Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Old Car Question: Re-Charging or Re-Vamping A/C
My own self ^ | 9/20/02 | Self

Posted on 09/20/2002 5:59:39 AM PDT by MoralSense

I have an '89 Cadillac Fleetwood, and the a/c needs re-charging. Unfortunately, it uses old-style R12 Freon, which isn't legal to manufacture any more. My old service station attendant used to have some, but he's out now. Anybody know any sources? Also, I'm informed that converting the a/c to the more modern 134 coolant can be done by a radiator shop at a cost of about $300. Anybody have any experience with such a conversion? Thanks.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: airconditioning; freon

1 posted on 09/20/2002 5:59:39 AM PDT by MoralSense
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
If you live near the Mexican border you can get the old stuff cheap. Any border patrol agent will have a garage full of the stuff.
2 posted on 09/20/2002 6:03:19 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
Conversion for my 1990 Firebird (when I had it) cost more like $700.00. There are places that will re-charge R-12 systems. Because of the scarcity of R-12 refrigerant though, it can cost more than an R-134a re-charge.

Here's a helpful link: AirCondition.com

There are a lot of useful message boards and resources there. Also, it's possible for you to study and obtain an IMACA 609 permit to purchase R-12 and other alternatives. This can be done on line for around $20.00.

Go to: IMACA

Good Luck!

3 posted on 09/20/2002 6:05:40 AM PDT by peteram
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
I don't know where you are located, but in Virginia, Merchant Tire and Auto stores still sell recharges with R-12. It costs about $75 plus $50 per pound of R-12. The cost has been going up steadily.

Regarding conversion, I don't have any first hand experience but the R-134a molecules are smaller so leaks are more common in older system and it also does not cool as effectively as R-12

4 posted on 09/20/2002 6:06:03 AM PDT by Truth29
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
Since they now know that the ozone hole over Antarctica is closing, R-12 will now be required, but at a much higher price, of course!

Seriously, converting should not cost that much. Shop around -- I had my '85 Porsche converted for less than $50 here in Raleigh, NC.

5 posted on 09/20/2002 6:08:45 AM PDT by TommyDale
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
I have no problem loacting the old stuff.My brother in-law works in HVAC. He has tanks full of recycled stuff. Ask around, someone you know should have a contact.
6 posted on 09/20/2002 6:10:36 AM PDT by #1CTYankee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
It is only illegal to manufacture it in the U.S., but any turd world country can make it. Don't you just love Kyoto? This is the same way it would work.

Just about any garage has it and will do the recharging. Oh. By the way, when Congress tried to ban it altogether they were going to exempt themselves from the law but then decided they would not be able to get their cars recharged since the House has a bank and a post office but no garage, thus who would do the work. So, instead of banning it, they just made it illegal to manufacture in the US.

Our tax dollars at work.

7 posted on 09/20/2002 6:15:07 AM PDT by N. Theknow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
Mexico it the place to get R-12 and Canada is the place to get full flush toilet bowls in case your building a new house. We can thank our great politicans for these stupid laws.
8 posted on 09/20/2002 6:17:39 AM PDT by Piquaboy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: #1CTYankee
Hey CTYankee!

What are you doing on this thread? Aren't you and your wife having a baby on the other thread right now?

Good Luck!

9 posted on 09/20/2002 6:20:41 AM PDT by Guna
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
I bought a kit at Wal-Mart for $29 which included everything including the refrigerant. I converted my old 83 van and it worked perfectly.
10 posted on 09/20/2002 6:22:11 AM PDT by yarddog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TommyDale
Where in Raleigh did you get it done for $50? Lowest I've ever heard of
11 posted on 09/20/2002 6:23:20 AM PDT by billbears
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
If I were you I would convert to R-134 if you plan to keep the car for any length of time. Reclaimed R-12 Freon is not only scarce now, it costs an arm and a leg if you do find some. I switched an old car over to the new refrigerant a few years ago. I had to replace a bad compressor anyway, so it seemed like a good time to switch over. The total cost including a rebuilt compressor and labor was around $400, and it worked great as long as I had the car.

There is a conversion kit you can buy at Walmart for about $35 that claims to convert an old system from Freon to R-134 by just changing some fittings and refilling the system with the new stuff. I have no idea how well it works, if it works at all. Of course if you live near the Mexican border you might try what #2 suggested. When I lived in FL a few years ago there was some bootleg R-12 coming into there from somewhere in the Carribean, but I heard that some of it was contaminated and would ruin your AC system. Mexican Freon might be OK though, I don't know anything about it.

