Model: Focus ZX3
Refrigerant Type: ES-12
Ambient Temp: 85 F
Pressure Low: 42psi
Pressure High: ?
Country of Origin: United States
I have converted my car's AC from R134 to ES-12. I had my guy evacuate my AC to 10". This is the deepest vacuum recommended when installing this refrigerant according to the manufacturer, which claims that it can be charged under shallow or no vacuum, and that there is a danger of overcharge if the system is charged under a deeper vacuum than 10". I guess I was pushing the envelope. I calculated that my system needed exactly 1.625, 6oz cans (9.75 oz) of ES-12 for a capacity charge (equivalent to .74 Kg of R134). The problem was that in a Focus, the low side valve is in a spot that is a pain in the a** to get to; I have to pull a wheel and crouch or lie down and reach through an inner fender access panel. In my contorted state, and because the cans of ES-12 are light to begin with, I accidentally emptied the whole 2nd can into the system. You know, I was emptying slowly and it just got by me. The low side pressure was 42 psi, right at the high side of OK for this stuff, and my vent temps were OK (42degrees) but no better than 134 at ambient=85 F. I assume this is because I overcharged by about 2.25 oz. My question is this: how can I vent 2.25 oz from the system? Can I do this easily by myself? Etc....
As a professional automotive A/C technician....no other comment to this post other than...you have reaped what you have sown....now you are the proud owner of a possibly contaminated A/C system...10 in/hg is porbably not sufficient to completely degas the lubricant in you system.....so now...a possible mixture of 134a and a hydrocarbon refrigerant........
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
An R-134a conversion??? What, did the enviro-Nazi's ban R-134a while I've been on hiatus, and that's why you converted from R-134a? Do they even make conversion fittings for such an application?
As long as R-134a is still around, why are you fooling with alternative refrigerants? I really don't get it.
Recharge with R-134a to spec and all should be well.
I converted because I have come across a lot of testimony, much from professional AC guys who have supposedly been working w/the stuff for years, that indicates that it blows way colder than 134 when it's at the appropriate charge level and requires less HP draw to do so. I obviously don't know a ton about AC units, but I've taken quite a bit of chemistry, including all that stuff about gas laws, boiling points and vapor pressures, and it is entirely plausible. Really, do a little (or a lot) of searching on the topic (ES-12) and you will see what I mean. Don't get me wrong, the environmental aspect appeals to me as well, but I'm mostly just looking for colder vent temps and better gas mileage. You also miss a big point here; the system is working just as well as it ever did, just not better, which indicates to me that when I get the charge level right it will indeed be as cold as all that. And yes, they do make conversion fittings, but they are only necessary if you are converting from freon, where ES-12 is apparently way way more efficient than a 134 conversion.
So far I have not gotten anything helpful, just criticism. Can anyone answer my question? If I do nothing more, I'm no worse than I was w/134. I can live w/that but I know I can do better.
Well, let me think out loud.
At ten inches of vacuum, you probably have at least some old refrigerant left. Adding what you did gives you a mixture of the two refrigerants. Assuming they mix, lets say you have 95-99% of your ES 12. Close enough, I suppose. So all you need to do is open the valve until the desired amount escapes. But, I do not know of any way to measure that, unless you have a pretty accurate recovery system. So it would seem you are stuck with trial and error.
You could try a series of five second releases, then check your vent temp after each. If this material works as you were lead to believe, the temps should steadily go up, reach a plateau, then start to drop. You would quit after the first drop in temp.
If you wanted to get an idea how much fluid was vented in a given time, you could get a can of it. weigh it. Discharge some of it for a measured period of time, weigh it again. Not perfect, but an indicator.
I am only speculating an answer to your question. I really do not advocate what you have done. I think you got sold a bill of goods. It happens to the best of us.
I had an encounter with hydrocarbon refrigerant that was added to a 1994 town car r134a system just two weeks ago. The whole A/C system was brand new. The owner said that he did the work and vacuumed the system and ester oil was used. The compressor was making a loud humming sound when the clutch engaged. When I heard that I asked how much oil was used and after checking alldata that checked out fine as well. The low side was at around 45 psi and the high was around 220psi. At low speeds the a/c seemed to cool just fine and at highway speeds the vents started to get warm. I recovered the system and vacuumed it twice for about 30 minutes each time. Recharged it with r134 and as soon as I got 3/4 of the charge into the system the compressor went quite. At full charge I had around 35 psi on the low side and the high was around 200psi. The owner reported that the car cooled better and stayed cold on the highway now and it felt that the car had more power at highway speeds. As for the compressor noise my only guess is that hydrocarbon refrigerant does not carry ester oil too well.
