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Old 05-27-2020, 08:44 PM   #1
Homecoming1999
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Default My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Just throwing this out there for people to be aware... The car is 21 years old, and the A/C stopped about 4 years ago and never got it fixed.......

Pushed in the low port schrader valve and a small gentle hiss came out for like 2 seconds so I knew the system was empty.

Hooked up the kit, started the car, and bam the compressor kicked on. Emptied the can out, went to take off the hose on the low port and the damn valve stayed stuck in the depressed position and all the R12A shot out like a geyser......

I then "worked" the schrader valve a few times, loosened it up, tried with can # 2 and success. I have a feeling there is a small small leak at the High pressure port O ring. I can tell everyone this....That R12A is frigid!!!! Much Much colder air then my 2016 chevy cruze with the R134A.

Note..I did not user any sealer or other product that may gum up the system, just the R12A can.

Cheers,

Jason


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Old 05-27-2020, 09:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

You put R12a in a system that originally came with R134a? Not saying what you did was wrong, just didn't know it could be safely done.

My condenser is starting to fall apart so I may switch over to the R12a after replacing it if it really colder than R134a. The AC I currently do have honestly kinda sucks.
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:38 PM   #3
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

R12 is NOT compatible with the oil that comes in an R134 system. And R134 is NOT compatible with the oil that comes in an R12 system. One oil is mineral oil. The other is PAG oil.

The oil in each is dissolved into the refrigerant and flows around the system as the gas flows around. This oil circulation is how oil gets into the compressor. Without oil being circulated around, the compressor has no lubrication, and will very soon dry out, lock up, and disintegrate (personal experience here)!

Besides: R12 freon is nearly $30 a can if you can find it, and R134a is $4.88 at Walmart RIGHT NOW! AND R12 is illegal to buy OR sell if the product was manufactured after a certain date. Old OLD R12 can still be gotten legally if you can find it. PLUS, LOL, you can't legally install it by yourself if you don't have the license to do so.

Why put $30 refrigerant in a system that could be fixed for under $5?

R12 does cool better than R134a. It collects more heat in the evaporator as it circulates. And since 134 can replace 12, then the converse should be true. Plus it takes less work (in this case RPM of the compressor) to make R12 work (approximately 11% less work). So the R12 will be more efficient at lower speeds.

If you must use R12 where R134a was before, then you should drain as much of the PAG oil as possible (from the compressor and evaporator) and replace it with compatible oil for R12. In the case of adding R134a oil to an R12 system, the R134a oil (PAG type) is lighter and floats on top of the original R12 oil, so the refrigerant can dissolve it. But I'm betting that going backwards, then the "new" R12 doesn't get ready access to it's own type oil because it's own oil is under the R134a PAG oil.

If the compressor grinds to little shards of metal, those pieces will end up all through the system, and then it'll take a LOT of effort and flushing with a frozen gas to flush the ground metal out.

It might be simpler to source a smaller diameter compressor clutch just to spin the compressor faster to increase cooling.


Just my 2 cents worth, and my knowledge about refrigerant conversions.

Preston
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

And to top it off, the R12 ports are threaded, whereas the R134a are like air compressor fittings, not compatible.....something in the story does not match up.
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrestonIII View Post
R12 is NOT compatible with the oil that comes in an R134 system. And R134 is NOT compatible with the oil that comes in an R12 system. One oil is mineral oil. The other is PAG oil.

The oil in each is dissolved into the refrigerant and flows around the system as the gas flows around. This oil circulation is how oil gets into the compressor. Without oil being circulated around, the compressor has no lubrication, and will very soon dry out, lock up, and disintegrate (personal experience here)!

Besides: R12 freon is nearly $30 a can if you can find it, and R134a is $4.88 at Walmart RIGHT NOW! AND R12 is illegal to buy OR sell if the product was manufactured after a certain date. Old OLD R12 can still be gotten legally if you can find it. PLUS, LOL, you can't legally install it by yourself if you don't have the license to do so.

