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Old 08-02-2021, 12:58 PM   #1
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How to recharge Dash Air

I have had issues with my Dash Air unit ever since I bought it 4 years ago. It never works for more than 8 months. The first time I took it in they replaced the compressor, condensor and dryer. Next time the compressor failed and it was replaced under warranty. Next time a leak but they couldn't find it so put marking dye in. Never found it for 8 months . The last 2 times I took it in they said the shrader valves were leaking and replaced and recharged for $350.

I've taken it to 2 different repair shops over the years.


So now I'm going to learn how to recharge the system myself. I've never done that so any guidance would be much appreciated. I'm going to replace the shrader valves since I suspect that may be the issue again. How do I determine if and where a leak could be?
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Old 08-02-2021, 01:09 PM   #2
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You will need a set of gauges from HF. If all of the freon is gone you could use air pressure and then search for bubbles. I've used this method to verify that a compressor was bad. Good luck and I can't blame you for wanting to know more about this yourself. Hard to find honest, competent workers.

If you open system you will definately need a vacuum pump. Moisture is bad for the system and it won't work right.

Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2021, 01:14 PM   #3
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If you remove schrader valves and open the system, you may need to vacuum it down. Remember that oil will be needed for the recharge
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Old 08-02-2021, 01:27 PM   #4
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If you blow air into the system it should be air after a good dryer. Like said above moisture is bad for the system functioning correctly. You will need gauges, vacuum pump and refrigerant along with safety glasses. A leak detector would be easier and more accurate than soap bubbles. Leak can be so small it will not make a bubble but loose refrigerant over many months of time.
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Old 08-02-2021, 02:14 PM   #5
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Careful with air pressure looking for leaks. If you get above the low pressure switch the compressor will run without oil and could be damaged. Some will run when set to defrost not just when you select AC.
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Old 08-02-2021, 04:00 PM   #6
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You can borrow gauges from O’Reilly’s. Go to the Evans Tempcon site and you will find the specs for correct pressure. You can buy a Freon sniffer on Amazon to detect the leak.
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Old 08-02-2021, 04:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I have had issues with my Dash Air unit ever since I bought it 4 years ago. It never works for more than 8 months. The first time I took it in they replaced the compressor, condensor and dryer. Next time the compressor failed and it was replaced under warranty. Next time a leak but they couldn't find it so put marking dye in. Never found it for 8 months . The last 2 times I took it in they said the shrader valves were leaking and replaced and recharged for $350.

I've taken it to 2 different repair shops over the years.


So now I'm going to learn how to recharge the system myself. I've never done that so any guidance would be much appreciated. I'm going to replace the shrader valves since I suspect that may be the issue again. How do I determine if and where a leak could be?
Tim,
I feel your pain. I too have been through a couple of service centers for the dash air in our '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the CAT C-7 330HP. And, like you, they keep wanting to replace parts and re-charge, usually to the tune of $300 or more, each time. Well, mine lasts only the first day of a trip, then, the next day, IT'S WARM!

So, I too have decided to take on the task of at least recharging my own system until I can figure out just what I need to research a leak or problem with our system.

Automotive air conditioning is a complex system. Not only that but, the outside ambient temp and humidity plays a part in charging and recharging a system. There is, for the most part, a HIGH PRESSURE SIDE, and a LOW PRESSURE SIDE in these systems. The method of charging is technical but, not rocket science.

One of the best things you can do is cruise on over to youtube and look up Freightliner chassis A/C charging. There you will find plenty of examples on procedures and methods. You will, as has been suggested, need to purchase some equipment. I looked on Amazon and there's tons and tons of what's needed there. But, I took the easy way out and cruised down to our local Harbor Freight tool store.

There I picked up a brand new set of A/C charge gauges with hoses etc. I also picked up one of their vacuum pumps, the lower cost one since it will do the trick for my application. One more thing that I needed was not in the gauge kit from Harbor Freight was what's called a "Can Tap". H/F sells that item seperately. It's what's needed to connect todays self-sealing R134 cans to the yellow hose you'll be using with your new kit.

