Recharging A/C in 1976 Ford LTD

I’m considering buying this car and want to know what I can do to get the air conditioner operating again since refrigerants have changed since those days. Thanks!

Simple! Pour large amounts of money into it.

The car came from the factory with R-12 refrigerant. It is no longer made, and the remaining recycled stock is very expensive.

The best chance of chillin’ in this car would be to convert the system to R-134a refrigerant. Retrofit kits are available for the do-it-youselfer for around $30 - $40. Figure on about $300 for a shop to do the conversion. However, this price is for a functioning, non-leaking R-12 system, which it’s unlikely this car has. The costs can be extremely high to repair.

Good answer.

Plan to replace the drier and hoses at the very least, which would probably be a couple of hundred dollars.

At the moment R-12 is selling for about $60/pound retail and much cheaper from places like ebay. If the system needs to be recharged, plan on spending around $150 for the refrigerant plus whatever labor and parts are required to make the system operate correctly. Personally, I’m not a big fan of R-134a conversions. You can give it a try, but you may not be satisfied with the results. Contact local AC shops and get some estimates.

Agree; there are several ways to go about this. The most dangerous one I encountered was in Texas, where one shop pressured up the system with propane!! Propane is an excellent refrigenrant; used in petrochemical plants, but rather deadly under the hood of a car.

The do-it-yourself kit is a good way to go if you are handy. I had a quote some time back for a Caprice, which needed a new compressor. The shop quotd $800 for the conversion and the compressor, including cleaning out the system. This shop is very professional and would guarantee their work.

Recharging with R12 is getting more & more difficult as the supply is dwindling. If you really like the car and can live with its thirst for gas, I would get it fixed properly.

I would not trust the stuff on e-Bay. On the other hand if anyone needs a small amount. I have two unopened cans of R-12 and the install kit. I would be glad to give to anyone willing to pick it up (Central Ohio). No one wants to ship it.

Therein lies the rub on a rig like this. You have to spend money to get the system at a point where you can even charge it… after you spend that money do you take the risk and charge it with an R134 kit that might not work? Or do you spend a little extra and charge it with R12?

Or do you just roll down the windows? :slight_smile:

It was nice way back when. Sears would install air conditioning. Maybe they still do. I know that somebody does and they might do it for you. There shouldn’t be anything easier than installing one where it has tne ductwork and stuff. I don’t know any details about it. Happy hunting.

You can probably figure on multiple leaks if the system is empty so it should be leak tested for a start. The worst one is usually the air compressor seals and hopefully the compressor is not shot.

If you cannot do the work yourself then it could get a bit pricy; possible from several hundred to 7 or 8 hundred dollars depending on the problem(s). JMHO, but a non-working A/C is a good reason to offer less for the car and especially since it won’t be that long until warm weather starts to set in.

I agree, every time I have an AC system that “just needs a charge” I end up spending at least $500-1000 before it’s all sorted out (especially with a R-12 system).