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Converting R-12 freon to R-134!?......


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04-13-03, 07:33 PM   #1  
SimK68
Converting R-12 freon to R-134!?......

I have a 81' Olds Delta 88.. 307 CID... And I use it as a 2nd car, as well as tring to restore it as much as possible. Ive had the motor replaced in it....

Now since the summers are very,VERY sizzeling here in Texas, ive had my A.C. charged a couple of times with R-12, and its getting rediculusly expensive. It has a very slow leak in the evaporator core. I dont have the time or $$ as of now to replace everything.

So, I saw one of thoes conversion kits at Autozone and O' Riley, that converts it from R-12 to R-134.... One co-worker said he bought the same kit for his daughters car at WALMART, and said he did it with ease, and it worked FINE!?

I was told you had to extract all the OLD R-12 out...Drain the oil, change the lines, ect. All he did was replace the nozzle valves, and then he just simply put the coolant in...no problem... Is this possible??? ...Id like to know ASAP since its not getting any cooler here!!

Thanks!

 
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04-13-03, 10:08 PM   #2  
If you want to toast your system, you can do that. The oil in R12 systems is not compatible with R134A, and will not circulate in the system, causing compressor failure. To do it right, The absolute MINIMUM...you need to evacuate the R12, drain the compressor oil, flush the entire system, Change the accumulator/drier, add ester oil...about 8oz., vacuum, and charge. The style AC system you have works well with R134A with no modifications, but a heavy-duty fan and a change in orfice tubes can get you even better results.


"Who is John Galt?" - Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged)

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04-14-03, 03:21 AM   #3  
Joe_F
It is getting expensive because you're not fixing the problem, only attacking the symptom. Fix the leak, if you don't, you're wasting time, money and refrigerant.

Converting this car to R134A will likely cost more than the vehicle is worth and will still deliver lackluster A/C performance. Fix the leak correctly and charge it with R12. Bring it to a shop that will go through it soup to nuts and find the leak.

No, those kits do not work. There is no "conversion" in a box.

You have a very solid automobile (I own the 1984 version of that car), stick with it and fix it right. A/C repair is NOT a DIY repair---requires a lot of tools, knowledge and correct service procedures to do correctly.

 
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04-14-03, 02:46 PM   #4  
SimK68
Originally posted by Joe_F
It is getting expensive because you're not fixing the problem, only attacking the symptom. Fix the leak, if you don't, you're wasting time, money and refrigerant.

Converting this car to R134A will likely cost more than the vehicle is worth and will still deliver lackluster A/C performance. Fix the leak correctly and charge it with R12. Bring it to a shop that will go through it soup to nuts and find the leak.

No, those kits do not work. There is no "conversion" in a box.

You have a very solid automobile (I own the 1984 version of that car), stick with it and fix it right. A/C repair is NOT a DIY repair---requires a lot of tools, knowledge and correct service procedures to do correctly.
Ok, thanks guys, ill see what I can do. But I want this done ASAP, before it gets any hotter.

 
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04-16-03, 05:32 AM   #5  
I converted my '87 Grand National to R-134a. There are varying opinions as to the effectiveness of the kits, but if you do it right I can't see why it won't work as well or better than other R-134a systems. It will not likely perform as good as with R-12 refrigerant because that's what the system was designed for, but you can still make the car comfortable with R-134a. The cost of converting it properly is probably less than repairing and recharging the R-12 system.

I wrote this article for the Turbo Regal website, it might help:
http://www.gnttype.org/techarea/airc...12toR134a.html
Jim

 
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04-16-03, 07:15 AM   #6  
Joe_F
True, it's debatable. Fact is: Those "kits" do not work. Each car varies in what is required for it to work properly.

On a system that old, being a 1981, chances are a lot of it is old, tired and wasted. Converting to R134A might require parts changing anyhow due to age of the components involved. My car? Fix the leak, add R12 and you'll be good to go, as designed. Or use a blend.

I used Autofrost in my 84 Delta 88 in 1997, and it works great 5+ years later.

Once again, AC repair IS NOT DIY type work without the the proper tools and procedures. Those kits are NOT the proper tools to do the job correctly.

