I use a hydrocarbon refrigerant from Enviro-Safe ( http://autorefrigerants.com/co00033.htm
) in my 1956 Imperial. It is a direct replacement for R12, and is compatible with the existing compressor oil. It cools as well as R12, or better, based on my perception. I tried this material after spending multi-thousands of $$$ trying to find a leak in my AC system. Over the years, I had 3 or 4 shops search for a leak. No real success, and the R12 charge was $400 (4 lbs) each time, in addition to labor costs. The leak is still with me, with a charge lasting about 2 weeks before saying bye-bye.
Since I was not willing to keep on leaking R12 at those costs, I researched the available alternatives. There are multiple alternatives, but I picked the Enviro-Safe products as the best solution in my opinion. They have good thermodynamic comparisons on their website that influenced me, and I concluded that they have really properly researched their solution. It is a hydrocarbon refrigerant (a blend of propane and butane as I recall). It takes about 2 lbs of the material to fill my system, which is 4 cans of the product (at about $6± a can – I buy it by the case). I used to design natural gas processing plants in one of my former lives (1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s). Hydrocarbon refrigerant was normal for the course. I designed one system that used 40,000 HP to produce -40°F. Hydrocarbon refrigerant is not a concern for me. If I have 2 lbs of propane/butane in my car, and 120+ lbs of gasoline, I don’t see much increase in risk for me. But you may feel different, so you have to decide for yourself. By the way, the Enviro-Safe product is not a greenhouse gas, just in case you had a concern about this.
I can’t give you any definitive comments on the legal use of hydrocarbon refrigerant for you, as I have not researched this. I believe it has been approved in Australia as acceptable for automotive use. Our beloved EPA does not endorse it. A professional repair shop may have rules against installing it. My understanding is (at least in Texas) that I can use it if I install it myself. So I do, and I have put labels around the AC system that it is a hydrocarbon refrigerant, so that some free thinking mechanic does not decide to “top off” my system with R12. I use my 50 year old R12 manifold, gauges and hoses and add refrigerant when I want to drive the car in warm weather.
I would be glad to answer other questions if I have not given you the input you need.
1956 Imperial sedan (with AC)
] On Behalf Of Jimmy
Sent: Friday, November 08, 2013 10:42 PM
Subject: Re: [Imperial-Club] 60 AC condenser/cooler/line installation completed.
Hi Norm and all,
I have two imperials now needing R 12 to get them to cooling next year, but only have three small cans left from the dark ages when you could get them on sale for $0.89. I don’t want to change over to the new 134 or what ever it is, so am looking for a directly compatible replacement for R 12. Some of the things I have seen are hydrocarbons that supposedly cool well, but are highly flammable if you happen to get a leak. In fact, I think they are against the law here in Louisiana. If anybody knows of a good substitute for R 12, I would love to know about it.
‘56 4d Imperial
‘67 Crown Coupe
Sent: Friday, November 08, 2013 9:18 PM
Subject: [Imperial-Club] 60 AC condenser/cooler/line installation completed.
Last night I was bored and energetic, so I installed the condenser and cooler on my 60 and re-connected all the lines and hoses. Not a terrible job, but I discovered that in order to get the condenser positioned correctly, the front vertical brace has to come out. Well, all's in its place now and as soon as I have the gauges re-done by JC Auto, I'll see about getting some good ole R 12 in to the system to get it crankin.
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