Now, when a system has depleted itself of all refrigerant, it often also *leaks in* outside air which, contains MOISTURE! Moisture, as has been stated, is not good for the operation of the A/C system. Sooooooo, this is why a VACUUM pump is needed in prep for charging your system.

If you purchase the two H/F components I have, the operation instructions will be right there in the kit. And, also as stated, Youtube is a good friend here. Watch one or two, at least a couple of times to get the basic picture of the operations.

Now, just because you purchase equipment needed to basically bring your A/C system back to life, doesn't mean it's gonna stay working correctly. YOU, like ME, HAVE A PROBLEM with our systems, which is why we're talking here. And locating a leak, in my case, 36' of motorhome and your case, 40' of motorhome hoses and fittings, is not an easy task.

When it comes to purchasing R134A refrigerant, you can buy it all day long in multiple places, in smaller quantities like 12 oz. cans, including one of the cheapest sources, Walmart, for around $4.88 a 12 oz. can. But, you and I, cannot purchase it in BULK form, with a large container, due to the fact that we're not licensed A/C techs with the correct badging and tech numbers. Soooooo, I pick all mine up at Walmart.
Scott
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Old 08-02-2021, 04:45 PM   #8
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Remember that oil will be needed for the recharge
Be careful there! Adding oil is a BAD thing to do unless replacing lost oil. Extra oil fills the condenser and reduces efficiency.
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Old 08-02-2021, 05:43 PM   #9
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Shrader valves shouldn't leak 3 times in a row. Sounds like go to answer twice now, that they actually fixed your problem/leaks and off you go. They make special fixture/tool to replace them without loosing much Freon. Did either place add UV dye to maybe help locate leak.
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Old 08-02-2021, 05:43 PM   #10
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Buy yourself a automotive a/c repair book.. any online or auro parts store.. the auto parts store will loan you a vac pump free.. good luck and let us know what you did and maybe better members then me will help you
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Old 08-03-2021, 06:23 AM   #11
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Thanks guys, yes dye has been tried and the first place that did it, they could not find the leak. That lasted about 8 months. The next place replaced a schrader valve. They found it leaking with a sniffer.



So I'm off to you tube and then Harbor Freight. I'll be back.
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Old 08-03-2021, 07:45 AM   #12
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Be careful there! Adding oil is a BAD thing to do unless replacing lost oil. Extra oil fills the condenser and reduces efficiency.
Thank you for that. Do Not Add Oil unless you've flushed or replaced parts on your system.
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Old 08-03-2021, 07:53 AM   #13
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I had a slow leak...and then one day the compressor failed.
No one would do the work for less than $4000....so I did it all myself.
Replaced dryer, condenser, compressor etc and flushed the system correctly. Added appropriate amounts of PAG oil.
After all was done....had cold air but there was still a leak after some months.
Tried UV dye...never could find the leak. Looked multiple times even before compressor failed.

I finally was at wits end as the leak got worse and was holding only about a month. Three cans of Red Angel stop leak was the fix. The system held for a year now. Some say don't use stop leak...but the alternative was going to be expensive. Just sayin'.

FYI a good system flush is a good idea. And condenser's can't be flushed I'm told as passages are too small...so replacement is best. Coldhose.com has flush kits and condensers at good prices.

Best of luck in your repairs.
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Old 08-03-2021, 04:24 PM   #14
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Sounds like you’ve had bad luck with a/c shops. Any reputable shop should be able to pinpoint a leak with a Freon sniffer. The previous owner of my Coach didn’t use the dash a/c because it was “broken”. Our giant windshield lets in a Ton of heat.
My first attempt to fix it was to put a can of Freon in. The compressor started turning an a little cool air started to flow. I popped on a second can and hit the road. (There are NO moving parts in front of the radiator). A/C got cooler and cooler. At our first rest break I checked the can and it was hot to the touch (empty). I pulled of the quick connect, put the cap back on and tossed the can into storage. (The second can had leak detector and stop leak in it too. It’s been working great ever since.
Here’s some photos of the dye. Not sure why they’re sideways:
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