AC Compressor Repair/Replacement Options - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 05:09 PM Thread Starter
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AC Compressor Repair/Replacement Options

I went to repair shop today to get my AC system (134A) recharged and was told the compressor was shot. A year ago, I had "cool" air, but not not cold. Today the clutch tried to engage but the compressor just sorta chirped. The diagnosis was that the compressor wasn't spinning freely. I put the $1300 estimate in my back pocket and checked on options.

One option is to rebuild the compressor myself. I see a gasket kit runs about $35. I've never done it before, but can turn a wrench. Is this practical as a workshop project over the weekend. I would assume I would still need to buy a drier. I'm not sure how to make sure the clutch is good until the compressor is good.

I called Old Air Products (local) about a second option. They sell an "under hood performance kit" that replaces all of my under hood items with new for $650.

Both options would require recharging the system.

Anyone have experience with either? Other suggestions?

Bill

6F07C
Color: Y
Trim: 22
Axle: 6
Trans: 6
Build Date: July 18, 1966


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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 07:59 PM
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All options require recharging the system. You can get a pressure gauge and a good vacuum pump for about $150 at Harbor Freight. It will pay for itself the first time you use it.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 09:46 PM
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Well, since you're asking for advice, if it was my car I would definitely go with a modern A/C kit. Likely, everything else in your A/C system is also shot after 50 years. It would really suck to rebuild the factory pump only to find out you have multiple leaks.

The modern A/C kits work well. The newer pumps are smaller, lighter and have less drag on the engine.

My take is the only reason to rebuild a factory A/C system is to keep the car all original. If that's not an issue, go modern. Just a data point, a friend of mine had the A/C pump on his 1970 Mach 1 rebuilt and it's still not working right.

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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Good points, Klutch. You've got me leading that way. I figure I can pull things off and store them in the back of the shop for that day in the future when the car goes to another lucky owner. I'm not concourse. Form follows function. It's just a good chunk of dough that I'd rather not spend unless necessary.

Cougar70, I decided to not mess with a high pressure system on my own. I know lots of people do, but I don't like thinking of my family reading a headline along the lines of "Amateur tried to charge his AC system, you'll be shocked at what happens next."

Bill

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Color: Y
Trim: 22
Axle: 6
Trans: 6
Build Date: July 18, 1966


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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 10:33 PM
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The old style Ford compressors are available new and rebuilt. All the parts to rebuilt them are available too.

https://originalair.com/york-rotolock-new

This is your cheapest option.

The Old air system upgrades you to a modern Sanden style compressor so it requires new brackets hoses etc. It runs smoother, and takes less horsepower. Itís a good option, but costs more. They have a compressor replace option thatís cheaper than the full under hood kit.

https://originalair.com/64-65-mustan...8-134a-stage-1

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 10:59 PM
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York style new compressor on ebay for 215 with free ship and vacumn pump at rock auto for 44 plus ship if you have an air source, Wes
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-17-2019, 11:26 PM Thread Starter
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$430 for the compressor/hoses/brackets in the upgrade kit seems to be a fair deal. I've seen similar ones for $500 that makes me tend toward the full underhood kit (Summit $591.)

I think that my condenser works ok. If I'm right, then I can get by with the $430 option. I worry about staying with the york style. I've read (Gypsy) that they are not well-suited for 134A. Coupled with the power drain, I lean toward the sanden. However, the york stye is supposed to run cooler under the hood than sanden.

Does anyone have knowledge if the sanden kits are single-belt? The ones I've seen (like the one Flade links to) appear to build dual-belt. My crank pulley is single AC belt. Do these kits use my old clutch? I don't see the clutch mate-up.