 
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04-16-03, 07:43 AM   #7  
Originally posted by Joe_F
True, it's debatable. Fact is: Those "kits" do not work. Each car varies in what is required for it to work properly.
Agreed - the "kits" don't work because they are not complete for any specific application not because the parts themselves do not work. A basic understanding of the system and an assessment of its condition is required in order to determine what else is needed for the job. It doesn't make sense to spend the time or money on a conversion or even a repair of the existing system if the car is on it's last leg anyway.

I think what is considered a "DIY" job varies by individual. A/C repair is on the high end of the complexity scale and thus not for the "average" DIYer but I'd never tell anyone who wants to take the time to do it that they shouldn't. After buying the tools and a couple of books I'm comfortable enough around automotive A/C systems to have done a few repairs and conversions for friends and family.

Jim

 
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04-16-03, 09:26 AM   #8  
fasteddy
AC

Well said Turbojimmy,This is a diy forum. My son and I converted his 88 comaro over a few yrs ago.It's still working fine.I'm not saying everyone should try this, But you can do alot of things if you try.Mom told us years ago not to do certain things,did we listen, Why no!!!! Just my op!!

 
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04-16-03, 09:59 AM   #9  
Joe_F
Ah, but you've both said critical things.

"I have bought a couple of tools"
"I have bought a couple of books"
"It doesn't make sense to put money in a system that is in poor condition"
"I'm not suggesting everyone try it".

Going back to my comments, "A/C repair is not DIY work without the proper tools, know-how, and service procedures".

Unless you're willing to pay, you cannot play. Period. A 35 dollar kit in a box is not an A/C conversion. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

A fatal error on A/C repair could cost your eyesight or perhaps your life. It's not something to play around with.

Going back to this original posters problem, NO conversion will help this situation. The vehicle has a bad evaporator and charging with any refrigerant is a waste of money, time and refrigerant. The leak must be fixed properly.

A new evaporator for this vehicle is not expensive in real terms. The system will probably work great once the leak is fixed. My 1984 Olds had the ORIGINAL charge in it until 1997. It blew cold every season.

 
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04-16-03, 11:18 AM   #10  
Originally posted by Joe_F
Unless you're willing to pay, you cannot play. Period. A 35 dollar kit in a box is not an A/C conversion. It's a disaster waiting to happen.

I don't think we're disagreeing here....this guy may very well be better off with a new evap core, variable orifice tube, and some R-12. Given the price per lb. of R-12, though, he might come out ahead of the game with a conversion - and it would be less expensive to recharge if another component gives in the future.

I just don't think we should discount R134a as an option because AC repair isn't a "DIY job" or it provides "lackluster" performance. It was less expensive for me to buy the new parts, books AND tools than it was to replace my compressor, accumulator/drier and have it recharged with R-12. I also get 38 degree outlet temps - colder than my factory equipped R134a cars.

A fatal error on A/C repair could cost your eyesight or perhaps your life. It's not something to play around with.

This is true of just about any job or any time you pick up a tool. Or get in a car, or step off a sidewalk. It just takes common sense, an understanding of how it works, and some attentiveness.

I forgot to mention, too, that in addition to the books, this website was an AWESOME resource:
http://www.aircondition.com/wwwboard/

Jim

 
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04-16-03, 11:21 AM   #11  
Let's throw this one out there, If you're not MVAC certified you're not legally supposed to be working on it anyway.

 
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04-16-03, 11:34 AM   #12  
Joe_F
Agreed. A time will come when R134A will be restricted for use by anyone other than those licensed to buy or deal in it.

As for R12 versus R134A, I charged my 84 Oldsmobile 88 with Autofrost in 1997. Cost was 35 bucks. I changed a couple of O-rings. It's frigid in there and it's been running with that charge since 1997! However, understanding the way the system works and having the proper equipment IS critical to doing this type of job safely, effectively and correctly.

By reading the original poster's first post, we are starting out on the wrong foot and not attempting to do a professional job. Again, you have stated that you have made an investment in suppies, materials and parts. That is a start to learning how to do it correctly.

The correct and ONLY way to repair that system is to replace the leaking evaporator and THEN charge it up after the system has been verified as being sound. Until then, it's a patch up job---not a professional or even a worth DIY repair.

Again, NOT DIY repair unless done the RIGHT way !

