'89 FJ62 A/C in '86 FJ60 w/3FE - R134a Conversion Results (1 Viewer)

4Cruisers

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Thought I'd post up my recent experience with my R134a conversion.

My now-running '86 FJ60 received a transplant of almost all of '89 FJ62 donor vehicle parts, including the 3FE (rebuilt by Empire Engines in Albuquerque), A/C system, brake system, heating system, axles, fuel system, power everything, wiring harness, dash, transfer case, etc. The only thing other than body and frame that's original is some of the seat components, radiator (retained the 3FE fan shroud), pedal bucket, clutch (new components), 3F bellhousing, and transmission support crossmember (holding up a new H55f).

A number of months ago I completed the conversion of the donor vehicle's original R12 A/C system to R134a. The system was working well when I started the FJ62 tear-down, but I knew everything would be disassembled into individual components, so decided to go ahead with the conversion. I previously had Toyota of Santa Fe evacuate the system of R12. After a lot of research, including a review of Toyota's R12
Air Conditioner System Retrofit Technical Service Bulletin (AC002-98 2nd Revision) and Toyota's Air Conditioning Fundamentals and Repair manual (Pub. No. 36950E), I started to buy the parts, supplies, and tools needed.

Cdan helped with ordering the Toyota R134a receiver/dryer (88471-12080). Later I purchased a Toyota pressure switch (88645-30250) from toyotapartsdeal.com; and a Denso expansion valve (475-0101), R134a service adapters, and PAG 46 oil from Coolstream. I reused all of the FJ62 lines, hoses, evaporator, compressor, and condenser (previously leak-tested) after thoroughly cleaning. I buckled down and purchased a Mastercool 84172 R134a manifold gauge set (with the longer hoses) and a Mastercool rotary vane deep vacuum pump (90062-B). Other tools and supplies needed included vacuum pump oil, three 12-ounce cans of R134a refrigerant, and a can tap/valve.

Once the 3FE was installed and the A/C system reassembled/installed I started with the pump-down of the system. Big dread factor ahead of that! I was able to pull a good vacuum, down to almost 20 inches Hg (@ 7,240 feet), and it held for a day and a half. It was still holding this vacuum this morning, many months after the pump-down :).

Another big dread factor this morning. Now that the rebuilt 3FE is pretty much broken in and the FJ60 is roadworthy, insured, and registered, it was time to charge the system. The TSB provided the R134a charge amount (800 grams or ~28 ounces) and one of the posts here on MUD provided a decent range for the low pressure and high pressure readings to tell when the system is properly charged. After reviewing the A/C charge video by Eric the Car Guy (learned about the video here on MUD) a couple of times and reviewing the operation of the manifold I hooked up the manifold, plugged in the first can of refrigerant (sitting in a warm water bath), bled air from the yellow hose, and fired up the vehicle (A/C on, fresh air, maximum cool, fan on low, vents, ~1,500 rpm). Initial vent temperature was 88* F. Opened the low pressure valve on the manifold and let it do its thing. After a couple of cans of R134a the high pressure side was reading a little shy of 200 psi, so I started the third can. I turned off the low pressure manifold valve when the high pressure side read ~220 psi and the low pressure reading was ~38 psi. A quick check of the vent temperature showed a low of ~27* F! The steady-state reading was about 36* to 40*. I'm calling that good :).

After looking back at it, it's not really a difficult job, just a lot of dread factor as I mentioned, never having done any A/C work previously. Learned a lot here on MUD, with a lot of inspiration through several posts by @Aloha Jen. Thanks!

Now that I've got the A/C running well in the '86 FJ60, I've got to take a look at my '84 FJ60, which we use in Las Vegas. Last time we were out there I noticed that it still has the old R12 sight glass receiver/dryer. I'll have to figure that one out because the conversion was done by one of the Toyota dealerships there. They must not have followed their own TSB. I'm thinking of replacing the receiver dryer with the same Toyota part on the '86, making sure the system has PAG 46 oil, and doing the pump-down/leak check. Should be a lot easier now that I've gone through this once.
 

red66toy

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Great job! Yeah it really isn't that hard of a job at all if you follow some basic rules and pay attention to what you are doing. :)
 

4Cruisers

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Part of the reason I decided to buy a little more high-end manifold gauge set (the Mastercool unit is really nice) and a good quality vacuum pump (it's nice also) is so I can maintain and service the A/C systems in most of my vehicles. My '93 4-Runner is still R12 and neither of my FJ40s has A/C (yet?), but I have two FJ60s, two Silverados, and a Malibu with R134a. For anyone on the fence about doing their own A/C work, I'd say go for it if you have even basic mechanical skills. It's satisfying to be able to take care of the A/C on your own without having to spend $$$ at the shop - money that can buy you some good equipment that may last a long, long time.
 

lechnito

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The evap core on my fj62 just catastrophically failed and dumped my remaining r12 into the atmosphere so this thread is solid gold for me right now. Thanks for the details on your retrofit, @4Cruisers!
 

4Cruisers

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The evap core on my fj62 just catastrophically failed and dumped my remaining r12 into the atmosphere so this thread is solid gold for me right now. Thanks for the details on your retrofit, @4Cruisers!
Glad it'll be of some help. There is a lot of good information already here on MUD that helped me tremendously. Good luck with your retrofit!
 

4Cruisers

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@4Cruisers good stuff! Congrats, that has to be some rewarding work.

How much PAG 46 did you add to the system?
System capacity is 5.5 oz., per a post from @1972FJ55 here on MUD.

I'd have to go back and look at my notes (if I kept any) for the amounts for the receiver/dryer and for the compressor. But looking at the small plastic bottle with the graduated markings I used for measuring out the volume for the compressor I noted 1.7 oz - I believe that's the portion that went in the compressor. That would have meant 3.8 oz in the receiver/dryer.

@DickM has provided details on the oil here:
The oil I got from Coolstream when I recently converted to R134A was:
Masterchem Ultra PAG 46
Premium double end capped PAG oil
Viscosity ISO 46
Their part # MT0304-1
 
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You hear so many r134 does not work, does not cool enough stories that you start to wonder. It is great to see a Fj6x conversion be so positive. I will say the Chevy/GMC ac units are top notch and my wife's Yukon will freeze you out of the truck (my F150 will not and it is 100% up to spec).
I ended up staying r12, as I had purchased everything for this already.
Doing your own AC is not hard, the big thing is what you said above, Make sure you have a solid vacuum and it holds.
Taking apart the system and replacing the o-rings is the easy part (well except that dryer to condenser connection, seems to like to fuse in place).

If you own a FJ6x they you most likely do your own work. With the FSM, I put replacing your AC at a 6 out of 10. Getting the evaporator core to pop back into the house is the biggest challenge. Other than that is is just taking your time.


Great job!
 
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One advantage of doing your own A/C is what a shop would charge to do it. You can buy a vacuum pump and gauge kit and lots of parts for even as much as $600, do it yourself, and still have $300 worth of tools for the next job. My brother and I share the tools, and have fixed numerous A/C systems on the cheap. Nice when you can evac. and refill for $15 on a beater car, and have working A/C.
 

TonyP

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You can also rent a vacuum pump from Autozone. I used theirs to vac my BMW's system. As long as you have the proper fittings and a gauge, it's easy.
 

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