Why put $30 refrigerant in a system that could be fixed for under $5?

R12 does cool better than R134a. It collects more heat in the evaporator as it circulates. And since 134 can replace 12, then the converse should be true. Plus it takes less work (in this case RPM of the compressor) to make R12 work (approximately 11% less work). So the R12 will be more efficient at lower speeds.

If you must use R12 where R134a was before, then you should drain as much of the PAG oil as possible (from the compressor and evaporator) and replace it with compatible oil for R12. In the case of adding R134a oil to an R12 system, the R134a oil (PAG type) is lighter and floats on top of the original R12 oil, so the refrigerant can dissolve it. But I'm betting that going backwards, then the "new" R12 doesn't get ready access to it's own type oil because it's own oil is under the R134a PAG oil.

If the compressor grinds to little shards of metal, those pieces will end up all through the system, and then it'll take a LOT of effort and flushing with a frozen gas to flush the ground metal out.

It might be simpler to source a smaller diameter compressor clutch just to spin the compressor faster to increase cooling.


Just my 2 cents worth, and my knowledge about refrigerant conversions.

Preston
While what you said about R12 is true, OP is referring to R12a. Its different from R12 and from my searching, is meant to be used to retrofit old R12 systems or in place of an R134a system. Mixing refrigerants is illegal in the US though so all the old R134a would have to be drained out first.

OP is from Canada and from what I've read, R12a is the only refrigerant you can buy at the part stores. Reason being that normal refrigerants are illegal to sell in Canada. R12a can be sold though due to it being a hydrocarbon refrigerant.
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Old 05-27-2020, 11:40 PM   #6
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

^ Yep ^. R12a, actually HC12a is illegal in the USA. Made up with propane butane, highly flammable under pressure.

Homecoming1999, is it true about Canadian diyers not able to buy R134a?
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
^ Yep ^. R12a, actually HC12a is illegal in the USA. Made up with propane butane, highly flammable under pressure.

Homecoming1999, is it true about Canadian diyers not able to buy R134a?
110% percent NOT available in Canada. R134a can only be purchased by licensed shops.

R12A is everywhere, I mean you are literally tripping over it here at every store...Walmart, Parts Stores, Online etc.....

As I was mentioning, I have NEVER felt such cold air in my entire life..
I took the laser probe and pointed it inside the vents, it was blowing at -2C
(28.4F) while holding the RPMs at 2000. It was 91F here the last few days in Southern Ontario so that vent temp was impressive to see.... Pics available if needed...lol
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Cool!
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Old 05-28-2020, 02:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

LI once had a chance to buy a semi load of R12 for $3000....

I passed..

I didn't want to spend the next 5 years trying to sell it all for cash....
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Old 05-30-2020, 02:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Hey Homecoming1999! Fellow Canadian here, glad to read of your success with 12a. Do you happen to know your high and low side pressures thanks to the help of a manifold gauge set? Or maybe even just the low side pressure from one of the little gauges that sometimes come with the recharge kits? And how many ounces or mls did you use to go from empty to the nice cold air that you have now?

Despite reassurances from manufacturers of the R12a, I'm hesitant to mix it with the trace amounts of 134a and PAG100 oil that was put into my system in 2018. I hope all continues to go well for you, but if bad things happen down the line, please let us know before many more of us (especially up here in the "True North strong and 134a-free") put our systems at risk.
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:33 PM   #11
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Normondo View Post
Hey Homecoming1999! Fellow Canadian here, glad to read of your success with 12a. Do you happen to know your high and low side pressures thanks to the help of a manifold gauge set? Or maybe even just the low side pressure from one of the little gauges that sometimes come with the recharge kits? And how many ounces or mls did you use to go from empty to the nice cold air that you have now?

