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'94 Chrysler Lhs - A/c Experiment


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#1 bobalou (converted)

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Posted August 6, 2005 at 03:27 pm

With all the hype/rumor circulating about the availabilty and price of R-134a, I've been wanting to try one of the hydrocarbon based refrigerants.

The compressor on my '95 Chrysler LHS has been whining for some time now, so when it started leaking last week I decided to give it a try.

I ordered Duracool from their website and picked up a compressor from a low mileage wreak at the boneyard.

I installed the compressor with new o-rings, replaced the receiver/dryer, put on a new drive belt, vacuumed it down and installed the Duracool acording to their instructions. It only required 12 ozs. (I couldn't imagine that would be enough but it was.)

I've driven the car about 500 miles since and the A/C is colder than it has ever been. 'Course I don't know what will happen long term, but if anyone is interested I'll make periodic reports.

#2 KOG

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Posted August 6, 2005 at 04:28 pm

Definitely keep us posted.

#3 SnoMan

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Posted August 6, 2005 at 10:54 pm

With all the hype/rumor circulating about the availabilty and price of R-134a, I've been wanting to try one of the hydrocarbon based refrigerants.

The compressor on my '95 Chrysler LHS has been whining for some time now, so when it started leaking last week I decided to give it a try.

I ordered Duracool from their website and picked up a compressor from a low mileage wreak at the boneyard.

I installed the compressor with new o-rings, replaced the receiver/dryer, put on a new drive belt, vacuumed it down and installed the Duracool acording to their instructions. It only required 12 ozs. (I couldn't imagine that would be enough but it was.)

I've driven the car about 500 miles since and the A/C is colder than it has ever been. 'Course I don't know what will happen long term, but if anyone is interested I'll make periodic reports.

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You should have no long term problem at all, wise choice. It is more efficent than R12 even and a lot more efficent than R134. It also runs at lower press than R134 too and uses less HP because it is a lighter weigh gas. Except for questionable flammablity issues that I feel is over rated, it is about the perfect refrigerant with no real environmental impact either. Also unlike R134 it is not poisonous in native state or when you burn it. R134 can be lethal in either state and R12 is only lethal when burned. It is also compatable with both kinds of refrigerant oil too. If the EPA would buy off on it, Dupont would be hurting because they developed R134 and get the royalties from it too. The Airforce did a test in 97 on the lethality of R134 in a cab/cabin of a motor vehical from battle damage and found that the amont of R134 in the average system was enough to kill the occupants easily and quickly several times over if there is not good ventilation. They actually had a live subject, (Dupont said it was safe to do so) that passed out in but a few minutes and needed a medical crash time to revive him) Dupont was quick to play this down and bury this. The gasoline in your car is a far bigger fire hazard than hydro carbon "freon".

#4 Bob Lincoln

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Posted August 7, 2005 at 12:00 am

Misleading story. There is no way of knowing the total volume of the A/C system or the vehicle. EPA tests show that it takes 500,000 ppm (which means that HALF the atmosphere is R134a) to produce these effects. I don't think you can achieve that inside a vehicle - catastrophic, rapid failure of the evaporator would be very rare, compared to a collision damaging the condenser and venting it to the outside air.

How expensive is Duracool? Sounds like you have to evacuate the R12 completely first.

#5 Tech Man

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Posted August 7, 2005 at 12:16 am

The gasoline in your car is a far bigger fire hazard than hydro carbon "freon".

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The only concern I have with this is that a leak in the evaporator would bring this flammable gas into the cabin of the vehicle. A spark, lit cigarette, or whatever, could lead to an incident.

#6 bobalou (converted)

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Posted August 7, 2005 at 12:36 am

As SNOMAN said, the 12 ozs. of Duracool in the a/c system seems a lot less hazarous than the 18 gallons of gasoline in the tank. I just chose to ignore it and enjoy the cool ride.

After nearly 2 weeks of leaking there wasn't much r134a left in the system. Still, I had my nephew, a mechanic at the local Chrysler dealership, recover it for me.

I bought the Durcool in 6 oz. single cans @ $8.49 each. Two cans was enough to bring the low side pressure up to 33 psi, with a high side of about 150. I didn't measure the temperature at the vents but it was much colder than at anytime since I've owned the car. I'd say less than 40 degrees on an 85 degree day.

I don't know if you could mix Duracool with R134a/R12 or not, but since their instructions called for the system to be evacuated first, that's what I did.

So far so good.

