Author Topic: Air Conditoning Advice?  (Read 366 times)

Offline dannygila

  • Posts: 5
  • Name: Dan Losteiner
Air Conditoning Advice?
« on: May 14, 2022, 12:26:42 PM »
Hello,
As a proud new owner of a 1976 Fleetwood Brougham, I discovered yesterday that the A/C is not blowing cold. I also noticed the compressor says R12 is required for the A/C. My questions are as follows:
1. Are there any known issues with recharging or working on the A/C system on older Cadillacs?
2. Will it have to be converted (and can it be converted) to an R134 system? Rough estimate of what this type of work might cost?
3. Does anyone know of or recommend any shops in the Cleveland OH area or surrounding suburbs that specializes in A/C work on older Cadillacs?
Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much in advance.
-Dan

Offline TJ Hopland

  • Posts: 10192
Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2022, 03:22:22 PM »
Look for the service valves in the AC lines and devices.   IF they look more more less like a tire valve there is a chance it hasn't been converted.   If the are larger and not threaded more like you would see on a air or hydraulic line then its most likely been running on 134a.  These fittings just thread on so its possible that someone was cheap and didn't want to buy the fittings for each car they converted so they unscrewed them when they were done.   Its also possible that maybe someone didn't like the look of the conversion fittings and removed them when not needed. 

Do you know if it was working recently?  If it was then its possible a recharge will get you going for at least a little while.   If it hasn't been working and or you know the car had been sitting for years and you really want it to work and work properly I think you are in for a complete redo.   

73-76 was a fairly unique to GM system usually called the VIR.   It works best with R-12 as does the rest of the stock system.   The actual VIR unit is rebuild able.   A6 compressors are reproduced and usually rebuild able.   Cost and finding the quality parts and people to install them.......

I have not looked real close lately but last time I did R-12 and R-134 were selling for similar amounts and any shop that is willing to even consider working on an almost 50 year old car will have the tools and supply of R-12 and you know it will work with the stock setup and components if that is what you are sticking with.   R-12 just can't be produced anymore it still legal for licensed shops to sell as long as they are following the rules so its not like you are having to look for some underground back alley shop.   134a I think is very close to also stopping production. 

Back when I fixed the AC on my 73 which is a convertible that gives me more comfort options than a hard top I considered going back to stock but with really mixed reviews and fairly high costs I decided to go with pretty much all new aftermarket stuff under the hood and 134a.   I got no complaints it works fine and I think I did it all for what a questionable quality rebuilt A6 compressor alone would have cost.   Its not original looking at all but it works fine.   Options do chance over time and that was several years ago now. 

Cost wise hopefully someone that has had it done recently can give you an idea what to budget.  I think if I was going to have to pay someone to do all the work and replace some parts I would be at least $2500.   5 years ago it seemed like every time I brought a car in for AC work even if it was minor it always cost $800 and those were more modern 'just needs a recharge' sorts of deals.   $2500 may even be low considering labor cost and shortages of labor and parts these days. 
StPaul/Mpls, MN USA

73 Eldo convert w/FiTech EFI
80 Eldo Diesel
90 CDV
And other assorted stuff I keep buying for some reason

Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2022, 03:23:28 PM »
Dan
From the wording of your post I’m going to politely assume that your knowledge of automotive AC is limited. With that said I’m going to first suggest you get and read the AC section of the Factory service manual. It will prove quite helpful in understanding you car’s system.
In regards to charging the system if it needs charging it is straight foreword as the system includes a site glass (on the VIR).
First step would be sure your compressor is operating. You can do this by moving the selector lever to auto and turning the temperature dial to 65 degrees.  Carefully check to see the compressor is turning by looking at the front clutch/hub.  That is the front most piece of the compressor.
Take this one step at a time and we can give you some direction.  Don’t jump in and start changing parts before you have an accurate diagnosis. I’ve seen folks jump in and tear their system apart when the only issue was a fuse or shortage of refrigerant.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline dannygila

  • Posts: 5
  • Name: Dan Losteiner
Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2022, 08:08:41 PM »
Hi TJ and Greg,
Thanks for the replies.
Yes, my knowledge of automobile A/C is about non-existent. VIRs, site glass, etc., are all new terms for me. I'm going to take a closer look at things tomorrow before I rush into anything. I'll post my findings. Thanks again!
-Dan

Offline Seville Life

  • Posts: 2
  • Name: Paul
Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2022, 03:28:09 AM »
I've been reading these comments for some time.

