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Thread: Convert Your A/C System to Use an Alternative Refrigerant

  1. #21
    Devout Follower Of He Who Walks Behind The Rows NightFlyer's Avatar
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    Bill is 100% correct - you can do the conversion for about $100 cheaper than the way I did mine in the step-by-step tutorial by using the engine for vacuum (which we already discussed) and by only purchasing a couple of hoses instead of the entire manifold gauge set.

    But for $100, the convenience of having the tools is well worth it IMHO, as they can be reused down the line and on other vehicles that you own. Certainly far worse ways you could spend $100.
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
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  2. #22
    Engine vacuum has its place and purpose.

    I have a vacuum pump, but even if I had brought it to DCS, where would we have plugged it in? Engine vacuum does work, and it allowed us to vacuum down Rich's A/C in the parking lot.

    I carry my vacuum adapter and hose with me at all times (that's how I had it already in the car for Rich to use). Chances of needing to vacuum my system away from home are remote, but if it ever becomes necessary, I am prepared. I've got to keep the adapter somewhere -- may as well keep it in the car.

    Bill Robertson
    #5939

  3. #23
    Devout Follower Of He Who Walks Behind The Rows NightFlyer's Avatar
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    No doubt
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
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  4. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by 2628 View Post
    I am more of a visual kind of guy. I like pics.
    Engine vacuum adapter:

    ACEngineVacuumAdapter.jpg

    Engine vacuum hoses:

    ACEngineVacuumHose.jpg

    Engine vacuuming in process:

    ACEngineVacuumInPlace.jpg

    Don't get me wrong: a stand alone vacuum pump is preferable. But in the absence of such, engine vacuum does work. My Autozone rents vacuum pumps, so I foolishly assumed Brandon's Autozone would too. Not only did they not, no parts house in Greenville did. We had no choice then but to use engine vacuum. Same with Rich's quick & dirty conversion at DCS (which is still working BTW, thank you very much).

    Don't tell David Teitelbaum....

    Bill Robertson
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  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by NightFlyer View Post
    Bill is 100% correct - you can do the conversion for about $100 cheaper than the way I did mine
    Actually in a worse case scenario you can do a 134 conversion for less than $50:

    134 compressor adapter: $5
    134 charging hose: $5
    Engine vacuum adapter fittings: $5
    Paint thinner: $10
    3 cans R134: $18

    Bill Robertson
    #5939

  6. #26
    Devout Follower Of He Who Walks Behind The Rows NightFlyer's Avatar
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    Don't forget that you'd also still need an R134a can tap, or a universal side tapper, such as I used. The cheapest R-134a specific tapper that I found online is $10/shipped.

    And as I see paint thinner on the list, you're still flushing the mineral oil from the system, thus replacement ester oil will also be necessary, so add another $9. You'll also need a funnel to get the thinner into the system, $3.

    And let's say 1gal of gas usage for such a conversion (after all, you'll be running the engine for both flushing and vacuuming), which adds another $4.

    You'd also need an electrical jumper to engage the compressor, but as a paperclip will suffice here, we'll consider that a no-cost item.

    So, the true total cost of the conversion that Bill's referring to above would be $69.

    However, if you bought an R-12 hose (and accompanying engine vacuum adapter fitting, which we'll assume the same price on both - $5/ea), a side tapper ($1 more than the R-134a specific el cheapo can tapper), and three cans of Ultra-Duster/Dust-Off ($9), you cloud do such a conversion without the service port adapter (you could even still use R-134a if you wanted to spend more money on refrigerant than you absolutely had to ) and save yourself even more money!

    Thus, the list of components/supplies needed and their respective costs for the absolute cheapest conversion with a flush is going to look like this:

    R-12 charging hose: $5
    Engine vacuum adapter fittings: $5
    Paint thinner: $10
    Funnel: $3
    Can side tapper: $11
    Replacement ester oil: $9
    3 cans Dust-Off/Ultra-Duster: $9
    Gas (for engine): $4

    Total: $56

    That's a $13 (20%) savings over Bill's el cheapo R-134a conversion with a flush


    For those who don't realize it, the whole reason/purpose behind Bill's above post was to reference that you can use the A/C compressor to circulate the flushing agent through the system (you can even still back-flush this way by merely switching the orientation of the hoses on the compressor and installing the retention plate upside down) instead of using an air compressor.

    While this is most definitely possible, the effects on the health and longevity of the compressor from using it in such a fashion is questionable. Those reading the thread looking for guidance on their individual conversion should take this under advisement before deciding to do this.


    Of course, if we're talking cheapest of the cheap, then what you'd want to do is an R-152a conversion using the engine to vacuum, but without doing any kind of flush at all. Bill has previously reported running R-134a in one of his original R-12 cars without having flushed the system at all, and using the original mineral oil in the system (possibly combined with some ester oil).

    Two issues with this that need to be noted: 1) mineral oil is NOT very miscible with R-134a, so while this will work, you can definitely count on a significantly decreased/reduced lifespan for your compressor. If you're even thinking/considering a conversion without flushing, you'd be best to use R-152a, as mineral oil is much more miscible with such vs R-134a (but is still not ideal). 2) You have no idea how much oil is left in the system (due to leakage with refrigerant and getting burned up over time by the natural operation of the compressor), thus you have the dilemma of whether to add some mineral or ester oil to the compressor before doing your charge, and if so, how much. For a visualization of what I'm talking about here, see the Brandon B conversion video in an above post, specifically the scene wherein Steve shows us how little mineral oil was left in Brandon's compressor before his conversion. Not enough oil and you're going to prematurely wear the compressor and effect overall system performance/efficiency, while too much oil could plug things up (as referenced by Bill in his conversion writeup on the DML, which Bill linked to in an above post).

    The cheapest of the cheap R-152a conversion without a flush totals approximately $32 (subtracting the paint thinner, funnel, ester oil, and 1/2 the gas usage).

    However, a conversion without a flush is NOT suggested or endorsed by myself.

    And while I don't have an issue with using the engine for vacuum, I am questionable as to the effects on the compressor in using it to circulate your flushing agent.

    Take EVERYTHING under advisement before deciding how you'll approach your conversion
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  7. #27
    Senior Member 2628's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NightFlyer View Post
    the Sanden manual (manufacturer of the compressor)
    I happened to look at the compressor's we have at work.
    Look at what i found.


    20140808_144444.jpg20140808_144458.jpg20140808_144452.jpg


    Sanden!! Not the right kind but a Sanden.

  8. #28
    Senior Member 2628's Avatar
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    Btw Thanks guys for breaking all this down.
    And thanks for the visual pics Bill !

  9. #29
    Devout Follower Of He Who Walks Behind The Rows NightFlyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2628 View Post
    I happened to look at the compressor's we have at work.
    Look at what i found.

    Sanden!! Not the right kind but a Sanden.
    You guys use the made in USA ones - very nice
    "Driving Concours - proving it's possible with every mile!"

    --Josh S.
    #1798

  10. #30
    Member gamerguy51's Avatar
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    My side tap has a schrader valve and my yellow intake hose will not depress it to allow refrigerant into the system...is there an adapter or do I have to remove the schrader valve?

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