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85 TE -A/C + Heater issues


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  • Gold FFM

After a year of driving the car, there are a couple of issues that I (think) I would like to tackle - but absolutely need advice guidance for these, as I understand it involves removing pretty much the whole dash/instruments etc.

So, my two starting situations are these:

  1. Heater is "stuck" on 1/4 open - so warm air pervades through the cabin always. (does ensure all water is cooled though!)
  2. Air con that came as std - has been completeletly ripped out and all eqp't also removed - except pulleys on end of engine.

Questions are - do I try and fix heater box on its own? or add re-commissioning the A/C to the task whilst the whole dash is removed?

For the project, I'm assuming I'd need all A/C hoses, and all a/c items (pump/drier/condenser etc. etc.)

I have read some threads here re: replacing a/c, but is it worth re-installing it? My car has a glass roof - and when sunny - it does get get uncomfortable until side-vents are opened but is does become noisy at that point ...

Any/all thoughts welcomed 🙂 

 

 

 

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Has the evaporator also been removed? From memory that's buried under the dash and within the heater casing. If you're going that far it could be worth reinstating it. There a pipe going from the cabin to the front of the car through the drivers side wheel arch. I recall it's stiff but not too bad to remove on my car, hence probably not to bad to put back in (I hope!). Other pipes go front to back for the pump and back to cabin to complete the circuit. These are hidden behind the drivers interior sill and would require removal of some carpet which is glued down.

Good luck :) 

It's getting there......

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The good news about the A/C is that the Compressor & Drier are generic (Sanden 508, but loads of clones available) and not particularly expensive.  Also,  you can use pretty much any condenser that can be made to fit.   I'd recommend buying your own beadlock crimper to make new hoses (I got my crimper from Aliexpress).    Assuming the evaporator, A/C alternator arrangement and dash control is still intact, a retrofit shouldn't be too difficult (relatively speaking)!    

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I've a few thoughts, having done a deep dive into the A/C in my S2. Getting reinstalled, you should go after modern hoses of a barrier type suitable for the current, legal refrigerant gases. That calls for new dryer, of course. Really, most of the components must be renewed as the lubricant compatible with original R12 is not so with present day refrigerants.

On hoses, I went up a blind alley sourcing a load of highly flexible type which, as it turns out, none of the local pro's will touch. This "reduced barrier hose", while much easier to bend, reportedly will readily kink in a fashion comparable to a cheap garden hose, where permanent weakness is visible at the kink. That resolved, I turned over my assorted fittings to one of the pro's who's properly crimped it all together using standard barrier hose. Somewhat beastly in terms of tighter radius paths but manageable.

The evaporator is buried within the HVAC casing shared with the heater core. Wouldn't care to leave that heater issue unresolved, our days will only grow warmer over the coming years it seems. I've many a photo to offer for what that may be worth, by the way.

Cheers

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At least your engine will be A/C ready, ie it will have the high-mounted alternator and later aux housing and all the correct water plumbing which leaves room for the compressor. When I added A/C to mine I started with an early Turbo non-AC engine and I would strongly advise not doing this!

When it was removed, were the front and rear compressor brackets left on? If not, you will need those.

AC hoses run through LH sills (assuming RHD car) so all the carpet has to come up. If you fit a Lotus evaporator into the heater housing (Lotusbits may have one) then you will need difficult-to-find flare fittings for it. The original AC used flare fittings throughout which are great as they last for ever without leaking but are obsolete. All cars now use O ring fittings, as they are easier to assemble on a production line.

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  • Gold FFM

Thanks to you all @TAR @910Esprit @drdoom @Andyww

Essentially, you all seem to concur that it is probably a good idea to re-instate the a/c, and fix the heater matrix. So with all your experiences - sounds like I have a new list of things-to-do for '22. 😀.

I shall get some piccies of engine mounting/frunk etc. as I have no idea what any of this kit looks like  - or more importantly - SHOULD look like 😉 

In no particular order - some answers ...

It is a UK (Domestic '85 MY TE, RHD).

Dash controls are intact - and the knob that turns the a/c fan on is possibly the only remaining working part - but I still have to locate it !!   🤣. 🤣

If the evaporator is behind the fibreglass cowling in the frunk (visible when removing the dual blower) , then it is in situ, but with all copper pipes cut/snipped next to the vanes. Carpets can come out and get re-glued, no problem. 

No idea of brackets - but shall investigate - I do have a WSM and parts-lists (and TLF threads, of course)so research required .....

Q.  If I go non-Lotus-parts, can I get just anything that fits and build it all up, or do some/many elements need matching like some sort of balanced system?

Lastly - am I about to bite off way more than I can chew ? I'm a competent DIYer - and very practical, but I'm not a mechanic/auto electrician .....   

Can only be done in dry weather - as my garage is the drive ! 

