Then there are three new EPA-approved “climate-friendly alternatives.” There is R1234yf, which is already being used on new cars but is classified as “mildly flammable.” At $70 per pound, no one is using it in retrofit applications. First, it is a pernicious ozone-destroying agent, so if you are going to use it in a car, you are morally required to do everything under the sun to thoroughly leak-test the system before charging it with R12. R134a reacts with water to form hydrofluoric acid which damages the internal A/C components. The issue is that you need to reach the point where the system is functional and leak-free. Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), including R12. Because R134a is an HFC, not a CFC (stay with me for a minute), it does not have the ozone-destroying properties of R12. You can order a personally inscribed copy here. The refrigerant is the fluid that is used in the car’s air conditioning system. Small NOS cans of R12 are widely available on eBay and Craigslist for about $30 apiece. Two types of refrigerant are used in automotive air conditioners. This is why it is crucially important that R134a systems be properly evacuated (pumped down to boil off any moisture) and kept sealed. GooMeng R1234YF Car AC Refrigerant Charge Hose Kit,Auto 1/2 Acme LH R1234YF Air Conditioning Refrigerant Charging Hose with Gauge. And with R134a costing only two bucks a can, converting to the new inexpensive refrigerant seemed the thing to do. Because this recipe was quite expensive, a backlash developed which gave companies an opportunity to sell “conversion kits” consisting of nothing but the charging port adapters and a small bottle of oil that was somehow magically supposed to make your mineral oil R134a-compatible. R12 is known as the old-fashioned refrigerant and was used in cars pre-1944. The concern that the original R12 hoses would leak R134a like a screen door on a submarine appeared to be largely unfounded, as the insides of original hoses seemed to naturally become impregnated with a combination of refrigerant and oil that acted as a barrier. Over time, these factors break down the hoses and connections, causing the pressurized refrigerant gas to leak out. With new R12 no longer being manufactured, the market price soared to $100/pound. An R134a-specific expansion valve was preferred but not strictly necessary. Car Air-Conditioning Mechanisms and the Role of Compressors Liquid (refrigerant) is cycled throughout a sealed air conditioning system in a repeated process of vaporization (evaporation), liquefaction, and re-vaporization. Which brings us to…. Initially, an invasive recipe was proposed: the system should be flushed to remove any traces of the old R12-specific mineral oil, the compressor and expansion valve should be replaced with R134a-specific versions to perform correctly, and the old hoses should be replaced with 134a-specific barrier hoses to forestall leakage. Yes, there’s a certain irony in the fact that we’ve gone full-circle from the invasive “you’ll need to replace almost everything including the compressor and hoses in order to properly convert R12 to R134a” to “you don’t need to replace all that much; just flush it, new oil, new drier and o-rings,” and back to “you’ll need to replace almost everything including the compressor, hoses, and the condenser.” But this change has occurred both because the cars are that much older than they were when the R12 to R134a change occurred in the mid-1990s, and there is now a better understanding of the need to take advantage of updated compressors and condensers in order to get the A/C systems to blow adequately cold with R134a. Because of this, in the early 1930s, a new refrigerant based on a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC), specifically dichlorodifluoromethane, was developed. But in order for refrigeration to work, you need something that has a low boiling point, something that exists as a gas at room temperature and can be easily pressurized into a liquid so that, when it is allowed to expand, it immediately boils at room temperature and cools. How to Remove Refrigerant From Car AC (3 Steps) A relatively small loss of refrigerant gas can reduce the efficiency of your air-conditioning system dramatically. As you probably know, matter can exist in three states—solid, liquid, and gas. To test the pressure, turn the vehicle off and locate the low side pressure port. Through the medium of this article, we shall enlighten you about what is refrigerant, the importance of refrigerant, and also the kind of refrigerant used in AC nowadays. