New guy! 1985 Caprice Wagon

Discussion in 'The Welcome Wagon' started by Only1Balto, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Only1Balto

    Only1Balto Member

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    Alright so after doing some research I'd probably be in my best interest to convert to R134
     
  2. Only1Balto

    Only1Balto Member

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    To drain the system- I need to take it to a shop correct? But if my A/C doesn't blow cold air, doesn't that mean there's nothing in there?
    -Well I ended up calling the shop, and they want 60 bucks to remove all the R12 in the system- when I asked "Alright so that'll leave the A/C bone dry ready to accept the 134A" he sorta hesitated and went on to say there could still be small amounts of R12 in the system, and that they needed to measure the amount of ester to put in (Or something along the lines), because 134A won't mix with the R12 or the ester- he said the A/C would run but not for long.

    I've seen the green O-rings at the autoparts store, and I've taken apart the lines before on a newer car (my neon), that shouldn't be a problem. Where do I get the replacement gaskets for the inlet/outlet of the compressor? The inlet and outlet on the compressor I'm assuming is where the two lines connect into the compressor.

    Why do I need to replace the dryer? Where do I get one? What is it- the silver canister?

    I've watched this very informative video and it helped out a lot. Try not to get sidetracked on the first 4 minutes of the film, lol.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q0sMQJre60
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  3. Dogbone

    Dogbone Senior Member

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    A/C is just a compressor pumping compressed refrigerant around a closed circuit.

    From the compressor outlet it goes to an condensor (the condensor is to a compressor as an intercooler is for a turbo ;) ). It cools the incoming compressed refrigerant gas, and when it cools it condenses (that's why it's called a condensor, get it?) into a liquid.

    From here it goes through the dryer. The dryer is basically a filter, but also a water seperator (dryer, get it?), and also an accumulator to smooth out pressure spikes from the compressor.

    After the dryer, the compressed refrigerant liquid travels through the small hoses (called the high side, due to the "high" pressure) into the evaporator.

    The evaporator, that is just a coil with a nozzle (orifice) at the inlet that lets the compressed, liquified refrigerant "gas off" (evaporate, get it?), which we know from physics, when a liquid "evaporates" to a gas, it's pressure drops, and at the same time it absorbs heat. The same as a balloon gets cool when you let out the air quickly, or a bottle of liquid propane gets ice cold as it discharges as a gas to atmosphere.

    This process makes the evaporator coils "cold".

    The air that your blower fan moves across this coil cools down, and blows into your wagon's interior as what you feel as cold A/C air.

    After the evaporator the refrigerant gas travels through the larger tube (called the "low side" due to the relatively low pressure, this is where you charge your A/C system with refrigerant) into the compressor inlet and the whole process starts again. :)


    Hard to do, because so much of A/C is regulated and has legal ramifications, there's a lot of liability is telling someone to take shortcuts, and the environmental impact is also often a sticking point.

    Plus the A/C shop owners and employees, they want to eat too. ;)

    For safety sake, I recommend wearing gloves and eye protection when working with A/C, because much like we know when a propane tank is venting off, if your hand is near a line that gases off, frostbite is very likely.

    Otherwise, it's not magic or voodoo, it's just mechanical.

    A properly working A/C system, whether R12 or 134a, should be blowing air out of the center vent at about 40 degrees F.

    Of course, it will never get your whole car that cool, unless it's like only 41 degree outside. ;)

    R12 is more efficient than R134a, but not by too much. If you notice, factory R134a systems tend to have a larger condensor than the older R12 systems. Therefore, if money is no object, putting in a larger condensor during a conversion would get the cooling similar to R12 performance.

    I'm a big fan of simple alternatives to R12, but on a public forum I hesitate to recommend too blatantly something that may be illegal.

    But I also know what works, and that there are usually many ways to skin a cat! (y)

    Why recharge first? Because that's the first thing the A/C shop is going to do, albeit not necessarily with R12. They'll either use R134a or nitrogen and dye to leak check first, and suck it all back out when they're done. But you probably don't have a tank of nitrogen at your disposal, nor would you want to put in a bunch of 134a just to have to take it all out again.

    If your system has a drastic leak, you'll need to charge it regardless, and maybe even put in some dye yourself to find it.

    It's probably leaking right at the compressor discharge, but really any hose fitting o-ring could be suspect.

    Also the Schrader valves themselves can and do leak.

    Hint: Sometimes simply putting a cheap plastic car tire valve cap is enough to seal this kind of leak without having to go to the trouble of rebuilding this valve. ;)

    If the system holds a charge for weeks or months, then just top it off when needed.

    If the system doesn't and leaks off in a day or so, ideally the dye will show the leak.

    And yes, if your system is already vented, then of course you can replace the gaskets and o-rings, etc, just as above, right away, and then charge with your refrigerant of choice. Unless the compressor itself is leaking, doing this will most likely work. If the compressor is the culprit, get another from the junkyard or a rebuilt from ebay, whatever your budget dictates.

    Regarding oil, yes your A/C compressor, much like a turbo, an engine, a transmission, a differential, yes, like any metal to metal moving part, it requires lubrication.

    R12 takes mineral oil (petroleum), typically a 10 weight compressor oil.

    R134a takes an Ester or PAG oil (synthetic).

