Air Conditioner '01 Taurus

Hi All,
I have a 2001 Ford Taurus that I have been very happy with until recently. A few weeks ago, when it first started to get hot, I turned on my air conditioner for some relief. The air was nice and cold for a
few minutes, then all the sudden I could tell it was no longer working, since the air started to get warm and humid. Further investigation helped me realize that the compressor was not engaging.
Thinking that maybe the compressor was just low on oil I bought a can of R134 and filled it back up to the safe level. The air conditioner was blowing nice and cold afterwards, although I only ran it for 10 mins or so in the driveway.
Yesterday I took the car out for a spin on the hottest day of the year so far (90F or so). The air conditioner was nice and cold for about 10-15 minutes, and then the compressor kicked off yet again and the cabin heated up to unbearable temps. I stopped in at my local parts store and the tech there put a gauge on the low side of the system and confirmed that the A/C pressure was correct. (I believe it was about 35, but I dont remember exactly. It was in the green) Whenever we tried adding coolant, the pressure would go up a little, and then settle back down to 35 or so. It seemed impossible to overfill.
On the cooler days, this doesn't seem to happen. Only on the warmer days have I noticed it. After it shuts off, the only way I can seem to find that gets it going again is to turn off the car and let it sit for a bit before it will eventually kick back on.
I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas of where to look. I don't know if I have a leak, or if some other part is out of whack. It seems strange to me that it works till it warms up, and then quits. If I had a leak, I would think it would leak out to the point where the compressor no longer engages. I know they have sensors in them that disengage the compressor when the levels get too low.
I'm hoping that I don't have to pay big bucks at a local repair shop to get this fixed. Since I usually do my own work, I want to make sure I do my own due diligence first. Thanks for any help in advance.
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There are other inputs that affect the A/C compressor running or not.
- You're going to have to find wiring diag for YOUR car and see what other inputs consist of. Perhaps there is ALSO a high-side cutout switch, to prevent the compressed gas from blowing the safety relief valve on the compressor.
Also have the engine codes read out and see if there is a history of the Throttle Position sensor reading incorrectly.. effect might also be idle problems, or hesitations.
Unfortunately your guesses, and additions based on them, have complicated the diagnosis.
You say 'low on oil' bought 134 - plus oil???- and added it... until it was 'at safe level'. how would you know that?
Whatever you do, do NOT add more refrigerant until you find the problem
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Thanks,
I know I had more things to look at, I just didn't know where to start.

I will look around the book to see what else is part of the A/C subsystem. I will probably also have to get a dual-gauge set to check the high side since I only had the equipment to check the low side.

Haven't had any of engine issues yet, and the computer codes seem to be clear. Would this apply even if the car were on the highway most of the time when the A/C kicks off?

I understand what you're saying. Sometimes DIY'ers sometimes make things worse for themselves, but I'd like to think that I fix things way more often than I break them.

I said oil, but I did mean refrigerant. I was confusing air compressor with A/C compressor.

Definitely not! Thanks for your help.
Rob
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engage the clutch. I thought Ford had addressed that problem. I'm telling you this--NOT for you to go out immediately and try--but only in order to test as a last resort. On the earlier ones, I'd verify the low voltage was the problem by running a spring-return ON-OFF switch (like an add-on horn switch), protected by a fuse, with a substantially larger wire than the factory one that carried current to the clutch. Once it was momentarily pressed it would engage the clutch which would then cool until time for it to cycle again--when system called for re-engagement, it would fail to do so. Re-pressing the switch & finding it to engage & cool again for another cycle pin-pointed the problem. HTH & good luck, sdlomi2
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