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. A 10-percent loss of refrigerant gas can reduce the efficacy of your air conditioner by 20 percent or more. As part of doing that, you often wind up replacing major portions of the system—not because that’s strictly required in order to convert it to R134a, but because that’s what you need to do in order to get it functional again. Tap Freon can and open valve to begin charging. As long as the compressor was working well, it could be drained, filled with R134a-compatible oil, and reused. Oil doesn’t stay in the compressor, however, it dissolves in the liquid refrigerant and gets carried through the system as a fine particulate mist when the refrigerant goes through its liquid/gaseous transition. You can get it and use it. An AC doesn’t “use up” refrigerant. The sudden expansion of the gas chills the evaporator coils. Of course, there could be other problems such as a seized compressor or a blocked expansion valve. A gentleman in Canada was very interested until he learned about the R12. Nevertheless, repeat after me: It is illegal to vent refrigerant. Refrigerant gas does not “wear out” like oil nor is it used up like fuel. So when someone says, “You can’t get R12 anymore,” or “It’s illegal to use R12,” those things simply aren’t true. … The difference in refrigerants is all down to how old your car is. Follow these steps to retrofit air conditioning in cars to new refrigerant, such as R-134a. It is necessary for a gas to give off heat to liquefy (condense). However, there were—and are—some challenges to using it in an automotive A/C system designed for R12. The newer systems don’t use refrigerant, so make sure to check your unit before deciding a leak is the cause of inefficient cooling.If you’re certain a leak is the problem, you should purcha… We’re most familiar with water, which we see as ice when it’s cold, liquid when it’s at room temperature, and steam when we boil it. R22 will phase out completely by 2020. That’s not true either. Locate the Low-Side Service Port. Types of Refrigerant Used in AC Nowadays. If an A/C system isn’t working, the root cause needs to be diagnosed, and the system needs to be fixed. It is also an HFC refrigerant. Very few DIY-ers have recovery equipment (I don’t), so you need to take the car to a shop that does, and fewer and fewer shops keep and maintain R12-recovery equipment. Turn Off Stop/Start. 4.1 out of 5 stars 196. The most common refrigerants used for air conditioning over the years include: 1. With that said, I’ll agree that the flammability issue may not be as black-and-white as it appears. Locate the Low Pressure Side Refrigerant Fill Port 1. Legally. You can then add ester oil that’ll work with either R12 or R134a. The auto industry has since switched to the CFC free R-134a. 2. If you’ve got a newer car that has an auto start/stop system, turn it off. The EPA warns about the growing use of an illegal central air refrigerant as the cooling season begins, from the editors of Consumer Reports. Slightly less damaging to the ozone than R12, but the EPA has still mandated a phase out as a result of the Clean Air Act of 2010. Actually, a car's air-conditioning system can run for years without recharging if properly maintained. 98. Talk about toxic. Refrigerant: Must be EPA-approved and cannot be intentionally released (vented) into the environment. FREE Shipping on orders over $25 shipped by Amazon. (To be clear, both cars also have a new rotary-style compressor and a big parallel-flow condenser and fan.). Keeping Cool: An AC History. So the oil must be compatible with the refrigerant. The compressor should then be filled with R134a-specific oil (usually PAG oil) and the system evacuated and recharged. R-404A is primarily used transport refrigeration. Second, as you’ll see below, if you have to perform work on an A/C system that has refrigerant in it, it is illegal to vent the refrigerant (to let it escape into the atmosphere); it must be captured and recovered. The problem was that there was not agreement on exactly what was required for the conversion. eBay requires that anyone posting an auction for R12 check that the buyer has that certification, but eBay has no way to enforce it. These are cars with poor A/C reputations, which is precisely why I continue to use R12 in them. As I’ve said, R12 is a nasty ozone-destroying chemical and should never be released to the environment under any circumstances, so in addition to being illegal to vent it, you have a moral obligation not to vent it. Over the years the chemical structure of these refrigerant gases like R-12 or R-14 have been replaced in general usage in response to environmental regulations by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to the low boiling point, there are two other de facto requirements for refrigerant: It shouldn’t be poisonous, and it shouldn’t be flammable. The following is verbatim from EPA’s website: “EPA performs random inspections, responds to