Upgrading an R-12 A/C system

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Hi Bob,
I have a 1991 Acura Legend. A few months ago my husband discovered that the air conditioner works very well when the car is cool or has not been in the hot sun. But as soon as the temperature rises outside, so does the air on the inside. We took to the dealer who said we had a bad expansion valve and they need to retro fit it to an R-134 all to the tune of $800. Do you have any other suggestions or do we have to go this route?

This is the last year you will be able to get r-12 and it is very expensive. I would bet that a recharge would cost close to that amount already! If you wait any longer, you will have no choice but to upgrade to r-134. Now, there are different people out there that are saying different things about r-134 and its compatibility. You can simply flush out the old freon and oil, and fill with the new. However, this is not recommended due to a lack of performance of the new freon and a possible high pressure issue. The best way to go is to replace the condenser and the compressor and expansion tank to those rated for 134a. In addition, you may want to install higher flow cooling fans across the radiator for optimal performance.

Now, I know this is going to start a lot of debates. I must remind everyone that I am not a certified A/C technician. However, I have discussed this issue with several others who are, and the above was the best/safest route to take for optimal performance, longevity, and safety.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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