Dead_Sled Reader
9/5/18 2:18 p.m.

Vacation was supposed to be postponed by a few days because of work but I just found out that I'll be able to leave on time.  Great!  Except I'm not ready and we leave tomorrow now instead of Tuesday...

Main issue is no AC.  I have a new dryer, oil/dye, refrigerant, and vacuum pump ready to go.  Plan was to charge it with dye in the system and hopefully it makes it through the week and I could find the leak after vacation.  I pulled a vacuum last night for an hour and then closed everything off to see how long it would hold.  Within an hour it had dropped from 30 inches down to low to mid 20s.  I didn't get a good look at it this morning but it was either back to ambient or close to it.

Anyone have experience with how big of a leak this is?  I know it's hard to tell because of the whole vacuum vs pressure thing but I was hoping it would hold better than it did, I've never had it lose all vacuum overnight.  Is this like a couple weeks charge or am I looking at a couple days charge?

At this leakage I'd normally pressurize the system and find the leak before charging but I don't have time, I either charge it tonight or go without.  I just don't want to charge it if I'm only going to get a few days out of it.  Anyone have any anecdotal experience?

rdcyclist New Reader
9/5/18 8:05 p.m.

I'm always ready to jump to conclusions: I have no real experience but (there's that word) I would imagine if the leak on the high pressure side, the charge lifetime will be measured in minutes and not days. The low/suction side, probably longer.

I have a similar problem with the spousal unit's Civic Hybrid; a leak and I don't know where it is. I'm certainly going to pay attention to this thread so I can learn something...

wearymicrobe UberDork
9/5/18 8:13 p.m.

Above is correct. But if its just a small leak the modern coolant charge that has the leak plugging it will stay charged for a good long while.



TGMF Reader
9/5/18 8:23 p.m.

Was the system open or have a hole for a significant time before repairs and pulling a vac? If there was enough moisture in the system it could have boiled off lowered your vacuume reading.  

If there isnt a easily visible leak,  vac, dye, charge and run it. If it all leaks out in a hour or so, you're hosed till you fix it.

134 is cheap(ish)  so if it all leaks slowly enough on vacation, add some more to get through and you should have a big enough spot to easily find the issue. 

Toyman01 MegaDork
9/5/18 8:50 p.m.

Ollie's Bargains has 134 for $4 a can. Stock up.

The last one I did did the same thing. I ended up throwing a can of 134 in it and identified a leak at the high pressure switch instantly. Swapped it and all was well. 

Dead_Sled Reader
9/6/18 8:38 a.m.

AC went warm last fall.  If I remember it correctly it was cold one day and hot the next.  I was hoping it was a switch but no such luck, pressures were at zero.  This makes me think it was a decent leak.  I thought about the moisture boiling off raising the pressure, but from what I've read if it goes to zero that's probably not it.  Seems the best way to check is with a micron gauge, which don't look too expensive (~$100) but at this point I'm out of time. 

I hadn't thought that it could be on the low side, gives me a little hope.  I wasn't planning to put any sealant in it, I've had bad luck with sealants gumming up coolant systems in the past, I'm not sure if that's a valid concern though.

I wasn't able to get it charged last night due to storms but possibly tonight.  I accepted no AC as the weather doesn't look terribly hot and we're hoping to spend most of the week in the mountains, but it really doesn't take long to charge, maybe I'll throw the vac on it when I get home and charge it after I get the tires on it.

I wasn't aware of Ollie's Bargains but it looks like there's one a few miles out of the way on the way home.  Cheapest 134 I could find was $8/can, I'll definitely stock up if they're $4, thanks for the heads up.

Patrick MegaDork
9/6/18 8:42 a.m.

Ollie’s is awesome.  I got my challenge car paint there.  It’s like Marc’s used to be before they tried to become a grocery store.  

Floating Doc
Floating Doc HalfDork
9/6/18 9:24 a.m.

I've never heard of Ollie's, figured it was a Midwestern retailer. Still, I did a search and they are here in Central Florida. There's not one near me, but I will go right by one when I autocross my car on Sunday

I'll have to check them out. Thanks, GRM!

Patrick MegaDork
9/6/18 9:56 a.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

Think they started in Maryland or something.  I used to have to go to Cumberland, but then they started spreading out.  

Dead_Sled Reader
9/6/18 10:16 a.m.

I used to love the old marcs.  I don't gamble or play the lotto but walking through the isles looking at what random stuff they had was a fun game of chance.  Unfortunately, finding out the quality of an item was also a game of chance.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
9/6/18 10:30 a.m.

I also had a problem that was a leaking high side port that was solved for $8 in 10 minutes. Sometimes it's easy and it's certainly worth checking. 

Dead_Sled Reader
9/6/18 1:07 p.m.

I was at walmart dropping off tires to get balanced so I walked through the automotive section and saw they have a supertech R134a for <$5 for a 12 oz can, none on the shelf of course, but they did have the more expensive options. 

Still hoping to check out ollies if I get out of work on time.

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