if it were R-12.
    HOW TO GET IT
    -------------
    Isobutane is available as the fuel used in Gaz brand camping stoves. Read the label to make sure you are getting isobutane and not n-butane. isobutane is generally used in stoves designed for low temperature use. Gaz sells both plus a propane/butane mix so read the label. Propane is conveniently available in propane torch cylinders. The odorant does not harm its use as a refrigerant. Don't use gas grill propane. This stuff is generally fairly wet.

    HOW TO PRE-MIX IT
    -----------------
    You’ll need two old torch bodies fitted with refrigeration flare fittings, an empty propane torch cylinder, a side tapper, and some standard refrigeration service hose. An empty propane torch cylinder makes a very good mixing container, particularly the large fat ones. An old torch valve fitted with a refrigeration flare fitting lets you use it with A/C equipment. The procedure is simple and requires only a scales of some sort. A postage scale will work fine. Evacuate the propane cylinder if you have a vacuum pump. Then using a side tapper for blow-off cans (the type that punches a hole in the side of the can), introduce the correct weight of isobutane from the Gaz cylinder. Then top the cylinder off with the required weight of propane from another propane torch cylinder. Warming the donor cylinder will drive the process. A second torch body fitted with a refrigeration flare will let you hook the two cylinders together with a refrigeration service hose. Be sure not to overfill the recipient cylinder. Check this by slightly lifting the safety valve with the cylinder sitting upright. If liquid comes out (white mist, real cold), bleed the cylinder until the liquid is below the bottom of the safety valve. Needless to say, do all this outside.

    Before using the mix, double check the accuracy of the blend by comparing the vapor pressure in the cylinder to its temperature. This is easily done using refrigeration gauges. The vapor pressure should agree with that of R-12 +- 10 psi or so. When using your mix, charge with the bottle upside down, ie liquid into the system. Otherwise the propane will charge first due to it’s higher pressure. Charging as a liquid ensures that both the propane and iso-butane charge according to their proportions. Be careful to charge slowly, however, because if the liquid gets back to the compressor it can destroy it.

    When you modify a torch body, you'll need to find and drill out all restrictions that limit the propane flow to the torch. Typically there is a restriction and/or a check valve in the barb that taps the cylinder and another one downstream of the control valve.

    BTW, propane torch cylinders make convenient replacements for blow-off cans. They are much more gas-tight than the typical disposable freon cylinder so transfering valuable R-12, GHG-12 or whatnot makes real good sense. And they are more reliable. Instant sickness is dropping a 30 lb can of freon onto something that punctures it. :-( Be sure to label the cylinder contents. It is illegal to refill and transport disposable containers. BBQ grill containers are legal to refill, but are much less convenient. Be sure whatever container you use is clean initially.


    HOW TO CHARGE DIRECTLY INTO THE A/C SYSTEM
    ------------------------------------------
    Go get a 6oz can of "isobutane" camping fuel. Charge that into the evacuated system first. Next follow up with 16 oz of propane (you will have to crock up a fitting to mate with a 16 oz torch tank). That should be close to correct blend and amount of charge to run a typical car A/C. It will be slightly lower in capacity then R-12. This mix will be 27% isobutane, 73% and will cause lower pressures than R-12, but should be close enough to work. The best mixture is 21% isobutane, 79% propane, so adding less isobutane and more propane will help. When it is time to recharge again, vent the remaining charge, and start over with a new fresh charge as the isobutane and propane will leak at different rates.

    [/ QUOTE ]
     
  15. tomseviltwin

    tomseviltwin 1/2 ton status

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    The very first thing you should check on all the engine area components (compressor, bottle, ect) is that your electrical connections are firmly snapped together.
     

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