#7 fjb37

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Posted August 7, 2005 at 02:30 pm

I used Enviro-Safe in my now departed 91 Tempo and 92 Caravan, both with R12 systems. I just topped off the R12 with the hydrocarbon gas and got cold air and was satisfied. The Enviro-Safe instructions say not to vacuum the system because of the possibility of overfilling. Anyway, the stuff works great and I doubt that there is any safety issue because there isn't that much in the system. It has a pine scent added to warn of leaks. Just my $0.02.

FredB

#8 Tech Man

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Posted August 8, 2005 at 01:09 am

As SNOMAN said, the 12 ozs. of Duracool in the a/c system seems a lot less hazarous than the 18 gallons of gasoline in the tank.

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But.........the fuel system doesn't go through the cabin. The A/C system does.

#9 TWX

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Posted August 8, 2005 at 01:21 am

But.........the fuel system doesn't go through the cabin. The A/C system does.

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A friend's '66 Ford Truck's gas tank sits under the bench seat... :D

#10 Chuck_Hawks (converted)

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Posted August 8, 2005 at 06:51 am

My wifes 1991 Chevy Euro has half the tank under the rear seat other half under part of the trunk.

cHUCK

#11 Bob Lincoln

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Posted August 8, 2005 at 07:22 am

That's still a double wall of steel. The evaporator is one thin aluminum layer away from exposing you to the refrigerant. Also, these HC refrigerants vaporize instantly at ambient pressure and temperature; gasoline is far less volatile.

#12 tealfish

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Posted August 9, 2005 at 08:04 am

The only concern I have with this is that a leak in the evaporator would bring this flammable gas into the cabin of the vehicle. A spark, lit cigarette, or whatever, could lead to an incident.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



This should teach you all to quit smoking, especially in a car.... even a leak of 134a can theoretically make a fireball....

#13 Bob Lincoln

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Posted August 9, 2005 at 10:10 am

How? It's not flammable.

#14 SnoMan

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Posted August 9, 2005 at 10:39 am

How?  It's not flammable.

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It will burn by itself if it is hot enough but the far bigger concern is the fact that R134 in a leak is deadly in native state or burned. Also if poster was referring to hydro carbon freon, it will take a very very big fast leak and a heat source to fireball in the car and it is scented as such that you can smell it long before there is a flamable mixture. You have much better odds of getting burn from the large amount of fuel in your vehical than 15 to 25 oz or so of hydro carbon based refigerant.

Edited by SnoMan, August 9, 2005 at 10:40 am.


#15 Bob Lincoln

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Posted August 9, 2005 at 12:53 pm

It will burn by itself if it is hot enough

No, it won't. But you're right in that like R12, if burned it will produce deadly by-products - phosgene gas, if I remember right. But it is not a fuel by itself, it has to be burned with some fuel. It is not flammable, i.e. it will not flame if exposed to heat and O2. It requires the addition of a fuel to be harmful.

25 oz. of a flammable gas can easily produce a fireball large enough to fill the front seat area if built up, but, yes, must be a catastrophic leak to happen. It is not a zero risk.

#16 bobalou (converted)

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Posted August 9, 2005 at 03:32 pm

I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but while there is a statistical possibility that the gas could leak in to the cabin and explode, I decided it was low enough to not worry about it. There is a rotten egg smell added to the refrigerant, and according to the tech sheet included in the box, it can be smelled at a concentration of 20,000 parts per million. Presumably this is well below the concentration required for ignition. Perhaps one of our chemists or engineers could offer an expert opinion.

Plus the system is fully charged with only 12 ozs. of the refrigerant. So . . . experts, if the full 12 ozs. leaked into the cabin, and the occupants failed to detect it, would the resulting mixture of cabin air and A/C refrigerant be concentrated enough to ignite and cause injury.

BTW: It was 93 degrees here yesterday and the car was quite comfortable.

#17 Jeff2KPatriotBlue

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Posted August 9, 2005 at 03:50 pm

Anybody have an MSDS for this stuff?

I am currious as to what conditions are required for it to ignite.

#18 Bob Lincoln

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Posted August 9, 2005 at 04:37 pm

There is a rotten egg smell added to the refrigerant, and according to the tech sheet included in the box, it can be smelled at a concentration of 20,000 parts per million.

That's good, actually hydrogen sulfide (H2S) can be detected by human sense of smell at 20 parts per billion (ppb). So that's a good early warning system.

#19 SnoMan

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Posted August 9, 2005 at 05:33 pm

No, it won't.  But you're right in that like R12, if burned it will produce deadly by-products - phosgene gas, if I remember right.  But it is not a fuel by itself, it has to be burned with some fuel.  It is not flammable, i.e. it will not flame if exposed to heat and O2.  It requires the addition of a fuel to be harmful.


