How to Charge the Air Conditioner on a 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass

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A 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass' air conditioner can be recharged at home, with no need to take the car to a mechanic. The car uses R134a refrigerant, which is available as both individual refill canisters and recharging kits. If you already own a kit, you will need to only buy the canister itself. If this will be your first time recharging an air conditioner, you will need the recharging kit. The kit will also contain a can of refrigerant.

Things You'll Need

  • R134a refrigerant kit
  • Glasses
  • Goggles
  • Thermometer
  • Open the Oldsmobile's engine compartment and search for the air conditioner's pipes. They are made of aluminum, and they will feature two capped, pressurized connection ports. The high side connection port is meant for maintaining air conditioning system pressure. It is not used in this task, so ignore it. Regardless, you will not be able to attach the kit to this connection port.

  • Slip the cap off of the low side connection port. Fit your R134a kit's servicing hose to this low side connection port. Set the kit down, but be cautious of where you put it. Since you will run the Oldsmobile's engine later, the kit cannot be near anything that will move, like engine belts.

  • Start the Oldsmobile's engine. Allow the engine to sit and idle unto it has warmed to its usual operational temperature.

  • Blast the air conditioner. The system needs to be set to the lowest air temperature and the hardest blowing force. These are necessary precautions. Later, you will need to take the system's internal temperature, and any R134a refrigerant you add will need to circulate within the system.

  • Open all of the Oldsmobile's doors. You do not want air within the car's passenger compartment to build up and accidentally switch the sytem off while recharging is underway.

  • Pick up the R134a recharging kit. Twist the kit's nozzle all the way down. This will release the R134a refrigerant through the servicing hose and into the system's aluminum pipes. You will hear "rushing" sounds. That would be perfectly normal.

  • Place a thermometer into the Oldsmobile's central air conditioning duct.

  • Charge the air conditioning system incrementally. After a minute, close the kit's connection with the system by twisting the nozzle upwards. Keep an eye on the kit's pressure gauges. The air moving within the system will distribute the new refrigerant, stabilizing the system. After a minute of "rest," add another charge. Repeat until the system is charged.

  • Monitor the thermometer in the Oldsmobile's central air conditioning duct. The system is charged once the thermometer reads 40 degrees. If the outside weather is hot, and your home's garage is not air conditioned itself, the final operational temperature within the system could be anywhere between 40 and 60 degrees.

  • Remove the thermometer. Detach your R134a kit from the low side connection port. Let the engine and air conditioning run for an additional 10 minutes. This will ensure that the R134a refrigerant fully circulates through all of the air conditioner's components. Turn the engine and air conditioning off, afterwards

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have left over R134a refrigerant, do release it into the atmosphere as a way of getting rid of it. You can always use it later. Store the kit in a dark closet where the temperature is constant year round. Stand the kit up while storing it, and do not take the kit apart while it is attached a partially filled R134a canister.
  • Do not purchase and attempt to use a R12 kit with this vehicle. Making R12 refrigerant with R134a will cause damage. Putting R12 into an empty R134a system will aslo cause damage. Since this task deals with a highly compressed gas, wear gloves and glasses for protection.

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