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Old June 24th, 2003, 11:52 pm   #1
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Default Note on R134a Refrigerant

My A/C finally died today so I retrofitted it to use R134a. I usually buy name brand refrigerant, but I was at Napa and the guy gave me their 'house brand'. When I connected the can, the fluid went everywhere but into the A/C system. The junk plastic caps don't hold the pressure well and spray fluid out the top. I tested a second can I bought and the same thing happened. I tossed them in the garbage and bought a couple cans of Castol R134a fluid... filled up the system in two minutes.

If you plan on filling up your system, make sure you get the cans which require a hose that's sold separately... it has metal fittings. Costs a bit more, but at least you won't throw $30 in the garbage like I did.
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Old June 25th, 2003, 3:31 pm   #2
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Are the 2nd gens R134a? My air conditioning is almost dead and I need a recharge.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 1:50 am   #3
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The 1994 and newer had R134a. 1993 Probes had R12.
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Old June 26th, 2003, 2:36 am   #4
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Default R12

Also a side note on R12. It is illegal...in all states to vent the refrigerant (R12/R134a) to the atmosphere. When working with A/C make sure you get the system evacuated. I know you're thinking....Ya there's that 89GL22L guy his dad owns a shop and he thinks he's the best. I'm not...I'm just trying to help you all out do that properly.....the legal way. Yes, we all can get around it but i thought if the wrong person should stumble apon this they'll think we were suggesting that...

Ok...i'll get off my legal soap box

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Old June 27th, 2003, 5:34 pm   #5
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I noticed yesterday my AC ticking at idle.

Isnt there a bit more to it than evacuating the R12 and filling up with the new stuff?

AC is something I dont know much about so I suppose it's time to learn.
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Old June 27th, 2003, 10:43 pm   #6
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If you're A/C system isn't working, then you're most likely empty. Take the cap off the high pressure side valve and push the pin down with a screw driver. If only air is released, you can safely vent the system yourself. If vapor is released, then you're not entirely empty and should have the system cleared professionally, as Matt had said.

Once the system is empty and depressurized, you'll need to put new adapters on both A/C system valves (high side and low side). Start the car, run it with the A/C on full blast, and hook a can of R134a to the low side and fill up (two 12oz cans should be plenty). Make sure you use R134a refrigerant that is compatible with R12. It's extremely easy.
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Old June 28th, 2003, 1:56 am   #7
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What Steve said....
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Old October 3rd, 2003, 6:26 am   #8
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Yeah, I should probably be paying a really high fine right about now then. I baught some of that refill refrig... First off, I live in Wisconsin where its illegal to do a AC recharge yourself anyways.. It must be done by a state certified shop. I just drove 30 minutes accrost the illinois border and baught a whole kit for $30 bucks. Anyways. (This was all for my ply neon - wifes car). It seems like everything was kicking on but it wouldn't suck the stuff out of the bottle. So I just had a little fun and emptied about 10oz all over the street. It left this slipery gooie residue all over, and the grass on the curb died a few days later. Anyways, come to find out, it was a burnt fuse ( they had two, one the way in the listed place, and another hidden one, that I found just as I was about to give up and blow off my other 8 oz I had. Anyways, replaced that and it sucked it all up. I had to go buy another car at that point, but I did and it ate that all up too... Works great now... so if its not empting that entire can in like 40 seconds, check all your fuses and stuff before you go chasing your buddy arround with freon... hehe
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Old October 3rd, 2003, 6:25 pm   #9
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The bad thing about converting to the new stuff, is the only way to "Truly" do it is to replace everything. The reason you have to do this is the oil that they used in the R12 is different then the oil in the R134a. if there is even a small amount of the r12 oil in the system, even having it evacuated will not get rid of all of it the dryer and the seals in the compressor are saturated with it. when the two oils mix they become acidic and start to eat away at all the seals and such inside the system. eventually all the seals in the whole system will rot away and you will have to have it replaced anyway.

Just a word to the wise.
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Old October 3rd, 2003, 11:18 pm   #10
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Sorry Steve I should have warned ya. I tried converting my 90 GL and I too bought the $30 all-in-one retrofit kit....big mistake. It wasn't the cans of refrigerant that plagued me, it was the actual can tap it came with. I had to go out and spend another $15 on a good tap with brass fittings, not plastic. I soon found out that I also needed a 90 degree retrofit adapter for my low side. The low side fitting on the probe is in an awkward position that points to the firewall with limited space. I ended up using like 4 cans trying to find the leak in my system. Turns out there was a big hole in one of the lines on my evaporator. The all-in-one kit came with a couple cans of refrigerant, but they were also sold seperately for about $10, which got expensive after a while. After Kmart ran out of the big cans of this stuff, I started taking them from the all-in-one kits. Same exact stuff I was using before, but it had a different UPC. Stuff rang in at around $3 a can, go figure. Thats why I still shop at Kmart occasionally, you can find good deals

So to retrofit an empty system, you need:
2 or 3 cans of refrigerant w/oil
Can tap with brass fittings (mine came in a kit with a pressure guage)
90 degree retrofit adapter for the low side
high side adapter
Patience


It may not hold for too long depending on how empty your system is, but I wouldn't mind paying $20 a season to refill it. Much better than spending hundreds at a shop to have your system "converted".
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Old October 3rd, 2003, 11:47 pm   #11
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It's odd that everybody is saying they needed the 90 degree elbow on their low side. Did I just get lucky and get a stubby r134a fitting or something?
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Old October 5th, 2003, 5:01 am   #12
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Yeah the no name brands suck. I recharged my system and the same thing happened to me, the refridgerent leaked all over the can and in my engine bay, instead of going into the system. Next time I'll buy a name brand type, also be sure to check the fittings that come w/any conversion kit, mine all were f'd up too.

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Old October 5th, 2003, 5:21 am   #13
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Just thought I would comment that the Auto-Zone generic 134a conversion kit DOES have quality fittings (no elbow needed on the low side) as well as a high quality hose/ gauge assembly to charge the system. Even though the mean temp around here is about 45 and I have no use for the A/C for a few months its nice to know that it does work when needed.
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Old October 5th, 2003, 5:36 am   #14
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Does the 1st gen need an elbow to reach the low press. side fitting? The 2nd gen its right out in the open no elbow needed.

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Old October 5th, 2003, 6:12 am   #15
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It all depends on your adapter I think. I needed one, because I couldn't get the hose from my can tap to fit. Some people have had luck without it. I think it was under $5 so it can't hurt to get it. I'm sure if I tried I could have gotten the filler hose on to the low side adapter, but the elbow simplified things a lot.
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