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Old 06-18-2007, 07:41 PM   #1
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AC in VX

Just bought myself a VX that needs a bit of work. It needs a new wheel bearing in the right rear I think and that shouldn't be a problem, but also the AC isn't working. I only paid $1595, so I figured it was still worth it, but definitely would like to get that Ac going again. Seems like there aren't too many mechanics though that like doing AC work so I thought I'd research first myself what could be going on.
Was the original collant in the 1992 VX still R12? if so I read that it would be worth it to have it recharged with R12 again since otherwise a conversion usually messes the AC compressor up within 6 to 12 months. Does anyone have experience with conversions on their VX?
Any ideas as to what would be the most common issue why the AC is not cool anymore?

Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:02 PM   #2
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HERE is a good thread to read up on doing the A/C repairs yourself. Unfortunately, your 92 VX is an R12 system. IIRC in order to service an R12 system nowadays you need to be licensed to do so. Now with the legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way, you might be able to score some R12 through a loop-hole or private party deal.

As far as what causes the system to "lose its cool", lol:
Most commonly the seals at the firewall will dry out if the system is not run at least every 2 months for 30 minutes. The seals get some of their lubrication from the oil in the system. The second most common cause would be a weakening compressor. And thirdly, holes in the condenser from rocks/debris.

I could go into more detail but this is a good starting point. Read up in the link I provided at the top and you have a good basis to start from.
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:12 PM   #3
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Tom, I appreciate your answer and I am gonna read that link right now. The speed of your answer tells me that you don't even have to look at the data of your 40 Meg hard drive anymore
You wouldn't happen to know a good VX mechanic in South?West Ohio would you ?
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:38 PM   #4
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Thanks, and Nope, sorry I don't know any mechanics at all really, lol. My friends and I do all our own work to our cars. And what we don't know how to do, we learn. Case in point, I had a friend selling a Transmission with a Quaife LSD differential that he installed brand new for stupid cheap. The problem was that they tried to rebuild the trans themselves. I bought the trans, sat down and read my Helms manual. After the parts arrived that I ordered, I rebuilt the transmission myself and had a basically brand new trans with a brand new limited Slip differential in it. All it cost me was time and $2.50 in parts since the trans had all new syncros in it. But I learned how to rebuild a manual trans and now all my friends have me do stuff like that for them. the only thing I don't know how to do to a drivetrain yet is to rebuild an automatic trans. I CHOOSE not to learn on that one as well as I don't even like to tinker with an automatic aside from changing shift points and shift pressures with the vacuum modulator.
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Old 06-19-2007, 07:47 AM   #5
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You might want to look into converting to Duracool. It's a hydrocarbon based refridgerant... More or less a mixture of butane, propane and such. I've been using it in my CRX for about a year now... Works great, no problems. If there's any pressure left in the system, you should have the remaining R12 professionally removed from the system first.
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Old 06-19-2007, 08:35 AM   #6
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Yeah, you should convert to whatever the new stuff is, r134a?

Also, where are you from? Who needs a/c!?
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:06 AM   #7
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McPatrick: I have a couple of recommendations, based upon my experiences with converting R12 and running something else.

First, if the A/C still has some R12 in it, legally you are supposed to take it to a liscensed shop, to have the R12 removed, so it doesn't escape into the atmosphere. However, if the system sits around long enough, unoperated, it's eventually going to leak out, or if a seal or something has died, it may have already leaked out. If it's already leaked out you don't need to have it pumped because their isn't anything to pump.

Second, I would strongly recommend opening the system up and add in the right type of oil and quantity for whatever refrigerant you are going to use. The oil supplement kits they sell for R134 don't have enough oil in them to do zip. I just had to replace a compressor because I used this, the first time.

Since your opening the system up anyway, you should just go through and replace all of the o-rings on the ends of the hoses. Their are about 8 or 10. On the Honda, everytime you see a A/C hose or tube end, it will have an o-ring seal. You want to replace them with green o-rings, from a Automotive store, they are good for whatever type of refrigerant you might use.

You would be wise to also replace the dryer. It's a silver can that's on the drivers side, inside the engine compartment. It also has a sight glass at the top, which is to help when you refill the system with new refrigerant.

