Recharging A/C

by Ask Bob: The Auto Answer Man

Hi Bob,
I have an old 1992 Ford Explorer with 150,000 miles on it. Since the air has been out for almost a year, can I add R-22 OR R134 to the R-12 system? I want it to close the low pressure switch and give me some cool air. I don't worry about damaging the system since it doesn't work at the present time and I'm not going to spend more than $50 to get a little cool air.

By combining two different elements, am I creating an atom bomb in my engine compartment? Incidentally, I did meet another fellow with the same vehicle and problem, and he said that he just added 134 to his system, and it worked just fine until he blew a hose, which he attributed to old age.

You can not add R-22 to an automotive system. However, you might get away with some of the new R-134 equivalents out there. When the change over first happened, the new refrigerant was not compatible with the old compressor oil. Mixing the two would form an acid and wreak havoc! The newer refrigerant should be compatible. Of course, the best way to do it is to drain out all the old compressor oil, change the receiver, put system under vacuum, and refill. However, I have heard of people simply switching over to the new stuff on a system that is not working and getting cold air. Please remember this is not the recommended practice.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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