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Old 05-24-2020, 04:35 PM   #1
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Default The ex-Karl Buchka 245 Daily Driver Renovation Thread

Thought I'd share what I've been up to for the past few months, outside of day to day stuff. Helping Karl revive and sell this 245:





Background... Karl bought this 1992 245 about 4 years ago to act as his daily here in the LA area. It replaced this green 1982 244 that I helped him sell for $500, which went on to star in a Hagerty article: https://www.hagerty.com/media/archiv...500-volvo-240/

The 245 already had a B230FT swap that the previous owner had done at a shop, and had an auto trans at the time. It was an original CA car, as built with NA B230F, autotragic, and ABS. The metallic gray paint had been resprayed in the past and was quite dull - almost looked like one of the modern matte jobs, but spottier. He bought it in Santa Barbara.

The B230FT is from an '86 740T, has an original T3 turbo, IPD turbo cam, adjustable cam pulley. Karl added a 940 e-fan, TLAO chips, S70T5 injectors, an MBC and a Turbosmart Kompact recirculating bypass valve, and an IPD sport exhaust system. It runs about 12 psi and pulls nicely in the midrange.

Karl swapped the auto out for a T5 world-class 5-speed from a Mustang which he rebuilt, including a Pro5.0-style shift mechanism and a custom shift lever and knob he made himself. Flat flywheel with a Saab 9000 aero pressure plate and clutch disc from Yoshifab, and a one-piece driveshaft. This thing shifts so precisely and smoothly (if a bit noisy), definitely the best non-Honda shift feel that I've ever experienced.

Karl also built up some custom coilovers with 4130 steel sleeves, 330 lb/in springs, Coleman parts and Koni yellows, added a big 4-piston Wilwood brake upgrade in the front, floating rotors with aluminum hats, an IPD bar, Kaplhenke roll center correctors, and strut tower brace. In the rear he shortened the trailing arms and added adjustable torque rods, panhard rod, spring perches. The wheels on the car were Hydras when Karl bought it but he swapped them out for Evo 8 17x8", with 28mm/35mm adapters. Tires are Hankook 235/45R17.

The interior was set up nicely with some Evo 8 Recaro seats welded to the stock sliders, stock back seat, plastic floor trays, and Volvo OE rear cargo tray and roll-up cargo cover.

I think Karl enjoyed driving the car thoroughly but needed a newer daily to depend on when his work schedule got crazy. Plus the regular attention that a 25 - 30 year old car needs was not fun anymore for him. Project burnout, if you will. So he parked the 245 and it sat.

After a year or so he decided to sell, and it needed some love after sitting dormant. This is where I agreed to help him out. We made a punch list of things that definitely needed to get done, followed by a wish list of things that would improve some long-standing deficiencies of this car.

Definite jobs:
  • Re-seal the T5, which had some slow drips
  • Replace a blown rear damper
  • Mount two new tires in the front, which had worn prematurely due to excessive scrub
  • Raise the rear ride height a bit to help with driveshaft rubbing
  • Add more toe, relocate the tie rod ends to the stock ratio, and realign the front end
  • Replace the windshield, which had a leaky outer gasket and a big chip directly ahead of the driver
  • Thoroughly clean the interior & engine bay

Nice to have, ambitious project list:
  • Perform full paint correction and get this bad boy shining again
  • Revive the long-dead AC system
  • Repaint side trim
  • Replace window scrapers
  • Replace missing and broken interior bits, like map pockets and various clips


And here's what it looked like when I took over. Faded, dusty, and a bit sad. But still a strong runner.


IMG_0016 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_0014 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_0015 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_0017 by Chris Floren, on Flickr
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Old 05-24-2020, 04:48 PM   #2
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The smaller must-do jobs were pretty quick and painless, not too interesting so I didn't document them. The big one was re-sealing the T5. Luckily, the way this T5 is installed it's just about the easiest trans to pull on any 240. From driving it into our shared workshop to setting the trans down on a bench took about 45 minutes for me working alone. Which is great because I did the job twice to fully eradicate all leaks. Granted, the quoted yank time is with the benefit of a 2-post lift.

