Factory A/C doesn’t blow cold…what to check first?

Sorry, but I’m a newbie as far as A/C goes and have never worked on them. Although the clutch engages, the A/C in my 68 doesn’t blow cold…I assume it has a leak and doesn’t contain refrigerant.

I am probably stuck finding a local shop that can determine if/where a leak exists, but I can probably replace any needed parts if needed…once that has been isolated. Are there any common items where it just makes sense to rebuild/replace anyways?

Does a place like AutoZone have the right equipment/ fittings to do do this at home? I assume you would need to pull a vacuum to see if there is a leak, but how would you find the actual leak itself…I assume you need to pressurize and use some sort of compatible dye?

Theres a very detailed flow chart and directions in the 68 shop manual that explains what to look for and how to deal with it, plus pics.

Likely it hasn’t worked in years. The first step would be to check to see if there is any refrigerant in the system. I suspect it has all leaked out. Generally leaks happen because of connections that are not tight or a failed compressor seal.

The parts are not expensive, but you will need to decide if you are going to use R134 or R12. R12 has superior performance but is expensive if you don’t already own it. R134 is easier to find and a lot cheaper but requires special equipment and fittings to adapt to it, plus a unique compressor oil.

Once you make that decision, at a minimum I would replace the expansion valve, drier, and compressor. I would flush all the lines with alcohol and replace any lines that have any sign of abrasion. Rebuild the box under the dash with new foam seals. Make sure all the vacuum motors do what they are supposed to do. Make sure the fan control and icing switch are performing properly. Then get it professionally recharged. Not at Auto Zone!

Thanks…will need to check manual. I’m back to not having the equipment though.


Thanks, will need to decide to see what path to take. If I head the R134 route, will need to start checking on what parts/fittings to acquire. I’ll have to see if anyone has done same and has a list of correct items / fittings.

Will definitely not charge at AutoZone…just checking to see if they had equipment to help me troubleshoot. Otherwise, will investigate small local shops that have experience with older cars. Will also bring the manual as you mentioned the specs in one of your other posts.

I was looking at one of the modern style compressors/ kits from Original Air, but didn’t know what luck people have had with them.

I have installed a Vintage Air system. A few guys locally have installed Old Air systems. These systems are garbage compared to the factory AC system. Particularly if you need heat in the winter, but the AC systems don’t work very well either. Your factory system is far better in design and function whether you use R134 or R12.

Ok…will stay focused on keeping original for now and start putting together a list of items to replace if I migrate to R134.