Ac Convert To 134

Discussion in '1979 - 1995 (Fox, SN95.0, & 2.3L) -General/Talk-' started by John Dirks Jr, Jul 14, 2013.


  1. John Dirks Jr

    John Dirks Jr Active Member

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    My recently aquired 94 LX has factory air and everything is still there. The system lost enough R12 that it no longer comes on. However, I pricked the valve and there is still some pressure in the system so I have hope.

    I'm planning on replacing the dryer and attempting a recharge with 134. While I'm at it, are there typical places that leaks develop on these cars? Are there some o-rings or other things I should go ahead and replace while I'm at it?

    Also, can I bypass the low pressure switch before I begin all this? My goal would be to energize the compressor momentarily just to see that it at least comes on and sounds normal before I delve into things further.
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  2. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Try eBay for some R12, it is running $20-$30 a can. You need 3 each 12 oz. cans and 6-8 oz. of R12 compatible mineral oil. The R12 compatible oil is like $20 a quart when you can find it. You may be able to find a combination can of R12 and oil together which may be cheaper than buying a quart of oil..

    It is illegal for a company to sell any refrigerant other than R134 to a person who does not have an EPA 608 or 609 certification. That includes Freeze 12.
    Individual seller not affiliated with a store often do not ask for any certification information, they just want prompt payment.

    See http://www.epa.gov/Ozone/title6/608/overlap.html for more details


    R134a Air Conditioner Conversion and recharge instructions


    Revised 14-Jul-2013 to add Low Pressure Cutout Switch adjustments for R134 & Freeze 12

    Color Legend:
    R134 specific items and instructions are in red text
    [color=dark orange]Freeze 12 specific items instructions are in orange text[/color]
    Note: R12 is available on eBay. Use the Freeze 12 instructions except use the R12 36 oz refrigerant charge with R12 refrigerant
    Items and instructions common to both R134 and Freeze 12 are in black text


    Tools and materials you will need:

    Gauge set for recharging = $20-$120 – check out the pawn shops for a bargain before you pay retail.
    See Harbor Freight Tools for an inexpensive gauge set.

    [​IMG]

    Vacuum pump – I use an old refrigerator compressor = $20- $40 at used appliance stores, or go to the Dump and get one for free. Be sure to have some R12 compatible oil handy to keep it lubed up properly.
    [​IMG]

    O ring seal kit = $8.

    Replacement accumulator/dryer assembly with hose $55-$75


    Alternative refrigerant – Freeze 12 – it will allow you to skip flushing the system and reuse the original accumulator/dryer under certain conditions:
    1.) If the A/C system has not been open to air for more than an hour or so.
    2.) Or if it hasn’t out of refrigerant for more than 5-7 days and the system is till sealed up with no open or disconnected lines. You need to be able to hear the hiss when depress the valve core in either one of the service ports. That tells you that there is still pressure in the system, which keeps out moisture and contaminants.
    If either of the above is not true, you must replace the accumulator/dryer assembly.

    Freeze 12 refrigerant: $15-$16 per 12 Oz can on eBay. Get 3 cans, 2 for the initial charge and 1 spare for a top off charge.
    Use R12 compatible mineral oil, 6-8 Oz. This may be difficult to find or expensive (~$20 a quart). Sometimes eBay will have the oil/R12 combination cans, which have about 4 oz. R12 and 2 oz. oil in them. If you go this route, add the R12/oil charge first, then add the cans of R12.
    Do not use PAG oil in a Freeze 12 system without flushing it first.

    Freeze 12 refrigerant charge= 26-28 Oz plus 6-8 Oz R12 mineral oil on an empty system. A recharge may only require 2-4 OZ of R12 mineral oil if you only replaced a line, hose or seals.


    A/C systems that have had a compressor failure must be flushed. Failure to do so will result in the floating trash left behind from the compressor failure destroying the replacement compressor.

    R134a = $11-$16 a can – takes 2 cans.

    R134a PAG or Ester compatible oil = $7-$12 for an 8 oz bottle .

    Pump to force cleaning fluid through the system $20-$50 (may use compressed air to do the same thing).

    R134a charging adapter = $13 (I cut mine up to use it with the R12 gauge set that I have had for a long time).

    Plastic tools to disconnect refrigerant lines - 1/2" & 5/8" = $4 each.

    Flushing agent - Discount Auto Parts has some flushing solvent in a 1 gallon plastic bottle - try that first. Or use Mineral spirits = $4-$5 a gallon, tetrachloroethylene =$5-$10 a gallon, takes 2 gallons of either one.

    Miscellaneous hoses and fittings to adapt the flushing pump to the system, and the R134a adapter to the R12 gauge set = $15.


    R134 Refrigerant charge is 26-28 Oz plus 6-8 Oz of PAG 100 oil.

    R134 Conversion Instructions:
    I did a R134a conversion on my 89GT, and used all stock parts. You will need to replace the dryer/receiver (about $75 if you get the one with the hose made as part of the unit), and should replace all of the rubber "O" ring seals as well. You will need to drain all of the oil out of the compressor and replace it with new R134a compatible oil.

