311B, 312B, 315B, 320B, 322B, 325B and 330B Excavators Air Conditioning and Heating Refrigerant Compressor Oil - Check Caterpillar


Refrigerant Compressor Oil - Check
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1.1. Complete Check of Compressor Oil

------ WARNING! ------

Personal injury can result from contact with refrigerant.

This system is under pressure at all times, even if the engine is not running. Heat should never be applied to a charged system.

Contact with refrigerant can cause frost bite. Keep face and hands away to help prevent injury.

Protective goggles must always be worn when refrigerant lines are opened, even if the gauges indicate the system is empty of refrigerant.

Always use caution when a fitting is removed. Slowly loosen the fitting. If the system is still under pressure, evacuate the system recovering the refrigerant before removing the fitting.

Personal injury or death can result from inhaling refrigerant through a lit cigarette.

Inhaling air conditioner refrigerant gas through a lit cigarette or other smoking method or inhaling fumes released from a flame contacting air conditioner refrigerant gas, can cause bodily harm or death.

Do not smoke when servicing air conditioners or wherever refrigerant gas may be present.

Before any checks of the air conditioning and heating system are made, move the machine to a smooth horizontal surface. Lower all implements to the ground. Make sure the transmission is in neutral or park and that the parking brake is engaged. Keep all other personnel away from the machine or where they can be seen.


A special refrigerant oil is used in the air conditioning system. The oil mixes completely with the refrigerant so that all the components receive lubrication. A check of the refrigerant oil in the compressor will give an indication of the amount of oil in the system.

Reference: Refer to Specifications, "Refrigerant Compressor" for further information.

Note: Usually, compressor oil is checked only when there is evidence of a major loss of oil. Many situations may cause the loss of oil.

  • Broken refrigerant hose

  • Hose fitting (leaks)

  • Badly leaking compressor seal

  • Component damage

Complete Check of Compressor Oil

When it is necessary to replace a component, follow the procedures below. This procedure determines the amount of refrigerant oil that is needed in the compressor.

  1. Operate the engine at low idle. Set the temperature on maximum cooling setting. Move the fan speed switch to high speed. Stabilize the system for 10 minutes.

  2. Stop the engine and remove the refrigerant charge from the system. Refer to Testing and Adjusting, "Refrigerant Recovery".

  3. Remove the compressor from the machine. Put protective caps on all fittings and hoses.

    Note: Only use refrigerant oil that is approved and recommended.



    Illustration 1g00296421
    (1) Pulley
    (2) Hose (low pressure)
    (3) Hose (high pressure)
    (4) Pressure switch
    (5) Service valve (low pressure)
    (6) Service valve (high pressure)
    (7) Plug (oil change)
    (8) Belt

  4. Place the compressor in a horizontal position so that oil plug (7) is down. Remove oil plug (7) from the compressor. Drain the oil into a clean container. Rock the compressor back and forth in order to remove all the oil. Also, rotate the compressor shaft in order to drain the rest of the oil that is in the oil sump. Record the amount of oil in the container. Inspect the oil for contaminants, metal chips, rubber particles or any other foreign material. Dispose of the oil in a suitable container. Add 180 to 240 mL (6 to 8 fl oz) of new refrigerant oil to the compressor.

    If a total of more than 325 mL (11 fl oz) of oil has been added to the system, the cooling capacity of the system will be reduced. If too little oil has been added to the system, the compressor may fail due to a lack of lubrication.

    If a component failure causes particles of metal to enter the refrigerant circuit, it is necessary to flush the system. Refer to Testing and Adjusting, "Refrigerant System - Flush" for the proper procedure.

    Note: If the compressor must be replaced, it is not necessary to add refrigerant oil. The correct amount of oil is provided with the new compressor.

    Note: Add oil to the compressor through the opening for oil plug (7). It is necessary to position the compressor so that the refrigerant oil will not flow out of service valves (5) and (6). Do not set the compressor on the compressor shaft. Turn the compressor shaft by hand when you fill the compressor. The oil will slowly flow into the compressor. Only use refrigerant oil that is approved and recommended.

  5. After the correct amount of refrigerant oil has been added to the system, install the compressor and the drive belt. Perform the procedure that is called “Charging the Refrigerant from the High Pressure Side”. Refer to Testing and Adjusting, "Refrigerant System - Charge" for the proper procedure.

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