 
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04-16-03, 12:10 PM   #13  
Originally posted by mattison
Let's throw this one out there, If you're not MVAC certified you're not legally supposed to be working on it anyway.
Why do they sell DIY kits at the autoparts stores then? I'm not questioning your statement, I'm just curious. I know there are plenty of examples where "regular" people can get things meant for professional use, but they typically come with warnings that indicate that they are for use by properly licensed personnel. These conversion kits have no such warnings (or didn't a year or so ago when I did mine). Now they come with cheap gauges, too.

I hate to hijack this guy's thread with this stuff, but I'm really interested in this.....

Jim

 
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04-16-03, 01:30 PM   #14  
Joe_F
It is technically not illegal to work on the R134A systems, as there is no ban on the sale of refrigerant to "non professional" people. But there is talk and thought that there WILL be.

Again, A/C service work requires a large investment in tools and equipment and knowledge to be efficient, safe and enviornmentally friendly. The days of venting refrigerant into the atmosphere are long gone. R134A while better for the ozone than R12 isn't without problems either. I think the EPA will get on this one.

Besides, those kits DO NOT have a good success rate. For every one that "works", you have 10 that are undone at shops across the country.

They are bad business and don't belong on the market.

 
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04-16-03, 02:56 PM   #15  
Originally posted by Joe_F
They are bad business and don't belong on the market.
I agree, but I blame the marketing. Lots of people are under the mistaken impression that it's a miracle fix for a broken-down R12 system. As with most other things in life, the people with the common sense will be punished to protect the few that don't.

I think that the other problem with the kits is that people will buy them and simply vent their R12 into the atmosphere while installing it.

It worked for me, but I understand why it doesn't work for everyone.

Jim

 
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04-16-03, 04:11 PM   #16  
fasteddy
hot

now that everyone is hot, I have the solution for SimK68.
Use the 255AC (two windows down @ 55 mph)
Have a good day

This is a good forum really it is....

 
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04-16-03, 04:54 PM   #17  
SimK68
Well...

Wholey mosses!! Ill have to sit and REALLY read this!... I went to Autozone, and they said they DID NOT carry this "Replace R-12"... That my freind mentioned he just PUT IN his car,and it worked!... I would just like to do this simply,and as less expensive as possible.

I hate to be negative, but older cars get pissed on HARD!! They want them OFF the road (emmsions wise as well) They want everyone to drive NEW $20,000 - $30,000 cars instead. Well ive spent $4000 rebuilding/restoring this thing so far.

I may just spend $600 more to have the A.C. totally re-done.

 
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04-16-03, 05:03 PM   #18  
fasteddy
Joe is right

If you plan on keeping the car and you have invested that much, by all means fix it right like joe said !!

 
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04-16-03, 07:43 PM   #19  
Visit this www.epa.gov/spdpublc/title6/609/justfax.html

It explains alot.

 
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04-16-03, 09:30 PM   #20  
You definitely want to fix the leak, or the work you do will be in vain. R134A, when installed properly, into a properly converted system, is quite effective. It yields good results, especially in older GM vehicles. They have a good refrigeration system to begin with, and will handle the 134 with no problems. I converted both of my older GMs and have no complaints. It just has to be done right, or you will be wasting time and money.

I have never used autofrost, so I don't know how well it works. I have been told that some of these R12 drop-in substitues contained propane, and have been removed from the market. Some other R12 substitutes are a blend of R22 and R134A. The theory being that the r22 carries the oil throughout the system. The problem with this is that R22 molecules are extremely small. So small that they can "breathe" through the rubber AC hoses. So, eventually you lose the small amount of R22 in the system, and are left with 134A and mineral oil, which are not compatable, and the system does not get oiled properly. R22 is the freon used in home and commercial AC, and you never see rubber hoses on these type units, right? That is why.


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04-18-03, 07:44 AM   #21  
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Let me throw in a comment. I work on AC systems and do conversions as a hobby for family and friends. I have all the necessary (Robinair) equipment.
My experience has been that if the AC system is in good condition, then it is best to stay with R-12.
However, if the compressor , condensor, etc needs to be replaced, then it probably should be converted to R-134A, BUT NOT by someone who doesn't have the tools and know the proper procedure. Off the shelf conversions will cause problems.
Cheese is right, some of the "drop ins" like Autofrost have R-22 plus R-134a and can cause problems.
JoeF, if you just "dropped in" Autofrost and it works good all these years, then consider yourself one of the few lucky ones. Most people will have problems just doing that.

