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A/C - r12 or retrofit


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19 replies to this topic

#1 Dj7291993

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:14 AM

Ok, not important quite yet, but it will be here soon. As far as I know, my A/C system works fine, but it had a leaking valve core on the low side. So, I had to replace this, but now I'm out of freon. First, if I keep r12, where is a good place to get it (not by the case)? Second, regarding retrofit, how well does r134a work in these systems? I know some older ones don't work very effectively with r134a, but I don't know about the GL. Any help would be appreciated.

#2 silber

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:25 AM

first, your not going to be able to get r12 since they don't make it...maybe if someones been hiding a bottle at a shop but you will pay top dollar.

You will need to do a retrofit. it will mean changing your metering device(fixed orifice or txv) filter drier and changing the oil + new refrigerant.

I do not believe you can just drop 134a into your system. you might be able to drop in Hotshot with your current equipment. you will need to check with a shop on that part.

zac

#3 Dj7291993

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:28 AM

you can get filtered and dried r12, it's just in cases of 12 can. I need like 2.5.

And I know I need to retrofit (new receiver-dryer, port adapters, and oil), that is why I said it. I just want to know how effective it is once it is converted.

#4 silber

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:37 AM

Ive never done it in a car system but I believe you world have 80+% efficiency you probably wouldn't notice any difference except on super hot days 100+

#5 Dj7291993

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 12:47 AM

I was asking for info from people who have. No offense, but if you don't know the specific answer to my question, please don't answer. I know what the "average" is, I want specifics.

#6 NorthWet

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:22 AM

It is not necessary to change anything to do an R134a retrofit: The A/C system will function, albeit not as well, with R134a instead of R12.

The biggest issue is type of oil used in the system. Standard R134a uses an oil that is incompatible with the oil used in R12 systems. But you can get (at least you could last time I did a retrofit) cans of R134a that have oil compatible with older R12 systems. No flushing needed, no parts replacement needed.

There will still be issues of lower efficiency and probable micro-leakage through the hoses. But, the system will function and do so adequately.

Regarding obtaining R12, to the best of my knowledge, unless you have the proper certification you are not legally allowed to buy R12. I am assuming that if you are not certain about retrofitting issues that you do not have the training to get the certification in order to purchase R12 legally.

Please note that throughout I have made a distinction between what is needed and what would be desirable/optimal.

#7 Scoobywagon

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:40 AM

It is not necessary to do a retrofit for R134A. There are a number of R12 direct replacement refrigerants available. They are usually marketed as R12A with a variety of trade names. The one I'm familiar with is Duracool. R12A is usually really cheap and is formulated to work in an R12 system with no modifications. Stuff works really well.

#8 capn_r

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 11:42 AM

I pretty much agree with NorthWet with the exception that I would replace the drier. The fact that the system has been opened the desiccant will be saturated with moisture as well as most of the desiccants made prior to the early 90's have a compatibility issue with either the synthetic oils or something in the HFC refrigerant. I don't recall if the desiccant may plug up or disintegrate but any replacement part would be compatible with the new chemicals. Also most of the remaining mineral oil will be in the old drier when it is removed. Add whatever quantity of oil (ester or pag) that the system calls for, replace any o-rings you disturb in the process, do a good evacuation and recharge the refrigerant and you should be good.

#9 markjw

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 01:30 PM

I bought a vacuum pump at Harbor Freight and the retrofit adapters at autozone. I put about 8 lbs of vacuum on the system with the pump then dumped in a 12 oz. can of r134. I started the car, ran the motor with the A/C on high, put in another 12 oz. can of r134. Been working Really good every since. It's been a couple yrs now. I didn't change a thing. Except the fittings.

I forgot to mention, I added 4 oz. of PAG oil, too.

Edited by markjw, 12 February 2011 - 02:03 PM.


#10 jazzmandolin

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 04:18 PM

I may be completely wrong but I was under the impression that shops that have the reclamation machines are able to sell reclaimed r12 into no leak AC systems? I had my R12 recharged in my old 89 tercel two years ago for 75.00 and had no idea if the system worked, damn thing blows ARCTIC two years later!!! They do have a reclamation machine and that is where I thought the R12 came from? Like I said I may be completely wrong?

