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Gents, come to find out the Freon in my 63 AC was never drained / flushed by the mechanic that installed new AC parts a year ago. 22% was 134a and 78% R12. My AC system needs to be flushed and vacuumed. I underst1and the compressor needs to have all the oil drained. Also, I understand the system expansion valve needs to be cleaned along with the evaporator. The condenser needs to be cleaned. 

‘My burning question is what are the steps in flushing the system? What procedure comes first? Flush comes first as opposed to vacuum, I know that.  Do you flush the evaporator first? Condenser second? BTW, I’m replacing the drier I put in last year with a new drier.

Would anyone suggest the order I should go to accomplish this task? As always many thanks.

Red Riviera Bob

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I can give you a generic answer...........it sort of depends on what you are replacing and where the connections are.

On the compressor,  drain it the best you can then flush some clean oil thru it and drain again.

normally what ruins the compressor is mixing 12 oil and 134 oil........depending on how much of each is left in the system,  they do not play well together and this can cause the compressor to fail.

The failure might happen in 6 mo or 2 years, 

They sell fluids to flush the system but somewhere they said you could use alcohol........cheap to buy at Walmart,  alcohol makes sense as it will break down oil and it also evaporates quickly, 

So I poured it in and blew it out with compressed air...... with the expansion valve removed,  it could also be cleaned.    Newer cars will have the throw away tube type expansion valve.

Not sure I would run alcohol thru the compressor,  and you are right to replace the accumulator/dryer......as the accumulator can "accumulate" it fair share of oil.

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So it sounds like someone mixed 134 and 12. Is the system working now? I am curious how you know the mix is 22/78??

 

System could probably be evacuated and re-charged with R12 without a flush and be OK......but there is some risk involved in that. At this point it may be best to go ahead and flush to remove oil from the individual components through flushing process and start over. You only want to do this ONCE.

A competent shop will know the process to flush. This is not a job you can do yourself because a special flushing gun and flushing agent is required. I'm not an expert but I would want to disconnect and flush the evap, condenser, muffler, and lines separately so it doesn't matter what order. Then remove and drain all oil out of the compressor/flush.

After everything is cleaned, reinstalled with correct amount of oil, new orings on all joints, and new receiver dryer, a vacuum is pulled on the system for several hours then the system is left sit to see how long it holds a vacuum which determines if there are leaks. If no leaks then the system is charged and the vacuum is replaced by refrigerant thereby not allowing any contaminated/moisture laden air to enter.

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3 hours ago, Red Riviera Bob said:

Gents, come to find out the Freon in my 63 AC was never drained / flushed by the mechanic that installed new AC parts a year ago. 22% was 134a and 78% R12. My AC system needs to be flushed and vacuumed. 

 

Hmmm...   Flush and vacuum are two different things.  One would flush to remove oil or particulate matter.  One would vacuum to remove gas.  If parts were replaced, it would seem to mandate that the system be evacuated.  If it were, there shouldn't be any gas left.  Which is to say that the new charge should be entirely R12 or entirely R134a.  As such, it's not quite clear what this 22/78 mixture is (gas? oil?) or how that ratio was determined. 

 

If the system weren't flushed, there could be a mixture of oils present.  That may or may not be a problem, depending on the types of oil.  There is oil that is compatible with R12, oil that is compatible with R134a, and oil that is compatible with both.  Some of these oils are not compatible with each other.  IIRC, the manual has a chart or list or how much oil need to be added to the system when a component is replaced (e.g. replace the compressor, add 4 oz or whatever the amount is).  So you could have two types of oil present.  If you have two types of gas present, something's very puzzling.

 

At this point, one might suggest:

- Flush the entire system to remove all oil.

- New O-rings on any connections that were taken apart.  If you're not sure if the seals were replaced earlier, take everything apart and replace them all.

- Full load of new oil.

- Evacuate and test for leaks.

- New charge of gas.

 

You can do most of this yourself with common hand tools.  You may need to pay someone to do the flush, and you might consider buying a vacuum pump and set of gauges.  They might cost you less than a shop would charge to evacuate and test the system, and then you'll have the wherewithal to do this work yourself in the future.  Anything that you farm out, be very specific about what you want done and what replacements you want.  Don't say "Fix the AC"; tell them what to disassemble, which seals to replace, which components to replace, which replacements to use (e.g. a drier compatible with your refrigerant of choice), which oil to use, etc.

