Dismiss Notice

Welcome To CK5!

Registering is free and easy! Hope to see you on the forums soon.

Score a FREE t-shirt and membership sticker when you sign up for a Premium Membership and choose the recurring plan.

A/C Recharge and/or Retrofit

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by bpiccioni, Jun 3, 2003.

  1. bpiccioni

    bpiccioni 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Posts:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    Hey Everyone

    I have spent the last cpl days surfing ck5.com and a few other sites trying to get the lowdown on A/C Recharging and retrofitting - specifically taking an 87 R-12 system and getting it cold again. I tried to do a 134a conversion a cpl years ago on a Jetta and I went through 3 boneyard compressors and lots of 134a cans before finally giving up. I dont wanna be in a similar situation with my /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif.

    It seems that 134a isnt the best refrigerant to use with an R12 based system, which is what I have now in my 87 3/4T /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif. I have stumbled onto a cpl other refrigerants, and was hoping someone here might have had some experience with them. The most promising R-12 substitute seems to be here: FRIGC ® FR-12™

    I havent yet exchanged communication with their sales associates and they dont overtly list a price. But, I would be more than willing to pay a bit more than the cost of a 134a retrofit kit to be sure that I would be getting a WORKING A/C system.

    I plan to replace the reciever/dryer, orifice tube, oil in compressor and possibly flush system before adding any refrigerant charge, regardless of what I go with. I will also beg/borrow/steal/buy a vacuum to evacuate the system before charging.

    So, if anyone has anything to say about FRIGC ® FR-12™ or any other refrigerants, that would be great!

    Ben

    PS - I plan on oranging with some of the leftovers of one of my next unemployment checks! /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
     
  2. Fubeca

    Fubeca 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Posts:
    2,100
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Denver Area
    FR-12 seems to be a temporary fix. If you really want the cooling dynamics of R12 you are going to have to pay for it. FR-12 is made up mostly of the same components as r-134a iirc, so it is kind of like retrofitting w/o retrofitting. If you are evacuating and removing the oil you might as well retrofit to 134a. I did it last year and it works great, just make sure you have access to a flush gun and a vacuum. If you haven't already I would check out some of the air cond. web forums -- they have a lot of good info on this /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif Good luck.
     
  3. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2001
    Posts:
    3,808
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA (LA/OC area)
    These are some of my posts that I made on s-series.org



    I converted my 87 s10 to R-134a last week.

    Reasons for converting:

    1) Air blew at 70* on a 90* day and clutch cycled on/off about 15 times a min.
    2) I don't like other people working on my truck and I can't put R-12 into it.
    3) In the next year or 2 I will be swapping in a TPI v8 and will need to change lines, compressor, and cond. Now I have all the tools to do all the AC work.

    Parts:
    I bought a new accumulator, orfice tube, and a conversion kit.

    Process:
    1) Remove old accumulator and orfice tube.
    2) Flush old lines, evap, cond, and compressor with paint thinner and blow it out with compressed air.
    3) Clean up paint thinner mess /forums/images/graemlins/rolleyes.gif
    4) Install new parts and conversion fittings.
    5) Evacuate system for 1 hour using $14 venturi vacume pump from Harbor Freight (I had to make a line to attach it). It pulled 26.5 in-Hg at 90 psi line pressure.
    6) Put in POE oil that came with conversion kit.
    7) Put in R-134a that came with kit along with one extra can (from what I have heard you are suposed to use 85% the weight of R-134a as you would use R-12).

    It will now blow sub 50* from the vent on 90*+ days and cools off real quick. The clutch doesn't cycle on/off all the time any more.

    I am happy with it for now. When I do the engine swap I might put in some propane mixed with the R-134a or might just go all propane. Propane is more efficient than R-12! I am not woried about propane in the AC system. I worry about things like Compressed Natural Gass powered motors because of the volume they use and the very high pressures they run at.



    Accumulator: Under $50
    Orfice tube: $3.99
    Conversion Kit: $30
    1 Gal. Paint Thinner: $4 (I didn't need anywhere that much)
    Venturi Vacume Pump: $14 from Harbor Freight. It uses 4.2 cfm @ 90 psi so make sure your compressor will take it for 1 hour strait!
    Charge hose: $10 (the kit came with one but I cut the end off of it to make a hose to hook the vacume pump to it)
    Pressure gage and thermometer: $10
    extra can of R-134a: $6

    That adds up to about $130
    I most likely could have gotten the R12 recharged for that much but it is nice to have all the tools to do the work yourself and when I do the v8 swap all it will cost me is about $30 for R-134a and oil charge.

