Let's discuss adding A/C to my 1st gen V8 truck that never had it to begin with..


Bird76Mojo

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I have no room for an electric fan, and my mechanical fan is more than adequate so far. It cools the truck very well. With it now being closer to the radiator, it should be even more efficient than it was before. I run no shroud, and so far it hasn't been needed either.

As for the condenser, I didn't choose it for any other reason than it was the only one that would fit in the limited space I have inside my core support, in front of the radiator. Nothing on this truck is factory anymore, so it limits my choices in certain ways.
 


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Bird76Mojo

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I got all of the hoses crimped, installed and tightened down, and my manifold set and vacuum pump hooked up. It's been running about 15 minutes, and so far it can only pull down to 25 in.hg vacuum. I was skeptical about this little pump, but I'm gonna run it a little longer and see what happens. It could also be the fact that I have it hooked to a long extension cord, which could be lowering the supply voltage to the pump..

Pictures and more info/results to come later tonight..
 

Bird76Mojo

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Well, newbie mistake. I forgot to zero out the manifold gauge set. After I zeroed the low side gauge the best I could, and opened the valves again, the pump was pulling down to around 29in/hg. Acceptable for me.

After about an hour or more, it hasn't leaked down any. I'm going to leave the gauges hooked up overnight to verify there are no leaks. I'll pull vacuum for another 30 minutes or so tomorrow if it hasn't leaked down, just to try to minimize any moisture in the system. I did my best to keep everything sealed up over this entire debacle, and when working on the system, if I opened anything up, I put the sealing caps back on as fast as I could..

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I will say a couple things about the little "Kozyvacu TA350" pump I bought on Amazon. It pulled down to maximum vacuum in less than 5 minutes easily. But i did notice is has a factory defect. The wiring plug has an intermittent connection in it. If you pinch or wiggle the plug, it will shut off. I should return it but I think I'll just cut the end off and install a new plug.

71vNTaz-dzL._SL1500_.jpg



Here are a few pics of the A/C install on my rust bucket. lol

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thumbnail (32).jpg
 

Uncle Gump

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Nice Bird...

Looks like it's time to wire it up.
 

Bird76Mojo

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Yep, that's my next course of action if it hasn't leaked down any. I just checked it again, and so far it hasn't leaked down at all. So, fingers crossed!

If the weather cooperates tomorrow, I'll drag out the cycle switch connector and compressor connector, soldering iron and heat shrink, and hopefully find enough rolls of wire to make the harness. I found a 30ft roll of convoluted plastic loom to cover the harness that I forgot I had. I've got a nice 30 or 40 amp relay with connector and several identical spares that I can keep in the glovebox..

I have to remember to make a trip to Napa to pick up about 3ft of heater hose as well..

Not counting the tools (I never figure that in to overall cost) I'm still under my initial $500 goal, but just barely. Dad even had a case of R134a laying around too, so that's gonna save me quite a bit of cash. I'll need around 4 to 5 cans I think. I ended up using the entire 8oz bottle of refrigerant oil, so fingers crossed on that as well! (remember the Thunderbird used 7oz and the Ranger used 10oz)

So, if everything goes right, I can hopefully have the truck ready to drive again in a couple days or so. Only now it will be in air-conditioned Cadillac-like luxury. :cool:
 

Bird76Mojo

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Well, some not so good news. I went out today and looked at my gauge set and the system had leaked down about 1 or 1.5 in/hg. To about 28 or so. Now, the outside temperature from last night to today has probably changed 35 degrees or maybe more, so I'm wondering if the gauge reading changed because of temperature.. Not the system pressure but the gauge itself. Also, I left the high side valve open and the high side quick connector doesn't quite fit the in-line QD high side fitting like it should. It won't fully snap on.

So, I pulled the vacuum back down again (took about 2 seconds) and now I plan to leave it under vacuum for several days to see if it leaks down or not.. This time I'm leaving the high side valve shut off to eliminate the QD hose end from the equation.

Other than that, it's too damn hot and humid to be doing much on the truck today. I picked up my heater hose and bought a new can piercing valve and adapter for the new self-sealing cans.
 

Uncle Gump

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So… you bought a hose crimper tool? If that is your first go at... those look pretty good... way to go Bird.

