for the lucky few who still can score some R12 refrigerant here my little how to for recharging r12 at home.
Step 1: inspection
A/C is not running cool anymore? think it's the refrigerant running low? well, check it out.
1)turn the car on and let it idle for a few minute while blasting your a/c at MAX setting.
2)look under your hood(location can be found in your owner's manual also) for the sight glass. if you see abunch of foam and white bubbles through the glass, it's indicating the system is undercharge(need refrigerant)
if you see nothing and your a/c is not blowing cool air, it could be a indication of bad compressor. Check the pulley and belt, etc.
Step 2: Decision making
The a/c system is CLOSED, if you running low on Ref. most of the time on some older cars it's a leak some where. so if you think it's a leak, use some dye you can buy from autozone/kragen to spot the leak.
Now you have to make up your mind what you going to do, you can bring it to the shop and have it filled again with R12(downside=cost) or you can have the shop retrofit it with R134 fitting and run R134 from now on or your can do it yourself and recharge some R12(downside, good luck finding them)
Step 3: the tool
If you plan to do it yourself, go look for a Recharge kit(hose, fitting in one package) for R12, do not get the kit for R134, they simply wont fit.
it's good to have the guage to keep an eye on the pressure.
a regular kit without guage cost around 10 buck(can locking cramp, valve, hose).
Step 4: instruction
1)lock the "can locking clamp" onto the can, make sure it tightly fit
2)check the valve, make sure the needle is all the way up. Screw in the valve in the Clamp.
3)screw in the hose to the valve and screw in the other end to the low pressure side service port. The hose marked with D is the high pressure.
4)start the car, turn a/c to max.
5)turn the valve so the needle will punch a hole in the can and then turn it to open. a can of 12oz should be drain in 6-8 minute. hold the can in upright position. do not overcharge your system, keep close watch of the ref. level.
6)once the can is empty, unhook the hose from the car's a/c hardline.
Sidenote from the can: before using R12, recover all residual R12 in the AC system. Replace any ref. oil lost during the process.(aka, bring to the shop and have them drain out the R12 and not killing mother earth)
Modified by iam7head at 2:34 PM 7/23/2004
Honda s2000 Ap1 00' Silverstone(153lb-ft of torqueless wonders)
Mazda Miata Mx-5 90' BMWjetblack(116hp of ball-less fury)
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