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910Esprit

Project A/C R12 to R134 in a G car

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Result!

 

I dont think you will get better than 4.5 degrees.

 

The A/C on the dry sump Esprit I used to own would chuck out air at minus two with the knob fully clockwise but that was using R12. 

 

One thing about these systems: Lotus are often accused of skimping and cost-cutting on their cars. Whoever designed the Esprit A/C system definitely didnt follow this principle! The system is a no-compromise design in every area.

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I wish I was having as much success as you!

 

I decided before going any further to pressure test the system. I pressurised it to 20 PSI (Yes I should have used Nitrogen really but I dont have any!). It dropped pressure quite quickly.

 

A leak this big should easily show up on a soapy water test but I went round the system and could not find anything. Eventually I swapped the hoses over onto a spare compressor and the leak is gone. The compressor must be leaking at the shaft seal. The one I have replaced! I must have cocked it up somewhere. I might end up fitting the spare compressor instead. 

 

Of course if I could find a £15 compressor I would fit a new one! Might still do this in fact although they are £150 or more. I think your vendor must have dropped a zero!

 

If I could find some way of blocking the ports I can pressure test the original compressor on the bench. I might get some more fittings and do this somehow.

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2 year update - A/C is still fully functional, but I could only get a measly 9.5 vent temperature with 30 degrees ambient today,.  Gas pressures looked a little low for the temp, so will do a top up, although, I suspect it will only need a few ounces.

Andy - did you get yours sorted @Andyww

 

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Prepare to be shocked...

I've fitted the new aircon gas (R134?) into my 36 year old system with NO major MODIFICATIONS and it works brilliantly. I'm told it will only last for about half the 'usual' time but having had it charged in March it's still icy cold in the Essex today. Had to have one small adaptor fitted to the charger at a minimal cost then the £40 gas fill.

Happy cool days!   

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Its bliss in this weather, isn't it....    Yes, I believe R134 has smaller molecules that can permeate through old style hoses.   Having said that, the hoses are not too difficult to replace   

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2 hours ago, 910Esprit said:

2 year update - A/C is still fully functional, but I could only get a measly 9.5 vent temperature with 30 degrees ambient today,.  Gas pressures looked a little low for the temp, so will do a top up, although, I suspect it will only need a few ounces.

Andy - did you get yours sorted @Andyww

 

Yes still works fine and no leaking.

The only issue is the engine is on the verge of stalling when the compressor cuts in, because the car does not have the throttle jack solenoid which later cars have. On the dry sump car I used to own I fitted this solenoid. I might contact Lotusbits and see if they have any of the solenoid, lever and bracket.

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That approach makes getting the hoses through a lot easier :)

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That is an interesting view as it shows there are closing plates which divide the footwells from the front boot area. Thats what was confusing me when I installed the system as other cars didnt seem to have them. Seems some have these plates and some dont. 

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Another point of interest is that my car has nearly all the holes preformed but then covered over with a layer of fibreglass, with the exception of the passenger side bulkhead hole which doesn’t exist at all. 

Looking at my parts list diagram it would seem that originally both hoses were to exit through the bulkhead on the drivers side and would explain the presence of two holes?

I think in practice though most a/c cars have them pass through each side.

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Hey Richard - What's your project - recomissioning or retrofitting?   TBH - It maybe the most satisfying job I've done on the Esprit, well wort the effort.

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Richard,

That's a fine looking car you're getting together! I'll attach a photo taken at teardown of my S2, the car fitted at factory with A/C and untouched until gathered up for salvation by yours truly. One forward bulkhead hole is just visible if you follow a line feeding refrigerant to the unit. It's an LHD car, but perhaps instructive in some way.

Steve

IMG_1656.JPG

  • Thanks 1

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Good to hear from you lads, just excavated the garage workspace from under a load of building related materials so thick one could hardly see the Lotus. Just about to resume work on my own AC project.

Cheers

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Im doing the same with OEM parts so am glad to hear it all appears to work well 🙂

Just need to find out the length of the hose from Compressor to Evaporator  as I need to get one made up, and is the only one i don't have. 

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10 minutes ago, RichardJGC said:

Just need to find out the length of the hose from Compressor to Evaporator  as I need to get one made up, and is the only one i don't have. 

Richard - I recall posting the length in inches....  probably on this one if you trawl back

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9 minutes ago, 910Esprit said:

Richard - I recall posting the length in inches....  probably on this one if you trawl back

Found it....135” ...perfect! Dont know how I missed that before.

Many thanks.

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The factory AC system is filled with 1.4kg of R12 refrigerant. Anyone here worked out what the equivalent weight of R134 is required?

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In addition to the different weight of gas, I think most of us have slightly hyprid systems, eg I run a smaller compressor and the diameter of some of the piping differs from original, some of the other guys use different condensors etc , so I set mine up using temperature/pressure charts, but the gas used will not be identical to others.  

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Agree, its not possible to come up with a definitive amount. Although its not the correct way, I simply added gas till it went cold then added a bit more. 

As happened with R12 before it, R134a is shooting up in price and would have been a great investment for someone to have bought a whole load of it a few years ago. The 12 Kg cylinder I bought 4 years ago for £90 is now worth aroung £400.

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On 20/07/2016 at 03:56, Andyww said:

On the dry sump car I used to own I fitted this solenoid. I might contact Lotusbits and see if they have any of the solenoid, lever and bracket.

The aircon compressor might be listed in the Parts List for the S3 (NA) but again, the "idle-up" solenoid isn't listed so I wonder how Lotus keep the engines idling with the aircon compressor engaged.

Edited by ekwan

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