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I have the original AC system in my 69 Grande that is very low on R12 (I assume R12 as lines still has the old style fittings for the gauge).
While removing the pressure gauge, some red oil came out of the compressor (smelt and looked like ATF).
Is the oil used on compressor with R12 red in color?

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The R12/R22 refrigerant oil I've always installed is fairly clear in color.  It may have a very slight tan color to it.  With that said, the few times I've added a sealant to an R12 A/C system, the sealant was always red in color.  I'm thinking that is what you saw when you removed the pressure gauge.

Since it was low on refrigerant, did you find and repair any leaks?  Do you have the tools needed to evacuate and recharge the system, I.E. manifold gauge set, vacuum pump, and some means of leak detection?

If you can find R12 at a reasonable price, I'm sure there are others here that would like to know about it.

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4 hours ago, 1969_Mach1 said:

The R12/R22 refrigerant oil I've always installed is fairly clear in color.  It may have a very slight tan color to it.  With that said, the few times I've added a sealant to an R12 A/C system, the sealant was always red in color.  I'm thinking that is what you saw when you removed the pressure gauge.

Since it was low on refrigerant, did you find and repair any leaks?  Do you have the tools needed to evacuate and recharge the system, I.E. manifold gauge set, vacuum pump, and some means of leak detection?

If you can find R12 at a reasonable price, I'm sure there are others here that would like to know about it.

When I bought this car over 10 years ago, the ac belt was missing. I just got it back on the road. Was expecting the ac to be empty, recently I opened one of the valves a little and realized there is pressure in the system. I have a gauge that threads into R12 fitting, so I hooked that up, open the valve and turned the ac on (with ac belt installed) and the gauge moved a little; I got the red fluid when I removed the gauge.

I have manifold gauge set (for R134 fittings), dye and UV light, vacuum pump etc. Have not looked for leak yet, must be a very small leak as it still has pressure in the system after atleast 10 years sitting.

You can find R12 on swap meets, craigslist, ebay etc, and the prices are coming down as the demand for it is going down.

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5 minutes ago, 1969_Mach1 said:

I guess they don't ask for EPA license when you buy the R12?  When I've seen it on eBay, they've always required the buyer to have an EPA license.

Commercial sellers and some private sellers ask for the license or want you to sign a statement saying you are buying for resale. For example, someone in Atlanta craigslist is selling 1 lbs cans for $10 each (as far as I remember) and asking for license.

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