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How to Add Freon to a 97 1500

by Melissa Lowery

The 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 is a full-sized, half-ton pickup truck. One of the first mechanical problems many 1997 Dodge Ram owners face is within the air conditioning system. This is mainly due to the fact that Dodge has made only minor changes to the original Dodge Ram air conditioning system. However, this makes maintenance to the air conditioning system basically the same despite the year the 1500 was made. Adding freon to your 1997 Dodge Ram 1500 is a normal part of the system's basic maintenance, enabling the air conditioner to function properly.

Raise the hood on the Dodge Ram 1500. Make sure the engine is completely cool, to avoid burns. Open the air conditioning gauge kit. This kit contains an air conditioner gauge to measure the pressure in the compressor, a can of R-134A freon, and a can cap to open the freon.

Locate the air conditioner compressor in the front of the engine. The compressor is identified as being between eight and twelve inches long with aluminum coloring. It will have a belt and two black hoses, one larger than the other.

Remove the two port caps. There are two locations to check for these caps, based upon the year of the 1500. The caps are for servicing the truck and can be located on either hose or on the compressor. One cap will be labeled "S" for suction and the another will labeled "D" for discharge.

Close the service ports, or valves, on the air conditioner servicing gauges. The air conditioning servicing gauges connect to the air compressor to measure the pressure and freon in the 1500. It will have a blue gauge for low pressure and a red gauge for high pressure, each with distending hoses. There is a center hose for adding the freon. Connect the blue gauge hose to the "S" port. Connect the red gauge hose to the "D" port.

Attach the can of freon to the center hose on the air conditioner gauge. Crank the Dodge Ram 1500 and cut the air conditioner on high. Return to the engine and read the gages to determine the pressure within the air conditioning compressor. If the gauge reads zero, there is not any freon in the 1500, and the air conditioner will need servicing before adding additional freon. If the pressure level is high, the truck does not need any additional freon. If the pressure is moving back and forth from low to high or vice versa, freon should be added.

Pierce the can of freon with the can cap, and slowly open the blue valve on the air conditioning gauge to release the freon into the compressor.

Close the blue valve and wait ten minutes to obtain an accurate pressure reading. The freon will slowly pour into the compressor. A reading of 35-psi to 275-psi is within normal range. Once the desired pressure is reached, shut off the valves.

Remove the hoses and put the port caps back on to the compressor.

Tip

  • The temperature outside will effect the readings on your air conditioner gauge. If it is extremely hot, the pressure reading will be between 5-25-psi above normal. If it is extremely cold, the readings will be between 5-15 degrees lower than normal.

Warning

  • Even though the Dodge Ram air conditioning system is relatively unchanged, these instructions should not be used for year models other than the 1997.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Melissa Lowery began her writing career in 1999 as a field reporter for the "Six Mile Post." Since 2000 Lowery has contributed to many different websites and print publications. She holds both a mastery makeup artistry and a cosmetology diploma, with more than six years experience in these fields.

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Photo Credits

  • red truck engine image by Christopher Nolan from Fotolia.com