compressor dead or fixable?

I have a 20 year old 4 ton split system on which the air handler and the compressor run but it doesn't produce any cool air. A tech checked the freon pressure and told me that it reads a vacuum on the low side.
I presume that the low side pressure is meant to be lower than the high side to make the refrigerant flow. But does a vacuum reading on the low side mean that it is less than *ambient* pressure, i.e. is there air being sucked into system? Does this mean that there is a leak on the low pressure side (just prior to the pump)? Does it also indicate a severe leak and is there only air in the system now, and no refrigerant? Lastly, is this type of a leak generally fixable or is the unit dead and should be replaced?
I've probably forgotten some critical information to include; will include it as requested, but hopefully this is something to start with.
Thanks in advance.
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Most good running AC systems run about 60 PSI on the low side. In order to get a vacuum (below atmospheric) on the low side, you'd need a leak on the high side. Low side leaks go to 0 PSI but not lower than that.
The leak may be one or several. In any case, it means an hour or so to trace leaks, and repair them. At this point, it may be easier to get a new outdoor unit. If the leaks are in the outdoor unit. That would give you clean coils, newer higher efficency compressor, etc.
--

Christopher A. Young
You can\'t shout down a troll.
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Ever heard of sub-cooling or superheat?
I didn't think so.
Stormy sings "Amazing Grace" and when the song's over he stops charging the unit.
If he get's it wrong, well...........It's god's will .
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Had to ask Stormy...
What do you do when the suction side is about 90PSI? I mean...its 110 in the house, but......
LOL

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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Speechless, I can' t believe I just read that.
Come on Mormon, how did you figure that one ?
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On 14 Jul 2006 21:16:14 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Just get er fixed up. At 20 yrs, your unit isnt even quite broken in yet. Just keep fixing it. You'll probably save a fortune in the long run. Bubba
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Bubba,
Thanks for the post. Any possibility that you could expand on what you think the problem might be?
Thx.
Bubba wrote:

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Just as soon as you fill up my PayPal account I'll be glad to "sing" to you anything you'd like to hear. :-) Bubba (You gotz a big ol leak)
On 15 Jul 2006 15:34:50 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

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Its 20 years old.... time to put it to bed..... and while your at it, find a tech that actually knows what he is doing.

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