The T5 uses sealant on mating faces, without any gaskets. Whichever goop had been used last time it was apart never fully cured, so it saturated with ATF and slowly dripped at the seams. Not a massive leak but annoying because it left a spot anywhere it was parked. I've taken the recent stance of eradicating all leaks on any car I'm working on, within reason. On this one it would've been rude not to.

The top cover, tailshaft housing, and front input shaft bearing retainer were the leak points. So all of those came off and I cleaned everything and used Permatex Ultra Black on reassembly which worked quite nicely.


IMG_0272 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_0267 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_0269 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_0271 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

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Old 05-24-2020, 05:54 PM   #3
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Interior work was not too bad; it mainly needed a deep cleaning. I used my Cleveland Steamer...er, I mean my Bissell Little Green Machine (which is a heated wet vac and not a steam machine) to deep clean the seats and carpet. Front seats out for this job. The Evo 8 upholstery is like a stretchy mesh with a blue fabric underneath and has suede or alcantara side bolsters. This all trapped quite a bit of dirt over the years but came clean and looking nearly new in the end. I cleaned all of the door cards, dusted the dash, and removed & deep cleaned the center console. The console on a 240 always traps a ton of nasty smegma and this one was no exception. After cleaning the carpet, handbrake area, and plastic bits it all looks great now.

Before


IMG_0194 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

During


IMG_2075 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

After


IMG_2076 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2104 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


The map pockets were missing so I cleaned and scuffed up an old pair of brown ones and shot them with some satin SEM trim black. Quite nice, actually!


IMG_0950 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_0952 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_0954 by Chris Floren, on Flickr
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Old 05-24-2020, 06:03 PM   #4
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The exterior beltline trim had been repainted in the past and was peeling; the window scraper holders as well. The scrapers themselves were dried and cracked like a javelina carcass in the desert. So I went with SEM trim black paint again for all the exterior bits, after carefully sanding and prepping them one by one. New scraper rubbers came from Ken and finished that job off.

before...


IMG_0427 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

After painting the beltline trim


IMG_1070 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


Scraper retainers stripped & sanded


IMG_1265 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

painted...


IMG_1267 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

and done.


IMG_1274 by Chris Floren, on Flickr
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Old 05-24-2020, 06:32 PM   #5
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The two biggest jobs were always going to be reviving & rebuilding the AC, and correcting the paint. I'll save the paint for the last post. In this one we will focus on making this biatch cold. And to do that I wanted to convert over to R134a to make it more serviceable for the next owner.

When it came time to diagnose the non-functional R12 system I knew we had a few components at our shop that could come in handy, like compressors and evaporators, but wasn't sure yet what it would need. I started with removing the orifice valve and found this:


IMG_0483 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

Black death. The compressor was clearly toast, therefore the condenser was likely a goner as well. The system had been totally emptied in the past so I didn't have to worry about recovery and went straight to pulling everything apart.

The compressor is the rotary piston type, and luckily I had a spare in good condition. I let it sit on end for a few days to drain the old mineral oil. Degreased the exterior really well and filled it with 6.2oz of ester oil, which is compatible with both the old mineral oil remnants and the new R134a refrigerant.


IMG_1996 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_1998 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2021 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


I removed everything from the car including the old dead compressor, condenser, all lines, and the accumulator up near the firewall. I did not go under the dash and therefore left the evaporator installed. After filling up the "new" compressor it was time to flush the old lines out one by one with solvent, then blow them out with air and let them sit for a day or so in the sun. The evaporator needed a bit more solvent and a lot more blowing out to get all the old oil and liquid solvent out. I was left with a wonderful jar of brown, but a clean evaporator. This is the device that makes cold possible.


IMG_2047 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


As a matter of course, all new o-rings, new orifice valve, and a new accumulator were fitted. These parts are cheap and it's false economy not to replace them with new.

For the condenser, the old '92 part was so junked up with black goo and glitter from the compressor that I set that one aside and pulled a good used '93 parallel flow condenser off the shelf. This one flushed out easily with no traces of evil black death, so I felt good about using it. No obvious leaks or major damage either. I installed some R134a conversion valves as well; low side on the accumulator and high side on the back of the compressor.


