: A/C and R-12



Timothy60
05-08-06, 01:58 PM
Now that the weather is warmer, I've noticed that the A/C in my 93 Fleetwood blows cool not cold air. It is an R-12 system. Other than the cool air, it seems to be functioning normally with no other issues. I've run the A/C on "defrost" weekly during the winter to circulate the oil and lubricate the seals. It takes the system about 6 minutes to cool a moderately hot interior (after exhausting most of the hot air out the windows) to the set temperature of 66-67 degrees F.

My question is as follows: I'm considering having a local garage perform an "air conditioning service". I would presume that they will recharge the system with Freon after checking for leaks. Has anyone had this done recently? If so, how much should I expect to pay for a R-12 Freon recharge? What other parts might they suggest replacing?

Thank you for your help.

tripleyellow78cad
05-08-06, 08:04 PM
i did my 90 gmc , last week and it was 16 ounces low of r12 , and it cost me $81 not including freeon , witch i brought in a can of,

caddycruiser
05-08-06, 10:06 PM
I just had my '95 with R-134a recharged/refilled from almost empty. The final price from the shop was just over $100, but that also included a pretty thorough inspection of the system. No die to check for leaks or anything, but a good look over and check of the functions.

I wasn't there, as my father took it, but they charge about $35 per pound of the stuff.

Not sure if the price of R-134a is comparable to R-12, but still might be useful to someone.

Junkman
05-08-06, 10:28 PM
Minor loss of refrigerant is relatively common in automobile systems. In an air conditioner "tune up" they usually test the system performance using gauges on both the high and low sides of the compressor. These readings along with the calculation of the differential of the high and low reading will tell the technician the overall performance of the system and if there is a problem, help to isolate the problem. Usually adding a small amount of refrigerant cures the poor performance problem for the air conditioning season. If you observe the area of the hood that is directly above the air conditioner compressor you will notice a stripe that is caused by leaking compressor oil and refrigerant. As long as this leak is minor, it is usually ignored till the seal fails completely. At that point, a rebuilt compressor or a front compressor seal is needed. There is a low refrigerant shut down sensor on the system that will prevent catastrophic failure due to a loss of refrigerant. This doesn't mean that the compressor can't self destruct even with a full charge of freon. Also, make sure that the condenser in front of the radiator is clean and free of debris that will inhibit movement of air through it.

caddycruiser
05-09-06, 06:41 AM
Yep, that sounds exactly like my case. There was barely any refrigerant left, but everything "looked good" visually and on the gauges he was testing pressures with, plus in his words "every A/C system leaks a little somewhere".

And the way the guy I went to does it, it's a small inspection fee first plus the cost of refrigerant, then for the rest of the season (i.e. summer) if it seems to lose it's charge again, you just pay the cost of the R-134a or what it takes to completely fix the issue...a few weeks later, mine is still apparently holding fine and ice cold, so I'm crossing my fingers it holds and doesn't need touched again for a while.

A die test would really be the next step, to figure out if and where the system is leaking, but that wasn't deemed necessary yet.

Timothy60
05-09-06, 11:13 AM
Sounds good and well-worth the price. I know my bill will be higher because the R-12 Freon is significantly more expensive and less readily available than the R-134a refrigerant. But, I don't think I'll need a full charge because it's working OK, but it's not ice cold as you describe. I borrowed my brother's Ford F-150 this past weekend and WOW that was really cold A/C! That's what made me think that maybe the Fleetwood's system is not working at maximum capacity. I have an appointment for tomorrow. Might as well have an oil change and new U-joints, too!

caddycruiser
05-09-06, 11:29 AM
Yeah, now that you mention it, the be all end all when it comes to A/C performance is my dad's '92 Roadmaster with 195k miles on it and the older R-12 in it...3 seconds, and that thing has the interior down to sub-zero temps, seriously. And in 3 years he's had it, it's never been touched.

The '93 Fleetwood, also R-12, cools well, but takes a while and never gets as strong of a chill as the Roadie--this one might need checked this summer, though, because it does take a while and doesn't get as cold as it could. Mom's '04 Suburban, clearly with R-134a, chills like an icebox most of the time, and moreso in the rear (front & rear systems and controls).

Not sure what my '95 is like yet (car's at home and dad had the work done), but he said it gets cold really quick, so I'm happy. At least I won't have to deal with luke warm air instead of cool in my daily commute over the summer.

mbird26
05-17-06, 08:57 PM
mine is cold for the first 30 minutes it runs--then after that it blows hot air--and if i stop and turn off the motor for 15 min--it blows cold again--i also had the dye test done and no leaks--( I have a 1995 Fleetwood r134a) i cant seem to figure out what is going on with it--

Junkman
05-17-06, 09:24 PM
Yours sounds like a programmer problem. Once the temperature is satisfied, the unit starts to shut down the cold air doors and opens the warm air doors. This is supposed to be a moderated event that is done very slowly and evenly so it maintains the pre selected temperature. This is where the problem exists. It is moving to the other extreme. I have no suggestion as to how to repair this type of problem because you will need to know exactly which sensor is defective or if it is the temperature programmer itself... Junk.