I used PAG oil, 100. In my 90 Civic, it took about 6 oz of oil, according to the shop manual.

After you've done the oil, seals and dryer, you need to pull a vacume on the A/C system. I have an old refrigerator compressor I use, but you can get vacume pumps from Harbor Freight, which operate off of a compressor.

When your pulling the vacume, I usually pull a vacume, squirt a 3 second burst of refrigerant in, re-pull a vacume and I do that about 3-4 times. The last time I let the pump run for about 1/2 hour, so that it has a chance to pull as near to a total vacume, as possible.

Once you have pulled the vacume, you need to start the car, jump a wire to the A/C clutch and force the clutch to run while you feed in the first couple of bottles of refrigerant.

I have used both R134 and a product called RedTek12. The advantage of R134 is that it is available, at least for now, at most automotive stores. The disadvantage is that used straight across in a replacement in an R12 system, it is supposed to not be able to get quite as cold. Duracool or RedTek12 or something of that nature has temperature characteristics which are more similar to R12, but you typically have to order it from a mail order or refrigerant supplier.

You can also take the car to a automotive repair shop which does do A/C and have them pull a vacume on the car for you, and refill the car with R134, if you don't want to get that equipment.

I tried taking mine to shops and I just got tired of paying some guy a big chunk of money to do something, when if I just bought or acquired the equipment, I could do most or all of it myself.

If your A/C system needs parts, I have had good success at finding a car at the pick a part salvage lot, where the A/C system still was closed and had a small amount of refrigerant in it. I have just assisted the systems leak process and removed the part I am in need of. By doing it that way, their is a high liklihood the inner lines and parts are all clean, which you want to maintain. You should plug off any lines or openings, so no dirt can get into them, when you have the system disassembled, anytime.

A/C is a nice choice and option to have, if you wish to use it. If you don't, I don't think the belt running around the compressor pully pulls any measurable quantity of fuel, if you aren't running the A/C.
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Old 06-27-2007, 11:08 AM   #8
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My a/c isn't leaking that I know of, but does need a freon charge to get it back up to snuff, and I'm planning a trip to Texas very soon, and will most def. need it at it's peak performance.

I stopped by an AutoZone to see if my VX had ever been converted, and they said the fittings were still the 'smaller size' where the freon is recharged, so it's still R12, and not 134a.

Isn't R12 incredibly expensive now?? whereas 134a is like $5/can? I read the reply above (very informative) and nothing was said about the actual hose fittings where you attach the freon cans...is there really a diff. in size, or was the guy blowing smoke?

thanks!
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:10 PM   #9
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Yes, there's a difference. R-12 fittings are pretty much all a screw-on design, R-134 fittings are a standardized quick-release design. I'll go snap some pics to illustrate...
[edit]
Capped R-134a retrofit fittings:

Low-side uncapped. The internal threads only hold the cap on - service hose connectors grip the rings around the outside.

Conversion fitting removed... This is the stock Honda R-12 low-side fitting. It operates very much like a tire fill valve, in fact, the design of the valve core is identical. Judging from the variety of fittings supplied in most R-134 conversion kits, fitting designs vary between car brands.

[/edit]
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Old 06-27-2007, 01:50 PM   #10
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I still have the R-12 service ports in my 92 VX even though I have changed over to R-134A. The manifold gauge I bought was for R-12 and it works fine when I need to top off the refrigerant occasionally. The schrader valves within the R12 service ports leak so I have to cap them off with teflon tape and metal caps to minimize leakage during the summer. I tried to remove the schrader valves (necessary for the Honda Civic service ports unfortunately) when I had the system open but they don't come out easily - at least not for me anyway - so I left them in.

If you want to convert to R134A you will need to remove as much of the mineral oil from the system as possible before adding PAG oil which is needed for R134A. This usually means removing the compressor and draining it since it contains the most lubricant of all the AC components. And - once the system has been opened, it has to be evacuated with a vacuum pump prior to installing the R134A. I bought a new vacuum pump for $100 to do this.

So, you can convert over but there is quite a bit you should do so that the changeover lasts. If I were you, I would take it to a professional mechanic and have them do it. It will be about $250 but they will put the R134A service ports on the system which I skipped. You might still get R12 but it will be about the same price as the conversion.
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