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Glutton For Punishment
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The person who removed my engine before I got the car had disconnected the a/c compressor. I was concerned about trying to get the system back up and running considering it is R12 based. I replaced the seals when putting the compressor back in, but that was the extent of my "repairs".

Since Texas is hotter than the sun in August, I decided to move forward with a fix.

I purchased a 1.5 cfm robinair vacuum pump from Amazon for $88 delivered, a gauge set from the same for about $40, and some various things like a tank tap, a couple of R134a to R12 adapters, and some schrader valves.

I replaced the service port valves, pulled a vacuum and left the vacuum on the system for a couple of days. Everything held, so I put 3 oz of oil into the system and then filled it with Enviro-safe R12a, which is a hydrocarbon refrigerant, basically propane. The cans say 6oz is equal to 18oz of R12, so I filled with 1 lb of R12a since the car takes 3 lb of R12.

I decided to go with the HC refrigerant for a number of reasons. I didn't want to go with R134a because I need all the cooling I can get, I didn't want to go with R12 because of the cost and I would have to pay someone else to do it, R12a is supposed to be just as effective as regular R12 and compatible, and R12a requires 1/3 of the refrigerant as R12, and runs lower pressures for less drag and less chance of leaking.

The only real downside is the stuff is flammable, which is something I am willing to accept, since there is only 1 lb in the whole system anyway. If I wanted the safest possible car, I wouldn't be in this car, that is for sure. I mean, really, the entire car is flammable.

End result is for less than $200 including tools, and less than 1 hr of my time, I have ice cold air. It was great on my way to work this morning, we shall see in my 100+ degree commute home tonight.
 

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There was some guy that filled his car with canned compressed air. Suppose to get colder than anything out there. He did some test and the air coming out was freaking 35f or something crazy.
 

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I decided to go with the HC refrigerant for a number of reasons. I didn't want to go with R134a because I need all the cooling I can get, I didn't want to go with R12 because of the cost and I would have to pay someone else to do it, R12a is supposed to be just as effective as regular R12 and compatible, and R12a requires 1/3 of the refrigerant as R12, and runs lower pressures for less drag and less chance of leaking.
First, I have a friend whose Esprit was converted to R134a; it cools quite well in the Arizona desert.
Second, hydrocarbon refrigerants are illegal for use in motor vehicles; the hazard is real. The refrigerant in this example has been sold under various names and brands, but does not appear on the EPA list of approved automotive refrigerants (SNAP List).
The EPA does have a page on their website about 12a under various names that you might want to peruse:
Legal Status of HC-12a ®, DURACOOL 12a ®, and OZ-12 ® | Alternatives / SNAP | US EPA
Third if you introduce an alternative into your A/C system, please advise anyone who might work on the A/C what you have done. That way they will not recover your virus into their equipment and spread it into other car and truck systems.
 

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I had access to a refrigerant called "HotShot" when I did mine last, I used to do alot of refrigeration work. HotShot is a drop in R12 replacement, but you have to be licensed to buy it. It was used frequently in beverage equipment, coolers, and the like. Mine still works well to this day. I dont have any reason to buy HotShot anymore, I primarily only use 404A, 410A and 134A anymore. Sometimes R22 also, in things I work on being self employed now.

If you do the conversion properly, 134A should give you good enuf results, I just didnt want to flush the system and all when I did my Esprit.
 

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I have R12 and it does very well in the Florida heat. It does cost a little more but no risk of blowing up you car!
 

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Glutton For Punishment
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
First, I have a friend whose Esprit was converted to R134a; it cools quite well in the Arizona desert.
Second, hydrocarbon refrigerants are illegal for use in motor vehicles; the hazard is real. The refrigerant in this example has been sold under various names and brands, but does not appear on the EPA list of approved automotive refrigerants (SNAP List).
The EPA does have a page on their website about 12a under various names that you might want to peruse:
Legal Status of HC-12a ®, DURACOOL 12a ®, and OZ-12 ® | Alternatives / SNAP | US EPA
Third if you introduce an alternative into your A/C system, please advise anyone who might work on the A/C what you have done. That way they will not recover your virus into their equipment and spread it into other car and truck systems.
They are illegal to replace R12, but not illegal to replace R134a. Reason being they don't want people purging their R12 to replace it. It is illegal in some states in motor vehicles, due to a very effective lobbying campaign by dupont. The rumor is that they filled cars up with propane in the cabin and blew them up to show how dangerous it is.

The EPA SNAP thing is pretty hilarious. ANY replacement is illegal if used as a refrigerant, unless tested and approved by the EPA. Compressed air would be illegal since it is not approved. However propane is released by bbq'ers everywhere, every day, and it isn't a problem, because propane isn't really a pollutant. I have certainly heard the EPA argument before, especially while doing research to see if this would work for me. Curious why people quote the EPA on this topic, but if you talk about gutting / eliminating your cat, and enriching your mixture, nobody seems to care about that...

HC refrigerants are approved and legal in Canada as well as many other countries in the world. I guess they care less about safety than we do, or perhaps aren't as swayed by big business lobbing efforts.

I am not promoting it's use, I just found it to be a suitable solution to what was going to be a daunting problem for me, and thought I would share. I didn't want to replace my hoses as should be done when converting to R134a.

My ultimate goal is to replace it with R12 once I am certain the system is reliable and sealed, so I don't waste R12.

For now though, in 100+ degree weather, it is working well.
 

