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AC Renewal


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Hello everybody,

In the first week of January I started the AC renewal/converting project on my 1990 SE. A presssure test in the past (on the non working system) revealed a leaking compressor and a leaking condensor. Repairing was not really an option as the system was an R12 system. The compressor could repaired but repairing the thing is almost as expensive as a new one which is suitable for R134a. Maybe the condensor could be repaired but a new one was very cheap in one of the Louts Parts sales, so I bought one just in case I needed it. After a lot of thinking, researching and postponing the inevitable I started the project. In December 2008 I bought a new AC Compressor, the old one is a Sanden SD508 and the new one is a Sanden SD5H14 which is made for R134a and has the same dimension as the old one, only the hose connections are different but new hoses will be custom made. The project is still ongoing, I'm almost finished with the removal of everything and I'm even in the process of fabricating stuff.

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Passenger chair and Sill Panel removed in order to expose the Aircon Hoses. In order the remove the Sill Panel the carpet needed to be removed carefully (old glue) and rivets needed to be drilled out. Also the Glovebox is removed. Don't forget the seatbelt.

After the above jobs the car was put backwards into the garage and put on my makeshift lift. In the process of reversing the car into the garage I nearly suffocated my wife (at least that is wat she said) while she was giving directions. (normally the car goes in front first).

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My garage has it all namely central heating, a fridge (filled) and a stereo (still to be installed), only the space is a little bit limited. Some tools are also present.

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Stuff (Drier, headlight motor etc) to be removed on the RH front, on the LH side the headlight motor, the windscreen washer fluid tank and the airhorn compressor have to be removed also. Some things could be left in place but then disconnecting the oilcoolers will almost be impossible so remove what can be removed.

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One (actually two) AC component(s) removed namely the Drier with the pressure switch. To be honest the compressor is already out of the car because I needed it when I bought the new one last year (no piccies of the removal)

More to come ..............

Freek

Esprit Freak

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Here is more,

About half the number of bolts, screws and nuts which needed to be undone were stuck due to corrosion and needed to be ground and/or cut in order to remove them. When I was lucky they just broke. My Dremel made some heavy overtime.

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The above left picutre shows the RH OilCooler ducting which needs to be removed, the above right picture shows some of the piping for the cargecooler which has to be removed and which I used for draining the system as well. Some of the bolts look bad but actually they were not the worst one to undo.

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The above pictures show one part of the LH Oilcooler ducting undone and a broken bolt on the RH Oilcooler ducting. This sheared off bolt (with some others as well) is responsible for a lot more work namely the removal of the front bumper and spoiler later on.

Next came the removal of the Oil Coolers. On the RH Oil cooler I was able to undo the two hose without damaging the oilcooler, however on the LH Oilcooler I only could undo the top oilhose connection the lower one wouldn't bulge (I tried every trick in the book but zero result). In the end the two oil cooler were removed but also destroyed so two new oilcooler were ordered from SJSportscars.

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LH Oilcooler hanging by a thread, about to lose but it didn't go without a very hard fight. There is still one small piece of the aluminium stud remaining in the steel hose connection which still has to be removed, which I will do with NaOH (thanks to a tip of a fellow forum member).

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Also the foglights need to be removed, they are in the way when you want to remove the radiator undertray. I couln't undo the mounting screws so I removed 4 clips on each light as well as disconnecting two wires and was so able to remove the aft part of the light (reflector etc).

to be continued......................

Freek

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Hi Mark many thanks for your words of encouragement, it really is a big project.

Below is some more.

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Finally the Radiator/CondensorCharge Cooler "package" is down, under normal circumstances be carefull not to put too much strain on the AC Condensor hoses, however for this job I di'dn't care to much as the hoses and the consensor will be renewed. The other picture shows the assembley removed from the car. My radiator looks almost the same as other ones shown here on LEF.

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In order to separate the Condensor/Chargecooler from the Radiator you have to undo four clips (2 left and 2 right) and two bolts from below. Afterwards you can undo 4 bolts (2 on the left and 2 on the right side) in order to remove the radiator from the undertray. In the end 3 out of the 4 radiator bolts broke.

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The removal of the Fanshroud is a delicate task of cutting, twisting and drilling out of some very rusty and stubborn screws and rivets and in the mean time taking care of not braking the shroud. I also started on cleaning some parts namely the undertray and the oilcooler ducting parts in preparation of some repair work.

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The Fans removed and at last a picture of the new AC compressor.

Stay tuned for more ................

Freek

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Here is some more,

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Here you can see the expansion vlave (= TX Valve) which needs to be removed. In order to expose the connections on the TX valve and the Evaporator unit you have to remove some black (tar like) tape which acts as insulation in order to prevent condensation on the various components so everything stays dry in the footwell. The right picture shows the pressure (flare nut) sensing connection and the temperature feeler (clipped to line) of the TX Valve. At this stage I also removed the hoses in the passenger compartment namely the suctionhose from the Evaporator to the Compressor and the dischargehose from the compressor to the condensor shich runs over the wheelarch.

