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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone successfully converted the R12 system to R134 using the conversion kits like the one that Ecklers offers? Any difficulty in doing that? My air blows cool on my 1981 but thought I would try to get it working better.
 

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FWIW: A couple of sources I've read say that if your R12 system is in good working order, leave it alone and continue to use R12. They say consider the swap to R134 only if the R12 system is leaking, needs a major overhaul, or has been open to the atmosphere.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks

Thanks. This is tough though, as I'm not sure that my 26 year old system is leaking or just needs charged. A technical guy contact said that R134 is more prone to leakage as the gas molecules are smaller. However, R12 is hard to come by and expensive right? I don't know of anyone who will charge it for me. Can I still buy a R12 kit somewhere?
 

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... I don't know of anyone who will charge it for me. Can I still buy a R12 kit somewhere?
Almost all the automotive AC shops have R12 and can charge your system. It is against the law to sell R12 to anyone who is not HVAC certified which is why us average shade tree mechanics can no longer get it off the shelf.

:thumbsup:
 

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I completely agree with 6880 Mike. I just finished (sunday) my 134a conversion, and its a good deal of work to do it right. If your getting cold air now, dont mess with it. As they say, dont kick a sleeping dog. Once it quits or stops blowing cold, then convert. If you just have to do it now:

You dont need the Ecklers kit!!!!!! Just get a reciever/Dryer for $55 bucks, an orifice tube for $3 bucks, a set of O rings, a can of Ester oil, 4 of the little cans of R134a without oil, an orifice tube removal tool, the correct fittings for the Shrader valves, a can tap, a set of manifold gauges with hoses, and a vacuum pump.

Evacuate the system, replace the Reciever/dryer and the O rings for the fittings(pour 3 oz of ester oil directly in the Dryer before installing), and replace the orifice tube and its fitting O ring. Remove the compressor and drain the mineral oil. Pour 3 oz. of Ester directly in it, then re-instsall it and its O rings. Install the proper connections on the schrader valves, usually from a retro kit at any auto parts store. BUT, you will need a 90 degree for the low side, (ill send a link for it if you do this). Then vacuum the system for 30 minutes, and fill with 51 oz. of R134a. This is 85% of the amount the system calls for R12. 4 of the little cans of R134a is 52 oz., (they are 13 oz. each) so that is what I used. And then your good to go.
 

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It is against the law to sell R12 to anyone who is not HVAC certified which is why us average shade tree mechanics can no longer get it off the shelf.
Then get certified.........it is very easy.:D
Go here ASE

You can take test online for $15.00.

The test has nothing to do with knowing about A/C systems.
It's all about freon and the environment. Basically an open book test.

I took the test back in '99 before "online".
Then everybody in my shop copied my test and we all sent them in. :crazy:
A few weeks later I got a certificate saying I was ASE certified in Refrigerant
Recovery and Recycling. Show the parts store dude your number and you
get to buy freon. :thumbsup:

(That is unless things have changed in the last 8 years, which I don't think they have).
I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Blowing marginally cool

Yeah, I'm blowing marginally cool, so I will try the R12 first and then to R134 if needed. Thanks for all the details.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sniffer?

Okay, I want to check for leaks first.....can I do this with soap solution on the lines before I end up having it sniffed at a garage? I was told it would work. If anyone has details, please let me know.

Also, if I put this job off for the summer, I assume that if I run the unit occasionally it should remain functional until I charge the system....correct?
 

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Without knowing the history of your a/c system, my first hand guess is that you have been slowly leaking past the compressor seals, perhaps at an acceptable rate.

Don't know if you have any of the a/c tools or plan to start getting them as suggested, the best bet for leak detection is injecting uv dye into the system with a unit like this.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Air-Conditioning-oil-injector-for-R12-systems_W0QQitemZ270124257928QQcmdZViewItem
http://www.sjdiscounttools.com/rob16276.html

If you opt the self service route, you can find the necessary equipment on ebay for a reasonable cost.

Don't let anyone put any instant leak sealers into the system.
 

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Just get a reciever/Dryer for $55 bucks, an orifice tube for $3 bucks, a set of O rings, a can of Ester oil, 4 of the little cans of R134a without oil, an orifice tube removal tool, the correct fittings for the Shrader valves, a can tap, a set of manifold gauges with hoses, and a vacuum pump.
That's an expensive "just get" list. A good vacuum pump alone is $$.
I converted my 81. I waited till the compressor croaked, then took it in for the conversion. No muss, no fuss, done right, blows cold, still works.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would like to get the air going, as the car is in very good original shape. But how do you know if your compressor is bad? I'm still torn between R12 and R134A at this point. ALthough I like the "no fuss" no muss method. Where did you take your compressor and what about leaks in the myriad of lines outside of it?
 

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That's an expensive "just get" list. A good vacuum pump alone is $$.
I converted my 81. I waited till the compressor croaked, then took it in for the conversion. No muss, no fuss, done right, blows cold, still works.
:laughing:

The "done right" part is the kicker. It can make a/c more expensive than people realize.:laughing:
 

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I would like to get the air going, as the car is in very good original shape. But how do you know if your compressor is bad? I'm still torn between R12 and R134A at this point. ALthough I like the "no fuss" no muss method. Where did you take your compressor and what about leaks in the myriad of lines outside of it?
Noonie knows more about A/C work than I will ever know. "Mistro?"
 

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I would like to get the air going, as the car is in very good original shape. But how do you know if your compressor is bad? I'm still torn between R12 and R134A at this point. ALthough I like the "no fuss" no muss method. Where did you take your compressor and what about leaks in the myriad of lines outside of it?
Gauges will tell you all about your compressor.
IF you can get the tools at a decent price then it is well worth your while to work on it yourself.
For a GOOD job from an a/c shop, pricewise, you can gather all the tools and save a bunch down the road.
The tools are good for the vette, other cars and also residentional and commercial a/c.

You need a set of gauges, they tell you everything.
Right now get the 609 certification, some guages and a can of r12. R12 is very forgiving and if you added some you might be in good shape for the rest of the summer, but you don't know without knowing the pressures.
As Bird said, with a/c don't fool with it until it breaks.

Most A/C shops usually deserve what they charge, you are paying for a lot of knowledge, tricks and EPA mandated overhead too. A good repair isn't cheap.:D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
A/c

Hi all, hope you are enjoying a great summer. Talking with a friend who knows a little about A/C, and I told him that my compressor clutch is now clicking on/off when air is turned on. He said that I need to charge it, as it is low and a sensor sees this and keeps cycling the unit on/off. I want to do this really bad myself somehow if I can get the R12. Are the seals in the compressor or elsewhere in the system? I'm kind of weird in that I don't want anyone playing around with my vette unless they have to. Around here only the dealer can do it and they charge big bucks.
 
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