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As long as R-12 is available and not so high priced as to be ridiculous, you should stay with -12. I also find the flammability argument to be a "red herring". If you pass R-12 through a flame you create Phosgene gas. One of the most deadly gases and was used in WW I. In fact, that's how R-12 was created, as a precursor to get to Phosgene gas by the Germans. Then in the 1950's R-12 was promoted as one of the new "Safety" refrigerants. Well, it IS safer than Ammonia which was among the most common at the time. In an accident it doesn't even have to be flammable or noxious. If it was to leak into the cabin, besides the possibility of frostbite, it displaces the air which contains oxygen. You cannot live breathing R-12. it doesn't contain Oxygen! I guess the EPA cares about how you die, they don't want you to burn but are OK with asphyxiation and gassing.
David Teitelbaum
 

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So what, you already have explosive devices (air bags) inside your car... why not one more?

Geez! Really? All seriousness aside, do you realize that every single RV out there on the road has propane in their refrigerators and a propane tank to fuel their stoves? And those Propane tanks are a minimum 25-pounds each... and they have several of them. There are cars running on clean propane. You guys a gullible... get sucked into propaganda too easily.
 

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Airbags are specifically designed with controls and backup safety circuitry, notwithstanding the current airbag failure issue from Takata Mfg. Propane tanks are designed with safety features as are appliances run on propane.

We are talking about automobile air conditioners spec'd to use R12 or R134a with engineering parameters for those refrigerants. Introducing HC's, often into the cabin area (dashboard) very close to the occupants changes everything. There are system designs specifically for R744 (CO2, very high pressure) and R1234yf (new refrigerant just now being ramped up in new vehicles) which have safety designed into them.
 

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They are still designed to explode... air conditioning systems are not. The primary purpose of an air bag is to explode in your face. The primary purpose of an A/C system is to cool your @$$.
 

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Didn't they develop a natural gas refrigerent that worked great?
 

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Natural gas is just a hap hazard mix of methane, ethane, propane and sometimes a very little amount of butane. A single molecule gas is much easier to predict and control.
 

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So what, you already have explosive devices (air bags) inside your car... why not one more?

Geez! Really? All seriousness aside, do you realize that every single RV out there on the road has propane in their refrigerators and a propane tank to fuel their stoves? And those Propane tanks are a minimum 25-pounds each... and they have several of them. There are cars running on clean propane. You guys a gullible... get sucked into propaganda too easily.
We all appreciate difference of opinions here in the Esprit forum.

But calling us 'gullible' adds nothing to the discussion except animosity.
 

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If you read that article it took a chain of several failures to get to that point.
1) the system was converted, ie, it was not designed to use HC
2) the condenser fan failed
3) the high pressure safety switch, if installed, failed to shut the A/C down
4) the pressure relief valve, if installed, failed to operate
5) the TXV failed under the extreme high pressure

HC refrigerants can be used safely but obviously this case shows how dangerous they can be if not used in properly designed and operating systems. As for the airbag recall, they are not supposed to send shards of hot metal at the occupants, that is a failure of manufacture, design, and testing. The manufacturer should be held to account, especially if they knew about the problem and did not notify anyone in a timely fashion. Has anyone been following the crash barrier problems? That's another disgrace where they knew about the problem, quietly modified their design, and did not tell anyone. Or the GM ignition switch recall? Why didn't this come out when the US owned it? They were quick to make Toyota recall their cars! At the time they were GM's largest competitor! The system is rigged and the public at large is gullible. How about the Bridgestone/Ford tire debacle? I could go on and on. How about "If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor"? Reminds me when Bush 1 said "Read my lips, no new taxes". Sorry about the political stuff but it affects the safety argument. Especially when they talk about climate change or global warming. That's why we are having this problem about refrigerants in the first place.
David Teitelbaum
 

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I've used propane straight from the throw-away camp stove bottles in two different projects. One as a replacement from R12 in a vending machine and the other as a replacement for R13B1 in lab chiller. Both took a little tuning of the capillary tube but performed very well. We take all sorts of risks in life every day, not the least of which is climbing behind the wheel of an automobile.
 

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I've used propane straight from the throw-away camp stove bottles in two different projects. One as a replacement from R12 in a vending machine and the other as a replacement for R13B1 in lab chiller. Both took a little tuning of the capillary tube but performed very well. We take all sorts of risks in life every day, not the least of which is climbing behind the wheel of an automobile.
O.K., you made those informed choices for your convenience and your own evaluation of the risk, fair enough. Especially so, because of the construction with no rubber hoses and other features.
There are two other parties that need to be considered. One is a potential repair person who might not know about the propane. Obvious labeling could help there. The second is uninformed people in the vicinity or users of the vending machine. Do they get the opportunity to make the same value judgement of risk vs convenience ?
 

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I really don't want to perpetuate an argument in this forum, so this will be my last post on the matter. But compare the ~6 oz charge of propane in the vending machine (old coke machine now sporting Corona Beer livery) sitting on the covered patio out by my pool to the unlimited supply of natural gas feeding my stove, water heater and fireplace.
 

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The point is not to argue; but to be sure that those reading this thread see another point of view and can understand some of the downside to jury rigging automotive air conditioning systems.
 

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The point is not to argue; but to be sure that those reading this thread see another point of view and can understand some of the downside to jury rigging automotive air conditioning systems.
Jury rigging? :facepalm Lotus put air in your tires... so, if you go put nitrogen in them, are you're jury rigging your tires? :scratchhead:
 
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