Auto A/C - Manifold Pressure Gauges for auto A/C service and repair!

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A/C Manifold Gauges, charge hoses & quick couplers:
Details of what you need to test and recharge your A/C system
and how you can easily convert your R-12 gauge set to work with
R-134a air conditioning systems!
Auto air conditioning gauges sets, couplers and hoses are the basic tools you need to test, service and recharge an A/C System. Get all the right information here and find out how to convert your R-12 guages to work with R-134a systems! Automatic A/C charging stations are great because they provide all the required tools in one unit. However, you can easily and safely test, diagnose and recharge any A/C system with a basic set of manifold gauges.

Here's a close up look at manifold gauge sets and what you should be checking and looking for. We've also provided details on the different charge hoses and couplers.

Do you have a set of old R-12 manifold gauges? We'll show you how you can easily convert them to work with R-134a A/C systems.

A Typical manifold gauge set for auto A/C service,
testing and recharging

Pictured here is a typical manifold gauge set that allows you to test, diagnose and recharge any A/C system.

The better quality gauge sets include an all brass manifold (as illustrated). The sight glass is not necessary, but a nice option to let you monitor the flow of refrigerant.

All gauge sets will include a high (red) and low (blue) gauge with on-off controls for each. The center hose connection is used to attach to a recovery station, vacuum pump or refrigerant supply.

Typical manifold gauge set for charging and diagnosing auto A/C systems.

Need details on how to rechrage or retrofit any auto A/C system ?
Get the details for diagnosing all auto A/C systems.


'Compound' Low Pressure Gauge with 'retard'  
Typical compound low pressure gauge showing vacuum scale and 'retard'
Every manifold gauge set will include a low side pressure gauge that is usually blue. It's commonly referred to as a 'compound gauge'. That's because the one gauge will provide both pressure and vacuum readings.

The gauge shown on the left includes a scale for measuring vacuum in green. The 'retard' section is a safety; should this gauge come in contact with pressures higher than 120 p.s.i., the 'retard' section prevents the excess pressure from damaging the gauge.

Gauges not
reading Zero?

Get free video help for using manifold gauge sets!

Also note that most good quality gauges include a calibration screw (silver screw just about the 'retard' section) that will allow you to 'reset' the gauge to zero. Gauges will typically go out of calibrations when used frequently or from vibration or 'shock'.

Typical A/C Manifold gauge - Charge hose connections
Almost every gauge set will have a slightly different configuration where the charge hoses connect.

The charge hoses thread onto the connections provided. This particular gauge set if for R-134a charge hoses (there is a difference!).

Additionally, this particular set includes 'blank' or 'dummy' charge ports so that you can connect your couplers for storage. The center hose also includes an additional port (with a valve). This added port allows you to connect both a vacuum pump and refrigerant supply at the same time.


All charge hoses are not the same!
Although charge hoses for R-12 and R-134a manifold gauges sets 'look' and function identical to each other, getting the proper threaded connection is important.

Typical A/C hose sets are color coded; RED for high pressure; BLUE for low pressure; YELLOW for the 'common' supply or vacuum hose.

Hose sets are usually available in various lengths from 36" all the way to 8 feet! Although they all function the same, keep in mind that a lot of today's automotive A/C systems work with a relatively small refrigerant charge. Maintaining the exact charge can be critical. If you're working with long hoses, keep in mind that those hoses could be holding 2-4 oz. of refrigerant! That could effect your charge.
Note that when you take a closer look inside the hose connections, each hose includes a sealing gasket. They are a must for a leak free connection.

Also note that these particular hoses do NOT include a valve core depressor. If you're connecting to a port on a charge manifold that has a valve core, you will have to use a hose that includes a depressor.

Likewise, if your charge hose does include a valve core depressor, and you're connecting to ports where there are no valves to depress, the core depressors can be eliminated. That will help to improve flow through the manifold and speed up recovery and recharging of refrigerant or freon.



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