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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I first got my 1996 Geo Tracker (in 2004) it had a/c that worked AND over time, one day, the a/c stopped working. I think the seals were rotted or one of the lines at the compressor blew off. I can't remember which one happened. Either way, I'm thinking about repairing it so I can drive it more and keep the miles off my 2002 Chevy Impala. As a social worker, I drive a lot for work and transport clients, so 95F with mentally ill clients in the car is a no-go.

What I DO remember is, that when it worked, it blew cold, but man it had no acceleration or power at all to it. I mean, this thing was sluggish. It's a 1.6L 5spd manual and right now it runs great.

Is this normal for others out there to see such a reduction in power with a/c on? I routinely drive my Tracker on the highway somewhere between 65-70mph. Obviously, this would put it at higher RPMs because it's in 5th gear. Could driving it that fast with the A/C on cause problems for the compressor?

Compressor seems fine on inspection. I do plan to replace all the seals and gaskets first and maybe the drier then shoot some freon in it and see what happens. I did search the forums before asking, but couldn't find an answer.
 

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A compressor load WILL consume a noticeable amount of power from the engine. I don't feel that much of a drag with a 2.5 V-6 though. A 1.6 would be more susceptible to the drag. Speed won't add any appreciable difference though and not hurt the compressor.

Make sure that you evacuate the freon system (apply a vacuum) and then charge it to spec. Too much or too little freon will dramatically affect operation. :)

Good luck with it!
 

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I don't recall people complaining about such a considerable loss of power when the A/C was on - especially with a 5 speed tranny. It may be best to confirm that the engine timing is correct (compression test, ignition timing, etc), to make sure that the engine, while seeming ok with no accessories on, is actually timed properly, spark plugs gapped properly, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys for the quick reply and thanks Bex for your YEARS of experience with these cars.

It'll be June before I'll be able to set aside the time to put it all back together. The system evacuated itself 9 years ago and both hoses were disconnected from the compressor around that time. When I get it all slapped together, I'll have an update.
 

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Evacuate means to draw a vacuum of >30" for more that >30min...

As the system has been open you will need to flush it and change the dryer, possibly the orifice.

When my A/C is on/working, fuel consumption is increase 15/20%...

..... Philip
 

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My rig will hold torque converter lockup at 65 on the speedo. When the ac is turned on, you can kick that down to 55.

But around town, the average person wont notice a difference.


I can set the cruise on the wife's rig at 80, ac on, and it just cruises along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank God I don't have to deal with torque converter lockup :)

I gathered the drier will need to be replaced. 80mph? That's definitely reassuring!
 

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I gathered the drier will need to be replaced
For certain, as the desiccant within was open to the atmosphere.
 

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One thing you need to keep in mind is what refrigerant you are running. My sport kick runs r134 but older cars run r12 which might be difficult to get repaired.

My sport kick with the AC on I can feel when it turns on and off and a bit of powerless as well as it gets more downshift happy and hangs in the lower gears longer. I feel my torque converter lock up at speeds as low as 70kph (I think that's about 45mph).
 

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One thing you need to keep in mind is what refrigerant you are running. My sport kick runs r134 but older cars run r12 which might be difficult to get repaired. .
Depending on the situation, Hydrocarbon refrigerants (HC-12a, Duracool or the like) are a good replacement. There are problems and concerns but _I_ think the advantages are worth it. It can be used in systems designed for R-12 or R-134a. While HC-12a provides better cooling than an R-12 system retrofitted to R-134a, it also works better than R134a in a 134s system! It has much greater energy efficiency (lower head pressures/less engine drag) as well. Plus the molecule is larger than either R12 or R134a, so it leaks out slower.

Here is a little info:
Duracool® Quick Start Guide
HC-12a - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The main down side is the flammability and most professionals will not touch a system charged with it.... at least here in the US.

Note the statement "it is illegal to replace R-12 with HC-12a in the United States." Is true. But you can use it in a R134a system, and you can convert a R12 to a R134a system... then charge it with HC-12a or Duracool.

--- got to get back to work :( ---
 
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