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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

The air conditioning in my '99 Beetle seems to be awfully low (it's not cold and doesn't seem to get cold at all - cool is the best I can get). I want to do a trace on the AC system to see if it's leaking anywhere, but all of the kits out there (on Amazon, at the local parts dealers) only have 12a refrigerant in them (none of them have 134a - you need an elaborate setup to get that in the system).

Can I use these 12a kits so I can try and figure out if it's leaking? I know R12 is not compatible with 134a, but from what I'm reading 12a is just a lesser version of 134a (which is fine with me as I'm just trying to track down the problem anyhow).

Thanks!
 

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I went to my local auto parts store and rented a dye injector kit; I ended up not having any leaks, I could find. Did you hook up some guages and what were the results?

Here is a example; of a gun dye injector type tool:

Robinair UV dye injection kit #16355

 

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Discussion Starter #3
I went to my local auto parts store and rented a dye injector kit; I ended up not having any leaks, I could find. Did you hook up some guages and what were the results?

Here is a example; of a gun dye injector type tool:

Robinair UV dye injection kit #16355

Thanks, Billy. I haven't done anything yet. I went to the local auto parts store and they advised me against using R12a because they said if I did find a leak and went to a garage to have the system purged they would perform a sniff test and wouldn't do the work. From what I was told this is mainly propane, and they won't deal with it. I'm assuming there's a leak because when I run the air conditioner I don't see the AC compressor clutch engaging. So either there's a leak or the AC compressor or the clutch is bad. However, I won't be able to tell until I add some refrigerant, which I take a risk by using R12a. Hence my dilemma lol.
 

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Well, the first step in diagnosing the a/c system; is to hook up a set of gauges and that can help you diagnose the problem. We have seen issues; where the clutch won't engage and it wasn't low R34a but that could be a issue as well (wiring problem, fuse blown, relay bad, compressor clutch bad, etc). I don't think the New Beetle had R12 ; you might check the sticker on the hood or engine compartment for info, the service manual seems to indicate it uses 134a.

According to this link:



What year did they stop using R12 and switch to 134A?

When was the was the last year car manufacturer’s used R12 in the United States? The year was 1993. In 1994 R134A was implemented. Car manufacturer’s starting using R134A in 1994 on vehicles sold in the USA.


Refrigerant: Capacity Specifications

Model: New Beetle

Refrigerant R-134a, capacity

Quantity: 700 g ± 50 g
(24.7 oz ± 1.8 oz)

As always, it is best; to diagnose the problem with proper testing and this will help you intelligently, troubleshoot the issue. My 2002 1.8T, had the a/c cooling go way down but the clutch was engaging. I found a video on youtube and it showed a common problem; where the internal valve of the compressors fail and so, the compressor cannot pump up the refrigerant, then won't cool correctly. There can be quite a few different problems with the hvac system; rent a a/c guage kit, typically available from most auto parts stores and go from there.

Here is the a/c area of the service manual; for a 99 1.8T New Beetle: (look at the left; for the various parts of the system):


compressor clutch relay:


Compressor Clutch Relay: Description and Operation



cooling fan control moduel and a/c pressure switch:


Take a look at the sight glass; which can be a quick check for refrigerant levels:

 

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I did a quick search and it looks like you can get r134a on Amazon.ca. Not as cheap as here in the states (I guess you aren't allowed to buy R134a in Canada like you can in the states? Its in every auto parts store here) but you can get it, it seems.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I did a quick search and it looks like you can get r134a on Amazon.ca. Not as cheap as here in the states (I guess you aren't allowed to buy R134a in Canada like you can in the states? Its in every auto parts store here) but you can get it, it seems.
Thanks for the help. I went to Parts Source here in Canada and the guy at the counter said they are only allowed to sell 134a to registered mechanics. I might bite the bullet and buy a couple cans from Amazon.ca because I currently have no way of testing. I can register the car in my name yet (than you, COVID-19!) because the Ministry is not open, so it's no road-worthy at this time. So my next best bet it to try and diagnose it myself, and a start is to first see what the pressure is in the system and add R134a if it's low. I'll probably end up buying a set of manifold gauges so I can see if I can first establish if there's a leak or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well, the first step in diagnosing the a/c system; is to hook up a set of gauges and that can help you diagnose the problem. We have seen issues; where the clutch won't engage and it wasn't low R34a but that could be a issue as well (wiring problem, fuse blown, relay bad, compressor clutch bad, etc). I don't think the New Beetle had R12 ; you might check the sticker on the hood or engine compartment for info, the service manual seems to indicate it uses 134a.
Thanks for the awesome information, Billy! I will probably go out and purchase a set of gauges to try and establish whether or not it's low on 134a or if I have to look elsewhere.

The new beetle does not have R12, only 134a, but all places in Canada only sell R12a which is different, but it's propane-based. So if I put it into the system I might as well say goodbye to taking it in to a mechanic to get resolved because they won't work on a car with R12a. So if I do the work myself I'd have to be environmentally irresponsible and purge the system into the atmosphere (which I'm not too keen on doing), or go out and purchase a whole setup to get rid of it myself (which would probably be more than what I paid for the car in the first place).
 

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I would see, if you can rent a set of gauges; I don't see the reason to purchase a set, unless you see yourself doing a/c work in the future. I don't know the laws, 134a availability or other issues in Canada, etc. Here in the USA, you can buy bottles of 134a; at any auto parts store; I bough mine at Walmart, it sounds like Canada might be more strict about these things, then in the USA. That being said, there are effective repair strategies, you just need to plan it out; if you end up needing to do a refill or evacuation of the 134a, do repairs and then, take it back, have them top it off. For example, evacuate the system; then, do needed repairs and then, take it back for a full refill. The reason a/c repairs cost so much; is typically, the labor, which you can do yourself, if you are replacing parts or end up replacing all the parts in the system. Don't get discouraged; there are always alternative ways of doing things and still be environmentally safe, doing things within the environmental laws. A/C systems, are repaired all the time; it is just, that most of us are intimidated by it and don't try to figure things out. I have never done any a/c work and I fingered mine out, thanks to a online videos, research on the meaning of the gauge readings and you can too. Hopefully, you can figure things out and soon, have working cool air! :)
 

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I would see, if you can rent a set of gauges; I don't see the reason to purchase a set, unless you see yourself doing a/c work in the future. I don't know the laws, 134a availability or other issues in Canada, etc. Here in the USA, you can buy bottles of 134a; at any auto parts store; I bough mine at Walmart, it sounds like Canada might be more strict about these things, then in the USA. That being said, there are effective repair strategies, you just need to plan it out; if you end up needing to do a refill or evacuation of the 134a, do repairs and then, take it back, have them top it off. For example, evacuate the system; then, do needed repairs and then, take it back for a full refill. The reason a/c repairs cost so much; is typically, the labor, which you can do yourself, if you are replacing parts or end up replacing all the parts in the system. Don't get discouraged; there are always alternative ways of doing things and still be environmentally safe, doing things within the environmental laws. A/C systems, are repaired all the time; it is just, that most of us are intimidated by it and don't try to figure things out. I have never done any a/c work and I fingered mine out, thanks to a online videos, research on the meaning of the gauge readings and you can too. Hopefully, you can figure things out and soon, have working cool air! :)
Thanks again. Yeah the reason I bought this car was to do the work myself. I too have watched a ton of YouTube videos and I have a good idea on how to fix everything, I just need the resources. ;)
 
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