How to Fill Up S10 Refrigerantby Richard Ristow
Refilling your Chevrolet S10 truck's air conditioning refrigerant is a routine part of maintenance. The system doesn't consume refrigerant, but it will eventually leak out over time. Once the system fails to put out chilled air, the system requires replenishment. Everything else about the air conditioner will work fine. All you need is a Freon refilling kit, which is available at most automotive parts stores. Since the S10 came after 1984, you will need R134a Freon for this job.
Open the S10 hood and reveal the engine compartment. Locate the air conditioner's aluminum tubes. They are connected to the truck's compressor.
Look at the wider diameter aluminum tube and find the low-side service port. It should have a blue or black cap. Remove this cap.
Attach your R134a refilling kit to the low-side service port. The kit's coupler should easily fit onto the port. If it does not, you have likely bought a R12 Freon kit and will need to return it. Forcing R12 into a R134a system will cause damage.
Set the R134a refilling kit down and away from engine components that will shift or move. Move to the driver's seat and get behind the steering wheel.
Crank up the Chevy S10's engine and let it idle until it reaches your normal running temperature. Then, switch the air conditioning system on. Run the air conditioning at the lowest temperature, and turn the blower capacity to its max setting.
Exit the vehicle. Leave the door open. This will keep air from building up within the passenger compartment, and it will keep the air conditioner from accidentally turning itself off as you refill the system.
Return to the engine compartment and pick up your R134a refilling kit. Turn the nozzle atop the canister down. This will puncture the canister's seal and let the R134a Freon out. It will make a loud gassy and hissing noise. This is okay and routine; it's only the sound of the Freon leaving the kit and entering the Chevy S10's air conditioning pipes.
Time yourself. Let 60 seconds elapse as the system recharges. Then, turn the canister's nozzle upwards and shut off the flow of Freon. Let the system rest for 60 seconds.
Repeat this filling process multiple times, while watching the kit's pressure gauge. Each period of rest allows the Freon to spread throughout the system evenly. Once the kit's gauge indicates the system is refilled, this task is finished.
Turn off the flow of Freon from the kit. Detach the kit's coupler from the low-side service port. Let the Chevrolet S10's air conditioning system run for another 10 to 15 minutes and allow the new R134a refrigerant to evenly distribute.
- "Haynes Repair Manual: Chevrolet S-10 & GMC Sonoma Pick-ups"; Max Haynes; Haynes Publishing Group; 2008
- If you're kit's gauge is broken, you can check the recharging progress by placing a thermometer into your air conditioner's central duct. A fully charged system will produce air that measures 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are recharging on a hot summer day, that reading is often anywhere between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You can tell the system is recharged once the temperature stops falling and levels out.
Things You'll Need
- R134a refilling kit
- The recharging kit could get very cold during this task. For reasons of safety and comfort, it is best to wear winter gloves while recharging your Chevy S10's air conditioner. Also, R134a refrigerant is a compressed gas. You need to wear eye protection whenever handling a canister of Freon.
Richard Ristow has written for journals, newspapers and websites since 2002. His work has appeared in "2009 Nebula Showcase" and elsewhere. He is a winner of the Science Fiction Poetry Association's Rhysling Award and he edits poetry for Belfire Press. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and has managed an automotive department at WalMart.