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Old 08-19-2015, 04:58 PM   #1
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I screwed up big time. HELP

I bought a AC recharge kit, followed the directions but instead of fixing my AC I think it blew out my radiator. As I'm charging the AC I start hearing a hissing then smoke starts coming from the passenger side radiator and there's a puddle of coolant underneath it. I immediately shut the car off. It hissed away for another 10 minutes or so.

I have no idea what I did or what my next steps are. Can someone please help me out because right now I feel like an idiot.



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Old 08-19-2015, 05:06 PM   #2
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Did you change the coolant or the freon?
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:08 PM   #3
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Well for starters the air conditioning condensers are in front of the radiators. So what you see is most likely refrigerant blowing out of a hole in your condenser. Was your a/c blowing cold air at all before you tried to recharge it?

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Old 08-19-2015, 05:10 PM   #4
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Did you change the coolant or the freon?
Freon. I bought an R-134a AC recharging kit.
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:13 PM   #5
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There is a leak in the condenser. It may have been a small leak before if your a/c was kinda working before. It is a big leak now for sure.
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:18 PM   #6
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Well for starters the air conditioning condensers are in front of the radiators. So what you see is most likely refrigerant blowing out of the hole in your condenser. Was your a/c blowing cold air at all before you tried to recharge it?
It was not blowing cold at all. The pressure gauge read 0 when I started. I periodically checked the vents and I did have cold air blowing shortly before I saw the smoke.

I took a video of the puddle, it seems like green coolant.
https://youtu.be/jStatofU9BQ
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:24 PM   #7
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Hit something hard recently in passenger front? (i.e parking curb, steep driveway, etc.)

If so, could have taken out both condenser and rad

Before tossing any more $ at this w/o knowing issues I'd pull the bumper skin ASAP and inspect. Let us know what you find and we can assist from there.

Good luck
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:36 PM   #8
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Hit something hard recently in passenger front? (i.e parking curb, steep driveway, etc.)

If so, could have taken out both condenser and rad

Before tossing any more $ at this w/o knowing issues I'd pull the bumper skin ASAP and inspect. Let us know what you find and we can assist from there.

Good luck
I was fine when I parked it on Sunday. You're right, I need to pull the bumper off and get a better look at it. Thanks.
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:39 PM   #9
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Yes I agree that is coolant. If your a/c system was flat it could be a large leak. It seems possible that when you charged the a/c if the leak was on the side of the condenser, it could have frozen and cracked the plastic side of the radiator. But hitting or scraping the front seems more likely. Has your a/c worked recently? What ever the cause you will definitely need to remove the bumper cover to see what is wrong.
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Roxshot View Post
It was not blowing cold at all. The pressure gauge read 0 when I started. I periodically checked the vents and I did have cold air blowing shortly before I saw the smoke.

I took a video of the puddle, it seems like green coolant.
https://youtu.be/jStatofU9BQ
It looks like you barfed up an AC condenser. Could be a rock strike or just old age. Pull the bumper cover for a peek. If you had "0" system pressure to start with, there was already a good size leak present.
As for your oily substance, there is oil in with the refrigerant charge to lubricate the compressor. Betcha that's what you're seeing there.
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BoxsterSteve View Post
It looks like you barfed up an AC condenser. Could be a rock strike or just old age. Pull the bumper cover for a peek. If you had "0" system pressure to start with, there was already a good size leak present.
As for your oily substance, there is oil in with the refrigerant charge to lubricate the compressor. Betcha that's what you're seeing there.
+1 My bet is you need a new condenser, pull it apart and check. If you have the correct coolant it is pink not green. If it is the condenser you have not screwed up, your AC is just shot. Pull it apart and post pictures, we'll help you through it. No big.
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Old 08-20-2015, 03:33 AM   #12
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Check the coolant color in the trunk tank. Probably isn't green.

R134a has a sort of neon green-yellow color to it when it's leaked out like that due to the PAG oil.
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Old 08-20-2015, 02:20 PM   #13
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I want to thank all of you who talked me off of the ledge! A number of you nailed the issue - My AC condenser is shot so when I was recharging freon leaked out all over the ground and radiator. The radiator was hot hence all the smoke. I was a bit intimidated but thanks to a great YouTube video taking the bumper off was straight forward. The AC recharge kit included a UV additive and light so it was pretty easy to spot the point of failure. Looks like I'm staying AC-less for now and I'm OK with that.

On a related note, good god there was a TON of crap stuck in there. I expected some debris but this was far beyond what I expected.
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Old 08-20-2015, 03:21 PM   #14
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Dead birds are not uncommon. If you want to repair your AC as a DIY it is doable, but it is the pickiest repair to do. You've air and water in your AC freon loop meaning seemingly unrelated parts have to be replaced. Replacing them is easy, knowing to replace them is the trick. You will need a special tool, a vacuum pump to repair the AC. About a hundred bucks or so if you shop around.
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Old 08-21-2015, 06:28 AM   #15
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Pick up a set of gauges and a vacuum pump at Hazard Fraught (Harbor Freight). Use one of the coupons to save some cash on that. Since the system is open I'd also replace the receiver drier when you change the condenser.
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Old 08-23-2015, 05:46 AM   #16
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Thanks for the advice Deserion, I had no idea AC pump & gauges were that cheap even at HF. I ordered two new AC condensers, hopefully that does the trick.
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Old 08-23-2015, 03:30 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Roxshot View Post
Thanks for the advice Deserion, I had no idea AC pump & gauges were that cheap even at HF. I ordered two new AC condensers, hopefully that does the trick.
AC condensers won't do the trick alone though I commend you for replacing both. You have to replace the receiver drier and I'd also recommend the expansion valve. The the system has to be drawn down to vacuum before putting in 85 grams of R134a (from memory check this). A digital kitchen scale comes in handy to get 85 grams. After being open this long I'd personally hold the vacuum on the order of hours,even overnight after installing then new parts. Moisture is your enemy and there are bound to be a few drops drawn in with the air in your system. If the system is not drawn to vacuum then the water freezes in the freon loop and the AC does not work. It takes a couple of drops of water to ruin your AC so the trick is to pull a vacuum for an extended period to pull out as much water as possible and then never let any air back into the system. Make sure any hoses connected to the system are purged of air before connecting them to the freon loop.
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Last edited by Jamesp; 08-23-2015 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 08-23-2015, 04:57 PM   #18
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In a general manner, is it safe to use these AC recharge kits on our 986s?
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Old 08-24-2015, 02:31 AM   #19
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In a general manner, is it safe to use these AC recharge kits on our 986s?
They're safe, but only work if the problem is a slow leak. That is not out of the question, but only one of many possible faults.

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