Early CFC refrigerant (Freon - R12) conversion to a modern refrigerant (R134a)

Prior to 1993 the percentage of vehicles fitted as standard with aircon was relatively small. Rolls Royce, Bentley, some HGV's and also many agricultural tractors and combines may have had AC fitted as standard and also the high end of some other makes often had AC available as an extra. These were few in number however and all used the popular refrigerant of the time R12 (often called by the trade name Freon).

Around 1993 however once the potential environmental problems of this refrigerant which was a CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) were recognised a change to the refrigerant R134a was made for all new cars but it was at that time still entirely legal to use R12 to recharge the systems of these earlier vehicles which needed R12. From 2001 onwards CFC's were banned altogether and these earlier systems needed either conversion to R134a or the use of one of the drop-in refrigerants which were able to mimic R12 but were free from CFC's. Immediately after January 2001 with R12 now illegal most owners opted for the simple drop-in replacement and only later did the conversion to R134a become more popular. The 2001 breakpoint is now over 17 years away and any R12 system is very unlikely to contain any refrigerant containing CFC. We have converted many vehicles to work with R134a, mostly cars and also a few agricultural tractors but interestingly not a single truck. Up until about 2005 or 2006 many conversions were to the Ford Granada, Jaguar XJS, Vauxhall Senator or BMW 5 and 7 series type of car - the upper end of the market. By 2010 these had virtually come to a finish except for a few really nice or rare models of these cars and now although we still convert quite a few cars to R134a, they tend to be mostly rare or iconic models.

In the past few years we have converted to R134a the lovely little retro Nissan Figaro, the rare Delorean, stately Rolls and Bentleys, quite a number of Ferrari and Dino 308's and a number of 328's together with other classic Ferrari's - 348's, 512 Boxers, Mondial, Testarossa and F40. Other cars are the fairly rare Nissan Pau, some Porsche's and several really rare and thus very valuble cars (one car was reputedly valued around £1,000,000). After these motoring specialities there are still a steady trickle of ordinary family cars, in no way special except they had all the goodies fitted when new and remain just reliable, comfortable transport and where everything still works. Many are Japanese imports which were 'high spec' cars such as the Lexus 400, the 4x4 Mitsubishi Pajero, the Toyota Estima people carrier, the high speed Soarer and the sporty Mazda Eunos Roadster.

For many of these cars we have converted to R134a and recharged these cars for about £130 including vat. Most Ferraris could be done for this sum with slight increases for some Rolls, Bentleys and surprisingly for the little Figaro - it depends mostly upon the price we have to pay for the new drier for that model. However that figure of £130 including vat will now increase slightly for 2 reasons - firstly as the price for R134a has more than doubled as supplies of this refrigerant are being heavily limited by the EU and also as many of these cars for conversion are getting quite old and bolts or fittings can be corroded and possibly break, requiring more work. Either bring the car in for an assessment first or just come for the conversion with the expectation that it might cost a little more. We are not a greedy company and pride ourselves on being fair to each client so you should be very satisfied with the standard of our work on your car and happy that the extra may be little but necessary. We honestly believe that a visit to our workshop is the most efficient and economical way to have an AC specialist assess what is feasible and at the worst this might cost only £20.00.

Occasionally for some cars we believe that a drop-in replacement is still the best solution but that is getting to be an exceptional rarity these days.



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