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  Re-Use of 134 Freon question

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Author Topic:   Re-Use of 134 Freon question
soaring
Gearhead

Posts: 116
From: New Mexico
Registered: Nov 2002

posted 12-28-2002 03:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for soaring   Click Here to Email soaring     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have a 1965 Mustang 289 with air. I had a shop replace the compressor and changed the R-12 freon to the new 134. The interior is as cool as it was with the R-12, but I have a question or two.
When the Air-Con mechanic takes out the R-12, where does that gas go? Obviously, it can't be used anymore because it has been banned by the EPA. Is it somehow changed into the new 134 and resold? It can't be put in the atmosphere according to EPA regs. Whenever an Air-con mechanic works on a car with the new 134 and has to replace the compressor, where do they put that gas? A refrigerant Reclaimation machine? What is that? A tank to eventually expunge the gas back into another car's aircon system?
Some mild research has revealed they simply re-use the 134. Now, does that mean after they finish replacing the compressor, you get your original gas back at only the reclaimation cost?
Nay, they say they charge it with 134, and charge you with the new price. Do they pay you for the gas they took out? No. I just had that done with my Mother's Chrysler. Been there, done that. They most likey put it in either somebody else's car and charge them for "new" freon, or have put it back in your car and charge you for "new" freon, no reimbursement mentioned or noted.
Any air-con experts out there? I would really like to understand this process.
Sounds like a rip off spiral of the EPA regs to me, but I realize I am not informed enough to make rational decisions yet. Research is fothcoming. Thanks for any replies.

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Fastback68
Gearhead

Posts: 1880
From: Sucat, Paranaque, Philippines
Registered: Jul 99

posted 12-28-2002 04:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Fastback68   Click Here to Email Fastback68     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You make several references to replacing the compressor. Can I assume you mean recharging the compressor? Replacing it every time your freon runs low would be expensive.
My answer based on gut feeling only goes like this. Freon is not expensive, but while it's in your compressor, it gradually leaks out (or it does in mine!), which means the remaining Freon is becoming mixed with air. I hardly think an auto shop would be equipped to extract the remaining Freon/air mixture and then remove the air to recreate pure Freon, and even if they could, it would make it much more expensive. So they give you a shot of new Freon instead, and save you money as a result.
However, I have no experience of a compressor that doesn't lose any Freon, and then you go and change the type of Freon you use. So for that situation, your questions still hold good. Let's see what someone else says ...

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Hemikiller
Gearhead

Posts: 404
From: Clinton, CT
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 12-28-2002 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hemikiller   Click Here to Email Hemikiller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, here's the deal...

Shops that do AC work are required by law to have a refrigerant recovery/recycling system for EACH type of refrigerant, which must not be mixed. They can test the gas with an analyzer, and it will tell them what is in the system, R-12, R-134 or something else like propane. Anything other than the 12 or 134 will get vented unless the shop has a seperate "contaminated gas" reclamation system. The refrigerant that is in your system is pumped out by the recovery machine into a tank, very similar looking to a gas grille propane tank. The recovery machine generally will have a scale for the tank, and will tell the mechanic how much refrigerant was recovered down to the 1/10 of an ounce. The recovery system may have filters and driers to "clean" the refrigerant as it is removed from your system. The mechanic then makes the necessary repairs, and starts the charge cycle on the recovery system. This will put a vacuum on your A/C system for X amount of time, and indicates to the mechanic if any leaks are present, and further repairs necessary. If the system is leak free, them the refrigerant can be pumped back into the system. Most recovery systems can be programmed to dispense exactly the amount neededa for the particular car model. The car's engine is running during the charge phase with the A/C switched on, and when the system reaches X pressure, it will activate the compressor, assisting the recovery system in the charge procedure. When you are charged for the refrigerant, you should be bill for the difference in the required versus recovered gas, not for the whole charge.

To answer a couple of your questions specifically:

Yes, R-12 is illegal to produce (in the USA), but is NOT illegal to sell or re-use. The garage i was working at in '98 bought 400 lbs of R-12 just before the word came down, and the owner called it his retirement fund. You must have an A/C tech "liscense" to purchase the R-12. R-134a is free to purchase by anyone. The R-12 that is removed, if you are doing a conversion, "should" be bought by the garage, but that may not happen. The R-12 that is removed from your vehicle will be re-sold to the next person who requires R-12, and at @ $45 a pound, last I knew. There is no distiction in performance between "used" and "new" R-12 or R-134, it doesn't wear out or become contaminated with air because it is constantly under pressure, even when it is not in use.

a description of a dual gas recovery system is at www.snap-on.com click on catalog, then shop equipment. Also, note the price of the system too.........

[This message has been edited by Hemikiller (edited 12-28-2002).]

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66bluefb
Gearhead

Posts: 467
From: Okla.City,Okla.
Registered: May 2002

posted 12-28-2002 09:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for 66bluefb   Click Here to Email 66bluefb     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have two freon recovery systems machines at work, one for the 134 and one for the R-12. I work at a diesel truck repair shop and if we have to remove the sleeper or cab we drain the freon out to disconnect the hoses. The machines filters the oil and any impurities so in a way it does make it like new freon.Yes you can use the R-12 again and as you know its worth a lot of money.Its too late now but if I had my air changed over I would ask the mechanic or shop owner to pay me for the R-12 cause they will sell it to the next guy and make 100.00 or so.I have R-12 in my 66 stang and I`m keeping it cause I have heard that it is supposed to cool better than 134 or thats what the air tech at work says.

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