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Author Topic: Current Cost of Freon  (Read 9170 times)
Joe Camper
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« on: May 11, 2011, 06:12:46 PM »

R-12 30lb keg 875

134-A 30lb keg 235

These are prices I got today at a local airgas.

Any better sources I'm missing?

After the huge immediate responce/success with my circulating pump issue I'm thinking this may also bare fruit LOL

Our OTR A/C is R-12 that's for me the 134 will end up elsewhere.

Thanks in advance
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2011, 06:26:54 PM »

I once "heard" of a guy who used puron in the place of r12 with no issues. It is not however approved for a replacment but I know it works.
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2011, 06:49:35 PM »

If close to Mexico drive over and get the system charged the last compressor I installed on a MCI last year it cost me 125 bucks for 20+ lbs of R12 installed but it was a 3 hr drive also still worth the trip.
Don't try and bring a 30 lb cylinder back from Mexico pretty stiff fine if you get caught


good luck
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 07:08:26 PM »

Yer Killin me Luverbus

Mexico is not an option. I'm not ready to test the alternatives yet.

It went trouble free for 2 seasons and would still be fine if not for my ignorance. I let the  brushes for the condenser blower go too deep it started turning slow the high side went up and it pushed out before I noticed it. It began to get a bit warm is how I noticed it and by then the damage was done. So it still has its integrity and Im just going to refill it.

On a side note I was given some good advice,I think. Because we have OTR A/C and we live up north and the bus is parked outside in the winter. We should do this whenever done for the season or parked for long periods in very cold.

 Shut the valves off at the compressor because it will leak at the shaft seal on the compressor under these conditions and this will for sure eliminate that. Pull the clutch wire too so you don't make the mistake of running it with the valves closed.

Before opening the ports vacuum the compressor add 1/2 lb freon hammer down

Any a/c techs have a comment on this advice and Id still like to find some different R-12  
« Last Edit: May 11, 2011, 07:17:47 PM by Joe Camper » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 08:46:57 PM »

Joe  There is a product called Freeze 12 you can pick up at your local auto parts store, I have been using it for about 10 years with no problems.  Tony
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2011, 09:49:02 PM »

10-4 on the Freeze 12.  We ran it very successfully in an MC-9 fleet after R-12 prices went through the roof.  Those small condensers on the older buses do not produce good results when operating in 100 deg temps and after a conversion to R134A (which requires multiple compressor oil changes and changing of hoses).   We had no problems with componant compatability, the Freeze 12 is a good performing and much cheaper product.
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2011, 10:21:18 PM »

  Those small condensers on the older buses do not produce good results when operating in 100 deg temps and after a conversion to R134A (which requires multiple compressor oil changes and changing of hoses). 

  Are you saying results were not good with 134a with a Bus full of passengers, or not even when empty? Im a big fan of hydrocarbon refrigerant, propane for example, have been since the early 90's when I put some in an old Ford truck. Back then everyone thought it would blow the car to bits. But while virtually free compared to anything else, the quantity a Bus would take causes some trepidation. Im seeing a 30 pounder of freeze 12 at $370??
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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2011, 05:47:57 AM »

FREEZE 12 and other products like it - are MOSTLY PROPANE  - may not be what you want around a diesel
(Diesel engines can "runaway" if the PROPANE leaks)

But propane is MUCH more efficient than r12 and especially 1344A

They do use propane in A/C's in europe
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2011, 06:58:13 AM »

Has anyone checked with Sam's Club as to R134A pricing?  The last time R134A got expensive Sam's club had it for around $75 for a standard cylinder.

I can't help with R12 or R22 pricing.
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2011, 07:30:12 AM »

http://www.freeze12.com/

Note it states it Nonflammable Grin
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2011, 07:43:02 AM »

I'm in the repair buss. and I just paid $269.95 for a 30lb. of 134...
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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2011, 07:53:07 AM »

134 was 215.00 for 30lbs at Sam's last week I bought it the 1 lb cans it was a better buy 3 cases 12 cans per case for 202.00 total
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2011, 08:22:59 AM »

I had bought a couple of the 30# containers of R134 at Sams when they were less than $100.  I used one to charge the dash air system (maybe 6 pounds?) and went to top it off and found that the container was empty. 