    R134 instructions (skip this if you use Freeze 12)
    Keep in mind that to fulfill the requirements of the EPA, you are required by law to recover any refrigerant that still remains in the system. How (or wither or not) you accomplish this is up to you. Connect the charging gauge hoses to the service ports on the A/C (red gauge = high pressure, blue gauge = low pressure) and open the valves on the gauges to dump the remaining refrigerant (if any) into your "Freon recovery system", whatever it may be. Disconnect the charging gauges since you are finished with them until you are ready to fill the system with R134a. Next comes the nasty part – in order to get all the old oil out of the system, you will need to flush it with special flushing solvent, or mineral spirits (ok) or tetrachloroethylene (better, but may be hard to get). If you leave the old oil in place it will congeal and reduce the heat transfer in the condenser and evaporator (read that it won’t cool good) and possibly damage the compressor.

    Disconnect the compressor and remove it from its mount to flush it with cleaning solvent. Pour about a cup of solvent into the suction port and turn the compressor center hub about 10 turns while shaking the compressor to move the solvent around inside the compressor sump. Drain the flushing solvent out and continue to turn the center hub by hand to force out any remaining solvent. Then fill it with oil: add about 6-8 oz of the new oil to the compressor large suction fitting. Turn the compressor center hub about 20 turns as you turn the compressor face up and face down to distribute the new oil inside the compressor. Catch and replace any oil that comes out of the compressor.

    Connect the pump (I had an electric sump pump I bought for $20) to the hose from the high-pressure side of the compressor. Alternately, you could use compressed air to force the cleaning fluid through the system. I didn’t like to do this since compressed air has lots of moisture in it, which is death to A/C systems. Pump the cleaning fluid through the system and let it come out the hose that was attached to the old dryer/receiver. I used 2 gallons of mineral spirits and pumped it all through the condenser and evaporator. The expansion valve is located near the firewall in the high-pressure line of the evaporator, and may cause the cleaning fluid to trickle through the lines at a very slow pace. You may want to pump cleaning fluid through the evaporator and condenser separately to speed up the process.


    All refrigerant types
    Next comes the changing of all the old "O" rings so that the chances for leaks is minimized. The new R134 compatible O rings are green colored, so be sure that the replacement O rings are green. Use the plastic connector tools to separate the lines, place the extended collar part of the tool so that it faces the large part of the connector and push inwards: this expands the spring so that you can pull the tube apart. You may need a helper to push on the tool while you pull on the tubes to separate them. Install the new "O" rings: be sure to coat them with new oil when you put them in. Install the new dryer/receiver, refrigerant service port adapter on the compressor, add about more 4oz of oil to high pressure line and tighten up all the lines. You may have to add more oil when you do a system that has been flushed or new R12 installation. The total oil charge should be 6-8 oz. for all types of refrigerants. Close the hood, start the engine, let everything get warm under the hood, but don’t add the refrigerant or turn the A/C on. Connect the charging gauge hoses to the service ports on the A/C (red gauge = high pressure, blue gauge = low pressure) and open both valves, then connect the center hose to the vacuum pump. The purpose of this exercise is to heat up the system so that when you vacuum it all down (yes, you will need a vacuum pump- mine is an old refrigerator compressor), that all the air, vapor and moisture from the cleaning fluid vaporizes and is removed from the system. Vacuum it down for about 30 minutes, this should give you about 28" of vacuum or more inside the A/C system. I have a vacuum gauge "T" connected into the vacuum pump line so that I can accurately watch the vacuuming process. This is a good time to take a soda and sandwich break since it doesn’t go faster if you watch it.

    the R134a service fittings on the system: the red goes on the high side and the blue on the low side. This will help others identify that a R134a conversion has been done on the system.

    Typical low pressure side R134 coupling
    [​IMG]

    Typical high pressure side R134 coupling
    [​IMG]



    Charging instructions for all refrigerant types:
    Remove the electrical connector from the dryer/receiver and jumper the two connections inside the wiring harness side of the connector together: this allows the compressor to engage in spite of low pressure/no gas in the system. Close both charging gauge valves, and then disconnect the center hose of the charging gauges from the vacuum pump and connect it to the refrigerant can tapper. Put the refrigerant can in the can tapper and screw it down with the can tapper valve closed, then open the valve. Loosen the hose at the center connection of the charging gauge set until the refrigerant squirts out: this purges the line of air and moisture. The refrigerant is added through the low pressure side of the system, so open the low pressure gauge valve to add the refrigerant. Start the car and take note of the idle speed, then set the idle speed up to about 1200-1500 rpm, and turn the A/C on inside and set the fan speed on high. Watch for the pressure on the low side to drop off as you are filling, and the refrigerant can will get warm and stay warm. This tells you the current can is empty and needs to be changed for a fresh one. Before you disconnect the can, be sure to close the valve on the refrigerant can tapper.

