Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry

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Old 04 Aug 2005, 09:39 am   #1 (permalink)
Andy Arhelger
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Default Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry

My AC worked intermetently on my 87 Camry. Got an estimate that it
needed a new expansion valve. That was a couple of years ago and the air
has worked fine since with no work having been done. Finally quit again
this summer and I took it to another shop and showed them the estimate
from a couple of years ago. They said they could beat the estimate. The
original estimate was keeping with R12, replacing the expansion valve
and dryer.

The new shop decided to take some short cuts. They put in 134a and
replaced the expansion valve. A week or so later the AC doesn't work.
Take it back in and they say the compressor is leaking and needs to be
replaced for $700. Turns out they didn't replace the dryer, or even
change the oil in the compressor. I am not supprised the compressor
leaks now. I know the old oil isn't compatiable with 134a. And everybody
recommends replacing the dryer.

So, what recourse do I have? Seems to me the shop should fix the problem
without cost since they didn't follow recommended guidelines. They even
checked for leaks when I brought it in for service and found none.
Didn't leak before they worked on it now it does.

What is the best thing to do now with the situation I have? If they
replace the dryer and compressor oil will it stop the compressor from
leaking or is it too late? Do I really have to replace the compressor?
Are the original compressor seals even compatable with 134a? Should I
have them convert back to R12, would that save the compressor?

Andy Arhelger
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Old 04 Aug 2005, 10:08 am   #2 (permalink)
Daniel
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Default Re: Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry

copied from another newsgroup some time back:


The Toyota Technician Training Manual published by Toyota Motor Co.
on Air Conditioning Systems, Course 750 lists several reasons why
converting / retrofitting R12 systems to R134a is a major, expensive
undertaking (if done properly).

Here are some quotes from the Manual:

1. "R134a attacks the nitrile butyl rubber found in R12 system hoses."

2. "R134a requires special carbon-filled iso-butyl rubber parts."
(hoses and 0-ring seals used throughout the system)

3. "The conventional silical gel dessicant used for R12 may break down
when exposed to R134a. R134a requires a molecular sieve type
dessicant."

4. "R12 systems use a highly refined mineral oil lubricant. R134a
systems
use synthetic "PAG" lubricant which can cause swelling or foaming of
conventional rubber gaskets and seals used in R12 systems. Be sure to
special RBR rubber O-rings during assembly and repairs."

5, "R134a hoses not only have the special RRB rubber, but also have an
impermeable inner lining of nylon to reduce seepage of the refrigerant
and to prevent moisture entry into the system."

Now even if you spend all the time and money for these special hoses,
O-rings, dessicant, etc., you still won't get the cold 37-42 degree F
air coming out of your AC vents like you did with R12. You'll get more
like 45-55 degree F air, which means the interior of your car will be
about
10 degrees warmer on a hot day if you convert to R134a.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If your current shop has botched the job thus far, would suspect
chances of getting them to properly reconstitute it now are slim to
none.
-------
I know this will hurt (financially) but would recommend you start fresh
with a _qualified_ shop, explain the problem, and evaluate solutions
now available.
------
The caliber of technician you're working with makes all the difference.

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Old 04 Aug 2005, 10:15 am   #3 (permalink)
Travis Jordan
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Default Re: Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry

Andy Arhelger wrote:
> My AC worked intermetently on my 87 Camry. Got an estimate that it
> needed a new expansion valve. That was a couple of years ago and the
> air has worked fine since with no work having been done. Finally quit
> again this summer and I took it to another shop and showed them the
> estimate from a couple of years ago. They said they could beat the
> estimate. The original estimate was keeping with R12, replacing the
> expansion valve and dryer.


Did you have a written work order to this effect? If so, call the owner
of the company and explain that the job was botched, and that you want
to give them the opportunity to restore it to the original condition and
then repair it per their work order.

If you don't have the work order in writing then you are pretty much
SOL.