tips, and pursues potential cases against violators of the Section 608 regulations. We’ve been talking about air conditioning for a couple of weeks now, so if you’re still feeling the heat then it’s time to wrap up the series so you can get out to your garage and put what you’ve learned to good use. This is known to contribute to the greenhouse gas effect. Refrigerant and oil capacity guides are based on data provided by sources such as AllData and Mitchell. When it's time for an AC recharge, turn to AutoZone. Aupoko R134A AC Refrigerant Charge Hose, 1/2’’ Acme Can Opener Tap Dispensing Valve, and Recharge Hose with Pressure Gauge, Fits for Car AC Air Conditioning Refrigerant 4.3 out of 5 stars 298 $12.99$12.99 Get it as soon as Fri, Nov 6 You will likely first notice refrigerant gas loss when your air conditioner stops cooling as well as it should. International manufacturing of new R12 ceased in 1996, but existing R12 can still be reclaimed and purified. It can be connected with your car’s AC service port and give you a reading based on the purity status. Many drivers assume their air-conditioning system consumes coolant oil much as the engine uses fuel. $16.98 $ 16. In addition, there was the lubricant issue. Piston Slap: When the Signal Acquisition Module (SAM) surrenders? The manufacture and sale of the small cans of R12 used by hobbyists to “top off” a system also ended, although New Old Stock (NOS) cans of R12 are still privately traded on eBay and Craigslist (I’ll come back to that). Here is how you will remove the refrigerant from the car’s AC. He passed. The inside of an engine compartment, where the air-conditioning system operates, subjects the hoses and connections of the system to extremes of temperature and vibration, as well as contact with pollution, road grime, fuel, oil, and abrasive and corrosive substances. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including R22. Anyone selling R12 is required to verify that the buyer has an EPA Section 609 certification to work with mobile vehicle air conditioning (MVAC) systems. Literally, you needn’t call a professional as our experts explain through the ABC to remove refrigerant from car ac system. Any old black o-rings should be replaced with R134a-compliant green o-rings. For starters, R12 was the one that is on older vehicles. It became known as R12 or Freon. But the problem with R12 is twofold. If you’re resurrecting the A/C in a vintage car, the vast majority of the time the refrigerant has long since leaked out, but if your car has refrigerant in it, and you need to open up the A/C system to work on it, spend a little money and take the car to an A/C shop. Even if you’re OK with that, if the system needs work, any refrigerant in it will need to be recovered. In this article, we use the word Freon and refrigerant interchangeably. Types of Car AC Refrigerants. So, along with R134a came a new oil: Polyalkylene Glycol—or PAG oil. There are two types of refrigerants used: R12 and R134a. But once you’re on that path, you can improve the system with a new compressor and parallel-flow condenser which, in most cases, will allow you to get good results with R134a. “No one here will work on it,” he said. Unfortunately, taking the longer view of things, even if you do leak-test a car thoroughly and properly all A/C systems leak eventually, so any can of R12 you put into a car will likely wind up in the atmosphere, an eventuality that I am less and less comfortable with. Locate the refrigerant fill port … Make a container ready to discharge the refrigerant. EPA is authorized to assess fines of up to $37,500 per day for any violation of these regulations.”. The ozone layer is present 10 to 30 miles above the earth’s surface in the stratosphere where it protect us from harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. IcyBreeze Portable Air Conditioner and Cooler. The question instead is: Why is the system dead? When R12’s effects on the ozone layer became known and it was superseded by R134a, EPA came down hard with large fines on both professionals and DIY-ers. If you've need to make a major repair to your car air conditioner such as installing a new evaporator, compressor or condenser, then you can easily update to new refrigerant at the same time. If your unit was built prior to 2010, it's likely going to use R-22. Of course, the receiver/drier needs to be replaced, as it does any time an A/C system is opened. Other brands of R-22 refrigerant gas are made by other manufacturers. Turning the can upside down will charge with liquid Freon and should only be done by professional AC technicians. Hell, it’s possible that not all of the original A/C components are even there anymore. 