77 Toronado A/C Question - ClassicOldsmobile.com


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Old June 30th, 2018, 11:23 AM   #1  
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77 Toronado A/C Question

Hi All
Have a question regarding the air conditioning on my 77 Toronado. I tested things out the other day and I get air out of the vents when in a/c mode and the compressor kicked in and did not screech or scream. So I am assuming that for the most part it may be possible to get it up and running by refilling the system with freon even though it has not run for a few years. The local NAPA shop has a refill kit with 12A freon which I understand is a good direct replacement for the original freon 12. The refill kit even comes with a can off stop leak and the freon has a dye for spotting leaks. Seems to be simple enough, attach to the fitting, open up the supply of freon and when it gets to the right level on the included guage, shut it off and disconnect and see if there are any leaks.
Any thoughts, advice or guidance that you all can offer on recharging the system would be greatly appreciated.
Byron
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Old June 30th, 2018, 12:46 PM   #2  
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I think it's worth a shot if the kit is not too expensive. But you might take it to a shop and have the system checked for leaks.

The A/C on my '78 doesn't work, and the first thing I did was take it to a shop and see what they said. The compressor did what yours does. It would kick on when I put the lever on A/C, but nothing cold came out of vents, which didn't surprise me given how many years the car had sat. I was hoping it would need only a recharge, but no. The shop told me that, by law, they would have to convert the system to R134A if they worked on it at all, so I had them do that. It turns out to be simple and only about $100 to replace the seals and such to do this.

It turned out that the compressor leaks, and it wouldn't surprise me if yours does, too.

I ended up sending the condenser, compressor, and two metal lines to Vintage Air in Florida for a complete rebuild and refurbishment. They're going to rebuild the compressor, include a "VIR Eliminator kit", repair a twisted line on the condenser and recondition it, and make a new metal line to replace one of the ones I sent them. With labor and parts, it comes to $1200, and that doesn't include the cost of shipping everything back to me. It cost about $200 to ship everything to them, and when it's all said and done, I'll probably have about $2000 in the repair of the A/C. But with nothing for these cars but compressors available as new or rebuilt replacements, if any other parts are needed, the only choices are to find good used somewhere else or have your parts rebuilt or custom made new.
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Old June 30th, 2018, 03:18 PM   #3  
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I don't know much about air conditioning but I have heard on more than one occasion that mechanics hate, hate, hate having dye in the lines. They say it messes up their gauges and makes a mess of the system.
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Old June 30th, 2018, 05:14 PM   #4  
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Whats the delta T on the air temp?
Keep the sealer and dye out of the system unless it's needed. Think of the stop-leak as Bars Leak, not recommended.
Read the high and low pressures. If in spec leave it alone. If it needs a tickle of R12 pay up for it. If it needs a bunch of R12 consider converting to 134a with the necessary required modifications.
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Old June 30th, 2018, 05:37 PM   #5  
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The kit from NAPA is not expensive. $60 Cdn for 2 cans of 12A, can of stop leak, fill line, fitting and the gauge. A local shop will install it for me using my kit as they don't want to pollute their equipment with 12A but are more than happy to use my kit and help diagnose any problems. Fingers crossed I get lucky on this one. Will keep you all posted.
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Old July 6th, 2018, 08:33 PM   #6  
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Well the shop used my kit to top up the a/c on my Toronado. It fired up, the compressor kicked in and it actually blew cold air, but one of the hoses had a small leak and that apparently was the only leak. My mechanic thinks he can salvage the fittings and replace the rubber line. Fingers crossed.
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Old July 6th, 2018, 09:01 PM   #7  
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Very nice. Wish mine could be back in operation that easily and cheaply!
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Old July 7th, 2018, 10:18 AM   #8  
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Several companies offer the OEM AC lines. Both the companies I've used will actually carefully cut off the original ends and reweld/crimp using new rubber. Not crazy expensive either...IMO
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Old July 7th, 2018, 10:30 AM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by droldsmorland View Post
Several companies offer the OEM AC lines. Both the companies I've used will actually carefully cut off the original ends and reweld/crimp using new rubber. Not crazy expensive either...IMO
I've not been able to find any off-the-shelf A/C lines for my '78. The lines I have are being rebuilt. There are actually two lines being rebuilt. One is costing $210 and the other $115. Being done by Classic Auto Air.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 11:02 AM   #10  
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Well I got the old girl back from the shop after having the heater core replaced (it was leaking and I bypassed it), then they dropped the fuel tank to see why my fuel gauge was misbehaving, always reading full. Up until 2 weeks ago it worked fine. The sender unit was fine and in fact the tank was fairly new but there was a ground wire issue. Once they tweaked that the gauge is reading properly again. As mentioned earlier the refill of the a/c with freon 12A actually had cold air blowing, but one of the rubber hoses was leaking. The shop is still hunting for replacement hoses as apparently these are an oddball size of 5/32" ID and nobody locally seems to carry that anymore. Even if we can just find the hose my mechanic thinks he can slice it in and the a/c will work. So the search continues but there is hope. Sure would like to get this resolved before August 7th when the old girl goes in for her paint job. Prefer not have mechanics leaning on my new paint job until it has had a bit of time to fully cure.
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Old July 12th, 2018, 03:15 PM   #11  
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Thanks for the updates.

Good luck on finding anything in the aftermarket except a compressor for the A/C system. As I noted earlier, my shop couldn't find anything for a '78, which is why I have to have my hoses reconditioned.
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Old August 7th, 2018, 02:17 PM   #12  
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Just thought I would post an update on restoring my a/c system. As mentioned earlier after refilling the system with 12A the system blew cold air but the upper high pressure hose sprung a leak. So after weeks of searching I finally found the right hoses and ferrules for the crimp fittings. For those that are interested these are the details from my existing hoses which are still legible believe it or not.
The high pressure hose from the compressor to the condensor is a #8 13/32" ID hose.
The suction hose from the evaporator to the compressor is a #12 5/8" ID hose.
I found the proper hoses available in small lot sizes (5 ft) lengths from Cold Hose (www.coldhose.com) in Ocala, Florida and from FMSI Inc. (www.fmsiinc.com) in Burlington, Ontario
The new hoses are on order and should be here shortly. The car went into the body shop today for its paint job and won't be back for 3 weeks but in the mean time my mechanic can start to redo the hoses once they arrive and have it ready for the car when it comes out of the body shop.
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Old August 7th, 2018, 07:25 PM   #13  
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Looking forward to seeing it after the repaint. Good to know on the hose source.
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