    My compressor which is a 2 piston oil type with a 220V 1hp industrial motor (about 7hp the way they rate compressors) got a bit warm when being run for that long. It was on about 60% of the time. I can't say I would do it with any lesser compressor.



    Any compressor will work just fine to blow out the thinner.
    It is the vacuume pump that uses alot of air (and you should do it for 1 hour straight).

    This is the pump
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=3952

    It is not a regular electric pump. You hook it up to your compressor and it makes vacuume by blowing air past a venturi (like in a carb). It uses alot of air for a long time. You can try it but I would keep a eye on the compressor (I just went inside and made lunch...when I came back out 1 hour later the pump was very hot!).

    If you don't want to you could just get the system vacumed out at a shop and save the almost $30 on buying the pump and adapters
     
  4. bpiccioni

    bpiccioni 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Posts:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    Dan

    Thanks for this wealth of info! I read it all a couple times and I have a couple of follow up questions. You mention that you flushed the remaining components with paint thinner before installing new components, applying vacuum and charging.

    I am curious if you could share the process you used to flush, aside from using Paint thinner. Did you remove and flush each component individually or funnel some thinner into a high point and let it 'trickle down' through the system before blowing the remainder out with air?

    Everything else seems pretty straightforward.

    Thanks a lot for your help!

    Ben
     
  5. bpiccioni

    bpiccioni 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Posts:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    Mark

    I wonder if you have any particular A/C forums in mind? Most of what I have found seems to be oriented towards marketing/sales rather than facts and information.

    Thanks!

    Ben
     
  6. 88Silverado

    88Silverado 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2003
    Posts:
    2,664
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Quartz Hill, So. Cal
    I just had mine recharged by the local shop for $190 ($145 for all the freon I could use and 45 for the service) Thing blows cold!!

    I did a 134 retrofit on my 71 Elky a couple years back when the price for r-12 service was $450. Doesnt blow as cold, especially when sitting in traffic but cold enough for that application. If your a do-it-yourselfer and have the gages to charge the 134 correctly (about 80%) then its your choice, if not, you have to take it to someone.

    30lb cans of freon are down to $600, thats about $20/lb or around $1.25/oz....Thats not bad /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif
    R-12 blows colder that 134 and theres alot of area in a blazer to cool
     
  7. Fubeca

    Fubeca 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2002
    Posts:
    2,100
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Denver Area
    Check the information forums at aircondition.com
    Do a search over there on flushing with paint thinner before you go too far.
    The best way to flush is with a little flush gun kit. It is a canister with a schrader valve at the top and a hose with a rubber tipped nozzle on the bottom. You fill it up (preferably with an approved A/C system flush solvent), pressurize it with compressed air and flush out the lines and the condenser. You can't flush the compressor or the accumulator/dryer.
    I spent hours searching and reading that site before I attempted mine. They are very helpful people over there.
     
  8. Triaged

    Triaged 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2001
    Posts:
    3,808
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    CA (LA/OC area)
    I took off the lines and flushed them (funnel and a big mess). Than I flushed out the condenser pouring the paint thinner in through where the orifice tube was (that hard line pointed up). I then hooked up the lines and flushed the evaperator. After that I reatached the lines to the compressor and un-did them fromt their other ends and filled the compressor (I span it by hand slowly while pouring into one of the lines). It was all quight messey! One of the posts below says you can't flush the compressor... oh well. I did. I'll tell you if it stops working.
     
  9. bpiccioni

    bpiccioni 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Posts:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    Hey Chuck

    I bet if it were as hot here on OR as it is in CA, we'd have more competitive rates on A/C Service too. I am an avid DIY, but I am not above a great deal on professional service. If I found someone to put R-12 in at the rate you did, I would for damn sure go for it, as long as I was sure I could trust em.

    [ QUOTE ]
    R-12 blows colder that 134 and theres alot of area in a blazer to cool

    [/ QUOTE ]

    If you think there's a lot of area in a blazer, you should check out the volume in my /forums/images/graemlins/burb.gif !!! /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

    Ben
     
  10. bpiccioni

    bpiccioni 1/2 ton status

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2002
    Posts:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    Mark

    I was definitely looking for a way to flush the system without taking the whole thing apart - it sounds like the flush gun will do the trick.

    I am checking out the forums you posted - It looks like there's a pretty good search feature, so I have some research to do. So far so good!

    Thanks for the info!!! /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

    Ben
     
  11. bigblock454

    bigblock454 Clack Clack Clack Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Posts:
    546
    Likes Received:
    16
    Location:
    Terre Haute IN
    I used Envirosafe R12 replacement, works great. It is a drop in replacement and requires no conversion parts.
     

Share This Page