AC Stopped Working 93 Escort

No problems for 10 years. Yesterday I had nice cold air: today nothing.
Light on dash comes on + fuse is OK.
Pressure switch on accumulator cannister tests open. Should this normally
be closed?
If this is a low pressure switch, might adding a pound of Freon do the trick for another year or so? I have a can or two in reserve
Memory fails me on which is the "low" side. I think I the "high" side is at the accumulator and the "low" side is on the thinner line running to the radiator. As I recall, I add at the low side.
[Pardon my mis-use of terms.] Sound right?
Thanks for any advice or encouragement.
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John Keiser wrote:

NO NO NO! The high side comes off the compressor to the condenser coil in front of the radiator. The low side should be at the accumulator. Any gas should be added at the low side or you risk injury blowing a can up. There should be a different sized fitting so you don't get them confused.
You probably have a R12 system. You better be dam sure you have some in the system before you put your precious cans in. I blew a A/C hose in my taurus once and it all leaked out at once. You might have the same situation. You need to see if there is some left in the systems before adding any. Otherwise, it all goes to waste. DO NOT ADD ANY if the system is empty. A set of R12 A/C gauges would help. I would look closely at all the under hood A/C hoses for signs of leaks. Or the condenser on the front for signs of puncture. If your keeping the car, it should really be pumped down and gas reclaimed. Then new o rings all the way around and fix any other problems.
BOB
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Have no gauges, only intuition.
The Escort is a great car but, at 10 years of age, probably not worth enough to repair or retrofit properly.
I added a few ounces of R-12 and the pressure switch seems to work. I expected immediate cold air as I added the R-12. The return line iced up but unit does not blow very cold air inside. The compressor is cycling off and on now. It was always on before. This doesn't seem right.
I'll keep the a/c off until I figure this out.
Without pressure readings, I know you guys can only guess, but any suggestions or ideas what's going on? A few more ounces of R-12?
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BTW: I forgot to put this in:
If there is ANY appreciable amount of refrigerant in the system, the clutch will try to engage, everything else being good.
That's the nature of freon... and why you cant tell with pressure and system off how much is in the system... the pressure reflects temperature
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Backyard Mechanic wrote:

Why if it was that low did you not just put the whole can in? A set of A/C gauges would have told you the pressures and gave you some information. My guess is now its low on refrigerant which is causing the cycling and freezing line. (but not low enough to cause the pressure switch to cut out the compressor) Since you already opened the can, try to draw the rest of it into the system on the low side. Some times this takes awhile. I usually blip the valve on the can on and off when the compressor is running to try to get it to suck the last little bit out of the can. Having the can a little warm won't hurt either. How did you figure you only put a few ounces in. Did you weigh the can?
BOB
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Yes, weighed the can. Trying to proceed conservatively.
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Found small leak in evaporator. Based on age of car + possibility of compressor going next, probably will not repair.
Thank you all for good advice.
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