Engine Size: x
Refrigerant Type: R134a
Today i bought this ac flush solvent from partsamerica
I started using it in my components and soon realized, this stuff does not work well at all. It seems to be oil based, but says nowhere on the bottle that it is, its thick and does not dry fast at all. I poured some on the pavement outside and hours later its still not completely dry. I need to get this done quickly, im just a DIY'er, so ordering online is not an option. I have access to stores like auto zone, kragen, and napa auto parts. I was wondering if there is anything from those stores that you would recommend, as i think i would like to use a better flush before i put everything back together. Thanks a bunch.
Edited: Sat July 26, 2008 at 6:16 AM by Automotive Air Conditioning Information Moderator
You need a good air supply for any flush, but if you don't want to order on line, (AcKits.com has a great one) then use brake parts cleaner or lacquer thinner on metal parts, and just blow thru the rubber parts.. can't recommend the flushes from other places, since I don't use them..Hope this helps..
And please be very careful of painted surfaces when using lacquer thinner, and also explosive properties. I use a Non-flammable brake parts cleaner, but it's getting hard to find, so just be careful..
Freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose
Edited: Sat July 26, 2008 at 6:26 AM by Chick
Sorry to hear you did not get what you expected, this is unfortunately how many parts chains operate; with the emphasis on marketing and profit, it seems that quality and effectiveness can sometimes be overlooked. Like so many other items available at these stores, it is up to you to be sure the product meets your needs and this requires you to read and understand the small print of the label because so much of the large print can be just marketing BS. You probably have picked up something that is about 80% ester oil (junk).
You will be looking for a 100% volatile (evaporative) solvent based flush with about a 250 degree F or less boiling point; this is the only type of store bought formula that will dry with a generous air blow. Even some of these will not evaporate rapidly with the pour on the ground test, but they will with a long air blow. If the label does not offer the information you seek, ask the counter guy for an MSDS. If they cannot provide one, you may have to go online and search for it from the manufacturers web site. Sometimes this is the only way to know what you are getting.
Thanks to our EPA and the "Green" movement, flushes have undergone many changes over the last 7-8 years. If you do your own research as some suggest, count on spending weeks going over the hundreds of MSDS sheets. Even then you may not resolve the primary issue of what works well and what doesn't. MSDS sheets don't provide that information--They are only safety warnings that MAY indicate contents. I wish there were a side-by-side comparison of products but there isn't. At least, I couldn't find one. The user is forced to rely on labels of proclamations and claims by the company that is manufacturing or selling the product. So what are the "part-time" folks to do? You have to research what solvents will work best then find products that contain those solvents. Ok, so much for the rant.
Here's a few products that I have used and do work well.
Honeywell's Genesolv S Series solvents - Top of the line as far as solvents. Usually sold in 50lb. tanks but also available in spay cans sold as printed circuit board cleaner. (Not particularly useful as a flush in this form.) I believe this is R-235a based but could be wrong. I have not been able to locate this in one-shot containers. It's 50lb. container size makes it expensive investment but pound for pound, it's about the same price as other flushes. Extremely fast drying.
Four Season's Dura II - Sold by NAPA. This replaced the old R-141a based Dura solvent that was a superb cleaning solvent. It's now reformulated but still the best solvent available in quart size containers. I think this is now R-142b based. This solvent may be on it's way out too. I could not find this solvent sold by any other retailer and as such, has a very high mark-up but still about the same price as others. Extremely fast drying.
Quest's Clean & Flush - Sold by many chain auto parts stores such as AutoZone. This is one of the many biodegradable cleaners on the market. This solvent is Limonene based and it's odor is unmistakably citrus. It's also known as a terpene solvent. It breaks down oils and sludge solids very well. It initially feels somewhat oily, similar to paint thinner, but dries just a little faster in free air. It's moderately fast drying on it's own but with the aid of air or nitrogen purge, dries fast with no residue. It's expensive when you consider that a 17oz spray can is about the same price as a 1/2 quart of a better product like Dura II. And, you'll probably need two spray cans or more for a dirty system.
