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Thread: Welp...so much for the A/C

  1. #1
    I survived....I think AirmanPika's Avatar
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    Welp...so much for the A/C

    Ran the car for the first time in a few months...all was fine...then POW! Shut it off immediately and started hunting down the source in the engine bay. The (or a?) main A/C line exploded. Guess I need a new A/C line in conjunction with a few radiator and fan.

    Since the whole A/C system is now evacuated now I guess I need to decide how I wanna go about replacing it.

    blam1.jpg

  2. #2
    Senior Member 82DMC12's Avatar
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    I lost all my A/C one hot summer day about 15 years ago when my steering column shaft eventually rubbed through one of the lines. I didn't realize how unsecure it was at the time.

    I ended up replacing every single part of my A/C except the evaporator with John Hervey's stuff except I bought an aluminum parallel-flow condenser of about the same dimensions as the OEM condenser from a retailer online. Also put in a variable-orifice valve. Filled with nitrogen and confirm that it held pressure, then vacuumed and let it sit overnight to confirm vacuum. Refilled with R134a and I've had fantastic A/C ever since. It's a dirty job but worth it. Toughest part was fishing those thick lines through the frame which I ended up doing to two different DeLoreans. I think DPI has a narrower hose that is easier to fish through than Hervey had.
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    Guru butcher Michael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AirmanPika View Post
    Ran the car for the first time in a few months...all was fine...then POW! Shut it off immediately and started hunting down the source in the engine bay. The (or a?) main A/C line exploded. Guess I need a new A/C line in conjunction with a few radiator and fan.

    Since the whole A/C system is now evacuated now I guess I need to decide how I wanna go about replacing it.

    blam1.jpg
    I wouldnt not think you destroyed anything. I would expect to replace the busted line, new accumulator and a pressure switch (since they are cheap) and maybe a new orifice tube(again since they are cheap) and you are back on the road.
    If it's the dreaded line that requires the body to come off, I believe Josh sells a replacement that comes in two sections so you can replace it without separating the body.
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    +1 on the two-piece hose option.

    Splice repair kits are also available and can be useful in repairing friction caused hose failures such as the steering linkage failure, etc. Replacement hose ends with barbed fittings are also available. I have used both successfully in the past.

    However, I don’t think a splice kit or a new fitting end grafted onto the end of your existing hose will be a viable repair in this situation as it appears that the failure was the result of a deteriorated hose with compromised structural integrity.
    Andrew
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  5. #5
    Senior Member 82DMC12's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew View Post
    +1 on the two-piece hose option.

    Splice repair kits are also available and can be useful in repairing friction caused hose failures such as the steering linkage failure, etc. Replacement hose ends with barbed fittings are also available. I have used both successfully in the past.

    However, I don’t think a splice kit or a new fitting end grafted onto the end of your existing hose will be a viable repair in this situation as it appears that the failure was the result of a deteriorated hose with compromised structural integrity.
    it also looks like the hard pipe coming off the compressor is at an awkward angle causing a sharp bend in the rubber hose as it leaves the crimp. I think there were two different ways the original A/C was piped but I don't think that hard bend is doing any favors. My car was basically rubber hoses straight off the compressor but I think there was also a version with some hard lines. Can't comment on the correct orientation.
    VIN 11596 Jan 1982 build - owned since Nov. 2000!

    -5MT-Stage 1 w/custom Magnaflow muffler-Tinnerstedt steering linkage-Marty Maier shocks-K&N filter-PJ Grady front lowering springs-Michelin Pilots-Centerforce clutch-Alpine CDE-HD137BT-Zapco and JL Audio amps-Kicker S8L7-Boston Acoustics-Ample Audio

    Photography and Backpacking is life.

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    Was Fargo, ND
    Now Olathe, KS

  6. #6
    I survived....I think AirmanPika's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback. I agree that the AC is likely fine and that it was just a bad hose due to age. This said...it's an old unit and I might as well convert to modern coolant. I believe Josh's lines are R134 compatible but what else? I suspect the compressor may be due for some kind of work and whatever else I may need to replace to make it compliant?

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    The hose failed from old age. The 2 piece is the way to go. Replace all 3 hoses and the accumulator. Don't touch the orifice tube. Make sure to check the oil level in the compressor and if necessary add some. Try to stay with R-12. The compressor should be fine unless it was making noise or the seal was leaking.
    David Teitelbaum

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    Now is the time to go ahead and update the system. Replace the long hoses along the body, you only have to raise the body a couple of inches to get the hose through it's just 4 bolts on the passenger side. Use cut rubber to pad the new hose wherever there is a chance of rubbing. New accumulator, new orifice tube, all new green 'O' rings, replace compressor fittings with R134 conversion pieces. Pull the compressor drain the oil and replace with PAG oil. Go with R134 so it is easy to find when needed. Buy a vacuum pump and a/c gauges from Harbor Freight. Not really that hard just time consuming.

  9. #9
    Member MacStainless's Avatar
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    One thing to consider is keeping it R12 but using RedTek in the system. It seems to be the best of both worlds by being R12 compatible and also readily for sale via Walmart.com and a few websites. Theres some threads on here about it and Ive heard its the solution DMCH uses for their cars.

  10. #10
    Administrator Ron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    I wouldnt not think you destroyed anything. I would expect to replace the busted line, new accumulator and a pressure switch (since they are cheap) and maybe a new orifice tube(again since they are cheap) and you are back on the road.
    If it's the dreaded line that requires the body to come off, I believe Josh sells a replacement that comes in two sections so you can replace it without separating the body.
    Quote Originally Posted by David T View Post
    The hose failed from old age. The 2 piece is the way to go. Replace all 3 hoses and the accumulator. Don't touch the orifice tube. Make sure to check the oil level in the compressor and if necessary add some. Try to stay with R-12. The compressor should be fine unless it was making noise or the seal was leaking.
    I agree with Michael and David and would like to add:
    There is no way to know how much oil the system lost -- flush it and add the spec amount.
    R12 will out perform any of the common substitutes. The substitutes will increase pressures (not good), and make the diagnostic charts worthless. Most require a different type oil. In either case, it will not flow through the system as well. (Ask around -- Someone has R12.)

    Fwiw, "compliance" shouldn't be an issue since R12 is stock... (Not a problem if there are no leaks anyway.)

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