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Is it possible to add air con to a Dry Sump Turbo??

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Hello, 

Through a family friend I've got first dibs on a 81 Dry Sump Turbo that's been off the roads for a few decades and needs paint etc but is a good car.

However it does not have air conditioning and that's a big Must Have for me.

Me and heat do not get on well at all!!

I'm sure some people will say it's not worth it for the 4 days of summer we have a year but it's pretty much a deal breaker and having sat inside the car I reckon it could get quite hot very quickly stuck in traffic etc. 

It's really putting me off cementing the deal and the guy selling doesn't need the money so he's not going to make the deal any sweeter. 

 

So can air con be added to the car?

Are the parts available?

Are they silly money?

Maybe a later Stevens Esprit air con setup from a crash damaged can be retro fitted?

 

This will be my first Esprit so I'm not clued up on them like I am on other cars I've owned in the past. 

Any help will be greatly appreciated. 

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I think it is possible but it won't be cheap! There are various threads on here on people who have retro fitted or repaired the system on their existing car. As yours is dry sump, it might also add a little more complication due to where you put the compressor and the appropriate brackets. You can either get the bits from an old car (the main thing you will need is the heater system with air con bits) or you can buy from someone like Vintage Air.  As far I have read it would prob cost about 4k to get all the bits and have someone install it for you. But others might have more info on this. I would like air con on mine as it does get hot in traffic and in the summer. It is also good for dimist as well in the winter.

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There is a company called vintage air who supply air con for classic cars. They do vehicle specific kits and also kits for kit card. Have a look.


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When the wet sump was introduced, they continued selling dry sump cars if the purchaser wanted air con, so I would have thought it possible to retro fit a/c.

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The problem would be parts availability, as the Dry Sump has a unique A/C arrangement (I think) and was always of very limited production .   However, If you could find the parts I don't think they would be particularly expensive, as retrofitting A/C is not expecially popular.   But It would cerrainly be very expensive if you were paying garage rates for the work.

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I'm interested in this too as the project '84 Turbo Esprit I've bought has the glass roof option but no aircon. Toasty...

So I'm thinking since I'm already stripping the car to bare bones I have the opportunity to add aircon back in either by:

  • Fitting all original parts, which could be expensive (if they're even obtainable)
  • Fitting an aftermarket system 
  • Combining the two to have original controls/vents with an aftermarket system sitting behind.

I'm thinking a newer, aftermarket system might be better and more effective than something from the '80s but the challenge will be space and how many original lotus parts I need to go with it. 

Planning to investigate this further but I'm interested to see here if anyone has already retro fitted aircon via either route...


Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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Neil yours is also not a dry sump so I guessing should be easier 

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Yes, I realise though I might curious what solutions there are for retrofitting. Seems a shame not to when it's already stripped out


Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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I must admit it would be a good call after spending 45mins in the sun, in traffic on the M25 in a black with black leather no aircon car, it was pretty painful and a tad hot 

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Curiously, I have pondered about this subject whenever it’s arisen, and I wonder whether there may be other ways of skinning the cat. Maybe there is some way of concocting an arrangement whereby an evaporator could be fitted in front of the heater matrix in the fo not luggage compartment in order to avoid ripping the heater box out? I realise this would not be original, might not fit, and might be a non-starter, however it may be food for thought.

Neil, if you’re ripping it to pieces anyway, ignore this. But the glass roof is not as much of a problem letting UV in as you may think if it’s the smoked version.

 


Margate Exotics.

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Any other fans of Project Binky?   They made an evaporator/heater unit from scratch, not much to it apart from the matrix and evaporator valve (and significant fabricating skills....)

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Project Binky is a well produced UK youtube channel where a very skilled fabricator is shoehorning Supra running gear (I think its a Supra) into a classic Mini - Shows some top quality fabrication.   Everything is hand made or modified in some way.  Last episode was making the said heater A/C unit.   e.g I think your idea of a supplementary unit could have legs!

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3 hours ago, Chillidoggy said:

Neil, if you’re ripping it to pieces anyway, ignore this. But the glass roof is not as much of a problem letting UV in as you may think if it’s the smoked version.

Yes it's the smoked roof but it's still a lot of glass for such a small cabin. My composite roofed Stevens is warm enough in hot weather so I think retrofit aircon is worth considering as long as it's not price prohibitive. I'll investigate further, noting your alternative cat peeling suggestion...

3 hours ago, Dan E said:

I must admit it would be a good call after spending 45mins in the sun, in traffic on the M25 in a black with black leather no aircon car, it was pretty painful and a tad hot 

Yes, I though that as I watched you get back in the black Esprit and fired up the aircon in the Jag 😥


Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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9 hours ago, 910Esprit said:

Project Binky is a well produced UK youtube channel where a very skilled fabricator is shoehorning Supra running gear (I think its a Supra) into a classic Mini - Shows some top quality fabrication.   Everything is hand made or modified in some way.  Last episode was making the said heater A/C unit.   e.g I think your idea of a supplementary unit could have legs!

