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Old 03-23-2011, 05:38 AM   #1 (permalink)
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A/C conversion R12 to R134A

is it possible? what are the cost's involved and are the parts available? do i need to change parts?as you know some parts are very hard to find,as what i see the system is sealed.i know i do need a idler pully
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Old 03-23-2011, 07:05 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

I have never done this on a Galaxie but I did it on a 1990 Chevy truck. You need to buy a conversion kit that will have new o-rings and the adapters to recharge the system. I also had to replace the drier and the filter in the evaporator. This can be done but it doesn't cool as well as R12. If you can get R12 and your system isn't leaking you might just want to stay with R12.
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Old 04-03-2011, 06:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

I converted the factory original A/C on my 67 to R134. I bought a Sanden compressor and the bracket to mate it to the engine. I next had a local shop make new hoses using connectors for the compressor on one end and factory connectors to connect the hoses to the firewall and dryer, etc. I've been using it now for a couple of years and it works great cooling the car and looks good as well. Roy
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

I converted several vehicles from 64-91. First thing is load in a can of leak dye so you can tell where the R12 escaped in the first place and repair it. Or you could just replace all of the seals. My 64 and 67 used mostly tapered brass fittings similar to gas (not gasoline) lines, so there weren't many seals to leak. It is important to purge the system in order to get all of the R12 lubricant out because it is not compatible with R134a. I usually pull the compressor to drain it well and purge the rest of the system on it's own. It's usually a good idea to install a new dryer/accumulator just because their ability does diminish over time.

After you reinstall the compressor you're pretty much ready to load the R134a and it's lubricant. Most conversion kits you can buy have the new 134a high and low fittings that screw right over your old R12 ones. The low one is the one you use to load your new coolant and lube.

Some folks say that R134a doesn't cool as well. The only vehicle I noticed that in was a 91 Town car. All of the older vehicles with the big York compressors or the Frigidaire A6 compressors are nice and frosty even during Texas summers.

A word of caution: Do lot let either refrigerant contact your skin or eyes whether coming out of a can or the vehicle's system. It will freeze your skin on contact or blind you.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

Today, I would just get some R-414B hot shot and put it in... change the oil in your existing comp and fill with alka-benzene oil... Properties are just like R-12...
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

The non-compatibility between R12 and 134 comes from the oil used to lubricate the system.

The oil used in the system is basically vaporized and carried by the refrigerant through the system. These small oil particles lubricate the system, especially the moving parts of the compressor.

Now, R134 will NOT pick up and carry the oil that is used in a R12 system. If you just put R134 on top of the original oil, the compressor will lock up in short order.

I have repeatedly put 134 in 12 systems without changing any seals. If it isn't leaking, don't mess with it.

You can leave the original oil in the system, put a couple ounces of 134 compatible oil in, then top off with fresh refrigerant. This reduces the total refrigerant capactiy and thus, reduces the efficiency of the system (not as cold).

Always replace the dryer.

I recommend flushing as much oil out of the compressor as possible however it is not totally necessary.

Add a couple ounces of R134 compatible oil to the system.

Always vacuum the system down to as near perfect vacuum as possible. In a vacuum, the boiling point of water is reduced. As you approach a perfect vacuum, nearly every single molecule of H2O will be in gaseous form and removed form the system through the vacuum. Water kills a system.

I like to pull a vacuum and seal the system off. If, after 30-60 minutes, it is still under vacuum, then there are no leaks.

Then I turn the vacuum pump back on, open the system to the pump, and let the pump run for an hour to eliminate all water.

Then I introduce the 134 to the system until the proper pressures are read on the gauges.
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

any idea where i could get a receiver dryer? i know parts for this years are very hard to find and come by. thank you
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:57 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

I was just on the phone this week discussing this very matter with Classic Auto Air in Tampa, FL. They are experts on older factory A/C systems, and will replicate original parts, rebuild compressors, receiver/driers, etc. They did the main components for my 1955 Ford Selectaire. Right now they are building new factory bowden cables for my '62.

Classic Auto Air - Air Conditioning & Heating for 70’s & Older Cars & Trucks.

I asked about going to R134a. I was told, it does not let go of heat as easily as does R12. In order to compensate for this, it was suggested that I use a 2 row condenser out front so as to get all the latent heat out of the refrigerant, before it is returned to the dash unit. R12 systems, being more effective in this, only use a single row condenser out front. It's when you try to use R134a through this single row condenser, that most of the dissatisfaction with R134a results. I was told, (and already knew) that a new receiver drier is a must, as they do degrade with age.

Running 134a through a single row condenser will not produce a frosty cold A/C. Other than this concern, the Galaxies have a large enough system to produce a cold output at the dash A/C ducts with R134a.

I asked about using a Sanden compressor. It was highly recommended. The original compressor (Tecumseh, in my case) is a twin piston compressor that uses 14 horsepower to run it. It generates a load on the engine, heat, and can result in pinging with low grade gas if you are operating the car on a hot day. The Sanden compressor has 6 vanes and uses 2 horsepower. Your car will not even know that it's running.