Despite reassurances from manufacturers of the R12a, I'm hesitant to mix it with the trace amounts of 134a and PAG100 oil that was put into my system in 2018. I hope all continues to go well for you, but if bad things happen down the line, please let us know before many more of us (especially up here in the "True North strong and 134a-free") put our systems at risk.
Hey Normando, I know the system was empty for many years and never bothered to get it fixed...As I said when I pushed in the low port Schroeder valve, it went hisss...for about 2 seconds, there was nothing in there at all. I suspect there is a very very small leak at the high pressure O ring. But the original charge lasted at least 17 years.. It has been almost a week and no adverse effects yet, but too early to tell really. I can tell you, R12A is COLD, I mean frigid cold. I have never felt any car with air so cold.... I just used one can of the Red Tek at canadian tire.....with the supplied guages. I made sure to rev the motor to 2000 Rpms to get things circulating....It was in the high green zone. Can I tell you the exact pressure no. But things are working well with one can.....Lets see how long it lasts...

Jason
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

I should try to get my ac running.... it was dead when I got it and I have no idea why.
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Old 05-30-2020, 08:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Simple answer - it leaked from damage whether something ruptured or wear and tear allowed a sealed system to lose refrigerant. Ac repair is unforgiving of mistakes.

If you aren't put to sleep reading this, http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=80107, you might be able to diagnose and troubleshoot your system before contemplating what tools are needed to make repairs.
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Old 05-31-2020, 08:36 AM   #14
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

^ ^ ^
good info
Quote:
Originally Posted by 454cid View Post
I should try to get my ac running.... it was dead when I got it and I have no idea why.
If your system is already empty, I'd recommend replacing the Schraeder valve stems/cores.

They're only $5 last time I checked. Just anecdotal but that's where the leaks were on both my Saturns. A leak at the valve cores wont get picked up a gauge set on because the cores are pressed open while testing.
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:52 AM   #15
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
^ ^ ^
good info


If your system is already empty, I'd recommend replacing the Schraeder valve stems/cores.

They're only $5 last time I checked. Just anecdotal but that's where the leaks were on both my Saturns. A leak at the valve cores wont get picked up a gauge set on because the cores are pressed open while testing.
And put a little UV dye in while replacing the cores!
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:16 AM   #16
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by alordofchaos View Post
^ ^ ^
good info


If your system is already empty, I'd recommend replacing the Schraeder valve stems/cores.

They're only $5 last time I checked. Just anecdotal but that's where the leaks were on both my Saturns. A leak at the valve cores wont get picked up a gauge set on because the cores are pressed open while testing.
I can attest to that and would like to add that the seals of the new cores should be lubricated with the proper A/C system oil (PAG100 on our S-Series cars) in just the same way that the seal of a new oil filter needs to be lubricated before being screwed on during an oil change.
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:37 AM   #17
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homecoming1999 View Post
110% percent NOT available in Canada. R134a can only be purchased by licensed shops.

R12A is everywhere, I mean you are literally tripping over it here at every store...Walmart, Parts Stores, Online etc.....

As I was mentioning, I have NEVER felt such cold air in my entire life..
I took the laser probe and pointed it inside the vents, it was blowing at -2C
(28.4F) while holding the RPMs at 2000. It was 91F here the last few days in Southern Ontario so that vent temp was impressive to see.... Pics available if needed...lol
Just a heads-up: in my experience, for measuring the temperatures in a dynamic environment (like airflow from a duct), you get more accurate readings from old-fashioned "stick" thermometers of decent quality (either digital or analog) than infrared "gun" thermometers because the performance of the IR type is affected by a rapidly changing ambient temperature (such as when you're holding it right in the airflow blasting out of the vent that you're shooting). Plus, I'm pretty sure they aren't actually reading the temperature of the air itself, but rather whatever surface the beam is hitting, so most likely the back of the duct that you're shooting into. Sure, after a few minutes, that duct will be close to the same temp as the air passing through it but it's still not the air itself being measured. Any Instrument Techs out there who read this, please feel free to confirm or refute both of my points.
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:42 AM   #18
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homecoming1999 View Post
Hey Normando, I know the system was empty for many years and never bothered to get it fixed...As I said when I pushed in the low port Schroeder valve, it went hisss...for about 2 seconds, there was nothing in there at all. I suspect there is a very very small leak at the high pressure O ring. But the original charge lasted at least 17 years.. It has been almost a week and no adverse effects yet, but too early to tell really. I can tell you, R12A is COLD, I mean frigid cold. I have never felt any car with air so cold.... I just used one can of the Red Tek at canadian tire.....with the supplied guages. I made sure to rev the motor to 2000 Rpms to get things circulating....It was in the high green zone. Can I tell you the exact pressure no. But things are working well with one can.....Lets see how long it lasts...

