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Old 04-23-2011, 10:14 AM   #1
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1987 P30 R12 Freon Capacity

Hey everybody,
I am replacing the engine driven AC compressor, accumulator and orifice tube on my '87 P30 7.4 liter 345 motorhome next week as well as converting it to R134a. One of my friends who is a full-time mechanic is going to flush the system pull a vacuum on it and fill it with R134a for me. He came over the other night to discuss the job with me and we looked through the Airstream owners manual, the Chevrolet chassis owners manual. the chassis manual Keyair gave me and all over the engine and under the hood for the information and I have been searching online for the information as well. As many of you already know you have to use less R134a than R12 and he has a formula that figures the proper amount of R134a based on the R12 number but without knowing the proper amount of R12 the system takes it's impossible to figure the R134a number... It shocks me the information you can find online and then it can be equally shocking to not be able to find something that seems like it would be so easy to find. Does anyone know how much R12 the stock system requires? Thanks to any and all who can help me with this, I really do appreciate it and wouldn't be asking had I not exhausted my resources first...
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:12 PM   #2
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I read this thread which is the closest thing I found to an answer on my own but dunno if I can trust it to be right for an '87... Don't wanna risk it either based on assuming anything.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f311...ner-27077.html

I really don't ask questions until I've tried everything I can think of first. If I post a question I am in need of help, not just too lazy to figure it out for myself so again any help will be much appreciated.
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:31 PM   #3
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I don't have a clue how much R12 your system originally held, but any airconditioner tech should be able to tell you if a system is at capacity by looking at the pressures on his guages as he fills it with freon.
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Old 04-23-2011, 03:59 PM   #4
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He says he has to know the original freon weight used then convert the weight to the proper amount of R134a. Then he weighs the freon tank when he starts and weighs it again as he is filling it to get the exact amount for a proper charge. He was the head technician at the local GMC dealership up until about four years ago, now he teaches the automotive technology course at local community college and runs his own private shop so when he says he needs to know how much R12 it held, I need to find out. This is information that is usually printed on a label somewhere under the hood but due to the custom coachwork involved in building an Airstream it got left off or simply fell off over the past 23 years. I know exactly what you are saying though, I think this is just a lot more exact way of making sure the system has the proper amount of freon than purely relying on the gauges and it's the way he does it when filling a system from scratch.
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Old 04-23-2011, 04:37 PM   #5
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Converting to R134a is not as simple as flushing and recharging....
All the seals have to be changed too, and on top of that, systems originally designed for R12, do not work as well with R134a.

I have done a couple of conversions.... and ended up realizing that R12 still works better, and the costs involved in the conversion do not make sense...
R12 was super expensive for a bit, but its now become reasonable.

I am so deep into doing my own AC work, I took my test, and bought this...
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Old 04-23-2011, 05:37 PM   #6
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This can become a hot button topic I know. There are people that will tell you that every trace of R12 has to be removed from the system and you have to change this part and that part. I'm not wanting to get into any of that. I've done conversions in the past where I went through and changed all the o-rings and lubricated them with ester oil and flushed the system with mineral spirits and so on and so forth. I've also done them where I drained the R12 out, put in new desiccant, pulled a vacuum on the system for several hours, screwed on the proper fittings and charged them with freon. I worked in garages for years and everybody you talk to has a different opinion on what needs to be done to swap one over. Every system I converted worked and cooled good no matter how much or how little prep I did so long as the orifice tube and accumulator was changed and the proper type and amount of lubricant and freon was used (and I always used gauges not scales and gauges to charge them). I agree R12 cools better, especially in systems that were originally built for R12 but R134a still gets too cold for my achy bones. I actually hate air conditioning but the medication I am on causes me to have hot flashes like a menopausal woman so I almost have to have it. I'm fine one minute then sweating like a whore in church the next minute ! I really am just looking for that magical number of ounces of freon required to properly charge the system to make my mechanic friend happy, he says he needs it to do the job right and it's my mission to find out. Then all will be good in the world. Thanks again and if anyone knows please chime in. I mostly just wonder if there is any difference in the quantity of freon in an Airstream due to possible oversize components than any other P30 (evaporator, condenser, even just because of longer hoses?), if there is no difference I can probably just call NAPA. I would assume the answer is no but everybody knows what happens when you assume...Why do I get the feeling this is going to end up turning into another mystery canister threadThat's still a mystery and I thought that would be answered in ten minutes or less...
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:49 PM   #7
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I'm not saying your mechanic is not right, as a matter of fact, he is correct. However, like the old saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

Years ago I worked for a company that assigned us company cars without airconditioning, but allowed us to install our own airconditioners. We would install them, purge the system with one can of freon to remove the moisture, let that out, then put freon in till the sight glass rean clear, and that was the end of it. They worked good.

Later on, I got a set of guages, and learned how to use them. It's not rocket science, but it seems like your friend is trying to make it so.
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Old 04-24-2011, 03:57 AM   #8
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What can I say, he is a teacher and he certifies students in AC repair in a course much like what Keyair took. He is meticulous, I seldom let anyone else touch my vehicles and it really bothers me when I have to release the reigns and let someone else touch it. When I do however there are only two people in this world I trust with my stuff, one is him and the other a guy I used to work for at nights in his garage. He is getting so old and arthritic he can barely screw a gauge on but he's still working, (out of fear if he stops he'll get so stiiff he can't get out of bed.) Yes, it'a anal but that's the type of person I want working on my stuff.
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:26 PM   #9
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The system holds 3.25 lb of R12 in case anyone else out there ever needs to know or cares... Took me five days to get the answer, searched online for hours and hours, asked everyone I thought might know and finally got a number from a reliable source, a source I'll never reveal! (Mitchell1 OnDemand5 was the resource my secret agent used, hacked into, however you want to say it to get this most top secret of information!)
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:38 PM   #10
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r12 anyone?

my bro was cleaning out his barn-sold his hvac business a few years back-lo and behold, he found some 30lb canisters of R12. if anyone needs freon let me know. ol' bill
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Old 04-27-2011, 07:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmarsha View Post
my bro was cleaning out his barn-sold his hvac business a few years back-lo and behold, he found some 30lb canisters of R12. if anyone needs freon let me know. ol' bill
Those are quite valuable to the right person. I don't even fool with the stuff anymore. If I have an R12 vehicle that is leaking or needs the system drained for repairs I always convert them to R134a before recharging them. R12 is ozone depleting and I don't like it but it sure is expensive. It's like money in the bank! I'd carry it around to some local garages. I know mechanics around where I live that will buy it if you run across it. I'm sure there are people around your town that will do the same.
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Old 04-27-2011, 09:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmarsha View Post
my bro was cleaning out his barn-sold his hvac business a few years back-lo and behold, he found some 30lb canisters of R12. if anyone needs freon let me know. ol' bill
PM me?
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:18 AM   #13
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I might be interested in one of them. How are you going to sell them?
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:00 PM   #14
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I finally heard back from Airstream Tech Support. He (Randy at Airstream) saib it was 2.12 lbs of freon and 1/2 oz of oil. Now what do I do???
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