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Bob & I had a LONG discussion about this.  From what I understand his original compressor had a catastrophic failure. This puts METALLIC  particles throughout the entire system. This happens over the yrs. as most DON'T add oil when Freon is added. When Freon leaks out it carries oil with it.  Since I've been in this business I HAVE NEVER had a regular customer have a compressor failure. Clutches & bearings going bad Yes, BUT NO COMPRESSOR FAILURES.

 

1st. off the mix of 12 & 134 is what comes in the lessor costly R12 being sold today. Some even contain butane or propane. You know what the mix may be with a refrigerant identifier. ANY 12 I've bought ALWAYS got tested BEFORE I paid for it. On ANY system I ALWAYS check the refrigerant. IF you went to recover this with either a 12 or 134 machine IF it was contaminated with other refrigerant it would then RUIN the whole recovery cylinder at which point becomes a hassle & costly to get rid of & CAN'T be used in either system. Now your gauges & other related hardware is ALSO contaminated & need to be flushed & filtered.

 

2nd. when we talked Bob mentioned the oil was a pinkish??? color. This suggests a large amount of condensation/water in the system. Maybe even a mixture of oils.

 

3rd. when flushing a system that has been contaminated you MUST pay very close attention. I would forward & backward flush the separate components multiple times with a flushing agent then alcohol as a last step. This includes the evaporator, muffler, condenser, hoses & whatever other components may need flushing using shop air (low pressure, no more than 35-45lbs.) to blow through to help clean EVERYTHING out. This can make a hell-of a- mess so get & be prepared to take the nec. precautions to protect the surrounding areas.

 

4th. On the compressor. Drain the oil. Put in fresh oil of the proper type. Cycle the compressor by hand off the car, right side up, upside down, sideways, etc.. This gets oil to many parts of the compressor & will hopefully flush out contaminants with it. Depending on the severity of contaminants  you may want to do this 2/3/4 times. DO NOT USE a flushing agent or alcohol in the compressor.

 

5th. You will need to add oil of the proper type to the condenser, receiver drier, evaporator, muffler & compressor. The chassis manual tells the amount. PLEASE refer to the compressor manufacturers instructions on how much oil to add to the NEW compressor that was purchased some time ago. It could take the same or more or less refrigerant than specified in the chassis manual. Find out the manufacturer if nec. & contact them BEFORE proceeding.

 

Lastly on a system that has been BADLY contaminated I usually install low & high pressure inline filters. This will hopefully protect ALL the components & ALL THE TIME & EFFORT you have put into the system to help protect it IF there are ANY PARTICLES that didn't get flushed out. All you need is a couple small pieces to ruin all the work & effort you put into your system to make it work properly & blow ice cubes.

 

Another Lastly. Put the vacuum pump on & leave it evacuating the system overnight. When you bring a system under a vacuum the purpose is to boil OUT the moisture that has entered the system. ANYTHING that is left open for even a few minutes attracts moisture & being this system will NOT be closed up for some time the longer the better. To be on the safe side on some systems I've left them on for a couple days. Better to be safe than sorry. It's ALWAYS a hassle to do it AGAIN!!!!!

 

Just because a system will hold vacuum for a few hours/days doesn't mean it won't leak under pressure. On particularly difficult jobs I've used Hydrogen to pressurize the system to about 300pds.& let it sit for a few days. If it holds up to that it SHOULDN'T LEAK.

 

As you can tell this is a very arduous, long, costly process. THERE'S NO CUTTING CORNERS HERE. If you want the satisfaction of knowing you did the BEST possible job with the BEST possible outcome the time & $$$$ you spend will be worth it in the end.

 

Just my thoughts on the subject.

 

P.S. this is why I HATE long replies as this has taken me more than 2hrs. to complete. I'm TO OLD to be taking typing classes.

 

 

Tom T.

 

 

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1 hour ago, telriv said:

1st. off the mix of 12 & 134 is what comes in the lessor costly R12 being sold today. Some even contain butane or propane.

