Air conditioner repair or replacement

We have a 1983 turbo Saratoga SP with and AC unit that doesn't work.

We are considering the Steinback ConversionAir Kit.

Anyone have any advice or other options.


  • Thanks for writing. I haven't heard of Steinbach & Associates before and I appreciate your letting me know. I'll be contacting them next week to learn more about their company.

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • edited March 2023

    I also appreciate the info. I will also consider this for my '83 Archer.

    My AC used to work (although cool air was weak), now it does not. When I flip the AC switch while on the ground, the AC door on the bottom of the aircraft used to open. It no longer opens. My mechanic does not appear very familiar with AC but his thought was that the freon level dropped too low such that the system will no longer engage and the door will not open.

    Is that plausible?

    I had on my list of things to do ... Find enough R12 to allow him to charge the system. This company sounds like it may be a better approach.

    I saw they have the Archer kit priced @ $5,795.

    EDIT: I emailed the company asking for more info.

  • Am suspicious of claims that simply swapping out the compressor (and hoses) will make a R12 system perform "the same, or better," while using R134A. From experience in the automotive world (and in reading experiences of others whom did the R12 to R134A conversion in their car / truck), going this route ends up with about 1/3 lower cooling capablity. Yes, 134A works in a R12 system and will cool the cabin, but it has noticeably less 'punch' than when using R12, which means that the compressor engages for longer intervals. Bounus points to Steinback for including new hoses as re-using R12 hoses allows 134A to slowly escape and require a rechage every 1 - 2 years.

    Were I to do a R12 to R134A conversion again, I'd pull the condenser coils, clean them, and apply a ceramic coating designed to shed heat. This should help minimize the amount of degradation from R134A in a R12 system. Reason for enhancing the condenser's ability to shed heat is that I am not seeing where a larger condenser is workable in this application. Will defer to better experts as to whether ceramic coating is allowable for a PMA part. And as a safeguard to possibility of inherent refrigerant leakage, would consider adding a sealant to the system.

    Fun fact from what I recently read: at one time R134A was the wonder stuff to save the world from its nasty addiction to R12, and all the environmental ills it caused. Roll forward a few decades, and now the world is looking to find a substitute from its nasty addiction to R134A, and all the environmental ills it is causing. Nice.

  • The new stuff is R122, I think. We have it in our 2022 Chevy truck and it is not very effective at cooling in a new system.

    1973 Arrow II factory AC removed

    G5’S, G275, GNX375 Still can get lost.

  • The air conditioning system has a micro switch on the throttle to shut down the system and retract the condenser at full throttle for takeoff. Could be this circuit has a defect.

  • @larmes502 - Thanks. I forgot about that. I will ask my mechanic to check that micro switch.

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