Released refrigerant from a bolt on the AC compressor

pontiac
montana

#1

I was trying to unmount the air conditioning compressor. Much to my alarm, refrigerant starting hissing out quickly… wrong bolt.

Should I worry about this bolt sealing the refrigerant properly after loosening it? How much refrigerant can the system stand to lose?


#2

Usually the AC system will have a refrigerant pressure switch that prevents the compressor clutch from engaging if the pressure gets too low. This prevents the compressor from being damaged in case of refrigerant loss.

No way to tell how much refrigerant you lost. Just retighten the bolt and keep driving. As long as the compressor runs and cold air is coming out if the vents, the system is working. When the refrigerant eventually leaks out (as it always does, slowly, over years) the compressor clutch will stop engaging and you won’t get any cold air. Then you will need to refill the refrigerant. If you’re lucky you still have a few years left.


#3

Measuring the air from the vent with a thermometer, it was reading a high, 65F/18C. Assuming the refrigerant was low, I set out to add some. But it actually was a touch on the high side… 50psi with an ambient temperature of 90F/32C.

So I guess it was actually significantly high before.


#4

Just buy yourself a can of refrigerant with an attached gauge for $20-25. Hock it up and follow instructions. The gauge will show you whether or not you need to top off with freon. Or… you can purchase a $50 to $200 manifold gauge set and check the level of freon in your system. The $20-25 is the cheaper and quicker solution.