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Old 08-12-2017, 11:05 PM   #1
srfinatsunset
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How to update 1980 A/C

I want to update my 1980 R12 A/C with something new. What parts do I need to buy? Where is a good place to buy that parts?

The Truck is 1980 C3500 Camper Speical 454.
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:01 AM   #2
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

What is wrong with it? If it doesn't work and needs to be converted, the kit is pretty cheap to convert to 134. If its missing pieces which it doesn't look like in that picture, you can purchase vintage air which I have in my 81.

If it still works well with R12, I would leave it alone as it will cool better than 134.
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:29 AM   #3
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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What is wrong with it? If it doesn't work and needs to be converted, the kit is pretty cheap to convert to 134. If its missing pieces which it doesn't look like in that picture, you can purchase vintage air which I have in my 81.

If it still works well with R12, I would leave it alone as it will cool better than 134.
It doesn't work. I replaced the heater/A/C fan today and no cold air out of the vents. I found originalair.com and a kit for about 500$ I will give them a call on Monday just make sure. It sounds really simple.
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:39 AM   #4
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

I would suggest thoroughly troubleshooting the stock system before throwing oddball aftermarket parts and money into it. I've restored/overhauled and seviced a lot ofbstock GM ac systems over the years and while you can improve on older systems somewhat, I have never understood the desire to completely toss the GM setup and go aftermarket. Imo, there is no need to do that. Compressors work off pressure, read by both low and high switches. Some years have ranco switches too....then there is the issue of a clogged orifice tube, bad/weak compressor, maybe even faulty low/high pressure switches. You may just be low on freon.

On something as unknown as a 37 year old AC system, lets face it-the whole system could use an overhaul. And parts are still readily available too. Keep the AC system stock and simply overhaul it-it really isnt too difficult to do.
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Old 08-13-2017, 12:52 AM   #5
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

I agree with gmachinz. I've kept my A/C factory stock, using R-12. I could hang meat in the cab of my square, it's so cold.
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Old 08-13-2017, 01:42 AM   #6
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

I have an 81, back around 1995 I added the valve that converts it to quick connect, i put a vacuum on it, and changed out the oil, put the 134 in, and up till a few months ago still blew cold, the truck sat parked from 2002 till now, never added any Freon, although not as cold as 12 but considering the cost of 12 its better than vent window air, I have it apart now because I'm doing a complete over haul of the truck, but 134 is how i will be going back, It wont be a daily driver so as long as it blows cold all will be good,
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:00 AM   #7
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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Originally Posted by gmachinz View Post
I would suggest thoroughly troubleshooting the stock system before throwing oddball aftermarket parts and money into it. I've restored/overhauled and seviced a lot ofbstock GM ac systems over the years and while you can improve on older systems somewhat, I have never understood the desire to completely toss the GM setup and go aftermarket. Imo, there is no need to do that. Compressors work off pressure, read by both low and high switches. Some years have ranco switches too....then there is the issue of a clogged orifice tube, bad/weak compressor, maybe even faulty low/high pressure switches. You may just be low on freon.

On something as unknown as a 37 year old AC system, lets face it-the whole system could use an overhaul. And parts are still readily available too. Keep the AC system stock and simply overhaul it-it really isnt too difficult to do.
With saying that what is the price of R12? Is it still available? I've read that R12 is going for top dollar. Guys are holding on to it like it is Gold?
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Old 08-13-2017, 06:36 AM   #8
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

Last time i priced it was 50 a can years ago,And you need a license to buy it legally also.
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:18 AM   #9
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

If you or someone you know has a vacuum pump, put a vacuum on it as see if it holds. If it does, a simple test is to read some forum posts on 134 conversion and try it. While the results of simply adding 134 are often less the optimal, it should give you good idea of what parts of your system are still working. Last time I checked, cans of 134 are still in the less then $10 per can range. A lot cheaper test then trying 3-4 cans of R-12 only to find your compressor hose set is end of life.
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:46 AM   #10
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

Before I did anything I would take every joint apart and replace the seals( 37 years old seals ) . Pull the orifice and check to see if there is any trash ( If so system needs flushed and new dryer and most likely compressor ). This is inexpensive to replace the seals and may save you some headaches . At this point pull a vacuum .

I run 134 in my 82 and does well . If you decide to do 134 you will have to get rid of all the oil in the system( flush ) and put 134 oil in . I still use the factory condenser and does well . I made sure I sealed the area between the radiator and condenser so 100% of air travels thru the condenser . You could replace with the parallel if wanted .

I am with the others . Just refurbish the oem system . It will work well .
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:11 AM   #11
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

And you cant even find an R12 can tap or hose set either.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:42 AM   #12
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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I still use the factory condenser and does well . I made sure I sealed the area between the radiator and condenser so 100% of air travels thru the condenser .
I believe mine could benefit from this too....can you share how you sealed it off the area between the radiator and condenser....thanks in advance......
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Old 08-13-2017, 02:30 PM   #13
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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And you cant even find an R12 can tap or hose set either.
Since I can't get R12 how can I tell if my compressor and condenssor are still good? i don't want spend money (buy hoses, seals, r134, ester oil) to find out I have spend more money to make it work. (Buy compressor, condenser, more hoses and seals)
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:21 PM   #14
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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Originally Posted by 78 Big10 454 View Post
I agree with gmachinz. I've kept my A/C factory stock, using R-12. I could hang meat in the cab of my square, it's so cold.
Keep the R12, I had my AC reworked last year and this thing blows some serious cold air, call around to some shops that do AC work, a few will have stashes of R12, these guys did my truck

http://www.performanceautoandair.com...ditioning.html
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Old 08-13-2017, 04:57 PM   #15
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

