R12 or 134a

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  #1  
Old 07-15-02, 03:03 AM
Nomad559
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R12 or 134a

Van runs great now I need to fix the AC

Should I convert It to 134a, or repair the old R12 system?
I heard that the 134a refrigerant does not cool as well as the R12.
Is that true?
If I convert to the 134a system, what parts do I need to change?


87 Ford E-150 XL cargo van
5 liter with EFI
AC - auto trans
 
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  #2  
Old 07-15-02, 04:09 AM
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Hello: Nomad559

I'll vouch for that fact. In my opinion, the new refrigerant 134a does not cool as well as the older R12. Especially at lower traveling speeds and definately not as well in stop and go traffic.

Seems the newer systems require a larger BTU system to equal the same cooling capacity as the older systems. But I could be incorrect on this. I am not an A/C service person.

However, the 134a cooling systems could be equal to the R12's, if the vehicle manufacturers where able to and willing to increase the cooling systems capacity with larger componets.

Larger componets equals more vehicle weight, more space requirements and higher production costs. All of which the consumer will pay for in the purchase price. A choice we do not get to make.
 
  #3  
Old 07-15-02, 05:22 AM
Dan Meyer
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It would be a lot cheaper to keep the system with R-12.
There are a lot of horror stories regarding people changing over to R-134a without doing it or having it done properly.
To switch over, you'll need a set of gauges and a vacuum pump.
The entire system needs to be taken apart and flushed. The accumulator needs to be replaced. A larger evaporator may be needed. Then the proper oil needs to be added, the system vacuumed and recharged.
I heard that if you have someone do it, it can run up to $1000.00 .
It probably would cost a lot less to just stay with R-12.
 
  #4  
Old 07-15-02, 10:28 AM
Joe_F
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My coworker is converting his dad's 1984 Oldsmobile 98 to R134A. We got all the parts wholesale for 200 bucks, but then again we are in the trade .

My .02 is that R12 is better. And science proves it's a better refrigerant. See what the problem is with your system. If it's simply gaskets and O-rings, fix those and have it recharged with R12. Should be good to go.
 
  #5  
Old 07-16-02, 06:37 AM
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I agree that the 134a stuff isn't as effective as the older 12, but my wife's 2000 Cavalier will freeze your tail off at any speed. I think that (GM, at least) has gotten on the ball to create better AC systems. Dodge, on the other hand, hasn't. When I wrecked my truck I was driving a rental 2002 Dodge Ram. The AC didn't fare too well against the Charleston SC heat. I put over 750 miles on that truck in a week and it never really froze me out (as I like to do it) yet the 360 in it got 13 MPG. Such a sad situation for such a well made, awesome truck.
 
  #6  
Old 07-16-02, 08:20 PM
Nomad559
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Thank you everyone for your reply.

I'm going to repair the R-12 system.
 
  #7  
Old 07-17-02, 06:44 AM
Dan Meyer
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JoeF

After the '84 Olds you mentioned is converted, I would appreciate it if you would let us know how well its working at the end of the summer. As I mentioned, as a hobby I do A/C work and had mixed results with conversions. Always interested in how the conversions of others fare. You can e-mail me if you wish at:
[email protected]
 
  #8  
Old 07-17-02, 07:11 AM
Joe_F
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Dan:

I did it in the summer of 1997. I changed the orifice screen, the O-rings and added whatever oil was needed.

I can attest to the fact that in today's 91 degree heat in NYC and stuck in traffic, it's a meat locker in there with the A/C on max and the blower on the SECOND speed .

The rest of the system is original. My dad charged the A/C system in 1985 for my uncle and it held that charge until 1997 when I serviced it. I got the car in Dec. 1996 from my uncle (who wants to give me his other car....lol).

I used Autofrost in it. Even my neighbor who helped me with the work can't believe we did it five years ago. He was in my car recently and said, "Man it's like a freezer in here. This thing is a snow cone".
 
  #9  
Old 07-17-02, 08:40 AM
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Is Autofrost a R12 or R134 derived (compatible) cocktail?
Is it cheaper than the normal stuff (12 or 134)?
Where do you get it?
 
  #10  
Old 07-17-02, 09:57 AM
Joe_F
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It's an R12 replacement/blend. It is EPA approved. Depending on the car it works well.

Fords tend to puke it out, but then again, GM systems are far superior to Fords .

Look it up on the internet in google.com. I forget the name of the company that make it at the moment.

Try www.autofrost.com and see if that works.
 
  #11  
Old 07-17-02, 10:17 AM
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Yup it works....will look into it later....
 
  #12  
Old 07-17-02, 11:38 AM
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Looks like you have to be EPA cert to order the stuff and the price isn't posted. I dunno anyone who would go through the trouble of faxing in thier EPA registry to help me out.

What does R12 generally run per pound? I found, luckily, one 12oz can of REAL DUPONT Freon 12 dad had lying around, unopened. I doubt that it will be enough. When the temp hits 90, my AC only gets a tid bit warmer than the air.
 
  #13  
Old 07-17-02, 01:29 PM
Joe_F
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Most cars like that typically use 2 or 3 cans.

