AC Refrigerant Line and lessons learned

MCH86GN

Well-Known Member
Does anyone know where I can get one? The is the line that connects to the lower fitting on the AC condenser and then runs to the lower connector on the AC evaporator core. I replaced my compressor and condenser, $300+ and now I can't find this line anywhere. No parts store carries it and I don't know if there is another model vehicle that would have a line that would work.

My original was fine and like an idiot I over tightened it and messed up the threads on the aluminum fitting. Now it will tighten, but does not align correctly but still holds a vacuum. So I put some sealant on it and actually charged it and after about a minute or two. I had a mess to clean up.

You hear people say these cars are money pits. well in my case mine is a money pit because I ignore good advice and I was impatience! I paid $13k for my car and it ran great and was clean interior and 7/10 paint job, basically stock. My down pipe was banging, so I had Aggressive Performance take a look and fix it. I had it less than a month when they did this and instead of just being satisfied with having my dream car I had to upgrade it. So I got bigger turbo and all the other things that are needed to work with the bigger turbo, injectors, fuel pump, TT chip, methanol injection and had my AC converted to r134a - it worked great. Aggressive tuned my car and I picked it up and the increase in power was awesome. Just with a TE44 turbo. I think I spent about $2200 and took a mid 13s car to a high 11s car. About 150hp increase. I know people who $3000 just for a supercharger for a 100hp increase. One thing about it, dollar for dollar these cars are relatively inexpensive for power, to a point. When you want to start breaking into the low 10s high 9s, it can get expensive. But to make it an 11s car, I don't think there are very many out there that you can take from stock to running 11s for cheap as a turbo Buick, considering the age of these cars. Just need to be careful with them I ran my car the whole summer, not a single problem it ran great. But during this time I managed to put a little too much pressure when buffing the car and dented my deck led, its not that noticeable, nonetheless messed up a perfect deck led. Then my son opened my door while my car was in my small garage and dented my door edge guard.

Then I decided to take it took the track. Made 4 passes, couldn't do better than 12.5 because I didn't know how to launch the car. I was running 12s and trapping at 112 to 114. I made a big mistake, I didn't check my alky and there goes a head gasket. So since I had to get new head gaskets, I figured I would upgrade to ported heads. So I got Champion and port matched lower intake. $3000. No noticeable difference in power, but it was during the winter time and Aggressive never really got a chance to tune it. Also after that I kept getting a few degrees of knock at launch. Aggressive assured me that it was ok, just keep my alky topped off. So I took it the track and I ran some decent times. I managed 11.88 at 114 with a 1.79 60' time. However, I had a boost leak, I was running 24psi and it would build to that, but when I would trap it was down to 18 or 19psi. I checked everything, except my crossover pipe. So in my desperate attempt to figure it out, I took my car out at the end of December 09. We had a very nice rain here in MI, it rained for a whole day and was about 50f. I so figured when it dried up and cleaned all the salt off the road and it had not snowed I could take my car out figure what was going on. Since my alky was almost empty I grabbed some denatured alcohol from Home Depot and put it in and prime it. The alky was warm, so it atomized ok. It 0f or below outside, virtually no humidity. Nice air charge, right. I drove my car around trying to figure out the false knock issue with no success. So I then just went for a 30 or 40 mile cruise. It was so cold that my engine coolant temp was like 150f. I wasn't driving the car hard and cruising at 55mph with it 0f outside will cool things off nicely. I stopped at my sister in laws house for about 2 hours and I was on my way home, which was 3 blocks down, we live on the same street. I primed my alky but I didn't get the usual engine stumble, but I proceeded to punch it when I took off from a stop sign. I didn't really hear too loud of a noise, but there was some and engine stalled. I saw smoke coming from under the hood. So I put it in neutral and had someone help me push it home. This was just another stupid thing I did. It was so cold outside, the alky had chilled so much that wasn't spraying or atomizing correctly with the air and I got to witness the more catastrophic effects of detonation. Again, just my ignorance and not thinking. I should have known that when I didn't hear the normal stumble that something was up.

