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old car A/C advice

arrow on Thu June 26, 2008 6:41 PM User is offline

Year: 1988
Make: Pontiac
Model: Trans Am
Engine Size: 5.7
Refrigerant Type: r134
Country of Origin: United States

Whats up fellas? Maybe you guys can steer me in the right direction on my A/C.

Last summer I had a GM dealer do a retrofit on my trans am from the R12 to 134, and a month later the charge was gone. I took it back and they said I had a shaft seal leak. It was toward the end of summer so I just toughed it out and let it be. Well Its summer again, and its hot, annnd I already waited to long to get to fixing the problem. Procrastination at its finest!

Anyway, I was wondering what the best course of action is here? I half tempted to switch out the compressor and go back to the R12 because i've heard (read) that it performs better then the 134 in a 12 system. After the dealer was finished with the initial retrofit I really wasn't impressed with the performance of it. The "tech" was only able to achieve *55 deg at the center vent at idle with ambient temps in the low 90's (sorry, dont know the pressures).

Im one of those people that will sweat if I think too hard, I want my A/C to make my nipples hard when I turn it on, what would be the best/ cheapest solution to my problem? Also, this year I'm going to be doing the work on the car as the stealership wants an arm and a leg for what I consider sub par performance. Hopefully one of you guys can steer me the right direction to get the ice cold A/C im looking for...


'88 GTA

Dave in Texas on Thu June 26, 2008 7:56 PM User is offlineView users profile

If you intend to do your own work: go to the 'navigation' page and read/study the AC Procedures page.....a wealth of knowledge there. R12 is expensive and a mistake will cost you if you lose the charge. I converted my '87 Caddy 10+yrs ago and it puts 42dg air out the vents. Do the conversion the right way and you should have no problems.

At 2, I went home with a 10. At 10 I woke up with a 2 !!

arrow on Thu June 26, 2008 8:43 PM User is offline

Originally posted by: Dave in Texas
Do the conversion the right way and you should have no problems.That was the idea when taking the car to the dealership last year. It didnt work. Im checking around on other boards with the same vintage camaro's and firebirds as mine and seeing what kind of vent temps they are pulling down in theirs before deciding on what is normal for my type of car and what isn't, temp wise. I have a feeling these cars didnt cool the greatest when they were right off the showroom floor.

'88 GTA

Edited: Thu June 26, 2008 at 8:44 PM by arrow

mk378 on Thu June 26, 2008 9:01 PM User is offline

How easily you can revert to R-12 depends on what kind of oil was used for conversion. If it has any PAG oil in it at all, that type will react with R-12 and form sludge. So you would need to thoroughly flush all the oil out of all the parts, or replace them. If "ester" aka POE oil was used, you should be able to just fill with R-12 without changing the oil.

I suggest fixing the leak and give R-134a another chance. At least, if you still have a leak, you won't have lost as much.

The condenser is the key part to getting good performance with 134a. Clean all the dirt and bugs out of the condenser and radiator fins to get maximum air flow. Your fan clutch needs to be really tight, or especially if you spend most of the time in traffic, use a fixed-drive fan. You can upgrade the condenser to a more efficient unit, though this may require making up some custom lines.

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