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TDIfor June 7th, 2006 05:57

How to tell when A/C needs recharge?

A GTG is happening in my area in a couple of weeks,and I have been pondering my A/C.

'02 NB 92K miles.

Bought it used when it was a year old, so Im assuming nothing has been done with the A/C. I have not touched it since I have had it.

It is blowing cool, OK, but not cold. Im wondering, if after 4 years, it may need a recharge, and if so, do I need some magical VW spec 88339495DF4377V22$$3.010002020 refridgerant?

How do I tell if the A/C is low?

How complex is the procedure for a recharge if needed?

Is this something feasible to do during a GTG?



cage June 7th, 2006 11:34

Well here's my story...
My car was no longer blowing very cool. I bought a charging kit with gague from k-mart. Hooked it up and it said OK so I didn't add any. I then took it into the garage and told them it wasn't low so maybe the expansion valve was bad. They called me and said that they added freon and everything is good. ($80.00) If only I would have just added to begin with!
My advise... go get a kit and try adding some. If you over fill (not that I am saying you should over fill it.) but if you do there is a blow off valve on the pump that will vent excess.
Oh and yes they do lose charge over time. That's a big part of the reson cars require the newer freon. All the connections along with flex lines ect... cause leaks that home air and refrigerations units don't have.

TDIfor June 7th, 2006 11:59

Uhhh... never having tried this before... just WHAT do i get? Freon isnt used anymore, is it? And does the VW take the standard fittings that I once used on my cousin-in-law's '68 Mustang? this being the limit of my experience.

Oh,and were does stuff connect? Rather like the old Bill Cosby routine when he bought a new sports car and couldnt find the filler cap, he proposed to spray the gas all over the car and maybe it would suck in somewhere....

CountryBoy June 7th, 2006 12:09

I believe the new stuff is called R134a.

TDIfor June 7th, 2006 12:13

Sounds right. One size fits all for the fittings? If I get a standard recharge kit from a parts store, it has the bits and pieces I need??


gtveloce June 7th, 2006 12:15

R134a system has different fittings than R12.

Part stores should sell a kit that has the R134a in a spray can like container and the hose that let you hook it up to the system.
You will see two caps inside the engine bay, one is HIGH, one is LOW - refer to the instruction manual that come with the recharge kit.
I think I paid $30 for my kit, with a pressure gauage built in. which let you check if your system is low or not, and whether you filled it up correctly.

gtveloce June 7th, 2006 12:16

I think the HIGH (pressure) and LOW (pressure) fittings are different too - so you won't put the recharge kit on the wrong side.
IIRC, they are industry standard size so all cars have the same size fittings (Honda, VW, Toyota, etc - as long as they are R134a)

The kit I bought had everything I needed. Just make sure to read the instructions.

cage June 7th, 2006 13:33

Yeah I call it freon. SORRY!!!! I also call tissues Kleenex!!!! :-)
One thing you won't want is the "freon" with the oil. It is the gas that escapes and the oil stays behind. Getting the one with both will lower the efficency of the system as you will then have too much oil in there.

cage June 7th, 2006 13:37

If all you can find is the one with the oil it isn't the end of the world so don't kill yourself trying to find it.

TDIfor June 7th, 2006 14:08


Sounds like a good activity for the GTG!


PDJetta June 7th, 2006 14:22

The only way to accurately charge the system is to completely evacuate the system, pull a vacuum and meter in (with an electronic referigerant scale) the exact weight of the charge. Its not a DIY job.

With that said, I bought one of those R-134a kits at the auto parts store and got a Nissan Maxima A/C system filled and blowing nice cold air again. I knew the system took 28 ounces and I put in the refrigerant until the air got cold and then a little more, about 2/3 of a 14 ounce can.

You charge from the LOW, or suction side!


cage June 7th, 2006 14:59

PD that's true about the accurage way but years ago I had a hose go bad on my Dodge's AC and replaced it myself. I then had a friend of a friend who was an "H.V.A.C. guy" refill it for me. I watched as he watched the gagues and weight etc then PASSSSSTTTT the compressor safety valve let loose and he stopped filling it. :-) (so much for an expert doing it for you.)
I had better AC in that car than it ever did after that and I bought the car brand new.

rperks June 8th, 2006 18:19

I just did this with the $20 wallmart solution, and realized what I had been missing. The AC is cold as ice again, it only took a couple of minutes. And I had thought it had been my imagination for the last 2 years that hings were getting warmer.


gtveloce June 12th, 2006 11:34


Originally Posted by rperks
It had been my imagination for the last 2 years that hings were getting warmer.


Global warming... :D

bjmarler June 13th, 2006 17:19

When you add the can of refrigerant, does the can sit upright, or upside down?

The reason I ask is that different products at Wal-Mart have different instructions. So, I was wondering about the "basic" can of R134, and what orientation it should be pointed while charging the system?

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