Recharging the air-conditioning system in a vehicle is normal if the Freon leaks down infrequently. All vehicles will leak down a small amount over a period of time. If the vehicle requires frequent charging, there is a leak that must be located and dealt with prior to recharging the Freon in a Jeep Cherokee. It is harmful to the atmosphere to release Freon. Simple charging can be accomplished with a 1-pound can of R134 refrigerant and a charging line.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- 1 can of R134 refrigerant
- 1 low-side charging line
Open the bonnet. Locate the low-side suction line. This is important because all air-conditioning systems use a high-pressure line from the condenser to the evaporator and a low-pressure line from the evaporator to the compressor. The low-pressure line is the only line used to charge the air-conditioning system. The high side has an average of 250 psi; the low side has an average of 30 psi. The high-pressure line exceeds the pressure in the can and could cause an instant explosion. The low-pressure line from the evaporator to compressor will be the largest diameter line and have a blue cap on the Schraeder valve.
Insert the can of Freon into the connector of the charging hose and push the handle to lock it in. Do not turn the valve to open the can at this point. Remove the blue cap from the Schraeder valve and thread the charging line onto the Schraeder valve.
Start the vehicle and turn the air-conditioning system on. Turn the valve on the Freon can clockwise all the way to puncture the can and then counter-clockwise to open and allow the flow of Freon.
Put a hand on the low-pressure line. Charge the air-conditioning system until the low-pressure line gets ice cold. Once this happens, wait five seconds, then turn the valve clockwise on the can and shut off the flow of Freon. Once the system is charged, the process must be halted---overcharging the system will cause the head pressure to go quickly from 250 to 400 or more. This could blow a line or damage the system. It also will cause the high-side switch to shut the air compressor off.
Remove the charging line and screw the blue cap on the Schraeder valve.
Tips and warnings
- If a pound of Freon is not enough to bring the temperature into satisfactory limits, the system has a gross leak. The refrigerant oil is suspended in the Freon and is the first thing to come out with a big leak. By charging without adding oil, the compressor will destroy itself and turn a minor bill into a catastrophic situation. Not only that, but two masses cannot occupy the same space at the same time. A gross leak allows Freon to escape and air to enter. A vacuum pump is needed to evacuate the air to charge the system.
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