Engine Size: 1.6
Refrigerant Type: R12
Ambient Temp: 95
Pressure Low: 0
Pressure High: 0
Country of Origin: United States
In December 2012, my A/C stopped working in my Civic, and all my refrigerant was lost. I was able to jump the low pressure switch and force the compressor to run for a second, but it bogged the engine down real bad, and made horrible noises. I'm not exactly sure when the A/c failed, I don't remember hearing any horrible noises, or anything like that, so I'm not sure exactly what happened. The compressor was not cooling too well for a few years before it failed. I believe it was the original compressor, and it managed to last 20 years and over 290,000 miles.
I'd like to replace the compressor and get it working again, but I'm not sure if I should replace the components with exact replacements, or switch to R134a. I know the cost of R134a is much lower than R12, but I think the cost of converting the other parts over would outweigh the savings. At a minimum, I would need to replace the compressor, receiver/dryer, and expansion valve, right? Along with flushing the condenser, evaporator and lines. Can I get away with flushing those myself using mineral spirits since I have an R12 system with mineral oil?
Keep it R12. That is what the system was designed for and it will cool better. Yes, the refrigerant will cost more, but it is worth it.
As far as flushing, if you can get the parts clean, that is CLEAN!!!, flushing with mineral spirits would be just fine.
I bought a can of 134a at w**-mart that had a stop leak, oil, and dye in it. It also had a hose and a gauge, so now I'm an AC pro!
Scroll compressors designed for R12 are not good options for converting to R134a in my opinion.
OK, R12 it is. Any guesses on how much more R12 is over R134a? My Civic takes 21-23 oz of R12.
Regarding the condenser, is it possible to flush it instead of replace? I was looking at a few chain auto parts stores (O'Reilly) and in the description it says "Parallel Flow Condenser, Cannot Be Flushed" I also didn't see one available for purchase at ackits.com , so that was why I'm asking.
As for where the refrigerant went, look for the side of the compressor case to be broken out after it came apart inside, that's what often happens when they go. Replace the condenser, scrolls let go of a lot of metal as they fail. Also if you look at the outside you will find the fins near the bottom where the grille doesn't protect it are completely munched up by 300,000 miles of road debris.
Parts for a 1994 or 1995 should fit it. It's almost exactly the same car, and those were designed for 134a.
Edited: Wed July 09, 2014 at 3:49 PM by mk378
woodardhsd, we use many different vendors. We have the PF model condenser available. Bet we can match or beat any online price. Feel free to contact me and I work up a quote for what you need.
Check ebay for R12 prices.
You'll need an EPA 609 certificate if you want to buy the R12.
Armed with this flushing kit, would you be comfortable stating that you could adequately flush pretty much any PF condenser (without integral dessicant bag anyway) used in automotive applications on the market today well enough to be reused? If not, what characteristics would you be looking for in a PF condenser to evaluate whether it's flushable? I ask because, that's the flush kit that I use when doing a complete system flush due to contamination, and if I'm not absolutely confident the condenser is clean, it'll be getting replaced. At a replacement cost on the order of ~$100 or so, it's well worth it to protect my investment in other system components AND time.
I see the tests in your flushing document about blowing air in one side and seeing if you get debris on the other AFTER flushing as a means of verifying the system is now clean. In your experience, has that really proven to be an adequate measure of cleanliness?
Edited: Thu July 10, 2014 at 10:51 AM by webbch
I filter it through a paint strainer and reuse it.
The flushing doc indicates that you need to test for cleanliness after you think you're done flushing to ensure you got everything out. I was simply questioning if the air pop test (or nitrogen if you prefer) was a reliable indication of system cleanliness (after the flush of course), at least on a PF condenser.
I wouldn't filter and re-use too many times, as the refrigeration oil will remain soluble in the flush solvent, you're only filtering out insolubles.
Yes, A/C flush solvents can be filtered and re-used only a limited number of times. The user must employ their best judgment as to what the solvent has been contaminated with, and whether it can be used again as a precision air conditioning cleaning solvent, or if it should move on to heavier degreasing work. Solvents used for heavy "black" oil removal or heavy additive removal; probably should not be cycled thru another car.
OK, I'm not sure what to do now. I called a couple local shops and neither of them deal with R12 anymore. I see a couple of you offered to sell some cans of R12, but I don't have a 609 certificate. I've also seen plenty for sale on ebay if you have that certificate or if you "promise" to sell it only to an AC Professional.
Good idea, I didn't think about that. I actually found some for sale the next town over. Should I worry about buying old rusty cans, or is it not a big deal?
Edited: Mon July 14, 2014 at 1:33 PM by woodardhsd
Clean off the top surface well with steel wool, that's the only place rust would matter. The inside stuff will be good with no rust, as there's no moisture in the R-12.
Edited: Mon July 14, 2014 at 2:40 PM by Cussboy
Shake and/or weigh cans to confirm still full. Use a side can tapper if the top of the can is messed up.
OK, any idea how much a full can should weigh, including the can?
For the DIY guys here that are not A/C pros, how do you handle vacuuming out the system? I don't believe any of my local parts stores will rent out a vacuum pump. I've seen some cheapies at harbor freight tools but they seem hit or miss. I don't think my small compressor would run one of those air powered pumps either. This is the one thing keeping me from doing the job myself. What's the smallest pump I can get away with using?
air compressor powered pumps do not do the job.
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