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A/C Recharging Procedure

Help, Advice, Owners' Discussion and DIY Tutorials on the Volvo S80 model. Sometimes called an "executive car", the S80 was and continues to be Volvo's top-of-the-line passenger car.

A/C Recharging Procedure

Postby firstvolvo » 27 Sep 2006, 16:34

Hello everyone, I just bought my first Volvo and found this great forum. As when I bought my first BMW, I'm now finding out I got into the first year production of the S80 (1999), so I can apparently expect a myriad of bugs and issues - just my luck. Fortunately, the PO took care of many of the known issues already, and the car does run quite nicely.

I have noticed that my A/C compressor is cycling quite frequently, so I decided to recharge it. Per VADIS, you recharge on the HIGH side, opposed to the low side, which is how I have always known to recharge an A/C system. In looking at forums for other Volvo models, they recommend recharging on the low side. Anyone know if the S80 T6 can be charged on the low side, or how do you go about charging on the high side? Anyone here done it before & care to share your procedure?

Second, how do the caps on the lines come off? Do they unscrew, or just pull straight out?

Thanks in advance and I'm glad to be part of your forum.
Nathan

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I recharged it on the low side and (some tips)

Postby firstvolvo » 10 Oct 2006, 22:12

Since I had no luck finding information on this and no one replied, I decided to share my experience, hoping it may help some of you out there.

Per VADIS, the A/C system should be recharged on the HIGH side. Finding this to be not only odd, but dangerous, I recharged my sytem on the low side (port is underneath the power steering reservoir). Per other posts I read, it's impossible to overcharge, since the DIY kits available at local parts stores do not allow for overcharging-they simply stop transfering refrigerant when the maximum system pressure is reached.

At first, I added one can, and the frequent cycling of the compressor stopped. However, the air did not feel very cold. System pressure was near 30 psi (when compressor was running). I decided to add a second can. However, while ading the refrigerant, my compressor disengaged, and started cycling, staying on for only a second or two at a time. After I got the second can in, I let it run for a while, and the compressor would only come on for a second or two at a time. Later that afternoon, when I wne to start the car, I got a bunch of smoke from under the hood. When I opened it, I could smell it was refrigerant. I was not able to determine where it was discharged from.

For the next couple of days, I had no cool air from the A/C. I went back and released as much air out of the low side port, without allowing any of the refrigerant to escape (only the air pressure). Now my A/C runs fine, and the compressor hardly cycles on and off (it consistently stays on).

From what I can tell, the system holds less pressure than what the dispensing cans allow, and the air needs to be let out of the system after a recharge. I guess I overcharged it and somehow there's a relief valve somewhere in the system. It is currently at about 32 psi. I hope this helps some of you out there coping with the remaining hot days without A/C.
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Postby matthew1 » 10 Oct 2006, 23:34

beautiful tips, firstvolvo. thank you. I'll add a link to this from the official Volvo AC Page.
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Postby RajDog » 25 Apr 2007, 23:23

I was wondering how you released the air without the refrigerant? I have an s70 and I put 2 cans in and the ac showed no improvement. I'm thinking about trying duracool this summer.
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Postby dynamok » 09 May 2007, 18:28

I have a 2000 S80 and I'm trying to refill the freon.
So the valve on the radiator is actually a high pressure valve? I though that the one hiding really low past steering pump and electric box is actually the low pressure one?
I couldn't fit the adapter on the high pressure valve, does the adapter fit on the low pressure valve?
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Postby gameboo » 16 May 2007, 03:51

how exactly do you release air from the system?

Thanks.
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Postby dynamok » 16 May 2007, 15:20

Actually had it done professionally. Not at Volvo dealership, but a guy I know. $100 to charge it with sealants.
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Postby vegasjetskier » 21 Dec 2007, 16:01

ALWAYS charge on the LOW side, never the high side. The high side pressures are enough to blow your little can of freon sky high, causing you severe injury. This is why the high and low side valves are different sizes and the little kit you buy from your auto parts store only has the low side valve on it. To charge correctly, you really need a set of gauges so that you can measure the high side pressure and bring it up to factory specs as you add freon (unless your system has a sight glass, then just add freon until the bubbles in the glass disappear). You can get gauges at your local auto parts store or from HarborFreight here: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=92649

When you let gas out of the system, it is not "air," it is vaporized refrigerant. It is illegal to vent this gas straight into the atmosphere as it is a greenhouse gas and contributes to global warming. The gas must be recovered by a machine that costs about $600. So it is best to just add freon until the system is full and leave it at that.

