Hi, I have a 97 Civic EX. Recently my A/C stopped pumping out cold air, it
was just hot air as a matter of fact. I went to Target and bought a can of
Artic Ice R-134 coolant that had the hose and gauge already built in. I
followed instructions exactly. Hooked it up to the low side line, squeezed
the trigger, and then nothing. My car isn't sucking this stuff in. What do
I need to do? My step-dad is a mechanic and he said I might have to do
something with the receiver/drier, but I have no idea where that is or what
to do with it.
If it's set for COLD air but was blowing HOT air, you should figure that
out first, rather than monkeying with the refrigerant.
Are the selector buttons causing the various actuator motors to move the
I agree with Curly. R-134a systems are even less forgiving of blind
additions of refrigerant than the old R-12 systems were. At least on those
you often had a sight glass, and failing that a set of guages gave you all
the info you needed to get in the ballpark. Not taking in the refrigerant
makes me think the compressor isn't engaging... which is in itself a symptom
of all sorts of A/C possible problems.
Count your blessings that it didn't take on more charge. If your charge was
very low (especially in a car that is only 10 years old) you have a leak
that needs to be repaired before your A/C will give you decent service.
Anyway, I've learned my lesson. In the days of R-12 I'd do it all myself,
but R-134a is just too spooky for my talents. I will do the troubleshooting
to determine if the problem points to the "charge" (the amount of
refrigerant) and if that's where the problem is I take it to a pro. It's
cheaper in the long run. An A/C professional will be able to find the
problem very quickly even if it isn't the charge, but when I have more time
than money I at least like to hunt down the device responsible for the A/C
It is a lot easier to determine the charge today than in R-12 days. All you
need is the $20 gauge which he has. Connect it on the low pressure line and
look at the gauge. It has a blue area around 40 psi. If the needle is in the
blue area with the compressor running the charge is ok and you need to look
elsewhere. Taking it to a garage is not a finite fix as most know very
little about the system and will add many items that aren't broken. If you
take it to a garage to be fixed make sure it is one that specializes in air
conditioning. As for the initiator of this forum he needs to find an AC
specialist because he does not understand the ac system and hasn't taken the
time to learn the skills needed to do what he is trying.
I disagree with the part about it being a DIY job by anybody but a trained
reefer man. I never had any trouble with R-12 and could fill by guages,
sight guage or "by ear." When we tried filling my son's Integra with the
bottle and guage the guage never came near the blue zone, even though the
outside temperature was mild, we spent about half an hour to allow the
system to stabilize, and we went through the proper fill somewhere in that
time. We ended up with the system overcharged and we could here the
compressor complain as liquid hit it - a sure sign of serious overcharge -
so I told him to keep it off until a professional could fix it. Running it
that way can "slug" the compressor, damaging of destroying it. I had been
told many times that R-134a can only be properly charged by evacuating and
adding a measured amount of refrigerant, and now I believe it. BTW - a
single guage was never adequate for R-12, either. The high side and low side
pressures were important for getting in the ballpark, and only a measurement
of the temperature of the suction line combined with a measurement of the
low side pressure (a measure of the superheat) gave a true indication of the
I do certainly agree that taking it to a pro is probably the cheapest way in
this situation. I was chagrined to find that regulations and the difficulty
of working with R-134a have driven most garages
out of the refrigeration business.
This may sound stupid..but look at the center pin of the connector
usually blue that you connect to the fitting on the AC line. I bet the
little steel pin is missing from the center of your plastic connector.
Probably fell off while you were transporting the refrigerant. It
happened to me......
"The only way to have a friend is to be one".
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-
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