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AUTOMOTIVE AIR CONDITIONING
TROUBLE SHOOTING GUIDE
What is an air conditioner?
....... and how does it work?
You can not effectively repair something unless you have an idea of how it
works. Keeping it as simple as possible, I will attempt to clarify as much as
possible about how your air conditioner functions.
There are five basic components in an automotive air conditioner:
- Nothing more than a pump. It has suction and discharge and is driven off the
engine by means of an electromagnetic clutch. The clutch consists of a
coil that sits behind a pulley, which sits behind a drive plate or hub.
When the coil is energized it creates a magnetic field through the pulley
which draws in the drive plate. The drive plate turns with the pulley,
courtesy of the magnetism, and runs the compressor. Compressors may be
purchased remanufactured (or rebuilt) or new.
- Sometimes called receiver drier or accumulator. When installed in the
liquid line it is called a drier. When installed in the suction line it
is called an accumulator. Its purpose is threefold:
A.) To trap moisture (water and gas will eventually create acids
which will lead to leaks)
B.) To provide a space for liquid to collect in reserve for the
evaporator OR in an accumulator system, a place to
separate vapor from liquid, insuring that minimal liquid (damaging) gets back
to the compressor
C.) To act as a filter and trap any foreign matter which may be
in the system.
Although driers and accumulators can be remanufactured (or rebuilt)
they are generally sold new because they are relatively inexpensive.
- The coil in front of your radiator. It serves as a heat exchanger and
dissipates the heat collected by the freon after it was vaporized in the
evaporator and compressed in the compressor. It accomplishes this by utilizing
air flow across a series of tubes. Condensers are only sold new.
- The restrictor or metering device which limits the
flow of liquid into the evaporator so that the high pressure liquid from the
condenser enters the evaporator as low pressure liquid so it can evaporate or
boil off into low pressure gas. Expansion valves and tubes are only sold new.
- The coil inside your dashboard. It also serves as the heat exchanger where
the Freon collects heat as the gas is vaporized. The use of air flow across
the coils collects heat from the air in the passenger compartment. Although in
years past different companies came to market with remanufactured or rebuilt
evaporators, in our opinion they were less than satisfactory and should be
avoided. New aftermarket evaporators of high quality are readily
available at reasonable prices.
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