12 posted on 09/20/2002 6:27:18 AM PDT by epow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
I have an '89 Allante. I converted it myself with a kit. However, after doing so, I learned a lot more about it from a GM engineer on our Allante club board.

The poster is correct that the molecules of R-134a are smaller than that of R-12. Consequently, it is more likely to leak, but more importantly, it is able to penetrate the hoses of an R-12 system (albeit slowly, and over time). You can use it, but you'll likely need to recharge periodically to compensate for the porosity (unless you have all the hoses replaced with materials designed for R-134a.)

The most important consideration, however, is the oil. R12 oil is not compatible with R134a. You must have the sytem completely evacuated to remove all R12 and all the residual oil. Then, new R134a compatible oil must be used.

I believe the dryer (accumulator) should be replaced as well.

On Allantes, there is a refrigerant pressure switch that monitors the status of the charge. It is sometimes more sensitive with R134a. Some Allante owners have experienced the slight inconvenience of having periodic low refrigerant messages after converting. Often, just adding a little more 134a makes these go away. Don't know if this is applicable to your Cadillac or not.

Cadillac A/C systems are typically overdesigned, so the slightly diminished capacity of R134a is typically not an issue (unless you live in Death Valley). Bigger issues would be a worn-out compressor, or missing/bent/clogged fins on the condensor.


13 posted on 09/20/2002 6:28:50 AM PDT by babyface00
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
I've got a 1984 diesel van that has a converted system. It was expensive, but by the time you factor in the cost of the coolant, imho it makes sense to update the system. Although I have heard converted systems don't cool as well, I've been more than satisfied with the A/C's ability to keep the vehicle comfortable.

I'm glad I went this route, as one of the A/C lines busted a couple of months ago, and I had to totally recharge the system, yet again.

Old cars, gotta love 'em. < /sarcasm>

14 posted on 09/20/2002 6:33:44 AM PDT by Darnright
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: yarddog
Yarddog, did you do the work yourself? I have an '88 Mitsubishi pickup that has a very slow leak in the system but the old truck isn't worth spending a lot of money on. A local shade tree mechanic told me he had used the Walmart kit to convert several systems and he didn't do anything except vent the old R-12 from the system and then change over the fittings and install the R-134 and new lubricant.

The instructions on the kit say to completely evacuate the old system, but that would require a vacuum pump which I don't want to buy just for one job. I know it isn't legal to vent the R-12 into the atmosphere, but I think it's done quite a bit anyway.

15 posted on 09/20/2002 6:42:19 AM PDT by epow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: epow
A local shade tree mechanic told me he had used the Walmart kit to convert several systems and he didn't do anything except vent the old R-12 from the system and then change over the fittings and install the R-134 and new lubricant.

Those of us with redneck friends have been converting like this for years. Southern rednecks have more yankee ingenuity than most folks.

16 posted on 09/20/2002 7:15:18 AM PDT by ghostrider
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: Piquaboy
Canada is the place to get full flush toilet bowls in case your building a new house.

I discovered a way to make the new PC toilets flush OK. Our new house had, of course, a couple of the PC toilets and neither of them would flush completely on one flush. One of them soon developed a leak around the flapper valve. I bought a repair kit at Ace hardware that replaces the flapper valve with a ring which glues onto the big hole in the bottom of the tank and a swinging arm gadget, a type of flapper, which seals the hole.

The gadget is adjustable for length of time it holds the valve open, and I found that by adjusting it to maximum amount of open time almost the entire tank will empty into the bowl. Since the new tanks hold almost as much water as the old ones, my toilets now flush as well as the old ones. I can't remember the name of the kit, but it comes in a tall green and white box.

17 posted on 09/20/2002 7:19:48 AM PDT by epow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 8 | View Replies]

To: ghostrider
Those of us with redneck friends have been converting like this for years.

Well, I live in the north GA mountains, so that describes most of the people I know. After my last can of R-12 is gone next summer I think I'll let that ole boy do his Walmart conversion thing on the old sled.

That is, if it's still running by then. What I really need is a "new" old pickup.

18 posted on 09/20/2002 7:48:42 AM PDT by epow
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: epow
I can't remember what I did with the old refrigerant. All I did was unscrew the old fittings and put in the new ones. I then refilled using the lubricant and new refrigerant. Has worked fine so far.

I am a little nervous after reading an earlier post regarding the new stuff attacking the hoses.

