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7T8CJ7 04-17-2002 09:04 PM

R-134A retrofit
Has anyone had any success with the R-134A retrofit kits? What about the air compressor powered vaccum pumps that the discount tool places are advertising for way cheap (<$25.00)? While the rust holes in my CJ preclude any need for A/C My big 'ol Dodge Pickup gets mighty warm this time of year.

Mike86CJ7 04-17-2002 09:52 PM

Re: R-134A retrofit
I had it done on my '89 Mercury that I used to have. I had a shop do it. They recovered any Freon that was left, changed all the seals in the system, pressure checked it and filled it with the gas. Total cost was $200.

It was the best 2 bills I ever spent. The AC blew ice cold, even on the hottest days.

gigolo 04-17-2002 10:10 PM

Re: R-134A retrofit
I've done it to maybe 5 cars in the last 2 summers, and it's well worth the money. I have recovery equipment and a vacuum pump, and do some refrigeration work, so it only cost me the $30-40 for the 134a kit. My chevy pickup was one, and it leaks out one of the hoses, but it still only costs around $5-10 per year for the 134a to refill it. At that price every year, it's not even worth fixing the leak. Even if you have to pay for it to be done, $200 sounds like a fair price for all the work Mike mentioned being done.

dschwab9 04-17-2002 10:18 PM

Re: R-134A retrofit
Those kits, if used the way they are marketed to be used (put it in and go) it's Bye Bye compressor in no time flat. 134a retrofits must be properly done to achieve good performance and insure that the system lasts.
I'm a certified tech and have done quite a few 134a retrofits. Here's a brief rundown of what you have to do to do it right:

You need to:
-First off, the refrigerent doens't just disapear. If it's low or empty, you have a leak that must be fixed.

-Pull the compressor and pour out as much oil as you can. Refill with the proper amount of POE oil (don't use PAG on a retrofit, it's incompatible with the residual mineral oil left in the system.

-Disconnect all the connections, and flush each component except the compressor with either mineral spirits or AC fushing solvent available at the parts store or a refrigeration supply house. The removes all the old mineral oil from the system. The retrofit will not work properly if the new oil/refrigerent is simply DO NOT flush the compressor.

-Pour proper amount of new oil in the suction port of the compressor and reinstall. One the hoses are connected, rotate the compressor by hand several times to make sure you don't have a cylinder full of oil when it starts up.

-Reassemble connections with new, 134a compatible, O-rings (either the green ones or blue ones - the green ones are better) If the system uses an orifice tube type metering device, replace it. It's probably partially clogged, and they're less than $3. If you have a TXV, it should be OK to reuse it.

-Replace the filter/dryer. THIS IS A MUST. Some of the materials used in older dryers for R-12 are not compatible with 134a and the synthetic oil it requires.

-Install service port adapters. Big one with Red cap on the high side, and little one with blue cap on the suction side.

-Vacuum down system for at least 30 minutes. The Air operated vacuum thingies really don't cut it. You need a real vacuum pump to insure the all the air/moisture is removed from the system.

-Put in one can of refrigerant and start the system with blower on high. Charge to aproximately 75% to 80% of the R12 capacity (if it took 50oz of R-12, use about 40oz of 134a). From here, you'll need to fine tune the system. You'll want to slowly add freon until compressor cycling slows and suction pressure is at 30-35 psi. This puts the evaporator temp just above the freezing point. High side my be as high as 350 psi in really hot weather, but try not to let it get much above that. If you have a site glass, you'll want to just barely clear it. There may be a few small bubbles present. Every system is just a little different. These guildlines should get you pretty close to the proper charge, but you'll have to "play with it" a little to get it perfect. Start with what I've said above, and then slowly adjust the charge while monitoring the vent temp until the coldest temp is achieved.

Make sure you use a proper guage set. You want come anywhere close to getting it right with that little "suicide hose" that comes with the kit.

-And above all else, Please be carefull. There have been people killed by attaching a refrigerent can to the high side. Liquid refrigerant can, and will give you frostbite, so be carefull when connecting/disconnecting service hoses.

Hope this helps you out man. If you have any more questions, please feel free to drop me an email.

ozarkjeep 04-17-2002 11:56 PM

Re: R-134A retrofit
Its not hard or complicated.

I bought a $40 kit from Autozone, converted my old FORD truck, it took about 2 hours, cost $40 bucks, and blew ice cold for 2 and a half years until I sold it.

I did remove the compressor and dump the oil, I DID peressure check with compressed air and soap.

I didnt flush anytyhing ( other than letting gravity dump the compressor) I didnt vac pump anything.
I was probably lucky, but it worked for a long time, and it was cold, and it was cheap, and Ive talked to several other folks who did the same thing I did ( some even less) and it worked for them too!

try it yourself first, see if it wors or NOT.

this is all ONLY IF THERE IS NO R12 in there!
Mine was empty, nothing I had to jumper the compressor to take the new refrigerant ( it was a YORK)

dschwab9 04-18-2002 12:17 AM

Re: R-134A retrofit
<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr>

it was a YORK

Those things are darn near bullet proof. I retrofitted a '78 ford van last summer - about 200K miles with original york compressor. A/C had been dead a year or so. Pulled it to drain the oil, and it was bone dry, not a drop of oil. Expecting the worst, I filled it with oil and charged the system. That compressor still pumps like a top.

**DONOTDELETE** 04-18-2002 07:25 AM

Re: R-134A retrofit
i had an old dodge about a year ago with unworking air. picked up a kit from autozone the 39.95 one. all i did was replaced the top fitting, pumped in the 134, ran it for acouple of minutes, bled the valve(all that came out was air). put in more 134. then rode around with the windows up. the kit i purchased had everything you need (134, fittings, oil,).

7T8CJ7 04-18-2002 11:44 AM

Re: R-134A retrofit
Thanks all, Im going to try it. What the he!! if it doesn't work I'm only out about $40.00. I just have to figure out the vacuum pump and guage thing. I have a serious aversion to paying anyone to do anything mechanical for me and I dont want to pony up the necessary cash to buy stuff I'll only use occasionally. Any suggestions??

jeeperjohn 04-18-2002 03:14 PM

Re: R-134A retrofit
Auto Zone has a tool rental program and may have a vacuun pump. You will have to pay a deposit, but it is refunded when you return the tool.

**DONOTDELETE** 04-19-2002 12:18 AM

Re: R-134A retrofit
Some interesting links, if anyone is interested
<a target="_blank" href=></a>

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