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    1. Member IridiumB6's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 05:43 PM #1
      My Golf is experiencing a slow leak of refrigerant; I had it last topped around June of last year or so and it seems to have depleted right around now. For the sake of not paying $120 every year to my mechanic for a top-up and not wasting time/money on a minuscule leak, can I safely use one of those cans without completely screwing over the entire system or should I just pony up? Any experiences?

      Quote Originally Posted by KevinC View Post

      If the next GTI has over 300 hp off the showroom floor, I'll eat my airedale.

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    3. Member Jimmy Russells's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 05:45 PM #2
      Don't think you can buy in Canada?

      I see no real problem with it as long as there is a gauge and you can make sure not to overcharge the system

    4. Moderator rs4-380's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 05:48 PM #3
      people say there are sealants in them (think leak stop) that can gunk up the system and make it so you have to replace entire components when it stops working for good, buuutttt, I put a can in my f350 that blew nothing but dogs breath probably 4 years ago and it's been blowing cold since, so
      Dave

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      02-11-2020 05:49 PM #4
      It's a band aid fo a fix, but it will buy you some time. Use some sort of a gage to monitor pressure, and stay away from the ones with stop leak.

    6. Member G0to60's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 05:49 PM #5
      I used one on my wife's E46 vert when the AC was blowing luke warm air. No issues or problems with the system after that.

    7. Member IridiumB6's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 05:50 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Russells View Post
      Don't think you can buy in Canada?

      I see no real problem with it as long as there is a gauge and you can make sure not to overcharge the system
      https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/r...html#Questions

      Found this at Crappy Tire, but at $60+ tax it's probably not even worth risking screwing everything up...
      Quote Originally Posted by KevinC View Post

      If the next GTI has over 300 hp off the showroom floor, I'll eat my airedale.

    8. Member devianb's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 06:33 PM #7
      From what I hear they work, but if it has any sort of of stop leak in it most AC shops will not work on it because they are not going to risk contaminating their equipment. I would only top up using regular R134a. Probably won't be as cold because of the leak and air and moisture getting into the system, but at least you wont potentially be doing any serious damage to the system.

    9. Member Jimmy Russells's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 06:36 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by IridiumB6 View Post
      https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/r...html#Questions

      Found this at Crappy Tire, but at $60+ tax it's probably not even worth risking screwing everything up...

      Here:

      https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/u...?rrec=true#spc

      $40

    10. Member
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      02-11-2020 06:47 PM #9
      I bought a 100,000 miles E36 in 2004 with no A/C. I used a $10 can and the AC started working. Around 10 years 150,000 miles later the AC still worked.

      The system isn’t totally sealed (nothing is) so an occasional top-off is normal.

    11. Member someguy123's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 07:07 PM #10
      Besides the leak, is there “used” refrigerant you have to remove before adding the new stuff?

    12. Member l88m22vette's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 07:24 PM #11
      How good are they for completely filling a system, like when you have to disconnect the AC for an engine swap? Asking for a friend

    13. 02-11-2020 07:46 PM #12
      a/c in my honda was lukewarm air, after reading that stop leak messes up the system i found this one that is pure R134A. Had no expectations and was surprised ICE COLD a/c

      ** however the nozzle is cheap and annoying to get it to latch onto the low side
      but it worked ice cold air


      My method was just putting a little bit at a time as i hear those gauges are not accurate.

    14. Banned EverthingIsTerrible's Avatar
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      02-11-2020 07:53 PM #13
      They really are that bad, I knew a guy who knew a guy once who had used one of those on his old pontiac sunfire and you know 13 years later he died?

    15. 02-12-2020 05:44 PM #14
      It's a crappy fix instead of simply replacing the schrader valve(s) in the ports. 9/10 times that little o ring is bad and has a slow leak. If you have anything worse than that none of those are going to fix it.

      The valve kit and 2 cans of the cheapest walmart r-134 are cheaper than the "super freeze extreme 9999" or whatever BS kits they sell and it the real permanent fix.

    16. Geriatric Member @McMike's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 07:53 PM #15
      It'll work if your low on refrigerant, but won't fix (or diagnose) any of the other reasons your compressor clutch isn't closing.

    17. Banned EverthingIsTerrible's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 08:10 PM #16
      Guys, guys, I found the solution to this failing A/C epidemic!!!
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    18. Member shuttle pilot's Avatar
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      02-12-2020 11:09 PM #17
      You can top off, just use straight R134. Absolutely no additives. UV Dye is okay if you need to find a leak. You will need a accurate oz capable scale and a temperature gauge with a probe. The probe goes into the center vent and is used to monitor the cooling performance as you top off. Put the can on the scale and fill in 2oz increments until the temp probe gets a 30-40F drop from ambient. Don't over fill or your system will vent and you will have bigger problems. Get a set of AC gauges from harbor freight if possible, it will tell you if you are pushing ultra high pressures and blow your system. If someone already put sealant in your system , you are doomed, just top it off. If there is a leak in a system with sealant, you will have to replace almost all of your AC system.

