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03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

 
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Old 11 Jun 2012, 10:47 pm
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Default 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

Guys - looking for some help here - i've researched this both on the web and from a few postings on here, and it seems i never get to a point where I feel comfortable, there always seems to be a posting/answer that contradicts another, and throws me into doubt. My question concerns the location of the low side AC service port.

I have both an 03 and 04 PT Cruiser (both Ltd Ed.), a camera, and a 2001-03 hayes manual, so I'm hoping between that lot, we can work out a solid solution. I need to charge the AC on both cars. I'm submitting pictures from the Hayes manual and pics of the AC pipes from both cars.

OK, this first page is from Hayes 2001-03 PT cruiser - it shows the AC recharge, It clearly shows the two AC aluminum pipes, and the recharge taking place on the lower of the two, the one on the right.

DSC06065.jpg

Fairly clear i think. Next we have the inside of the 03 - shows the two lines, and the two access ports, and it would seem we would charge on the right one, as indicated in the diagram. The right one is also the thicker of the two pipes, and all generic information on car AC recharges that I've read indicates the thicker pipe is the one to work on.

DSC06062.jpg

All seems fairly clear and straight forward at this point. Here's comes the but! But.... then I get to the 2004, that picture is next. I'll add, I also followed where the aluminum pipes on both cars go, and they both seem to follow the same routes, ending in the same locations.

DSC06063.jpg

So......there's no service port on the right/thicker pipe!? I followed it all over the place with a flash light, and can't find it anywhere. Just the cap-less port on the thin pipe. Now..I've read some people saying it's on the thinner pipe...but that would seem to contradict Hayes (as the pipes are routed the same on both models) and the accepted standard that the low pressure port is the thicker pipe.

All I can think is either:
1. It is the thinner pipe on the left for both cars, and Hayes is wrong, and the 'standard' of it being the thicker doesn't apply to the PT cruiser.
or
2. There is no accessible service port on the 04 model (doesn't seem likely!)
or
3. Something i haven't thought of.

My final photo is from Hayes - its a picture that labels the two ports on the aluminum pipes for the 01-03 models. I don't understand what the labels mean, but thought to include it should someone who does understand them be able to relate them to this issue.
DSC06066.jpg

Anyhow, I hope someone who understands car AC, or has perhaps recharged the 04 model themselves can take the time to chime in on this, and hopefully we can leave a definitive trail that solves mine and others heartache with this issue.

thanks in advance,
Matt
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Old 12 Jun 2012, 04:15 am
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

Check out this link!

AC recharge port for 2005 classic
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Old 12 Jun 2012, 11:13 am
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

thanks - I did already read that, and that was one I found confusing - one person says it's thin pipe 2nd to last post, and then the last post says its the thick pipe and well down towards the compressor - no accessible.

I suppose if someone actually charged via the thin pipe, that would seem to be the spot for me also.

Anyone with an '04 with AC fancy popping their hood and seeing if their valve has a cap on it? Mine does not, and I wonder if that could account for the slow loss of pressure in my system?

thanks,
Matt
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Old 12 Jun 2012, 03:15 pm
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

Your fitting will not fit the high side port (thin pipe), so the point might be mute. You never fill from the high side port.

The low side port is now (from what I read) down by the compressor. Odd placement but hey...

The missing cap may enable a slight leak, not because they hold in pressure but, rather for protection of the Schrader valve. It's relatively common for the high side port Schrader valve to be a leak source...especially if it hasn't has it's protective cap on.
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Last edited by JenneK; 12 Jun 2012 at 03:19 pm.
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Old 12 Jun 2012, 07:29 pm
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

The low side lines are the larger ones, any line running to the heater is low,the ones leaving the compressor is high and is a different size (larger). You can use both if you have a two gauge set up(professional), the ones from the parts store (with the piercing valve and gauge) and can are LOW side only.The pics on the previous post show it pretty good.Also the high side usually have a black cap with a H on it, the low are green (there are exceptions) my jag has all black caps.But if yours is missing use caution!!
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Old 14 Jun 2012, 08:02 am
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

I have an 04 and I found the other port on the A/C lines. It's down by the compressor.
I think the recharge is done at the port near the shock tower? Or am I wrong?



btw, both of mine have black caps on them, neithed marker "high" or "low". My single hose recharge kit fitting did fit on the one by the tower. Without the engine running the gauge said it was good, but low on the scale. The A/C does work, but I think it could work better. I will add a little once I can confirm the port near the tower is the correct place to add it?

Last edited by 32seventeen; 14 Jun 2012 at 08:20 am.
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Old 14 Jun 2012, 02:08 pm
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

As my PT doesn't have the same setup all I can offer is this.

You fill from the low side (suction side). ALL AC systems operate the same way regardless of where the ports or located on the car.

Low side is ALWAYS coming FROM the condenser and going TO the Accumulator.

High side is ALWAYS between the compressor and the condenser and going TO the condenser. Condensers have the intake line going to the top.

Simply follow the lines and determine which port is what.

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Last edited by JenneK; 14 Jun 2012 at 09:08 pm.
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Old 14 Jun 2012, 02:19 pm
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

Is that second picture of the PT A/C system?
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Old 14 Jun 2012, 09:09 pm
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

It was not.

I had originally decided to delete it because it made my post confusing. Seems like I forgot before. I have since removed it.
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Old 15 Jun 2012, 12:18 am
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Default Re: 03 vs 04 AC recharge - the definitive word?

I posted a link on testing out the performance of your AC system here: Air Conditioner Performance Tests

Listen - standard for ALL AC systems - hi pressure side is the larger of the two connectors. You do NOT charge your system on the hi pressure side EVER!

Question, are you using a set of AC manifold gauges? You need to be able to measure both sides of your system's pressures, then be able to see if you have a leak. Easy cheasy way to find a leak, hook up both hi and low pressure hoses to the manifold gauges (red side is hi, blue side is low, unless you have a cheap set that isn't color coordinated), hook them up and your gauges will show you the pressures on the system. There is a sticker on your car somewhere that will tell you what your AC pressures are, but if you look at my thread above I believe it also shows the system pressures. If you're not getting the proper pressure, get you a small can of coolant and connect to the center hose of the manifold gauges and slowly allow it to fill your system. While filling you need to run the engine and hold it at around 2k rpms so that the system will pull in the coolant.

Once you hit the pressures required, turn off the can and keep the gauges hooked up for about a half hour to see if the pressures go wacky. Low pressure side will go down, high pressure side will go somewhere (it goes nuts during a leak). Then if you have a leak your next step will be to find it.

Very simply, get you some of that leak detector dye and a black light. You put about 6 drops of the dye in the center hose of the manifold gauges, then hook back up to a can of coolant. When you open the coolant it will release the dye throughout the system. Again run at around 2k rpm for a bit. When done shut down but leave your gauges connected.

Now you can get you some yellow lenses and a black or UV light to find the leaks, they show up really bright green. That will tell you where it's leaking, then you need to figure out how to fix that.

Actually, I could spend an hour walking through how to fix your AC system, it's not very difficult just takes a bit of time and patience, and if you don't have a set of manifold gauges, well good luck to you...
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