Bill

6F07C
Color: Y
Trim: 22
Axle: 6
Trans: 6
Build Date: July 18, 1966


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 12:06 AM
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Some good ideas so far. If you stay with a York, you really want to find some R12 to run it with. As you have noticed, R134 tends to run "cool" in old setups but not cold. If I'm going to all that trouble and expense, I want it to blow cold when done, one way or the other. R12 is getting so rare I can't fool with it. I just know if I did, I'd blow a hose or something first thing and away it would go. I scored a couple of cases of R134 at a swap meet for cheap, so that tends to steer the way I go.

If you are brave, they DO sell this stuff called "R290" that is the ONLY viable substitute for R12 I know. You really want to research using that stuff though. It or R12 would enable you to stay stock underhood and there's nothing wrong with that.

Me, I'd probably do it the hard way but end up with that nice Old Air kit you linked to earlier. I would ask then if that condenser is the new design extra pass one like NPD sells. If so then that kit would be my top choice.

Sandens are unique and use only their own clutches. I've had one with a single sheave pulley, but most are dual pulleys. The single was on an older Toyota pickup IIRC. You aren't required to use the second sheave though. A single one would look neater though.

I doubt the York runs a different enough temperature underhood from any other compressor to affect any purchase choices. Alternators and power steering pumps make heat too. All will be bolted to a 300 pound cast iron monster heat pump anyway. Focus on the keeping that big main one cool, the little ones aren't an issue.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 12:46 AM
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Just thought I’d mention that R290 is in fact propane. A good refrigerant, but I wouldn’t want a pressurized device full of it lurking behind my front bumper when I run into something.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 02:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFreeze View Post
Just thought Iíd mention that R290 is in fact propane. A good refrigerant, but I wouldnít want a pressurized device full of it lurking behind my front bumper when I run into something.

MrFreeze
There is so little propane in an A/C system (when you go the propane route) as they actually use less refrigerant than an R134 system. I'd worry as much about all the fuel in the carb and lines in the engine bay. My Sanden compressor is in. Its a dual groove pully but you only use 1 with the V belt. I'll be adding my A/C lines soon, and charging up with my FrostyCool 12a (R134 replacement). And as long as your system does not have any type of freon in it (its new or discharged), it is completely legal in the USA for you to do your own work.


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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 09:07 AM
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We're building a nifty little 66 Mustang coupe with a 5.0. Since we're in the great state of Texas we gotta have AC. In our first test of our Old Air system, the air coming out is almost freezing at 33 degrees. Just what we need in these parts.
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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for the excellent points. We're fortunate to have options available to us, even though it makes decision making harder. I think I'm going with the sanden route. I have some phone calls to make to them regarding the condenser and clutch. (They are <15 miles from me- I just might drop by and talk face-to-face.) Gypsy, I think your comment about "if you're in it this deep, you want to make sure that it's going to work" sealed the deal for me. I don't like do-overs, especially when it comes to money and safety.

Mucho appreciado!
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Bill

6F07C
Color: Y
Trim: 22
Axle: 6
Trans: 6
Build Date: July 18, 1966


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 11:56 AM
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I had the factory installed A/C system in my car and was faced with the same decisions. I initially replaced the York with a Sanden compressor and found a huge change in the load it put on the engine, but there was not a significant drop in the output temperature from my 100% original Evaporator unit in the cabin. Just recently, I swapped the condenser out with a 134a specific part. It had a huge impact on the temperature that this unit delivers. I did it in phases, but if I had it to do again, I'd do both components at the same time.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 02:34 PM
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If you can get a part# for the sanden compressor and condenser/drier check rockauto or amazn and you'll get it 1/2 or more less.

Verbose Vocabularian
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-18-2019, 08:58 PM
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I’m in the process of replacing the old, tired AC system in my ‘66 coupe. It’s been challenging at times. I’m going with Classic Auto Air’s product - the full new kit for under the hood. I’m also going to put a new high efficiency evaporator core in the original Ford blower box. I’m spending more money than I’d like, but I’m also in Texas and it’s just too dang hot to go without a good AC. I’m hoping the Sanden style compressor will perform better than the York I pulled out out.
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