Jason
Thank you for all of this. I just read on a different manufacturer's (Duracool's) website that R12a is compatible with PAG oil (the lubricant in our systems), so I'll give it a try.

I hope it continues to work well for you and lasts!
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Old 06-01-2020, 02:19 PM   #19
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Some clarification of using HC12 or r134a. Some research on Duracool's site has helpful guides on what amount is needed when substituting hc12 for r134a.

As a rule, any 'empty' ac system that still emits gas (light hiss before stopping) has refrigerant dissolved in pag oil. The only way to rid a system of refrigerant from contaminating substitute refrigerant and possibly skew pressure measurements is to evacuate a system completely. It's presumed any repairs were made prior to evacuating because this step will reveal any leaks - either the vacuum needle on the gauge doesn't drop or after the vacuum pump stops the needle moves back up towards zero. The only two places that won't show leakage when gauges are connected are the two service valves since they're depressed during service procedures. Oil and dye usually reveals leaks before or after repairs.

While the USA forbids HC refrigerant use, one site of mobile home owners reported satisfaction of using hc refrigerants. Cooling off large rvs and mobile homes can be expensive with repairs to ac systems. One MVAC site (can't find it) did have a video of a '60's Jaguar bellowing fire and smoke as a result of incorrectly one of the ac hoses that was cut by the drive belt, releasing hc refrigerant that ignited. It's the only recorded event of using hc to replace r12. In Australia, a video was supposed to demonstrate whether or not hc refrigerant was safe when a scientist(?) used himself as the guinea pig as he released a can of hc refrigerant inside a car and used a butane lighter resulting in an immediate explosion. Burned his hands as later video showed. A search can find the rv/mobile home forum and the Australian video.

The searches I found are credible and not false. I am neither fear monger nor posting to instill fear. Just another diyer sharing facts. When working on older r12 systems with high side pressures well above 250 psi with a warm engine, one tends to be aware of how things can go south if unfamiliar with high pressures next you in condenser coils and hoses. I checked pressures on my L300 a few days ago due to less cooling - apparently one of the two cooling fans stopped and allowed high side pressures to rise (150 psi is hazardous). I disconnected/reconnected that fan and it ran as cabin temps started to come down. The connector terminals showed signs of arcing and follow ups still showed this old fan running as cabin temps are cooler. R134a system repaired three times with the last repair three years ago. The other fan was replaced too.

I cannot completely understand why Canadians cannot buy cans of r134a (other than stringent controls to prevent releasing r134a from misuse) when americans buy and waste r134a indiscriminately. Canadians must use extra precautions when using hc refrigerants to preclude a weakened ac system that may be prone to leaking.

The aim of every vehicle ac repair is restoring ac back to factory condition. I've used dial type thermometers for years and found similar info against using IR heat probes. Currently, IR probes are better for measuring body temperatures during this world wide pandemic.
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Old 06-02-2020, 02:31 AM   #20
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Default Re: My experience with a R12A recharge kit.....

Here is some info on charging procedures and equivalency from a R12a manufacturer:
http://duracool.com/-faq.html
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