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How to recover R134a

Mike_B on Tue May 31, 2011 2:07 PM User is offline

I need to remove the condenser in order to change the camshaft on an older car. I have gauges and a decent quality vacuum pump, but no access to a proper recovery system. What's the best way for me to recover the refrigerant? And if the answer is "take it to a shop", what should I expect to pay? The A/C system is aftermarket Vintage Air.

Edited: Tue May 31, 2011 at 5:28 PM by Mike_B

TRB on Tue May 31, 2011 7:06 PM User is offlineView users profile

Depends on the shop. Usually an hour labor charge.


When considering your next auto A/C purchase, please consider the site that supports you:

Cussboy on Wed June 01, 2011 12:02 AM User is offline

Do a Search on this site. I've posted how I recover my refrigerant several times.

Mike_B on Wed June 01, 2011 8:31 AM User is offline

I don't have the equipment or know-how to do those things. Didn't we go to R134a because it wasn't bad for the ozone layer like R12? If that's true, then why shouldn't I just discharge the R134a to atmosphere? And what would be the best way to do that?

mk378 on Wed June 01, 2011 8:59 AM User is offline

You just need a recovery tank, and a way to make the tank very cold, such as a chest freezer. Evacuate all air out of a new tank with your vacuum pump. Connect your manifold gauges to the car the usual way. Connect tank (vapor port) to the yellow hose and open both manifold valves, engine not running. Make the tank cold and wait (at least several hours) for the refrigerant to move out of the car and condense in the tank. The pressure should go down to near zero psig. You can then disconnect the tank and open the system. It may not be a full EPA-compliant recovery to -4 inches vacuum but it's much much better than venting a full charge.

When recharging you won't be able to extract all the refrigerant from the tank to reuse. Some new will need to be added. The leftover vapor can stay in the tank for the next recovery. It's only necessary to evacuate it once because the tank was new.

Cussboy on Wed June 01, 2011 9:50 AM User is offline

Originally posted by: Mike_B
..why shouldn't I just discharge the R134a to atmosphere?

That's against the law.

One doesn't steal something just because he "can get away with it".

Mike_B on Thu June 02, 2011 6:57 AM User is offline

mk378 -- can you post a link to a suitable recovery tank? Might be a good thing to have for this job and anything that pops up in the future.

cussboy -- I didn't know it was illegal for an individual to vent R134a to atmosphere. And again, why the switch to it from R12 if it's less effiecient AND still cannot be vented? Sounds like it's still bad for the ozone layer, but less so.

Cussboy on Thu June 02, 2011 3:14 PM User is offline

I personally feel to keep R-12 systems running R-12. R-12 is available for purchase after one gets an online 609 certification or on Ebay.

R-12 is still more expensive than R134a (which doesn't require a license to buy). That's why some convert to it. But oils, hoses, fittings, etc., are not the same.

JJM on Thu June 02, 2011 11:48 PM User is offline

R-12 was never bad for the ozone layer. And it wasn't that long ago those air dusters to blast your computer keyboard were 100% R-134a, and you could vent that R-134a all day long, but not the same R-134a in your air conditioning system.

I suppose you can do whatever you want, but you would do so at the risk of financial or physical harm. Don't believe, try to resist them collecting the $25,000 fine on your property, and physical violence will be used against you. Funny how this doesn't happen in a communist country like China, but happens in a supposedly "free" country like the United States.

By the way, R-134a apparently isn't all that good for the environment either, that's what it too is on the fast track to be banned.

Only once we become less than a Third World country where only the elites have access to refrigeration and air conditioning will those against progress be satisfied.


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