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Old 05-02-2017, 11:04 AM   #1
hiptech
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Question about R-12 Refrigerant

Here is something many (some?) may recall there once was a time when refrigerants we're widely available to the public no license required. In fact I purchased a 30lb contIner of Forane R-12 from Costco around 1994 which I still have minus about 8 lbs.

Which leads me to this question does anyone know the shelf-life for these products?
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Old 05-02-2017, 12:44 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiptech View Post
Here is something many (some?) may recall there once was a time when refrigerants we're widely available to the public no license required. In fact I purchased a 30lb contIner of Forane R-12 from Costco around 1994 which I still have minus about 8 lbs.

Which leads me to this question does anyone know the shelflife for these products?
To my knowledge there is no shelf life, ie - you can still buy R12 on ebay and other sites. But please check with a professional on this. I am not a professional
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Old 05-02-2017, 12:51 PM   #3
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My guess is that they're essentially non-perishable except for leakage. I had a 30 lb canister of R134a I bought recently (DuPont brand) and after the seal was broken, within 6 months all of the refrigerant had leaked out.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:01 PM   #4
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When purchasing R12 on eBay you must provide the seller with EPA license information in order to purchase. And, if you do not have the proper licensing you cannot lawfully ship R12 either.

I have R12 in bulk. I gathered up all I could while I could years ago. A couple cases of 12 ounce cans and a 30lb tank as I recall. I guess they would all be approaching about 12 to 15 years old by now. They were still good almost 2 years ago when I seen them last. Little surface rust that wipes off here and there on the 12oz cans but that's it. Storing them inside out of the moisture probably helps.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:10 PM   #5
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According to a licensed distributor or gasses including refrigerant; refrigerant has an indefinite shelf life when it is stored correctly.
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Old 05-02-2017, 06:29 PM   #6
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I learned something new today (imagines being the last guy on earth with a can of R12, sells on ebay for $222,000,000)
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Old 05-02-2017, 07:29 PM   #7
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They still make R12. You just have to have a license to get it. And it's expensive.
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Old 05-02-2017, 07:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
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They still make R12. You just have to have a license to get it. And it's expensive.
I think you mean the replacement for it which is also being discontinued due to cost to manufacture or so said the supplier, one version that I know of was Freeze 12 which is the one I am referring to above. I used to sell that stuff like crazy when I was a parts salesman, last time I purchased actual R12 it was something like $60 por can which caused me to just do the retrofit instead.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:21 PM   #9
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They still make R12. You just have to have a license to get it. And it's expensive.
Manufacturer and import of new R12 has been banned since 1996. The only R12 still available today is from R12 recovered from older systems or stored since 1996.
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Old 05-02-2017, 08:42 PM   #10
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By "made" I mean it's still being put into containers. You can buy new cans of it but the product inside is still old. If that makes more sense.


Edit... just checked my virgin 30lb R12 container. It says 2002 on it. It's got the Ford oval as well.
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:30 AM   #11
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Thanks everyone appreciate the replies...

So many products including both aerosol paint, Dino and synthetic oil, brake fluids, etc all seem to have "use by" dates it had me wondering.

Just spoke with several AC techs and you're right. Since the refrigerant is kept in a pressurized container away from air the amount of degradation over time is miniscule.
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Old 05-04-2017, 02:02 PM   #12
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I still have a can of R12 I bought off craigslist a few years back for 20 bucks for my R12 system. It still has the $3.99 price tag on it LOL. Its gotta be from the early 90s. Bought it off some old guy who had 3 or 4 in his garage in Phoenix, AZ. But as far as I can tell, only the underside of the can has some very slight surface rust, it still feels like it weighs the same, 12 oz I believe. The can itself has pretty thick walled construction on it.
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Old 05-16-2017, 08:55 AM   #13
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I just redid my complete ac system with new seals,expansion valve,compressor,dryer and hoses then refilled it with r12 which I found on "offer up" $15 a can. Now my 92 wagon blows ice cold!
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:11 AM   #14
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I just redid my complete ac system with new seals,expansion valve,compressor,dryer and hoses then refilled it with r12 which I found on "offer up" $15 a can. Now my 92 wagon blows ice cold!
Why didn't you upgrade your AC to R134? Any leak/break in your AC now and you'll have to hunt for R12 again.
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Old 05-16-2017, 11:26 AM   #15
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Why didn't you upgrade your AC to R134? Any leak/break in your AC now and you'll have to hunt for R12 again.
Because our cars are not designed for 134a, I have converted several older civics to 134a before and it just never blew as cold at least not to my liking. That's why I spent the extra $ on getting everything I could brand new
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:45 PM   #16
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A proper conversion shouldn't be any less effective or reliable than the original R12 system. If it doesn't work well, it was either done incorrectly, or poor quality components were used.
Ideally, the compressor, condenser, and every AC line should be replaced with brand new parts, and the parts should be absolutely clean. Anything less would result in contamination, and therefore poor performance and eventual failure. There's a reason why a proper conversion costs so much.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:10 PM   #17
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R12 refrigerant was colder than R134 by nature so I can see keeping the R12. I wish i could do the same.

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Old 05-16-2017, 01:12 PM   #18
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I'm still considering one of those "R12 compatible" recharge kits for the Miata. It doesn't work at all now anyway, so what harm could come from pumping it full of something that may or may not work well?
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Old 05-16-2017, 04:52 PM   #19
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My 93 LX has R12 A/C. It kicks the heck out of R134A in our cars. I've done it both ways. Converted Hadsys to Denso etc. I'm so thankful for my R12 system! Especially at this time of year.
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Old 05-17-2017, 08:23 AM   #20
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I understand the ports are different and it may be harder to find proper new gauges fror R12 unless you can still locate a decent old set that hasn't dry rotted....

BTW wasn't there a lot of issues with converting R12 to R134a? I seem to recall problems with leakage due to molecular compatibility with hoses as well as the cooling effeciencies. Has all that been resolved now?
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