I agree with repairing the original system.
I've done conversions and don't like the warmer air!
Unless you can find them leaking,the hoses are probably still good enough for R-12.
I have R-12 that I get $25.00 a can for.Price changes according to what I have to pay.
And,there are other freons that will work in place of the R-12 that's cheaper.
Also,I suggest you remove and clean the evaporator and the box it's in.These trucks are bad about leaves,trash,rats nests etc.filling this full and blocking the air flow.And,prevents the temp door from moving.
Mike.
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:20 PM   #16
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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Also,I suggest you remove and clean the evaporator and the box it's in.These trucks are bad about leaves,trash,rats nests etc.filling this full and blocking the air flow.And,prevents the temp door from moving.
Mike.
Any instructionals on how to do this? I googled and didn't find anything for 81-87 (lots of them for GMT400)

My temp selector won't go all the way to cold. I have a feeling what you describe is the problem.
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Old 08-14-2017, 12:57 PM   #17
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

I doubt you'll find one. I just restored the emtire firewall enclosure in a 77 and theres a lot to it....and some parts arent available.
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Old 08-14-2017, 01:38 PM   #18
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

Here is a forum thread on the inside part. Many of the pics got ate by the Photobucket money grab.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=460942
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Old 08-14-2017, 02:14 PM   #19
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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I believe mine could benefit from this too....can you share how you sealed it off the area between the radiator and condenser....thanks in advance......
What I did was use some door trim ( stuff from a parted 2004 truck I had ) on the pass side of the condenser and it had the metal part that snapped on to an edge . The soft rubber part was fit up to the radiator . The drivers side I used some pipe insulation ( did not have the same edge as pass to snap trim on ) foam rubber and cut it to fit so when the radiator was put into place it sealed the to the radiator . This was real spongy type foam rubber . I think it is used on home a/c lines . The top has a custom shroud which did not need anything . I did not do anything to the bottom . It fits pretty close .

I know this is not a definite answer and maybe not even a good answer . I used what I had . I save most everything knowing it will come in handy some day . What I did was a good install and looked like it is doing a pretty good job . I am not sure I can even get a picture . It is pretty well covered up . But it would not take much to do something like this .

If the original poster is going to use the original condenser and 134 I would suggest doing this or any one doing 134 . Get as much air across the condenser as possible .
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:36 PM   #20
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

I found a local shop deals with A/C conversation from R12 to R134. The shop said they can convert it for 140$!!! I know what I am doing after work. 140$ is worth it. It's not worth my time to replace the o-rings and get the pressure right for that price.
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Old 08-14-2017, 04:52 PM   #21
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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Any instructionals on how to do this? I googled and didn't find anything for 81-87 (lots of them for GMT400)

My temp selector won't go all the way to cold. I have a feeling what you describe is the problem.
Just remove the side cover on the engine side of the
A/c,heat box.Be careful of the 2 studs-they sometimes turn on the inside of the truck.Then there are 6 other bolts holding the side on the box.
When the cover is off,you can carefully remove the evaporator-lines and all in one part.
Mike.
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Old 08-14-2017, 08:35 PM   #22
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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With saying that what is the price of R12? Is it still available? I've read that R12 is going for top dollar. Guys are holding on to it like it is Gold?
World-wide R-12 production stopped in 1994. The world is running on what ever is left in the world. The price per can is high because of this fact it will only go up in the future. 2 months ago I paid $32.00 a can for 5 cans and $20.00 for a can of oil charge. Legally you need a license to handle R-12, R-22, and R-500. Which means you need it to buy R-12. I have my license I used to be an A/C-electrical tech. I just restored the A/C in my El Camino using R-12. Personally I don't care for the performance of 134a. It does not cool as well and operates at higher pressures.
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Old 08-15-2017, 11:23 AM   #23
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

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Originally Posted by 100%Chevy View Post
Just remove the side cover on the engine side of the
A/c,heat box.Be careful of the 2 studs-they sometimes turn on the inside of the truck.Then there are 6 other bolts holding the side on the box.
When the cover is off,you can carefully remove the evaporator-lines and all in one part.
Mike.
Thanks. I've got the crap compressor now and an A/C system that won't hold a charge, so I plan on replacing all the orings and converting to R134. Just haven't decided if I want to replace with a like compressor or go to the trouble of switching to a Sanden.
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Old 08-16-2017, 06:13 PM   #24
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

In 2013 my compressor needed replacing but i couldn't find any r12 or any r12 hoses to refill. I replaced the compressor, screwed on the r134 adaptor fittings and vacuumed and recharged with R134. I lived in MD at the time, now I am in southwest FL and the ac still blows cold. Honestly i couldn't tell the difference between performance after switching.
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Old 08-17-2017, 01:42 PM   #25
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Re: How to update 1980 A/C

I've converted a mid 80's Jeep CJ to R134 by just changing the fittings, flushing, vacuuming, and charging. The Jeeps used flanged fittings so no orings in the lines.

It blew plenty cold till I got a pinhole in the condenser. I need to recharge it now. Got the condenser fixed at the local radiator shop but the rent-a-tool vacuum pump at Autozone was broken at the time so I've never recharged the system
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