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Removing a vehicles AC? Answered

I am stripping down a 2004 ford explorer to put under my 1948 ford f-1.  I have the body ready to come off except for one problem.  The heater/AC.  Those hoses are the only thing keeping me from removing the body.  Is there any way to remove the freon and dispose of it because I know it is illegal to discharge it into the air.


Um... maybe I'm not getting this.  If your Ford Exploder was made in '04, doesn't that mean it has the new chlorine-free R-134a, rather than the old R-12.  I think that  means you can vent it without fear of hurting the ozone layer too much.  I mean after all, why'd they go to the trouble of introducing a whole new refrigerant, if wasn't any safer?

Or maybe your sense of morality is not based on how much harm your actions might cause, but simply on the basis of whether such action is illegal or legal. 

Anyway, supposing you did come up with some sort of mechanical contrivance, capable of moving the old refrigerant out of your Ford, and into a more convenient enclosure, for example.... into an evacuated propane bottle.

Then what?  All you've done is move the refrigerant from one enclosure to another.  The legal question remains:  How do you get rid of the bottle of refrigerant?  Do you take it local auto repairer?  Do you leave it on Al Gore's doorstep in the middle of the night?

Or must you embark on a dangerous quest to Sammath Naur, within the fiery cracks of Mount Doom, the only place where freon can be unmade?

I'm just saying, the more you ponder questions like these, the more tempting it will be to just stick your car keys into the little valve where the refrigerant goes in, or out...

Or, as others have suggested, you could pay just somebody, so that you don't have to think about it.

Where is this "valve" it would be handy if I could find one because right now my only option to do anything is to cut the hose with a knife if that is even possible. I would like to save it because then I can reuse it in the AC if it or another goes into the F-1

The primary concern of cfc's is that they are detriment to the ozone layer.

Two things:
1. The ozone layer is a naturally produced sphere comprised of irradiated oxygen molecules bound in 3's. It's O3.  It's created when the sun's radiation hits the upper atmosphere, bombarding our planet with things that would typically speaking roast human flesh, even at low energy.  But the radiation can't get past our atmosphere at full force because of what it does to the oxygen.  Anybody with a HS understanding of organic chemistry knows about co-valent bonds, and knows that oxygen typically bonds in pairs to atoms (Carbon dioxide) or to pairs of other atoms (water for instance).  It requires high levels of radiation or other energy to turn it into Ozone, by bonding to itself without other molecules.  Thus Ozone is inherently unstable.  

2. CFC's, by name, and by molecular weight, are heavier than air.  One molecule containing a Chlorine, Fluorine, and Carbon atom (but generally in much higher quantities) is heavier than our atmosphere...  If you've ever cracked an A/C line while off-roading or hitting a possum (gnarly teeth fyi)  The refrigerant gas goes DOWN not up...  R-12, R-134a, R-434a , all heavier than air.  The regulations on dumping these, albeit harmful, gases comes from industrial sites.  They used to use these gases to create things line ammonia and liquefy oxygen, and when maintenance needed to be performed, they'd simply open a valve and dump the system, and walk away until the gases cleared.  If you were going to die from pulling the A/C on your car you'd have to suck on the hose and intentionally ingest the refrigerant, but nobody is that dumb.

The truth is, the process by which we make those refrigerants is more harmful that the refrigerant themselves.  The subsequent use of hydrocarbons to compress and evaporate them for a comfort even more so.

Crack the line and stand upwind, do it in a high spot, make sure your pets aren't down wind and a half hour later nobody will have known anything.

Regarding, where is the valve:


For that last link to justanswer.com, I had to turn off JavaScript, to get it to actually show me that picture. The answerer called it a "service port" rather than a "valve".  Also there are two. The diagram shows two such ports. One on the low pressure side of the compressor. One on the high side.

If I remember correctly, they are similar to the Schrader valve on a bicycle, or car, tire.  There "valve" part is the  little stub in the center, held in place by the pressure inside. 


If you can no longer transport the vehicle to a garage (ie a shop), then I'd suggest that you ask a shop what to do. If you can,. then I'd suggest that you have them do the removal to reduce your damage to the environment.

As much as modern refrigerants are less damaging to the environment than their predecessors, they are not benign. I would not just off gas it in to the environment ad-hoc.

I believe the right way to drain an AC system is to take it to someone who does automotive AC repair and have them hook it up to a vacuum-and-capture system.

Good luck with the body transplant ! Reminds me of some of the historic neighborhoods where you can alter the interior of the house but must maintain the historic facade. You're essentially keeping the facade while doing a complete gut-renovation behind it.

Yea, thanks for your interest, I was worried there wasn't a DIY way of doing it.

The local shop here in the UK will do it for about 25 USD.