It is very possible to overcharge from the low side. The pressure in the can could be up to 100 psi, yet the low side of the system is only 0-40 (the pressure differential is what forces the freon from the can into the system). Without a gauge on the high side, you have no idea how much freon is in the system.

Firstvolvo, it would seem that you overcharged your system and caused a leak somewhere, probably a compressor seal, that vented the excess freon. You're lucky your system is still working.
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Re: A/C Recharging Procedure

Postby sheaton » 29 May 2009, 19:48

Just recharged the aircon on my Volvo S80.
I bought a bottle of R134A and a set of professional gauges with a quickfit adaptor for the high side and a sight glass. The quickfit adaptor has a screw-down pin which opens the high-side valve when required. Vadis specifies filling from the high side only – not sure why.
The high side inlet is on the condenser. What you need to do is “pour” liquid R134A through the hoses into high side inlet.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT RUN THE ENGINE AND DO NOT USE CAN TYPE QUICK FILLS ON THE HIGH SIDE.
Procedure
1. remove the cap from the high side valve (22mm).
2. connect your quick-fit high side coupler (I had to modify the slam panel slightly to allow mine to fit)
3. connect red hose to gauge manifold
4. connect yellow hose to cylinder
5. screw down valve on quick fit adaptor; red gauge will indicate some pressure
6. open red valve on gauge block and loosen fitting on cylinder slightly. Use some of the remaining gas in the car to purge the line.
7. weigh the gas cylinder and make a written note of the weight
8. open the valve on the gas cylinder and turn upside-down
9. fluid refrigerant should flow through to the condenser (check the sight-glass)
10. allow flow for 10 sec, close the valve on the cylinder, and re-weigh. Loss of weight obviously confirms the transfer is taking place.
11. repeat until 1000g has been added
12. open the screw-down valve on the quickfit connector and disconnect the connector. Replace the high-side plastic cover.
13. Colse the valve on the cylinder, and very carefully release the line pressure.
Notes
Always wear gloves and goggles throughout the procedure
Refrigerant will only flow into the condenser when the pressure in the refrigerant bottle is higher than the car. You may need to warm the refrigerant cylinder in a washing-up bowl of hot (50C) water for a few minutes.
Following the recharge, the aircon was dropping the incoming air temp by 12 degrees Centigrade.
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Re: A/C Recharging Procedure

Postby greencupbay » 03 Jun 2010, 22:37

So, I have been reading around and found that people say to only refill the A/C on the High Side port for the s80's. FirstVolvo, you said that you refilled the a/c on the low side and it made a difference on how often the a/c compressor turned on and off until you overfilled it, but it never made a difference in the temperature of the a/c? After your car smoked and you released some r134a, did it then make a temp. difference? If it doesn't make a difference in temperature, I think that I might have to get this one professionally done because I don't have a high side kit. Also, is there a watch glass? Thanks in advance.
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Re: A/C Recharging Procedure

Postby boosted5cyl » 04 Jun 2010, 14:49

I did it on the low side. Started out with a compressor that wasnt kicking in (think I had about 10PSI of pressure in there) filled to appropriate pressure for ambient temp (45PSI at the time IIRC) and its been running sweet since. It hit 102DegF up here at one stage and Vicki the S80 is black-On-black, so I can confirm the A\C is working well. As pointed out above, when recharging consumer cans of R134 very often you will need to submerge the can in warm water to get the pressure up to where it needs to be.
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Re: A/C Recharging Procedure

Postby greencupbay » 04 Jun 2010, 19:39

Thank you boosted5, I'll try it out over the weekend and fill it up to 45 psi. Just to clarify, it IS supposed to be at 45 psi. on the low side, correct? Thanks.
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Re: A/C Recharging Procedure

Postby boosted5cyl » 04 Jun 2010, 21:09

The desired low side pressure changes with ambient temperature. The pressure gauge you have should have the range specified somewhere, if not, get another gauge. In my case it was 100f ambient and I ran outta freon at 45PSI. I think it was meant to be at 50 for 100F but I was happy enough with the peformance at 45 so I figured let it be.
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Re: A/C Recharging Procedure

Postby greencupbay » 05 Jun 2010, 02:22

Okay. Thank you. I will let you know how it went later!
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