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The bumper/spoiler needed to be removed as well due to broken/sheared bolts etc. Some of the nuts which needed to be undone where very hard to reach for me but fortunately I have a very special spanner size 10 which I use for those hard to reach places (many thanks Michael (he is my 13 years old son)).

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The undertray was in some desperate need of repairs as the picture shows. In the corners between the various layers of glasfibre some steel reinforcement plates were bonded, however these were heavily corroded and subsequently expanded causing some serious troubles. Before I commenced the repairs i first made a Jig. The jig was made of simple white laminated 18mm thick panels.

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After the Jig was finished I started the removal of the old reinforcement plates, once these were removed I mounted the undertray on the jig.

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The above pictures show the remainings of the left (tray is upside down) side plate. The one on the LH was in a little bit better shape and could be used as a semi template for the fabrication of the new ones. In the end my trusted Dremel made some serious overtime again.

The Saga continues next time ................

Esprit Freak

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm back again for an update. This one is about some Stainless Steel brackets which I made.

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These pictures show the new reinforcment plates being made which are going to replace the very rusty old ones which were in the undertray.

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These brackets are the ones which bolts the spoiler to the bumper and the bumper to the car. The old ones were also corroded.

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The last picture shows all the new brackets nest to some old ones (not all I just found out that I need to make 2 more brackets they were still in the car). The only thing which need to be done is the welding of the various nuts and bolt (already done but no pictures). Prior to making new ones I measured each one and put all the dimensions on paper. As for the drilling of the holes I used Cobalt drill bits, furthermore you have to keep the speed low and apply a fair amount of pressure and some oil.

Freek.

More to come ...................

Esprit Freak

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi all back again with an update.

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Here are the Bumper and the Spoiler Separated so I could remove all the rusty brackets etc.

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I started to freshen up the radiator, some of the newly fabricated stainless steel brackets mounted in the bumper.

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This is how the fanshroud looked like when I was dismantling it. Remember the nice shiny plates with all the holes drilled in? This is were they ended up, in the corners of the undertray.

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I had the brackets for the Fans powdercoated and bolted everything together with all stainless steel nuts and bolts. I also made some repairs to the platic fanshroud as well.

I hope you enjoy the pictorial.

Freek

More piccies,

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More wonders of powdercoating.

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I made a trial fitting of the undertray after putting the bumper back in place. I also put the oilcoolers temporarily back on in order to make some markings (white line on the undertray lip) in order to remove a small part of the lip in order to aid removal of the undertray in the future if the need arises without the need to remove the oilcoolers.

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The Radiator is being rejoined again with the fans and they are being put back again in the modified undertray, awaitng the fitting of a new Condensor Chargecooler Radiator assembly.

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Here you can see the part I removed from the undertray, I also did this on the other side of the Undertray. The other picture is one of the new AC components. I bought this one some time ago in the Lotus sale and now it is finally going to the right place where it belongs instead of being kept in storage in a box.

More to come.

Freek

Esprit Freak

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Wow, big job! Youll be glad to replace all those rusty bolts though, peace of mind for if you ever have to go back there to replace something. I have to do the same and the poor dremel has done a runner as it knows it will be getting a hiding as yrs did :)

Keep the pics coming ;)

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Russ and Kylie thanks for the feedback, much appreciated, more pictures will come, the car needs to be running mid april for a drive with other classic cars.

Freek

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I'm back again, putting more new pieces back to where they really belong.

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I used some threaded rods in conjunction with some washers and nuts to get the radiator undertray back up again. New AC hoses can be seen dangling on the left side. The other picture shows one of the new oil coolers complete with new foam strips.

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The RH Oilcooler (as well as the LH one) was (were) put back again after the undertray. My car also suffered from the 90 deg alloy pipe pinhole syndrome so this one was also replaced in combination with some new silicone hoses. The 135deg hose on the left is shown in a wrong positon it needs to be rotated 180 deg and it also needed to be shortened on both sides of the bend.

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The nice and shiny parts being tucked away and the front end waiting for the fitting of the spoiler.

Hopefully I will be back soon with the remaining pictures

Freek

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Some more Cool Stuff

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The shown hose is the new one which connects the Drier with the Evaporator, the other picture shows the new TX Valve (=Expansion Valve) suitable for R134a with the old elbow which connects to the Evaporator. The positon of the two parts shown is the same as how the old parts were fitted together, however when I put them in the car I ended up with a different line up of the TX Valve and the elbow due to a different routing of the hoses under the dashboard.

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The LH and the RH Oilcooler ducting placed back again with the use of new stainless steel bolts, nuts, washers and screws.

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The spoiler is back in place. At first I put the spoiler back before fitting of the oilcooler ducting which didn't work so I had to take the spoiler off again for the fitting of the ducting. Removal was now a breeze because of the new stainless steel fasteners. When I started dismantling the car I removed the ducting before I could remove the spoiler but that was due to needing better access to bolts and nut which ha to be cur or ground off. The other picture shows the new hoses which run in the RH inner sill.

