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Civic Needs Compressor, keep R12 or go R134a? Pages: 12

woodardhsd on Wed July 09, 2014 11:40 AM User is offline

Year: 1993
Make: Honda
Model: Civic
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?

Thanks,
Mike

Jag987 on Wed July 09, 2014 1:35 PM User is offline

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.

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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!

TRB on Wed July 09, 2014 2:01 PM User is offlineView users profile

Scroll compressors designed for R12 are not good options for converting to R134a in my opinion.

http://www.ackits.com/index.php?route=product/product&path=1993_19930111_199301110162_1993011101620212&product_id=5671


-------------------------

When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you: ACkits.com
Contact: ACKits.com

Cussboy on Wed July 09, 2014 2:23 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: Jag987
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 was going to state the same. With the hassle of getting out R-12 type oil and guessing on how much R134a type oil to add, plus the fittings, using a refrigerant that the system is not designed for, etc., just not worth the relatively small difference in refrigerant cost.

I can't believe that some people "convert" because the 2 pounds of refrigerant would cost a little more. People - if your system leaks, you must fix the leak.

Remember - R-12 is readily available and legal to use in US. And apparently works better than R134a in R-12 systems in hotter climates (condenser size, design, etc.).

My 1988 Mazda truck is still R-12 (Arizona).

woodardhsd on Wed July 09, 2014 3:01 PM User is offline

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.

mk378 on Wed July 09, 2014 3:47 PM User is offline

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

TRB on Wed July 09, 2014 11:52 PM User is offlineView users profile

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.

[email protected]

-------------------------

When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you: ACkits.com
Contact: ACKits.com

emsvitil on Thu July 10, 2014 1:19 AM User is offlineView users profile

Check ebay for R12 prices.

You'll need an EPA 609 certificate if you want to buy the R12.

-------------------------
Ed
SoCal

Dougflas on Thu July 10, 2014 7:28 AM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: emsvitil
Check ebay for R12 prices.



You'll need an EPA 609 certificate if you want to buy the R12.

I have R12 if interested if you have a 609 crtificate.

HECAT on Thu July 10, 2014 7:34 AM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: woodardhsd
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.

If it is an older R-12 condenser it may be "tube and fin" design. Look for the tube making 180 degree bends on both sides as it weaves back and forth thru the component. This item can be easily flushed, as a matter of fact it almost self flushes. The PF condenser is a more complex design internally and not so easy (but not impossible) to flush. It just takes more effort and sometimes special tooling. Somewhere in time it was decided that technicians will not take the time or buy tooling to do it right and there was a statement made that they cannot be flushed. This urban myth has been repeated so often now; that even some very smart people believe it and repeat it. More about understanding about component designs and flushing tactics is in the PDF below.

HTH

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HECAT: www.hecatinc.com You support the Forum when you consider www.ackits.com for your a/c parts.

FLUSHING TECHNICAL PAPER vs2.pdf 

woodardhsd on Thu July 10, 2014 8:40 AM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: TRB
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.



[email protected]

I'll shoot you an e-mail. I called yesterday to get the price for the compressor kit cause is said "call for price" I didn't think to ask about a condenser since I didn't see one listed on your site when I selected my vehicle.

webbch on Thu July 10, 2014 10:30 AM User is offlineView users profile

HECAT,

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

wptski on Thu July 10, 2014 2:10 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: webbch

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?
I've read that stuff a while back but isn't the flushing solvent reusable? Meaning that you filter it and reuse or is that only in certain cases?

webbch on Thu July 10, 2014 6:29 PM User is offlineView users profile

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.

HECAT on Thu July 10, 2014 6:38 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: webbch
HECAT,



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?

Thank you for questioning. Yes, the Pulsator Flush Gun provides the necessary flow and kinetic energy (patented pulse process) to clean all the micro channels within all parallel paths of a modern condenser design. This is our minimalistic tool that contains the ability to overflow the component while also applying scrubbing pulsing action. I am confident with years of laboratory testing, field testing, and customer satisfaction; that this pulse process (in all models) is capable, and that it is being done successfully every day. The condenser must be back-flushed so the pulse energy can lift metal particulates (trapped at inlet chamber) and keep them suspended in the pulse action, so they can be effectively carried out of said chamber.

We offer the "Pop" test as a validation process, since this basic flusher tool does not use the clear bowl filter screens and valves of our professional models; to perform similar validation steps. Yes, if only one piece of debris blows out, because we have now removed all oils; we would consider this as a rogue and call it clean. The performance is so effective it rarely occurs. In our repetitive testing we have had anomalies occur, such as a long metal shard turning sideways in the port. The probability of this occurring would probably mirror the chance of getting a defective replacement condenser (rare but possible). For this reason we think it is ridiculous to assume; and therefore we should validate our work before moving on. We do say, if you are not happy, flush again. Not only do we use this to validate debris removal; but after blowing to dry, it is also used to validate solvent removal. Are we to just assume that the solvent has been properly dried out? Or should we test to validate?

They are not impossible to flush, and it is your option to replace the condenser; and I urge you to do what makes you "feel" most comfortable. But they are not always as readily available or as beer can cheap as you stated. Our methods are OE and Aviation validated; and it is much more cost effective to flush a $20,000 helicopter condenser, or a million dollar manufacturers compressor test stand.





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HECAT: www.hecatinc.com You support the Forum when you consider www.ackits.com for your a/c parts.

FLUSHING TECHNICAL PAPER vs2.pdf 

Cussboy on Thu July 10, 2014 10:58 PM User is offline

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.

HECAT on Fri July 11, 2014 8:32 AM User is offline

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.

-------------------------



HECAT: www.hecatinc.com You support the Forum when you consider www.ackits.com for your a/c parts.

FLUSHING TECHNICAL PAPER vs2.pdf 

woodardhsd on Mon July 14, 2014 10:28 AM User is offline

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.

wptski on Mon July 14, 2014 12:26 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: woodardhsd
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.
Look on Craig's List. I purchased four cans at $25 a pop, used one that leaked out and I decided to convert to R134A so I still have three left. The seller was licensed but nothing was asked of me.

woodardhsd on Mon July 14, 2014 1:30 PM User is offline

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

Cussboy on Mon July 14, 2014 2:38 PM User is offline


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

mk378 on Tue July 15, 2014 12:05 AM User is offline

Shake and/or weigh cans to confirm still full. Use a side can tapper if the top of the can is messed up.

woodardhsd on Tue July 15, 2014 9:42 AM User is offline

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?

Dougflas on Tue July 15, 2014 10:04 AM User is offline

air compressor powered pumps do not do the job.

Cussboy on Tue July 15, 2014 2:20 PM User is offline

Quote
Originally posted by: woodardhsd
OK, any idea how much a full can should weigh, including the can?

Maybe 13 ounces for a 12 ounce can. Some of my old ones are 14 oz.


Quote
Originally posted by: woodardhsd

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.


You need an electric vacuum pump; can try HF electric pump and return it if not amenable. Or just buy one from board sponsor? Those are nice, and have ports for both R-12 and R134a.

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