Wondering whether one of these could be grafted in somehow? Obviously it still needs condenser, compresso, hoses and drier, but it’s a start. https://www.carbuildersolutions.com/uk/universal-compact-air-conditioning-heater-kit


Margate Exotics.

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Interesting. Looks like the drier comes with it so just the condenser, compressor and hoses to sort out. Even the controls don't look too bad and I'm sure those knobs could be integrated into the stock HVAC panel or a version of it.

I shall be measuring under my dash when it's fully stripped down!


Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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Does the S3 have the ABS plastic cover for the heater blower like the S4? If so, maybe get that out of the way and have a measure up with the CBS unit dimensions?


Margate Exotics.

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I'm into this matter up to the elbows, have an S2 in restoration which was factory A/C equipped but will have naturally aspirated dry sump upon rebirth. After long months looking into aftermarket options (  Vintage Air foremost  ) I decided, rightly I believe, that retaining the under dash casing and related ductwork would be pragmatic. There is little room to spare in the space where the casing must reside, it takes some finesse offering up the thing for installation. Take a long look at the parts manual pages pertaining to the dash controls, HVAC fan and plenum, the forward firewall cut-outs, compressor mounting brackets/pulleys, etc, etc comparing A/C to non-A/C setups in order to gain a sense of the scope of the effort.

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5 hours ago, Chillidoggy said:

Does the S3 have the ABS plastic cover for the heater blower like the S4? If so, maybe get that out of the way and have a measure up with the CBS unit dimensions?

Turbo Esprit looks like this:

IMG_0917.thumb.JPG.96ed338e90e4a745c1b887df78e3f1be.JPG


Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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No way of doing it. Best had just pass it up.

im more that happy to save your family friend the hassle of advertising it and the usual tyre kickers

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I was waiting for that post Barry !  You will be running out of chIcken sheds to keep them all in lol.


A

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I’m in the middle of this with my 88 turbo. (Apologies now this is a long response).

option 1 original parts:

From my research you could get all the parts for an original setup for approximately £1500. That said you would need to made new pipes or get a company to do it which is likely to put the cost up to £2000 on parts. If you got a lotus specialist eg. Esprit engineering to do the work, you are looking at another £2000 +vat depending on how problematic it is.

option 2 vintage air:

If you fit the gen2 then you don’t need to cut the bulkhead, if you go for the more advanced gen4 then it’s a lot more work. Either way parts would come in at about £3000 + vat and you would definitely have to do the majority of the work yourself.

Option 3 aftermarket from car builder solutions:

not priced it up as they were not clever or professional enough looking for what I wanted. They are also shy on vents as they only have 4 outlets.

option 4 take from a different car:

find a model that you like the look of which doesn’t run off a canbus system and is cheap to buy and still has plenty of spares available, measure it all up and see if it will fit. I’m currently putting a unit in from an alfa Romeo however it’s a lot of work and requires various modifications (cutting bulkhead rerouting water pipes etc). Plus side to this option is it’s the cheapest parts wise coming in currently at £1500 which includes a new compressor and pipes. That said you will need to do the work yourself as I doubt you will find someone crazy enough to take it on.

I went with option 4 because it gave me climate control and was significantly cheaper however it’s a daunting process and I have had to  sacrifice any storage in the front boot to get it to work how I want.

personally if you really want a rare dry dump car then go original so you don’t hurt the future value. If you just want an Esprit with air con then look for a different car that had it fitted from factory.

hope this helps and please don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.

cheers Chris

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Option 4 sounds particularly scary so I don't think I'll personally be venturing down that avenue. It's an interesting option though.

Original parts would be nice but expensive as you say, and I can't help feeling that technology from +34 years on might be better than what was available back in '84

At the moment the CBS kit seems the most appealing and by the looks of it the most cost effective. I see they sell some ducting splitters (https://www.carbuildersolutions.com/uk/y-splitter-vent-with-butterfly-3-x-50mm-outlets) so presumably the 4 outlets from the unit could be suitably split to serve the 2 demist vents, 4 dash outlets and footwell vents.


Not worth starting anything now...🍺

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Thank you everyone for your comprehensive replies. 

I'd like to go original but then that will make a significant dent in to the 'recommissioning budget' I have for the car. 

However if all original A/C parts are available, or as close to original as possible then it may well be worth making this more of a long term project. 

 

I really  like the look of the Car Builder Solution's kit and I'm sure I could get that to work. But would this hurt the value of the car?? Do I care?? Would I sell it??? 

 

My third option is to recommission the car with a view to selling it for another one with air conditioning, but the chances of finding another Dry Sump let alone with air conditioning and very slim. 

It doesn't have to be a Dry Sump but they seem to get the most love and those Compomotive wheels are just the bees doo-dahss.

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