More to come in the next and maybe final update. At the moment I allready had 2 days of fun with driving the car. Yep the beast is alive. Everything is working fine except for the AC but that is because I need to hook up the hoses to compressor (they need to be made and connected) and I need one new coupling on one of the hoses. After that it is pressure testing, vacuuming the system and filling with R134a if everything is fine.

Freek

Esprit Freak

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  • 1 month later...

Here is a small update. All the hoses are connected (since 19-5-2009) except one namely the hose that goes onto the biggest coupling of the evaporator (suction hose from evaporator to compressor). The big problem is to find a suitable hosecoupling which fits on the big evaporator connection (see pic below big open ended connection on the left).

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We tried several couplings however on all those the taper which takes care of the sealing is not the same. The next and last plan is to make one up of several parts and fit it with loctite. If that fails the evaporator needs to come out so a new connection can be fitted.

I'll be back

Freek

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  • 3 weeks later...

Stupid me, I forgot to make a picture of the newly made adaptor (which I just picked up and fitted it this afternoon) before fitting. The adaptor is a custom made piece which converts the old connection on the condensor to a new O-ring tyoe connection used in R-134a systems. The adaptor is fitted with Loctite and left to dry for a couple of days. Next week the system will be pressure tested and if all is OK will be filled and cmpleted.

I will let you know the outcome and have some pictures.

Freek

Esprit Freak

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FINISHED and more important WORKING.

Last week I mounted the newly made adaptor (used loctite 586) onto the evaporator, this week the last o-ring coupling was fitted onto the suction hose fitted to the evaporator adaptor. The sytem was pressure tested and found to be leakfree. After filling the system with R134a the system was tested and working so I could finally finish this project. I still had to do some small jobs namely applying the tar insulation tape and fitting the passenger chair as well as the glovebox. I also tested the electronic control unit to be sure it was working. In order to test it I fitted a 5 Kohm variabel resistor instead of the sensorto the small "black box"and connected a multimeter the (disconneted on the compressor) wire which supplies the 12V for the operating of the Compressor Clutch. Operating of the various controls proved that the elctronic where working as the should be, so everything was connected again.

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The custom made adaptor, and some of the tartape for insulation.

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The new service ports, I applied "tectyl" on them in order to prevent corrosion.

Today I took the car for a test drive, I'm glad the AC was working because it was warm and humid. The system worked fine :) and no problems where found so I'm very happy.

Freek

thx Allan for your comment

Edited by fjmuurling

Esprit Freak

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Hai Jim,

I have no hands on comparison as I never had a working AC system in the car. I know that the R12 has better cooling capacities compared to a R134a system (same size). The new R134a compressor has a slightly bigger displacement (140 vs 131 cubic cm) compared to the old R12 one. The expansion valve is also made for R134a. When i started this project I had no choisce other than making the system suitable for R134a as R12 is not allowed/available anymore. The other thing to consider (in my opinion) is that the design and layout of the ventilation/AC system in our cars is far from ideal and thus making is not as efficient as possible.

All considerd in the end I'm happy with the system capabilities, even though it is not perfect.

Freek

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Freek

I've been reading up on your A/C job, and following behind you by about 9 months, and using some of your tips.

I've got the front end off at the moment and today I had the A/C technician pressure test the system. It has a leak that we can't find, so I think it might be in the evaporator or maybe in a hose where we can't see it. So my next job is to take out the evaporator :rolleyes: then make some new hoses and basically renew/repair anything that might be leaking.

My question for you is:

How did you get your new hoses from the compressor through the bodywork? - did you have to pull hoses through first, then put the fitings on the ends afterward? Or did the fittings fit through the bodywork?

regards

Steve

Steve

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Hi Steve,

When I fitted the hose which connect to the compressor I fitted them from forward to aft. They only had the fittings attached to them which connect them to the condensor and to the evaporator. The two service ports were fitted after the hoses were pulled through. The hardest part is pulling the hoses in the area under the fueltank.

I would leave the evaporator in place and only take it out if you are 100% sure it is leaking.

By the way are you converting your system to R13a ? If that is the case I would renew all the hoses.

If you have any more questions just ask and I will be more than willing to answer them.

Freek

Esprit Freak

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Thanks Freek,

Maybe I'll leave the evaporator alone for the moment then.

I'll replace all the hoses, bench test the compressor and the condenser then put it all back together. If it still leaks then it must be the evaporator.

How much stripping of the dashboard have I got to do in order to get to the pipes where they enter the evaporator?

Regards

Steve

Steve

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In my case (a LHD car) I only took out te passenger seat and the govebox. The glovebox was a little bit difficult to get out because one of the (very stiff) AC hoses was in the way at the back. After that it is all down to the LOTUS Position.

Freek

Esprit Freak

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