 

Are you saying that one can buy refrigerant marketed as R12 that is actually a mixture of R12 and R134a?

 

1 hour ago, telriv said:

when we talked Bob mentioned the oil was a pinkish??? color. This suggests a large amount of condensation/water in the system. Maybe even a mixture of oils.

 

Or it might be a dye.

 

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)

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R12 is a specific gas; it is not a generic term for refrigerant.  One can buy "R12 substitute" which contains any number of ingredients, but I'm not aware of any that are represented as actual R12.  Do you have a specific brand or product that's an example of this?

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There are MANY. One that comes to mind is Freeze 12. THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN TELL, NO MATTER WHAT THE CAN SAYS IS WITH A REFRIGERANT TESTER.  The dye is usually a green color, NOT pink. I've NEVER seen a pink dye for A/C. Not saying that there could not be a pink one on the market I don't know about.

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AFAIK, Freeze 12 has been discontinued.  Even so, it was sold as a replacement for R12 (said so right on the can ;) ) rather than R12 itself.  According to the patent for Freeze-12, it contains no R12 at all.  Rather, it's a mix of R134, R134a, 142, 142a, and/or 142b.   As a sanity check, consider that Mr Freeze and other R12 replacements are/were sold across the counter for anyone to use, while R12 requires a special license and equipment.  That should tell you that there probably isn't any R12 in the product.

 

Will agree about the dye color.  I've always seen green, but who knows what's out there?

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TO EVERYONE. I MUST MAKE A CLARIFICATION!!!!

 

iN MY POST i SAID HYDROGEN.

 

I MEANT TO SAY NITROGEN!!!!

 

Tom T.

 

And Kongaman. I'm NOT going to get into a PISSING match with you.  You believe what you want etc etc etc. People are MANY times mis-lead about things & this is one of them!!!!

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12 hours ago, JZRIV said:

So it sounds like someone mixed 134 and 12. Is the system working now? I am curious how you know the mix is 22/78??

 

System could probably be evacuated and re-charged with R12 without a flush and be OK......but there is some risk involved in that. At this point it may be best to go ahead and flush to remove oil from the individual components through flushing process and start over. You only want to do this ONCE.

A competent shop will know the process to flush. This is not a job you can do yourself because a special flushing gun and flushing agent is required. I'm not an expert but I would want to disconnect and flush the evap, condenser, muffler, and lines separately so it doesn't matter what order. Then remove and drain all oil out of the compressor/flush.

After everything is cleaned, reinstalled with correct amount of oil, new orings on all joints, and new receiver dryer, a vacuum is pulled on the system for several hours then the system is left sit to see how long it holds a vacuum which determines if there are leaks. If no leaks then the system is charged and the vacuum is replaced by refrigerant thereby not allowing any contaminated/moisture laden air to enter.

Sir, your answer is what I was looking for. Long story short, the shops that have worked on my AC have not done what I paid for. The shop that installed the rebuilt STV, new A6 compressor, new drier, and muffler did not flush the system. Another shop stated to evacuate the refrigerant and their equipment analyzed the make up of the gas.

Since I’ve had bad luck with the local AC mechanics I’ve decided to take my AC repair to a shop in another state.

im going to clean the system with a flush gun and Cool Pro AC cleaner. After all components of the AC that can be flushed, I’ll pull a vacuum overnight. I’ll drain the oil from the compressor overnight

ill replace the drier and compatible expansion valve.

ill take the car back to the shop in York PA to pull yet another vacuum to find leaks after it has been determined there are no leaks I’ll fill it with R12 virgin Freon from DuPont. Hopefully, it will work.

Red Riviera Bob.

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1 minute ago, Red Riviera Bob said:

Sir, your answer is what I was looking for. Long story short, the shops that have worked on my AC have not done what I paid for. The shop that installed the rebuilt STV, new A6 compressor, new drier, and muffler did not flush the system. Another shop stated to evacuate the refrigerant and their equipment analyzed the make up of the gas.

I'm confused.  If the system was disassembled, there was a point at which it had no refrigerant at all.  So, how did you end up with a mixture of R12 and R134a?

