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DIY Aircon top up.

Discussion in 'Car Repairs / Maintenance' started by Mottie, 8 Jun 2021.

  1. Mottie

    Mottie

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    So, with the hot weather we're having, our old Golf is struggling to get cool inside so rather than pay £60+ for a top up, I decided to take a chance and DIY it. We've had the Golf 8 years and it’s never been topped up. Went to Halfords and bought a bottle of gas and a trigger and digital gauge which came to £72 with my trade card. Would have cost £90 without. Cheaper gauges and gas cans are available if you shop around and are prepared to wait for delivery. Anyway, I came out of the store, connected it all up, followed the instructions on the gauge and I was on my way less than 10 minutes later with the car blowing nice cool air. I used approximately one third of the bottle of gas, so still have enough for another couple of top ups. :)


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  3. Stivino

    Stivino

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    I've done that many times, it works a treat. I used to have an old Meriva that need a we top up every six months. I used to just give it gas until the compressor kicked in, then a wee bit more for good luck.
    Last year I replaced the condensor on my mate's Peugeot RCZ and I used Halfords gas, it's still working perfectly.
    I had a burst pipe in my Avensis in February. I did an unconventional repair on it using an 8mm compression fitting and it's still going strong.
    I weighed the can of gas before I started gassing it up, so that I knew how much I had put in.
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  4. norseman

    norseman

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    I've though above this action myself, but if the system is re-gassed at a garage some of the gas is recovered so is the DIY approach as efficient?
    Our 23yr. old 5 series has just been done & the print-out shows 230g recovered & 760g injected.
    Is there a difference in price between the two gases ie pre'97 (ish) & the later R134a ?
     
  5. Mottie

    Mottie

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    I’m not sure although when they do it at a garage, the machine recovers the gas and holds the system under vacuum for a while to check for leaks. It then refills to the exact amount with gas and lubricant. The gas I used includes a lubricant too. I suspect in most cases where just a top up is required, the vacuum test/print out is just a bit of time wasting/smoke and mirrors to justify the price charged. Maybe needed if you have some repair work done but for just a little top up, a bit unnecessary for most. I think our Golf's top up was its first in 13 years.
     
  6. sxturbo

    sxturbo

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    I've found the machines to be inaccurate in the past and most garages don't actually understand what they are doing with the equipment.

    Had my Audi gassed twice in as many years, we thought there was a leak although the garage said there wasn't, so took it to an a/c specialist confirmed there was no leaks, he carried a a basic service on the a/c, clean orifice tube, and topnup oil in compressor, 5 years later never needed topping up further.

    The DIY approach is a good option, but not sure how much cheaper it is than getting a garage to do it.

    @Stivino my nissan pipe has a hole in and I thought about doing something similar, I'll do that now
     
  7. Mottie

    Mottie

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    Well, excluding the cost of the gauge (£22 trade, cheaper ones available but none in stock when I went there) the gas works out at £50 for the canister including £10 deposit so £40 in reality. I should be able to get at least three top ups out of it so not too bad in the long run.
     
  8. cdbe

    cdbe

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    I'm inspired to have a go, there's a similar STP set up on ebay but with an analogue gauge. I think it said you can only get the bottle refund if you return it within 3 months, obviously no good if you're keeping for topping up.

    There does seem to be a lot of misinformation and confusion between topping up what has escaped past the seals over 10 years and repairing a broken system.
     
  9. Nozzle

    Nozzle

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    An AC looses it gas because it has a leak. The leak needs repairing, or the gas will continue to leak and continue to damage the environment. A garage will reclaim the gas then do a vacuum test of the system to check it is secure - and should not just bang more gas in it

    Nozzle
     
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  11. Stivino

    Stivino

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    I returned two bottles to Halfords at the same time. They didn't say a word and I got £20 off the price of my gas.
    One of the bottles I returned had been in my man cave for years.
    I see Halfords also offer a FREE check. That could be useful because if it turns out you have a serious leak, it will be their gas, money, and time that is wasted.
    You don't want to start putting gas in there to find out that you have a big leak.
     
    Last edited: 11 Jun 2021 at 11:16 AM
  12. Mottie

    Mottie

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    Actually, as I was leaving the store (not one that does car repairs but fits bulbs, batteries and wiper blades etc) I did see two bottles of the same gas, one with an analogue gauge by the exit door which the bulb changers had obviously been using. I wonder if they do a top up instead of a full regas?
     
  13. Stivino

    Stivino

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    It would be interesting to know just what they are going to do and for how much.
    Looking at their website, I’m still not 100% sure.
     
  14. Captain Nemesis

    Captain Nemesis

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    But if you only need one every 10+ years.....
     
  15. Agile

    Agile

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    Do you know what they actually do?

    All I can guess if they are not going to depressurise the system is to use an electronic sensor. But I would not expect any car system to leak enough to detect if it only goes down over years!

    My car only has a very reduced cooling effect and I am reluctant to get it repressurised in case the problem is something else.

    Had one repressurised on a Peugeot 405 a while ago and it made it work very well again. Special offer about £34.
     
  16. Mottie

    Mottie

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    Judjing by the bottle and gauge I saw by the door, I suspect they just check the pressure. If slightly low, I suppose you could ask how much for a quick spurt of gas to bring it up to pressure.
     
  17. mattylad

    mattylad

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    If your car was produced after 2013 then it's more likely that it needs the newer and more expensive gas, the top up canister is £130 at Halfords.
     
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