Is EnviroSafe "R12A" R12 replacement legal in Washington State?

Joined
Sep 18, 2022
Messages
16
TLDR: See title

So I just moved to Washington State, and I have a 1991 Subaru Legacy wagon that my son drives. Recently, he rear-ended it into a truck, and we've been rebuilding the front end. We found everything we needed from a local wrecking yard, and put it all back together. Somewhat.

Anyway, my problem is that my son wants AC in it- the AC has never worked in all the years I've owned it, turns out there was a leak in the condenser. We replaced the condenser and pressure-tested the system with about 60 PSI of air and sprayed it with soapy water to check for leaks. The only leaks we found were on a couple fittings that weren't tight enough, and after fixing that, it looked fine.

Now, being a 1991 car, it originally used R12 as the refrigerant. As I understand it, since you can't get R12 anymore, I'd have to either find some on eBay and recharge it myself, or retrofit or replace the entire system for one that works with R134. My son found this stuff on eBay (really long link), and it looked kind of sketchy. I have no idea if this even legal in Washington.

Any comments or thoughts would be helpful!

--JR

(P.S. If this is the wrong forum, please feel free to point me in the right direction!)
 

JR Manx

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 18, 2022
Messages
16
@brianl703: Envirosafe is not marketed as a replacement for R12. It is marketed as a replacement for R134a. There is a legal reason for that.
I think I got it mixed up with something else I found- I think it was called Frostycool?
 
Joined
May 7, 2004
Messages
12,701
Location
Nokesville, VA
I think I got it mixed up with something else I found- I think it was called Frostycool?

That's the same thing. Per federal law, HC (flammable) refrigerants cannot legally be used to replace R12. But they can be used to replace R134a. Some states may have state laws that ban the use of flammable refrigerants.

Envirosafe got busted by the EPA for marketing their product as a replacement for R12. Now the exact same product is marketed as a replacement for R134a and that is OK.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
14,117
Location
USA
Welcome to BITOG 🎉

The easiest and cheapest option is the 134a retrofit kit. Since there is no R12 left in the system, all you have to do is fill it according to the instructions on the kit :)

The kit comes with adapters for the high and low side, some ester oil, and of course the 134a itself.

If you can't find the complete kit, then get the r134a itself, a set of adapters like these, and some ester oil for r134. You must use ester; you cannot use PAG that they use for factory r134a systems because it's not compatible with r12 or the mineral oil used with it. Ester is compatible with residual amounts of r12.
 

JR Manx

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 18, 2022
Messages
16
@slacktide_bitog: The easiest and cheapest option is the 134a retrofit kit. Since there is no R12 left in the system, all you have to do is fill it according to the instructions on the kit
So, where would I find one? Does it have to be specific to Subarus, or would it be just a generic thing for most R12 systems?
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
2,528
Location
Pacific Northwest
Washington state recently banned the sale of AC refrigerant to anyone who doesn't have an AC certification. You'll need to make a road trip if you want to DIY. I doubt if you'll be able to mail order any unless it slips under the radar.
 
Joined
Apr 27, 2010
Messages
12,735
Location
Suburban Washington DC
R134 conversions in R12 systems give mediocre results at best. Either find R12 or a direct replacement. Plenty of listings on Ebay for both but not exactly cheap. I still have a 30 gallon drum of Autofrost more than half full waiting to use on some old cars.


 
Joined
Jan 18, 2020
Messages
2,458
Location
United States
Washington state recently banned the sale of AC refrigerant to anyone who doesn't have an AC certification. You'll need to make a road trip if you want to DIY. I doubt if you'll be able to mail order any unless it slips under the radar.
a 609 is like 20 bucks
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2008
Messages
14,117
Location
USA
So, where would I find one? Does it have to be specific to Subarus, or would it be just a generic thing for most R12 systems?

It does not have to be specific to Subaru, as all R12 systems have the same ports, and all R134a systems have the same ports. Therefore, the kit works on all R12 cars.

Any auto parts store should carry it, possibly Walmart, too :)
 

JR Manx

Thread starter
Joined
Sep 18, 2022
Messages
16
The pressure/temp chart for R152a suggests that it should work very well as an R12 replacement, better than R134a. And last I checked you can get it at Costco for about $20 for 6 12oz cans.
In Washington State, though? @ripcord mentioned that they recently banned the sale of any AC refrigerant.
 
Joined
Oct 4, 2009
Messages
497
Location
Litchfield, Ohio
R134 conversions in R12 systems give mediocre results at best. Either find R12 or a direct replacement. Plenty of listings on Ebay for both but not exactly cheap. I still have a 30 gallon drum of Autofrost more than half full waiting to use on some old cars.
Not if its done right. R134a moves more heat per pound than R12.
 
Joined
Sep 26, 2002
Messages
5,197
Location
Central Arkansastan
The conversions from R12 to 134a usually aren't as efficient because the condenser in an R12 unit is too small. If you can retrofit a 134a-designed condenser in place, it will work much better.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Messages
48,974
Location
New Jersey
R134 conversions in R12 systems give mediocre results at best. Either find R12 or a direct replacement. Plenty of listings on Ebay for both but not exactly cheap. I still have a 30 gallon drum of Autofrost more than half full waiting to use on some old cars.

I would agree. Ive had 134a retrofits done before, but to get it right, a better condenser is really necessary at minimum, and the results aren’t always up to par.

Hydrocarbon refrigerants really are great. I use them for troubleshooting leaks since they’re easier to get than bone dry nitrogen laced with r-22. Case in point my 1982 MB 300CD. Runs R-12 but lost charge when sitting many years after our first child was born. I vacuumed the system and used HC for the test.

Proof:


That was 2020. I haven’t repaired the oring leak. The AC still blows cold on that HC charge today in 2022… despite the leak. The whole thing about bigger molecules not leaking as fast is real!
 
Top