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Old 04 Aug 2005, 01:15 pm   #4 (permalink)
Andy Arhelger
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Default Re: Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry

The epa web site
http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609/.../retrguid.html has a lot
to say about conversion to 134. They mention all the things you mention.
But they do say that originally when r134 came out everbody said they
would have to replace all the gaskets, hoses, compress etc. but they
have found that not to be the case. The mineral oil in the R12 system
soaks into the gaskets and hoses and causes a barrier. The 134 doesn't
degrade this and it usually works fine. But they do say it is important
to replace the dryer and compressor oil. Some compressors use a seal
made of Viton which is not compatable with 134a. Just wondered if the
Camry in 87 used this type of seal in the compressor.

Andy Arhelger

Daniel wrote:
> copied from another newsgroup some time back:
>
>
> The Toyota Technician Training Manual published by Toyota Motor Co.
> on Air Conditioning Systems, Course 750 lists several reasons why
> converting / retrofitting R12 systems to R134a is a major, expensive
> undertaking (if done properly).
>
> Here are some quotes from the Manual:
>
> 1. "R134a attacks the nitrile butyl rubber found in R12 system hoses."
>
> 2. "R134a requires special carbon-filled iso-butyl rubber parts."
> (hoses and 0-ring seals used throughout the system)
>
> 3. "The conventional silical gel dessicant used for R12 may break down
> when exposed to R134a. R134a requires a molecular sieve type
> dessicant."
>
> 4. "R12 systems use a highly refined mineral oil lubricant. R134a
> systems
> use synthetic "PAG" lubricant which can cause swelling or foaming of
> conventional rubber gaskets and seals used in R12 systems. Be sure to
> special RBR rubber O-rings during assembly and repairs."
>
> 5, "R134a hoses not only have the special RRB rubber, but also have an
> impermeable inner lining of nylon to reduce seepage of the refrigerant
> and to prevent moisture entry into the system."
>
> Now even if you spend all the time and money for these special hoses,
> O-rings, dessicant, etc., you still won't get the cold 37-42 degree F
> air coming out of your AC vents like you did with R12. You'll get more
> like 45-55 degree F air, which means the interior of your car will be
> about
> 10 degrees warmer on a hot day if you convert to R134a.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>
> If your current shop has botched the job thus far, would suspect
> chances of getting them to properly reconstitute it now are slim to
> none.
> -------
> I know this will hurt (financially) but would recommend you start fresh
> with a _qualified_ shop, explain the problem, and evaluate solutions
> now available.
> ------
> The caliber of technician you're working with makes all the difference.
>

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Old 04 Aug 2005, 09:23 pm   #5 (permalink)
hachiroku
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Default Re: Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry

On Thu, 04 Aug 2005 09:39:51 -0500, Andy Arhelger wrote:

> My AC worked intermetently on my 87 Camry. Got an estimate that it needed
> a new expansion valve. That was a couple of years ago and the air has
> worked fine since with no work having been done. Finally quit again this
> summer and I took it to another shop and showed them the estimate from a
> couple of years ago. They said they could beat the estimate. The original
> estimate was keeping with R12, replacing the expansion valve and dryer.
>
> The new shop decided to take some short cuts. They put in 134a and
> replaced the expansion valve. A week or so later the AC doesn't work. Take
> it back in and they say the compressor is leaking and needs to be replaced
> for $700. Turns out they didn't replace the dryer, or even change the oil
> in the compressor. I am not supprised the compressor leaks now. I know the
> old oil isn't compatiable with 134a. And everybody recommends replacing
> the dryer.
>
> So, what recourse do I have? Seems to me the shop should fix the problem
> without cost since they didn't follow recommended guidelines. They even
> checked for leaks when I brought it in for service and found none. Didn't
> leak before they worked on it now it does.
>
> What is the best thing to do now with the situation I have? If they
> replace the dryer and compressor oil will it stop the compressor from
> leaking or is it too late? Do I really have to replace the compressor? Are
> the original compressor seals even compatable with 134a? Should I have
> them convert back to R12, would that save the compressor?
>
> Andy Arhelger



Either way, you're hurting. Since it looks like you need a new compressor,
get one compatible with R-134a, replace the dryer, and the hoses.
Converting back now will probably mean you still need a new compressor,
and have you checked the price of R-12 lately? Do you have any Nitro
pills handy? I could have bought a bottle of 30# two years ago for $80, it
NOW sells for about $80 a LB!!!). So, right there, you're talking $180
JUST for R-12 (actually, I think the $80 is WHOLESALE!!!)

