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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,
I am getting ready to work on my A/C system and get it running before it gets really hot. Anyway, It has R134 fittings already, but I'm not sure if the orings and what not were changed and what kind of shape in general it is in. I do not want to go R-12 again since I hopefully will never have it this torn apart again and this is my best chance to do it. Anyway, I was wondering about other refrigerants like duracool and what not and if anyone had any experience with them. It seems like some of them may be easier to use but I am not sure. Any insight would be helpful.
 

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I'm not familiar with any of the newer (non)freons other than 134a. As you stated, there are probably multiple types of 134 gas/refrigerant. My knowledge of AC is as follows (my apologies to anyone that has tons more knowledge than me) When retrofitting 134 to an original R12 system, the drier, and hoses, are not compatible, long term; nor is the oil in the compressor. You didn't say how many of your components were upgraded other than the fittings. I mentioned this because you sounded like you only wanted to deal with this once.

I had my daily retrofitted and all they did was change the fittings and the oil in the compressor. But, I didn't care about how long it was going to keep. I'll only have the car for a few years more.

I also know that 134a does not get as cold as the R12 and therefore, if you can upgrade the condensor to a larger one, you'd be doing yourself a favor. Again, it all depends in how involved you want to get. The air in my daily was pretty cold and I kept the stock condensor.

I also had the system retrofitted in another car, an 88 T-Bird. It was done by the same shop. I'm a bit disappointed in that one. Again, they only changed the fittings and the oil in the compressor. It doesn't get near as cold as it did before and I know I have a leak somewhere because I have to add another can of 134 every summer. But, this is only a summer car and I can live with it.

What I'm doing on the Cougar is starting from scratch. I'm not concerned with originality so I bought a complete aftermarket kit from Vintage Air and it is totally designed for 134a. It includes all the hoses, evaporator/heater/defrost unit for under the dash, the drier, the condensor, switch panel and all the fittings. I'm using a brand new late model Ford compressor because it fits my brackets. It also uses electronic servos to open and close the vent doors in the system so it is true "climate control." I'm plumbing it through my factory vents in the dash.

Now I'm not saying that you should go this route, that's just what I did. I know that they also offer what they call a "sure-fit" kit which is supposed to be a direct replacement for a Mustang or Falcon. It should work on a Cougar as well. I looked into this unit but it still uses all the vacuum modules to open and close the vent doors etc.

The bottom line is that they are great people to work with and would probably answer any of your questions even if you don't buy from them. Here's their web address: www.vintageair.com

Sorry for my long response. But hopefully some of the info helps. Good Luck.

Mark
 

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The magazine Classic Auto Restorer had a long article on A/C rebuilds and conversions a while ago. The short version was: If you are going to do it right and keep the car for a long time - do whatever it takes to get the original type freon.

Yes it is no longer made for consumption in the US and cannot legally be imported, but there is still some stock in some places and though the price keeps going up it they recommended it.

There apparently also is some bootlegging taking place from Canada, but I am not encouraging anything illegal.
 

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The o-rings for 134a are different from R-12 o-rings. I believe that the oil in 134a is a bit more corrosive, and the old R-12 o-rings can't stand up to it. If there's different types of 134 refrigerant, I'd be interested in seeing them.

Mr. Hero :D pretty much nailed it with the fitting change and compressor oil change. And he's right - it doesn't get as cold as R-12. I think thats because it's a hybrid refrigerant (best of both worlds usually doesn't measure up). But as always, if somebody knows better, tell me to be quiet.

Martin's also right with the import issues. R-12 is going for around $800.00 for a 30 pound tank at the moment, and thats a commercial discount. Anybody who stocked up on this stuff about 8-10 years ago is doing a happy dance!
 

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From my recent reading: It is not just illegal to bootleg R-12 into the US - it is a felony !
 

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Aaaah, they're just trying to scare ya. How are you supposed to preserve the old technology without the right parts?

Ha-ha.
 

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Does anybody make an R134 system that fits in a 70 Cougar without using the separate blower unit? Something that would fit in the car without too much modifications? Guy
 

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I went to the Long Beach swap meet last December, there were guys selling R12 for $10 a can.

I stocked up in 1990 when the law was passed. Thought I was getting ripped off when I had to pay $90 for a 30 pound drum and the 14 OZ cans I bought several cases from Pep BBoys at $4.00 a can.

Now it looks like a good investment.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You know what is going to happen here. I am going to spend the cash and do a good conversion to R134. Around that time we are going to get a Democrat in the White House who decides to sign on to the Kyoto treaty. Thus R-134 will be phased out (as all other cfc's will be) and I am going to be up the creek again. Ah well, from what I see an R-134 system can stand up to all the alternative refrigerants out there, so I guess I'll do it.
 

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When I converted a 89 Mustang to 134A the only o-rings I had to relpace where the ones that sealed the ac lines where the disconnects w/ spring rings are, thew new ones are green. I only changed the oil in the compressor and orings and put quick connects on the original schrader valves. Had years of good a/c with no problems.
 
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