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A/C Recharge with R12

Can anyone direct me to a shop in Western MA, CT, or Long Island which still has R12 (not the Freeze 12 substitute , but R12?)

My car (1982 Toyota Cressida) could use a recharge, but I want the original R12! I’ve been told by many that converting to 134a is NOT the way to go, as it’s not as effective.

Google search and phone call is your best bet.

Good luck on finding R12 on the open market. The regular companies like Dupont are banned from manufacturing it. Certain countries might sell gypsy product but the quality would be suspect.

You might check with auto salvage companies. They probably have to recover R12 from junked vehicles so they might reselll the recovered product.

In any case you are going to pay a premium price for the R12 product.

You should check with an auto HVAC establishment to see what a retrofit compressor, dryer, and expansion valve – not to mention flushing the system to remove the old oil – would cost to change over to R134a. Yes, I have heard that putting R134a into a R12 system gives a poor performing system but the failure is in using the original expansion valve and compressor.

@resarcher: There IS one shop nearby that has R12, but wants $400 to recharge . I was hoping that someone here would know of another shop (besides the one in Hartford I mentioned)

@Volvo V70 Yes I DID google search, but most hits come back to online auction site sellers selling old rusty cans of R12. Some admit that they’re partially filled!

I don’t intend on changing out any parts. When this car’s system is fully charged, it puts out a biting cold supply of air (something my 2002 Toyota Avalon never did).

I have to disagree, to a point

Some cars convert quite well to R134a

These old cars almost always have a leak . . . line, hose, compressor, evaporator, etc.


Replace visibly leaking components

replace receiver-drier. The new receiver-drier will be compatible with R134a. The old one from 1982 will not work

make sure your pop-off valve and pressure switches can handle the slightly higher R134a pressures

make sure your condenser fans are working properly. Make sure the radiator fan is working correctly. make sure you’re not missing any fan shrouds or air dams

evacuate (vacuum) at LEAST 30 minutes. After the timer stops, check if the system is holding vacuum. If not, you’ve still got a leak, which you haven’t found yet.

charge only 80% of the original charge. If the old label said 3lbs R12, then you charge only 2.4lbs R134a, if my math is correct

When you’ve got the car idling with the compressor engaged and operating on R134a, suck in some uv dye through the low side port. makes it much easier to spot leaks later on

cover up the old R12 label, and affix one which reflects the date of conversion, amount of refrigerant, amount of oil, who did the conversion, etc.

I’d rather convert to R134a, versus charging with R12, which may be counterfeit and possibly dangerous, not to mention it can be ridiculously expensive

as mentioned, not all of the older design compressors work well with R134a

I think I still have a couple of cans of r12, not sure I want to release it into the environment, but probably will happen anyway. 24 bucks a can on ebay.

There is still a lot of recycled R12 available, but in some jurisdictions it’s prohibited.

Last time I was in Mexico (2014) they still had R12.

Whoever told you that conversion to R134 is not effective is repeating an old wives tale.

A proper conversion by someone who knows what they’re doing with the gauges can produce air that is every bit as cold as the R12 refrigerant.

For what it’s worth, I’ve done probably half a dozen conversions on older Toyotas and only had to wrestle one of them. The stubborn one was a pickup that was a bit balky with the pressues but I did get it sorted out.
The truck owner moved to Florida and a year or so later an update from him stated the A/C was working great down there.

I also had an older Mercury Sable at one time that I converted to 134 and it worked better than the R12. That car would put out stunning 25 degree air on a 100 degree day.
Quite often the complaint from the wife was turn the A/C down because she was freezing.
When you get a 75 degree drop over the ambient temps then you’re in meat freezing territory…

You can check the Mechanics Files here:

I finally had several cars converted to 134a with no problem. The choice was always pay the $400 for any leftover R12, convert to 134a for $200 or so, or go without air conditioning. I would recommend either forgetting air conditioning on that old of a car or just bite the bullet and have it converted.

@Bing: Thanks, but I’m not about to forgo A/C on “that old car”, as it only has 82,000 original miles on the odometer, and looks and runs like new. And I don’t have the curse of FWD, allowing me to do valve lash adjustments myself in less than a half hour, no timing belt on the 5ME engine
(similar to the one found in the Supra). I’ll probably shell out the $400 for the R12.
This car is hardly a “clunker”.

In my original post, I merely asked if anyone knew who had R12. Looks like a trip to Hartford for me. Thanks.

I think you’re going to regret recharging with R12, versus converting now

You’ll regret it when you discover a year or so later, when the ac’s no longer blowing cold, because of a leaking component, and you have to spend big bucks AGAIN to recharge with R12

FWIW . . . I don’t think anybody implied your car was a clunker

Um, “that old OF a car” is different than “that old car”. I know its hard but the car is 34 years old. If it is not an old car now, how old would it need to get to be considered an old car? At any rate you got your answer: $24 on Ebay.

As db4690 noted, with a 34 year old car there is an almost certainty that a year from now any R12 will have leaked out again.

If you do plan to keep the car for many more years, staying with R12 can be a costly decision.

There’s a lot of contaminated R-12 and a lot of bogus R-12 out there. Butane has been bottled and sold as freon.

“Whoever told you that conversion to R134 is not effective is repeating an old wives tale.”

Very true. I’ve converted several vehicles to 134a with no problems.

you can get it on Ebay

The OP is looking for a repair facility to repair and recharge the A/C on an old car, what is “it on Ebay”?

I think he was going to buy R12 on Ebay. Yeah good luck with that-kaboom.