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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, first off, my cat has a/c. By looking over a few old threads on this board, it just seems that that means it is harder to access the heater box. Yes? I know this job will take me somewhere around 8-10 hours, and I want to be clear on a few things. To my understanding, I need a new heater core (obviously) and new seals to reseal the heater box. As far as parts are concerned, is that all I need?

With that being said, it also seems I am going to have to remove the entire dash, yes? Is it held in place solely by screws or am I going to have seals/pressure fittings to deal with?


Any and ALL info you guys can give me on this replacement would be much MUCH appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 

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Not sure about the rest of the job, but taking the dash off will require unscrewing ALOT of annoying screws in places you wouldn't check. Another one of Ford's bright ideas...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I can hardly wait...:rolleyes: I am sure this will be an entire weekend job for me...
 

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You asked for it!

Since you're in So Cal, and I'd assume you'd like to retain your A/C, things get a little trickier than your normal PITA heater core swap.

You're going to need the services of a a/c shop right off the bat to de-charge your a/c and capture your old R-12 Freon if you still have it. R-12 is the stuff that supposedly depletes the Earth atmosphere's Ozone Layer and should not be simply vented into the air. It has been banned for years here in the US and was last used in cars in 1989.

Since R-12 is 'bad' and therefore unavailable at any price in CA, and very expensive ($25/lb) anywhere else in the US, you should look into converting your a/c system to the more environmentally friendly (and much cheaper) substitutes like R-134a. You will have to change out a couple of your a/c components to do so (dryer, charge fittings, etc. ), thereby adding to your heater core swap woes. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news!

Now, as for the heater core swap itself, let's just say that I wouldn't want to do it again, and mine is the 'easier' 71-73 model! I went so far as to do a 'delete a/c' on AlphaCat because of the a/c headache in the engine compartment (crowded) and the heater core nonsense. I obtained a non-a/c heater box, plenum and controls and welded up the firewall holes for the a/c lines and had to cut new holes for the newly relocated heater core hoses.

Why, oh why did Ford design the heater box the way they did on our Cats? Figure on at least a day, and a lot of patience to remove your heater box. Remember that some of the nuts, bolts and screws holding it are accessed from the engine compartment side of the firewall down low. A real joy to get at! Remember that your old heater box will be very brittle with age and will crack and break at the least ammount of forcing!

Good luck!

P.S. My old full-size Ford was so easy to swap out heater cores -- four screws holding an access panel in the engine compartment right below the wiper arms. Remove core, replace. Boom - Done! Five minutes, tops!
 

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R - 12 in So Cal

R - 12 is pretty easy to get in So Cal at Flea markets and swap meets because of the proximity to Mexico where it is still legal to manufacture and sell. Try the Long Beach Hi - Performance swap meet and Pomona, there's one of those every month and Freon cans sitting around for sale. I know, it's illegal but there it is for the discriminating buyer. Orange county flea market (every saturday I think) is another possibility.

R - 12 outperforms R - 134 in every way, too bad the government and the Dupont family had to perpetrate this scam on all of us.

Royce Peterson
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Geez...paying to have it done is sounding better and better....I just don't want to screw this up....funny thing is, I just had my a/c charged less that a month ago...:mad:
 

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R-12 availability

Royce,

R-12 refrigerant (Freon) is still legally available nationwide, with the exception of CA. The only trick is that you have to be a certified A/C mechanic with the properly certified reclaimation capability. That doesn't come cheap! Even then, it is $25/lb or more. The big 20lb cylinders make buying it a bit cheaper per pound, like $20/lb, but I don't have the $400 laying around for another full tank and that I'd probably never use. R-134a is less than $3.25/can. Do the math!

I can buy the needed parts and convert to R-134a and be better off in the long run. Yes, yes, I know that R-134a isn't as efficient as R-12, but that's what we're stuck with in this country. Most of the cars on the road, at least around here in the Rustbelt, are less than 12 years old. That means that most of the cars out there use R-134a anyway. It is just the older cars, like our Classic Cougars that need R-12.

Do yourself a favor and convert your cars over now. It will probably cost you less in the long run. You can pay me now or you can pay me later.
 

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It's still better to have R-12

It will always be cheaper for me to keep my cars equipped with R12. That is because when the ban on manufacture and new licensing requirements was announced I went to the local Sam's that day and bought as much R12 as I had money in my checking account. I had four cases of 12 OZ cans and a 30 pund drum that day. Still have most of it right now, should be a lifetime supply.

Like I said in my earlier post, it is available legally or illegally and it is still more cost effective to use R-12 than to waste your time changing over. If you have no leaks in the system there should be very little reason to ever service it again unless you have an accident or component failure.

Royce Peterson
 

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well i just have to throw my two cents worth in on this topic.......$.02........i had my 70 cat converted to 134a....and it just takes a little longer (about 5 mins or so)...but i think it works pretty close to as r-12.....of course....when it is 40% humid and over 90 degrees out.....i am just glad to have any "COOLNESS" going on in the cat! ! ! !......
 
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