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31 minutes ago, telriv said:

And Kongaman. I'm NOT going to get into a PISSING match with you.  You believe what you want etc etc etc. People are MANY times mis-lead about things & this is one of them!!!!

 

Yes, it is.  And you really shouldn't do that. ;) 

 

R12 is a specific chemical compound (dichlorodifluoromethane). You buy R12, you get R12.  You buy an R12 substitute, you don't get R12.  Just because it has "12" in the name doesn't mean it has R12 in the can. 

 

I have yet to see an R12 substitute which contains any R12 (e.g. Freeze 12, DuraCool, etc. have no R12).  Similarly, I have yet to see anything marketed as R12 which contains any other refrigerant.  Again, I would welcome any examples.

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15 hours ago, telriv said:

Bob & I had a LONG discussion about this.  From what I understand his original compressor had a catastrophic failure. This puts METALLIC  particles throughout the entire system. This happens over the yrs. as most DON'T add oil when Freon is added. When Freon leaks out it carries oil with it.  Since I've been in this business I HAVE NEVER had a regular customer have a compressor failure. Clutches & bearings going bad Yes, BUT NO COMPRESSOR FAILURES.

 

1st. off the mix of 12 & 134 is what comes in the lessor costly R12 being sold today. Some even contain butane or propane. You know what the mix may be with a refrigerant identifier. ANY 12 I've bought ALWAYS got tested BEFORE I paid for it. On ANY system I ALWAYS check the refrigerant. IF you went to recover this with either a 12 or 134 machine IF it was contaminated with other refrigerant it would then RUIN the whole recovery cylinder at which point becomes a hassle & costly to get rid of & CAN'T be used in either system. Now your gauges & other related hardware is ALSO contaminated & need to be flushed & filtered.

 

2nd. when we talked Bob mentioned the oil was a pinkish??? color. This suggests a large amount of condensation/water in the system. Maybe even a mixture of oils.

 

3rd. when flushing a system that has been contaminated you MUST pay very close attention. I would forward & backward flush the separate components multiple times with a flushing agent then alcohol as a last step. This includes the evaporator, muffler, condenser, hoses & whatever other components may need flushing using shop air (low pressure, no more than 35-45lbs.) to blow through to help clean EVERYTHING out. This can make a hell-of a- mess so get & be prepared to take the nec. precautions to protect the surrounding areas.

 

4th. On the compressor. Drain the oil. Put in fresh oil of the proper type. Cycle the compressor by hand off the car, right side up, upside down, sideways, etc.. This gets oil to many parts of the compressor & will hopefully flush out contaminants with it. Depending on the severity of contaminants  you may want to do this 2/3/4 times. DO NOT USE a flushing agent or alcohol in the compressor.

 

5th. You will need to add oil of the proper type to the condenser, receiver drier, evaporator, muffler & compressor. The chassis manual tells the amount. PLEASE refer to the compressor manufacturers instructions on how much oil to add to the NEW compressor that was purchased some time ago. It could take the same or more or less refrigerant than specified in the chassis manual. Find out the manufacturer if nec. & contact them BEFORE proceeding.

 

Lastly on a system that has been BADLY contaminated I usually install low & high pressure inline filters. This will hopefully protect ALL the components & ALL THE TIME & EFFORT you have put into the system to help protect it IF there are ANY PARTICLES that didn't get flushed out. All you need is a couple small pieces to ruin all the work & effort you put into your system to make it work properly & blow ice cubes.

 

Another Lastly. Put the vacuum pump on & leave it evacuating the system overnight. When you bring a system under a vacuum the purpose is to boil OUT the moisture that has entered the system. ANYTHING that is left open for even a few minutes attracts moisture & being this system will NOT be closed up for some time the longer the better. To be on the safe side on some systems I've left them on for a couple days. Better to be safe than sorry. It's ALWAYS a hassle to do it AGAIN!!!!!

 

Just because a system will hold vacuum for a few hours/days doesn't mean it won't leak under pressure. On particularly difficult jobs I've used Hydrogen to pressurize the system to about 300pds.& let it sit for a few days. If it holds up to that it SHOULDN'T LEAK.