IMG_2046 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


I got the system reassembled about a week ago and pulled ~28 inHg of vacuum on it, then turned off the pump and let it sit for a leakdown check. After 30+ minutes the gauge hadn't moved so I considered that a success and moved on with confidence that we had no major leaks. I flipped the pump back on and pulled vacuum for another 3+ hours to remove any traces of moisture, and ended up getting almost to 30 inches of mercury. The deep hard vacuum of space.


IMG_2050 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2051 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


Time to charge, and it took 3 "12oz" cans of R134a quite readily and started blowing cold. After weighing the cans before & after charging I figured that each one was only giving me about 7.5oz of refrigerant. The pressures on the low and high sides still seemed a bit low but the system would run consistently at idle and cold was achieved in the cabin. We ended up adding another 10oz or so and settled with a charge of about 32 - 35 oz total, IIRC. This seemed high but the high side pressures were right in range, and low side was still a little low. It got down to ~41 degree vent outlet temps in our shop with about 75 - 80 degree ambient temp, and the engine fully warmed up and idling. E-fan kicked on as controlled by the 740T ECU, and we basked in the cold dry air of the cabin for the first time in this car. Very satisfying!


IMG_2060 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2071 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2102 by Chris Floren, on Flickr (it got a bit colder than this after more chargin')

That frosty cold high side pipe from the condenser to the evaporator was a welcome sight too, but it made me realize that it would really benefit from some insulation and heat shielding in the future, being so close to the turbo & downpipe. The pressure switches are also leftover from the R12 system and would likely reduce cycling if I had replaced those with R134a spec switches from a '93, which allow for lower operating pressures. In any case this was the 2nd 240 out of 2 that I'd been involved with successful AC revival, so I'm feeling confident in the next ones.
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:18 PM   #6
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On to the biggest most time consuming job: paint correction. I hope it's visible from the previous pics but the paint on this car was always very strangely and consistently matte. It didn't leave a chalky residue when you touched it (like the old solid color single stage Volvo OE paint does when oxidized), but it absolutely would not look any better whether it was dirty or clean. We weren't sure if this paint had ever been truly shiny. I had attempted to buff it in the past but got frustrated with the lack of results and decided to regroup, research, and develop a process that worked.


IMG_0217 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

This is a good representation of what the paint looked like up close ^^. There were lots of dark stains that wouldn't come out, and absolutely no reflection was visible on any upper surface or horizontal surface. The bottoms of the doors did reflect the ground a little, which gave me some hope that correction was possible. This is a respray and it's a single stage metallic with no clearcoat, like the original. I figured whatever I did could only improve things, so I jumped in. Through research I learned that a single stage metallic silver or gray is the toughest type of paint to revive, pretty much across the board. The metal flake particles are aluminum and they oxidize badly to a dark gray or black color without any clear protecting them from the elements. Not to mention the pigment was heavily oxidized as well. I spent a lot of time on the AutoGeek forums and on the AMMO NYC youtube channel, learning some of the detailer's tricks of the trade for difficult paint correction.

What ended up working was wet sanding. No other method produced anything resembling a shine on this paint. Through buffing with various compounds I did get it shinier, but without any crisp reflections I kept going with experimentation. Wet sanding with 2000 grit both on a rubber block and by hand removed so much of the dead skin layer that was causing so much trouble on this paint. I did clay bar the whole car as well to help pull out any stubborn debris.

For the remaining steps I settled on Meguiar's 105 compound with one of their 6" open cell foam cutting pads on a Harbor Freight DA to do most of the heavy action. Polishing with Meg's 205 on a yellow foam pad worked pretty well and crisped up the surface in most areas, although results were a bit inconsistent from panel to panel. The roof was baked and didn't have much paint left on it, so it did buff through to primer in a few areas. There was already some light surface rust..er, patina starting on the corners of the roof, but that got knocked down with wet sanding and buffing and doesn't look bad. The doors, quarters, and hatch took to a really nice shine due to their being vertical surfaces and not subject to as much UV from the sun or heat cycles from the engine, in the case of the hood. After polishing we finished it off with some good old Mother's carnauba cleaner wax, nothing fancy.