I like Clifford's idea of the small cans.  That way you can top off a system without fear of loosing a big container of expensive stuff.

Jim
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2011, 08:50:19 AM »

Yes that works, the small cans and that price is the best so far but it is pretty lame that a guy cant get a better price on a 30 lb cyl over cans, guess its a volume thing for the manufacturer.

What compressor oil does the Freeze 12 require?
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2011, 09:24:35 AM »

  Ive read the MSDS on freeze 12. The ingredients are listed as R134a at 70-80%, and R-152a at 10-25%. No propane is listed, but R-152a is every bit as flamable as propane. And while 134a isnt listed as flamable, it will auto-detonate, and forms a very deadly toxic gas when burned, much deadlier than R-12. Mixed together they are both as flamable as propane. Having read the actual differences, I dont believe propane is any more dangerous as a refrigerant than 134a or Freeze 12.
 
  Charging with R-12 is out simply due to the excessive cost, 134a and Freeze 12 are out because I would never pay that much for something as deadly as propane when I can use propane for free. And there really isnt any other refrigerant thats as efficient as Propane or so easily adaptable. In addition, R12, R-22, and 134a will soon be unavailable, and we will all be forced to use something many arent familiar or comfortable with, and that will likely be propane.  

  So the question then becomes, how to safely run propane refrigerant in the Bus. As most of the system is outside the cabin, the greatest danger would be an evaporator leak allowing propane into the cabin. A blown line at the compressor or condensor are not likely to start a fire, there really arent any ignition sources in those areas. The engine would run on it, and could accelerate out of control, but as the air intake is generally up away from the compressor area on most Buses, that too is quite unlikely, and then only if stopped. On the highway a gas leak would just harmlessly waft away in the slipstream. The same goes for the condensor, its outside the cabin. The only ignition source in that area is the fan motor, but that could be made explosion proof. So now were back to the evaporator.

  In most RV's there are several propane appliances, furnaces, water heaters, stoves, refrigerators. Several times over my life ive experienced leaks where you could smell gas. We accept that as a risk, and some RV's have 20 or more gallons of propane plumbed right into the cabin, with iron pipe and soft copper and fittings. So why should we fear an evaporator leak? I have never once, in my entire time on this earth, ever had, or known anyone who ever had one leak. Not in a house, and never in a car. But in the off chance it would rupture, what could be done to minimize the risk?      

  

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Joe Camper
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« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2011, 10:59:38 AM »

Great discussion we have going thanks for all the input.

I reckon no one has ever heard of the freon loss at the compressor shaft seal during periods of cold weather and nonuse or closing off the valves on the compressor to eliminate it. As explained to me yesterday this  is common in these compressors not too old. Had no replys here one way or the other???

I was told a compressor with a seal that holds fine in summer can leak as much as 75% of the freon out the shaft seal left to sit over the winter. He sucked out what I had so he could then put in exactly 24lb and when he only got 6 lb out of it I thought for sure I had some work to do but he told me no.........the shaft seal.  This compressor was rebuilt with new seals on both ends 3 yrs ago too.

 He runs the shop at Central States Charter they are a prevo authorized shop here in Chicago and they still run H-3s with r-12 in them and this is how he services them too.

He also noticed the high side needle bouncing slightly, it shouldn't, and it looks like I'm gonna pull the heads and check the valves  again all this stuff is 3 yr old. Defiantly gonna take some photos along the way. He thinks I have a cracked reed or a plugged orifice or a bad unloader.

What kind of compressor oil does propane require

« Last Edit: May 12, 2011, 11:01:30 AM by Joe Camper » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2011, 01:14:43 PM »

I see where that might would work sitting for long periods for a rv but a charter bus I have my doubts the AC is part of the dehumidifier function on a H series I don't have any ideas about your system.
On a H series if the system is not in good shape that function does not work but no problems here we use the AC about every day year round lol 


good luck
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2011, 06:33:10 PM »

Your right.

