Car aircon gas question

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 00:15
ThreadID: 67623 Views:4134 Replies:4 FollowUps:4
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My 20 yo troopy needs regassing of the A/C, its getting old too ;-).
Came across a service that uses hydrocarbon refrigerants as an environmentally friendly alternative to the usual R134 gas.

Does anybody have experience with that refrigerant? I was assured it would be fine on the seals/oil in the compressor but its always good to hear second opinions.
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Reply By: oldfart1953 - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 02:00

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 02:00
It has been drawn to VASA’s attention that
attempts are being made to convince fleet
managers at Australian mining sites to retrofit
mobile air conditioning systems from the OEM
recommended R134a, to a highly flammable
product such as HR12.
Such products, whatever their names might be,
are either propane, butane or refined LPG and
all are highly flammable.
It is significant that the sales pitch used by the
hydrocarbon people plays down the
flammability factor, but heavily promotes
‘naturally occurring, safe to use, requiring no
modification to existing systems’.
More blatantly, their big argument for changing
refrigerant is that it releases workshops from
their obligations under the new Ozone
Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas
Management Act, which requires all
technicians handling R134a to be licensed.
Any retrofitting from a fluorocarbon to a
hydrocarbon, under the Act, must be done by a
licenced technician, or the company could face
prosecution and considerable penalties.
No air conditioning system installed by
any vehicle manufacturer in the world is
designed to operate on a hydrocarbon
refrigerant and that makes the use of
hydrocarbons in this context, highly
Not only that, VASA research world wide shows
that no vehicle manufacturers are even
thinking about designing a hydrocarbon A/C
system, simply because of the safety factor.
In Queensland, the Government Gas Examiner
succeeded in stopping a major mining operation
in Mt Isa from switching to hydrocarbon
refrigerants in equipment being used one
kilometer underground. In any case,
Queensland is one state which bans the use of
hydrocarbon in any systems not designed for it.
Not only would the use of a hydrocarbon
underground amount to an unforgivable risk
factor, but it is doubtful if any mine worker
would agree to operate in such an environment
if they knew what the systems contained.
VASA believes one of the biggest single
issues is about employer’s duty of care.
Companies contemplating using HC refrigerant
in any automotive situation, let alone in a
workshop almost a kilometre underground,
should make sure they inform their insurers
and indeed their employees, if they have any
doubts about the safety issues involved.
Statements issued within the last year in the
USA, signed by all major OEMs, indicate
clearly that the use of hydrocarbons in all
vehicle systems will void equipment warranties.
Air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment
contains a myriad of possible ignition sources,
so the use of flammable refrigerants in this
environment is inherently unsafe, with the very
real risk of fire or explosion.
The practice of putting a flammable refrigerant
in equipment not designed for its safe use is
illegal in most states and territories, either
being specifically prohibited (as in Queensland)
or likely constituting an offence under state
OH&S legislation.
Compounding the OH&S hazard these
refrigerants are packaged in cylinders that do
not have the left-hand thread required for all
flammable gases, as set out in relevant
Australian Standards.
For further information, go to
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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AnswerID: 358507

Follow Up By: Graham & Lynne - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 19:23

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 19:23
If above is correct as VASA put out some wild info why do Primus LPG bottles have RH thread?
To gas a troppy up with HR12 would only need 250 grams of gas.
I carry 92 litres of LPG in a tank to power my 80 Series.
I have used HR 12 in my last car
From Graham
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Follow Up By: oldfart1953 - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 22:52

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 22:52
Hi Graham,
Its late at night & I would prefer not to start a long debate on this issue but.....
In your old vehicle it had an A/C system designed to use R12 refrigerant, would have worked very well & was reliable & safe to use but apparently the refrigerant was Cloro Fluro Carbon which smarter people than you & I claimed it was destroying the ozone it became a controlled substance & then phased out. What are you going to use in your 'old' R12 system. A relatively cheap drop in refrigerant like HR12 or the world wide O.E. approved replacement R134a.
You will not get an argument from me, that HC refrigerants didn't work. In fact they worked fairly well.
Problem one with HC refrigerants is that it is highly flammable/explosive.
Problem two is that they are not 'misable' with the lubricant (they don't mix) leading to lubrication problems with the compressor.
Your old system was designed to run on a refrigerant that was stable & should it leak out the worst that would happen if you where close enough was get a freeze burn out of it.
Putting an HC refrigerant into a system that wasn't designed for it is asking for DANGER.
The LPG system fitted to you 80 series is a dedicated system & designed to run/use a volatile/explosive fuel it has many safety features built into it to prevent a catastrophy should an unfortunate situation occur....your 'old' A/C wasn't!
If the powers that be, had come out with a dedicated HC A/C system.... I wouldn't be sending you this email now.
NOT ONE O.E. manufacturer in the whole world endorsed the use of HC refrigerants in their 'old' R12 systems

CU down the road
Tony H
Hunter Valley
Insanity doesnt run in my family.... it gallops!

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Reply By: toyocrusa - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 06:06

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 06:06
Hi. You should also have a look on the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) website as there is some valuable infomation to see as well. Bob.
AnswerID: 358510

Reply By: Member No 1- Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 07:41

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 07:41
firstly, does your aircon still work effectively?...if so leave it alone

OK so the gas has then leaked out?...the leak will need to found and fixed before any refrigerant is charged into the system.

Alternative to R12 (Excluding R134a) would be to use SP34 (an R12 drop in meaning it will work with the mineral oil in the system).

If you go the R134a road you will be up for retrofit ..oil change etc etc

results of using a flamable gas in a refrigeration system.....fridgie was working on a comercial refrigeration system when a large leak developed in a small space....he quicky pulled to power cord out of the socket so that the compressor would'nt pump out more gas quickly, and to stop the compressor from also pumping out oil, ....the resultant arc when he pulled the plug from its socket caused a small fire and explosion. Unfortunately he was inhaling as it went up...was not able to talk for ages and had real troubles breathing

being a fridgie I wouldnt use it....cabin is a confined space.
just imagine if the gas leaked out overnight into the go to get in next the door switch for the light makes...could it go BOOM?

AnswerID: 358517

Follow Up By: Member - Stuart P (WA) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 23:43

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 23:43
wot he said just a matter of finding some one who deals with it
FollowupID: 626752

Reply By: V8 Troopie - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 22:24

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2009 at 22:24
Thank you to all who replied - I had no idea about Hc in car airconditioners and thought I'd better ask first...
Just as well ;-)
AnswerID: 358706

Follow Up By: Member No 1- Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 08:15

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2009 at 08:15
the stuff works well....just a tad dangerous
FollowupID: 626772

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