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Cross-Conatmination...what next?

wishiwascool on Tue June 17, 2008 1:26 PM User is offline

Year: 1986
Make: Honda
Model: Accord
Engine Size: 2.0L
Refrigerant Type: R-12
Country of Origin: United States

Hi everyone,

My 1986 Accord 'had' a working R12 A/C system, it was the original, 22 year old charge. The performance was weak, and I wanted to charge it up.

Mistakenly, I purchased Freeze12 and added it to the R-12. The system stopped cooling, I let out some pressure, and now the compressor isn't coming on; more than likely because it doesn't have enough pressure to run.

For $125.00, an A/C shop will evacuate and recharge my system with R-12. I haven't told them about the freeze12 for fear they will turn me away or charge more.

Will the evac and recharge do the trick, or have I done excessive damage? Also, is it a big mistake not to tell them about the cross contamination?


1986 Honda Accord LX 5MT - 282k
1996 Honda Accord LX 4AT - 120k

webbch on Tue June 17, 2008 2:08 PM User is offlineView users profile

Don't be a jerk - fess up to the shop. Although the shop *should* use a refrigerant identifier before evacuating your system (and will catch you in your lie), if they go on your word, they will contaminate their tank that is probably only used for R-12 recovery, and go on to contaminate all future R12 cars they work on until the contamination is discovered after much heartache. Yes, it will definitely cost more now, because you have to throw away all that precious R-12 that you contaminated (I don't work at a shop, but I think the going rate for R12 from them is around $45-60/lb. these days).

If you're embarassed and must lie, make it sound like someone in another city charged it improperly, but whatever you do, let the shop know that it is a contaminated system. A competent shop ought to find that out without you needing to tell them, but they'll be far less likely to work with you if they find out you lied about it.

As far as the remedy, I'm not certain, but suspect that a complete system flush may be in your future.

In an attempt to make you feel slightly better - when I first heard of freeze 12, I too thought it was just a manufacturers branding of R12 (like kleenex and facial tissue). Chock it up to the cost of an education. You'll remember it better than most I'm sure ;-)

As an aside, I'm planning to get a "junk tank" in which to store all contaminated refrigerant (a shop put that Freeze 12 crap in my truck a couple years ago, which is partially responsible for me getting interested in DIY A/C). Where do you take it when it gets full, though, and does it cost an arm and a leg to get rid of responsibly?

TRB on Tue June 17, 2008 6:51 PM User is offlineView users profile

I agree on both points. First, a real shop should have the equipment to test in the first place! Second, yes it is a big mistake in y opinion if you knowingly fail to tell them!


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