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Old 08-03-2014, 10:15 PM   #1
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R-12 Dash AC Recharge Help

My A/C has lost its charge this summer. I need to get it recharged before Burning Man in 3 weeks. I'm guessing the high pressure hose from the compressor to the condenser has a slight leak...it is a bit oily and dirty around the hose to fitting area.

I could take the mh to my favorite shop and get the job done, but I know I won't walk out of there with less then a $500 bill, which just isn't in the budget at the moment.

I have a half dozen cans of R-12 and the R-12 recharge hose. I've recharged my truck with the R-134a system using the "Autozone" recharging cans before, but I've never done a R-12 system.

If anyone has any words of wisdom for me bring it on!


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Old 08-03-2014, 10:16 PM   #2
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Also, I'm not planning on opening up the system at this time, just recharging it.


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Old 08-03-2014, 10:58 PM   #3
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I would highly recommend you replace the hose and recharge. Not getting into legalities, whatever you put in will be gone before you get to the desert. If you have no Freon in the system replacing the hose is no big deal. Pump a vacuum, add a little oil and add Freon. It's also a good time to convert to 134a if that's what you decide but dumping Freon into a leaking system is not a good idea.

To answer your question charge through the low pressure port and if you have a sight glass charge until all bubbles are gone and test system. You will probably use 2 1/2 to 3 cans.
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:04 PM   #4
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R-12 Dash A/C Recharge Help

Hook up a set of gauges and see if there is any pressure in the system. If there is, adding R12 will most likely get your system going, perhaps for an extended time. If no pressure, the leak is probably large and adding R12 will be a waste of time and R12.
If the cooling has diminished over time adding my work. If it quit cooling suddenly, that would indicate a large leak, perhaps a hose failure or bad compressor seal.
If there is proper pressure in the system, and the compressor is working, and there is still no cooling, it may be the expansion valve. Some systems use a tube with a small opening rather than an actual expansion valve. In this case the system must be opened and repaired.

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Old 08-04-2014, 02:12 AM   #5
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Spend the money or do without.

Hi, I know it's easy for me to say this especially since it's not my money, but fix it right or do without air conditioning.


Do you have a generator and roof air?
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Old 08-04-2014, 03:38 AM   #6
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I would fix the hose. You CAN carefully cut off the crimp collars, remove the rubber hose from the barbs and put a new piece of A/C hose on the barbs secured with good hose clamps.

And yea, you are supposed to vac out the system, but if you don't leave the system open for long and tape the ends up while you deal with the hose you can get away without doing so with only a marginal loss of cooling capacity.

Hose clamps are used a lot on aftermarket systems, and they will work well under most circumstances.

I vac out my systems since I have a pump, but I didn't before I got one.

The real enemy isn't so much a little air in the system as it is moisture (that a vac pump removes) If the system is sealed against humidity for a short time you can get away without pumping the air out .
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Old 09-01-2014, 12:28 AM   #7
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Can I jump in. I blew an AC hose

I blew and AC hose a couple of weeks ago. I can see the hole where the hose was rubbing up against the engine cowling cover. OK, so its been sitting with an open hole in the system. When it happened, I got one heck of a blow of freon coming in the vents and also out of the fender wells.

So, obviously I need a hose. I guess I can buy one at the local auto parts store. Then what else do I need ? I have heard I should buy a new dryer as well. Then what ? Vac the sytem if I can find a vac at the local Harbor Frieght. Then replace with R134. How many ounces should I expect to put in ? I have some cheap gauges.
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Old 09-01-2014, 10:23 AM   #8
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R-12 Dash A/C Recharge Help

Repair or replace the hose.

The hose may or may not be available in a prefab.

Depending on the ends, you may be able to have a hose made up, many NAPA stores are able to make hoses.

You may want to save the old hose ends and have them put on new hoses with new crimp collars or good hose clamps.

Keep in mind, if the hose is otherwise good, you may be able to splice the hose back together where it is worn through using a tight fitting double barb.

A new dryer is always advisable, and a good vacuuming out is better than not.

When converting from R 12 to 134A they say it is important to use a compatible oil with the old R12 oil that is in the system.

I had researched this and have always used Ester oil, but last time I was in the parts store the normally excellent parts guy swore that PAG was better. I have not reinvestigated the matter to date.

I have used ester oil on these conversions dozens of times with no problem.
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Old 04-03-2015, 07:54 AM   #9
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Hey Dean, How did you make out with your R-12 dash air conditioning ?
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Old 04-03-2015, 12:35 PM   #10
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Hey Bob. Well it was a very expensive repair, but necessary for us to go to Burning Man last year. As many of us MH owners know, it is almost impossible to drive these things without dash air. With all the glass up front, outside temp above 70 and any sun on the glass at all and it is a miserable drive without the air.

I had the shop in north Redding that I use do the work. They do a great job and I trust them 100%. But it was pretty expensive this time around. The compressor was leaking and a high pressure hose was shot.

That "old" type of compressor is available, but the particular configuration with the pulley setup on it is very rare. They tried for most of the day to locate one...only luck was one out of Texas and it would take days to get it. Of course, I waited until the last minute to get the A/C fixed and Burning Man was few days out.

So I suggested they get just the compressor locally and swap the clutch and pulley from the old unit. There are cheap compressors and expensive ones, we went with the expensive one hoping it will last forever. The shop also spent time surfacing the clutch surface to ensure a properly working clutch...that added "a lot" of labor cost.

They had a new hose made up locally. So new compressor, hose and dryer.

I had always thought the system was R-12...of course it originally was. Somewhere along the line, my dad had converted it to R-132a. I donated my 5 cans of R-12 to the shop since I would never need them.

Well, at the end it was $1000 for parts and $800 for labor...ouch! It worked great on the trip to BM last August and the trip to Yosemite last November.
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Old 04-03-2015, 05:53 PM   #11
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Let me know if you ever have a problem with the compressor, on the east coast we have shops that can rebuild anything. Also remember that R-134 uses PAG oil, which eats rubber AC lines and black O-rings, R-12 uses Ester oil which is OK with the neoprene lines. Head pressures run considerably higher on R-134 than R-12, so keep an eye on your electric fan switch(usually mounted to the receiver/dryer) so that it keeps your electric fans on to keep the head pressure low especially while at low RPM or idling.
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