How difficult is it really to reconstruct the stock AC setup with new parts? - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 01-31-2014, 02:53 PM Thread Starter
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How difficult is it really to reconstruct the stock AC setup with new parts?

Flipping through a parts catalog last night, it occurred to me that replacing the majority of my presumably non-functioning stock AC system with new parts wouldn't be that expensive. The blower and control unit works fine, the condenser is present, so all I think I'd need would be a new compressor and maybe a receiver/dryer. The hoses and fittings all appear to be OK.

I have NO experience dealing with AC, however this job doesn't seem that daunting. '82 GTV6.

Am I being naive?

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Last edited by chairmankaga; 01-31-2014 at 02:57 PM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-08-2014, 12:10 PM
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Try jensenparts.com for compressor. Very reasonable. If your comp is an oddball, like on my '87 Spider, they will rebuild yours for you. My unit is a short case Sanden 507. They quoted $85 for a complete rebuild, including clutch.

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2014, 05:07 AM
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To put the whole system back together isn't that difficult, what you need to do is to figure out what isn't working. Could just be a leak in the system with all the components working fine (I'd still replace the dryer in that situation). If you have access to a vacuum pump you can pull a vacuum and then let it sit for a while to see if there is a leak.

If there is no leak then you need to determine if the compressor is seized.

It could just be out of R12/R134a with a very slow leak. If the system is too low on gas or out then the clutch on the compressor will not activate to keep the compressor from breaking. You can test this by making the switch (usually on or near the dryer) turn on the clutch.

I wouldn't just go replacing components until you know what is wrong or you could waste a bunch of money.

Kevin

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 09:50 AM Thread Starter
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The original compressor was de-belted when I got the car. The PO only knew it didn't work. There's no indication it's even trying to switch on, so I can only assume it's just DOA. I'd replace the York with a Sanden, regardless. All of the hoses and fittings LOOK OK. No visible cracks or ill-fitting bits.
Dryers are what, $30 or so? Compressors are pretty inexpensive as well. The trick would really just be finding a bracket. I could at the very least accomplish that in my garage. If it's still not working, whoever I take it to will have a new compressor to work with.
We shall see!

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'82 GTV6
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 09:59 AM
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As stated, you're going to need a new compressor and dryer, and then probably a bunch of o-rings depending where else the hoses are leaking.

I do a lot of Alfa work myself, but A/C rebuilds are something I've learned to leave to the pros (and I'm a Chem E by training). There's a lot of specialized equipment needed: good pumps, fittings, leak detectors, etc. The dryer, for example, needs to be installed and then put under vacuum reasonably quickly: if you install it in your garage and don't pump it down it'll get ruined from being exposed to atmospheric moisture pretty quick.

If I've got a car with a bum A/C system due to a compressor seal leak, I pretty much figure ~$1000 in parts+labor to get it working correctly. This has been a reasonably accurate estimate over several cars.

Tom

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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-26-2014, 10:32 PM
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I did my Milano 2 yrs ago. Failed compressor.
I am lucky to have a close by A/C shop that does lots of custom work and is a local parts distributor. They were a great source of parts and advice. Also a good place to go when I screwed something up.
Changed to 134 (they had a stash of r12 from old cars) so it required a new dryer/trinary switch. The dryer and switch did not match my old one so I had to build a new bracket and a little change in the trinary switch wiring. No big deal.
The compressor was Sanden type so a simple rebuild. My 2L Alfetta got a change from York to Sanden. This is a common switch as York was standard on a lot of cars (Rolls Royce!). There was an adaptor bracket available. I had to find a new A/C belt. Wonder if a v6 AC bracket is all you need to mount the new Sanden type compressor?
I did all to mechanical work 'cause the shop wanted to save me some $$$ and really did not want to bother with my custom work. They did all the testing and filled the system.
The blower in the GTV6 could use an upgrade. My Alfetta has the same one as your car. The shop found a bigger motor that was almost a direct swap and all new blower motors have internal resistor witching so there are now 3 hot wires out of the new motor - no pesky, flamable resistor pad. As you have no working A/C removing the AC/Heater unit is not that big a deal.
So that's my experience of doing 2 Alfas.

Paul Blankenship AROSC
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-27-2014, 10:43 AM
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Count on a compressor, dryer, expansion valve, and condenser needing to be replaced. Hopefully the evaporator is ok, but should be pressure checked ahead of time to be sure. Hoses might need replacing as well. Given you don't know what happened to the system in the first place, you'll need to flush the hoses and condenser clean. It's not quite as quick and easy as you may think.

