Geriatric Pathfinder A/C System

I began troubleshooting the A/C system on TWUCK.

Does the compressor turn by hand? Yep. That’s good.

Does it turn when commanded by the computer? No. That’s not good, but we can override it and see if the magnetic clutch engages. It does. That’s good. Just means that the sensor sees no pressure or too much pressure.

So… what’s the refrigerant pressure? 0 psig. Hmm… not good. Let’s give it some refrigerant…

It takes pressure… and promptly takes 25 psi of refrigerant. Also good. The pressure sensor detects pressure (also good), and the ECM triggers the pump (also good) and… pressure drops. Not good. Within a few minutes, it’s down to zero. That’s annoyingly bad but means there’s leakage in the lines, or condenser, or dryer, or the expansion valve, or the evaporator, or in the compressor*.

There is R134a refrigerant with a UV dye which is well-suited to tracking down A/C leaks. But I haven’t any. So it’ll be another trip out to the parts store to see if I can find a R134a UV dye penetrant. It’ll wait until another time.

Eventually, I’ll have TWUCK’s AC system fixed. Eventually.

Once fixed, in no particular order, it’s on to…

  • Shocks — front and rear
  • CV joints
  • Ball joints
  • Windshield
  • Weather stripping
  • Antenna
  • Stereo
  • Find a way to incorporate some cabin air filters

I’ll have to prioritize that list… and include anything else that I happen to stumble across.

Gosh, I mean, sure, some things need to be repaired from wear and breakage over time. But I’m not sure if it’s worthwhile to set right everything neglected on a 23 year old automobile.

*Knowing that it’s been effectively stationary for a couple of years, I’d wager that the seals in the pump have deteriorated (most probable) and the pump will need to be replaced with an overhauled unit. About $200-ish. Easy enough to replace. Then another $50 in refrigerant. But I’m not going to start throwing parts at it and hope that maybe guesswork pays off and instead work through it somewhat methodically.

Tech Annoyance n+1

Have we have devolved technologically?


I’ve a base-model Apple Watch Series 3. Its primary function is to just tell the current time. Occasionally, register a heart rate. But for some inexplicable reason, it require a reboot every few days or weeks.

Each reboot will need about five minutes.

It’s almost like I have an ultra-lightweight, ultra-power-efficient, legacy Windows server strapped to my wrist.

What’s worse, is that I can’t use Scheduled Tasks or a cron job to just do a reboot once per week at 1AM or something.

So, yeah, I’m a bit annoyed — it might become a fixture in the “Some of the tech items I once had” drawer.

And now, back to our regular banter…

Replaced the front pads and front shocks on UPGRAYEDD today. 100℉ in the sun.

I did the rear shocks about five years ago during the RV-Life tour around the country. The rear shocks are simplistic enough to replace and only need about ten minutes… no need for a jack, either.

  1. Sit under the rear end.
  2. Loosen four pinch-bolts.
  3. Inflate the towing springs.
  4. Shocks effectively drop out.
  5. Reassembly is the reverse of removal.

Front end is a bit more drawn out.

Jack up one side. Add a jack-stand (two, because I’m working on sandy-soil).

Reposition the jack to lift the hub enough to extract the pinch-bolt.

Fiddle with the top end of the shock to remove its lock-nut.

And, hey, while you’re in there, go ahead and check the brake wear — do the front pads as well. Torque the caliper slide and bracket bolts.

Did I mention that it was in the sun? And 100℉?

Would’ve been a quick project, if I had a paved, covered area to work in.

Ah, it takes me back to the days when I had to overhaul the top end of an I-4 at an interstate rest stop in Kansas… in the summertime. At least Ellsworth, Kansas offered a bit of shade… and was paved.


Based on the amount of wear of the pads and rotors and in the typical driving I do, the existing rotors will likely last the rest of my lifetime. The new pads might as well.

I’d give my left two lug-nuts for an indoor shop (…between 55℉ and 85℉… with a paved floor… with shade… with no wind… and a vehicle lift) to expedite vehicle maintenance.

I’ll do the rear pads tomorrow and see about inspecting the parking brakes.