 

As you can tell this is a very arduous, long, costly process. THERE'S NO CUTTING CORNERS HERE. If you want the satisfaction of knowing you did the BEST possible job with the BEST possible outcome the time & $$$$ you spend will be worth it in the end.

 

Just my thoughts on the subject.

 

P.S. this is why I HATE long replies as this has taken me more than 2hrs. to complete. I'm TO OLD to be taking typing classes.

 

 

Tom T.

 

 

Tom, thank you for your specific directions. The reason there was 134a and R12 in the system is early on this project a mechanic said 134a and R12 would work together. He was wrong. I took the car to the second shop where they installed new AC components. I instructed them to flush the system and put in R12 I supplied from a 30lb commercial tank.

The mixture of 134a and R12 was determined by the ac shop in York PA. The shop in York gave me a print out from their equipment showing the percentages of R12 and 134 a.

ive purchased a flush gun and Cool Pro to use to clean the system. I’ve purchased a rebuilt OEM DRIER for my 63 Riv along with s new expansion valve, another rebuilt STV. New hoses will go on. I bought a commercial grade vacuum pump.

After I finish cleaning, evacuating, and vacuuming  the AC system I’m taking the car back to the shop in York PA. The shop owner said he’ll pull another vacuum and test for leaks. Then they will refill with the AC system with R12.

i believe I’m making progress.

Red Riviera Bob

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7 hours ago, KongaMan said:

I'm confused.  If the system was disassembled, there was a point at which it had no refrigerant at all.  So, how did you end up with a mixture of R12 and R134a?

Ok, great point you make about the system being dismantled an nothing in the system. Makes sense. I contend the system wasn’t flushed. The invoice did not reflect a charge for flushing. The invoice noted by line item what they did and what they charged.

Early on a mechanic put in 134a saying it would cool and work with R12. Wrong. 

The last effort to get the AC system fixed in Maryland was at an AC Radiator specialty shop in Baltimore. The owner took about 6 hours to only feel the hoses and fill the system with gas. The gas may well have been 134a.

It is unfortunate I’ve had to take my car to at least 4 shops and not get the AC fixed. I’ve read a lot about evacuating and vacuuming the system. Changing out parts is not my forte, but so far I’ve prevailed. When I take the AC system to the 5th shop in another state I want the system to be ready as ready can be to be tested and filled with R12.

thank you

Red Riviera Bob

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14 hours ago, KongaMan said:

R12 is a specific gas; it is not a generic term for refrigerant.  One can buy "R12 substitute" which contains any number of ingredients, but I'm not aware of any that are represented as actual R12.  Do you have a specific brand or product that's an example of this?

MrKonga Man, you are right. caveat emptor. The charge of R12 I put came  from a Master Mechanic friend who had the R12 in his private stash. 

Secondly, the smaller aerosol cans were DuPont products from eBay. The product could have very well been a forgery. I look closely for tell tale signs off rip off look alike product falsely presented as the real deal. Some of the stuff like R12a indicates it is an R12 substitute. I work hard to purchase the real McCoy. I’ve been hood winked before and will probably get hoodwinked again.

thank you for your input

Red Riviera Bob

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Bob is going to become our "go to" a/c specialist.  He'll have spent enough money to have earned a master certification by the time he's got cold air.  My question for his mechanic who said that R12 and 134a could be mixed is this - "Why does each different refrigerant require a specific fitting on the hose? When you change fittings to put one or the other into the system, doesn't  t the old gas escape?"

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1 hour ago, RivNut said:

When you change fittings to put one or the other into the system, doesn't  t the old gas escape?

Not if you use an adapter. ;)  But the thing is, you can use R12 fittings with R134a (and vice versa).  The different fittings serve as a deterrent, not as a preventative.  If someone wants to mix refrigerants, there's not much to stop them.

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Bob, I will be following this thread to see how everything works out for you. I will be doing a similar rebuild on a non- Riv project myself and will be facing a lot of the same issues. Good luck!

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6 hours ago, Red Riviera Bob said:

The reason there was 134a and R12 in the system is early on this project a mechanic said 134a and R12 would work together. He was wrong. I took the car to the second shop where they installed new AC components. I instructed them to flush the system and put in R12 I supplied from a 30lb commercial tank.