Lacquer Thinner - By far the cheapest of the above solvents. In 5-gallon pails, it costs about $6.50 per gallon or $1.63 per quart. In smaller containers, count on spending around $13.00 a gallon and up. Not a particularly great solvent but does cut oil and dissolve sludge when agitated. Very fast drying. Extremely Flammable and does pose a moderate risk to health and surrounding materials. Will dissolve many plastics, swell rubber and soften auto paint. It has no apparent effect on lined hoses. I would not use this as a final flush as it does leave hydrocarbon molecules behind with some residue--Even when followed with an air or nitrogen purge. I've used this as an initial soak and cleaner on "dead systems" but followed with Dura II as a final flush.
Custom Car Works
"Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools."
"Four Season's Dura II - Sold by NAPA. This replaced the old R-141a based Dura solvent that was a superb cleaning solvent. It's now reformulated but still the best solvent available in quart size containers. I think this is now R-142b based. This solvent may be on it's way out too. I could not find this solvent sold by any other retailer and as such, has a very high mark-up but still about the same price as others. Extremely fast drying. "
I'm sorry to hear that Dura-141 isn't available any more, it's the GOOD stuff. If you open the can on a real warm day you'd better be ready for it right now, cause the can will be empty in about 10 minutes.
I was shocked at how fast it evaporated the first time I used it! The "second" can stripped a nasty condenser clean so fast that I didn't think it did anything, until I looked at the catch filter.
Dura-141 was closing in on $40/qt 7-8 years ago so I stopped using it. I wonder how well the soon to be shunned Dura-II works, I wasn't even aware of it.
Hey CiFy, the link that you posted is dead. Would that happen to be the FJC brand flush sold at some of the "chain" stores? That stuff is "soapy" not oily. It reminded me of kids bubble soap. I used it once and was not impressed. The instructions claimed that any residual "solvent" would help keep the system clean!! The system worked for 3 years until the truck was retired, so??? Still, I wouldn't use that stuff again on a bet.
Sorry for the broken link, i dont know why that happened. Here is the link
Thanks for the advice, i wish i would have gone for the dura ii from the start, but i had no idea what to look for. I simply needed to flush the condenser for getting rid of r12 oil, so i don think i should buy more flush and do that, as this stuff seems to have done what it needed to, just not well.
I found out that Quest markets several variations of the "Clean & Flush". The one I mentioned in the previous post is part number 389, 488 and 489 and comes in an aerosol can with hose, quart or gallon. Quest's part number 486 & 487, sold in quart and gallon containers respectively, are made of BENZENE ALKYLATE. While this is a hydrocarbon, it's the soap based flush. I have no experience with the Benzene Alkylate formulation.
Custom Car Works
"Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools."
One quart containers with "pour in blow out" instructions, aerosol cans (which can contain very good but hazardous and regulated products because of the same packaging loopholes that bring you keyboard dusters), and the 1 qt flush gun ("you fill" aerosol can); are all based upon outdated technology and understanding of the heat exchangers being used in the vehicles today.
The above methods developed from the successes at cleaning tube and fin components that had on inlet and a single tube path to the outlet. With the advent of serpentine and parallel flow components, these products have become much less effective and are directly responsible for the comments that "you cannot clean such components". When using any of the above methods, I agree with that assessment; for it takes volume, velocity, and agitation to clean the complex paths of today's heat exchanger and none of the above methods can accomplish this. Sure you can get some oil removal, but you will not get it all, it will have little or no effect on debris removal, and you may not be able to remove all of the chemical because of its composition.
As I said before, when you are in the business to make sales; it it not necessary to be too concerned about how well it works, only how well it sells. You will find this stuff at the parts store right next to the other supposed "professional" A/C repair products they offer such as "death kits" refrigerant with sealer, seal swellers, and junk pressure gauges. The Interdynamics "Quest" branded products are a prime example of collaborating and meeting the parts chain marketing strategies of small packaging and low price. This however, does not mean it works; and as I have stated above, it does not.
