air conditioning help needed

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by buckmeister2, May 14, 2013.

  1. buckmeister2

    buckmeister2 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    Folks, I am on a really tight budget, which is why I am asking here, instead of paying $19.95 for a diagnosis that I might not trust. My A/C blows, but not cold, or cool. I bought a can of refrigerant with a gauge, and charged it. It was struggling to get into the green, and once it did, it cycled on for just a couple seconds until the charge fell into the red. So, I know I have a leak. What is the next step?

    Is there a leak stopper that might work? I realize there may be something larger wrong with the system, but before I spend the bucks for repair, I would like to find out if it is something I can do myself. To repeat, the compressor would cycle on briefly, but only for a few seconds, after which it fell into the red zone on the gauge.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can give me. If "see a repairman" is the best you can come up with, I understand.

    jim, las vegas
  2. RayVoy

    RayVoy Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Sometimes, you can see the leak if you follow the AC lines.

    After you charged the system, did you see any puddles on the floor/ground?

    What kind of vehicle are we fixing, does it have a rear system?
  3. bazar01

    bazar01 Rockstar 100 Posts

    Your next step is to find the leak. Get a refrigerant with a dye and UV flashlight. You will find the leak even if it is from the evaporator that is located under the dash..
  4. Conlan Rose

    Conlan Rose Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    ^^^ Best advice. Or see a mechanic that can vacuum check the system and re charge it. They will automatically add the dye to see if there is a leak. I think it only cost me $120ish for it all. Then a month later have them check to see if there are leaks with the light.
  5. shibby2oo8

    shibby2oo8 Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    If you are losing a charge that fast its not going to be cheap. The accumulator is toast by now with all the moisture in the system. Unless it is one of the charging valves its prob a good idea to forget it. Also if the charge dropped after it cycled its prob a high side leak in the condensor.
  6. buckmeister2

    buckmeister2 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    "Unless it is one of the charging valves its prob a good idea to forget it"...I am sure that is probably good advice. But, with 100 days over 100 degrees, and many over 110, no a/c is a ***** to drive in. Thanks for the info, and I will see what can be done.

    I thought the vehicle type would be in my is a 2001 silvy 1500 5.3 LT.

  7. shibby2oo8

    shibby2oo8 Member 2 Years 100 Posts

    My guess being in dry vegas you prob picked something up with the condensor, you can check it over by looking through the grille. Any spots that lost paint check close bc odds are if its big enough there is prob a leak there. If you can find some one to suck it down and charge it you can replace all that stuff its just they will prob charge you $125 to do that then you still have to fix it which is why i said that. Also how long does the air stay cool when you try to charge it? It takes about 3.5 cans to fill from empty if i am remembering right.
  8. j cat

    j cat Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    with the age of the vehicle the leak could be anywhere. the compressor seals could be blown [this occurred to my 1996 Impala last year] good chance its the condenser coils in front or the lines.

    wipe down the joints and any dirty areas that is ac component with mineral spirits to remove dirt/dust/oil. then add the refrigerent dye and with the dye light see where its showing.

    it is possible the evap could be leaking but not all that common since it is protected inside the fan box.

    finding the leak may just be an O ring. perhaps a loose fitting. or like my 1996 the compressor body seals failed. since I know this stuff it cost 350 USD to fix . since you do not know or have the proper tools a compressor will cost you about 800 USD or so to replace with new. in any case a ac repair shop out your way has alot of experience doing this and my 800 USD maybe alittle high since out here it is more expensive and harder to find a good well experienced shop.
  9. bazar01

    bazar01 Rockstar 100 Posts

    All good advise.

    When my 2001 Suburban a/c started blowing warm air. I opened the hood and started looking t the visible fittings on the passenger side. One thing that caught my attention was the thick accumulation of oil and dust along the accumulator mounted a/c cycling switch. Easy fix. I unscrewed it and found a leaky threaded connection due to a failed o-ring. I did not loose any refrigerant when I took it out. Replaced the o-ring, installed the pressure switch back, hook up the gauge manifold and checked the system pressures. System pressures were on the low side because of the leakage. Instead of guessing the quantity to refill, I vacuumed the whole system, then recharged with the correct weight based on the a/c decal under the hood. 1 year now and it is till cooling.

    But if you lost the charge that quick, it has a big leak. Big leaks will show as wet oily spots on the surface of the components. as suggested, check the condenser coils behind the front grill.

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