ES12 is a blend of R600 & R290. You must recover & dispose of the entire charge, and start over.
The "no vacuum" stuff is pure BS. I have charged plenty of HC's into 600 micron vacuum without any issues at all. The last thing you want mixed in with a flammable refrigerant is air. Obviously the product support is somewhat lacking.
You are really kidding yourself if you believe all of the internet twaddle about ES. If you want colder vent temps, you will only get them by adjusting the system - and you can get them with 134a. HC's work ok, but in a well designed 134a system there is no advantage.
"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest."
~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.
Air is never good. It collects in the condenser, and being a non-condensible gas, just stays there and gets in the way of the refrigerant doing its work. That will raise high side pressure, causing lower cooling capacity and increased hp demand. Even with HC you'd want to start with a full vacuum.
If you want to keep playing with this stuff you really should buy a manifold gauge so you can monitor the high side pressure and charge while standing up (and in position to run away quickly).
In many states it is not legal to put HC into a car because it is extremely flammable. Venting it to the atmosphere is legal, but dangerous. As I hope you're already aware, the stuff consists simply of propane and butane.
Also as it is a mixture of two substances with different boiling points. Venting it out as a gas will cause the more volatile one (propane) to leave preferentially, and the composition of the remaining mixture will be wrong. This also happens in a leaky system, so "topping up" is problematic. Ideally the entire charge should be removed and replaced with fresh mixture taken from the can in liquid state.
Bottom line though you really should remove all that stuff and put R-134a back in before something bad happens, like fire or compressor damage.
Edited: Thu July 17, 2008 at 9:25 AM by mk378
Thanks. That is indeed helpful. My research indicates that the refrigerants do mix, and let me emphasize that the stuff is currently working fine, just not better. But it seems to me that if I'm reducing an overcharge and I bleed off the excess in increments as you suggest, that the vent temps should go down with each release as I get closer to the correct charge level and then increase if I pass that correct level and move towards undercharge. Am I thinking of this wrong?
Dang, hate it when I go back on my word....but apbob.....what you are suggesting is a sure fire way to completely destroy a compressor.
Unfortunately, I am not sure how this s**t moves lubricant, but it is known that there must be sufficient lube in the evap to motivate lubricant back to the compressor. Making an attempt to 'balance' a system in this method is 'hit and miss' for the best of techs....for a DIYer with an refrigerant (possible contaminated) it is almost impossible. Charging to temps is best left to those that have the proper equipment to do so. A undercharged system may actually be colder than a fully charged system...and releasing until it 'gets cold' may lead to an imbalance of lubricant flow.......= compressor damage.
As much as it may cost....a strong suggestion would be to 'bite the bullet'.....find a shop that will recover a contaminated system.....if you can find one...because what is in your system is now only transportable under haz/mat conditions...at least that is the interpretation made of current UPS/FEDx codes. The chemical in your system is flammable....!!!!.
What ever...get this stuff out of your system...evac to remove all traces from the lubricant....a bit more than 10 in/hg...and recharge the system.
Once this is accomplished....make what ever 'teaks' are necessary to increase vent temps.
Have a very strange feeling that if this system were charged correctly and all engine cooling system were working as designed....it would cool very well.
Keep in mind that the course described...venting a little here and there...is actually an illegal performance. Yes, I know, that the chances of getting caught are as remote as winning the 'powerball mega jackpot'....but what the heck...someone does win every now and then.
What you have created, sir, is a system that no one....at least most pro's would not touch.....a vehicle with an unknown quantity of a contaminated refrigerant that may fractionate (unequal bleed off), different temperature/pressure glides and....but then....ahhh...heck forget the rest.....its just a screwed up system.
If you can not located a shop that will recover your refrigerant.....there is always the possibility that if you were to park the vehicle inside a garage....open the hood....remove one of the service caps....maybe...perhaps....just maybe the 'freon fairy' will come along and suck that bad stuff out for you.....just don't get caught tempting those little guys......
Next time a thought about changing your system....stop by here...ask first....none of us have a stake in marketing a product to you.....'cept TRB and he needs lots of cash....!!!!