Timothy60
05-18-06, 07:36 AM
The technician checked the A/C system of my 93 Fleetwood and found it was OK but low on freon. He put in 16 ounces of Freon and now it blows nice and cold. He charged me $20 for this service.

mbird26
05-25-06, 05:41 PM
Had the internal sensor replaced--and then my Fleetwood started overheating--cracked reservoir--now it is back to the same tricks of blowing hot air again--it has been in the shop for a week so far--and they are going crazy trying to figure out what it is--found out that when a caddy starts to overheat--it shuts the AC off and starts blowing hot air off of the block--when i did the diag on the ac it showed error 66--ac pressure sensor--so we replaced it--oh well anybody else going through this:thepan:

N0DIH
05-25-06, 05:54 PM
Just remember, if a single on technician insists that they must evacuate the entire system to put in the proper amount of freon, this is an common, but very illegal AC service tactic. Being we are very gouged on R12 prices, the goverment hasn't really paid much attention to it (not enough screamers now eh?), this practice is something still done today. Freon R12 was stopped production some time ago (1994?) and prices have skyrocketed since. I used to by freon at Target for $0.99 a 12 or 16 oz can.

I have some info I found on the EPA website on freon R12 (even R134a) practices that if not followed, the EPA wants you to report it so they can investigate it.

There is a lot of R12 replacement products out there. Some are said to blow away R12 and R134a (not too hard to blow away R134a....) with even less of the gas! I'll see if I can find one of them, from a company up in Canada that seemed pretty good and very cost effective, cheaper than R134a IIRC.

phlipper
05-28-06, 03:17 AM
i did my 90 gmc , last week and it was 16 ounces low of r12 , and it cost me $81 not including freeon , witch i brought in a can of,
I would like to buy some R12 for my 92 Deville but can't find any in San Diego. Although I believe it is available in TJ, I don't like to drive in to Mexico with my car. Does anyone have any ideas?

Junkman
05-28-06, 12:35 PM
I would like to buy some R12 for my 92 Deville but can't find any in San Diego. Although I believe it is available in TJ, I don't like to drive in to Mexico with my car. Does anyone have any ideas?

Go to the local automotive swap meets and start looking and you are bound to find someone that is selling some. I saw at least 3 vendors that had a few cans at the swap meet that I went to this morning in NH. Didn't ask for a price, since I already have a small stash for my own cars. Last time I saw some with prices on it, was last spring in PA and they were selling for $20 a can. .. Junk.

phlipper
05-29-06, 12:46 PM
Go to the local automotive swap meets and start looking and you are bound to find someone that is selling some. I saw at least 3 vendors that had a few cans at the swap meet that I went to this morning in NH. Didn't ask for a price, since I already have a small stash for my own cars. Last time I saw some with prices on it, was last spring in PA and they were selling for $20 a can. .. Junk.
Thanks Junk. I will give that a try. I just had my 92 Deville's engine rebuilt and to get the A/C working again will make me one happy camper!

The Ape Man
05-29-06, 08:27 PM
Ebay. Sellers are required to source documentation that the purchaser has air conditioning certification. IIRC that can be obtained online for FREE. One can then participate in the worldwide marketplace where R-12 is all over the place.

Junkman
05-31-06, 11:47 AM
Ebay. Sellers are required to source documentation that the purchaser has air conditioning certification. IIRC that can be obtained online for FREE. One can then participate in the worldwide marketplace where R-12 is all over the place.

Can you give me the site where I can get a certification certificate for free? Is there any test or other requirement to getting the certificate????? Junk....

N0DIH
05-31-06, 11:48 AM
Last I checked at EPA.gov it was like $25 to take the test and you can study online. It didn't look hard to me. Probably just rules and regs. I don't think you need a shop or anything.

phlipper
05-31-06, 01:47 PM
Last I checked at EPA.gov it was like $25 to take the test and you can study online. It didn't look hard to me. Probably just rules and regs. I don't think you need a shop or anything.
Thanks! I will take the test at http://www.epatest.com

Rob Benham
06-06-06, 01:29 AM
This is what I posted on the Chevvy forum today. It was for a conversion kit for my S10 but having converted that, I topped up a Fleetwood and and SLS with what was left over. !!!

$34 for everything...connectors, gauge and three tins of 15oz 134a $10 for vaccing out, which I could probably have done myself with a bit of thought. usual stores id-usa.com

Yea, today I phoned around, but nobody would pull the old R12 for free,(suggested by the sellers of the kit, cos the R12 has an high value) so I paid $10 for the service.

The compressor gradually started to make longer and longer cycles until it was on most of the time. Okay, seems good but........the system needed the reduced amount of 2lbs but took quite a bit less than that. I can only conclude that there must have been some stuff left, but the pressure was zero when I started filling.

The air is cool, but not icy, so it could be that I have to put up with this cos the system is made for R12, or maybe there is a mix which is making it inefficient.

I'll check the pressure again tomorrow, but I did take some time over the job so I don't think I short-changed it on the dial.

The existing oil is okay to leave in there. "Does no good, but does no harm...it's just there." Is what the kit makers say. Flush it next major service is what they later suggest.