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Alright boys, two minor issues with my 88.5 LX I'd like to fix. First, the gas gauge hasn't worked since the days when it was my Mom's car. Secondly, I have no AC. I suspect I'm out of coolant, but since Freon is illegal now, it makes it kinda hard to get more. :D

If I was to do something about these little issues, what kind of money am I looking at?
 

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The gas gauge should be easy to fix. Find the wire for the gauge and try grounding it temporarily or preforably through a small resistor (I use a variable resistor for this) and see if the needle moves and if it does the gauge works and it's the wiring or sending unit. On some Escorts you can get t the fuel pump and sending unit via the interior of the car (remove back seats, etc.)

As for the freon thing, I'd look for a conversion to the new stuff kit and if that's too expensive I'd just try using the new stuff and see what happens. Looks like you got nothing to lose by trying it (except the cost of the new stuff). I've read stories where some tried it out and it worked.
 

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most repair services for a/c since its r12 is gonna be around 500+ If you convert it yourself and you take your car to a repair shop, they get big money for reporting ppl for home conversions from the kits you can buy at the store, so if you do it yourself, watch your back.

as for converting it yourself, there are a few things that need to be done, its rather simple.

1) bleed old freon from the compressor
2) bleed old freon oil from the compressor
3) follow directions to attach the new r134a nipples on your existing system
4)follow directions to cycle in the new oil.
5)follow directions to cycle in new r134a coolant..

**NOTE** These kits are 20-30 bucks a pop. Before u use it, i suggest changin the compressor on the car because your compressor might be junk and dont know it.

also, when and if you convert the cars a/c to r134a. To make it less noticable, remove the new r134a nipples so if u ever do get it worked on, the repair shop wont know you did it.
 
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