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I'm running Enviro-Safe in mine. If you want to convert to R134a (much cheaper and available) then you will need to replace your rubber hoses with barrier hoses. Also R134a is not compatible with the mineral oil that is in your system, so you need to flush that out and replace with ester oil.
 

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If you already have R12 laying around, go ahead and use that. But first you would need to find where the leak is in the system. Need to pull a vacuum on the system to make sure there are no leaks present. If there are leaks, get the sources of those leaks addressed. If the system is opened up, might be best to convert the system to R134a. New schrader valve adapters will go over your existing high/low pressure ports, and the new oil/refrigerant will be added.
 
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1983 280ZX Turbo
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In the three vehicles I have converted to R134 I have never changed hoses. I made the changes because of a bad compressor, so I used this sequence:

1) Went to AC shop and had them vacuum out the system so I started clean and got rid of the old lubricant and any debris.
2) Replaced dryer and the small screen called an orifice valve that's in one of the AC system connections, often found at the dryer. Also replaced all tubing O-rings I could reach.
3) Replaced AC compressor. Some came with lubricant already installed, some didn't. If it was installed, I had to be careful not to let it drain out while installing the compressor.
4) Went back to AC shop, had them charge up the system with R134 and (if needed) lubricant.

Be aware that R134 is a smaller molecule than R12, so over time a system designed for R12 system is more likely to slowly lose refrigerant. However, needing to have the system charged up every couple of years is not a fatal flaw as far as I'm concerned.
 

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After not having AC over a decade, I decided to ask my local mechanic to convert my 82 280zx turbo to R134. Nothing changed out, just valve conversion, vacuum and new R134. Surprisingly, he said there was no leak anywhere (which makes me thing I lost the old Freon at the valves). Anyway, now running year 2 with no issues. I should have done it earlier!
 

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1983 280ZX Turbo
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After not having AC over a decade, I decided to ask my local mechanic to convert my 82 280zx turbo to R134. Nothing changed out, just valve conversion, vacuum and new R134. Surprisingly, he said there was no leak anywhere (which makes me thing I lost the old Freon at the valves). Anyway, now running year 2 with no issues. I should have done it earlier!
The AC on my 83 280ZXT is also very tight..I've owned it since 1990 and I don't think I've had to recharge it more than once...until it sat on jackstands for four years. Not running the AC lets the seals leak.
 

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This makes me want to have a shop look at the AC in my 1980. My uncle bought a base model car off the lot in Feb of 1980, and had AC installed at the dealership a month after purchase. I have the receipt from the dealership for $432, or thereabouts ($1200 in today's dollars). The HVAC controls are the non-AC controls, but when you put the air direction lever all the way to the left (Vent), it's supposed to turn on the AC. It doesn't work, and the fuse was pulled when I got the car. Reinstalling the fuse has not caused any issues, so not sure why the fuse was pulled. Pulley spins freely (belt is currently removed), and the clutch spins without issue. Maybe it just needs to be charged up, and I'll be good to go.

If it needs an entirely new system (this is the most likely scenario), that's going to be some $$$. So, unlikely this car will ever have AC again.
 

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Discussion Starter #8

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Discussion Starter #9
I need to replace the ac hose from the compressor to the condenser lower, but cant find one? anyone ever use the ac kits sold by zcar source?
plus i need a local shop to ship the core in?
$1100
 

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This makes me want to have a shop look at the AC in my 1980. My uncle bought a base model car off the lot in Feb of 1980, and had AC installed at the dealership a month after purchase. I have the receipt from the dealership for $432, or thereabouts ($1200 in today's dollars). The HVAC controls are the non-AC controls, but when you put the air direction lever all the way to the left (Vent), it's supposed to turn on the AC. It doesn't work, and the fuse was pulled when I got the car. Reinstalling the fuse has not caused any issues, so not sure why the fuse was pulled. Pulley spins freely (belt is currently removed), and the clutch spins without issue. Maybe it just needs to be charged up, and I'll be good to go.

If it needs an entirely new system (this is the most likely scenario), that's going to be some $$$. So, unlikely this car will ever have AC again.
Years ago a shop converted my 81 AC to 134A, it was installed by the dealer, then I had a problem that the bolts holding the pulley to the compressor would start sheering. The shop replaced the compressor 3 times. Finally, I said forget it and took off the AC to return it back to stock. I never did get an answer why it kept failing.
 

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Sounds to me like they needed to use a higher grade bolt. Either that or the belt was too tight.

I'm a bit stubborn, but if there's a system on the car, I expect it to work. I've never been happy leaving something like AC non-functional.

OK, time for seemingly unrelated story:

My approach to that paid off a few years ago. In 2006 I bought a 1991 Camaro convertible via Ebay for my daughter. Paid about $5K for it. It was in good shape overall, but the AC didn't work. I know very few dads who would have fixed the AC on a used 15-year-old $5K convertible, but I did. I changed it over to R134 and it worked great.

A few years later my daughter finished college and had an 8-month internship as a dietitian in Lawton, OK, one of the more obscure towns in Oklahoma. Not a garden spot, about half town and half military base, and in the summer temps hit 116 degrees every day for a long period. I got some very grateful phone calls from her, thanking me for making sure the AC worked. She couldn't even touch the car after the end of a long day, but once inside she could crank up the AC and get to her apartment. I'm still pleased about that.
 

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It was actually the rivets that came/made on compressor/pulley that would sheer. I even talked to the manufacturer and they could not give me ideas why. It always failed when going on a hot trip going south. Since I was the one who ordered the compressor, I was eating the labor cost each time. It just wasn't worth fixing until the next time I needed it and it would fail again. Besides it was not stock.
 
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