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Old 06-22-2010, 09:44 AM   #1
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
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1988 345 Classic Dash Air Con

Has anyone converted their dash AC. Just got a quote for $1800-$3000??? Does anyone have a better solution. I would like to have that dash air working but not for 3K!
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:08 AM   #2
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I just replaced the hoses to get the right fittings and because one was damaged new drier and charged the unit. That was 6 years ago still works fine on 134A total cost @ $200.00. If you want to make a trip to Louisville I can do it for you.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:23 AM   #3
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Ac unit

I've been told my compressor is bad as well which is what started the entire process. Something about having to convert to Puran or some newer type of refrigerant.
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Old 06-22-2010, 02:46 PM   #4
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Depends on what might need replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by nellie1960 View Post
I've been told my compressor is bad as well which is what started the entire process. Something about having to convert to Puran or some newer type of refrigerant.
Occasionally, a compressor will go bad and pump trash through the system which can not be reliably cleaned out. Should that be the case, the repair cost could be high as certain high-dollar items will have to be replaced.

But a new compressor is only $200 - $300, and a re-manufactured one about half that. Add new freon, oil, receiver/dryer, and an hour or so of the man's time should make the job cost less than $500.

Ask the man what he intends to do in return for $1800 - $3000.

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Old 06-22-2010, 06:22 PM   #5
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AC replacement

Tom, he says they can't repair old units due to the freon. Are they not allowed to utilize the older freon any longer. That big price is for all new, compressor, new If custom bent refer lines and charging the system with the new eco friendly puran refrigerant. Basically an entire new system. If I could just get it fixed that would be great!
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:34 PM   #6
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Keep looking. There are places that will repair and recharge with R-12. Legally they can do it if an upgrade to R-134a isn't practicable.

There are also many attitudes and approaches about conversion with many shops now evacuating and charging with R-134a and ester oil without replacing any parts except for the fill ports and the filter-dryer. In practice you can get a few years out of this approach in most cases.

Nonetheless auto A/C work is expensive. It's time consuming for the shop, and they tend to find more problems as they fix stuff. I just spent over $1000 on A/C on my tow vehicle, replaced the condenser, well the compressor was shot too, replaced that with used to save money, used compressor leaked, replaced again under warranty, used compressor leaked, replaced with new compressor. Some labor and parts charges credited due to the warranty but still an expensive repair.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:08 PM   #7
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Nellie,
Not done this on my 345 yet, but its in the works...
I have done this on my 1987 Suburban with the same motor... My 1984 Mercedes Diesel and my 1973 Chevy Pickup.
If the compressor is toast then replace it, also you should have the system flushed and the O rings should be changed too.
I used a r12 replacement called ES12... Its enviro safe, compatable with all oils and O rings and works better than the R134 that they push on you. Its cheap too... I bought enough to do 4 cars, for $100 shipped...

Find a better shop... I know they need to make a living, but $3k???
Come on!
I assume you are a lady, and shops mess with ya. Take a big burley guy with ya to get a quote!
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:10 PM   #8
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ES12 is a mixture of propane and butane plus additives. It's just as flammable as propane and overall just as dangerous in every way. I would never put it in any car, and I would encourage you to safely remove it from your cars and trucks and dispose of it as soon as possible.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:31 PM   #9
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Whilst I respect your right to your opinion, I researched it very carefully, and in fact its less flammable than R134a that is in all cars with A/C produced after the mid 90's, and many were retrofitted from earlier.
Also, because its far more efficient than R12 or R134, you have less of it too!
Take it out for my own safety?
I am not worried about 8 ozs of a refridgerant when I have up to 80 gallons of gas, and 125lb of Propane strapped to my belly!
If it was MORE dangerous than R134, they would never have approved it for its intended use....

http://autorefrigerants.com/Envirotechnical.htm
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Old 06-22-2010, 09:02 PM   #10
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Try this. Fill one balloon with R-134a. Fill one balloon with ES12. Light each one with a match, then tell me which one is more flammable. Wear safety glasses and stay in an open area, at least for the ES12 balloon.

R134a is not flammable at standard pressures as would be the case with a leak, or in a balloon. ES12 is flammable, and will burn vigorously. An 8 ounce charge, leaking into the passenger compartment and becoming ignited, would be enough to turn the car into a fireball.

The marketing materials for ES12 skirt the issue by focusing on the auto ignition point, which is a red herring, and by referring to the contents as "Alkenes" which most people don't recognize as the generic name for methane, ethane, propane, butane, etc.