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You ar wrong on this Bob R134 will auto ignite, at 5.5 PSI it will auto ingite in the presence of oxygen and at 0 psi it will ignite at about 1400 degrees. When it burns it can produces Hydyogren Fluoride Gas. R134 is known to cause testical cancer and can cause sudden death in native state.(which AirForce demonstrated in 1997). R12 in not toxic is native state and has no health side effects and will not burn on it own ever and is considered a non flamable. (when burned in a open flame it create phosgen gas) Hydro Carbon based refrigerant will auto ignite at 1585 degrees and is not toxic burned or unburned. From a chemical standpoint there really is no defense for R134 being more safer than hydrocarbon based refrigerants because you could not really smeel and and it could kill you where as EC12 is scented and you will smell it long before it will burn abd it will still take a match to burn too. Sure you can blow up a can of EC12 and make a fire ball, you can with R134a to if it is warm enough and a like can of gas will make a far bigger bang than EC12 will too.

#20 Original Bigfoot

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Posted August 10, 2005 at 06:27 am

I have been interested in this stuff for quit some time. DuPont really put one over on the public with the whole R-12/R-134a controversy. The late Dixie Lee Ray, a noted scientist, and former governor of Washington, made the point in her book "Environmental Overkill" that R-12 is heavier than air, and thus would sink to the lowest level, rather than rise up into the atomosphere, by some magic, gravity defying process, and destroy the ozone layer. Not to mention the fact that nearly every major volcanic eruption realeases, at one time, more ozone depleting substances into the upper atmosphere than all the man-made ozone depleters ever produced in history.

Plus, while we in the civilized, tree-hugging, green-thinking U.S. can rest easy knowing that while cheap, relatively non-toxic, simple, easy to use R-12 has gone the way of the '57 Chevy, thus saving the planet from another phoney man-made catastrophy, other countries, with larger populations than ours, are happily pumping out R-12 and using it with no thought whatsoever for the good ole' USA and our worries about the ozone layer and supposed man-made global warming. So once again, foreign lands get the benefit of our technology, while we get screwed out of using the same tech here at home by big business and wrong-thinking, knee-jerk, bleeding heart government bureaucrats who force down our throats a product that isn't as good, is more expensive, is potentially more hazardous, and won't work in the millions of older cars on the road without potentially blowing up the system, thus making repairs to the cars a/c system potentially more costly than the worth of the whole vehicle. But hey, it gave a shot in the arm to DuPont and the auto repair industry...isn't it our governments job to keep the economy rollin'???

One can only imagine how much R-134a has blown into the atmosphere from $39 do-it-yourself conversion kits that don't do the job right and eventually blow the compressor, hoses, or other various parts of a system that wasn't designed for 134a in the first place. How many years before we figure out what health hazards are in store for us? Anyone remember MTBE?

I know I fell for the conversion thing once a few years ago. I had a/c for several weeks. And in fact got a face full of R-134a just a week or so ago from trying to help a buddy, who already started the process (I would have told him to forget it if he had asked first), but whose compressor wouldn't take the R-134 charge in the first place, even after proper "vacumming" by an a/c shop.

But hey, with the reported risk of tumors, now I have an excuse to "check" my testicles more often! (Shut up, man, I'm not fondling myself, I'm checkin' for tumors...) :lol:

Seriously, my biggest problem is the lack of availability of all these R-12 replacements, flammable or not. I just bought a 1977 motor home on a Dodge Sportsman chassis, and after it has been sitting for years, I was amazed that the dash a/c works, but just barely. I figure if it has taken a decade for the last R-12 charge to get down as low as it is, it should hold something else no problem. But I can't find the "something else" anywhere. Even the independent auto parts stores that can get Freeze-12 aren't interested in ordering it. Seems the R-134a lobby has been very effective in Farmington, New Mexico. Even the a/c shops have "pooh-poohed" the idea of anything but an R-134 conversion. I can see their point. In an area where it has been in the mid 90's to low 100's for the last month, why would they want to sell a cheap, $30 fix, when they can do a conversion that costs the better part of a grand, and THEN recharge it with $30 worth of R-134 from time to time. Unfortunately, I don't think they realize it just makes them look very stupid when the tell me "there is no more R-12, you can't get it" and I come home and find it for sale all over Ebay.

Does anyone know of any stores that actually sell the R-12 replacements? I get to Albuquerque a couple times a month, and would even be more than happy to buy the stuff there.

Thanks..


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