I have seen my suggestion before, just cannot find the comments.

134a is a nightmare, and as someone else pointed out, isn't it being discontinued?

The answer is RS24, also I think known as 426a. It is a direct drop-fit gas and works perfectly in my Cadillac, Rolls & Jaguars.

Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2022, 01:38:05 PM »
There have been several “replacement/drop in” refrigerants available to be used in R-12’systems in the past. They often had R-22 or R-134A as components. Both of those are now on their way to extinction but in the US R-12 expensive as it has become $$60.00 per pound) it is the best for the systems designed for its use. Besides, in this thread we don’t even know the extent of the problem. Can be as simple as a bad connection
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline Pghcc2006

  • Posts: 7
  • Name: DAVID WILLIAMS
Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2022, 04:03:31 AM »
Good afternoon sir, I'm dealing with a similar situation on my Talisman. Is the clutch on you compressor spinning when you put the air on? Also does anybody know if the envirosafe/duracool refrigerants play nice with the VIR.

Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2022, 01:53:06 PM »
A functional VIR is quite a sensitive animal. All the components which typically would be separate (dryer/receiver, expansion valve and POA) are in one component and transient heat transfer between the can be “upsetting”. R134a plays havoc so I would thing your “R-12 replacement”’would as well. The  VIR was a short lived (1973-76) idea for good reason.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline Moody

  • Posts: 78
  • CLC Number: 32704
  • Name: David Moody
Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2022, 04:32:39 PM »
Yes, 134 is being phased out. But it’s still available on store shelves in Texas. Buy it now before it’s too expensive. R12 is available, though expensive. No more is being produced but it must be recovered.  And it will continue to be available because there is no disposal plan for it. The EPA basically wants it used so steadily, over time, it will leak out and disappear and they won’t have to deal with it.
Dave
Moody

Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2022, 06:37:47 PM »
One more thing onVIRs and 134a. Unless you are on full load, high fan, and 100+ degrees outside. The difference in pressure/temperature characteristic (from 12) is just enough to upset performance.
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline Pghcc2006

  • Posts: 7
  • Name: DAVID WILLIAMS
Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2022, 12:30:24 AM »
I understand the VIR doesn't work well with R134, but I can't find the reason why.  Does it have to do with r134's higher pressure? Does it "trip" or break something within the VIR or does it involve the PAG vs Mineral oil?

Thank you

Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2022, 01:03:40 AM »
The slight pressure/temperature difference in the refrigerants is enough to cause poor performance in regards to flow and superheat control ending up at part load with coil icing and restricted flow
Greg Surfas
Cadillac Kid-Greg Surfas
Director Modified Chapter CLC
CLC #15364
66 Coupe deVille (now gone to the UK)
72 Eldo Cpe  (now cruising the sands in Quatar)
73 Coupe deVille
75 Coupe deElegance
76 Coupe deVille
79 Coupe de ville with "Paris" (pick up) option and 472 motor
514 inch motor now in '73-

Offline scotth3886

  • Posts: 744
  • CLC Number: 32524
  • Name: Scott Harris
Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2022, 06:27:19 PM »
I converted back from R134 to R12 last summer in my 66.  I had my usual shop do it so they could recover the 134.  I found a 20 degree drop in center vent temp immediately after, using the same heat gun in the same temp / humidity environment.  From 47 degrees to 27.  Made a giant difference, especially in how quickly the car cools down. 
« Last Edit: May 18, 2022, 12:48:24 PM by scotth3886 »

Offline 55 CDV Fan 82

  • Posts: 1129
  • CLC Number: 30850
  • Name: Tim Neumann
Re: Air Conditoning Advice?
« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2022, 10:58:20 AM »

My vents in my 55 read 28 degrees after charging with R12.  Cost 100 dollars a pound but wow....having a 66 year old car keep you comfortable at 104 degrees is incredible.
Tim

CLC Member #30850

1955 Cadillac Coupe Deville "Evelyn"
1967 Buick Wildcat Convertible "Joyce"

Past Cars

1937 LaSalle Opera Coupe "Adeline"
1940 Chevrolet Coupe "Scarlett"
1941 Ford 11Y truck
1954 Buick Special 48D
1955 Packard Clipper Super Panama
1957 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe
1962 VW Bug
1962 Dodge 880
1966 Mercury Montclair
1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS
1968 Plymouth Barracuda
1977 Lincoln

 

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