Auto A-C Warning

Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:50 pm

With the upcoming heat wave upon us I thought I would share a little warning.

Most of the auto parts stores (maybe even you Eddie) carry these little cans with R 134a in them for the DIY'er to charge their own auto A-C system.

BAD, BAD, BAD STUFF !!!!!!!!

Most of these cans also contain a sealant in them. The sealants are usually activated by normal exposure to air or at least the moisture in the air.

The problem comes when they do not totally seal the leak and now the consumer comes into a regular repair shop to get them fixed properly. That damn sealant will clog up our A-C machines. That requires us to break them down and flush out all the lines. And also to replace the filters.

The same thing happens in your auto. BUT more and more the OEM's are using smaller and smaller diameter tubing in the A-C condensors and evaporator cores. But then increasing the amount of these small tubes. More often it is referred to as multipass systems.

When these multipass systems get clogged, the only way to effectively remove the sealers is to replace the affected parts. So we are now talking about replacing the condensor, evap core (which may necessitate removing the dash), expansion valve, accumulator or receiver drier and most likely also requiring the replacement of the compressor. The remaining large lines can be flushed using special flush solvents.

I have done 2 such replacements this season due to the system being clogged. Costs start around $ 1600.00 when you add in the replacement costs for the several components. I also just turned away 2 customers who had already tried to add this crap and it didn't work. I explained how it clogs up my machines and I will not hook up their cars to it. Unless they would be responsible for it clogging my machine. I showed them right on the can where it says "sealant added."

When I questioned the guys at the local NAPA why they sell this crap in a can, they replied because if they didn't, the customers would just go somewhere else to buy it !!!


Just a word to the wise for my coal burning buddies.




Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: 009to090 On: Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:18 pm

Rick,
Good info.
Do you know if anyone sells the cans without the Sealant in it?
009to090
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520 HighBoy
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: DVC-500 x 2
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Rice

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: CoaLen On: Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:42 pm

Good post Rick.
Thanks! :clap:
CoaLen
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Coal Size/Type: rice


Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: mikey55 On: Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:05 pm

Yes you can buy just 134a. The same 134a that shops use. But you do have to make sure that you do not buy the stuff with sealant added. Also usually if you need recharging there is a reason and it is only a short term fix. But sometimes a short term fix is just what is needed.
mikey55
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: key stoker ka6
Stove/Furnace Model: ka6

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: Flyer5 On: Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:45 pm

Its hard to get a good mechanic in a can. They always find way out.

The only one I like is the UV dye for finding leaks. Does that screw up the machine. I got out of auto repair just as the recovery machines were being implemented. And freon was like $12/ lb for R12. :D
Flyer5
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Leisure Line Pioneer

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:41 am

Thanks Rick 386, Mikey55, looks likes alot of folks are going to use the 2/60 a.c. For those youngin's that is 2 windows down and go 60!
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Tue Jun 25, 2013 8:37 am

Flyer5 wrote:Its hard to get a good mechanic in a can. They always find way out.

The only one I like is the UV dye for finding leaks. Does that screw up the machine. I got out of auto repair just as the recovery machines were being implemented. And freon was like $12/ lb for R12. :D



Dave, the dye itself doesn't do anything to the refrigerant as it is a gas. The dyes attach to the lubricating oil in the system. My Robinair recovery machines separate out the oil during recovery.

However you must be careful as again some of the dyes also contain that friggin' sealer.


I should remark here that originally the sealers were suggested as a remedy to repair leaking evaporator cores that would require the complete removal of the dash assemblies to get to them. And that was with the old systems using larger diameter tubing. I have seen some pics of these multipass condensors that have tubing smaller than 1/8" It doesn't take too much gunk to clog them.

Chris, as was mentioned, there are cans available that do not have any sealer additives. Just read the label !!!!




Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: SMITTY On: Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:24 am

Oh yeah -nothing like a system with sealer! Stuff hardens to concrete when exposed to air, rendering the system useless when the stuff fails to work and they bring it in to get it done right.

Re .... cover ... y machine? What is this foreign language you speak? toothy :P


I just tried my propane trick on the Marquis. Didn't work as well as it did on the El Camino, although that was a TXV system where the Marquis is FFOT - totally different ways of metering the refrigerant. It was just starting to cool when the pressures started approaching 350 psi ... and in a 28 year old car with original hoses, that's outside my comfort zone, especially with High side temps approaching 250°. :shock: So I'll be removing that, and buying some store-bought propane instead. It's called Envirosafe ... :roll: Far be it from me to buy anything with the words "eco" or "environment" on the label, but propane works. Just gotta get the pressures down. They blend it with butane to achieve that. I still have a 30lb keg of 134a, but the stuff just plain don't work well in a system designed around R12. Damn eco *censored* ruined that whole thing, and cost us consumers BIG in the process. Don't even get me started on that topic!! :mad: As a matter of fact, you can thank the EPA for having to spend thousands on a recovery machine, and for all the voodoo "mechanic in a can" fixes that are out there now.

