I have a 1996 850 that I just bought in November and when I turn on
the A/C it doesn't get cold. I looked at the manual and it called for
a certain type of freon which I couldn't find in Autozone. I was
wondering what do I need to get some cold air blowing? Break this
down like I am an eight year old. I read something about converting
the system over to a r134 whatever that means.
It's time to take it to a refrigeration professional.
The manual indicates your system uses R-12, which is not legally available
to unlicensed people because of our signing on to the Montreal treaty two
decades ago. However, that may not be true; your system may actually use the
newer R-134a. It was made around the time of the changeover, and I thought
all '96s used 134a. Stickers under the hood will tell the truth.
Here's how it boils down. R-12 could be recharged by a moderately
experienced Do-It-Yourselfer. R-134a really can't. DIYers can't get R-12 any
more (and it is shockingly expensive now anyway) and can't make good use of
R-134a. After all that the problem may be something else entirely. A
professional can figure it out.
Your 850 will be new enough that it will use R-134a, at least in the US it
will. I know Volvo switched the 240 series in '91ish so I'm not sure why
they would have stuck with R-12 in other models.
AC is not difficult to work on in a mechanical sense, but you'll need some
special tools and there's a bit of a learning curve. You need to figure out
why the AC isn't working, you can't just add refrigerant willy-nilly and
expect it to work. You have to figure out how much refrigerant is in the
system and then carefully add more if required, the quantity is somewhat
critical in order for the system to operate at anywhere near peak
efficiency. If the system is empty, a leak needs to be fixed, in which case
you also need to replace the reciever/dryer cannister, vacuum down the
system and then charge it.
In a nutshell, if you're not an experienced shadetree mechanic who doesn't
mind scrounging or fabricating some tools, leave the plumbing side of the AC
to a professional beyond measuring the pressure to see if you have anything
resembling a charge in the system. It's possible for there to be electrical
failures such as the pressure cutout switch, clutch, or even a fuse which
can prevent the AC from functioning.
DJ, if you're in the US, the system is already 134. My '93 240 uses
R134. There are a number of things that *could* be wrong with the
system -- fuse, low refrigerant, misgapped compressor clutch, bad
dryer, leaking heater valve, etc.
A decent A/C guy can diagnose this for about $50 with the repair
costing whatever it costs. My '97 850 turns out <40F air at the vent
and some days gets so cold I have to up the heat to keep from being
uncomfortable so it *can* be done -- BTW, I'm in Texas and it tends to
get hot here.
Nothing but Volvo since 1974
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