      If it leaks out soon, you should get it checked out to find the leak and replace the leaking component. A lot of times, it may be the condenser in front of the radiator with the leaks. Rocks, salt and sand hits it and it either corrodes or cuts the condenser and a leak forms. The condensers usually look like crap because of rock impacts. I put a mesh screen on all my cars (rally car style) so I can tailgate with confidence and my condensers still look perfect

      If you replace a component or open the system, you will need to replace the drier. Of course you will need to get someone to pull all remaining R134 charge before opening You need to pull a high vacuum before the refrigerant goes in. You will need the scale to weigh the cans and you fill by weight. You will need to find the specs for your car in how much to fill. You will need 4-6 cans for a typical car. You will need to swap the cans without introducing air into the system, this means leaking a slight amount from the car as you swap cans as a method of back purging. I have a system of hoses and valves so I can vacuum purge the hoses when I swap cans to be nice to the environment

      My recommendation, if you can find leak and replace the leaking component and drier, let someone else fill it (do it asap so the drier is not ruined). It takes expensive equipment to fill it correctly.
      Last edited by shuttle pilot; 02-12-2020 at 11:23 PM.

    19. Senior Member Jettavr666's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 12:34 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by shuttle pilot View Post
      You can top off, just use straight R134. Absolutely no additives. UV Dye is okay if you need to find a leak. You will need a accurate oz capable scale and a temperature gauge with a probe. The probe goes into the center vent and is used to monitor the cooling performance as you top off. Put the can on the scale and fill in 2oz increments until the temp probe gets a 30-40F drop from ambient. Don't over fill or your system will vent and you will have bigger problems. Get a set of AC gauges from harbor freight if possible, it will tell you if you are pushing ultra high pressures and blow your system. If someone already put sealant in your system , you are doomed, just top it off. If there is a leak in a system with sealant, you will have to replace almost all of your AC system.

      If it leaks out soon, you should get it checked out to find the leak and replace the leaking component. A lot of times, it may be the condenser in front of the radiator with the leaks. Rocks, salt and sand hits it and it either corrodes or cuts the condenser and a leak forms. The condensers usually look like crap because of rock impacts. I put a mesh screen on all my cars (rally car style) so I can tailgate with confidence and my condensers still look perfect

      If you replace a component or open the system, you will need to replace the drier. Of course you will need to get someone to pull all remaining R134 charge before opening You need to pull a high vacuum before the refrigerant goes in. You will need the scale to weigh the cans and you fill by weight. You will need to find the specs for your car in how much to fill. You will need 4-6 cans for a typical car. You will need to swap the cans without introducing air into the system, this means leaking a slight amount from the car as you swap cans as a method of back purging. I have a system of hoses and valves so I can vacuum purge the hoses when I swap cans to be nice to the environment

      My recommendation, if you can find leak and replace the leaking component and drier, let someone else fill it (do it asap so the drier is not ruined). It takes expensive equipment to fill it correctly.
      Great advice!

      Heres the thing, a proper (but cheap) manifold gauge set is $20, a piercing valve is $3 or less, cans of r134 are $5 in the states. So for the price of a can of "top" up, you can do a VASTLY better job. However, like the above poster stated if the pressure in the system is ZERO it means there is now air in their, and at minimum, a vacuum should be pulled, and really the drier should be replaced too. However most cars DO NOT need 4-6 cans as the above poster said. Most systems today are three or less. Its honestly an easy procedure and there are plenty of youtube videos on how to do it.

      The quick fix cans will work to an extent, and in most cases, they won't immediately damage anything, but for any sort of long term system reliability, they should be avoided. Also, they will rarely get as cold.



      https://www.ebay.com/itm/R12-R22-R13....c100005.m1851

    20. Senior Member Jettavr666's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 12:35 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by l88m22vette View Post
      How good are they for completely filling a system, like when you have to disconnect the AC for an engine swap? Asking for a friend
      just like I posted above, buy a manifold set. Then I THINK some auto parts stores rent vacuum pumps to do the evac.

    21. Senior Member Jettavr666's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 12:36 PM #20
      Quote Originally Posted by IridiumB6 View Post
      https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/r...html#Questions

      Found this at Crappy Tire, but at $60+ tax it's probably not even worth risking screwing everything up...
      EBAY EBAY EBAY EBAY EBAY

    22. Member shuttle pilot's Avatar
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      02-13-2020 02:53 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by Jettavr666 View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by IridiumB6 View Post
      https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/r...html#Questions

      Found this at Crappy Tire, but at $60+ tax it's probably not even worth risking screwing everything up...
      EBAY EBAY EBAY EBAY EBAY
      Yeah that stuff with the 12A labelling on the can is a big NO!!. Nothing but R134, UV dye and PAG or ESTER oil of the correct viscosity (per mfr specs, do not mix) should be in there. If there is no pressure in the system, it is likely you already have a big hole somewhere.

      For example, there is oil additive stuff that is supposed to make the system work better (arctic freeze or some crap name), it thins the oil film in the evaporator so heat transfers easier, but do you want thinner oil??? NOOO because oil also acts as a pseudo barrier/sealant preventing stuff from leaking through gaskets and shaft seals even in a sealed system. It ultimately allows your stuff to leak out a little bit faster because of the thinner barrier which is the headache I am trying to avoid as long as possible.

      As for needing lots of cans, I have a minivan with rear AC so it takes more to cool a rolling living room . Follow the specs call out by the mfr of the car.
      Last edited by shuttle pilot; 02-13-2020 at 03:25 PM.

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