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- > Do-It-Yourself Appliance Repair Help > The Kitchen Appliance Repair Forum > Copper tubing and fittings for compressor R&R

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Copper tubing and fittings for compressor R&R  Rating:  Rating
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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 03:27 pm
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I've mastered just about everything there is to know about fixing refrigerators and freezers except for compressor removals and installations, and I need a little help and advice please because I'm trying my hand at refurbishing units with bad compressors for the very first time.

What I have>>>

1/4" OD refrigeration grade soft copper tubing (25 Ft)

3/8" OD refrigeration grade soft copper tubing (10 Ft)

1 Swagging tool (looks like a long icicle)

1 Mini tubing cutter

1 Victor cutting torch kit and bottles (full)


With some research, I've found that 3/8" is the OD of the suction line, and 1/4" is the high side, and thats pretty much the standard sizes of the copper tubing used on most fridges. Someone mentioned something about 5/16" tubing needed??? Please explain the 5/16" to me please, cause I have yet to see a unit that uses 5/16" tubing.

Anyways, the problem is I need to know what size fitting I need to use to join the two 3/8"OD copper tubing together, and I need to know what size fittings I need to use to join the two 1/4" OD tubing together.

I have a swagging tool, but its difficult to use it on the smaller 1/4" because I just end up bending the tubing all to hell and back. Its very frustrating having most if not all of the tools and lack the simple knowledge of knowing what size fittings to use to join my 3/8" OD tubing together, and what size fittings to use to join my 1/4" tubing together.

Would someone be so kind as to help me or explain to me the common fittings used to join these sizes?? Also, I have some confusion as to OD and ID. What I mean is...refrigeration uses OD but plumbing and others use ID. So how can I size these up and use them together?

Any help is much appreciated. Thank you all for your sharing your wisdom with me. Im eager to braze my first compressor in.


Last edited on Sun Apr 25th, 2010 03:32 pm by -=Xploitz=-

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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 03:44 pm
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appl.tech.29501
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Most of the time if your lucky and are doing an exact replacement you won't need any fittings, just simply sweat...clean...reattact and solder. Fitting usually come into play when you are using a kit compressor or a different style compressor all together.....you can by 1/4", 3/8" unions for joining like sizes (their ID's are made to slide over the tubings OD's)

And your correct, the most popular sizes are the 3/8" and 1/4" however you will run into a situation every now and again when you will need 5/16". You will also benifit from ditching that icecycle tool and getting the plier type locking tool.

Make sure you use a good flux for copper to steel applications and have a good set of guages and vacuum pump.

What type of charging do you intend on doing ? Old school pressure or are you going to weigh the refrigerant in? I recommend the latter.



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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 04:14 pm
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Thank you for your time appl.tech.29501


So, I can use 3/8" inner diameter unions to join my 3/8" OD tubing?? And 1/4" inner diameter to join my 1/4" Outer diameter tubing? I thought it was more like using 1/4" OD to join my 3/8" OD and 1/8" OD to join my 1/4" OD tubing?? Guess I was wrong. I figured it would be more complicated than that!! LOL!!!

You say ditch the swaging tool and get a plier type locking tool. What is this plier type locking tool??

I'll end up weighing the freon in after I pull a good vacuum down to 500 microns and she holds.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 04:23 pm
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appl.tech.29501
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No , don't go down to 1/8"...I'll try a link you to the locking tool.....you may benefit from doing a nitrogen pressure test before you vacuum....may save you some time.



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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 05:21 pm
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having the correct tools help the best...  I use a four way manifold, less swapping of hoses, you can have the vacuum pump hooked-up and the dry nitrogen connected and the vacuum gauge  connected all at the same time ( just remember to shut the correct valve )    I use 15% silver solder for copper to copper connections and use 45% silver for copper to metal connections......  All of the connections  must have prepared surfaces..Wire brushes for inside abrasion and plumbers  abrasion cloth for the out side ..............The best solder will not fuse if you have a dirty and oily surface........a lot of wasted time to try and finding a leak in all of the  connections....  For you, after soldering your connections, pressurize the system with DRY nitrogen  ( up to 120 P.S.I.) and use the old standby, the bubble leak detector.......You can use a refrigerant ' sniffer' but they do not pinpoint the pinhole.....  DO not rush, pre-build the assy. All of the tubing bent and  fitted, I use a small amount of flux on the connections to keep finger oils off the copper.....  Speed will come thru quantity and time............ My average time with compressor and the filter dryer is  2 1/2 to three hours, for some techs that is too long.... But I do not want to return it  a few months for a leak in the system and  bring in the same equipment that I brought in in the first time..........."Why is there never enough time to do it right the first time, but always time to come back and repair it the second time??"