A compressor, either way, is about $275-325, the hoses won't be that bad.
I tried a 'conversion kit' with an older Corolla; I have just given up on
AC in that car. I only spent $670 about 6 years ago, when I could have
converted it for that priced!!!

Unless the car is PRIMO (my Mom has an '86 w/83000 miles...) I wouldn't
bother. Buy a '94 or newer if you can...it will alreaady have an R-134a
system...
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Old 05 Aug 2005, 09:32 am   #6 (permalink)
Steve H
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Default Re: Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry


You've done good research.
I've done several conversions some have worked well, some haven't. It
depends on the age and design of the system. The compressor leaking/failing
is not the shops fault; how they handle it is.

A month or so ago I did an inspection/ recharge of a 134 system; adding ac
dye to see if there was a leak. the car left the shop OK but came back in
last week, the ac inop. On the rack we saw the problem, (thanks to the dye)
the condenser had failed and was leaking... BAD. The cost for a new
condenser was around 600$ The customer didn't want to do this (I don't blame
him) and we refunded all of his money for the original visit.

When I first started doing this auto work I read the stuff that said you had
to replace almost every seal-hose-part because they were incompatible. I saw
our shop doing the retro-fits by replacing the receiver dryer, adding pag
and recharge. I was told this was how it was "Suppose to be done" I've seen
retrofits that were a bit warmer than R-12, and seen them get colder than
original. I've definitely seen systems that at least blew cool air where
they didn't work when they came in; so, if you had nothing when you start...

My father-in-law bought the 30 dollar conversions at wall mart for his 89
astro. Realistically, all they do is change the r12 to r134a add the
fittings. His AC worked quite good; so I asked a long time tech at work
about this procedure and he told me that he has done hundreds of this basic
conversions back east. Not the ideal way but it can and does work.

On my old Taurus I had the same dilemma. Old car, ac inop and had been
opened. So I did a basic as retro-fit with no parts. Discovered the ac
computer bad so I bypassed it, and the ac started blowing cool... Ok the
basic system OK. Charged it up and blew out a line. 90 dollars to replace
the receiver dryer and line and it worked ok for a few days, then quit. it
has a leak I haven't found; but suspect the evaporator is leaking; cheap
part but a bitch to get to. I might do one more check, but this ac system
will probably stay dead.

If someone has a questionable AC system and has the knowledge to do it
themselves; I would suggest the 30 dollar conversions at Wall Mart to start.
This answers several questions. Does the Compressor work, does the AC system
overall work, is there any major leaks? now if you find the compressor bad
you can stop at 30 dollars.

--
Stephen W. Hansen
ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
ASE Undercar Specialist


"Andy Arhelger" <aarhelger@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:42F25B34.8070208@nospam.com...
> The epa web site
> http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609/.../retrguid.html has a lot to
> say about conversion to 134. They mention all the things you mention. But
> they do say that originally when r134 came out everbody said they would
> have to replace all the gaskets, hoses, compress etc. but they have found
> that not to be the case. The mineral oil in the R12 system soaks into the
> gaskets and hoses and causes a barrier. The 134 doesn't degrade this and
> it usually works fine. But they do say it is important to replace the
> dryer and compressor oil. Some compressors use a seal made of Viton which
> is not compatable with 134a. Just wondered if the Camry in 87 used this
> type of seal in the compressor.
>
> Andy Arhelger
>
> Daniel wrote:
>> copied from another newsgroup some time back:
>>
>>
>> The Toyota Technician Training Manual published by Toyota Motor Co.
>> on Air Conditioning Systems, Course 750 lists several reasons why
>> converting / retrofitting R12 systems to R134a is a major, expensive
>> undertaking (if done properly).
>>
>> Here are some quotes from the Manual:
>>
>> 1. "R134a attacks the nitrile butyl rubber found in R12 system hoses."
>>
>> 2. "R134a requires special carbon-filled iso-butyl rubber parts."
>> (hoses and 0-ring seals used throughout the system)
>>
>> 3. "The conventional silical gel dessicant used for R12 may break down
>> when exposed to R134a. R134a requires a molecular sieve type
>> dessicant."
>>
>> 4. "R12 systems use a highly refined mineral oil lubricant. R134a
>> systems
>> use synthetic "PAG" lubricant which can cause swelling or foaming of
>> conventional rubber gaskets and seals used in R12 systems. Be sure to
>> special RBR rubber O-rings during assembly and repairs."
>>
>> 5, "R134a hoses not only have the special RRB rubber, but also have an
>> impermeable inner lining of nylon to reduce seepage of the refrigerant
>> and to prevent moisture entry into the system."
>>
>> Now even if you spend all the time and money for these special hoses,
>> O-rings, dessicant, etc., you still won't get the cold 37-42 degree F
>> air coming out of your AC vents like you did with R12. You'll get more
>> like 45-55 degree F air, which means the interior of your car will be
>> about
>> 10 degrees warmer on a hot day if you convert to R134a.
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>
>> If your current shop has botched the job thus far, would suspect
>> chances of getting them to properly reconstitute it now are slim to
>> none.
>> -------
>> I know this will hurt (financially) but would recommend you start fresh
>> with a _qualified_ shop, explain the problem, and evaluate solutions
>> now available.
>> ------
>> The caliber of technician you're working with makes all the difference.
>>



