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Thread: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

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    E500E Guru emerydc8's Avatar
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    R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Has anyone experienced a difference between refrigerant brands as far as cooling capacity? I can get R134a at Big Lots for $7 per 12 oz. can. It looks like everywhere else in town, including Walmart, is almost twice that price.

    The brand I can get at Big Lots is distributed in Mt. Kisco, New York by Mid Atlantic. The can says it's a "[p]roduct of USA and China." I suspect only the label or can is made in the USA. I don't know if freon is just freon or whether the old adage "you get what you pay for" is applicable with freon too.

    Any thoughts?
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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    I'm totally making this up, but I would think it's the other way around. Cans made in China and shipped empty then filled here. They'd be lighter and less volatile so probably cheaper, or at least easier to ship from a regulation standpoint. Doesn't make much sense to make the can in the US, ship to China and then back again.

    ive got the big lots stuff before for a non-mercedes car and it worked fine.
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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Thanks. You're probably right -- Chinese cans. I just checked out Walmart and to my surprise they had the 134a for $4.88 a can. This is totally weird because less than six months ago I couldn't find it in there for less than $12. Maybe R134a is in season right now.
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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    breaking my heart! I will be needing some for the C126 as I am 2 A pillars away from dash removal to ultimately remove heater box and replace my blown Evap coil and all the other rebuild bits. More on all this later....
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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    I don't think that there is a difference of quality in the refrigerants. Some add extra snake oil to their cans for lubrication, leak sealing etc which is not needed if you have a properly functioning system.

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Rumor is that offshore R-134a may not be as clean / pure / filtered / whatever as USA-produced refrigerants. I don't have any firsthand experience though.

    Side note - if anyone knows of a great deal on 30-lb cylinders of USA-made R-134a, please post the details here!

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Side note - if anyone knows of a great deal on 30-lb cylinders of USA-made R-134a, please post the details here!
    R134a has doubled in price in recent months. You could find it at Sam's club for $68 back in Feb, it's now $120 for a 30lbs cylinder.

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by alabbasi View Post
    R134a has doubled in price in recent months. You could find it at Sam's club for $68 back in Feb, it's now $120 for a 30lbs cylinder.
    USA, Chinese, or no country of origin? The last cylinder I bought (few years ago) has no country of origin on either the tank or box...


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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost


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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    USA, Chinese, or no country of origin? The last cylinder I bought (few years ago) has no country of origin on either the tank or box...

    Not sure, but it was a Johnson's bottle so not an unknown brand.

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Hey Guys,

    I installed a new AC Compr and will put anew drier as well. System is empty, is it suitable to get one of those large AC Recharge kits from Walmart or Autozone? I think called AC pro...?

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by samm View Post
    I installed a new AC Compr and will put anew drier as well. System is empty, is it suitable to get one of those large AC Recharge kits from Walmart or Autozone? I think called AC pro...?
    First you need to buy or rent a vacuum pump, before charging. You can't charge a system that isn't pulled down to ~29" vacuum first. Something like this:

    https://www.harborfreight.com/25-cfm...ump-98076.html

    https://www.harborfreight.com/3-cfm-...ump-61176.html

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Side note - if anyone knows of a great deal on 30-lb cylinders of USA-made R-134a, please post the details here!


    Still looking for a good source of USA-made 134a in 30lb tanks, that doesn't cost a fortune...

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by samm View Post
    Hey Guys,

    I installed a new AC Compr and will put anew drier as well. System is empty, is it suitable to get one of those large AC Recharge kits from Walmart or Autozone? I think called AC pro...?
    Those usually have leak sealer and some sort of snake oil thats supposed to make it work better. Get straight R134a. Walmart brand is $5 can.

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Al is correct. DO NOT use that AC Pro crap that comes in the can with the handy nozzle.

    You need to do it right. If unsure/you don't have the equipment, have a professional take care of things. They need to use the appropriate amount of straight 134a refrigerant in the little can, plus appropriate PAG oil. I believe the compressors (at least the Denso units) come prepared with oil for 134a, but YOU NEED TO CONFIRM THIS.

    I put a new Denso compressor in my 560SEC some years back, and had to evacuate all of the 134a oil that was in it, so that I could use it with R-12 Freon. The PAG oil for 134a is incompatible with R-12 systems, which use a different oil for system lubrication. These days, the new compressors come already set up for 134a, although they are fully compatible with R-12, but there is little call for R-12 anymore.

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Gerry has a good point on the oil. The compressor may have had the correct amount of oil inside, or not... the FSM says to empty out the contents and pour back in the specified amount. You are also supposed to add a certain amount of oil if any component is replaced, i.e. the receiver/drier. Before vacuuming / charging, you also want to make sure the correct amount of oil is in the system.


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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    thanks for the tip! Just trying to figure out how to do this vacuum thing. Never done it or seen it done before!

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Well there was definitely oil in the compressor when it was delivered. A little bit poured out but Im thinking it was probably more than was necessary based on what I have read from others on the internet. I can always add more through one of the AC hoses as they will lead back to the compressor right? Or do I need to disconnect the 6mm bolt holding in those 2 hoses on the top of the compressor?

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Oil can be added in any component of the system. See FSM procedure at link below. Note the oil amounts listed at the end of page 3.
    http://www.w124-zone.com/downloads/M...ate/83-525.pdf

    You'll need a set of manifold gauges as well...
    https://www.amazon.com/Mastercool-89.../dp/B00D2HTIIS

    AC work is both fun AND expensive.


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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by gsxr View Post
    Oil can be added in any component of the system. See FSM procedure at link below. Note the oil amounts listed at the end of page 3.
    http://www.w124-
    AC work is both fun AND expensive.

    Not keen on that expensive part, just put in a new compressor, drier and 2 behr sensors. Hopefully can figure this out

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Ok so I can get a loan tool Manifold guage kit.

    Will find the procedure on refilling the system. Really not sure how much oil to have in the compressor. Its already installed and I know that approx 20cm3 oil was removed from the new compressor. I am unaware of any method to really know how much oil is needed without removing the compressor, which I will not be doing.

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    Anybody know if the Denso compressor oil is sufficient or do we need to remove some from the new compressor? I read on the denso website that the new one has 120 cm3 of comp oil?

    Thanks

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    Re: R134a Refrigerant Quality v. Cost

    ordered a 3cfm vacuum pump and manifold guage set. I hope it attaches with no dramas.. hope it doesnt need adapters!

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