Mr. Fixit’s Guide to Retrofit
Over the past thirty years, the mobile air conditioning industry has experienced extensive changes. Until 1995, automotive A/Cs used refrigerant R-12. After 1995, the industry switched to R-134a. In 2015, we began transitioning to R-1234yf, but for the purpose of this article, we will focus on vehicles with model year 1995 and earlier.
If you own, or are planning to buy a pre-1995 classic vehicle in original condition, its air conditioning system was built to use R-12 refrigerant. However, since R-12 was phased out due to its affect on the ozone layer, R-12 is not easy to come by in 2021. For that reason, FJC still offers retrofit systems with the performance and life expectancy greater than or equal to the original OEM R-12 system.
FJC has always been on the forefront of A/C retrofitting. Nearly 30 years ago we reviewed A/C manufacturers’ publications and found that detailed information on retrofitting from R-12 to R-134a was not readily available. In response, we initiated an aggressive research and development program and solidified our position as the undisputed experts in the field of retrofitting. We literally “wrote the book” on how to retrofit from R-12 to R-134a. Our goals were threefold: develop quality environmentally safe and sustainable products, ensure effectiveness under actual operating conditions, and offer education and expertise to industry professionals.
Clearly, in 2021 there are very few R-12 vehicles registered in the USA. Between normal aging, the desired “cannot live without” advances in technology, and the popular “Cash for Clunkers” program in 2008/2009 very few people own vehicles older than 1995…..but guess what? Some still do! Some people still appreciate the sharp styling and retro vibe of a classic car, and for those people FJC still sells our original retrofit kits, assortments and products. (At heart we’re retro-enthusiasts too!)