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Buick LeSabre Limited A/C Problems

Q. Dear Vincent, I am having an air conditioning problem, it doesn't blow cold air! The car is a 1984 Buick LeSabre Limited, 4 door sedan, 307 Oldsmobile motor, automatic climate control. It has the "microwave" touch pad that you push to activate the climate control, it beeps when you touch the pads.

Buick LeSabre Limited A/C Problems

The heater works, the blower motor works, the vents work, you can hear them opening when you put the climate control on the ECON setting. The fuse is good. When you turn on the air conditioning all you get is warm blowing air. The compressor clutch doesn't engage.

I suspect, obviously, that the R-12 freon has leaked out and there is not enough pressure in the compressor to activate the clutch. My major question though is electric in nature.

There are two wires running to the compressor, a black and a green wire. When I tested these two wires with a 12 volt test light, with the engine running and the A/C on, the test light did not light. Shouldn't it have gone on? Besides low freon or no freon, am I faced with an electrical problem?

I explained this problem to my local Midas mechanic and he quoted me a price of $1,200.00 to "go through the A/C and fix it." I almost had a heart attack.

One final question. I like the car, I want to convert it to R-134a. Is this expensive? What is a "ballpark" estimate if I try this myself?

Thank you for your patience.
Martin

A. A/C needs to have some pressure in the system to energize the clutch. If you have no voltage on the green wire, there is probably not enough freon in the system. There is a low pressure switch on the accumulator.

If you have power at that green wire but not out, jump that harness and you should have voltage to the compressor green wire. This will verify that there is not enough refrigerant in system due to a leak.

You will want to retrofit this as the R-12 will cost you at least $50.00 a lb.! The only problem I see here is that you will not be able to pull the needed vacuum on the system to remove all of the R-12 and get satisfactory results when updating to R-134a.

I would suggest seeing an A/C specialist for this because obviously there is a leak in the system that needs to be addressed before any work is done, as well as making sure the compressor is okay. It may take every bit of that 1200.00!

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