5, Chip Foose reinvents the 1966 Ford Bronco with street-savvy style – Ep. For example, while R12 itself is similar to the halon used in fire extinguishers, when R12 is mixed with mineral oil—the most commonly-used lubricant oil in R12 systems—and aerosolized and burned, it creates phosgene gas, which was used as a chemical agent in WWI. R22 refrigerant, sometimes known as R22 Freon or HCFC-22 Freon, is an environmental danger because it contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer. Posted on January 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm. Reusing Refrigerant: Refrigerant must be properly recycled or reclaimed before it can be reused, even if it is being returned to the vehicle from which it was removed. R-22 is an CFC refrigerant. Since you can’t vent any refrigerant without breaking the law, and since you’ll be hard-pressed to find a shop that will recover anything other than R134a, you’ll have painted yourself into a corner. We’ll explore this new cooling substance and what it means for your ride. Both claims are demonstrably untrue. You can look up the law yourself at, but basically it boils down to three things. Hopefully I’ve properly conveyed that, if the A/C in your precious vintage car is long-dead, the question isn’t whether you choose between buying a few NOS cans of R12 and shooting them in (seriously don’t do that) or “converting” to R134a. But if you live in a hot climate, want to daily-drive the car, and the car has a tiny-capacity A/C system which, even after modernization, may only perform marginally, you may want to consider sticking with R12. 4, three new EPA-approved “climate-friendly alternatives.”, 5 pieces of terrible advice I’ve been given about project cars, Wrenchin’ Wednesday: Stop hacking up factory harnesses, Piston Slap: Bringing the notch to an STI’s shifter, My surprising infatuation with a track T roadster, How to remove studs and broken bolts with spare hardware, ECU and EFI 101: A beginner’s guide to performance tuning, 5 foreign cars that were copied from American style. However, it was found that when a car emits R-12 Freon, it depletes the ozone layer. R134a refrigerant is common, but many new vehicles are now switching to 1234yf refrigerant. For all of these reasons, the issues of conversion and performance need to be cleanly separated. This week, we discuss the thing that’s actually boiling and cooling—the refrigerant itself. There is R744, which is literally carbon dioxide (CO2). The first thing you need to do is find out what type of Freon you’ll need for your air conditioner. Over time, a credible middle ground emerged. More Buying Choices $6.66 (7 used & … With a tight modernized system that’ll accept either refrigerant, you should then consider where and how the system will be operated. R-410A. At low levels, the evaporator coils can ice up. R12 systems used mineral oil, but unfortunately mineral oil doesn’t dissolve in R134a. Early automotive air conditioning systems started cropping up in the mid-20th century. You can spend interesting evenings going down the rabbit hole online and reading posts from folks who vigorously defend flammable refrigerants and say, “You do know that your car carries 20 gallons of flammable gasoline, don’t you?” Yes, but gasoline usually isn’t routed through the passenger compartment, and there’s a zero-tolerance policy toward gasoline leakage. Because the two oils were different, R134a certainly wasn’t a “drop-in” replacement for R12. But many European cars, such as the vintage BMWs I love, had A/C systems that never functioned all that well even when they were new and charged up with R12. The refrigerant transfers the heat as it changes from the liquid state to gas state. Note that R134a is also sometimes called “Freon,” even labeled as such on the can, so it’s best to be clear and use the names R12 and R134a. The Internet is a large and often-strange place, and if you want to search for sites that claim that R12 isn’t harmful to the ozone layer, and that the whole thing was a conspiracy by DuPont because its patent on R12 was about to expire, you’ll find them. Selected for its low flammability and safety, as well as because it's kinder to the environment, almost every car built since 1994 is equipped with R134 refrigerant. Ending the storage shell game and searching for car-centric property, Watch the Hyperion hydrogen hypercar hit the road, Chip Foose reimagines the iconic Jaguar E-type – Ep. There are different types of A/C Freon. So you should never need to recharge your air conditioner with more Freon—unless there’s a leak. Clarifying note: Freon is a brand name of refrigerant that has come to be used generically to mean any refrigerant. Chronic low levels of refrigerant gas can cause the air-conditioner compressor to heat up and damage it permanently.

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