1980 El Camino A/C - El Camino Central Forum : Chevrolet El Camino Forums
El Camino Central Forum : Chevrolet El Camino Forums
 
Ground Up
Notices

User Name
Password

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-20-2010, 01:22 AM
Shawn F. Shawn F. is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Carolina
Year: 1980
Model: El Camino
Region: 5 (NC,SC)
NECOA #: 15418
Posts: 598
Shawn F. will become famous soon enough
Default 1980 El Camino A/C

I am almost done putting my 80 El Camino back together interior wise and front end wise to have ready for summer here. One thing that I have GOT to get done is A/C for summer. The car/truck has the original 4.4L 267 in it (same as any sbc 350) and the original A/C unit in it. The old guy I bought the vehicle from said the A/C used to work before he parked it 2 years ago but not anymore.
What I am wondering and asking here is what you guys recommend I do to get this thing blowing ice cold again and have it clean as to not blow the compressor?
I am guessing the compressor works but not 100% on this.
The list of things I KNOW to get are the Orfice, Dryer/Receiver, maybe a accumulator (I dont know), o-Ring kit, and possible a hose kit... What else do I need or should I change and where is the best place to order from with the best brand?
Second question is should I keep it R12 or do the conversion to R134? I see no problem with R12 but then again I am not an A/C expert so have no clue when it comes to this.
Thanks a lot for any info in advance!
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2  
Old 04-20-2010, 05:58 PM
lsrx101 lsrx101 is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: 8(OH,WV)
Year: 1978
Model: El Camino Classic
Region: 8 (OH,WV)
NECOA #: 10214
Posts: 275
lsrx101 will become famous soon enough
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn F. View Post
I am almost done putting my 80 El Camino back together interior wise and front end wise to have ready for summer here. One thing that I have GOT to get done is A/C for summer. The car/truck has the original 4.4L 267 in it (same as any sbc 350) and the original A/C unit in it. The old guy I bought the vehicle from said the A/C used to work before he parked it 2 years ago but not anymore.
What I am wondering and asking here is what you guys recommend I do to get this thing blowing ice cold again and have it clean as to not blow the compressor?
I am guessing the compressor works but not 100% on this.
The list of things I KNOW to get are the Orfice, Dryer/Receiver, maybe a accumulator (I dont know), o-Ring kit, and possible a hose kit... What else do I need or should I change and where is the best place to order from with the best brand?
Second question is should I keep it R12 or do the conversion to R134? I see no problem with R12 but then again I am not an A/C expert so have no clue when it comes to this.
Thanks a lot for any info in advance!
You're starting out on the right track.
You will absolutely need an accumulator. It is a wear item and at 30 years, it's past it's life span.
How you proceed depends on a few things, but the basics are the same:
-Remove the compressor, all hoses, accumulator and orifice tube.
-Solvent flush the Evaporator, Condenser and all of the lines. Use a good, fully evaporating, non-residue AC flush solvent. Good lacquer thinner will work, but don't use anything like mineral spirits, paint thinner, etc. You need LOTS of compressed air as ALL of the solvent must be removed.
-Drain the oil from the compressor. Flush the compressor with the oil that you plan to use in the system. Mineral oil for R12, PAG-100 for R134a.
-Reassemble the system with new orings where needed, new orifice, new accumulator and the proper amount of oil in the system. Add UV dye for future leak detection.
-Evacuate, charge and leak check.

Here's some things to consider:
-What compressor do you have? My 78 uses the old, big A6 and I believe the 79's do too. I "think" your 80 should have the newer, smaller R4 compressor.
Here's an R4: http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:8...ressors/R4.jpg
Here's an A6: http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:s...NC-700-Map.jpg
-I personally wouldn't trust a 30yo R4 compressor and would recommend replacing it with a new (not reman) unit. Finding a good quality reman is also a real crapshoot, you will most likely not get one from the "chain" parts stores.
-If you decide to reuse your old compressor, you will need to replace the shaft seal at minimum. This applies to the R4 and the A6 and you can use a double lip neoprene seal to replace the old style ceramic seal.
-Your system will perform the best with R12, that's what it was designed for. There will also be no changes necessary to the system.
-Replacing the 30yo rubber in your line sets is a good investment. The lines can be rebuilt by a reputable AC shop, usually for less than new parts.

Depending on the area of Texas you are in, R134a conversion also brings these considerations:
-If you decide to go with R134a, you really should consider a parallel flow condenser. However, it's not a drop in modification and will require custom hoses.
-If you use R134a and don't replace the condenser, you will neet to replace the fan clutch with an HD unit and possibly add an auxillary electric fan.

If you're not familiar with AC repair, I recommend checking out www.autoacforum.com. There's a ton of good info in the FAQ section and the forum is the best automotive AC forum on the 'net IMHO.

Good Luck

Edit: I see you are in NC. I thought I saw Texas in the header. Sorry, My bad.
While the PF condenser is a good idea, it's not extremely important in your area. A good HD fan clutch should suffice.
__________________
Oh, you drive a Hummer? That's a cute little truck. My ride is an EMD E-8A. Wanna play chicken?
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 signatures.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-20-2010, 10:32 PM
Shawn F. Shawn F. is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Carolina
Year: 1980
Model: El Camino
Region: 5 (NC,SC)
NECOA #: 15418
Posts: 598
Shawn F. will become famous soon enough
Default

Man, seems like this will take a LOT more money than expected. I was hoping to get it all done with about $300 give or take $50 but I guess it will be more near the $1000 range? I do not want to replace my condenser and add fans and custom hoses, etc. Every old car I have ran old R12 in cooled MUCH better than the R134 conversions ever did. Not sure if that is the case with all of them but I see nothing wrong with R12 and would like to keep mine at that. It seems my best bet is to buy new lines, new compressor, orfice, dryer, and everything but an evaporator core and condenser that way the only thing I will need to clean out would be the condenser and evap core...
Please correct me if I am wrong. I would hate to throw all this money into this thing using old hoses and compressor and have the compressor blow up and contaminate it all. Now where I get totally lost is how to add the R12, oil, additives, cleaner, etc etc. Just seems like so much stuff that you need to add to clean it and then add after you clean it and it seems you really need to use a machine to get the correct amount in.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-20-2010, 10:32 PM
Shawn F. Shawn F. is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Carolina
Year: 1980
Model: El Camino
Region: 5 (NC,SC)
NECOA #: 15418
Posts: 598
Shawn F. will become famous soon enough
Default

BTW, thanks a ton for all your info and help!
Edit: I forgot to add that I have the R4 style (newer style) compressor. If I buy a new one I do know where a brand new R4 style compressor is for sale at a hot rod shop I used to work at. The brand is Holley actually which I have never seen before but it's supposed to be a good solid unit. Anyone here of a Holley brand compressor? It's been sitting in it's box up in the storage area of the shop for years but never used once. Would this be better than the junk at Auto Zone, NAPA or Car Quest? I hear the compressors from these chain stores are such total junk and some wont even last a year so I will not even take a chance on a chain store brand.
Either that or would I be better off getting a later model type compressor from Vintage Air? Only problem with this is brackets, how to mount, using the original style hoses and A/C box, etc.

Last edited by Shawn F.; 04-20-2010 at 10:37 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-21-2010, 04:09 AM
Mike P's Avatar
Mike P Mike P is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Year: 1983
Model: El Camino
Region: 15(AZ,MN)
NECOA #: 13493
Posts: 517
Mike P is a jewel in the rough
Default

Shawn, lsrx101 gave you some very good advice on bringing the system back up to optimum condition and if you have the time and money I would definitely go that route.

That being said and if what the previous owner said about the system having worked prior to being parked (gosh somebody selling a car wouldn’t stretch the truth) there are a couple of alternatives that will probably get the system going on a budget.

First is to check and see what you have. If the system hasn’t been opened, take off one of the caps on the fill ports and using small screwdriver tip depress the tip of the Schrader valve and see if there is any pressure in the system. If there is it’s a good sign, if not don’t get overly concerned about it at this point.

Next if there is a belt on the compressor and it didn’t make any unusual noises while it was running you can move to the next step. If there was no belt spin the pulley on the compressor and see if the bearing makes noise or feels rough. If everything is good there, grab the very front of the compressor clutch, (the plate that is sucked in to actually engage the compressor). Try to turn the compressor, if it turns smoothly you’re ready to move on, if the bearing on the pulley is bad or the compressor does not turn smoothly it’s time to look at replacing the compressor (at least here a compressor clutch assembly is expensive enough that it makes more sense just to replace the compressor at this point).

If the compressor checks out (whether you had pressure in the system or not) the next step it to start the truck and turn the AC on. Pull the plug off the low pressure switch on the
accumulator and use a jumper wire in the plug to engage the compressor or a few seconds and listen for any unusual noises.

If you get this far and everything has checked out and you had pressure in the system you have a couple of choices; get some R12 and top the system off check for leaks, cross your fingers and see how long it blows cold, or go thru and the system and replace some selected parts.

If the system didn’t have pressure, at a minimum I would change out the following; hoses, orifice tube and accumulator. As long as it’s apart, now is a good time to flush the condenser and evaporator (add a couple of ounces of the appropriate oil to condenser and accumulator to replace what you lost when you flushed it).

As far as hoses, these can usually be fabricated by a local AC shop or places like NAPA etc.

Put it together, pull a vacuum in it and let it sit for at least a couple of hours to make sure it doesn’t leak down then recharge. If it does leak down check your fittings if they are not the problem chances are it’s the compressor seal.

Finally check the fan clutch and replace as necessary…..it’s a real PIA to get the AC working only to find the car now overheats.

A few final thoughts:

If you’re down to replacing the compressor there are a couple of options. The R4 is not my favorite compressor but a good one will last several years and is going to be you’re cheapest option. If reliability is a concern the next cheapest alternative is to find a set of earlier brackets for the older A6 compressor. These compressors are heavy and take more power to turn but they are about as reliable as it gets.

As far as refrigerant, I’ve been using a product called Freeze 12 for several years now. It’s listed as a drop in replacement for R12, and my experience is that it works very well in existing systems designed for R12 without having to make all the changes to optimize a system for R134. It’s also a lot cheaper and easier to get than R12 (but not as cheap as R134).

If you do your own work, your compressor is good and all you replace the hoses, orifice tube accumulator you should be within your original budget. If you end up needing a compressor add that into the price.

Now admittedly you will not have a new optimum system but chances are you will have one that will cool well and be reliable.

When I put together the El Camino my wife is driving the truck had been sitting for over 5 years. I flushed it, put on new hoses and an orifice tube and filled it with Freeze 12. And She drives it every day it’s been working good with no problems.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-21-2010, 05:03 AM
lsrx101 lsrx101 is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: 8(OH,WV)
Year: 1978
Model: El Camino Classic
Region: 8 (OH,WV)
NECOA #: 10214
Posts: 275
lsrx101 will become famous soon enough
Default

Shawn,
I thought you were in Texas originally. R134a conversions are trickier in very hot, sunny climates like S.Texas, Arizona and NM. Being in North Carolina, there should be no need to change the condenser and add fans, even with an R134a conversion.

A new, good quality R4 is right about $250. http://www.ackits.com/merchant.mvc?S...mino-malibu4-4

That makes your $300 target just a bit low, but you should be able to do the job right for less than $400 if the hoses are in good shape.
I wouldn't really trust that Holley compressor right out of the box, mainly because it's been sitting for many years. It likely wouldn't fail and contaminate your system, but the chance of a bad shaft seal is high. If you get it cheap enough and can verify that it is actually NEW and not reman, you could have he shaft seal replaced and save some money.

Freeze12 is a blend of R134a and R142b. It's made to replace R12 in systems that contain mineral oil (R12 oil) without the need to switch to PAG or Ester based oil.. R134a by itself will not carry the old oil through the system. The R142b carries the oil, but doesn't add to the cooling. You can fix a small leak and directly charge with FR12. Because it's 80% R134a, it will only cool as well as R134a.
FR12 is a good product for it's intended use, but if you are replacing major components (accumulator, compressor), then flushing is necessary to get the correct oil level in the system. At that point you would add PAG or Ester oil and charge with virgin R134a.
FR12 has a limited market today because the newest R12 systems are now 16 years old and usually require more than just a small leak repair.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-21-2010, 02:26 PM
Shawn F. Shawn F. is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Carolina
Year: 1980
Model: El Camino
Region: 5 (NC,SC)
NECOA #: 15418
Posts: 598
Shawn F. will become famous soon enough
Default

Thanks a lot for all the info! If I buy everything from www.ackits.com would that be ok? Are their parts decent? It looks as though my best bet is for a new compressor, hoses and everything besides a condenser. I think I may even spend the extra money for the evaporator core as well ($93) what do you think? Like I said, if I am going to tear this whole thing down, I want to do it once and do it right. Right now all I can afford is $300 but if I wait about another month or two I think I can pull together about $480 or so to do the entire thing. It's either that or about $650 to get my daily driver Honda car's A/C going and I'd rather get the A/C in the El Camino going first.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-21-2010, 05:52 PM
lsrx101 lsrx101 is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: 8(OH,WV)
Year: 1978
Model: El Camino Classic
Region: 8 (OH,WV)
NECOA #: 10214
Posts: 275
lsrx101 will become famous soon enough
Default

I've always been very happy with the parts from ACKits. I've only had an issue with one part, an A6 compressor that was slinging oil as they are prone to do, but it was handled quickly and courteously. They replaced the problematic ceramic seal with a neoprene seal, paid for shipping both ways and the turn around time was less than a week.
ACKits can also rebuild your hoses if you can't find a local shop to do it.

I wouldn't condemn the evaporator without pressure testing it first. It's easy to remove so pull it out, check it for corrosion and pressure test it. They're not a high failure item. One thing that might be a good idea to replace is the heater core. They fail much more often than the evaporator on those cars.
This will also give you the opportunity to clean the 30 years of crud from the evaporator case and reseal it. You'll be surprised at how much dirt and old vegetation is plastered on the evaporator and inside the case.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-31-2010, 01:35 PM
Shawn F. Shawn F. is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Carolina
Year: 1980
Model: El Camino
Region: 5 (NC,SC)
NECOA #: 15418
Posts: 598
Shawn F. will become famous soon enough
Default

Well guys I am bringing this thread back from the dead. I am about 3 weeks away from getting this car back on the road and A/C worked on. I did the checks mentioned above and started with pressure in the lines. The car had pressure in the lines, not much but there was pressure. Checked the pully, it turns free with no noise. Turned over the clutch, it turned nicely with no play and no noise. All the lines look good but I plan to buy new ones, get a new orifice and a new dryer. I have $100 on my Auto Zone rewards card so plan to buy new hoses, orifice and dryer. My buddy has a A/C machine to pull and recharge, He recommended to get the R-134 kit and will will vac and charge the system with new PAG oil, dye and R-134. He said that it will shorten the life of the compressor I have but will work just fine and should last a few years if the compressor is in good shape.
My question now is, will it be much cheaper to have NAPA rebuild the hoses or get the $60 ones from Auto Zone?
My list of parts I am getting are:
Orifice, dryer, O Ring kit, hoses (or rebuild them whichever is better and cheaper), R-134 conversion kit.
The rest my buddy has as far as oil, 134, dye and the machine.
How hard is it to replace the seal on the compressor? Is this something that needs to be pressed on with major force or done by hand?
If I am missing something please let me know. Thanks in advance!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-31-2010, 05:27 PM
lsrx101 lsrx101 is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: 8(OH,WV)
Year: 1978
Model: El Camino Classic
Region: 8 (OH,WV)
NECOA #: 10214
Posts: 275
lsrx101 will become famous soon enough
Default

With the tear down and parts replacement you are doing, there is no need to buy a conversion "kit". Just buy 24 oz of PAG -150 oil and go to NAPA and buy 2 BRASS or STEEL conversion fittings. Most AZ stores don't carry brass or steel fittings.
The conversion kits come with PAG-46 oil which is too light for GM compressors. The aluminum fittings are also little better than junk and are prone to leaking.

Be sure to solvent flush the parts that you are reusing (evaporator, condenser and liquid line?) to remove the old oil. Flush the compressor 2-3 times with the new oil, not solvent. Flushing is very important as PAG and Mineral oil don't mix well. Also, excess oil in the system can cause poor cooling and excessive high side pressure. You want to start with the system "dry".