Flammable refrigerants are prohibited in many states and also, for motor vehicles, at the federal level:

Legal Status of HC-12a , DURACOOL 12a , and OZ-12 | Alternatives / SNAP | US EPA

Quote:
I am not worried about 8 ozs of a refridgerant when I have up to 80 gallons of gas, and 125lb of Propane strapped to my belly!
The difference is that the 125 pounds of propane are in an ASME tank with 1/4" thick steel walls, that has some sort of maximum flow limitation, and is connected to a distribution system engineered for fire safety -- copper lines and hoses specifically designed and manufactured for propane -- which operates at less than 1 PSI. Further, only the gas is present in the distribution lines.

In your air conditioning system, liquid propane circulates through the evaporator in the passenger compartment. In the event of damage, the entire charge could be released in a matter of seconds.

Similarly, the gasoline is contained in a fuel system with safeguards intended to contain the fuel in the event of a collision. The fuel lines do not enter the coach.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:29 AM   #11
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Jammer,
Clearly I am not as well informed or versed with this as you and I bow to your greater knowledge.
However, whilst your statement about fuel lines entering the passenger compartment is true, the chances of a rupture of any A/C lines WITHIN the passenger compartment is equally rare and indeed unlikely.
Accidents occur, fires occur, people are hurt and worse every day. These are all facts that in my profession we worked to prevent.
I saw the results of a simple accident that sheared the regulator off an approved1/4" thick and certified Propane Tank... Nobody died, and nobody was hurt, but it was close.
I have been in simple accidents where there was fuel fires that ran out of control.

As I said in my opening statement, we are able to make personal choices.
I respect your opinion, and that you dont agree with mine.
I wear a seatbelt, I drive defensively, and I am comfortable with my choice to put 12oz of Es12a in my older vehicles.
Vive USA!
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:21 PM   #12
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Keyair,

If it is your choice to run propane refrigerant in your cars, well, that's your choice.

My concern is that your efforts to encourage other forum members to use it, and comments like:

Quote:
I researched it very carefully, and in fact [ES12 is] less flammable than R134a that is in all cars with A/C produced after the mid 90's, and many were retrofitted from earlier.
may mislead forum readers into believing that ES12 and other propane refrigerant products are as safe as R134a. They're not.

The utility of propane and butane refrigerants has been understood for decades, and R11, R12, and R22 were originally adopted as a refrigerants because the flammability of propane and butane were widely thought to make them unacceptably dangerous for air conditioning and refrigeration outside an industrial environment. R134a has been the refrigerant of choice for automotive use because, while having a thermodynamic efficiency lower than that of R12, it is nonflammable, nontoxic, and not ozone depleting.

From your prior posts I gather that you installed ES12 without understanding the risks. Now that you know the risks, if you choose to keep it in your cars, yes, that's your choice to make.

It is my hope that others on the forum, reading this thread, will understand the danger before installing such products. There are a number of propane refrigerant products on the market. In my area some shops were quietly selling a propane product called "Red Cap 12" for a while, for example. Since the sales and installation of these products is of doubtful legality and open to considerable product liability risk, the brand names come and go.

Another fact to consider is that propane refrigerants pose a risk to future service technicians who may end up working on the vehicles where they are installed. The safety procedures for working with flammable gases are not ordinarily used when working on automotive refrigeration systems, so, for example, someone might be working on such a system in an enclosed service bay adjacent to one where a cutting torch is in use.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:46 PM   #13
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$3000 bucks is a rip off. I have converted 3 different vehicles from R-12 to R134a. They all work well. Each system is a little different, some have expansion valves, some have orifice tubes. Sometimes they must be changed during the changeover but they are cheap. If it were mine, I'd remove the old parts,flush the system with A/C flushing fluid. Install the new parts and hook it up to a vacum pump for about an hour and recharge it with R134a. Rule of thumb on 134 is that a system takes about 75% less than r-12 by weight. Even with a new compressor ( don't bother with a rebuilt one, the difference in the cost is money well spent), receiver/dryer, expansion valve, belts, and refrigerant and you are looking at less than $500. Add 2 or 3 hours labor @ $75/hr and you are still way under $1000.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:11 PM   #14
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Here's an article about a vehicle fire involving ES12.

Chariot Afire: Is It The First Documented Hydrocarbon Refrigerant Fire
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