Keep or Remove Original Armstrong Pan
I have decided not to go forward and invest in maintain the Armstrong unit on the 72' Tradewind. I just think the ongoing maintenance will quickly consume any savings of keeping the old 40 year old unit. The original Armstrong pan (more like the mounting plate) is riveted to the top as has been described elsewhere. It appears I have two choices, 1) to remove everything and install Olympic rivets to fill the holes then block the 14"x14" opening, or 2) leave the aluminum pan riveted to the top and just break the spot welds that hold the sheet metal to the aluminum pan. I tested that approach on a few welds and they do appear to break relatively easily. It also appears that the old compressor is bolted through the pan so I would need to plug those holes; that is the only downside I can see. Does anyone have educated opinions about either approach? If I leave the plate, do I still need to block the opening?
Also, I am not sure what to do about trying to remove the old compressor. If I do so then R22 will be released. Is there a way that a non-technican can evacuate and save the freon?