1988 Buick not cooling up to par - Best New R-12 Substitutes?

I own a 1988 Buick in mint condition. The A/C worked fantastic until this season, when it appears to have lost some R-12 as the clutch is short cycling the compressor. The problem is that the R-12 will have to be recovered and then it will need leak testing with a 700-micron or below vacuum drawn and then charged with a refrigerant replacement. The refrigerant hoses may need to be replaced for the new refrigerants. I do not do auto A/C! Your opinions... .
http://www.cooltop.net/autofrost.html What is the score on Autofrost/R-406A replacing R-12? http://www.cooltop.net/autofrost.html
I need all the information anyone has concerning not having to recover the R-12 yet! It could be just a clutch problem, I need to have it checked. Your opinions... .
- udarrell - Darrell
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I've looked into the substitutes, and have concluded that it is easier and better to just take it to a shop that sells R12 and have them top it off. m local shop sells recovered R12 for $59 a pound, that is outrageous, but it will still work the way it was supposed to. I have converted a couple of cars to R134 and it is ok, but never as good as R12 there are some design considerations built into the factory equipped R134 cars that these lack, like bigger condensers and more efficient condenser fans. Till you pay to bring one up to spec, $59 a pound isn't sounding so bad.
udarrell wrote:

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A friend of mine, as an experiment, changed an old (about '70-ish) Pontiac to a Propane/ammonia system. It's been working perfectly for 2 years now. He knows of the danger involved, but hardly ever drives it off his property.
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Yep, sounds like it's cycling on low pressure limit. 409A is completely compatible with the old refrigerants, oils, hoses, etc. Mixes right in. I've heard the same bout Icor Hot s hot (R414b) but not tried it.
Oh, you need the 609 card to work on cars. Even a 608 Universal doesn't give you permission to work on a car.
Most cars run about 2.25 to 3.75 pounds of refrigerant. By the time you get some more juice, maybe the shop coulda done you up.
Converting to 134A seldom works as well.
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No you don't. If it was mint, the AC would be working.
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wrote:

I've used the conversion kits on 5 cars and still own two of them.
Total cost for the conversion for each car was less than $50. Do drain what oil you can out of the system. Follow the instruction in your kit for the correct oil. Don't replace the hoses. Not necessary. Don't replace any o-rings unless you already have the connections apart. Not necessary. Don't worry about the condenser or evaporator or compressor. Not Necessary. Only replace the filter dryer or accumulator if the system has been open for a long time.
Run a good long vacuum on the system before you fill it with R134a.
About a million of us have been happy doing the above. Join the crowd.
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I've not used either of those. Don't you have some 12 already in your recovery bottle? I've used 409A in an assortment of situations. Works perfectly as a 12 substitute, and no oil change needed.
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I've not only been putting R-134 into r12 systems for years, BUT i've also mixed it. It works fine. All the hype about incompatibility is BS! Just evacuate and recharge with R-134 and save yourself some time and $$.
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Steve Barker
PS. I also don\'t get anal about recovery of r12.
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I'm with Rick on this one. R12 is still available and as I understand it, the price has come down from what it was a few years ago. I would fix any leaks and have it recharged with R12.
I converted my MB 10 years ago when I needed a new compressor and R12 was through the roof and it looked like it was going totally extinct. While the AC is adequate, I'd say it probably has about 20% less cooling capacity now.
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Top with R12 if you can get it, I just got 2 cans put in from a friend. But my friend says he has for 7 years topped off R12 systems with R134a with no problems yet, even his own car, but they say the oils dont mix. R12 cools better , get R12 if you can even at 60$lb, no I cant get more R12, I need one more can myself.
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Hmm. That explains the wicked weather this year?
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Darrell, was this a/c working fine one day and started short cycling the next, or did it seem to not work properly since the beginning of warm weather? If it was the first, then I agree that you have a problem and need to have leak(s) fixed and the unit recharged. If the latter, dump a can of 12 in it and dont worry about it. My mother had a 1983 Chevy Citation until about 3 years ago that took a can about every three years. One of those times, I was not able to get down there where they live (about 250 miles from me), so she took it to 2 or 3 shops and they all wanted to make a major production out of it. She finally found one that put in a can for about $25 and it worked fine. The air was still blowing cold when she sold the car. Worst part is that she had to have the compressor and discharge line replaced on the 96 Chev she bought soon after she got it, and spent exactly what she got for the Citation going so. Good luck Larry
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lp13-30 wrote:

I think the reason for all of them making a "big deal" out of it is that it's illegal to just recharge an R12 system if it's leaking.
She finally found one

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I agree that it is illegal to keep putting ref, into a leaking system, and given the price of R12, foolish as well, but a leak of about 4 oz/yr is hardly a major leak. At that rate, you could spend a bunch of money replacing seals, hoses, etc. and may still have a small leak that would not show up as reduced performance for over a year, at which time any warranty on the repairs would be over. A lot of the small leakage is often from the compressor shaft seal, which leaks more when the system is not used in the winter. Larry
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lp13-30 wrote:

First a reply to ED, the car looks like new, although the optional equipment (a/c & cruise control) are acting up a bit. I dropped the ductwork under the dashboard and may have displaced the thermostat onto the evaporator coil. (?) I will have to drop it again and locate the TH. Where exactly in the return airstream is the TH supposed to be positioned/located?
Ip, I did try to run the A/C some on warm days in the winter to lube the shaft seal. In cold weather the A/C must really pump a lot of oil.
In the winter, we should all use the A/C to help clear fogged-up windows. I understand that newer autos do this automatically when the defrost is energized. - Darrell
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If you entered the car in competition and described it as "mint", you would be laughed out. There are categories and unrestored is one of them. Mint means perfect. Your may be good, may be excellent, but it is certainly not "mint" and has not been for many miles. A few people buy certain models and put them into storage for 20 or 30 years. They are "mint".
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I agree, it is not mint but I love the car. I didn't realize what the true definition of "mint" was.
I hope I never have to get rid of it. - Darrell
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

I genuinely appreciate all of your very helpful responses. I have the Federal Refrigerant handling licenses but retired before I got the recovery equipment. I never worked on auto A/Cs. My brother's newer car has the new refrigerant and does not seem to cool nearly as well as my buick used to cool. This buick cooled tremendously well from 1988 until now, -- it would freeze you out in very hot and humid weather.
It may have quit cooling when the cruise control quit working. (?) The cruise control could be a vacuum leak problem.
I will try to find service where I can go the lost cost route. - Darrell - udarrell
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I thought you said it was "mint" condition. Sounds like it is going to crap real fast.
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