    Watch the high side pressure on the charging gages and regulate the adding of gas to keep the high side pressure under 350 psi. You will probably need a fan in front of the car to keep the readings below 350 psi. I had to put the refrigerant can in hot water while I was charging the system with it, or else the can got so cold that it quit flowing. Use caution when you do this so that you don’t get water in the charging adapter when you change the cans.

    R12 Pressures when charging is complete
    When you have added the 32-36 oz. of gas, the high side will read about 250-300 psi and low side about 28-38 psi. No adjustments need to be made to the low pressure cutout switch.


    Freeze 12& R134 Pressures when charging is complete.
    When you have added the 24-28 oz. of gas, the high side will read about 250-300 psi and low side about 18-28 psi.


    Freeze 12& R134 Low pressure cutout switch adjustment.
    The low pressure cutout switches are adjustable. They should be set with the low limit about 18-21 PSI, the stock setting is about 25 PSI. Remove the wiring connector and there is a screw slot in between the connector pins. Turning it clockwise increases the trip pressure where it cuts off and counterclockwise decreases the trip pressure. I believe that each 1/4 turn counterclockwise lowers the cutoff pressure by 1 PSI.


    After Charging refrigerant instructions, all refrigerant types
    Turn the idle speed back to where it was, turn the A/C off, disconnect the charging gauges, and re-install all the caps on the service ports. Remove the jumper from the low pressure switch harness and plug it back on the switch connectors.

    R134 only
    Then put the R134a Service Sticker on, secure all the loose wiring on the system and you are done.

    The typical sticker looks like this, yours may be different.



    [​IMG]
    I hope it cools good, mine doesn’t get quite as cold as it used to driving around town.

    The above technical note is for informational purposes only, and the end user is responsible for any damages or injury. The end user bears all responsibility for proper recovery/disposal of any R12 refrigerant.
    I have an EPA 609 MVAC certification. And yes, you can shortcut the process, but there are negative factors if you do. Sooner or later, something will cease to function like it should. Shoddy work is a time bomb ticking away, waiting to explode.
    #2
  3. 7991LXnSHO

    7991LXnSHO Active Member

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    What is freeze 12 really? A different R type refrigerant without the restrictions?
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  4. John Dirks Jr

    John Dirks Jr Active Member

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    Thanks for all that info. Its obvious I need to explore the options. Freeze 12 might be the better route.
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  5. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Freeze12 is an R134 mixture that has HCFC 142 in it to make the oil circulate like it should. It does work reasonably well and is a suitable alternative to R12.
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  6. John Dirks Jr

    John Dirks Jr Active Member

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    What are the most common spots for small seepage leaks? I'm thinking maybe I'll be able to zero in by finding oil stains.
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  7. jrichker

    jrichker StangNet's favorite TOOL SN Certified Technician Founding Member

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    Rotza Ruck...Unless you have some leak check dye in the system, the small leaks are next to impossible to find.
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  8. lxman

    lxman Member

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    Sometimes you can find small leaks with a soap/water solution in a spray bottle. Spray it around connectors. Like your trying to find a leak in a tire. It's kinda hit it miss at times. But worth trying.
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  9. John Dirks Jr

    John Dirks Jr Active Member

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    As I said earlier, my system still has some pressure in it so whatever leaks there may be, they can't be big ones.

    Maybe I'll try a charge and include some stop leak to see if I get lucky.
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  10. lxman

    lxman Member

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    I highly recommend no using stop leak stuff in my experience it actually causes more problems in the long run. Fix your stuff and do it right and not use stop leak.
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  11. 7991LXnSHO

    7991LXnSHO Active Member

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    But do put the leak detector dye in. The stuff that lights up under a fluorescent light is good. The old leak dye was blood red, and I remember a white vinyl interior in a camper that did not stay that way. The can tap blew off and I though Dad was gushing blood everywhere! The new dye shows up under black light only.
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  12. mr_josh

    mr_josh Founding Member

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    I think before you even attempt to charge with stop leak (which I have not had good luck with, I have to say), I would put a gauge on it and see what the charge actually is. I have had systems make the "hiss" when a schrader valve is depressed making me think, "Oh, it's got a charge!" but really it's just got 4 or 5 psi of refrigerant and warm atmosphere and that's enough to make it hiss. Just a thought, hopefully you get lucky.
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  13. Diode Dynamics

    Diode Dynamics Premium Sponsor

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    Just make sure you don't mix R12 and R134, it turns into a gel-like substance and then your up s*** creek without a paddle. :nono:

    -Nick C.
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  14. John Dirks Jr

    John Dirks Jr Active Member

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    Shoot, I haven't really checked anything yet. I just know the system still has something in it (not completely empty). I only slightly pricked the valve. The instant it hissed, I let go. For all I know, the system is full and there's a bad switch somewhere.

    I'll run some diagnostics soon and report back. Been real busy with many things lately.
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  15. John Dirks Jr

    John Dirks Jr Active Member

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    I charges it up today with Freeze 12 that I bought on ebay. It's blowing nice and cold and making lots of condensate. :) We'll see how long it holds up.

    [​IMG]
    #15

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