1987 El Camino A/C Retro fit



I inherited my fathers 1987 El Camino. I have a question. The air does not work anymore. The car has been sitting for about 4 years now at a relatives house. I know that you can no longer get R12 for the air conditioning. Has anyone done a retro fit with R-134A?

I would like to be able to change this myself without it costing big bucks. Any help with this would be appreciated.


I had one done and the price was reasonable and the results have been great. I chose a long established radiator shop in town that started doing A/C when they came into common use. They were cheaper and in my opinion better than other vendors.

My personal opinion is that DIY is not an option in this case.


Also, why is it not working? Do you know if it was because of a leak, or is the compressor shot? You need o get the system evaluated before investing too much. A total system revap could be expensive.


Just to be clear, you can get R-12 with very little problem. The question is whether you are willing to pay for R-12. I have two R-12 cars and have no problem purchasing it.


R12 can be purchased anywhere; it’s just that it’s pricy and you must be licensed to buy it.

R134 will work fine, but the vehicle is 21 years old and chances are the system is leaking and has lost all of its charge.
The system should be leak checked first.
The compressor shaft seal is the usual suspect but since this vehicle has the R4 compressor it’s possible that some compressor body O-rings are leaking due to age and body distortion.


I had a R-134 conversion done on an '85 RX-7, and the AC worked great afterwards. I don’t consider this a do-it-yourself project, however, and suggest you take the vehicle to an automotive AC shop and let the experts do it. They have equipment and knowledge you and I do not. If you’re planning to keep the vehicle you want the conversion done correctly.