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How to Recharge Freon in a 2001 Chevrolet Impala

by Richard Ristow

Periodically, R134a Freon will have to be added the 2001 Chevrolet Impala's air conditioning system. This is a "when" and not an "if." The Impala's air conditioning system can work perfectly fine but R134a will still gradually seep out. Repairing an Impala's air conditioning system should always be left up to a certified professional but recharging Freon levels is more of a matter of maintenance. This task is relatively easy to complete with recharging kits widely available at most automotive retailers.

Assemble the R134a recharging kit. While you are attaching the hose to the Freon canister, exercise caution while turning the valve atop the canister. Turning this valve too far down will puncture the canister's seal and prematurely let the R134a rush out.

Locate the low side port within the 2001 Chevy Impala's engine compartment. This port will have a dust cap, and it can be found on the air conditioning system's aluminum tubes. Attach the hose to this port and find a safe place to rest the R134 recharging kit. Do not set the kit on or near any belts, fans or engine parts that will move once the engine is cranked.

Climb behind the Impala's steering wheel and crank the engine. Let the engine's temperature rise to it's usual running level. Then turn on the air conditioning. Place a thermometer into an air conditioning vent and watch the temperature drop. Once it reaches its lowest point, exit the Impala. Leave the door open,

Turn the valve atop the recharging kit's canister and let the R134a rush into the Impala's air conditioning system. Close the valve periodically to monitor the gauges. If the R134 canister becomes too cold to handle, wrap it in a towel. Allow at least a minute between charges into the system. This will allow the system to stabilize.

Place a thermometer into an air conditioning duct and watch the system's temperature steadily drop. A charged system will level off at 40 degrees. You will notice the process nearing completion once the air conditioning system's aluminum tubing becomes uniformly cold.

Close the valve atop the canister once system is charged. Do this even if the canister is depleted. Do not overfill the system as that can cause damage. Remove the hose from the low side port. Close the engine compartment and shut off both the Impala's air conditioning and engine.

Refrain from discharging excess Freon into the atmosphere. You can always used the left over R134a later. Leave the hose, gauge and valve attached to the can. Store the kit in a closet where there are no abrupt fluctuations in temperature. Keep the kit standing straight up and do not store any recharging kit by laying it on its side.

Tip

  • Depending on who manufactured the kit, instructions might have slight variations. Always give preference to the instructions packaged with the actual product you are using.

Warning

  • This task calls for handling a compressed gas; you should personal protective gear such as eye goggles and gloves.

Items you will need

About the Author

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.

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