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Old 06-05-2016, 10:04 AM   #1
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Dash A/C Recharge

While fiddling with my dash blower recently I discovered that the air wasn't as cool as it had been a week ago.

Checked the compressor and determined that the clutch was not engaging.

Recharged the system yesterday afternoon while ambient air temp was about 103 F.

With no air flow across the condenser the lowest temp at the dash registers was 67 while holding engine at 1800 rpm.

Took a 20 mile drive at hiway speed with the genset running and roof air on.

With dash air set on recirculate the outlet temp got down to 47 F.

Is that as good as it will get?

I had removed engine coolant hoses from the heater core and looped them together. So there was no engine heat in the air flow.

Thanks for any info or suggestions.
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Old 06-05-2016, 12:27 PM   #2
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I'd say a 57 drop (from 103 to 47) is about as much as you can expect.

You said you recharged the system. Did you just add R134a from a can with only one gauge? Older R12 systems had a sight glass, you could add refrigerant until bubbles stopped flowing past the glass. Newer R134a systems don't have a sight glass, you really should hook up a complete manifold set of gauges to monitor pressures as you add refrigerant. These systems are more critical, unless you have the proper amount in it it will not operate at peak efficiency. Too much is almost as bad as too little.
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Old 06-05-2016, 03:56 PM   #3
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I had my system recharged last year and the best it would do was in the high 40s with temps outside in the low 90s.
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:06 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmcgene View Post
While fiddling with my dash blower recently I discovered that the air wasn't as cool as it had been a week ago.

Checked the compressor and determined that the clutch was not engaging.

Recharged the system yesterday afternoon while ambient air temp was about 103 F.

With no air flow across the condenser the lowest temp at the dash registers was 67 while holding engine at 1800 rpm.

Took a 20 mile drive at hiway speed with the genset running and roof air on.

With dash air set on recirculate the outlet temp got down to 47 F.

Is that as good as it will get?

I had removed engine coolant hoses from the heater core and looped them together. So there was no engine heat in the air flow.

Thanks for any info or suggestions.
That's actually pretty good. Measure the inside air temp (the lowest temp inside with the roof air running), set the dash air on coldest and recirc, measure the dash air output ... should be about 20 degree differential. In other words, if you can get the inside to 70 degrees with roof air, the dash air at the vent will be "about" 50 degrees. You are dealing with a huge volume of inside air compared to a car.
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Old 06-05-2016, 04:55 PM   #5
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Great input from Bruceisla, I am not an expert on auto A/C by any measure but have learned over time that a filler hose and a can of 134a isn't going to get you far on diagnosing an A/C issue. Working on my 03 Alpine, I have learned a few things--many of them the hard way:
1-if you have an 03 or older Alpine, you are dealing with a wax valve engine fan controller--under most conditions, you will need a large house fan on the condenser or a water mist to get adequate cooling if the coach is parked and at idle. [helps us by indicating what model and year Alpine you have.]

2- without a full manifold set to measure high and low 134a pressures, you will be guessing [all Alpines use 134a]

3- differential for inside ambient air is about 20-25 degrees, so if its 90 inside your coach, the best you should see is about 70 at the vent. If its 70 with the roof airs on, then about 50. This assumes you are in recirc mode and not pulling in outside air. Outside air temps will drive up 134a pressures so keep an approved temp vs pressure chart handy.

4- the air volume to be cooled in a coach is huge compared to a car--never mind the heat sink on a 35 or 40 ft of coach. So comparisons to your auto A/C's performance are limited.

5- Once you get the dash A/C working properly--you can: a-consider adding electric fans and/or moving your condenser coil to cooler airflow [for wax valve config]; and b-for extreme outside temps over 95 or 100, hang a nice designer shower curtain behind the driver/passenger seats to minimize the air volume in the front cab area that has to be cooled.
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:34 AM   #6
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The a/c compressor clutch on my '05 isn't engaging. I don't really know anything about a/c. I can't find a fuse for the compressor, looked behind panel in front of passenger seat and under driver side. Also looked on the firewall behind the generator slide. Can't find a fuse panel.

I read these other posts about a/c charging and I'm a little confused...again!!
Shouldn't the compressor clutch engage regardless of the charge? It's been a while since I used the a/c and can't remember if it was blowing cold or not. Too many other things to take care of and now getting to some of the smaller issues.

