To A/C or not to A/C, that is the question - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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To A/C or not to A/C, that is the question

How many Spider owners out there have A/C in their cars and use it? How many don't have A/C and wish they did? Have you ever removed A/C from a Spider and not regretted doing so? That is the dilemma I am facing. I was told by the PO that the factory A/C in my 86 Spider does not work. Should i just remove it during my noobish quasi-attempt at a renovation and say good riddance, or leave it in, work around it and have it repaired by a qualified technician/shop when my noobtacular reno is complete?

1986 Red Alfa Spider Graduate
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post #2 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 05:53 PM
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I just replaced my compressor... in SC it's worth it. If I lived in a milder climate I might consider removing it.

Adam -- 1988 Alfa Romeo Spider Graduate
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post #3 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 06:17 PM
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I live in NJ as well, and have had Spiders with and without AC.

While many believe that the AC in a Spider is useless (as an AC, yes), you will find that when you are caught in rain, with the top up, on a warm day, there is no better way to keep the windshield clear.

Sure you may drop a couple of pounds if you get rid of it, but if you are looking to go the superleggera route, the top up in the rain wont be a thing anyway as the top is the first thing to go!

Mo in NJ
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post #4 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 06:24 PM
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The PO had removed all the A/C components of the '84 Spider I bought. Here in North Carolina that makes it a 3 season car. I collected the parts I needed and re-installed all the bits. I then paid a local garage to vacuum the system and charge it up. While it doesn't blow as cold as more modern cars, it makes our Spider a 3 & 3/4 season car. (if it is >98*F and humid I'll take the Toyota or my Ford pick up)

As for performance, yes - I can feel the compressor kick in. So it does draw some HP. But if the HP is really needed it does have an off switch...
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post #5 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 06:33 PM
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I have AC and use it often, works well, especially on a rainy day.


1993 Spider Veloce
2016 4c Coupe
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post #6 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 07:14 PM
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I had my AC servived two years ago. In my opinion it is a must have.

1992 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia, 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium
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post #7 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 07:17 PM
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It's nice to have when you're sitting in traffic in the sun, yes.

If it's not working and hasn't for a long time, budget $1K is my experience. You're almost certainly going to need a new compressor & receiver/dryer, plus labor to install and find the inevitable other leaks.

Tom

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post #8 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 07:53 PM
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I agree with Mo. I live in the DC area. I had ac on another Spider and only used it in the summer when caught in the rain. The ac on my current Spider has not been working since I bought it and I don't plan to fix it. It's not my daily driver and don't drive it if rain is predicted.

If yours is a daily driver, I'd suggest fixing it; if it's not a daily driver, I don't think it would be worth fixing for NJ weather.

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post #9 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 07:54 PM
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Trust me, you need it in NJ!
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1992 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia, 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium
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post #10 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-03-2019, 09:37 PM
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I do not have ac in my current Alfa and there are times when I miss it. I will say the engine compartment has a cleaner look with out it!


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post #11 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 05:36 AM
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A wise man (on the AlfaBB) once said that the difference between driving a Spider top up or top down in the hot summer is like the difference between an oven and a convection oven.

Consequently, I find the concept of driving with the top down with the A/C blowing on you to counterbalance the sun and the humidity to be an enticing one.

I often do this in my VW Golf: all 4 windows and panoramic sunroof open, A/C on.

While I wouldn't go so far as to add A/C to a Spider that never had it, I would definitely get it working if my car came with it.
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post #12 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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thank you

Thanks for everyone's input. I think i will re-install the system during my work, then leave as something I can have fixed if the cost is justified depending on how over budget I go with the rest of the restore. Not really assuming I'll come in on budget or under at this point, but don't tell the wife that .

1986 Red Alfa Spider Graduate
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post #13 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 12:01 PM
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None of my roadsters have had AC. Turning on the AC is just as revolting as top down/windows up (a 5 point ticket if I was a cop). Ist verboten!! Yes, this may limit your drive time during the heat of summer. But the whole purpose of the roadster genre is the wind in your hair/bugs in your teeth excitement. Want AC? Drive a Mercury Monterey or a Crown Vic and wear a Greek fisherman's hat. Women in the back, guys up front. Yeah, chicks really dig that.
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post #14 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 01:39 PM
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I have it. It works. I don't plan to use it. I guess I'll exercise it on occasion.
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post #15 of 52 (permalink) Old 09-04-2019, 01:51 PM
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Having a functioning A/C system is a real positive when selling a car, no matter what the marque. And in the Spider, the system is so simple there's no good reason not to get it running. As was pointed out, it makes the car a lot more enjoyable even on a hot humid summer day, when nobody wants the sun baking them lobster-red. At least, nobody I know!

Alfa's A/C is no different than any other, as far as components go. The chances are the evaporator is good, the temp control valves are reliable, and if the fan works then you're halfway to functioning A/C. A good shop can change out the receiver/drier, evacuate the system and check for leakage, ensure your compressor has oil and then do a test charge. You never know... it might just take off and cool!
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