#11 ivantruckman

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Posted 12 February 2011 - 10:12 PM

i was able to get r12 on ebay last summer, about 25 bucks a can

#12 Dj7291993

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 02:14 AM

NorthWet: I don't have the certification yet, but I took the class. The certificate test is like $20, I just haven't done it yet. I wasn't so much asking what I would need as how well it works in this particular system.

As per the reclaimer machine, yes it does work, but since they haven't made r12 since sometime in the '90s, it can be hard to find. I have access to all the equipment I need at school, it is finding the r12. Plus, as time goes on, quality goes down.

Thanks for the advice though, I'll probably just go to r134a, since it is cheap. I would just open the window, but my massive coupe back window ensures that it stays toasty as long as it is sunny. I've had water bottle melt inside of duffel bags before, if that gives you reference.

#13 NorthWet

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 04:05 PM

You could also go with Scoobywagon's suggestion. There are several R12 substitutes, and I have known several people that have been really satisfied with their performance, cost and availability. Certainly a lot cheaper than any R12 that I have heard about.

I would want the A/C even if ii were just for its ability to clear fogged windows.

#14 ruparts

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:01 PM

NorthWet: I don't have the certification yet, but I took the class. The certificate test is like $20, I just haven't done it yet. I wasn't so much asking what I would need as how well it works in this particular system.

As per the reclaimer machine, yes it does work, but since they haven't made r12 since sometime in the '90s, it can be hard to find. I have access to all the equipment I need at school, it is finding the r12. Plus, as time goes on, quality goes down.

Thanks for the advice though, I'll probably just go to r134a, since it is cheap. I would just open the window, but my massive coupe back window ensures that it stays toasty as long as it is sunny. I've had water bottle melt inside of duffel bags before, if that gives you reference.


hi, i use " freeze 12" its a r-12 substitute commonly available, but i think restricted to licence only buyers. it costs about the same as 134 but it is a better replacement than 134 if you can get some, and is fully compatible with r12 oil and seals. i have it in my 84 wagon and a couple of other subes and it does a good job in mine.

#15 edrach

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:57 PM

Go with any of the R12 substitutes or R134a. R12 is still available but pricey as well as some sellers won't sell it to you without certification.

A search on craigslist showed two sources:
http://seattle.craig...2210135890.html
http://seattle.craig...2211440933.html

Edited by edrach, 13 February 2011 - 09:00 PM.


#16 capn_r

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:23 PM

Another advantage R134a has over any other alternatives besides price it that it is available anywhere and will continue to be. If I were traveling and my A/C system appeared to be lazy due to low refrigerant I know I could pick up a 14 or whatever ounce can and top the system off wherever I was. I also look at it that since every vehicle sold in this country in the last 16+ years seems to do fine with with R134a why pay more for something else that complicates things even more? I have done a lot of retrofits and have had real good luck with R134a, although it has been my observation that it doesn't like giving off heat as well as R12 so in some instances adding a fan or worst case go with a larger condenser. I'm in the Pacific NW, possibly there are more issues in other geographic regions but again my experiences have been good.

#17 Dj7291993

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:51 PM

I was looking into freeze 12, I'll probly try that. Also, probly should've noted this in the op, but I'm at high altitude. Not that it makes a big diff in a/c, but it does on the power turning it.

Edited by Dj7291993, 13 February 2011 - 11:58 PM.
redundancy


#18 edrach

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:23 AM

Another advantage R134a has over any other alternatives besides price it that it is available anywhere and will continue to be.

It will be a while, but R134a is slated for replacement also; I'm just not so sure when.

#19 capn_r

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 01:28 AM

Good point Ed, and if the U.S. was as focused on replacement as the European country's the phase out would be much sooner. But even when the next generation's preferred product replaces R134a in mobile refrigeration I don't think the HFC refrigerants will be replaced as rapidly as the CFC's were and R134a is used in a lot of mid temp commercial refrigeration and other uses where the leak rate is generally a lot less than is typical for automotive. And when a phase out of HFC refrigerants happens HCFC's will be already history and from what I recall most of the R12 replacement refrigerants that the EPA approves contain HCFC refrigerant components. I guess that was the point I was attempting to make with my comment on long term availability.

#20 Scoobywagon

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:48 AM

most of the R12 replacements are propane...plus some other stuff depending on formulation. But the basic component is usually propane.




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