 
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04-18-03, 01:38 PM   #22  
SimK68
Originally posted by Dan Meyer
Let me throw in a comment. I work on AC systems and do conversions as a hobby for family and friends. I have all the necessary (Robinair) equipment.
My experience has been that if the AC system is in good condition, then it is best to stay with R-12.
However, if the compressor , condensor, etc needs to be replaced, then it probably should be converted to R-134A, BUT NOT by someone who doesn't have the tools and know the proper procedure. Off the shelf conversions will cause problems.
Cheese is right, some of the "drop ins" like Autofrost have R-22 plus R-134a and can cause problems.
JoeF, if you just "dropped in" Autofrost and it works good all these years, then consider yourself one of the few lucky ones. Most people will have problems just doing that.
Well, im either going to re-fill it with the R-12, I dunno about the leak, its more than likely in the EVAPORATOR CORE. Or when I have enough saved by the end of the year, replace it,WITH the heater core,beacuse its out also.

 
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04-18-03, 03:50 PM   #23  
I must add my 2 pennies here. I have done hundreds of R134a retrofits. I have not once had a problem with a system failure do to the change in refrigerant. Of course we the professionals prefer to do it 100% correctly, but for the guy who has a slow leak in their car that's not even worth a $1000 bucks it's the cheapest and most effective way to "make it through the summer" as they say. Not to mention recharging an R134a system is peanuts.

Here is what I suggest to do at the minimum that will work and you should acheive your goal.
1. Have the R-12 recovered by someone with a machine
2. change your fittings supplied in the kit
3. Have him vacuum the system and verify that it holds a vacuum.
4. charge the system with a pressurized oil charge can and fill the system with the correct amount of refrigerant.

Presto! Your jalopy now gives you chills in the summer. If it blows up, you wasted $50.

I definitely think this can be a DIY job for the most part.

PS most jiffy lubes and the like will gladly just suck out your old R12 since they can recycle it and reuse it. Just slip em a $20

 
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04-18-03, 04:27 PM   #24  
Originally posted by YamahaWolverine
PS most jiffy lubes and the like will gladly just suck out your old R12 since they can recycle it and reuse it. Just slip em a $20
My local guy did it for free. He took 3 lbs. of R12 out. He sells it for $65 a lb. so I didn't feel bad about it.

Jim

 
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04-19-03, 01:07 AM   #25  
SimK68
How bout this stuff? Or knowing my luck, I would need a license for it??.....

Hotshot™ R414B Refrigerant
• Direct replacement for R12, R134a and R500
• Does not require oil change or mixing
• Does not require component change
• Compatible with mineral, alkylbenzene, POE and PAG oils
• Broadest application range of all interim blends (-20°F sat. gas to high temp A/C range)
• 96% less ozone depleting, 86% less global warming, than R12
• 18% less global warming than R134a
• ASHRAE A1/A1 designated (non-toxic and non-flammable)

Got it from here....

http://www.johnstonesupply.com/scrip...yes&category=3

 
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04-19-03, 03:10 AM   #26  
Originally posted by SimK68
How bout this stuff? Or knowing my luck, I would need a license for it??.....

Hotshot™ R414B Refrigerant
• Direct replacement for R12, R134a and R500
• Does not require oil change or mixing
• Does not require component change
• Compatible with mineral, alkylbenzene, POE and PAG oils
• Broadest application range of all interim blends (-20°F sat. gas to high temp A/C range)
• 96% less ozone depleting, 86% less global warming, than R12
• 18% less global warming than R134a
• ASHRAE A1/A1 designated (non-toxic and non-flammable)

Got it from here....

http://www.johnstonesupply.com/scrip...yes&category=3
Go to www.aircondition.com and search the bulletin board for info. Like here, there are a couple of professionals who haunt the board there who aren't shy about telling you like it is about everything there is to know about air conditioning. I found them very helpful - they were key in my learning how to do my own work.

Jim

 
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04-19-03, 03:22 AM   #27  
Joe_F
Yamaha:

It's if it's not worth fixing right, it's not worth doing. Period. Plus, leaks in the system expose components to rust and and moisture, which ruin them in short order.

Not fixing the leak and just recharging is 1) irresponsible, 2) incorrect, and 3) unprofessional in my belief.

With a leaky evaporator, it's likely only to get worse.

The original poster has plenty of opinions here, but the correct procedure is to fix the leak before charging with ANYTHING.

 
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