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Old 06-12-2016, 07:47 PM   #1
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1996 30' Cutter Bus
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Dash air conditioner puzzle

Hi all,
The dash air conditioner on my 1996 30’ Airstream Cutter puts out only warm air.
I’m only learning about air conditioners now. I have a set of gauges and was preparing to take a first set of readings.
These are pictures of the top of the compressor; low pressure fitting on the left; high pressure fitting on the right; I think.



On the low pressure side, you can clearly see the core of the schrader valve.




On the high pressure side—where is it?
The weird thing is is that there are no threads to screw in the core.




What am I missing? Am I looking at the wrong fittings?
This is one of those elusive “Acme” air conditioning systems. So far, I haven’t been able to find any documentation.
Thanks,
David
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:44 PM   #2
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You're looking at fittings for R-134a; they're different than the old R-12 threaded fittings. You can get adapters if you have the old style hoses.
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:59 PM   #3
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I wasn't clear enough

Hi drboyd,
I guess I wasn't clear enough.
Yes, these are 134a fittings.
The threads I'm talking about are interior threads for the schrader core. There is no schrader core on the high pressure side and there are no threads to screw the core in.
I'm not talking about threads to screw on the test hoses. I have 134a hoses that just snap on.
David
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:10 PM   #4
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If you're adding refrigerant, you dont really want to be on the high side anyway.

There could actually be a stop valve stem under those plastic caps....
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:02 PM   #5
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The system is open and thus, "contaminated." For a proper fix, you can't simply add freon to a contaminated system. It'll never work as intended.

Start by evacuating the AC system. To check for leaks, the system hasta hold 15 lbs of vacuum (negative PSI) for 15 minutes. Once your system can do that, then recharge system with freon.

Be sure to add dye. That way, you can check for leaks.

All of the above requires special equipment. Take it to a shop.

Tom
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:56 PM   #6
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TomKirk is right, if the system is open. Try depressing the Schrader valve on the low side just a bit. If refrigerant hisses out enthusiastically, you can go ahead and recharge it. If nothing comes out, you're "hosed" (pun intended), and you would need a vacuum pump to do it right.
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Old 06-13-2016, 04:36 PM   #7
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Hi guys,
I have a vacuum pump.
But I'm not that far yet. The system can't hold any refigerant because of the issue I explain.
Thanks,
David
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Old 06-13-2016, 05:17 PM   #8
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R-123a fittings are generic they sell repair kits for them high and low pressure side. The problem is your system is now contaminated and well need flushed and serviced. There is oil and freon in the system or in your cause there needs to be. Id take it to a shop with the correct tooling and experience. Otherwise it can get expensive in a hurry.
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:41 PM   #9
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So I have an idea about what's going on:
Some high pressure ports don't use schrader valves; they use some kind of ball and gasket valve. And these are supposed to be highly susceptible to leaking.
I understand that these can be replaced with a schrader valve. Which would make sense to me since I have no idea about where to get test guages that would work on one of these ball valves.
And as SpletKay06 said, these are cheap and are easily replaced.
I will look into that soon.
David
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Old 06-13-2016, 09:11 PM   #10
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Find a store specializing in automotive a/c parts. They will also have "system flush" fluid and oil to replace the oil that may have been lost.
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Old 06-14-2016, 07:32 PM   #11
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Finding a new valve is turning out to be difficult. There doesn't seem to be any kind of generic valve. I've been to three auto stores and online, and everything seems to be for a specific make and model of auto. How to find a valve for a now defunct "Acme" system is, at the moment, beyond me.
David
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Old 06-14-2016, 07:50 PM   #12
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How about getting the model number off the compressor and getting a new discharge fitting? Or, if you're cheap like me, scrounge another one at a salvage yard...
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:02 AM   #13
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I'd need a better look but most of those older systems got converted with connectors like these http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/2316417...&ul_noapp=true
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Old 06-15-2016, 08:33 AM   #14
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Have you tried these folks....
http://www.acmeairparts.com/rvacheaterparts.html
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Old 06-15-2016, 10:23 AM   #15
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Hi all,

SpletKay06: this is not a converted system. See below.

drboyd: I'm such a dumbass! I never thought of looking for a model number! It's a Sanden 4653. It has 134a on the label. It also has "Ford" on the label. But the entire system is still built by "Acme". At least that's what it says in my motorhome's Owner's Handbook. The Handbook says nothing about the dash air conditioning except to contact Acme.

mayco: I've seen acmeairparts.com. One of the first things I did was email them. No response. I emailed them again. No response.

So I found the service guide for the compressor, but it says nothing about the ports. I could find nothing else online. I'll go back to the auto part stores. Maybe they can help me now.

To reiterate: I've had the schrader core on the low pressure side out and it had no pressure at all. I can't check the high pressure side because it doesn't have a schrader valve; it has some kind of ball valve, and the guages won't work on it. I also found that these ball valves are very prone to leaking. A few people stated that after disturbing them only a couple of times, they will leak. Some have said that they can be replaced with a schrader valve, so that is what I'm trying to do. I don't want to add expensive coolant for the sake of a valve that costs of few dollars. But I can't find it!

One more thing: when you turn on the air conditioner, the clutch never engages. That, of course, is a symptom of no pressure.

Thanks to all for your input.

David
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:22 PM   #16
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The other possibility is that this is a schrader valve after all, but the threads have been stripped out by someone. Either way, it still has to be replaced.

I've been to auto stores again, and knowing the compressor doesn't help. The valves are part of the Acme designed system, not part of the compressor. I even went to an auto air conditioner shop, but he was no help. He just kept insisting I bring it in. If I wanted to just take it somewhere, I wouldn't even be on this forum. I'm trying to fix it myself. Taking it somewhere will be my last resort. I'm not there yet.

So my next move is to remove the part and then try to match it.

David
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Old 06-15-2016, 01:47 PM   #17
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David,

Have you tried calling Acme Air? I was trying to locate some vacuum servos and tried emailing them several times and finally tried calling. I think I left a message and he eventually returned my call. I think Acme Air is a sideline business so he may not devote a lot of time to it. This was several years ago so things may have changed.

You can 913-515-1560 with any questions, his name is Richard.

Good luck!

Brad
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Old 06-16-2016, 01:59 PM   #18
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I am just kinda getting up to speed on automotive A/C myself, so I may be off base here but:

The valve you post the pic of should not leak, as one can close the service valve under the black cap in the pic.

To my knowledge this keeps the ball valve from leaking by effectively shutting it off with another valve.


Regards,

JD
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Old 06-17-2016, 05:40 PM   #19
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Hi all,

JD: I did remove the plastic caps, and it is another valve (see "1" in the picture). They were impossible to move. Just frozen. And even if I could turn these, my issue is still the same: I can't get a set of guages on these when the guages are meant for schrader valves.



So I still wanted to remove the whole valve assembly and then see if I could match it or replace it with something with schrader valves. So I put a wrench on "2" in the picture, and ...

... with little effort ...

... it snapped clean off (see "3" in the picture).

So now I have a bigger mess.

David
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Old 06-17-2016, 06:23 PM   #20
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That valve #1 is so you can remove the compressor without venting the whole system it's probably never been used. Even though its not a converted system the fitting should be swappable. Changed them often when I did ac professionally.
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