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Old 08-03-2014, 09:15 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, 09:16 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, 09:58 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, 10:04 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, 01:12 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, 02:38 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 08-31-2014, 11:28 PM   #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, 09:23 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, 06:54 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, 11:35 AM   #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, 04:53 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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Old 05-10-2021, 02:47 PM   #12
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To the best of my understanding, our '85 345 cab AC is still configured for R12. The clutch on our compressor isn't engaging, which I was told can be due to various reasons.

Does anyone have suggestions and/or recommendations on who works with R12 systems in the greater Boston area or northeast?

Upgrading to R134a is likely the better long-term option, the couple shops I talked to about it are talking big bucks.

Luis
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Old 05-10-2021, 04:20 PM   #13
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I was just over in Marshfield working on Charlyís (Streamquest)ís 370LE. We pulled a vacuum on his system.....no leaks. Iíll be returning there sometime in June to recharge his system with R-12. If that interests you, let me know, you can drive your rig down to his place and weíll get it done. Price per pound....$125.00 Regards, Bob
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:53 AM   #14
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Did a little reading last night on AC, and Charly's 370LE. The latter is quite a story.

I'll message you directly to save readers the gory details on our whereabouts and schedules.


Luis
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:30 PM   #15
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R12 vs R134a

I need help deciding whether to fix my R12 cab AC, or upgrade to R134a. OrÖ potentially forgo it all together.

After making more than 20 calls, other than Bob Miller, I found no one that will work with R12 in my coach. Bob kindly offered to recharge the R12, but undoubtedly thereís troubleshooting and at least one repair to do first.

As a result of how restrictive it is to work with R12, Iím considering an R134a upgrade. The tough part is the shops Iíve talked to want $3-5k for the upgrade. Big cash for a function that will get relatively little use (maybe 20 times a year, or 50 bucks every time I use the cab AC for 5 years). I could use the money to buy new tires, which have a more important roll (pun intended).

To start troubleshooting the R12 repair, one of the shops suggested pressing on the Schrader valves to test if thereís any refrigerant left in the system now. Far as I can tell there isnít, which could indicate a not-small leak to fix (found one of the fittings covered in black soot). Not sure if itís normal, but the front of the compressor is also covered in a black soot (and Bob recommends replacing the receiver/dryer).

SoÖ is fixing the system and working with R12 just a waste of time and money in 2021?

Luis
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:57 PM   #16
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You might consider switching to R12a (HC-12c). I did some changes before it was prohibited in 1995.

There are two camps on this:

1) Who have done it without issues
2) Those who would advocate against doing it because of the flammability isssues

Having run this in a number of R-12 refrigeration system (both mobile and stationary) it's worked well. I do not know if you can still get it in the states, but it was a viable option at one point.

If not, you really can spend a fortune on R12 or you can bite the bullet and swap out and go R-134a which like everything else causes cancer.

Here one convo from a car forum about this exact topic:

https://bobistheoilguy.com/forums/th...-hc12a.135529/
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Old 05-13-2021, 01:13 PM   #17
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Ouch!

Luis, that’s a tough call given the high cost of R12. It’s like the cigarette tax now, you can still buy them but the incentive is not to.

We were parked next to a 5th wheel last year with two very large dogs. The guy hooked up a Champion Dual-Fuel generator on the back of the trailer and ran it while towing to run the AC in the trailer - the dogs were too big to fit inside the truck with his two small kids.

If you have working rooftop AC, I wonder if you couldn’t do something similar or get one of these portable AC units that vent through a hose. Just trying to think of more affordable options…
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:06 PM   #18
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I think my head is going to explode.......Regards, Bob
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:15 PM   #19
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Bob! No no no ! Your head canít explode. Mine already has. Our gray matter bits will mix. It wonít be pretty.

You are the one beacon of light in the dark swamp of air conditioning.

I canít find anyone to fix potential problems and pull a vacuum before you charge it.

For whatever multitude of reasons, we havenít been able to find anyone to do our chassis repairs. As a result, Iím left to my own devices to fix them - all (and I donít have to tell anyone here how big that list is). Complicating matters, our driveway is not level so any job involving jacking it up means doing it somewhere else (outside) and schlepping tools back and forth (inevitably forgetting a number of things).

Between Covid and our coach, my day job has taken a wallop for over a year. Fixing the AC was the straw that broke the proverbial camelís back.

All that said, I am fortunate to be the coachís caretaker. I bought it from a friend, a retired Navy Seal, and got 35 years of receipts. My plan is to take care of it for the next generation and hope that the next owner thinks I did a good job. Iíll start a new post to chronicle our journey as its caretakers.

Luis
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Old 05-13-2021, 06:38 PM   #20
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Sorry Bob

Bob, sorry I wasn't trying to draw that kind of reaction. I was a NSE certified GM mechanic back in the '70's and did my share of A/C repairs. A pound can of R12 used to cost a few bucks. I get it you want to keep the unit intact. Sorry!
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