On ours in the winter when heat is needed the defrost works way way better if we continue to select a/c over heat, and then turn more heat in with the thermostat to get the desired temp. If you try to defrost in heat mode it totally sucks.


Good trick for prevo with OTR A/C

How in the heck do folks without otr a/c deal with this. Or buses with the dash air not functioning?

Lots of towels up at the dash LOL

I do believe he practices what he told me thou dumb drivers probably dont know any different.
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2011, 07:22:13 PM »

Dina never had any way to get air conditioned air to the defroster.  To date, just heated air has worked out okay.  The one time in winter weather we really needed the defrost it wouldn't work at all.  It turned out that a wire had come loose from the switch.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2011, 07:36:57 PM »

sorry - my mistake

here's the data on Freeze 12 - (non propane)

http://reviews.ebay.com/Freeze-12-Refrigerant-R134a_W0QQugidZ10000000005615895
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« Reply #20 on: May 13, 2011, 05:55:58 PM »

It is a good idea to 'valve off' the compressor for extended times of non-use, isolating the compressor from the rest of the system. That said if you are sure that the rest of the system is leak free. The shaft seal is partially made with the refrigerant oil in the seal. If it sits gravity takes over with the oil and the refrigerant can leak past the seal. You need to make sure that the compressor isn't operated with the service valves closed (front seated). I'd disconnect the clutch to make sure that the compressor doesn't operate. Another approach would be to pump the refrigerant into a receiver. I don't know if your bus is equipped with one. If it is, there is a procedure to do that.
I am an opponent of propane in a mobile application. That said I have over 200# R-12 but I am an EPA certified tech as well for mobile A/C. I will sell you R-12 installed in your rig, after is is deemed leak free, for $19/lb. Industry list is quite a bit more than that.
R-409 is a drop in refrigerant for R-12 and I've used it successfully adding it to the existing R-12 in a system. Not much loss of efficiency.
As far as the needle bounce, discharge pulsation is normal. Are you having performance problems?
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« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2011, 06:09:39 PM »

Jones I am sure glad you are my personal AC guy now I know were to get R-12 lol


good luck
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« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2011, 07:20:13 PM »

Yes, seems like last time we got recharged it was blowing colder and the ambient temps were higher too.

Another month and some warmer temps and I will know for sure.

I very much like my OTR A/C but I need to pick up as much as I can if I had to pay every time I needed repairs I could not afford it.

Pulling the heads seemed like something I could do, and wanted to, even if they check out O/K I will have learned more in the process.


Picked up a r-12 recovery recycling machine and a digital scale off of Craigs list for 200 bucks last year already had a vac pump and guages.

Learned a bunch already reading and listening and watching and experimenting.

How long is the class to certify and can it be done over the computer at home?
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« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2011, 07:24:08 PM »

Dina never had any way to get air conditioned air to the defroster.  To date, just heated air has worked out okay.  The one time in winter weather we really needed the defrost it wouldn't work at all.  It turned out that a wire had come loose from the switch.

Brian first off the defrost system on a DINA SUCKS on a charter bus loaded with passengers! I've been the driver of more than one that had problems clearing the windshield. Also it's not the air conditioned air on the windshield that clears it. The A/C sucks the moisture out of the air and helps the defroster do it's job.
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2011, 08:09:59 PM »

Can propane mix with R134 or would the system need to be purged first?
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« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2011, 03:33:59 AM »

Hi Joe,

Flatspot is correct that discharge pulsation is normal in a vehicle. You have alot of variables in idol speed that can contribute to this.

We also use 409-A as a direct replacement for R-12 and have since the early 90's with no issues at all. Yes, compressor seals do dry

out but, remember that there are usually 10 to 18 other seals in the system too.. Not as large as the compressor seal but just as

capable of leaking refrigerant. Don't forget all the rubber hoses too..

As far as LP in the system, I wouldn't trust it with discharge presures upwards of 400psi in certain conditions.

