Recharge Leaky AC with R12?

I have an 1989 Toyota Celica. My mechanic discovered a “small” leak in my AC system. However the part(s) that is leaking is not replaceable anymore (I guess they don’t make it). However, his recommendation was to recharge the system with R12 and hope the leak is small enough to last through the summer. Given the regulations on R12, this sounds unethical and maybe even illegal. But I don’t know. Thoughts? Thanks

It’s illegal to discharge any type of refrigerant into the atmosphere.

With that being said, how much is this R12 refrigerant going to cost you per pound? I mean, if it takes three pounds of R12 to recharge the system with a leak at $90.00 per pound, that’s $270.00 just in the refrigerant. And if that leaks out within a week, boy, are you going to be upset.

With the price of R12, I wouldn’t be puttin’ it in a leaky AC system.


Are there any a/c shops in your area? They may have ideas on how to fix the leak that your mechanic is not aware of. I wouldn’t put R12 in a leaky system, like Tester said. If you can get the leak fixed, then I’d have no problem refilling it.

At some point a leak may be bad enough that it’s simply not worth charging it with anything. A half can over a summer is worth a shot; a half can every week is not.

Exactly what non-available part is leaking? Almost any A/C part is available in the aftermarket and leaking oddball hoses can be worked around very easily with a bit of ingenuity.

Thanks for the replies. The AC unit on my celica only holds 1 pound. So, the cost of the R12 was only $60. Parts and labor total is $195. I believe the part that is no longer available is the high-pressure-side metal tube, which inside of it is a schraeder valve, I believe he said. He also said that I could possibly find the pipe and valve at a junkyard, but to be careful because if there is even the slightest bit of corrosion on it, then it will leak. So, I don’t know how comfortable I am looking for a used part that isn’t damaged… I’m not that car-savvy.
Anyway, he said that this valve is what is definitely leaking, but that some corrosion on the threads (maybe?) of the pipe might also be contributing. However, he also said that on the outside of all this, there was a second cap (or screw maybe) that is supposed to be a metal cap, but I had an after-market plastic cap on it that was leaking. They said they happened to have a OEM metal cap with an O-ring that they used and they think that should stop the leak on the high-pressure side. They said that there was also a leak on the low-pressure side, but we didn’t talk much about that. Anyway, I went ahead and got it done. I guess we’ll see how long it lasts. Thanks again for the replies.

For me it is no question to fix the leak, I really believe that too much is being made about how this part cant be found, you just need the right man on the job.

You may not be able to find a pipe, but a schraeder valve is pretty universal. They also go bad if moved after being in place for many years. The cap is also pretty universal to all Toyota’s with R12 systems so a junk yard cap should be pretty easy to find.

To replace the valve correctly, the system has to be evacuated, the valve installed and then refilled.

Google “Freeze-12”, an R-12 substitute…

Sooner or later, for one reason or another, 90% of the “Freon” made leaks into the atmosphere. Automotive systems are the worst offenders with their open compressors and rubber hoses and questionable fittings and valves…

My dad once told me, “Son, there isn’t a thing that man has made that cannot be fixed.”

I find it VERY peculiar that, even though a part a hard to come by or fairly non-existant, aftermarket products for even a custom set up should work. I will admit, I’m not too keen on Toyotas so what I’m saying may sound like a barking Chihuahua(SP?), noisy and annoying and doesn’t make sense.

Where there’s a will, I’d like to be in it…I mean, there’s a way.

I agree to find a reputable shop (Check Better Business Bureau if in doubt) and DEFINITELY get a second opinion. A second opinion and check saved my dads life. In chemo now.
Good luck and god bless!