How to Recharge the AC in a Chevy Truck

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You need to recharge the air conditioning (AC) system in your Chevy truck when the system has been repaired or it has lost refrigerant due to component failure. The tools and equipment you will need for this job include a set of AC gauges and a vacuum pump to remove moisture from the system. These tools are available at most large auto-parts stores. The average do-it-yourself mechanic can complete this project in about two hours and restore the AC system to factory performance.

Things You'll Need

  • AC gauge set
  • Vacuum pump
  • Can tap
  • Attach the hoses from the gauge set to the service ports on the Chevy truck. The service ports are located on top of the compressor on trucks made after 2001. Trucks made before 2001 have the ports on the accumulator and high pressure hose. The ports are different sizes, so you can't install them incorrectly. However, early models that use R-12 refrigerant require an adapter to fit the hose to the high-pressure service port.

  • Attach the vacuum pump to the center hose of the AC gauge set. Plug the pump's power cable into a 110-volt outlet and turn it on. Open both valves on the front of the gauge set. Allow the pump to run for one hour to remove all the moisture in the system.

  • Close the valves on the gauge set and turn off the pump. The vacuum reading on the gauge set should hold steady for 15 minutes. If the gauge set shows that the vacuum has leaked off during this time, there is a leak in the system.

  • Disconnect the vacuum pump from the gauge hose and install a can tap on the hose. Slip a can of refrigerant into the tap and open it by screwing in the thumbscrew. Unscrew the thumbscrew and open the blue valve on the gauge set. Allow half of the can of refrigerant to flow into the system.

  • Start the engine and turn on the AC. When the can is empty, close the gauge valve and remove the can. Attach another can to the tap and open the blue gauge valve. Repeat until you have installed 2.0 lbs of refrigerant in the system.

  • Close the gauge valve and disconnect the gauge set from the truck. Test drive the Chevy to verify that the system works properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear safety glasses and work gloves to prevent serious injuries.
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