Many companies that used to offer solvent based flushes have ceased and introduced their new flush to be more system compatible. Because solvent residues (improper removal) has caused an uproar within the compressor manufacturing, remanufacturing, and supply chain regarding oils being diluted and causing compressor lubrication failure. The new formulas are now many times based upon a high quantity of light viscosity ester oil. This does make it more system compatible, but nearly impossible to remove; how is this going to help you insure you have the proper quantity and viscosity of fresh oil? You must use something that cleans well and can also be removed to accomplish the final goal of "clean and dry".
I understand the difficulty involved in researching MSDS data and determining if a product is right for the application, but the original poster has determined, that what he got in the package did not represent what he had read on the packaging, or what his common sense (congratulations) told him when he saw, felt, and smelled the product. Blind belief in marketing labelling makes you a sucker. You should always know what you are using, what it can do to your health, what it can do to the vehicles components and paint, what kind of flammability cautions need to be employed, etc. Diligence in your research and understanding has to be done if you want successful results.
CFC (11, 113) and HCFC (141b aka DuraFlush) products that are now mostly gone, did work very well because of their high evaporative qualities. The replacements for these products are Honeywells Genesolv SF (HFC-245fa) and Duponts (HFC-4310me aka Dura II) and these products are making their way into some aerosol can products. Packaged this way is ineffective (see first paragraph).
Honeywells Genesolv SF is by far the best flushing chemical I have seen to date. However, a DIY is not going to find this product at a parts store. Professionals can see more about this solvent and equipment to apply, recover, and recycle at ACKits.com or my web site.
To meet the DIY need for volume, velocity, and agitation we introduced the Pulsating Flush Gun available here at ACKits.com. It is the most effective and yet economical way to introduce a flushing chemical to today's complex heat exchangers.
Bottom line: The chemical must work to clean the component, it must be introduced with the energy necessary to clean the component, it must have enough volume supplied to do the job, and it must be removed; to produce a "clean and dry" component. Anything less (such as outlined in the first paragraph) will not produce the desired results.
My comments are based upon years of focused study and testing many cleaning methods and chemicals in complex heat exchangers. The results of our testing have created the technicians in our R&D department to comment "Just put your lips on it and blow". This is how they feel about how some methods perform (see first paragraph).
Again, im just an at home user, ive been in the AC business for about 4 weeks:-p. I have never done any of this before, and i have limited knowledge and experience. I just want to get my ac working without spending a fortune to get it done professionally, paying extremely high labor fees. I am just looking to convert the system...once... in my lifetime probably. I don't know what chemicals to research and i definitely don't know what im looking for in the material safety data sheets, iw ould be fooling myself if i were to as the cashier for one for the product and just stare at it thinking i knew something. As far as i was concerned, an ac flush chemical did what it was supposed to do, flush ac components, just in the same way that brake clean from walmart did the same thing as brake clean from kragen, they clean brake parts. I understand everything you are saying, and i could see how this could work if you are starting in the business and all, but how do you expect someone totally new and inexperienced to do all that research on chemicals they have never heard of before?
Anyhow, i do appreciate all your input. Another question i have, is how is it expected that an at home user like myself without an obtainable compressed air supply that i clean and flush my components? I live in a neighborhood and my garage doesn't fit a huge compressor and tank, so what are my options other than handing my keys over to a not so professional shop an hoping they actually do the job right? Can i remove my components and take them in individually and hope they can flush these parts off the car for cheaper than on the car, or am i going to look like a fool walking up with a condenser and evaporator in my hands? Or should i just walk up to a random shop and say hey, mind if i use your compressed air for 15 or 20 minuets?
Thanks for your help.
You would need to ask you local shops if they are willing to flush the componets and what they would charge. The members here have offered advice on how to repair your system correctly. We can't help it if it takes a few pieces of equipment to do this propely. This is the area a DIY indivdual needs to address! Do I have the ability to do the job correctly or pay the price and have a shop do it for them? You add any flush to your system and fail to get all of it out of your system. Don't be suprised when you have a compressor failure. Repairing an a/c system is not hat hard. But you have to follow some guidelines to have a success.
