Further to 2001 Dodge TD A/C recharge

I posted this earlier and never got much in the way of constructive advice. Now that I got things working, I thought I would post my positive experience.
I have a 2001 2500 Cummins TD with 6-speed manual. A/C worked last fall, now it does not. About a year ago, A/C was repaired by previous owner (some hoses replaced) and recharged.
Clutch did not engage, indicating low pressure.
I have the manifold guages and an adapter to tap the can of R-134a. I connected it up and the pressure was low and the same on high and low side. I tried to charge with a can of refrigerant and the clutch on the compressor then engaged for very short periods - a few seconds, but it did not seem to want to take a charge.
I tried again later without the guages using one of those short (12") recharge hoses. Did not seem to take much of the charge.
I filled a plastic container with warm tap water and stuck the can in that. It took the charge. Compressor still engaged for very short periods. But now it did seem to be blowing cool air! I figured this problem is beyond me. Of course, most of you said leave this to the professionals...
Called my mechanic. He doesn't do A/C (or diesel work). They recommended someone local. I called him. He said if the compressor engages for very short periods and then disengages, it is too low on refrigerant. He wanted $135 to recharge. Said probably compressor seal is leaking and they don't replace those, you replace the compressor. $400 just for the part. Probably around $600 plus for the job. Probably more. Did not chide me for putting in refrigerant myself.
So I put in most of another can. Now it works. I bought these two cans at Wal-Mart for around $8 each. Guess I'd better carry some spares.
Funny. My 1986 SAAB 900 Turbo I bought in December 1994 from the first owner came with all the service records. No sign of A/C repair. Two years later It blew warm and I had the hoses recrimped and refilled with R-12 for $150. This worked for about another 6 years and then it failed again. I put in (gasp) hydrocarbon substitute, and recharged it again the next year after it blew warm and it is still working!
Is it the Dodge or the R-134a system that is so failure prone? This truck is only 5 years old!
Charles
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As far as Chrysler AC systems they are no better or worse than any other makers AC system. I can state that I have a 94 and 98 Dodge and never had to add or do anything to it and it is all relative. If you persist on do-it-yourself then get a leak detector and find the leak it is all guess work until the leak is found. Most of the time it is the o-ring seals on the disconnects not the compressor. I have a high dollar ultrasonic leak detector made by UE it will pin point any leak in seconds on anything in any condition. Coasty

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My 1999 Ram 1500, 107,000 miles has never had a problem with the AC either. It's a good idea to run the A/C occasionally, even if you don't need it, to keep everything moving, lubed, etc. I make sure to run mine about once a week.
"Coasty" <uscg_ret at comcast dot net> wrote in message

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Ed wrote:

I'm not 100% sure but I think the AC compressor runs in the defrost mode. If you frequently use the defroster it shouldn't be necessary to run the AC in the winter.
--
Ken



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That is correct
SCOTT

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Yes, defrost will use the AC compressor to dry out the air, but where I live I usually only need AC for 1 month of the year, heat for about the same and rarely defrost. But those rough numbers don't include taking the dogs with me in the truck - they totally skew my environment, or running out to the desert. I also like to exercise the vacuum actuated air flow valves to help prevent them from sticking - not only do I run the AC once a week or so, I also use the various air outlet settings (feet, face, feet and face -this may also run the AC, defrost, feet and defrost) as well as change the temperature dial as often as conditions allow and I think about it. The only setting I don't use is "Off."

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Charles wrote:
Further to my update, I went to WalMart yesterday to replenish my R-134A supply. They now have refill units with built in guages. The instructions say basically that a running system needs at least 25 psi but no more than 45 psi on the low side.
No indication yet on what the high side should read or if that is diagnostic of problems or what.
Charles
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There is a real easy way to tell if you have a proper charge, and its the only proper way to do it... Its SOOOO simple....
Look on the info decal for the unit...if it says it takes 2.5lbs, it takes 39oz of refrigerant, and you just pull the sucker to a vac, and recharge to the proper capacity, and you dont have to worry about the gauge readings, since if you cant read the gauge, you have NO idea what its telling you, since pressure means NOTHING. Its all about temp.
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And what are you going to do with all that R-134A that you just pulled from the system?
--
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving
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TBone wrote:

Fill tires on treehuggers' cars? :o
JS
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