Take control of your AC destiny with a DIY R134 replacement
Have been reading all the pros and cons of R134 conversion and have decided to do this myself. With AC being present in virtually all cars and refridgerant leakage an inevitability I wanted to decouple myself from having to depend on the local shop for this. It has been pointed out correctly that the cost of freon is still not too high but with a freon system you also get to pay for high shop labor anytime you need a charge from leakage or have any repairs done.
Also, the pricing of freon is kind of an unregulated wild-west situation in that there are no benchmark retail prices. If your local shop decides to raise the price 20% there is not much that can be done about it except a lot of calling around which is not very time productive. With retailers like WalMart selling R134, a pricing discipline is established that will allow the purchaser to know that the pricing is not arbitrary.
In order to prepare for this evolution I purchased the Haynes air conditioning and heating manual which is very good and will provide the basics needed to procede with confidence. I also purchased a manifold gage set for $100 which will be more than paid for by the labor saved.
Some have said that freon based cars don't make good candidates for conversion but I have talked to several people who are satisfied with their conversions, one in particular being a 450SL owner who finds adequate cooling here in New Mexico.