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Thread: cost to drain freon?

  1. #1
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    Default cost to drain freon?

    has anyone had their zetec freon drained and refilled? a shop i go to that's good quoted me roughly $200 to evacuate and recharge. this seems a lot to me. they r just going to hook up the machine to do all the work. i'm replacing the compressor myself, which they quoted $120 to do. i have to have them drain it before i can start. i guess i'll spend the 2nd $100 on the gear to recharge it myself.

    i was surprised they also said they don't top off low freon either. its the same price of $200 because the machine will drain and refill. i know you can use a manifold gauge to correctly top off but i guess they let the machine do all the work. could old freon go bad and that's why they like draining it and starting fresh?
    Hugo 99 contour svt #1750/2760
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    Quote Originally Posted by hmouta View Post
    has anyone had their zetec freon drained and refilled? a shop i go to that's good quoted me roughly $200 to evacuate and recharge. this seems a lot to me. they r just going to hook up the machine to do all the work. i'm replacing the compressor myself, which they quoted $120 to do. i have to have them drain it before i can start. i guess i'll spend the 2nd $100 on the gear to recharge it myself.

    i was surprised they also said they don't top off low freon either. its the same price of $200 because the machine will drain and refill. i know you can use a manifold gauge to correctly top off but i guess they let the machine do all the work. could old freon go bad and that's why they like draining it and starting fresh?
    first off, its not Freon, its R134a refrigerant. Freon was a brand name of R12 refrigerant.

    the reason they do that is because to properly fill the refrigerant you have to put in a certain amount, in pounds, of the refrigerant (different for each model based on the volume of the whole system). the machine can weigh it and put in the correct amount. just using manifold gauges will only get you the proper pressure readings, and you probably wont actually have the right amount of refrigerant (too much is a bad thing).
    TZT Performance http://www.tztperformance.com/
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    '00 Black SVTC #391 - sold 5/1/10
    '97 GL Turbo Zetec - gone

  3. #3
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    thanks. i know its r134a. i was just using freon as a generic term. just seems like $200 is high. if the machine runs for an hour would that count as an hour of labor even though the guy isnīt actually doing the manual labor for the hour

    how would the gauges show the right pressures if the amounts arenīt correct. shouldnīt the proper pressure readings coincide with the correct amount of refrigerant? if the machine measures xy amount of refrigerant and sends it into the car, then if i hook up the gauge manifold shouldnīt it give the right readings to match the right amount of r134a
    Hugo 99 contour svt #1750/2760
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  4. #4
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    yes, they charge you for the hour of labor, along with the cost of refrigerant, even though he isnt actually working on it the whole time. of course, if he is a good tech he should be checking everything else on the car during that time.

    the correct readings on the gauges is a range, and is based on the ambient temp. so unless you have a conversion chart you could have too much or too little refrigerant in the system and still be in the correct range of readings. the machine has everything built in and can take into account changes in ambient temp.

    also, the cost of a good manifold gauge and a good vacuum pump is likely going to cost you more than $100.
    TZT Performance http://www.tztperformance.com/
    officially a troll. '93 3000GT VR4 #2229/2595

    '00 Black SVTC #391 - sold 5/1/10
    '97 GL Turbo Zetec - gone

  5. #5
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    Any time you break open a refrigerant system to replace a component, you can't just button it up and put in new refrigerant. You have to make sure that the lubricant charge is correct for the system volume, and you have to pull a vacuum on the system to remove moisture and air so the system is free of contaminants and can be refilled properly. The vacuum pull is also to leak-check your work, if the system won't hold vacuum, it won't hold refrigerant either. You'll spend far more than "the 2nd $100" on a vacuum pump, gauges and a cylinder of R134a.

    I do all my own car service and maintenance, but A/C service is the one thing I leave to the pros who have the right equipment. If they've offered to change your compressor for $120, you might want to jump on that, especially if you want working A/C after all is said and done.
    1985 SVO Mustang (turbocharged track whore), 1989 Taurus SHO (supercharged track whore), 1999 SVT Contour (Sedanus-Grocerygetter-Rapidus), 2008 Mercury Milan Premier.

  6. #6
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    yeah i found this site that has alot of good info:
    http://www.autoacsystems.com/_faqs/detail/ac-faq32.html

    its very doable to work on the a/c system at home after it's been drained by a shop but does require a few items that right now i'm not ready to buy. the vacuum pump is going to cost more than i thought and i also need to have a filter on my home compressor to remove all the moisture from the compressed air (necessary for painting too) before i can use it to do a flush of the a/c system. i called another shop that is very reputable too and they charge about $50 for the recovery and recharge. probably going to be easier to have them do the work but i'm ordering the parts to cut down on the cost
    Hugo 99 contour svt #1750/2760
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  7. #7
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    If this is the first time you're opening up a 10 year old system, you should replace the receiver/dryer as well, otherwise you risk contaminating the new compressor with moisture and debris. If you pull a vacuum on the system long enough, it can dry the desiccant, but water vapor is one of the hardest things for a vacuum pump to move, which is why it's best to bite the bullet and replace the receiver/dryer while you have stuff apart.

    The other thing you might want to consider is to open every spring lock joint, clean it and replace the O-rings. I know many people who have embarked on replacing one component in an A/C system and then been plagued with leaks. All this stuff generally works pretty good until you give it one good disturbance, then all Hell breaks loose.

    Good luck.
    1985 SVO Mustang (turbocharged track whore), 1989 Taurus SHO (supercharged track whore), 1999 SVT Contour (Sedanus-Grocerygetter-Rapidus), 2008 Mercury Milan Premier.

  8. #8
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    yeah i'm replacing the compressor, accumulator and orifice tube. seems all compressor manufacturers seem to require this to validate their warranty. not sure about the condenser. keep reading that ford recommends flushing it. others say the fins are too small to flush properly and its better to replace it.
    Hugo 99 contour svt #1750/2760
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  9. #9

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    If replacing compressor because it grenaded you MUST flush everything. That stuff will be everywhere in the system. Compressor seller should have emphasized that also at sale or zero compressor warranty. Just because you bought new parts doesn't mean some of the trash will not later go through and destroy everything new you just paid for. I see it on a regular basis. I got my vacuum pump for free, got a pump from a printing plate processing machine, $10 worth of fittings and home free.

  10. #10
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    i'm going to have the shop do the flush of the lines and evaporator and condenser. dont feel like buying the vacuum pump and filter for my home compressor to do the flush and deep vacuum myself. i still dont know if its better to replace the condenser.
    Hugo 99 contour svt #1750/2760
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