The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
Thanks, iceman. That is helpful indeed. I have one other solution, keeping in mind what you have just told me; I can leave the system alone (which is exactly what I will do). It's cooling as well as it ever did, and I noticed my vent temp dropped a couple of degrees today, even though ambient was a couple of degrees higher than yesterday. I read a couple of accounts of this happening with this stuff. Something about the HCs mixing in the system? IDK, but for now I'm content to just drive around in my cool, contaminated car.
Thanks again for the info!
It was stated earlier that it is legal to vent hydrocarbons, and my understanding seems to mirror the Iceman. It's not legal to vent anything that was made to be used as a refrigerant in a mobile AC system, even if that thing is mere compressed air.
You can buy R134a and legally vent it all day long, and the same goes for hydrocarbons. Both of these are used as aerosol and other propellants, and it is completely legal to vent these when they are packaged for that purpose. When I was a child, CFC's were commonly used in aerosol cans. People vent this stuff all the time legally, but if it's for a car AC system, it is illegal. The fines are severe, and if someone turns you in, they get a cut.
Bohica nailed it dead on about a). it being a blend and the issue of fractionating and b). insufficient vacuum.
The whole idea that using this or that refrigerant is going to effect the environment is absurd. Equally absurd is the notion the changing refrigerants will alter fuel economy... especially after we've learned air conditioning has a negligible effect on fuel economy to begin with.
There really is no such thing as a drop in replacement when it comes to refrigerants. Anytime one refrigerant is substituted into a system designed for another, the system will require re-engineering. whether it's something as simple as adjusting the CPS, or more complicated like changed expansion settings or condenser capacity - a thorough understanding of refrigeration principles and the refrigerant itself is a must.
As IceMan pointed out balancing the system PROPERLY is no easy task, even for tech's. When these systems are designed, extensive modeling is employed followed by extreme conditions testing to determine the optimal charge. Only manufactuers have the kind of pockets for this kind of stuff. There is no magic formula. Your calculations, with all due respect, are nothing more than a WAG - Wild Ass Guess, regardless of what the manufacturer suggests. There are NO hard fast rules - every vehicle is different.
I just hope you never have a leak under the "right" conditions.
Well now here is a fun discussion topic. 1st, as I have indicated in a previous posting, I'm not going to be venting anything. 2nd, that law is f***** up. I remember when almost every aerosol can that I picked up used dichlorodifluoromethane as a propellant. It's hard for me to understand why a given compound is legal to vent in one application, but illegal to vent in another. Anyone who uses a propane torch or grill or whatever, flicks a bick, or uses a gas stove dumps hydrocarbons into the air, likewise with higher molecular weight alkane series hydrocarbons for anyone who uses a gas powered car or lawnmower or whatever. Tetrafluoroethane is blown out of aerosol cans all the time as well, as are hydrocarbons and CO2. WTF!!
I do not know what happened to my post a short while ago. I saw that it was blank, and now is completely gone. So here's hoping it was a computer glitch and not the wrath of the forumeisters.
About the legality of venting mobile AC refridgerant to the atmosphere, I think the penalties only apply to those with a license, which is why I do not have one. I think it is perfectly legal for a non licensed person to vent anything to the atmosphere. And I bet that very few slavage yards bother to recover any refridgerant. Perhaps they do if they get a chance at some R12, who knows. Maybe some legal beagle can look this up.
I deleted the blank post, do it all the time to keep the threads clean. If you actually posted something. I would not have deleted it unless is is out of line for this forum.
I do not know how the blank post happened. It was not intentional. Seems to be ok now though.
Happens when you try and post before being logged in. Happens all the time and is why I don't let posts sit blank for to long if I see them.
apbob and befuddled,
Yes, it is outrageous that with so many other applications (keyboard dusters, aerosol propellants, etc) of refrigerants, that by design are being released to the atmosphere; one would think it is not so serious of a concern with the automobile. This topic has been banged around here many times including myself banging my head on my desk and coming up with the same (WTF?) comments.
Regardless, the EPA (big brother) sees the automobile as a primary gross polluter and therefore all aspects of automobile manufacturing, service, and "end of life" is scrutinized and regulated by the EPA. Yes, they do have laws about how a salvage yard is to handle refrigerant recovery as well as other materials such as batteries, oils, fuels, etc.
The bottom line is regardless of the type of refrigerant, your level of experience, or licensing status; it is illegal to vent ANY refrigerant to the atmosphere from an automobile. Now getting caught is another matter.
I am not a legal beagle, and suggest you research and study this topic to make an informed decision about your own actions; for the precedent has been set, that ignorance of the law is not a defense.
