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Received: with LISTAR (v0.128a; list small-list); Sat, 17 Jun 2000 19:43:38 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 2000 19:43:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ford Truck Enthusiasts List Server ford-trucks.com>
To: small-list digest users ford-trucks.com>
Reply-to: small-list ford-trucks.com
Subject: small-list Digest V2000 #90
Ford Truck Enthusiasts Small Chassis Truck Mailing List
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Date: Fri, 16 Jun 2000 21:29:27 -0700
From: scott ford-trucks.com>
Subject: Explorer A/C
My 91 Explorer has lost it's cool and I believe it needs a recharge.
Does the 91 use the older Freon or the newer refrigerent?
If it uses the old Freon is it worthwile to convert to the newer stuff?
Is the conversion something I can do myself?
I do all my own work, but have never touched a A/C system before.
Date: 17 Jun 00 20:32:46 EDT
From: Tim Turner netscape.net>
Subject: Re: [Explorer A/C]
scott ford-trucks.com> wrote:
> My 91 Explorer has lost it's cool and I believe it needs a recharge.
More than likely! Nine years would be a long time for the original charge to
> Does the 91 use the older Freon or the newer refrigerent?
R-12 Freon would have been the original gas used.
> If it uses the old Freon is it worthwile to convert to the newer stuff?
That depends on the depth of your pocket Vs. desired A/C performance. Expect
anywhere from equal cooling (with a slower initial cool-down) to 10 Degrees
warmer duct temperatures if you retro-fit to R-134a Suva depending on the
procedures used (and luck!) R-12 is roughly 3-5X the cost of R-134a so
take into account the cost of refilling when the inevitable leak happens.
> Is the conversion something I can do myself?
Yes; but please don't buy one of those damnable 'kits' from the
'mass-merchandisers' without some research first.
> I do all my own work, but have never touched a A/C system before.
I'd suggest posting your question(s) on aircondition.com's BB for more
opinions but here's my suggestions...
1) Be sure the system is in fact empty before ANYthing else; any remaining
R-12 legally must be recovered rather than let into the atmosphere. (I'm sure
a shop would be more than happy to 'steal' your remaining R-12 at little or no
charge assuming it's pure. Expect a charge as they will be testing then
recovering, and recycling it and the equipment involved is not cheap and
requires filter changes etc.)
2) I know certification is required to buy R-12, I believe the law now
requires it for R-134a, but on-line cert's are readily available to
individuals or professionals. (See aircondition.com for a link.)
3) Examine *ALL* the system looking for oily stains at fittings, crimps, seals
etc. If you see it you're seeing a leak that needs repairing before you
refill with whichever gas you choose. (Note.. local laws vary about refilling
a 'known leaking' system.)
4) The dessicant in the drier/acuumulator in a '91 is probably not compatible
with R-134a but if you'll have the sytem open for repair or it's been empty
for more than a few days it needs changing anyway
5) To do it *ALL* yourself then guages and a vacuum pump would be highly
desirable; probably need 'spring-lock' release tools as well to get the
fittings apart unless you have dealer installed A/C.
6) R-134a will not circulate the existing mineral oil properly requiring
either Ester oil (my preference) or PAG oil to be used; both are like brake
fluid in that they absorb moisture and PAG will blister paint AND skin. (wear
gloves if you decide on PAG.. I was OK the first few times I got it on my
hands, but now a trace of it results in small blisters.)
7) Flushing of components is desirable but can also be a road to ruin if any
flush solution is left in the system.
8) Draining the old oil from the compressor is also desirable, but not
mandatory; usually I get very little oil from them.
9) Deep evacuation of the system for at least 45 Minutes is a must to prevent
moisture in the system; moisture + Refrigerant = acid that eats the system
from the inside out.
10) Make sure the fan and fan clutch are in 100% condition (Both are common
faults on the early Explorer.) Make sure the condenser fins are clean as well;
R-134a runs higher pressure on the high side and does not release heat as
effeciently as R-12 so everything must be in tip-top shape for the under-hood
parts of the A/C to cool properly.
11) The cycling switch on the acuumulator will need to be readjusted to
roughly 20 PSI instead of 30 for R-134a use
12) Roughly 85% R-134a to R-12; ie: a 2.5 Lb. R-12 system would use about 2.18
Lb. R-134a with the total oil charge staying the same as R-12 but with
13) You may wish to do the parts changing yourself and then have a shop do the
evacuation and charging to avoid buying the vacuum pump and guages.
14) There are other gasses besides R-12 & R134a and if you intend to do ALL
your own work they may be of interest to you, but most shops will only service
15) Every different gas is *supposed* to have it's own unique service fitting
and label color; please adhere to it! You wouldn't believe the mixtures of
gasses I've found in a supposedly pure R-12 or R-134a system before.
Repair all leaks, change the acuumulator, add system capacity of ester oil (6
Oz if unsure), evacuate system and recharge with 80-85% R-134a, adjust cycling
Be warned that R-134a has a smaller molecular structure than R-12 so it *WILL*
leak out quicker than R-12 would and is also harder to detect with electronic
"Kits" If the system is empty it now has air in it; adding the R-134a & oil
is fine but due to the air the high side pressure will be very high (400 PSI+)
and cooling will be poor at best. If the system is NOT empty and the R-134a
is added you now have a mixture of gasses in the system that no shop (with an
identifier) will service. (Shops without an ID'er will contaminate their
supply if they do.)
I realize this might be confusing; feel free to e-mail me for clarification
and I suggest checking out aircondition.com website as well as the EPA website
concerning mobile air conditioning.
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