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Old 05 Aug 2005, 11:30 am   #7 (permalink)
stevie
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Default Re: Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry

i also did the $30 conversion (to R134) on my 89 ford truck.

same compressor, same hoses. works well after 4 years.

doesn't get quite as cool as r12 though.
"Steve H" <hansensw@hotmail.com> wrote in message
newsMKIe.550697$cg1.82772@bgtnsc04-news.ops.worldnet.att.net...

You've done good research.
I've done several conversions some have worked well, some haven't. It
depends on the age and design of the system. The compressor leaking/failing
is not the shops fault; how they handle it is.

A month or so ago I did an inspection/ recharge of a 134 system; adding ac
dye to see if there was a leak. the car left the shop OK but came back in
last week, the ac inop. On the rack we saw the problem, (thanks to the dye)
the condenser had failed and was leaking... BAD. The cost for a new
condenser was around 600$ The customer didn't want to do this (I don't blame
him) and we refunded all of his money for the original visit.

When I first started doing this auto work I read the stuff that said you had
to replace almost every seal-hose-part because they were incompatible. I saw
our shop doing the retro-fits by replacing the receiver dryer, adding pag
and recharge. I was told this was how it was "Suppose to be done" I've seen
retrofits that were a bit warmer than R-12, and seen them get colder than
original. I've definitely seen systems that at least blew cool air where
they didn't work when they came in; so, if you had nothing when you start...

My father-in-law bought the 30 dollar conversions at wall mart for his 89
astro. Realistically, all they do is change the r12 to r134a add the
fittings. His AC worked quite good; so I asked a long time tech at work
about this procedure and he told me that he has done hundreds of this basic
conversions back east. Not the ideal way but it can and does work.

On my old Taurus I had the same dilemma. Old car, ac inop and had been
opened. So I did a basic as retro-fit with no parts. Discovered the ac
computer bad so I bypassed it, and the ac started blowing cool... Ok the
basic system OK. Charged it up and blew out a line. 90 dollars to replace
the receiver dryer and line and it worked ok for a few days, then quit. it
has a leak I haven't found; but suspect the evaporator is leaking; cheap
part but a bitch to get to. I might do one more check, but this ac system
will probably stay dead.

If someone has a questionable AC system and has the knowledge to do it
themselves; I would suggest the 30 dollar conversions at Wall Mart to start.
This answers several questions. Does the Compressor work, does the AC system
overall work, is there any major leaks? now if you find the compressor bad
you can stop at 30 dollars.