Good Luck
Nick-

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« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2011, 06:39:25 AM »

Yes, there are lots of northern fleets that used to isolate the compressor or pump it into the receiver for the winter.

But, the defroster needs outside air in order to keep the windows from fogging up.

Works just fine on an old coach, but the newer coaches have issues.

We haven't been able to get R-12 in Canada for many years? What happened to the phase out?

happy coaching!
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« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2011, 08:01:46 AM »


We haven't been able to get R-12 in Canada for many years? What happened to the phase out?

buswarrior

  My understanding is its being smuggled in and the EPA is looking the other way. It is not manufactured here anymore and likely China are the only ones left making it.

  As far as LP/Propane/R290 in an AC system, 134a uses a different oil than R-12/R-22. Propane is compatible with R-12/R-22 oil and o-rings, 134a is not.

  While I understand the initial fears of Propane in an AC system, if you research the net and honestly read about it, you quickly learn 134a is just as explosive, in fact more explosive as its been known to autodetonate within the system, and form deadly toxic gases when burned. Propane will not autodetonate unless there is considerable air in the system (oxygen), and propane does not form toxic deadly gases when it burns.

  IOW, once you are forced to move away from R-12/R-22, if you can accept 134a, you shouldnt be any more fearful of Propane. The reality is that it is very rare to see an escape of refrigerant into the cabin of any motor vehicle, rare that it would find an ignition source, and rare that it would reach the correct mixing ratio of gas to oxygen to support ignition. Propane is one of those gases that has a very narrow range of ignitability, too much or too little Oxy and it wont ignite.

  And even if it did, if the worst happened, say your sleeping, the Bus fills with gas from an evaporator leak, it somehow reaches the proper mixing ratio, and miraculously something sets it off. KaBoom. It would likely blow all the windows and drapes out. It might cause some minor flash burns to any exposed skin. Its unlikely any further fire or damage would occur. Personally I am more afraid of the junky cheapo RV propane appliances like Suburban LP furnaces, LP water heaters, LP refrigerators and LP stoves. Of those, I probably have more confidence in the stove.
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« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2011, 08:18:08 AM »

R-12 is still made they make it in India and export still available in Mexico I paid 25 bucks for a can last year.
I never could get my arms around the EPA deal and freon the stuff leaks out or there would not be replacement how do capture something leaking at 70 mph or on a home AC when it gets low where does that go in the air is all I can figure lol
 I have a 90 model Jeep that uses R-12 and I don't plan on changing to 134 leaks out about pound every 2 or 3 years
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« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2011, 08:30:55 AM »

  No one ever knew the ozone hole even existed until 1979, but of course once found, it HAD to be man doing it, so companies like DuPont, who now had 134a they wanted to manufacture and sell patent rights of, funneled money under the table to PACS and funded University projects to find a way to prove it and ban R-12. Now a report from NASA says the hole may have more to do with solar wind, that at higher solar energies which cause faster solar wind, it strips away ozone in the upper atmoshere over the poles, and at low speed periods, like we are seeing with the Sun today, the hole is virtually closed up. In fact now they are saying our efforts to reduce GW may actually be making the effects worse and may lead to GC. We'll never win, lol, just shoot us.
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« Reply #30 on: May 14, 2011, 11:28:40 AM »

Dina never had any way to get air conditioned air to the defroster.  To date, just heated air has worked out okay.  The one time in winter weather we really needed the defrost it wouldn't work at all.  It turned out that a wire had come loose from the switch.

Brian first off the defrost system on a DINA SUCKS on a charter bus loaded with passengers! I've been the driver of more than one that had problems clearing the windshield. Also it's not the air conditioned air on the windshield that clears it. The A/C sucks the moisture out of the air and helps the defroster do it's job.