19 posted on 09/20/2002 8:27:20 AM PDT by yarddog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
My husband drives (and loves) his 1992 Jeep Wrangler, when we first got the truck it used freon in it's aftermarket A/C system. The A/C was in pretty bad shape and needed replacing. We were able to purchase a retro-fit kit for the Jeep on-line for just over $200 and had it installed at a local shop for just over $150. I don't know if it was cheaper because of the Jeeps design and popularity.

We had the switch done over 2 years ago and have had no problems at all. The A/C runs very cold with the R-134 and considering we are in S. Florida it's pretty impressive.

20 posted on 09/20/2002 8:29:07 AM PDT by Brytani
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Brytani
Quick correction to my previous post. My husband just reminded me, when we bought the retro-kit we also purchased other parts for the Jeep. He says the actual cost of the kit was $125 and our labor cost was increased because my husband also had a tune-up performed at the same time.
21 posted on 09/20/2002 8:31:55 AM PDT by Brytani
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Guna
Hey CTYankee!

What are you doing on this thread? Aren't you and your wife having a baby on the other thread right now?

Good Luck!

Yeah, I know. :-o
Any thread that has the word car I got to check out.

22 posted on 09/20/2002 8:35:08 AM PDT by #1CTYankee
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: billbears
Was at the Penske garage at K-Mart on Capital. They are gone now, but I had found several places fairly reasonable.
The radiator shops were the highest. There are a few independent garages who really do better work for much less than the auto dealers and/or radiator shops. Some prefer cash -- Gee, I wonder why?
23 posted on 09/20/2002 8:56:51 AM PDT by TommyDale
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: epow
That kit at Walmart is a good buy, but it leaves one major problem: The R-12 must be totally evacuated from the system
and disposed of by a professional to be "legal". Hmmm...
I wonder if my neighbor could tell if I just let it out?
24 posted on 09/20/2002 8:59:42 AM PDT by TommyDale
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
I've had three mid-eighties Ford full size cars (2 Crown Vics & a Grand Marquis) all retrofitted for r134a... cost about $400 apiece, I think. They work great. I'd recommend it.
25 posted on 09/20/2002 9:01:39 AM PDT by Sloth
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: TommyDale
There are a few independent garages who really do better work for much less than the auto dealers and/or radiator shops

You've got Freepmail. Truer words have never been spoken. Wouldn't go to a dealership if you paid for the work and then paid me to go there (i.e. Capital)

26 posted on 09/20/2002 9:16:13 AM PDT by billbears
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: yarddog
I am a little nervous after reading an earlier post regarding the new stuff attacking the hoses.

It's more a case of the new refrigerant being able to seep through the older hose material than actually "attacking" it. Hoses intended for use with R-134a are referred to as "nylon barrier" type, which is a fairly self-descriptive.

Those Wal-Mart retrofit kits are a crapshoot - not only are the newer hoses different, the o-rings in the system fittings are made of a different material, too. Compressor crankshaft seals, too. Changing the service fittings and adding new oil (with "conditioner") and refrigerant might work okay, or your compressor might lock up after a week or two.

The "old" oil in the system will turn into sludge when exposed to R-134a, so most A/C technicians recommend a thorough system flush (not just pulling a vacuum) to remove as much oil as possible, before adding the new stuff.

R-134a can only be charged to 80% of the system's R-12 rating. That means you're starting out with 20% less cooling capacity - and a larger, more efficient condensor might be needed to keep the cooling capacity from dropping further.

27 posted on 09/20/2002 9:30:01 AM PDT by Charles Martel
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
Old car bump
28 posted on 09/20/2002 10:12:54 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: MoralSense
you could try ordering freon through a farm co-op,

or (if it is legal in your state), using HC-12a from OZ Technologies or similar producer.

From what i understand there is no conversion necessary, nor is it corrosive to the to the system like HCF. On the down side, it is flammable at 1600 F at atmoshperic pressure. Some choice--a leaky corrosive halide; or a smelly flammable hydrocarbon ).

If you are interested the web site is http://www.oztechnologyinc.com/

Dupont invested a lot of time and effort to secure HCF-134a as the sole successor to one of their cash cows--the patent expired freon. (No conspiracy--just good business sense.) Fortunately, HCF-134a is so ineffectual compared to freon that unlike freon, there are several alternatives out there.

Idaho has just adjusted its laws to allow HC-12a in motor vehicles.
29 posted on 09/20/2002 2:21:50 PM PDT by freebounder
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: freebounder; All
Thanks to everybody. You have reassured me about the conversion and given me a good idea what price to expect.
30 posted on 09/21/2002 9:35:15 AM PDT by MoralSense
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson