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Discussion Starter #1
I have an '83 El Camino SS with an LT1 engine from a '96 Impala SS in it. All of the accessories are stock from the Impala.

I've been running R12 in the car ever since I did the engine conversion way back in '98.

But, now my a/c compressor is leaking at the front seal so considering that and it's age, I am going to replace it.

So, if I should consider changing to R134A, now is the time to make the decision. However, I have a good stash of R12 in the basement (about 60 cans). So, it's no problem for me to stay with the R12 if its the better thing to do.

I don't want to cut my cooling performance by changing to R134A though. What is the experience you guys that have changed over had? Does it cut performance at low speeds or stop & go traffic when it's over 100 degrees in the summer like it gets here in Texas?

I do have an aluminum radiator with a good shroud and dual electric fans. So, I can move a good amount of air thru the condenser. But, the condensers on these cars aren't all that large and I have always read that to get good cooling performance using R134A you need to have a large and efficient condenser. Mine is the stock one. But, it does have the barrier type hoses on it.

Another issue is that my new compressor will come with the R134A type oil and if I use R12, I will have to flush it out and replace it with the R12 type. Of course if I convert to R134A, I'll have to change my dryer and flush the evaporator and condenser. But, it already does have the barrier type hoses on it.

Advice will be appreciated.
 

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I just put a 4 seasons rebuilt A6 in my 78. Came w/o oil. You add whichever oil you need. I'd stick with the R12.
 

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If you already have the 12, you should definitely use it. the main reason(besides legality) to switch is availability and expense.just opinion, but i prefer the way 12 cools compared to 134...
 

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"Besides legality" ? R12 is legal. You just need to EPA section 609 certified.
 

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stay with the r12 as long as you can.:beer: i have the epa license and dont buy it because of the price. a good tight system 60 cans should last your lifetime.
 

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X2 R-12....the only vehicle I have that's R134 is my Yukon, all others are R12. Like you, I have an "unlimited" supply for myself. Stick with the R12...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thats what i was getting at, i have a case of r12 myself, but most of us don't have the proper certification to buy r12.(if you can find it) :secret:
It's all over ebay. Expect to pay $25 per can. The certification is easy to get online. Pay about $20, study some info for an hour, take the test and get it in the mail.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks all for your help, everyone.

It looks like it's unanimous that I should stay with the R12. I still would like to hear from anyone with my generation of El Camino if they have converted just to see if they had good luck in cooling performance or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I just put a 4 seasons rebuilt A6 in my 78. Came w/o oil. You add whichever oil you need. I'd stick with the R12.
My compressor is an HD6. I was looking at getting the Denso. I think they are the best from what I have read. I thing those come with the oil in them.
 

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The only downside of R12 is getting too cold, forcing you to turn down the A/C.

That wont happen with 134:dontknow:
 

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The only downside of R12 is getting too cold, forcing you to turn down the A/C.

That wont happen with 134:dontknow:
Depends on the car. My wife's HHR and my 05 GTO run R134a. You can run either of them on 'HI' for too long.
 

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I converted and I have to put my air on low it's so cold and I did it all myself :nanawrench:so I would but buy the 134a at WalMart it's all the same no name brand needed. Also make sure where the heater hoses go into the box that opening is sealed up or the air will blow out of there. Turn the air on full and put your hand by the opening and you will feel the cold air if it's not sealed. You will loose 1/2 your blowing power from that leak.
 

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R134

I converted my 86 to R134 with a condenser from a 2000 Blazer. It keeps it cool in Florida in the summer, but I would not do it again if I had enough R12. Too much work . I would not keep a big stockpile of R12. I have a couple of cans of R12 that I have had for several years and they are getting lighter all the time. They leak.
Rally169
 

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amen to that i sure miss that problem:beer::beer: thats our govt for ya take something good and screw it up
 

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I converted mine to R134a a few years ago. Mine cools really well, even for 115 degree Vegas heat.

I think the secret to getting good cooling is to use a Parallel Flow condenser. Most replacement condensers these days can come in this style, identified easily by a pipe running down the side connecting all the cross pipes in the condenser. Our old style condensers were serpentine, with the copper pipes making a 180 degree turn on each end as they snake their way through. The second secret is the proper amount of R134. Too much is just as bad as too little. It's hard to get the amount right with just the gauges. Weight is the only good way to know for sure.

Last comment- on the '83 you want to change, I do not believe they were using the CCOT system with Orifice. I think there was an expansion valve instead. You may have changed this with your engine swap. I do not know how R134 reacts to the expansion valve systems ( maybe ACAUTH will chime in).

With all that said, if you got R12- use it. Unless you want to sell it and use the money for something spectacular!
 
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