IMG_2112 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

Aside from the process and supplies above the thing that really unlocked success for me was residue control. During buffing, so much oxidized paint was coming off of this thing (look at those pads ^) that they would clog up and become ineffective after only 5 or 10 minutes of use. I could tell because the pad would stop absorbing residue and would just start spreading it around. During the day I would spritz some water on the surface of the pad to loosen this up, then blow it out with compressed air. Took a bit of practice to get this trick down but you hold the DA in one hand, power off, and use the air nozzle tangent to the edge of the pad to get it spinning fast on the pad's own axis. Then you move the windy gun nozzle radially inward to clean the interior of the pad. It makes a huge mess but really gets the foam cleared out and working again. At the end of each session I would wash all the pads by hand with dish soap & water to get them fully clean again.

This is the cheap HF DA I have. It's noisy and gets hot but it works. Someday I might upgrade.


IMG_2115 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

This little guy is handy for the tighter spots like pillars and upper shoulder area on a 240 just under the windowsills. It's a 4" diameter Meguiar's DA Power System head that fits in a drill, and is gear driven. So it's dual action in that it has two orbits but it's not a random orbital buffer - the pad never free-wheels. Because of this and the small surface area it's quite a bit more aggressive than the 6" DA, hence the thicker foam pads to absorb some energy. I have done a whole car with this in the past, but wouldn't recommend that.


IMG_2116 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


Here's an early test buff of a fender. Note that it's shinier, but the weird dark spot stains still remain. This was prior to any wet sanding.


IMG_1275 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


This is a good overview shot of the roof prior to any buffing.


IMG_1770 by Chris Floren, on Flickr
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:23 PM   #7
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Close-up of the roof prior to buffing...


IMG_1772 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

And this was the hood before machine buffing but after experimenting with Meguiar's No. 7 glaze by hand - it helped, but was nowhere near agressive enough on this paint.


IMG_1768 by Chris Floren, on Flickr
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:34 PM   #8
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Didn't look too bad from 20' away, but again this is before I really got the machine buffing process defined and executed.


IMG_1781 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


Here we start to make some progress...


IMG_1790 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_1792 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

I was using some Meguiar's Ultimate Compound with the 6" DA but again this was not agressive enough. After wet sanding off the dead layer this paint was extremely hard and stubborn.


IMG_1795 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


The fenders really responded much better than the hood, maybe because they are stiffer panels and can take more applied force without deflecting, or maybe because they hadn't been heat cycled like the hood.


IMG_1804 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_1805 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_1806 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_1810 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_1862 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


Good A-B comparison here. Wet sanded on the left, buffed after sanding on the right:


IMG_1896 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

And then buffed. Taking the beltline trim off for this helped me make progress quickly and eliminated the need for masking.


IMG_1897 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

Nasty wetsanding runoff...


IMG_1807 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

Trim back on, but hasn't been fully polished or waxed yet.


IMG_1908 by Chris Floren, on Flickr
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:37 PM   #9
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Roof responded well but didn't have much paint left on it at all, so I had to be careful and couldn't lean in as much.


IMG_1946 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_1947 by Chris Floren, on Flickr
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Old 05-24-2020, 07:44 PM   #10
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I took the car back to our workshop and Karl helped me get it finished up, which was awesome to have another set of hands.


IMG_2085 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2090 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2093 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2094 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2095 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2096 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


And here's the money shot. Karl took this with his iPhone 11. I think he has a few more that he could add to the thread as well.


IMG_2106 by Chris Floren, on Flickr

I responded to a wanted ad here on TB a few weeks ago, and yesterday the car went home with a new owner. He seems happy with it and I think it found a great home. Hopefully the new owner can continue this thread or start another.

