View Full Version : If I buy a can of R-12 can I re-charge my own AC?

02-13-06, 01:25 AM
Well my AC does not work like most old cars out there, and It hasn't ever worked since I have had the car ('70 SDV). Assuming everything in the AC system is functional (Its not been working for god knows how long and the compressor was removed when I bought the car) can I just buy a can of R-12 and use that filling tool thing to fill it? Is it hard/dangerous? Another question; If I put the compressor back on (the previous owner thought it might have been siezed, which it most certainly is not as far as I can tell, both the pulley and clutch assembley will move and I can hear it pump when I turn it) will there be anything dangerous about trying to activate the AC even though I have no idea of the condition of the rest of the system other than that everything is there except the compressor and it all "looks" ok. My hope is that I can put the compressor on and see if it will work and pressurize the system, then if it does, attempt to charge the system with r-12... this is assuming I am not risking blowing my head off by pressurizing a system that likely hasnt worked for 10 years at least.

02-13-06, 01:52 AM
To install it, by law, yes. But you can't BUY freon R12 by law. To remove freon, must be properly recovered, not vented. $10K fine for venting.

02-13-06, 06:40 AM
Make sure the system has the proper amount of lubricating oil, or you WILL sieze the compressor. No, I don't know how to check, but I have been told that most systems that have not been run for some time and have leaked out a good deal of their refrigerant are usually low on lube as well.
Technically you can't buy R12 in the US. But, depending on where you live the stuff is certainly available.
You might also consider an R134a retrofit. I've done some research but not gone through with it yet. The whole thing seems pretty easy. The compressors on the big old Caddies are supposed to handle the R134a just fine, so you basically just replace the o-rings in the system, have the old oil purged and then refill with R134a and the appropriate oil for that refrigerant. Bonus is that you can buy R134a to refill the system if it needs it at Wal-Mart.

02-13-06, 06:45 AM
Depending on what kind of system you have (what type is the expansion device?) you might just be opening a can of worms.
If the compressor has not spun up in 10 years, it may not survive anyway.
At this point you'd probably have to replace several components just to get it to turn on.

You cannot purchase R-12 without a certification card, at least not legally.
It seems like if you really want to try to get this system working that you need to take it to a shop and start asking them questions. At least they can look at the car and give you an idea of what kind of shape they think the parts are in to start with. We can't do that via the internet.

02-13-06, 10:25 AM
At one time the parts for that system were so plentiful (including the r-12)
that you could basically rebuild the whole thing for 100 bucks in a weekend..

That being said, a few parts stores still have a bunch of bearings(and the Delco aftermarket socket you HAVE to have) for the compressor, as that is the most common replacement part..

It probably wouldnt be hard to find one of those dryers (you should go ahead
and plan on replacing that, they are cheap...and are essential to ANY prolonged use of an A/C system) as they had dozens the last time I checked.

BEFORE you put anything in an AC system, you have to make room.

the system needs to (more than likely) be evacuated, lubricated (as mentioned) and after properly vacuum testing the system, recharge it.

There are some sources of aftermarket 'natural' and 'safe' R12 you just have to go the trubble o' finding them.

and its not cheap.

your main deal is making sure you have no leaks, because whatever
you put in it, is going to be expensive, and charging it to see if it
works is backwards..

you make sure it works (thats why the big dicertation sp. above) and THEN
you charge it.

you can check for pressurization by simply pressing in on the charge valve(s) if the system is contaminated (which it in all probablity is..but COULD be clean..hmmm) you will need to replace the orifice (requires special tools/techniques) also, again plentiful in the right places...

once you zip one up tight..if the compressor isnt shot, those things will
make ice.

02-13-06, 07:22 PM
If you want to be able to buy R-12 (the good stuff) this company can help you get your certification I used them to get mine and bought some R-12 and recharged the system in my 77 SDV now it the air coming out of the vents was around 38-40 degrees heres the link www.qwik.com (http://www.qwik.com) the certification is the EPA clean Air Section 609

02-14-06, 12:51 AM
Thanks everyone! I have always been curious as to what I should do with that pesky AC system. Seems like something to fart around with on a lazy summer day, but likely I will end up getting a shop to do it (though I've heard thats pretty expensive) but thats probably the best way to go about fixing this problem. I don't have a lot of patience for things like AC systems for some reason. Although I do want to get R-12 in there when I do get it recharged, I want that thing to be ice-cold... the heaters in those things are pretty awesome too!

02-14-06, 07:34 AM
Its just too bad youre not closer...I have a case of R-12 enviro-friendly
refrigerant (dont ask me where I got it)...I just moved and I am tired of haulin the crap around.

02-14-06, 10:07 AM
What the heck is R-12 "enviro-friendly?" Sure aint R12, or it sure aint friendly to the environment... sounds like a big oxymoron to me.

02-14-06, 11:15 AM
Its just too bad youre not closer...I have a case of R-12 enviro-friendly
refrigerant (dont ask me where I got it)...I just moved and I am tired of haulin the crap around.

I bet you can get a pretty good price for it on ebay...

02-14-06, 11:38 PM
What the heck is R-12 "enviro-friendly?" Sure aint R12, or it sure aint friendly to the environment... sounds like a big oxymoron to me.

I'll drag a can out and see what it is..I got it from a buddy of mine.

all i know is its r12 and it says ozone safe on it..

or something like that. It's bonafide stuff..I'll get it out tommorow