Working On My Air Conditioning Setup

Posted: February 18, 2013 in Engine Bay, Toby Broadfield's S13
Tags: , , , ,

I actually had some spare time to work on the car yesterday… that hasn’t happened in like 3-4 months.

I’m working on the air conditioning setup at the moment:

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My quest for a clean tidy engine bay has led me to doing a “tucked” air conditioning setup. I don’t really like the idea of lines going everywhere in the bay. So I’m going to simplify it by running the lines out of the compressor directly to some custom bulkheads on the firewall. I can run the lines down the same path as my heater hoses alongside the block. Typically the firewall fittings are at each end of a giant loop that takes place in the engine bay. I will essentially relocate that loop to behind the dash and down the inside upper portion of the passenger fender. Then the dryer and condenser will be up front out of site behind the bumper.

I want to use all XRP air conditioning hose and fittings. Which means I have to convert everything over to o-ring pilot fittings. Since I bought an aftermarket dryer and condenser, I had the choice to get them with o-ring pilot ports… so those were no big deal. However, I had to figure out what to do with the compressor, evaporator and the ports at the firewall. I’m still in the middle of all of this, but I’ll show you my progress so far.

First thing was to figure out how to modify the evaporator to work in the “tucked” setup. As it sits from the factory, the evaporator hard lines come out through the firewall. These have to go bye-bye since I’m going to use the firewall locations for my compressor lines. Which means that the connections for the evaporator lines will now need to be done inside the car instead of at the firewall. So I cracked the evaporator plastic housing open to see what I was up against. The evaporator core sits in the middle of the housing as seen below. You can also see where the hard lines exit the housing and normally would protrude through the firewall:

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As luck would have it, the evaporator is square. I rotated the evaporator core, inside the housing 90 degrees, so that the hard lines would now point down over the passenger foot well. This would allow me to do my connections inside the car and leave me room on the inside of the firewall for some custom bulkheads. I cut off the plastic protrusions that held the OEM hard lines in place:

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Housing back together… I will simply seal over that figure 8 shaped hole with some thin ABS plastic and epoxy:

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I cut the hard lines down so that the new 90 degree fittings would hug the housing as close as possible. As mentioned, these are going to exit right above the passenger’s feet. So I don’ want them hanging down where they are going to get kicked. Had some aluminum male o-ring pilot fittings welded on:

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I hogged out an area in the bottom of the housing for these to exit:

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Some closed cell foam on the inside around the fittings and some machined 90 degree o-ring pilot fittings… this part is complete:

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Test fit back in the car… they really don’t hang down lower than the surrounding items:

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Second order of business are the bulkheads for the compressor lines. It will be a o-ring pilot #10 and a #8 on the firewall. Unfortunately the two holes on the firewall are huge. Had I known I was going to do a tucked setup, I would have welded those closed and made new smaller holes for a pre-made bulkhead. Oh well, time to do something slightly custom and make it work. I bought one of the aforementioned bulkheads from Vintage Air just so I could use the male-to-male fittings. This is what they look like once pulled off the Vintage Air firewall plate:

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I figured I would do somewhat of the same setup I did for my heater hose bulkheads… custom machined aluminum plates that would cover the OEM holes and house the male fittings. I came up with these:

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Coated with the some black epoxy paint:

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Mounted in the car:

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This is what I’m looking at inside the cabin:

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I now need to get all of the XRP AC hoses and fittings ordered up so I can start mocking everything up. I also need to buy a CTS-V compressor. I have both a C5 and C6 compressor and neither one of those are going to work. The C6 compressor fittings exit out the side into the frame rail. There’s not enough clearance by a long shot. The C5 compressor fittings exit out the back. But by the time I add a compressor o-ring pilot adaptor block, the fittings will hit the #2 primary on the header. The CTS-V compressor angles the fittings out the side and angled up.. perfect!… I think!?!?! Once I have the compressor squared away, I can make the two compressor lines for the bay, the lines inside the cabin and the lines down the fender to the front of the car.

Comments
  1. Jacob says:

    Haha I was just talking about a custom air con set up the other day with a mate for my 180sx. Just wondering where your planing on running the condenser? May have to hit you up for some of those air con lines as well

    Jacob

  2. kwame says:

    where did you get the condenser from… i’m looking to relocate mine

  3. Timothy says:

    those lead threw your firewall under your passanger side ?

  4. Bruce says:

    Very clean! Very jealous. I need my ac installed after putting a RB25detNEO in my s13. People either don’t know what to do or want to rip me off. Well done.

  5. Om1kron says:

    So whats the progress on this, I know you haven’t updated this build in a while since you got inundated by other projects. Just curious to see what happened with the lines and compressor layout.

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