One of the final great "unknowns" in my restoration project has been the
Air Conditioning. As you may recall, AC is, to me, a necessity in a car
that you're actually going to use here in California. Another fact is
that the AC components (condenser, evaporator) must be installed before
many other critical components (radiator, and the rest of the dashboard)
so getting those two items prepped for install was of major importance.
I located a supposedly good evaporator and finally received it the other
day. I then took it, the condenser, the old hoses, my compressor, and
headed to a local AC repair shop to try to determine what horrors might
lay in waiting in this project.
My goal was to have a shop test all of these components for
serviceability, make the appropriate upgrades for R134, make me some
custom hoses (needed due to the fact that my old hoses were shite, and
necessary with the elimination of the muffler), get me a new
receiver/dryer unit and finally to make some modern fittings for all of
the pipe ends.
I found an exceptionally helpful shop called Bill's Auto Electric in
Campbell, California. Bill spent about 20 minutes telling me what he
thought the best solutions were for this project.
The first thing that he suggested, although he couldn't do it for me,
was to take the condenser and evaporator to a radiator shop that could
do submersible leak checks to make sure that the components were not
going to leak the refrigerant out as soon as it was turned on for the
first time. I found said shop and took the components to them.
Condensor checked out OK, need to pick up the evaporator today.
Then, he told me that putting new fittings on would be extremely
expensive and probably not worth the cost. He said that if I did lose
some refrigerant it would be minimal, and while that might be an issue
if I was running R12, it should not with R134 as it's readily available
and does not cost an outrageous money. Then, he sold me some AC system
cleaner, which is safe for all components. You spray it in to one end,
and then blow it out with an air compressor. It cleans out the dirt,
moisture, and other crap in the components which are bad for the system.
After letting them dry for 4-6 hours I'm to cap the ends until it's time
to have the system completed. So my plan is to do that to the condenser
and evaporator, seal the pipe fittings to prevent future contamination,
and then install them. I'll do the compressor later, just before I take
the whole car down to him to have the hoses built and system charged.
He was most impressed with my compressor. It's a Bosch model, but from a
later car, one of the big cast aluminum body models. I think he said
they cost $1100 remanufactured.
Hopefully this will all come together well, and this summer I'll have at
least some level of vintage AC. Our old Benz has a still working R12
system, and while it's not as effective as a modern AC system, it's well
worth it, and makes driving on hot days bearable.
TJ Noto AFM #134 Cowpoke Racing-"Friends in Slow Places"
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70 Norton Commando Fastback 61 Ducati Falcone 80
73 BMW 3.0 CS (Katrina) 77 Mercedes 280C (Mimosa)
00 Ford F150 Supercab 97 BMW Z3 (Chela's)
87 Suzuki RG250 (For Sale!)