Sorry, PunPun, but "direct replacement" of R12 with R134a is *not* a simple or reliable process unless certain precautions and conversion actions are taken. The lubricant oils are not compatible, the seals
are not always compatible, and the "rubber" hoses are not always compatible. After a system has been reseached to find out which of these parts
MAY or MUST be replaced, you can look at conversion. Do a conversion by just throwing R134a into an old R12 system...and you may wind
up trashing the entire system beyond repair.
"I think we have several issues with why it is so darn expensive" Yeah, so do we. Whoremongering profiteers and ecolunatics among them, mainly. If they'd simply take out the incompetent repairmen and the whores who don't properly reseal systems before filling them, they'd solve most of the problem and R12 could still be $5/lb where it belongs. Given the choice of refilling a car "properly" versus replacing the entire car with a newly manufactured car--which is common in the US--I can't think there's less harm from the manufacture of the whole new car.
I think I'm going to start making up T-shirts that say "Thank the Gods For Global Warming, Our Normal Ice Age Would Be A Real Bitch." (We're supposed to be in a real nasty ice age right now, based on the geological norms for the past coupla million years.)
"But here, we don't have many rfer guys and only one that does cars." Dare I ask, even if he owns you, is he competent?<G> If he's good, just pay the man and don't ask. In the US, you pretty much stand no chance of getting AC fixed properly north of Georgia
. In Florida
, they apparently shoot bad AC repairmen, so finding a good one down there is supposed to be simpler. Just look for one without any bullet scars.<G>
"Firstly, we are not allowed to just let the gas go here in NZ. Especialy the old gas. That has to be collected." Same thing in the US.
" If a system comes in with the old gas, it has to be removed and the system "converted" to be able to run on the new stuff." Different in the US, we are still allowed to refill the old systems--but they are supposed to be SEALED not just "topped off" the way many shops used to. And still do with the newer cheaper gasses.
"That costs and seeing as it all tends to be "smoke and mirrors" here, the few that do it charge big time and we as a consumer just presume that is the way it is. " Well, part of the problem with refrigerant gasses is that the gasses, hoses, and lubricants are not compatible and MUST be kept totally segregated. So that means a shop which handles two gasses (R12 and R134a) must have two complete sets of gauges, tanks
, reclamation gear
...everything. And frankly, if I needed an extra $5000 worth of gear
to handle an obsolete gas that only brough in $2500 a year in *gross* business...I think I'd also say "Sorry, we don't do that any more." Too much hassle.
Could be a reason to take a daytrfip to a big city though, eh? Someplace where they have paved sidewalks, electric
lights, streetcars, restaurants with real tablecloths and all that stuff too?<VBG>
"I know that there has to be some problem due to age. If I get some wally to try and fault find, the cost would be prohibitive. Then I imagine the seals
int eh compressor
would most likely be the culprit anyway. So replacing or rebuilding would also be cost prohibitive. "
Well, in the US, a generic remanufactured compressor
is about $125-150 and a premium "dealer" OEM branded one, $350-500. Seals can be replaced and replacing the seals and o-rings in a compressor is just plumbing
, albeit "plumbing in a surgical clean room" if it is done right.<G>
"I doubt I could even buy the gas from a refrigeration
company. It was difficult enough to get one to just fill my boat fridge system. " Here, you need either an EPA license
or a business resale license
to legally buy it. And then you're looking at either 14oz. cans or 20(?)# bottles, typically $50 for the can and $500-700 for the bottle, which is similar to a propane
tank, same size but color coded differently.
"However, I have had a very kind offer from someone on here with supplying some gas and so I may be able to sort this out myself yet. The leak is so slow, that if a top up gets it running efficiently again, I may just require a top up once a year which will last till we replace the car in a year or two." You can buy a leak detector from eBay and other sources, a used one is fine, for $50. A lot of folks are getting rid of the older R12-only equipment cheap
. And a lot of that does R12 and R134a just as well as the new models, so it can be used in the future. You're looking at a box with a wand on it, and a "bare" diode at the end of the wand. The trick is, run the car to build up gas pressure, then SHUT the car and run the sniffer wand, very slowly, next to but not touching the AC lines and system. (Not touching because the diode can be fouled.) The trick is to do this in STILL AIR because any breeze will waft away the freon before the sniffer can find it. When a shop tries to do this while your engine
is running and the fan is blowing--that's the sign they are incompetent or worse.
Also, you can use a UV light and dye charge. $50 buys a whole kit including the UV lamp, goggles to use with it, AND a set of dyes that can be used in motor oil
and other fluids, so you can dye check for leaks
in a car or boat engine's oil
systems as well. Again, more than one use for it.
And the simplest way to look for leaks, is to run the car (etc) as above, shut it down, and then spray the AC system with soapy water
. The escaping gas will make it bubble--but that won't find leaks as tiny as the other two methods will.
The real hard part of leak detection is patience, and access. You usually can't get in to really see things, so sniffing takes patience. And the UV dye tends to blow out all over from the leak, i.e. if the front seal on your compressor is bad, you'll find UV dye sprayed out all over the front of the compressor and the surrounding area, real clearly. (And it sprays back out the fill valve as you are putting it in--so you do that job with rags wrapped around it. Something they don't teach you in the shop manuals
All in all, not hard, not beyond what you can do. In the worst case if it is the compressor and you put in a rebuilt one? You also need to replace the "receiver/drier" can ($50) whenever a system is opened. And then pay someone to suck a hard vacuum in the system and refill it--assuming it holds the vacuum.
Or...dress lightly and buy that new car?<G>