--
Stephen W. Hansen
ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician
ASE Undercar Specialist


"Andy Arhelger" <aarhelger@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:42F25B34.8070208@nospam.com...
> The epa web site
> http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/609/.../retrguid.html has a lot to
> say about conversion to 134. They mention all the things you mention. But
> they do say that originally when r134 came out everbody said they would
> have to replace all the gaskets, hoses, compress etc. but they have found
> that not to be the case. The mineral oil in the R12 system soaks into the
> gaskets and hoses and causes a barrier. The 134 doesn't degrade this and
> it usually works fine. But they do say it is important to replace the
> dryer and compressor oil. Some compressors use a seal made of Viton which
> is not compatable with 134a. Just wondered if the Camry in 87 used this
> type of seal in the compressor.
>
> Andy Arhelger
>
> Daniel wrote:
>> copied from another newsgroup some time back:
>>
>>
>> The Toyota Technician Training Manual published by Toyota Motor Co.
>> on Air Conditioning Systems, Course 750 lists several reasons why
>> converting / retrofitting R12 systems to R134a is a major, expensive
>> undertaking (if done properly).
>>
>> Here are some quotes from the Manual:
>>
>> 1. "R134a attacks the nitrile butyl rubber found in R12 system hoses."
>>
>> 2. "R134a requires special carbon-filled iso-butyl rubber parts."
>> (hoses and 0-ring seals used throughout the system)
>>
>> 3. "The conventional silical gel dessicant used for R12 may break down
>> when exposed to R134a. R134a requires a molecular sieve type
>> dessicant."
>>
>> 4. "R12 systems use a highly refined mineral oil lubricant. R134a
>> systems
>> use synthetic "PAG" lubricant which can cause swelling or foaming of
>> conventional rubber gaskets and seals used in R12 systems. Be sure to
>> special RBR rubber O-rings during assembly and repairs."
>>
>> 5, "R134a hoses not only have the special RRB rubber, but also have an
>> impermeable inner lining of nylon to reduce seepage of the refrigerant
>> and to prevent moisture entry into the system."
>>
>> Now even if you spend all the time and money for these special hoses,
>> O-rings, dessicant, etc., you still won't get the cold 37-42 degree F
>> air coming out of your AC vents like you did with R12. You'll get more
>> like 45-55 degree F air, which means the interior of your car will be
>> about
>> 10 degrees warmer on a hot day if you convert to R134a.
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>>
>> If your current shop has botched the job thus far, would suspect
>> chances of getting them to properly reconstitute it now are slim to
>> none.
>> -------
>> I know this will hurt (financially) but would recommend you start fresh
>> with a _qualified_ shop, explain the problem, and evaluate solutions
>> now available.
>> ------
>> The caliber of technician you're working with makes all the difference.
>>




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Old 05 Aug 2005, 07:45 pm   #8 (permalink)
Wolfgang
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Default Re: Horror story about the A/C in my 87 Camry

A 20 year old system and you expect a guarantee? Find a used or rebuilt
compressor change the receiver dryer and recharge.

"Andy Arhelger" <aarhelger@nospam.com> wrote in message
news:42f226cc_1@news3.prserv.net...
> My AC worked intermetently on my 87 Camry. Got an estimate that it needed
> a new expansion valve. That was a couple of years ago and the air has
> worked fine since with no work having been done. Finally quit again this
> summer and I took it to another shop and showed them the estimate from a
> couple of years ago. They said they could beat the estimate. The original
> estimate was keeping with R12, replacing the expansion valve and dryer.
>
> The new shop decided to take some short cuts. They put in 134a and
> replaced the expansion valve. A week or so later the AC doesn't work. Take
> it back in and they say the compressor is leaking and needs to be replaced
> for $700. Turns out they didn't replace the dryer, or even change the oil
> in the compressor. I am not supprised the compressor leaks now. I know the
> old oil isn't compatiable with 134a. And everybody recommends replacing
> the dryer.
>
> So, what recourse do I have? Seems to me the shop should fix the problem
> without cost since they didn't follow recommended guidelines. They even
> checked for leaks when I brought it in for service and found none. Didn't
> leak before they worked on it now it does.
>
> What is the best thing to do now with the situation I have? If they
> replace the dryer and compressor oil will it stop the compressor from
> leaking or is it too late? Do I really have to replace the compressor? Are
> the original compressor seals even compatable with 134a? Should I have
> them convert back to R12, would that save the compressor?
>
> Andy Arhelger



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