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Service the A/C myself?

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Old 06-11-2013, 05:17 AM   #1
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Service the A/C myself?

It was 100 deg F outside the other day and the air temp coming out of the
vent was only 85. I bought the truck recently (base 2003 Tacoma 4 cylinder) and don't know the history of the A/C maintenance.

When servicing the A/C, can you just add more refrigerant? or does the system need to be vacuumed and then refrigerant added?

I'm pretty mechanical, and think I could take on this project if I get a proper set of gauges. Or is this something best left to the professional.

I do want to do it right, and not cut corners.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:40 AM   #2
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If you want it fixed RIGHT, don't try to fill it on your own. All AC work should be done by a pro with the right equipment. Before you do ANY of that stuff though, do all of the basic checks first. Is your engine fan operating properly? Do you have any dirt or debris that could be blocking the condensor and/or radiator that would limit the airflow through it? Is your cabin air filter dirty/blocked? Mind if I ask how you verified the vent temp, and how long your engine was running when you tested it?
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:51 AM   #3
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Yeah freon charging itself requires some pretty specialized equipment (I've been told those DIY bottles at O'Reilly are just Propane, haven't ever really looked into it)

But like ^he said there's lots of stuff you can check yourself before you resort to taking it in for a recharge.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:37 AM   #4
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The FSM has some great information on diagnosing symptoms.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:42 AM   #6
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Just a little FYI, we don't use "freon" any longer. Freon was the generic term for the old R-12 stuff. It is just called refrigerant, or R134a now. Of course you know how things go, names stick with stuff. lol.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:35 AM   #7
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While the AC is running, at idle in the garage, check the little sight-glass behind the grill. While the compressor is engaged, if you see bubbles, then it is low on 'freon'. If you see nothing, then its either full or empty.

Since you just bought it, it may have a leak that the previous owner did not want to throw money at. A pro has special detectors that can pin-point the leak.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:25 PM   #8
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Thanks for the troubleshooting ideas. I'll try them

thanks Bamatoy 1997. My dad died years ago, but he used to be an a/c expert and had the whole setup for R12. I checked the vent temp with a gauge he had for this purpose. The truck's a/c was running for about 20 minutes. After 5 minutes of running I figured the vent temp might still come down some, but it didn't come down much after that.

I don't think my 2003 has a cabin filter, but please let me know if I am wrong.

I'm pretty decent technically, and most places around here want a hundred bucks or so to fill the a/c. Sounds high to me. For that price, I might be able to get some good gauges and do it myself. Or is this really best left to the professional?

What would be a reasonable price to top of the refrigerant, if that is all that is needed?
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:32 PM   #9
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I threw a can of r134 from the auto parts store in my 1st gen a year or so ago and it helped but definitely didn't bring it back to the original. Its good enough for me and was less than 20 bucks.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:38 AM   #10
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Hmm, learn something every day huh? I thought all those were just different forms of freon.
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