    Pulling a vacuum on your system, then physically unhooking lines, removing the compressor, and draining it, is the proper and sure way to get the oil out.

    However, on most A/C systems that leak, only the refrigerant escapes, the oil for the most part stays in the system indefinately.

    So if you are sticking with R12, and not tearing apart your system or replacing your compressor, don't sweat the compressor oil. ;)

    Didn't mean to get so long winded. Hope some of this helps! :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  4. Only1Balto

    Only1Balto Member

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    Hmmm... Thanks for the info, it's greatly appreciated. What would you do? Option 2 (R12)?

    I'm leaning towards that too... There's a bunch of ebay kits for 50 bucks
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/R-12...ptZMotorsQ5fCarQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/3-RE...rQ5fTruckQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories#ht_3468wt_754

    So if I were to do R12- it'd be done like this? idk if this guy got his to work or not.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etTLXqzsFPA
    Did he do it right?




    So since my system is already vented an no longer blows cold air- I plan on purchasing one of the R12 kits on line- and then remove all my lines, replace the green o-rings and gaskets, cap off any shradder valves, and then add the R12? Sound good? As far as adding the R12- just make sure the engine is running with the A/C on, and the compressor spinning, correct? If there's no leaks- it should last for years correct?
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  5. Only1Balto

    Only1Balto Member

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    I've got another question- how do I drop the back tail gate? I can open it by swinging it out- but I'm pretty sure its a dual action. I can see the tailgate strap in the pivot hinge area.
     
  6. CapriceEstate

    CapriceEstate Yacht Captain

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    The rear window has to be rolled all the way down, and you open it from the handle inside the car, on the tailgate.

     
  7. Only1Balto

    Only1Balto Member

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    LOL thanks Caprice- that did it. Not at first but when I put a little elbow grease into it- it came off just fine :) We packed up the three kids at 10 at night and went Dairy Queen hunting/cruising only to end up at Sonics for their sundays (Since most of the DQ's here in Cali are closing one by one). It was there at sonics that I dropped the tailgate and noticed a bunch of people pulling in watching me almost as in excitement making chatter with their passengers. :thumbs2: I've been talking to the wife about selling the wagon for an older muscle car- maybe a charger or 69 mustang since those too could fit all of our kids and still support the A to B driving I'd need to get done. As well as having all the replacement parts I could ever want in a magazine for cheap (Which is the main thing I dislike about having the wagon- having to hunt for used parts:() but the wagon is starting to grow on me, I'd have to admit.
     
  8. Dogbone

    Dogbone Senior Member

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    That's an excellent plan.

    The Schrader valves are the valves on the high and low side lines, I mention them because years ago I had an A/C leak that I could not find, and it ended up being a leaking schrader on the low side. Rather than venting the whole system to fix, simply replacing the missing plastic cap on the valve took care of the problem for several more summers.

    Like the last video hinted at, if your system is under charged you'll want to start filling with the car running and A/C on, and then you'll expect the compressor to kick on in a minute or too once the pressure switch detects a minimum charge.

    If this doesn't happen, you'll then want to "hotwire" the A/C compressor to get it to kick on (It needs to be running to properly suck in the charge, and when it's running again look for 28 to 40 psi on the low side).

    You shouldn't have to do this on a functional A/C system, but for troubleshooting a malfunctioning system hotwiring the compressor is your first step. When the compressor is running, and your A/C turned on and blower fan turned on inside the car, you should feel cold air.

    If you do have cold air while hotwiring the compressor (but it won't come on by itself) then there is an electrical problem (bad fuse, bad pressure switch, bad on/off switch, bad relay, etc.)

    If you do not have cold air you have a mechanical problem (bad compressor, obstruction in the system, etc.)

    And yes, if you replace the o-rings and gaskets, and you have no leaks at the compressor, condensor, evaporator, etc, it will last for years.

    My '73 Duster is R12, and it has not been charged in at least the last 10 years and still blows cold.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  9. Only1Balto

    Only1Balto Member

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    Anyone know who's car this is? What wheels are those? Looks really good :) Also- does anyone know the max wheel width for the rear rim/tires I can go, without any rub?

    [​IMG]
     
  10. The Stickman

    The Stickman Well-Known Member

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    Not sure who's car that is but You can go very wide in the back if you get the wheel backspacing right. I would think atleast 11 if not 12. with a rolled lip on he fender well. I am looking into this myself as I want more tire in the back. Maybe as big as a 335/30-18.
     
  11. Only1Balto

    Only1Balto Member

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    Well stick- please post your findings! I'm itching to get some new wheels and tires- but want to do it right ;)
     
  12. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    That Bu you posted belongs to Phantom SS one of our members. He used to post regularly and was and interesting car enthusiast. For some reason he stopped posting in October of 2010. IIRC he had an accident and I believe it was with that car. I wish he would come back....I loved that car and he had new ideas for it that were interesting.

    new_paint_1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  13. Only1Balto

    Only1Balto Member

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    Wow that thing's a beauty! I hope he was alright :( That's the style I'd want my car to take.
     
  14. Fat Tedy

    Fat Tedy Island Red Neck

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    I can't remember exatly but, didn't he have a heart problem and one of his friends posted on his behalf stating that? But i don't think the car was involved...I could be wrong,
     
  15. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    That could be true, Tedy but I think he had a small accident that he was working to fix last I heard.
     

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