Thanks
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:47 AM   #7
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25-40 degree temperature differential (air entering the evaporator to air exiting evaporator) is normal.

Here is a nice chart from Evans

Evans Tempcon, Inc



CLUTCH NOT ENGAGING:

The A/C system is charged with pressurized liquid coolant. Just sitting there, with the compressor not running, the system will have pressure, (Almost exactly like your LP system)

Most systems have a pressure switch installed that monitors this ambient pressure. If the pressure drops below a certain value, you can safely assume that there is no longer any liquid coolant in the system and the clutch will not engage. This is designed to protect the compressor and other components.

Here is a temperature / pressure chart for R134

http://emea.forane.com/export/shared...ture-chart.pdf
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:59 AM   #8
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Shouldn't the compressor clutch engage regardless of the charge?
Terry,
In a word, OH HAIL NO!! The ac system has a pressure switch in the accumulator to protect the compressor from running with no charge. The charge contains Freon and compressor oil. The accumulator is about the size of a travel coffee mug and is between the condenser and the compressor. The pressure switch is screwed into the side of the accumulator and has a two wire plug. Pull the plug and jumper across the plug, start the motor and turn on the ac, the compressor should kick on if the switch is sensing a pressure problem, or if the switch itself (unlikely) is bad and the pressures are good. Don't run the compressor long in this config, you will damage the compressor.
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry W View Post
The a/c compressor clutch on my '05 isn't engaging. I don't really know anything about a/c. I can't find a fuse for the compressor, looked behind panel in front of passenger seat and under driver side. Also looked on the firewall behind the generator slide. Can't find a fuse panel.

I read these other posts about a/c charging and I'm a little confused...again!!
Shouldn't the compressor clutch engage regardless of the charge? It's been a while since I used the a/c and can't remember if it was blowing cold or not. Too many other things to take care of and now getting to some of the smaller issues.

Thanks
It very likely the system is low on refrigerant and needs recharging. This could be checked by seeing if the low pressure switch has 12 v going to it but it isn't passing it on. As I said in an earlier post, unless you have a manifold set to monitor pressures, adding refrigerant is an iffy thing. In addition, it doesn't correct the leak that caused the low pressure that caused the problem. Call around to local auto A/C shops, the system is the same.
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Old 06-10-2016, 10:18 AM   #10
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thanks guys, at least i have a starting point, chances are the charge is low, out on the road for a couple more weeks and will probably wait and address at home.

terry
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Old 06-12-2016, 06:06 PM   #11
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Does any one have a part number for the a/c compressor used on the 1998 Alpines?

Are the refrigerant hoses one piece between the compressor, evaporator, dryer, and condenser or are there other connections or joints in the hoses running front to rear?
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Old 06-22-2016, 03:56 PM   #12
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Ideally one should pump down the system and add the correct amount of 134a and oil rather than using gauge readings. I am in that position of installing a new compressor and dryer and cannot find the amount of refrigerant and oil for a 2004 Alpine. Anyone have that info?
The amount of 134a is much more critical than freon but a full set of manifold gauges are a good fallback over guessing. Osteoflyte
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:09 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by osteoflyte View Post
Ideally one should pump down the system and add the correct amount of 134a and oil rather than using gauge readings. I am in that position of installing a new compressor and dryer and cannot find the amount of refrigerant and oil for a 2004 Alpine. Anyone have that info?
The amount of 134a is much more critical than freon but a full set of manifold gauges are a good fallback over guessing. Osteoflyte
The amount of oil in most vehicle A/C systems is only about 1 fluid ounce. Many new or remanufactured compressors come filled with the proper amount of oil of the specific type for that compressor. Since you're replacing the receiver/dryer with the compressor, the amount of oil left in the hoses, condenser and evaporator is usually left than 1/2 an ounce. When you have the system open you could blow out the excess oil with an air compressor.
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:22 AM   #14
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I have a 01 Alpine just recharged the AC and had to run water on the coil to keep the high side pressure down around 175-200 psi. So my question is has anyone hooked up a manual bypass / override switch on the cooling fan? If you got into slow traffic you could flip on override and keep your AC working properly.
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