I got my car home and noticed oil leaking. So I tried to figure out where the leak was coming from, it was the rear main seal I believe. Anyway, I knew I broke some thing so looked at my heads(around the edges to see if there was a leak), pulled off my TB and plenum. Didn't see anything wrong. So I looked under my car and I noticed my oil pan had an outward dent in it. So I pulled my drain plug and I got my answer, shrapnel was coming out mixed in my oil. So I unbolted my oil pan and seen parts in it. So I started taking my engine apart, since I didn't have a cherry picker. I started to take my cross over pipe off. I took the drivers side off first then when to the passenger side, well guess what, it was already lose. I think that was the origin of of the knock and of course the boost bleed. So if I would have taken 2 minutes and checked it, I probably would not have had my car out in the zero degree weather.

I so I took everything off my engine that I could and started bagging the bolts labeling what they went to. Finally got a cherry picker and got my engine pulled. Took the oil pan off and I had force it off because it jammed with my crank. Finally got it off and there is was, my crank broken in half with two center pistons completely shatters and their remains in my oil pan. One of my rods were bent. I don't if anyone knows or has worked with engines or every measured cylinder pressures when detonation occurs, but that has to be some awful high cylinder pressure to break a crank in half. When I had head gaskets replaced, I got Cometic along with ARP studs. Bruce told me that with the Cometic and ARP studs if detonation occurs it won't be the head gasket that goes it would be something else and he was right. Surprisingly there was no damage to my heads. However, when the crank broke the block got ruined. One of the center main caps when it pulled out broke the bolt hole when it pulled out.

Since I had my engine pulled, i decided to clean my chassis up. Got all the oil and dirt off and stripped it to bare metal and removed the little bit rust that was on my chassis. I put some rust inhibitor on my chassis then bought some chassis black spray paint that was $18 a can. It took 5 cans to paint it. It was supposed to resistant any solvents, it wasn't to brake fluid. I then replaced my upper and lower control arms with tubular ones. I lucked out, I had a friend who sold me a running engine for $600 - minus lower intake, TB and plenum. So I had my heads and lower intake put on, along with getting the engine cleaned and painted. I had to get new head gaskets and I forgot to get my studs out of my old block so I had to new ARP bolts. I also got braided turbo oil line. I had a bunch of stuff powder coated and my headers and downpipe ceramic coated. Before I had my headers ceramic coated, I followed the port and polish project someone did and I did the same thing he did, which meant I had to cut out 1" holes in 3 separate holes total. Talk about poor airflow. The some the exhaust tubes going to the main tube were blocked up to 50%, because of the overlapping welds. So I grinded them down and everything that would impede airflow, then took some 120 grit sand paper on a small drum that you could use your drill to sand with and cleaned them up good. Once I got my engine back and all my powder coated parts I put all the external parts on my engine. God only knows how much I spent doing all this. Finally this year I got my car ready to have my brakes bled and front end aligned. I made a big mistake, I took my car to a general garage to do the work. They didn't know how to bleed the brake, meaning the overfilled the reservoir and when the pressed the brakes, fluid went all over my engine, chassis, new control arms. So I called the guy I normally have work on my car and he told me what to do. So I called the garage back and told them what needed to be done, because they had called me and told me that my brakes were working, but spraying fluid all over the place. Basically said there was something wrong with powermaster. So I got them to drain some of the fluid and everything was fine. Except for the fact that brake fluid went everywhere and stripped off the paint on my chassis, left fluid on my paint and it ruined the paint where they left it. I didn't wait for them to do the alignment, I said I want my car out of there, these people didn't know anything these cars. I had to clean the fluid off and repaint what I could, but the damage was done. My wife was so mad that when I was at work she went to the garage and showed them the pictures of where I painted the chassis and then showed the pictures of the damage they did because they didn't know anything about the brake system and demanded our money back or they were going to court. They handed her a full refund.

I then took my car to Aggressive and Bruce install my wide band O2, new injectors, and powerlogger. Well since I put the new upper control arms on it and is an 86, it lowered too low and I had to buy 87 springs to have wheel well clearance. Then Bruce calls me and ask me if I had my flywheel off and I said yes, he told me it was lose and he would have to tighten it and then there were a lot of other little things wrong and then he found a crack on my balancer and had to replace that. My bill for his work was $2324. He did a great job of getting my car back together and tuned it and it runs great now. Pulls hard and when I take it to the track and I see if I have any power gains, since my 6.0 TT chip has been programmed with ported heads and the WBO2 and tuned by a pro.