Add the amount of oil specified on the under hood sticker, it should be 8-10 ounces. (You'll use the extra oil to flush the compressor, as mentioned above, then discard it.) 4 ounces in the compressor, and spread the remainder around the system as you assemble it.

Good Luck

Edit: The compressor shaft seal takes some special tools to replace. I've never been able to find a place to "rent' them. AZ has the tools for the clutch, but not the seal.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-31-2010, 06:30 PM
Shawn F. Shawn F. is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North Carolina
Year: 1980
Model: El Camino
Region: 5 (NC,SC)
NECOA #: 15418
Posts: 598
Shawn F. will become famous soon enough
Default

Thanks for the info. For these fittings, are they called a certain name or just ask for brass or steel conversion fittings?
Also to flush out the compressor, condenser and such, what is the best way to do this?
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-31-2010, 07:07 PM
lsrx101 lsrx101 is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: 8(OH,WV)
Year: 1978
Model: El Camino Classic
Region: 8 (OH,WV)
NECOA #: 10214
Posts: 275
lsrx101 will become famous soon enough
Default

Just ask for brass or steel conversion fittings. They are also available with 45 and 90 degree angles if needed. On most brass or steel fittings, you will need to remove the schrader valves from the original fittings before installing the conversion fittings.

For flushing the lines and heat exchangers, you should use AC Flush solvent. Other solvents will work, such as MEK, lacquer thinner, etc. but require some extra care not to breathe the fumes or get it on paint. Just make sure you use a non-residue, fully evaporating solvent and LOTS of compressed air. Solvents like paint thinner and mineral spirits are very hard to dry completely and should not be used.
Just pour a few ounces into the heat exchanger, agitate if possible and thoroughly blow it out with air. Do it a couple of times in each direction.

To flush the compressor:
-Hold the compressor over a container "ports down" and drain the oil while turning the shaft in the proper direction.
-Turn the compressor "ports up" and add about 4-6 ounces of oil while turning the shaft.
-Turn it "ports down" and drain it again while turning the shaft.
-Repeat this process 3-4 times ending with a fully drained compressor.
-Add 4 ounces of fresh oil and cap the ports, then install the compressor. The caps prevent spilling while installing the comp.

If you can't cap the ports, just install the compressor dry. Then add about 6 ounces of oil into the suction line (from the accumulator) and let it drain into the compressor while turning the shaft. After you get the system fully assembled, turn the compressor shaft about 15-20 times to clear the cylinders.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-31-2010, 07:31 PM
lsrx101 lsrx101 is offline
Senior Member
Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: 8(OH,WV)
Year: 1978
Model: El Camino Classic
Region: 8 (OH,WV)
NECOA #: 10214
Posts: 275
lsrx101 will become famous soon enough
Default

Oops! I goofed on the oil, Shawn.
You want to use PAG-100 in your R4 compressor, not PAG-150.
Sorry 'bout that.

Good Luck
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-31-2010, 07:36 PM
rangomr's Avatar
rangomr rangomr is offline
Senior Member

Master Wrench
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Name: Michael
Location: South Boston, Va.
Year: 1980
Model: Caballero
Region: 4 (MD,VA)
NECOA #: 15157
Posts: 1,616
rangomr is on a distinguished road
Garage
Default

Thanks for all the great information. We got my A/C running on my 80 Caballero and had to replace very little, if any since the last owner had some parts replaced. Anyway thanks and if I learn how to get pictures on here will try and get my car on here soon. Rango
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-23-2010, 11:31 PM
turboapache3132 turboapache3132 is offline
Senior Member
Motor Mouth
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: LAKE PLACID FLORIDA
Year: 1980
Model: El Camino Classic
Region: 6 (FL)
NECOA #: 14149
Posts: 120
turboapache3132 will become famous soon enough
Default

Can anyone tell me if R12 is still available in Florida? If so where can you get it and how much is the cost? Thanks
__________________
80 El Camino FULL ROLLER 355/5 SPEED TRANS/ 373 POSI 275R/60/15 REAR AND 215R/60/15 FRONT CHOO CHOO CUSTOMS BODY KIT WITH ROLL PAN I MAY GET IT FINISHED SOMEDAY.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 02:21 AM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners. Comments are property of their posters, the rest 2001-2009 by me



Garage Plus vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.