Well, I just read through the EPA website dealing with sections 608 and 609. There seems to be a glaring exception for R134. They allow that anyone can buy that. The clear implication is that you can do what you want with it. The focus of the rest of the regs seems to be on the R12/R22 type of refridgerants.
True to form the government allows much room for the lawyers.
The one huge thing that I noticed is that the fines can now be $32,500 per day. Last I looked, they were $20,000. So I wonder. Is there built in inflation gaurd? Or was not 20k enough to force compliance? I wonder if anyone has ever been fined?
Mr. forumeister, I know you have enough to do. I am new here, so am not yet familiar with the structure here. I wonder if the links to the regs could be posted.
This topic hasn't appeared here in years, so long the chemistry in my brain that remembers this stuff is diluted already, so I have to ask questions.
Doesn't ES stand for EnviroSafe an HC blend of butane and propane that are both highly inflammable gases? And isn't that 12 suppose to trick you into thinking it's R-12? isn't the pressure propane much greater than R-12, so they had to mix in butane to reduce it forming a heterogeneous refrigerant where if the lighter of the two mixtures leaks out dangerously high pressures can be encountered? Didn't EnviroSafe actually add to much butane that drastically lowered the pressures for some really rapid cycling at lower engine speeds and cooler ambient temperatures that would rip the hell out of your clutch? And to compensate, didn't they later on recommend adding air to the system to increase that pressure? And is it still true that air in an AC systems does not fully compressor and therefore does not add to the thermodynamic cooling effect minimizing heat transfer from the interior of the automobile to the exterior?
That reducing the vacuum to only 10"/Hg sure rings a bell leaving about roughly 1/3 the air experienced at normal atmospheric pressure, didn't some guy in Australia that was pushing ES burn off all the hair from his head with 3rd degree burns on his face, or am I dreaming all this stuff. And didn't the EPA pass a law where any form of HC refrigerant is illegal for MVAC use? Or did they change that recently?
As I said, my memory is getting weak on this subject, but it still seems to be a hot issue with so many respondents, so is it okay if I join the topic? ES-12 was originally intended for an R-12 replacement using mineral oil as I recall, should cause lots of nice sludge in your PAG system. Didn't Oz start all this stuff and EnviroSafe jump on the bandwagon later. Recall reps on the old board coming on saying how great it was and asking them why it was so expensive, they said because it is so good, you only have to use half as much. Propane and butane are just about the cheapest gases you can buy, must be the can, and just use your old R-12 fittings, nobody really cares.
For a short period, EPA did let shops use HC's in only R-134a vehicles, but really creamed a bunch of shops in KC for doing what they called a sham retrofit where the shops claimed they converted an R-12 system to R-134a, then to HC's.
I personally wouldn't use any blend in my vehicles, if the lighter of the two refrigerants leaks out, and it will, it fools the failsafe mechanisms, keeping the compressor running when there is insufficient refrigerant and hence oil flow. May think you are saving a couple of bucks, but that will really cost you in the long run. The long run maybe as short as two weeks.
The key reason for conversions back then is that the AC system quit working, mainly due to a leak in R-12, system still have to be repaired first, but everybody was trying to bypass that very obvious step. Have fun.
The issue is further confused because there is much on the internet stating the do's and don't but they were written before the regs were passed, and they use phrases like "the decision on regulating the sale of 134 is not made yet".
A common theme is that all flammable materials are banned from MVAC. Seems pretty prudent to me.
There is much written that "anybody" servicing AC systems is covered. But then, "servicing" is defined as someone doing it for pay. It seems to leave DIYers exempt. Buy yet another blurb says No venting of any kind by anyone. But this was before 134a was legalized for sale to anybody. And there are some implications that a licensed tech is not in violation if he vents 134a.
So I end up more befuddled than ever.
One thing is pretty clear though. The aftermarket products like what started this thread are bad news.
A few years back, EnvironSafe had a zillion ads on ebay, ebay banned them shortly after. Another misnomer is, legal for sale, illegal for use. But I don't care whether the EPA says they are legal or illegal for use in a MVAC, they list a lot of refrigerants that are legal for use that I certainly wouldn't use in my vehicles that has nothing to do with these refrigerants being compatible for a MVAC system. Their criteria for refrigerants is whether they consider them safe for the environment or not. That has nothing to do with whether these refrigerants are technically correct for your vehicle. And the EPA is not liable if these refrigerants wreck you AC system, but you are if you use them.
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