Last time I bought some it was almost $100 a pound. I think it's come down some since then since the demand has kinda gone away. I think there is an alternative on the market that is less expensive and can be used in place of r12 without converting to r134a. Speaking of which, I have converted my car to r134a and it's pretty easy. The schrader valves are the only real "giveaway".
As Dean said, you have to have a license to buy it and it ranges from $40-$50 per pound. If you want to convert it to R134a, you can charge it, then just take the fittings off. R134a works good when the RPM's are up, but isn't that great when sitting at an idle. At least that's my experience from converted systems.
Tom is correct. r134a is not as effecient as freon types thus does not cool as well especially at low rpms or extreme heat so there are trade-offs. For classic car use though the difference is not really that big a deal.
The trick when changing to R134 is to make sure you flush the system, replace the evaporator and replace the heater control shut-off valve. The shut off valve will stop the hot water to the heater core thus making it easier to cool the car at low RPM's and/or in extreme heat. Did my 71 without any problems (COLD) and plan on doing my 65SS this spring.
I agree with you, leave it the way it was designed. Almost everyone I have talked to about this will tell you the same thing .... the conversions work fine when you are on the highway but when you get in traffic and its hot, they will not work as well as the R-12. When the compressor gave up on my Wife's 84 Riviera a year or two ago, everyone tried to get me to change, but I stuck to it and put R-12 back in. It works like it should, will freeze you out. If the system is repaired properly, you should only have to buy the stuff once anyway, the cost is not that much difference.
The demand has gone way down ... there is always some on e-bay for around $20/lb.
Bill's all over it. Some of us enterprising guys decided to buy a pallet of kegs when we heard it was gonna go bye-bye. Before it was even delivered to us, we already had it re-sold to a guy in TX for an undisclosed amount of HUGE dough. We literally unloaded it off the truck, took off 2 kegs, and re-labeled it to send to him. We didn't have the pallet on-hand for more than a few hours. Now, it's not so bad because everyone is changing over to 134, so prices have dropped.
Once I had all my parts back together, I called around to every auto repair, radiator and air conditioning shop in my area and asked them if they could Check and Recharge my 70 Chevelle AC system with R12. I went through a dozen phone book entries and they all said no, and each time I asked if they knew someone who might and they would always give me a name of someone to check with. Took a couple of weeks and some face to face drop in visits until this one guy at a tire shop gave me the name of this really old radiator shop that was affiliated with a A/C shop who said they had lots of R12 and would be happy to do it. $400 and 1 day later I was looking at his little hand thermometer that read 48 degrees out of the center vent on an 80 degree day. Now that is what "blows cold" means. $200 for labor to pressure check the system and replace the evaporator canister, and $200 for the R12. So if you want to stay original, keep looking, there are people out there who can do it.
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