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what to do with a big ol can of R12


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06-04-02, 05:23 AM   #1  
what to do with a big ol can of R12

My father passed away back in September and I was cleaning out his barn (scavenging his old tools, actually, before anyone else got any bright ideas) and ran across a 5 or 10 lb cylinder nearly full of R12. Dad was in refridgeration and cooling for the longest time back in the 1980's. I think this is a remnant of that.


What are the laws on this stuff? It's an expensive can, for sure, and would be a shame to waste it. Again, I don't wan't to do anything illegal either. Maybe I should take it to a HAZMAT facility to dispose of it? Lol, my truck does need a shot of R12 but I don't have a license nor knowhow to do it. What a waste.

Idears?

 
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06-04-02, 05:53 AM   #2  
Joe_F
Hold onto it.

You can probably give it to the shop that does your A/C and they can use it.

 
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06-04-02, 06:33 AM   #3  
would that be legal? Also, if it really is pushing 20 yrs old, would it be unreliable? I don't know if freon goes "stale".

 
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06-04-02, 07:02 AM   #4  
Joe_F
Is the can rusty? See what the shop has to say. I have used cans from the 80's that were stored well. No problems.

 
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06-04-02, 09:03 AM   #5  
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I'm with Joe, give it to your local AC shop, you shouldn't run into any legal issues unless you try and sell it. Let them decide if it's useable or not. if it's not they can dispose of it properly.

 
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06-04-02, 03:12 PM   #6  
Dan Meyer
Your can of R-12

It's my understanding that it is illegal to import R-12 into this country. But any R-12 that was manufactured in the US and is still here is legal to use. I do air conditioning work on the side and recharge cars with R-12. My only source of R-12 is from stocks that were made before the ban on manufacture.
I certainly would give you a fair price for yours. Are you sure the tank isn't empty???
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06-04-02, 07:50 PM   #7  
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Re: Your can of R-12

Originally posted by Dan Meyer

I certainly would give you a fair price for yours. Are you sure the tank isn't empty???
I have heard of some 30lb tanks of R12 going for as much as $900US...yikes!!

jeff.

 
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06-05-02, 04:54 AM   #8  
Jeff, that pic in your signature caught me off guard- hilarious!


Anyhooo, I need a lil minor work on my truck- ie new axle bearings and 4 new tires. I'll try to work something up with the guys at the shop.


And yes, the tank is fairly full. Very heavy for a tank that size.

 
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06-05-02, 05:38 AM   #9  
Joe_F
R12 is quite expensive and whatever stock is here, that's it. Once it "dries up", that's all.

But the supply doesn't seem to be dwindling. I have used Autofrost in my R12 equipped cars, no problem.

 
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06-05-02, 07:51 AM   #10  
Joe, what is Autofrost that you refer to? Is it some sort of compatable replacement for R-12?

 
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06-05-02, 08:28 AM   #11  
Dan Meyer
R-12

The reason there is a lot of R-12 around is that the cars that use it are being scrapped. So the current supply is greater than the need.
As far as prices, my local Autozone store was currently pricing R-12 for $9.00 per pound.- and they weren't selling it!!!

I've heard some real horror stories regarding the replacement refrigerants such as Autofrost. What they are is a mixture of R-134A and R-22 (used for household air cond.). At best, they don't work and at worse they cause component failure.

Even these retro fit kits for using R-134a to replace R-12 are causing failures. Seems some of these kit makers have been sued for damage.
I've converted a few cars to R-134a, and its not a quick easy job.

 
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06-05-02, 08:32 AM   #12  
To convert my system (1990 Chev 1500 4.3 vortec V6 2wd) I've been quoted $180, but they said if the computer(?) needed to be replaced I was looking at about $600+.

Ouch.

 
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06-05-02, 08:51 AM   #13  
Dan Meyer
Mako

$180 to convert?? Be careful. who is "they"???
To do a proper job of converting will cost you at least $600-700 maybe more. You just can't dump R-134a in ( and for $180 that's what they probably will do).
The whole system needs to be flushed, accumulator replaced, maybe a larger condenser, replacement of "o" rings and seals and a different oil added. And then vacuum and recharge.
I have no idea by what "they" mean by the computer might need to be replaced. I know of no computer associated with the A/C system. Further, replacing a computer has nothing to do with the switch over.

 
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06-05-02, 10:08 AM   #14  
Joe_F
Autofrost is an EPA approved R12 replacement. It is not a "drop in" but it is as close as you're going to get.

A/C work is no longer a DIY repair. You need special tools, service procedures, parts and knowledge. Leave it to the pros.

Dan Meyer: Not so on Autofrost. Depends on the system. I installed new O-rings, a new orifice screen and recharged my 84 Olds. That was in the summer of 1997. It's still a meat locker 5 years later. The key? The system is tight, in good working order and a good system to start with .

A/C work is very dependent on the vehicle, the manufacturer, the tools, the service procedures and understanding how it works. R12 is still a better refrigerant than R134A.

A lot has to be done to PROPERLY convert an R12 car to R134A for lasting longevity and performance. You won't get that with a 180 dollar kit.

 
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06-05-02, 10:35 AM   #15  
Well, I see your point. The guy that quoted me this is actually a good friend works two jobs. He is a full time fireman and also part time at a SpeeDee oil and lube place- I don't think the problem is lack of knowledge so much as the lack of resources.


Maybe he meant to say "compressor" instead of "computer" - he is definitely an honest guy, if a lil tongue twisted.

Anyhow, he told me that I really didn't need to convert it, that it just needed a charge of R12 (a little low). He said they'd charge it for free if I had that R12.


BTW If my system is low, will it make the AC system growl when the compressor is running? Is running it low (not too low- still blows cold air just not as cold as it could be) bad for the system?

 
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06-05-02, 10:57 AM   #16  
Joe_F
Find the leak first before you charge. Don't waste the precious R12. The enviornment and your wallet will thank you.

The fallacy of "topping off" an A/C system is a long standing tall tale. Bottom line: If you have to add, there's a leak somewhere. Finding it and rectifying it quickly is the key to a reliable system.

 
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06-05-02, 11:04 AM   #17  
Dan Meyer
I work on A/C systems as a hobby, my own cars and friends. I have purchased a Robinair charging station and misc. equip. to do the work so I'm pretty well equiped.
I'm sure your friend has the best of intentions. It is impossible to properly add to a system without gauges, unless you want parts of your A/C system hanging from your garage ceiling. Of course, I know of people who add a can when it's not blowing as well as they think it should without a problem. And that's probably because it needed a can or two anyway. But over charging a system can cause seals to blow not to mention the compressor.
The freon is what carries the oil around the system to lubricate the compressor. If you are still blowing cold air then you have enough freon to circulate the oil and it will be OK.
Can't tell what the growling could be. If it's from the compressor it could be going bad or the clutch- hard to say.
One tip, add the r-12 to the low side - thru the accumulator. NOT THE HIGH SIDE. And add s-l-o-w-l-y.

 
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06-05-02, 11:38 AM   #18  
They have the equipment, that's not a problem. He services his AC unit there on his 2 vehicles, and that thing (93 Olds something) will freeze your @$$ off.

Anyhow, what I meant by lack of resources is NOT having all the parts to change on hand. I don't doubt that he could be doing something he doesn't realize may harm my system, but he's certainly not unscrupulous.


Joe-

You don't think that a 12 year old vehicle could be a bit low just due to age? It's never needed freon before, and it's not terribly low.


I'm certainly thinking of taking this one to an AC shop who specializes in it.


I appreciate all your help folks!

 
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06-05-02, 12:09 PM   #19  
Joe_F
Yes it might be low, but there is a REASON for it...i.e. a leak.

I have a 33 year old A/C in the house. Blows cold. No leaks.

My 84 Olds blows ice cold after 5 years, no leaks.

There is a leak if it needs refrigerant. A/C systems are sealed and stay so unless there is a leak.

 
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06-05-02, 02:07 PM   #20  
Thanks- I'll have them or another shop take a closer look at it. Considering the nature of freon it can't be hard to find.

 
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06-07-02, 04:51 PM   #21  
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If ya want to get rid of that tank of r-12 I would be happy to take it off your hands.

 
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06-07-02, 11:09 PM   #22  
A can or two of R12 after 12-13 years is no big deal. Top it off. I wouldn't put in more than one can (12 oz.) without gauges. I had a compressor growling on a 5.7 GM, sure as hell it went out on me 5 years after the noise started. Don't replace it till it crashes. Either way when you replace it you're going to have to do the flush routine. Wait and see what happens.
If I were you Mako, I would top it off with the R12 and don't worry about it unless it leaks down again soon. Your the guy with the big can of R12 right? Hang on to it and use it when you need it. The replacements aren't as good. The gauge set for R12 can be purchased for around $50.00 (Harbor Freight cheap set is all you'll need). Buy a Haynes Auto A/C Manual for another $10.00 at AutoZone and it will tell you everything you need to know about your A/C. If you ever have to open the system, you can rent a vacuum pump or if you own a decent air compressor, you can buy a vortex vacuum from Harbor Freight for around $15.00.
Let us know what you do.

 
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06-10-02, 04:56 AM   #23  
Don't you have to be certified to do that kind of stuff, Dan?

 
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06-10-02, 05:29 AM   #24  
Joe_F
Don't just add R12. I said it once, I'll say it again. You're wasting it by topping off and not fixing the leak.

If you have to add, you have a leak. Rectify it first before adding that precious juice. Don't waste it.

I haven't added any refrigerant into my 84 Olds for 5 years. That's because there are no leaks. No leaks, no problems .

Fix it once and fix it right .

 
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06-10-02, 06:48 AM   #25  
I'm with Joe on this one. I'm not licensed, certified, trained, or hypnotized in the ways of AC repair, so I won't bother. I'll take it to someone who can.

My main concern was trying to find out whether owning this can of R12 is illegal- I'm going to contact the EPA to make sure. It's not worth a huge fine.

 
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06-10-02, 09:55 AM   #26  
Joe_F
I'm sure that you're ok by having the can. No one's going to give you a hassle with that.

Again, I would explain to the shop that you have some and would they mind using it when they recharge your system. If they say yes, you have half the battle won.

 
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06-10-02, 11:04 AM   #27  
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Do I have to be certified to work on A/C systems?? NO. Not as long as I work on my own cars and friends. Some states require a certification to work on cars (any kind of repair) but only if the person is in business to do auto repair. I still have a very small supply of R-12 on hand (and pick more when it's reasonable - as I stated Autozone had it for $9.00 lb) from the pre-ban for importing it. So it's legal to have. It's only illegal to import it now.

 
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06-10-02, 11:29 AM   #28  
Illegal to sell or trade for services?

 
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06-10-02, 11:57 AM   #29  
Joe_F
Dan,

Then you are certified . You cannot buy R12 without a license

In such case, if the store sells you R12, it's either illegally or you have the needed papers.

With the supply being scant, it pays to be judicious with the juice. Lol.

The main thing is to fix the leak and start with a sound system. After that, you can be good to go .

 
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06-10-02, 01:47 PM   #30  
You guys are right on the money. I emailed the EPA and they said that as long as it was administered by an EPA certified tech, then possesion is not illegal, nor is selling AS LONG as proper reciepts and record of sale was produced.

I'll hang on to it for a while.




Other Questions, sorta AC related.

If I ever had a wild hair to rip out my 4.3L and put in a 5.7, would my current AC unit fit? What about the tranny (5 spd manual, 1990- I hear that this is the exact same tranny they put on the manual 350's- I have driven a few and the gear ratios and shifter throw are the same).

 
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06-12-02, 03:27 AM   #31  
A/C Certification

You have to be E.P.A. Certified to buy, use, handle or work with ANY refrigerant, regardless if it's on yours, a friends, a family members, etc.... . This has NOTHING to do with State laws, this is a Federal Law.

Just wanted to clarify this so nobody gets in trouble. Take Care.

 
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06-12-02, 05:15 AM   #32  
Gotcha. The EPA advised me that it's not illegal to HAVE it, it's just illegal to USE it unless I have an EPA certified tech do it, which won't be a problem. Here in SC there are tons of them.

 
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06-12-02, 05:45 AM   #33  
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Not likely all the parts are swappable from a 4.3 to a V8. The 4.3 parts are extremely light duty and not worth a wooden nickel behind any V8.

Not only that, but to PROPERLY convert a V6 truck, you have to upgrade the cooling system, brakes and suspension. Not worth it. Buy a V8 truck with all the HD type equipment.

Leave the 4.3 as is. Run it into the ground. It is what it is .

 
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06-15-02, 09:14 AM   #34  
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You know Mako, Joe is right. I have an 89 c1500 w/over 200,000 mi. on it and it hasn't run into the ground yet!!!!!!!! PS:Even the old R12 system works well after all these years...

 
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