At any rate, this was a fun, but frustrating, but rewarding process getting Karl's 245 ready for sale and improving it. Now I have some free time for my 242, 245, and Opel Kadett...
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:07 PM   #11
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Great work!
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:23 PM   #12
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Great progress report. Looks very good!
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Old 05-25-2020, 08:45 AM   #13
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Good work on the paint with what you had. That roof was D.O.A.!
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Old 05-25-2020, 02:17 PM   #14
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Thanks for the kind words. It was a lot of work; always nice to hear compliments and look back on a job a few days after it's done!
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Old 05-25-2020, 02:20 PM   #15
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A few more pics...the bin is all of the dirty microfiber towels from this project alone.

I had to add the finishing touch to a rear quarter window - these sweet stickers were made by Chris M (uncleknucklez) and I still have a few floating around.



IMG_2117 by Chris Floren, on Flickr


IMG_2107 by Chris Floren, on Flickr
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Old 05-25-2020, 03:57 PM   #16
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I am the lucky devil that picked this car up. Its a real peach. I will do many many miles on the CA99 in this thing.

I can attest the AC works wonderfully. Chris did an amazing job on this car, I am grateful you reached out to me!

This car is already pretty dialed. Eventually i plan to freshen or replace the motor, change the exhaust manifold, add a better turbo and an NPR or do88 intercooler. 300whp is the goal! Any low mile or rebuilt engines out there, send them my way!

Chris i plan to leave your sticker on the window along with Karls.

Thanks again to you both for my new car!

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Old 05-25-2020, 04:27 PM   #17
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Wow, you really got a lot of life out of that paint.
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Old 05-25-2020, 11:34 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thekanezzi View Post
I am the lucky devil that picked this car up. Its a real peach. I will do many many miles on the CA99 in this thing.

I can attest the AC works wonderfully. Chris did an amazing job on this car, I am grateful you reached out to me!

This car is already pretty dialed. Eventually i plan to freshen or replace the motor, change the exhaust manifold, add a better turbo and an NPR or do88 intercooler. 300whp is the goal! Any low mile or rebuilt engines out there, send them my way!

Chris i plan to leave your sticker on the window along with Karls.

Thanks again to you both for my new car!

CM
I'm so happy it has a new owner who is pumped about it. It was never my car but I had stewardship for a while and grew to think of it as part of my fleet. A squirter block with a ported head, 90+, turbo upgrade, and intercooler upgrade would really take it to the next level.

Remember too that it has a wasted spark board installed in the EZK ignition control box already, and it would mainly need wiring, a coil pack, and new coil wires to be able to get rid of the distributor. There's a thread here on the forums and the "official" instructions are here for the conversion. Soldering in the board is already done. Let me know if you want more info; I'm glad to help.

Quote:
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Wow, you really got a lot of life out of that paint.
It was resurrected for sure. We were skeptical but very pleasantly surprised with the outcome.
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Old 05-26-2020, 04:24 PM   #19
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Very nice diligent work, sir! Always satisfying when dull paint comes back to life.


Interesting note on the AC work. Vent temperatures in my car are 10 degrees warmer. Might have to have the system evacuated and refilled as it's hard to understand what is happening in the system without a high side port.
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Old 05-26-2020, 08:48 PM   #20
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For sure, thanks for the compliments!

I haven't done all that much AC work but every time I dive in I learn some profound new things. It reminds me of when I first started working on cars (a tired old VW Beetle to be specific) and first started understanding how engines work and making that connection between theory and the physical wrenching. With AC it's a bit more mysterious since everything is sealed up and esoteric and because it somehow non-intuitively "makes cold happen."

There seems to be a psychological barrier also that prevents a lot of enthusiasts from getting into AC systems. One major revelation last year was the old conventional wisdom that R12 to R134 conversions don't work or aren't worth the effort is pretty flawed. Part of it is the perceived expense that scares people off, or the quotes they get from shops that are really designed to scare them away because the shop doesn't want to deal with the headache and/or manage the customer's disappointment if things don't work out. Totally understandable on the part of the professional mechanic, but if your own labor is free, and you can take your time and be methodical, it's not that bad at all.

One of the best articles I've found for the intrepid but inexperienced DIY automotive AC mechanic is this one by Rob Siegel; maybe it will help you out:

https://www.hagerty.com/articles-vid...ts-and-the-law
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