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Last edited by Roadtrip; 03-30-2014 at 07:45 AM.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadtrip View Post
Count on a compressor, dryer, expansion valve, and condenser needing to be replaced. Hopefully the condenser is ok, but should be pressure checked ahead of time to be sure. Hoses might need replacing as well. Given you don't know what happened to the system in the first place, you'll need to flush the hoses and condenser clean. It's not quite as quick and easy as you may think.
Right. Not as easy as one would think, but then, not so scary of one knows a few tricks/tips.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 12:48 PM
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If you still havent started yet and are looking for tips, heres some:

Fellow member mentioned above checkng for leaks with a vac, but vac checking for leaks is not foolproof. o rings behave differently under vac as they could under PRESSURE. Well known in the pro ac world.

Also, cant rinse out condenser unless its the old style with NON paralell flow type. Parallel flow almost impossibel to "flush". You said its an 82 system, you could be Ok wth a flush.

Best way to pressure test: bring to a shop with nitrogen, bring to about 300 psi, then test with soap bubbles/other means as well. Then release the nitrogen. Shouldnt cost much- good insurance since, if you dump in R12 or r134a you can be wasting 2-3 cans or so. If you cant find a shop with nitrogen, theres abnother low cost way- PM me for it.......

I used my original hoses (87 car) but yours are a bit older. Hook them up, and pressure test- its worth a try to keep orig. otherwise, get a local hydraulics shop to make new- way cheaper than buying from a catalog house. I had a 2001 civic with "barrier" hoses factory that leaked only after 11 yrs or so. Sheesh- japanese........Chased that stinkin leak for months- it was elusive cuz slow leaks are the hardest to find- leak detectors cant detect to that low ppm level (gas leakage over 1-2 months). Finally found the leak myself using my own nose!!!!!!! No other detector would have found it!!!

Also, no need to get a vac pump if you have an aircompressor- you can hook up compressor to a venturi valve/pump from HF ($10 or so), and can reach close to 29.9 " mercury. Run for say, 15 minutes. But if you end up using HC gas, no need to evacuate to that level.

87 spider veloce

Last edited by Joe Papa Sr; 03-29-2014 at 02:11 PM.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 12:56 PM
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I needed a comp mount for my alfa ac project too- had to buy one here on the forum's ad forum. Not easy to find. Good comps are not cheap, unlike member stated above, I have to push back on. Reman go for 120-180$ typicaly. new is way up there ($400 or so, last I looked). But let me tell ya, nothing like new as many remaned comps have bearing failure as well as case o ring failure. Just so ya know. Buy Ive been lucky- my remaned one still doing well after 9 yrs. Others not so lucky. Just saying sio you know- its such a pain installing a comp, having to yank the rad and all.......

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 12:59 PM
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Last- I would not use r134a, or even r12. r12 very $$$ and can be deadly in case of auto fire (generates phosgene nerve gas). r134a can be less cooling than adequate (not as effecient). I use HC. just dont smoke while instaling it.

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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-29-2014, 01:36 PM
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HC?

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-01-2014, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by kredden View Post
HC?
Hydrocarbons. Freon (r12) and R134a are halogenated organics (carbons). R134a does have 2 hydrogens (going by memory), R12 has none. HC's are devoid of toxic halogens like chlorine or fluorine. One brand is Envirosafe........

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Last edited by Joe Papa Sr; 04-01-2014 at 04:19 PM.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-01-2014, 04:30 PM
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Envirosafe is basically propane. It'll work but it's flammable. Not an issue in a sealed system, but potentially an issue in the case of leaks.

Joe is really overstating the dangers of R12 and R134a. They're quite stable and perfectly safe in automotive A/C applications.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 04-01-2014, 06:29 PM
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Right- Envirosafe is mostly propane, but what about the rest of it?Tom, if youre inclined, we can enter into a serious discussion about its "flammability" in real world environment.

And the "dangers" of R12- that I overstated? Cmon, Tom- Halogenated refrigerants are as you say "perfectly stable"" but then you present HC as Flammable without telling the whole story? Whos overstating dangers and misrepresenting risks? I would rather work with HC anyday.

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Last edited by Joe Papa Sr; 04-01-2014 at 06:48 PM.
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