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Old 09-04-2011, 05:11 PM   #1
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Recapturing Refridgerant Question


Recapturing Refridgerant Question
I'm sorry in advance for this being so long, but I felt it was necessary for a little history first. Here's the deal...

I have a 2002 Mercury Sable with an AC system that will freeze you right out of the car. It has never leaked and the compressor works great; that is not the issue. The AC has run almost constantly since the car was new and the clutch wore out and burnt itself up. It got so hot that it burnt the paint off the clutch hub and smoked the rubber bushings to charcoal! No problem. I bought a new clutch and replaced it and the AC worked great for another week. Now it has started making a horrible grinding noise which I have found to be coming from the drive pulley bearing. The clutch bolt is tight and the pulley wobbles from side to side. The AC still blows ice cold and makes the most noise when the compressor is not engaged. I think what happened is, when the clutch got so hot, it boiled the grease out of the sealed drive pulley bearing.

After studying the manual, I found that the compressor has to be removed from the vehicle to pull the bearing off with a 3 jawed puller. Since I have to break open the system and remove the compressor to repair it, I searched the Internet and got one heck of a deal on a new compressor package for $198. It includes a brand new compressor, bearing, clutch, low pressure hose with accumulator, orifice tube, o-ring kit and 8 oz. of PAG 46 oil. I couldn't pass it up and already have it here with me ready to install.

Now, I would like to recapture the refridgerant and reuse it. I already have an evacuator and an empty 30 lb. 134a refridgerant bottle with a manual valve mounted on it. It has never been opened to atmosphere and I would like to use it as a recovery tank. This finally brings me to my question; why can't I use the accumulator, condenser and compressor already mounted in the car as my recapturing device? If I use my evacuator to pull a vacuum on my recovery tank with a "T" fitting and shut-off valve between the yellow hose from my gauges and the tank (to suck any air from my hose, as well), could I then connect to the high side on the AC system, start the engine and run the compressor to pump the refridgerant into my recovery tank? Won't the accumulator work as an oil seperator, giving me nearly pure refridgerant to my tank? Do I need to worry about over-pressurizing the tank? I don't know what it can handle, but it looks like it could. Most of you AC guys have seen this style of bottle; it looks like a minurature propane tank. Anyone have any insight on this, before I blow myself up?

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Old 09-04-2011, 09:13 PM   #2
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Recapturing Refridgerant Question


I can see this going badly, real quick...since all of your refrigerant leaked out change the drier and compressor, and take it to an auto a/c shop for vac and refill.

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Old 09-04-2011, 10:26 PM   #3
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Recapturing Refridgerant Question


That 134A bottle is not safe to use as a recovery bottle.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Master of Cold View Post
I can see this going badly, real quick...since all of your refrigerant leaked out change the drier and compressor, and take it to an auto a/c shop for vac and refill.
No... there were not any leaks. I have an evacuator, so I can vac it myself.
Don't worry, I decided against it. I had to get something done, so I took it and had the refrigerant recaptured, then back home and started tearing it apart.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:29 PM   #5
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What is an evacuator?
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
That 134A bottle is not safe to use as a recovery bottle.
Yes, thank you, I read that right off the bottle today, which is one of the reasons I decided against it. The bottle looks plenty heavy enough though.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:54 PM   #7
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don't forget to replace the accumulator
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Master of Cold View Post
What is an evacuator?
Also known as a vacuum pump for evacuating air and moisture from a refrigeration unit.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:12 PM   #9
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don't forget to replace the accumulator
Yes, I will. It's included in the kit I purchased.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:24 PM   #10
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Recapturing Refridgerant Question


1 - Recovery the refrigerant. ( use proper recovery cylinder )
2- Repair/change parts
3- Vacuum the system - check for pressure drop
4- Charge the system in the LOW side.
5- add dye kit
6- Do the final leak test with UV light.
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Old 09-04-2011, 11:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JJboy View Post
1 - Recovery the refrigerant. ( use proper recovery cylinder )
2- Repair/change parts
3- Vacuum the system - check for pressure drop
4- Charge the system in the LOW side.
5- add dye kit
6- Do the final leak test with UV light.
Thanks, JJ. I never use dye unless I'm troubleshooting for a leak somewhere. I can usually find a leak without using dye though.

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