So my car is a money pit, but in this case it is all my fault. I somehow damaged my AC compressor and put a hole in my condenser when they were off my car. Then over tightened the one line and ruined the fitting, so I have no AC which is not that big of a deal, but I have bought the parts to make it work, so I will fix it.

So if anyone reads this, take a lesson from me. If you are lucky enough to get to buy your dream car, like me. Be patience with it and don't rush things if you car is running good. Set back and enjoy. I have learned so much, if things don't work or there are small problems take your time ask people on this board and if you are lucky enough to have someone who knows these cars and can work on them and they have a good reputation. Let them do they work, if you are not mechanic inclined or don't have the right tools. Because I always hear how these cars are money pits, but if you buy a car in good condition, they shouldn't and don't have to be.

Take good care of them, do your spring cleaning.
 

SHADOWII

Well-Known Member
You need to post this as a fine example to all the newbies that come to the board hungry for power but lacking understanding and patience!:cool:
 

GNRick

Retired member
Damn! I can't believe I read the whole thing! To answer your question- call GBodyparts or someone in the parts for sale section that is parting out a car. I'm sure you will locate an A/C line. I once broke one, trying to take the high pressure switch off. Had freon spray everywhere (the freon was a week old at the time). I bought a new line from Gbody, a couple years ago.
 

MCH86GN

Well-Known Member
Damn! I can't believe I read the whole thing! To answer your question- call GBodyparts or someone in the parts for sale section that is parting out a car. I'm sure you will locate an A/C line. I once broke one, trying to take the high pressure switch off. Had freon spray everywhere (the freon was a week old at the time). I bought a new line from Gbody, a couple years ago.

I must have been on speed. I surprised I read that whole thing again. But I have stepped back a little and stayed focus on a good running car, not all about performance right now.
 

GNONYX

Well-Known Member
WOW, That is some story, and I feel your pain. You are right when it runs great, then we all want to add some optional power until something goes wrong and then spent more money on the repaired and adding a monitoring device for the optional components.
 

charlief1

RIP Charlie!
If you're talking about the liquid line it's no longer available. I'm not willing to part my parts car out just yet but I'd bet Brian or James have 1 or 2 laying around.;) Didn't read the whole post because it had nothing to do with the subject that was stated. Might want to think about that next time you've got an issue.:p
 

captndave737

Well-Known Member
I think Brian at Gbody parts has them. I stripped the other one and went to a hose shop and they made one for me. It's not a hard line like the original but works fine.
 

captndave737

Well-Known Member
Actually it was the same line you stripped. Here are pics of the connectors and hose I had made.
 

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TexasT

Texas, Where are you from
Got it! Thanks
That novel was off the chain, way too much for my attention span.

Sent from my HTC PH39100 using TurboBuick Mobile mobile app
 
H

Heisenberg

Guest
Here are a few of my takeaways - and words to the wise:

1 - No such thing as "false knock" - banish that phrase from your vocabulary
Even if it isn't true detonation - something's up

2 - ALKY
Flame away - but I've read too many stories about destroyed engines when that new toy doesn't work exactly right.
I realize all the benefits - but it has its occasional drawback as you can see.

3 - When it rains - it pours
And sheet happens.
 

robzombie

Well-Known Member
I almost made it through the whole post, what was the problem you were having?

After all that I would pray for an A.C. problem.

Soldier on young jedi and use the force from now on, it will save you money and frustration.

RZ.
 
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turbo39151

anycoloraslongasitsblack
^^X2. Patience.

OP: with the numbers you posted, You're well over $18k into your $13k car. I wonder if maybe you sat down and added up all the money you've spent on the car (issues you've created or otherwise), if maybe there would be more pause before embarking on another spending spree.

Case in point: There's another forum I've been to where a guy was restoring his car. He's been adding every penny as he goes. It's very eye opening. I think he was over $50k for a $30k car!:eek:

Maybe a cautionary tale to all the young/new/impatient folks here?

Mods: Wonder if maybe this story could be re-titled or even better yet- start a cautionary tale "sticky" for people to post their mistakes and the cost of those mistakes as a warning to others. Maybe we could save some folks from unnecessary headaches and financial ruin.
 
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