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Discussion Starter #1
My AC has been slowing leaking freon for the last 6 months and after topping it up repeatedly, I figured it was time to actually fix the issue.
After not having used the AC for a couple of months, a quick test yesterday showed the fans did not kick, nor did the compressor. I figure it must have lost too much gas for it to fire up.
Are there any 'usual suspect' places to check for leaks?
Are the o rings and seals Lotus specific, or can I pick them up at the auto pars store?
Thanks
 

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There are a few common places to check, and they actually aren't that difficult to see (shockingly). Having a dye charge in the system makes this a lot easier. Generally the best way to diagnose that kind of leak is to follow the path of the refrigerant lines and look for anything "muddy", damp, or dirty at the connections. I'd start by looking at the compressor clutch area and the fill ports underneath the car. Take the caps off the fill ports and see if the schrader valves inside are leaking (though that can be difficult if there is a mess left over from your last fill).

From there, you can check out the expansion valve in the interior RH footwell, just before it enters the evaporator. There are 4 o-rings that have leaked on mine before. Replacement of those isn't that fun because of the close quarters, but it's not particularly complicated. Just evacuate the system, peel off the black tar insulation, unscrew the allen-head bolt, and pull it apart, replace, and put it all back.

I would also check the accumulator bottle on the RH side of the frunk (cheap and easy to replace). Finally, you can shine a light through the front air intake to see the condensers and hope you don't find anything there. If there is a leak in the evaporator, you won't be able to see it, and it will be a huge pain. The condensers are second in terms of difficulty because you have to drop the whole radiator assembly to get to them.

You can get suitable o-rings at any auto parts store. Just make sure you get the green 134a version. Keep in mind that anytime you open up the system completely you will need to vacuum it down before a refill of refrigerant, and ideally replace the accumulator bottle for the sake of the desiccant inside.

Jake in St. Louis
 

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I am in the process f doing just this. My system was tight but the compressor was a dirty, oily mess. The shaft seal was leaking badly. I replaced the compressor, it was only $220 for a Delphi that is used on the Buick Skylark for the Lotus V-8's. Not the easiest job to replace the compressor, I had to remove the oil filter base, turbo pipes, and engine mount. While I was at it I also replaced every seal and the dryer. The insulation around the TEX is called Cork Seal, and yes, replacing those "O" rings is a pain because of the limited access. If you have a "newer" Lotus with R-134a you must use the green "O" rings. Another point, if you have been losing refrigerant and you have been "topping off" you must replace the oil that was also lost along with the refrigerant. Failure to do so condemns the compressor to an early death. No problem if you replace the compressor but you must flush the system and refill with PAG oil. As for the condenser coils, if you remove the lower duct in front of the rad package, you can reach in and do the seals without dropping the whole thing. Not easy but doable. To properly evacuate the system you need a special vacuum pump so you can remove all of the air and the moisture. Best thing is to have a shop remove what refrigerant remains, go home and replace the seals and then go back to the shop so they can evacuate, test for leaks, and recharge the system.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Just dragging this thread back up......
I had the seals replaced on my AC system and had it recharged. The technician left a note in the car saying 1.54lbs R134 and 1.5oz oil.
How much R134 should the V8 system hold? I'm thinking he did not quite put enough freon into the system, as the ac could feel quite a bit cooler.
It does blow cold, just not COLD COLD :)
Any recommends?
Adam
 

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You should be able to get a 20 degree difference at least between the outside and inside temps. Stick a thermometer into the vent and compare it to the outside temperature.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have it scheduled to be evacuated and regassed on Thursday.
What are the full specs for recharging the system?
Amounts of freon/oil etc?
I know I've seen it listed previously, but cannot locate it!
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Section TDJ V-8 Tech Data, top of page 3, capacities. R-134a 4 cyl & V-8 1 kg (2.2 lb).Section PD is Heating and Cooling but it is not updated to -134 or the servo used in the V-8's for temperature control. The amount of oil is on page 15 & 16 in PD. Use PAG oil with -134. A new compressor comes with the special seals, the rest are just green "O" rings you can get locally. If the shaft seal on the compressor is leaking just replace the compressor. It doesn't pay to fix it.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Sorry I'm late to the party. Unless components were replaced, there's no need to add additional oil. Evacuating the system pulls very little oil.

So what did you charge the system to?

Section TDJ V-8 Tech Data, top of page 3, capacities. R-134a 4 cyl & V-8 1 kg (2.2 lb).Section PD is Heating and Cooling but it is not updated to -134 or the servo used in the V-8's for temperature control. The amount of oil is on page 15 & 16 in PD. Use PAG oil with -134. A new compressor comes with the special seals, the rest are just green "O" rings you can get locally. If the shaft seal on the compressor is leaking just replace the compressor. It doesn't pay to fix it.
David Teitelbaum
That capacity seems to be correct for the 4-cyl but not the V8. Curious, what do you show for oil capacity?
 

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If you have a leaky system, when the refrigerant leaks out, some of the oil also leaks out. Unless you take the whole thing apart and flush it out you can only measure what's in the compressor. If you replace the dryer you are supposed to only add about 1-2 ounces of oil to replace what was supposed to be in there. For a -134 system you put what the label says. if you convert a -12 system you must reduce the amount of -134 by 10%. So if you have a converted -12 system and you had 1.2 kg, you can only put 1.1 kg of -134 into it. I think all of the V-8's are -134 so you should put 1.2 kg of it in there. If you have a leaker typically 1-2 ounces should be put in each time you top it off.
David Teitelbaum
 
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