Yes, I know that the air conditioner dries out the air.  It still remains that a Dina has no way to remove moisture from the defrost air.  You and I have two different uses for a bus.  You also use yours a lot more.
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« Reply #31 on: May 14, 2011, 02:13:44 PM »

  It is a good idea to 'valve off' the compressor for extended times of non-use, isolating the compressor from the rest of the system. That said if you are sure that the rest of the system is leak free. The shaft seal is partially made with the refrigerant oil in the seal. If it sits gravity takes over with the oil and the refrigerant can leak past the seal. (snip)

I don't know if it works in a bus or makes any difference in a house air system, but you see a *big* difference in charge leakage in a car system if you switch on the A/C for about 3 minutes a month during the winter.  You'll need a warm day (or starting in a warm garage to begin with warm charge) so that it doesn't trip out on you but doing this seems to eliminate a very high %-age of charge leak (at least that part due to the compressor seals) over a winter.
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« Reply #32 on: May 14, 2011, 05:00:11 PM »

As a retired fire investigator, I appreciate Paul's (Artvonne) comments and perspective re. the air/fuel ratio requirements for igniteability of Freeze 12. I have had it installed in my bus and have been very happy with the preformance, and I am not concerned with its flammability properties. In my opinion, the key to reducing the loss of refrigerant is to run the bus about every month.
Dennis
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« Reply #33 on: May 14, 2011, 05:45:49 PM »

I have a 90 model Jeep that uses R-12 and I don't plan on changing to 134 leaks out about pound every 2 or 3 years

R-134A molecules are about 1/2 the size of R-12 molecules. Since there is no such thing as a perfect sealed system, there is always a very small amount of leakage anyway. When you replace the refrigerant with another one whose molecules are 1/2 size, the leak rate gets higher. Look at it this way: If you fence in your rabbits with rabbit wire, you will very seldom have one get out. If you put mice in the same pen, you're going to lose them.

TOM
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« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2011, 07:38:26 PM »

What if the temps are down below freezing. I know heat pumps do not work below 40 or so and I was under the impression that freon does not like to move around when its too cold.

Is it O/K to run the system when its 20 or 10 degrees out?
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« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2011, 07:55:30 PM »

Joe, On our cars in the winter when we turn our defroster on in zero weather the ac cycles on and off briefly .I was told this feature was to keep the system active and help prevent leaks during the colder months. Also not efficient newer refrigerants are active down to single numbers.  Bob
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« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2011, 08:56:35 PM »

  What if the temps are down below freezing. I know heat pumps do not work below 40 or so and I was under the impression that freon does not like to move around when its too cold.   Is it O/K to run the system when its 20 or 10 degrees out?   

__.  Joe, remember that I said "warm days or when the vehicle has been in a heated garage"?  There are control switches (that's why I mentioned "tripped out") that disable a car A/C system (usually by cutting off the engaging current to the compressor or triggering a switch within a computer control to do so) when pressures within the system are too high or too low.  R-134 will work at lower temps (mostly because it's less efficient) but I wouldn't run an A/C when the temp is below freezing or the vehicle wasn't warmed up "artificially".   I'm sure that there are places on earth where you won't find a day over freezing all winter but most places where most people live will afford you the opportunity. 
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« Reply #37 on: May 15, 2011, 06:56:55 AM »

The AC will cycle in the current coaches anytime, any day, 365, according to a combination of the humidity in the coach and temperature in and out.

And your personal vehicle more than likely engages the AC to some degree when set to defrost, as noted by an earlier poster.

Some of it is for performance of the HVAC, some of it is to keep the seals lubed.

Joe, it all depends on how often you operate the coach during the winter months, how often you might want the AC during that time, whether you choose to try cycling it on and off, or you isolate the compressor for those months.

I guess the trick is getting a handle on how long before the seals are starting to get dry?

A field of study for which we have no commercial body of experience to fall back on, except perhaps a few of the entertainer leasing companies. Who else lets a capital asset like a coach sit for months on end?

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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Frozen North, Greater Toronto Area
Joe Camper
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« Reply #38 on: May 15, 2011, 04:28:05 PM »

I have decided the best way to solve that issue is to stay where it is warm.


Daaaaaaaa Grin
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Signing off from Cook County Ill. where the dead vote, frequently.
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