 

After the new components were installed, there shouldn't have been any refrigerant in the system.  So, the question becomes, "How did you end up with a mixture of R12 and 134a?".   Here's a possibility: Shop A topped off the existing charge of R12 with 134a.  Shop B evacuated and contained the charge prior to disassembly and parts replacement.  After they put everything back together and (hopefully) evacuated and leak tested the system, they filled it with the same gas they captured earlier.  No testing, no virgin charge.

 

Did they bill you for a charge of new R12?  Because it sounds like you may not have gotten one.

 

6 hours ago, Red Riviera Bob said:

ive purchased a flush gun and Cool Pro to use to clean the system. I’ve purchased a rebuilt OEM DRIER for my 63 Riv along with s new expansion valve, another rebuilt STV. New hoses will go on. I bought a commercial grade vacuum pump.

After I finish cleaning, evacuating, and vacuuming  the AC system I’m taking the car back to the shop in York PA. The shop owner said he’ll pull another vacuum and test for leaks. Then they will refill with the AC system with R12.

 

If you've got all of that (I presume you bought a set of gauges as well) and are doing all of the work you described, there might not be any reason to take it back to the shop.   Put the new parts on, evacuate, then come back in the morning to see if it leaked.  If it's still holding vacuum, charge it yourself and adjust the STV per the manual.

Edited by KongaMan (see edit history)

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8 hours ago, TexRiv_63 said:

Bob, I will be following this thread to see how everything works out for you. I will be doing a similar rebuild on a non- Riv project myself and will be facing a lot of the same issues. Good luck!

TexRiv, now I have more information and some mechanical experience I feel confident I can bring the project in with cold air. I’ve got the gauges, flush gun, compressor and vacuum. In addition I have a newly rebuilt back up STV and the original Harrison A6, and new expansion valve. I’m loaded for bear!

Red Riviera Bob

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10 hours ago, RivNut said:

Bob is going to become our "go to" a/c specialist.  He'll have spent enough money to have earned a master certification by the time he's got cold air.  My question for his mechanic who said that R12 and 134a could be mixed is this - "Why does each different refrigerant require a specific fitting on the hose? When you change fittings to put one or the other into the system, doesn't  t the old gas escape?"

Ed, you are right about $$$$ expenditure invested on the AC system ; however, I’m a determined individual. I’ve also been told you can use propane gas in the system to get cold air. I’m honing in on the job hoping to finish real soon.

Red Riviera Bob

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22 hours ago, KongaMan said:

 

Yes, it is.  And you really shouldn't do that. ;) 

 

R12 is a specific chemical compound (dichlorodifluoromethane). You buy R12, you get R12.  You buy an R12 substitute, you don't get R12.  Just because it has "12" in the name doesn't mean it has R12 in the can. 

 

I have yet to see an R12 substitute which contains any R12 (e.g. Freeze 12, DuraCool, etc. have no R12).  Similarly, I have yet to see anything marketed as R12 which contains any other refrigerant.  Again, I would welcome any examples.

Mr Konga Man, I cannot figure out how to get pics of what I believe is R12 from eBay to this forum. When I figure out how to get the pics on this forum I’ll post them.

Thank you

RRB

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On 8/31/2018 at 9:17 AM, Barney Eaton said:

I can give you a generic answer...........it sort of depends on what you are replacing and where the connections are.

On the compressor,  drain it the best you can then flush some clean oil thru it and drain again.

normally what ruins the compressor is mixing 12 oil and 134 oil........depending on how much of each is left in the system,  they do not play well together and this can cause the compressor to fail.

The failure might happen in 6 mo or 2 years, 

They sell fluids to flush the system but somewhere they said you could use alcohol........cheap to buy at Walmart,  alcohol makes sense as it will break down oil and it also evaporates quickly, 

So I poured it in and blew it out with compressed air...... with the expansion valve removed,  it could also be cleaned.    Newer cars will have the throw away tube type expansion valve.

Not sure I would run alcohol thru the compressor,  and you are right to replace the accumulator/dryer......as the accumulator can "accumulate" it fair share of oil.

Sir, thank you for all your help. Denatured alcohol could work, but I’m using CoolPro to flush.

thank you

Red Riviera Bob

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