I did not like the look of a polished metal Sanden under the hood what is basically a very stock car, as I am a stock guy. This weekend, I saw a Sanden painted satin gloss chassis black, and it looked good. It was there, but did not call out attention to itself. In my opinion, it is something I could live with. I never liked to open the hood on a restored car and see some new, modern part stuck on.

Classic Auto Air quoted me around $750 for everything from the firewall forward: new hoses, sight glass, new Sanden compressor and bracket to mount it in the existing A/C bracket on the engine, new receiver/drier, new 2 row condenser, hook ups and various fittings.

It looks like a new or rebuilt Tecumseh compressor is around $300, that damn clutch and pulley is about the same price. The clutch brush is $175 or so....then all the rest. It looks like around $1500 to go the original route. Then you have to add a fan clutch and shroud because of all the heat the thing generates.

The Sanden approach is looking better with each day. So it's just whether you want the factory original, or modern efficiency.

hope this helps,
Mike
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

I have converted a lot of older cars to 134 and the ones that work the best have electric cooling fans. 134 builds a lot of head pressure fast.
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Old 04-03-2011, 11:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

Before you spend $700 to retrofit to R-135a, you could try propane. I haven't done it myself because my old R-12 system is still running.

Get a cannister or two of it and a torch at the Ace hardware store ("DoIt,"about $20). You will also need a hose with a low-side R-12 connector. If you can't find one, I have seen a R-12 /R134a conversion kit (a connector with 7/16" R-12 on one side and the 13mm quick connect R-134a on the other) at the hardware store, you can get that and then a R-134 hose. Cut the hose and clamp it to the torch nozzle (see pic) and then into the cannister and the compressor. Run the engine and AC on high and when the AC starts clicking on, add a little more, then stop.

Propane is completely compatible with R-12and it cools 5 degrees better. However you only use 6 oz of it to substitute for 17 oz of R-12. If you have a leak, it is certainly better for the environment to leak propane than R-12. However it is not better if you are lighting a cigarette.

If you want something fancier you can use a propane-isobutane blend called Duracool, or HC-12a or ES-12a. Companies (mostly Canadian) that sell that also sell the hose to get it into the system.

Countries other than the USA use propane for cooling and car AC systems, more info here HC-12a - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:07 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

I was doing A/C when 134 came out, they used an ester oil then but now I see PAG oil used. the 134 is water soluable so it doesnt collect in tyhe upper atmosphere. We used to swap out the compressor seals (the 134 seals are a different color) and oil, we would use a 1/2 gallon of de natured alchohol and flush the lines replace all and the dryer, vacuum down and fill with 134.

I removed the a/c from my galaxie as it is a cnvertable and not a daily driver.

I just did a compressor swap on my brothers s-10 pickup. Cools real good too. He paid for parts labor is free at my place

I have 6 cans of r-12 left I was saving......I can get large 20 lb cans of r-12 too or any other r my bud is a house a/c man and r 12 is widely used in home a/c and refridges.

Propane never caught on cause it is flammable, a small leak can burn the car to the ground. Folks were using it after the r-12 stop, some wished they hadnt.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:18 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

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Originally Posted by iowawinger View Post
Propane never caught on cause it is flammable, a small leak can burn the car to the ground. Folks were using it after the r-12 stop, some wished they hadnt.
That's the theory but it may be internet lore. Like if R-134a catches fire it turns into Phosgene gas, a killer of thousands by the Germans in WW1. Who knows, really.
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Old 04-04-2011, 02:34 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

Putts, where did you get $700 to swap to 134a? I don't think I've ever spent more than $80, usually less. There's been a couple (my 79 F150 included) where I just tested for leaks, purged, filled, that's all. Cost about $25, still blowing cold today.

And filling your A/C with propane is just asking for a car fire. Good luck filing an insurance claim. I'd rather just do without.
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Old 04-04-2011, 05:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

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Putts, where did you get $700 to swap to 134a?
From Astrojet, he said, "Classic Auto Air quoted me around $750 for everything from the firewall forward: new hoses, sight glass, new Sanden compressor and bracket to mount it in the existing A/C bracket on the engine, new receiver/drier, new 2 row condenser, hook ups and various fittings."

Plus I got some numbers earlier from Classic for a Sanden 134a conversion, like $550, but that was not including a new condenser. Looks like you can rig it for $50 or go the "right" way and drop $$$.

Of course, it's always like that, what else is new!
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: A/C conversion R12 to R134A

Doing it for under $100 isn't rigging it. If your old system works fine but just lost it's R12 charge due to a bad O-ring, then you don't need to spend a lot. Preferably a new accumulator/drier, and the $30-40 kit which comes with R134a coolant, oil, filler, fittings, and new O-rings.

And here's the thing about driers: They aren't exactly car specific. They simply go by capacity and fittings. And since A/C systems in cars haven't changed all that much in decades, compatible driers aren't hard to come by. And they can usually be had for $25-35.

What he was describing was installing an entirely new system. Some folks want to switch to a newer system that draws less horsepower and saves a little gas. Also some folks' old systems aren't intact. But if you've got a functioning rugged old York or Frigidaire A6, you're better off spending that money on headers and a nice exhaust which will make more power and save more gas than the old compressor uses.
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