If you think you're having issues with the high side quick disconnect... Just take it right off. You can pull vacuum and monitor from the low side. Vacuum will be a constant throughout the system. That will eliminate a leak from the high side disconnect.

How long did you run the vacuum pump? Just until it hit 30 in -hg?
 

Bird76Mojo

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Yeah, I bought a Mastercool manual hose crimper set. A very nice tool. Very easy to use and worked perfectly as far as I can tell. I had to buy one because every single business I called said they couldn't crimp my fittings because they weren't Gates brand, or they couldn't crimp any A/C fittings at all, etc.. Lots of excuses, and lots of ill-informed mechanics that had no idea about Atco/Gates fittings being the exact same specs.



The high side QD port fitting in the hose I made, I'm wondering about it's quality. It's an Atco brand fitting which should be good quality. My Atco fittings came in ATCO/Gates branded parts bags. I just checked and the QD attachment on my gauge set attaches perfectly to my 2001 Ranger's high side port. So it seems like my fitting in the hose I made is out of spec. (I just contacted the Ebay seller to tell them about the fitting being out of spec)

Here's what I've determined so far about the fitting on the high side hose I made:

(this isn't the exact fitting I used, but it shows the QD portion clearly)
Defective High Side port example.jpg


Right now I've got the high side valve closed on my manifold gauge set. It's holding full vacuum so far.

The vacuum pump pulled the system down really quickly, almost instantly, but I let it run for at least 30 minutes. Probably closer to an hour. Before I ever add any refrigerant I plan to run it for another 30 minutes or more..
 
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Uncle Gump

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Right on... I'm sure there is a run time spec. but I remember running the vacuum pump about and hour. I think when the water boils in the system... running the pump will expel the vapor.
 

Bird76Mojo

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I think in all of the reading I've done so far, everyone seemed to recommend running at least a couple vacuum pulls of around an hour each.
 

Bird76Mojo

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Well, I just popped outside real quick to check and the system is holding vacuum for now. It must have been that high side QD port that was leaking. HOPEFULLY. I should know by tomorrow if it has a leak or not..

I also heard back from the Ebay seller that I bought my fittings from and he said he's going to take all of his remaining "splice connector w/ 16mm service port" fittings to Atco and have them checked. He stated that I was the first person to ever report having an issue with his fittings. He wants to call me on Thursday or Friday, and I told him I'd be glad to provide the most accurate measurements I could get with digital calipers.
 

Bird76Mojo

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Well crap. It's leaked down about 1 inHg overnight.

I'm going to leave it for another day or so and see if it continues to leak further down or not. Again, the outside temperature has dropped pretty drastically, so I wonder about the gauge's accuracy when the ambient temp has been fluctuating so much.

Then I've got another idea about my testing procedure to see if it's leaking or not... Concerning the way I'm using the manifold gauge valves.
 

Uncle Gump

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If I remember right... it's hard to hold a perfect vacuum. Try letting it sit overnight with the loss you have and see if it drops more. If it holds... dump in a can and monitor that pressure over night....and get the leak detect liquid that I've seen the gas company use. I think it's called "snoops". That stuff will detect even a tiny leak. Cover all you fittings and hose crimps or any other potential leak spot and wait. I think to even find a small leak.... you're gonna have to give it a small charge.
 

Bird76Mojo

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@Uncle Gump - You don't recommend using refrigerant dye in the system to help locate leaks?

I was thinking of pressurizing the system with nitrogen to find the leak. However, locating a small tank of nitrogen that's affordable might be kind of hard to do. Welding shops would likely have it, but they's want the cost of a yearly bottle rental contract plus the cost of the gas.
 

Bird76Mojo

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I just found this post on the Auto A/C forum and I'm not sure why I never thought of it yet.

"Leave the gauges and hoses connected to the car during the test, as then you won't have to rely on the shrader valves to hold vacuum. First test your manifold with it disconnected to make sure it holds vacuum."


"With regard to leak detection, the vacuum test will only tell you if a leak exists. Finding it can be done several ways, in order of increasing cost of tools)
1) UV dye in your refrigerant when you charge it. Use the glasses and low light area to check for leaks (typically good for larger leaks)
2) Charge the system and go searching with an electronic leak detector
3) Charge with a small amount of refrigerant, then pressurize the system to about 150 psi with nitrogen, and go searching with the leak detector (preferred method for those hard-to-find leaks)."
 


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