General Question

majorrich's avatar

Can a botched r134a retrofit be reversed?

Asked by majorrich (14711points) June 28th, 2010

It appears the previous owner did a do-it yourself retrofit to r-134a refrigerant in the Air conditioner of my car, and it doesn’t work. Has the Rubicon been crossed and I can’t evacuate the system and go back to the original r-12? I have a lot of r12 in the shed doing nothing and I’ve not heard great things about retrofitted systems.

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7 Answers

jerv's avatar

As far as I know, there is no legal way to do it. I also have to wonder why you have so much R-12, but I’m not sure I really want to know.

Now, if you manage to find replacements for all of the parts that were replaced during the retrofit, you might be able to undo the harm and run R12 again, but I’m doubtful that you can find components made specifically for a refrigerant that hasn’t been made for 15 years.

Personally, most of the people I’ve heard kvetch about retrofitted systems also hate fuel injection, solid-state ignition, front wheel drive, and in some cases indoor plumbing. Any system old enough to have had R12 in it before everyone went to R134 is probably rotted to the point where it won’t hold much refrigerant of any type anyways. True, R134 has a smaller molecule and will leak through hoses designed for R12, but at this point, so will R12.

My recommendation is to sell that R-12 to some garage. A case of twelve 12oz cans goes for over $300 easily while a 30-pound can seems to be around $600–700 right now. I think that you might be able to get enough from the sale to get the system redone right.

majorrich's avatar

Thanks Jerv, My late father was a compulsive hoarder. As soon as it became difficult to get. He bought a case.

jerv's avatar

Well, it’s collectible now :D

majorrich's avatar

You oughta see the mountains of ‘collectibles’s ’ I have to get rid of now. And still more of my own in a storage unit. Thats my reward for taking my mother in after Dad passed.

jerv's avatar

My grandmother was the same way, and my father-in-law is only marginally better mostly because my MIL keeps him in check.

majorrich's avatar

I am pretty sure the 134 can be evacuated and the oil drained. If the compressor wasn’t destroyed by the botching, and it holds a good vacuum, I theorize it can be done. but I know only a very little about Air Conditioning. The man at the Garage told me r-12 is going for about 55 a pound and I only need 22 ounces. The devil will be in the details. Always is.

jerv's avatar

After getting a $15 refill kit, I refilled my R134 systems for under $20…. sometimes under $10 if there was a sale at Autozone. That’s 2 cans, and I rarely drained the second one.

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