I'd love some pictures to reference after I've got the initial investigation (to compile a list of required parts) sorted and developed a plan ...

Thanks again

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May the wind be at your back! I chose to update with smaller compressor, lighter evaporator, plate/fin type aluminium condensor, and an alternative blower fan. All in all a madman's exercise which my advising pro guardedly opines, "may work". So I did go fully down a rabbit hole here, one which may offer success in operation when all's said and done. Certainly one should be pleased with how much weight I've saved versus OEM, just needs to deliver adequate cooling when put to the test. Of all the alternative components selected my sense of confidence is perhaps least in terms of the expansion valve chosen.

Under the GRP plenum cover in the boot you will find only the blower unit. The heater core and evaporator are both in the main HVAC casing, stuffed up under the dash and against the forward bulkhead. 

Fabian's fab Turbo blower revealed.

AC_BOOT_COMPLETE.jpg

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There you go:

TBH Once you get your head around the pipe union configurations/sizes (as Andy mentions) you can mix and match components without too many problems

I used a Sanden R134a 5H09 (smaller than the original SD508), with a drier that simply looked the same as the original, using the original condenser and R12 evap valve.  It all still works perfectly some 7 years later.   Sanden has excellent reference material freely available online.  Here's an example: 

006-Compr_Sanden_2014.pdf (meicorporation.com) 

I did all mine on the drive too... 

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  • Gold FFM

Thanks again to all: 

 @910Esprit - missed this thread whilst searching - thx muchly for digging out the link .... (Drives 'r' Good)

Items to choose at a later date - but I'm mindful of having to discombobulate the entire interior ....

So, from those who have ventured afore ...

Can I chop the fibreglass out from the frunk, rip and replace all relevant components (heater matrix et. al.) and then renew? or is it Dash removal all the way ?

 

 

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4 hours ago, thebartman said:

 

Can I chop the fibreglass out from the frunk, rip and replace all relevant components (heater matrix et. al.) and then renew? or is it Dash removal all the way ?

 

 

No!
Apart from messing up the body it would not help because in order to get the heater matrix out you have to separate the two halves of the heater unit casing so the whole unit has to come out.

There is no easy way to do it, the binnacle and entire fascia has to come out and the metal scuttle crossbeam.

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  • Gold FFM

@thebartman

Any chance you could set up a webcam when you’re doing it, though? It’ll give us something more interesting to watch rather than all those interminable repeats, and we can always turn the volume down if there’s any kids around.😉

TIA.

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Margate Exotics.

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  • Gold FFM
8 hours ago, Chillidoggy said:

Any chance you could set up a webcam when you’re doing it, though? It’ll give us something more interesting to watch rather than all those interminable repeats, and we can always turn the volume down if there’s any kids around.😉

Truly awesome 😉. 🤣.

 @Bibs - got any spare photo/camera gear lying around? I can do stereo sound using the band mics .......

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  • Gold FFM

Thanks for the feedback - project seems to be turning from a coracle into a supertanker - what a surprise !!

I won't be accessing heater from the frunk - I shall disassemble as per WSM/experienced people here when weather permits ...

I have a first-pass list of main components to acquire - could someone here validate please? Also, I've added a couple of piccies to see if I've missed anything ... is the yellow arrow/outline pointing to an a/c bracket? and what is the condenser image? is this for a/c or something else? this one is visible when the blower is removed behing the frunk cowling ..

Components I believe are req'd:-

  • Compressor
  • Condenser (still to check I'm looking in the correct place)
  • Receiver/Drier
  • Sight glass
  • Expansion valve
  • Comparator
  • Multiple hoses (I estimate at least x6)

 

 

Bracket-1.jpg

IMG-3191.jpg

IMG-3183.jpg

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That looks like the front compressor bracket. Rear might be just about visible behind the water hose, seems to be something there. The rear one is a small L-shaped bracket.

The condenser is easy to see, just look through the front grille, it should be behind the oil cooler and in front of the rad. 

Sight glass is (or was) part of the receiver/drier. They are not relevant for R134a gas. 

By comparator I assume you mean the temp control? These are available from China on Aliexpress, the type with a potentiometer and a thermistor for sensing the air temp which is mounted in the heater casing.

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Can you also have a look underneath and see if you have the tensioner bracket, which should have an idler pulley attached? 

Think there are 4 hoses of 3 different sizes.  i.e there are 4 components, each with an inlet/outlet, connected by a hose (condensor, drier, evaporator & compressor) 

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  • Gold FFM
19 hours ago, 910Esprit said:

also have a look underneath and see if you have the tensioner bracket, which should have an idler pulley attached? 

Underneath where? in the engine bay (presumably not far from the front bracket) ? the WSM and Parts-list don't show anything about the compressor's location/fixing etc. 

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