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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2010 03:44 pm
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Thank you both for your time and help.

appl.tech.29501, I found a local hvac-r supplier who sold me some 3/8" and 1/4" copper sweat / union fittings. Worked like a charm. Brazed them in and swept with nitrogen and found a small evap leak. Used epoxy and a 5Hg vacuum and installed a suction line drier as well and now, 24 hrs later...no leaks! Compressor starts up just fine and is now cooling like a brand new fridge.

BTW....did you ever find a link for that plier type locking tool that you wanted me to use instead of that swaging tool? Were you referencing a tool like this???>>>



I think that's what you were referring to.


certified tech group 51,

Yes, the correct tools for the job is best. But its difficult to know what you need when no one is around to show you something new. It was an expensive trial and error with buying different copper tubing and fittings....but I got it down now. Now I can do it all concerning fridges and freezers. I pressure tested it at 150PSIG and it held overnight.

Thanks again for the help guys.
:cheers:

Last edited on Tue Apr 27th, 2010 03:44 pm by -=Xploitz=-

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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2010 05:25 pm
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certified tech group 51
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 A good tool list is like this.......4- way manifold with low loss fittings....vacuum pump...torch set-up....vacuum gauge.... mini-tubing cutter...swaging tool...swaging tool kit...lever style tube bender... digital weight scale... flame guard ( small welding blanket)...process tool adapter...dry nitrogen with two stage manifold.....15% solder... 45% solder...flux...good inspection mirror...hacksaw frame...large welding blanket ( to protect customers floor )..... assorted washcloths ( to cool weld ) ......water spray bottle....vice-grip pinch-off pliers....refrigerant leak detectors ( sniffer ).... leak detector, bubble style......recovery machine and tank... various wrot copper fittings...thermo-trap... The list will be fine tuned as you go and get more input from the other techs..... P.S. got your universal card???

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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2010 05:34 pm
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appl.tech.29501
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The tool I was refering too is similar to the one you have pictured, but still a little different....will try and post a link tonight.

What type epoxy did you use to repair that leak.....I've never used epoxy on a sealed system.....usually braze the hole if possible.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2010 05:37 pm
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Thanks for the great detailed list certified tech group 51.

I have 85% of what you have listed. I really need to break down and buy a good yellow jacket sniffer. Sealed system work is not really that difficult if you have the right tools. First compressor r&r was a success, and I thank my previous brazing skills for that and having the right fittings.

And yes I have my EPA 608 universal card. Which reminds me...it expires this year!!! :0

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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2010 05:39 pm
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Sorry appl.tech.29501, I was already posting my response when you posted yours. Here is the epoxy I use for pinhole evap leaks.


http://www.devcon.com/products/products.cfm?familyID=110.0


Ive heard that this is also good>>>

http://www.laco.com/productDetail45.aspx

Last edited on Tue Apr 27th, 2010 05:43 pm by -=Xploitz=-

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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2010 10:43 pm
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BrntToast
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btw, the victor style torch is a lil overkill for fridges
with the newer fridges you have to be carefull to not get the machine compartment too hot, or you might get a call one time from a customer saying they can no longer remove their bottom crisper(cause you melted the fridge floor)



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 Posted: Tue Apr 27th, 2010 11:02 pm
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LMFAO!!!:gaptooth:

Yes, maybe my victor torch is a bit of an overkill, but I'm using appropriate heat shields / blankets etc. I have years of experience with brazing and welding thanks to a farm boys upbringing. ;) Plus Im using an ought (0) and double ought (00) welding tips with low psi from the regulators.

Ill hold your concerns up close and in my mind the next time I'm putting in a compressor BrntToast and be extra cautious.

You'll have to agree though, a victor torch setup will make the brazing process MUCH faster. :D

Heres the torch I have. Its a "medium duty" torch>>>>




Last edited on Tue Apr 27th, 2010 11:04 pm by -=Xploitz=-

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