I applaud the fact that you noticed and were concerned with the flush you had purchased.
I applaud the fact that you want to learn and do it yourself.
The advice here from Pro's is to help many a DIY to do it right.
It will require a minimal understanding of system operation, nuances of repair, and the necessary tools.
We can help you, guide you, and steer you clear from common mistakes.
If we could tell you how to accomplish this without the necessary tools; they would not be necessary tools.
Without compressed air and the ability to clean and reuse components yourself. You may just be better off to replace. If you remove these components and pay to have them flushed (if someone will); you possibly will have invested too much time and money.
As another DIY'er who has started doing his own a/c work, I will say that you cannot expect to recoup the cost of the necessary tools to do this work on one job. More like 2-3 major jobs most likely at least. But you get to keep the tools for life ;-) Unlike any other form of automotive work I've done before where a new job requires another wrench or two, and maybe one specialty tool, going from regular automotive work to MVAC work requires a completely new set of tools, and getting yourself set up to recover, service, flush and recharge reliably is probably somewhere on the order of a $2k+ investment minimum (I'm talking recovery machine, necessary tanks, vacuum pump, quality manifold gauge, tank scale, etc). If you want to service R12 systems, factor in at least $500 for a (30lb) tank of R12 these days. You can obviously still do a lot with a substantially smaller investment (DIY kit available at ackits.com will get you started), but you'll still be tied to an a/c shop at least for recovery, and you'll question your accuracy when using cans of refrigerant, as opposed to a tank and scale.
FYI - I have a cheapie air compressor that I've used for air tools in the past, something like a 30 gallon tank and a pretty low CFM rating. In the last month where I flushed the lines in my friends a/c system, that compressor has seen more work than it had in 3 years of running an air tool here and there.
Once you get setup, it's pretty sweet though. I just recharged 3 vehicles on a Sunday a few weeks ago, LOL. One for my friends car that we had gone through his entire a/c system, and two to get a baseline for checking for future leaks.
Thanks for all the advice, and i understand what you are all saying, it is just a bit frustrating i think as everything is so expensive no matter which route you take, which is something im not so used to. With mechanical work, you usually save a ton doing stuff on your own, and you usually do not need so many specialty tools.
Here's a link to the MSDS for the Interdynamics AC Flush:
Could some of you experts comment on this?
This is the Quest Flush & Clean that was the concern of the original poster. It is an ester based product and as you can see from the MSDS it has a high boiling point (380) and does not list it to be 100% volatile. The instructions for use clearly do not offer instructions regarding methods to remove, only that the remaining cleaner is compatible with Mineral, PAG, and POE oils.
My recommendation is to stay away from a product that will not completely evaporate and leave the component clean and DRY. When instructions do not offer or emphasize the importance of removal and claim the remaining product is compatible; I read this to be "double talk" for their understanding that it is difficult or near impossible to remove.
I want to think Hecat for the time spent on all these flush questions! While some my think you're just here to push Hecat products. I know you bring a tremendous amount of knowledge to these flush posts. Thanks for sharing your knowledge pal.
Thank you Tim.
HECAT focuses on sound engineering principles to produce products and methods to accomplish the task correctly. We strive to share the knowledge we have gained over the years and continue to gain everyday in our research and with participation and continued discussions at this forum and others.
Unfortunately, we do not engage in deceptive marketing, which appears to be the a very good way to sell lots of product.
A/C flushing has gained a "bad rap" because of a lot of junk marketing of poor performing products. If we can steer just one person to see and understand the nuances necessary for success, we are doing our job and meeting our goals.
I'm considering adding a Pulsator flush system to my diy tool box. One of the best tools I have ever purchased was the r12/r134 recovery, filter, vacuum and charge machine. It was costly but has paid for itself many times over.
Mechanical Engineer in a paper mill.
I don't think you will be disappointed. Elimination of the costs associated with constant rework, such as your current "little balls" issue; would allow this tool to pay for itself as quickly as the first job.
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