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Old 05-28-2006, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default AC Repair

First a little History. I have a R-12 system, AC died 2 years ago. Compressor locked up. I found a junkyard piece so
I could drive it again, which still had freon in it, (found that out when I disconnected hose, it should not have had any) Had a local shop just install compressor and place a vacuum in the lines. I did not have the money to add freon. I have now come across 12 cans of freon. CAN and SHOULD I complete repair on the system? AC would be nice again. Can it be done by a shade tree mechanic (ME)? And if so what is the procedure? I know I will need a new orfice and dryer, which I have never installed. Any general advice or comments would be greatry appreciated.
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Old 05-28-2006, 06:14 PM   #2
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I would not suggest using R12 I used to work in an AC repair sho in Canada, and we could switch people over for a really reasonable price. I would investigate the cost of conversion. R134 is far cheaper, and there are alternatives such as Dura-Cool that can be used in a R12 system. I know here in Canada, it is not legal to fill R12, and there are very large fines for it.
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Old 05-29-2006, 01:24 AM   #3
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Back in the day (Mid-80'*), I recharged my own R-12 system from time to time on the '68 Ford XL I had then. It worked fine for me. I don't think I really started to have a lot of trouble with the system until I moved to Florida, and tried to get the system working again after a prolonged period when it had been disconnected and open to the atmosphere. I basically had to replace EVERYTHING, and spent a lot of $ on it, and put the 'new' 134a in it.

When I went out to California some months later to collect my large travel trailer, one of the refrigerant hoses came off of the condenser... it never had AC again... because I never wanted to go through the hassle again.

I can say that I did have very good luck converting/charging a 1987 Volvo 240DL I owned briefly last year with R134a. It looked like the AC had been repaired shortly before I got it, but it was down on coolant. Getting it charged was a royal pain because of where the service port was, but I had cool air the last part of the summer, until the head gasket went...

If you put the new parts on you mentioned, have a shop evac and leak test the system, then you should not have any problem refilling it with R12 or doing a conversion right then and there yourself. Just be sure to add the right kind and amount of lubricating oil, and if it is not with R12, you'll also be out of luck because you can't mix ANY of the R12 and R134a. (Except, I probably did that in my Volvo as it hadn't been converted when I got it. And it worked GREAT anyway! )

Still, potential fines shouldn't be dealt with lightly. You'll have to find out, is there any controlling legal authority? Just don't run for public office if any one is privy to your environmental indiscretion.
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Old 05-29-2006, 01:55 AM   #4
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First off DONT use an alternative freon!! You will need to change the orifice tube, the drier if the compressor went bad, make sure you add the proper amount and type of oil to each part. You should flush the system, all lines and condensor.

You will need these tools to do the job right:

Vacuum pump to vacuum the air out of the system if it'* been sitting this long without use.
Then you should get a set of real gauges, not the walmart death kit gauge.
I would switch to R134a, buy the kit al Walmart, but dont use the gauges.
I would see if a friend has any of these including a UV Dye kit, to check for leaks.

Very helpful site:

If you have any other questions please feel free to ask

Good luck,
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Old 05-29-2006, 10:23 AM   #5
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Default autofrost refrigerant

Go to this link and read about autofrost.

Another website with an alternative is

This link is a interesting article I found on a Chrysler website that seems to have been written by an old a/c tech . He has some interesting things to say about converting an R12 system over to 134.

I'm having trouble with my 93 a/c but I think i'm just going to use R12 and a little stopleak since the system is still getting cold . Good luck .
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