You can convert it to R134A. You have to flush out the old oil from the compressor, change the dryer over to a compatible one, change your O-rings and if needed (should really be done) change the hoses.

Also put in a new orifice screen and you should be good to go. My 84 Oldsmobile is colder than my coworker's converted 88 Caprice, however, his is very comfortable in the heat we've had of late.
 
  #14  
Old 07-17-02, 08:28 PM
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I just finished my converted A/C on my 1985 chevy truck about half an hour ago. It's nice and cooolllddd!!! I just hope it holds together for awhile. I had it converted in '95, and it lasted quite awhile. Then a couple years ago, the compressor locked up. So I went without A/C until now (today the temp was 101 degrees). I replaced the compressor, after draining the oil and adding 8 ounces of ester. I changed the drier/accumulator, flushed the evaporator and condenser, changed the orfice tube, and the "o"-rings that were removed in the process. Time will tell. The compressor is a R4, remanufactured by four-seasons. They used to be a quality company, but I've heard lately that they are getting cheap.
 
  #15  
Old 07-17-02, 11:00 PM
knuckles
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Good luck w/ a Four Seasons R-4!

Every single one I've ever gotten from them has leaked around the case seal. I eventually gave up on them & now use AC-Delco compressors exclusively when servicing GM cars & Euro imports originally equipped w/ GM A/C compressors. I've had EXCELLENT results w/ the AC-Delco units.
 
  #16  
Old 07-17-02, 11:29 PM
knuckles
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GM Retrofits

*Most* older RWD GM cars will retrofit to R-134a with little or no loss of cooling. This is because the cars were designed with a large condensor and plenty of grille opening to allow for good condensor airflow.

I've had the best results using a Ford Red orifice tube and a new GM Severe Service fan clutch.

While certain blends can and often do work, I won't use them or recommend their use. They create a disposal problem when the system requires service. The refrigerant must be captured from the car in to a dedicated container & either disposed of as contaminated refrigerant (expensive) or returned to the car from which it was recovered. Returning the refrigerant to the car may not be such a good idea as the various components of blended refrigerants leak at different rates, so you don't really know what you've recovered if you're servicing a leaking system.

Blends also require a dedicated recovery/charging station & most shops are not willing to invest in dedicated equipment for 10 or 20 different refrigrerants. R-134a and R-12 are the only 2 refrigerants that have ever been used in modern (Post WWII) A/C systems. Any shop that services a/c systems will necessarily have the equipment required to service cars equipped with these refrigerants.

R-12 is currently wholesaling for about $3/ounce, which makes both blends and R-134a conversions seem attractive, but it's often cheaper in the long run to repair the car properly & keep it R-12.

Below is a link to the EPA website. The EPA site goes in to great detail about 'accepted' R-12 substitutes & retrofit requirements. Read it carefully & take everything in to consideration before you choose an 'alternative' refrigerant.

EPA Refrigerant Info
 
  #17  
Old 07-19-02, 09:47 AM
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I agree with alot of what Knuckles says, but I'm suspect of the reluctance to recover this stuff...and I'll say why.

For those of us in the trade, how many cars come to you with ANYTHING in there? Lol. Not much. Most cars had zero refrigerant that come to us. They had pissed it out a long time ago due to a leak. The first time the customer tried it for the season, that's when you get the frantic, "I have to bring it in!!" call. I recall running for A/C parts once the ENTIRE day because my neighbor had them lined up. We must have done 20 that day including our own vehicles. Lol.

Most of the cars that came to us had the A/C in such poor shape that most times at least one part was required. Very few had O-ring only replacements and a recharge. Of course there were always those "top it off" customers, which were the source of many arguments. When R12 got expensive, all of a sudden, fixing the leak right was a priority. Lol.
 
  #18  
Old 07-20-02, 12:27 AM
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I guess it varies from place to place. When I worked at the dodge dealership, I'd guess that 90% of the cars I did A/C work on had some amount of refrigerant still in them. Lots of times the A/C worked, but the compressor was noisy and not pumping well, or the expansion valve was sticking or clogged, etc...

Knuckles...maybe I'll get lucky with this compressor. I can only hope. I really don't want to do the job twice. I know there is a year warranty on the unit I got....which sounds like they don't have much faith in it. The EPA gets involved in all sorts of aspects of the refrigerant industry...I wonder if they control the quality of reman compressors. If remanufacturers build crappy and leaky units, then the refrigerant leaks into the environment no matter how careful the technician is to do a clean job. If they do mandate a certain standard, I think the bar should be raised.
It's hard to buy a decent rebuilt anything anymore.
 
  #19  
Old 07-20-02, 05:57 AM
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There are good reman units out there. The R4 is an old design and rebuilts should be perfected by now.

Sometimes it's in the quality of the cores. A-1 Cardone used to rebuild only GM original cores on their water pumps. You could turn in an aftermarket one as your core, but chances are they would pitch it.

The last reman water pump I got for my 84 Olds was an aftermarket core...no GM #s. However, I bought a new Delco pump for my 79 T/A and guess whose part was in the box? A Carter part that I could have gotten the week before for 6 bucks cheaper. I purposely special ordered the Delco. Man was I steamed! Lol
 
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