BY RICHARD RISTOW
The Chrysler 300’s air conditioner is a complex piece of machinery, so much so that most mechanics must be certified before their employers will let them touch an air conditioner. Not all maintenance procedures are that complex, however. Recharging a Chrysler 300’s R-134a Freon level is fairly simple and can be done by any home mechanic. Recharging kits can be purchased at most automotive retailers, and the process does not consume a lot of time. If not recharged, the 300’s R-134a will eventually leak out, and the air conditioner will not produce cold air.
Open the Chrysler 300’s hood and prop it up. Search the vehicle’s engine compartment for a set of metal tubes. They will be made of aluminum (and will be of two different thicknesses). Locate the wider diameter pipe. It will be connected to the vehicle’s compressor, and it will feature a low side pressure connection with a blue or black cap. Pull this cap off of the low side pressure connection.
Snap your R-134a kits coupler to the low side pressure connection. The coupler will be located at the end of the kit’s service housing, and should easily fit the low side connection. If it does not, recheck your recharging kit. You may have bought an R-12 kit by accident. These kits are prefigured to fit the systems they are intended for. If you have an R-12 kit, return it to the store. Even if you could make it fit, the R-12 Freon will damage the Chrysler’s air conditioning system.
Find a safe place to put the R-134a kit down. Some engine parts, like belts, may accidentally shift or move the kit. Ensure that the kit is not resting on any such parts.
Crank the Chrysler 300’s engine and let it idle. Once it has warmed to its standard operational temperature, switch the vehicle’s air conditioning on. Ensure the blower is on the hardest setting, and make sure the air temperature is at the coldest degree possible.
Walk a full circle around the Chrysler 300 and open all the doors. If you are in a tight garage, and you have no room for open doors, roll down all the windows. You have to do this for one important reason. Once the air conditioner begins to charge, it will produce refrigerated air. If the newly cooled air builds up in the 300’s passenger compartment, the air conditioner may mistakenly turn itself off. You will need the system running throughout the entire process.
Return to the Chrysler 300’s engine. Pick up the R-134a kit and open the valve. By turning the valve downwards, a needle will break the R-134a’s seal and the refrigerant will charge into the system. Let 60 seconds of R-134a surge into the system.
Close the kit’s valve atop the R-134a canister. Let the air within the air conditioner circulate for 60 seconds. Continue adding the R-134a in one-minute intervals. Shake the can while charging.
Monitor the kit’s pressure gauge. Those pressure readings will indicate when the recharging process is completed. If you need outside verification, check the Chrysler 300’s aluminum pipes. If they are universally and evenly cold, then the system is charged. Also, place a thermometer in the air conditioner’s central vent. A charged system will cool air to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, unless the outside air is very hot. On a very hot summer day, the air conditioner can plateau anywhere from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Close the valve atop the R-134a canister, once the system is charged. Remove the kit’s coupler from the low side pressure connection, but let the vehicle idle for 15 minutes before turning the engine and air conditioning off. By letting both run, you are letting the air conditioner’s blower fully circulate the newly added R-134a Freon.01:3609:12