I still have some cans of Freeze-12 left over from the first charge. That stuff is 80% 134a and 20% 152b to lower pressure and aid in oil flow. Used the stuff in the 'Camino down in Phoenix with excellent results. Turns out, they stopped making the stuff back in '11, and the stuff is selling for nearly $50 a can now! WOOHOO for me! Got a few cans left I can try to pawn which will result in a free A/C recharge. Will even pay for the new accumulator I just bought as well.
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: Rick 386 On: Fri Jun 28, 2013 2:31 pm

Smitty,

The only problem with using propane in a system if IF you get a leak................. :blowup:


The 134 should work in that Marquis. You just have to change the orifice tube to a larger one I think. I forget the color to use... maybe it was blue or purple.


And you should have room up front to add a pusher fan to the condensor. Wire the fan relay to the clutch circuit. When the clutch comes on, so does the fan.


The real problem with the 134 was it doesn't dissipate heat as well as the old R-12. Hence the need for the additional fan.


Way back when, they always used to tell us to get the system working on the R-12. Then drain it and the oil and do the conversion. I think it was 90% of the R-12 charge amount.




Rick
Rick 386
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA 260 heating both sides of twin farmhouse
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL Hyfire II w/ coaltrol in garage
Coal Size/Type: Pea in AA 260, Rice in LL Hyfire II
Other Heating: Gas fired infared at work

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: Cap On: Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:09 pm

In the world of commercial refrigeration, R134 is the crap gas along with the polyester oil ( POE ) burns up & clogs cap tubes. Keeping the condensers clean is key.
Cap
 
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Harman SF 250, domestic hot water loop, heat accumulator

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: SMITTY On: Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:32 pm

I've got a keg of 134a sitting here, but since this system was designed for R12 I want no part of it in there. I had great results with Freeze 12 and the Ford blue orifice (.067"), but now that stuff is selling for nearly $50 a can ... so time for something different. With 134a I hear you should go smaller on the tube. For R12 I had a GM white in there (.072"). But the thing with 134a is it has ZERO tolerance for moisture. I changed out the accumulator, but I think due to it's age there's still a bit of moisture in there. I've never actually flushed anything out, so the old 28 year old paraffin oil is still in there! I threw in 2 oz. of ester 6 years ago, and another oz. the other day. 134a reacts very badly with residual R12. If there's even a trace of it left in that old oil, it will eat the system alive. I'm actually surprised nothing happened with Freeze 12, as that stuff is 80% 134a.

Only problem I'm having with propane is the crazy high HI side pressures. A parallel flow condenser might solve that ... but I doubt it - hot vapor is going in at over 230° and coming out ambient, so don't think that'll help any. If I could squeeze just a bit more charge in, I'd be golden ... but the pressures are getting stupid. It's sooooo close! What I did do was buy a couple cases of Envirosafe. For $93 shipped, I can't go wrong. The blend of butane will keep the pressures out of the 300psi range so my compressor will live while still having the amazing cooling properties of propane. It's been noisy for 7 years now, but still can pump 350psi, so it's still good. 8-)

R134a boils at -15°F ... R12 @ -21.6°F ... and straight R290 (propane) at -43.2°F -- you can see why it works so well! That Envirosafe stuff has a boiling point of -36.1°F, so I expect it should work pretty well.

Yeah people always come at me for the flammability part of it. But, what do you think would happen with R134a carrying an oil mist into an open flame at 250 psi? I'd bet that would burn every bit as good as propane would. R12 would just turn to phosgene gas and kill anything that got a whiff of it. :lol: I think carrying 20+ gallons of gasoline is more of a danger than propane. Only reason people aren't freaking out about that fact is because we now have 5 to 6 generations that have grown up with it. It's "just the way it is". Now with FI being the rule rather than the exception, you now have 50+ psi gasoline from the tank to the engine. Imagine what that would do in a fire! Propane is more of a danger on your deck with an open flame above it, I think. ;)
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: jpete On: Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:43 pm

SMITTY wrote: Propane is more of a danger on your deck with an open flame above it, I think. ;)


Not with specific gravity above 1. :)

I was working on an R410a system today that bounced off of 600psi before the TXV decided to open. That was a little hairy. :D
jpete
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk II
Coal Size/Type: Stove, Nut, Pea
Other Heating: Dino juice

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: SMITTY On: Fri Jun 28, 2013 10:55 pm

I want no part of that in a mobile A/C system!! :eek2: toothy

Yeah propane does like to hug the floor. Just hope I remembered to kill the thermostat on the oil burner out there!

I just watched a vid on some quick connect fitting for copper tube systems - wish I could remember the name. No soldering involved at all. I suppose that's required when working with flammable refrigerant!



I hear the Europeans use R290 in all their household refrigerators. :idea:
SMITTY
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - custom built by Jim Dorsey
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (not currently in use)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: Freddy On: Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:26 am

What da heck is R290?

Or

R290? When are they going to make R55,317?

Rick, thanks for the good tip.

AC.....AC... Didn't I have an Ac story? Oh, ya! Our brand new electric car, the very first time we turned on the AC.... it is not a chilling tale, it didn't work. Oh, it blew air, but not cold air. They had to get a new compressor out of Japan.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: Auto A-C Warning

PostBy: Freddy On: Sat Jun 29, 2013 5:27 am

Smitty.... can't you just add some Halon to the propane? LOL
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined