Compressor Installation (Again!)
After finishing up the cluster Monday evening, I turned my attention to air conditioning compressor installation. I ran the refrigerant and heater hoses, mounted the compressor, and even installed the belt. Having watched multiple videos and read the instructions at least 10 times, the installation went relatively smoothly.
My astute reader may remember that I had mounted the a/c compressor to the engine many months ago. Since compressor installation is a lot easier with the engine out of the car, it seemed like a good idea at the time. However, I’d also had some trouble getting the compressor to mount correctly. I’m grateful I had to call Classic Auto Air— they looked at my pictures and noticed I had the compressor mounted the wrong way. I would’ve noticed when I tried to put the hoses on, but it’s a lot simpler to clock the compressor 90º when you put it on the first time than it is to have to undo everything at the last-minute. Or at a minimum it’s less frustrating. Based on my call with them, I decided to change out the order of installation.
Beware: Compressor Oil is Messy
Classic Auto Air ships their compressors pre-filled with the correct amount of oil. The big green tag warns installers about that— adding extra oil could damage the system. Here’s the most important tidbit from my call: when the compressor installed correctly, oil WILL leak out when you go to put the bottom hose on. Apparently the amount that leaks out isn’t enough to warrant adding more, but it’s good to know. That info saved me from blowing compressor oil all over the engine compartment.
Instead of connecting the hoses after mounting the compressor (as the instructions recommend), I connected them before turning it sideways. They charge the compressor with compressed air for shipping, so remove the fitting caps slowly or you can still risk of blowing oil everywhere. Nobody tells you that, nor does anybody mention that they’ve poured oil all over when they went to connect the hoses. Even if most guys would know that, I hope the reminder is helpful.
Routing the Hoses
Taking the time to properly and cleanly route hoses pays off in two ways. First, hoses, wires, exhaust systems, and moving parts don’t play nicely with one another. Incorrect hose routing is downright dangerous if hoses interfere with the throttle linkage or the exhaust manifolds. Second, in a nicely detailed engine compartment hose routing can make or break the look. A/C hoses are huge and somewhat inflexible, so I don’t have a ton of leeway, but I’m happy with where I ended up.
I ran the hoses off the compressor and the evaporator, around under the export brace and the back of the engine to the firewall. For the moment, I’ve got zip-ties securing the hoses, but I’m searching for a more factory-looking anchoring option. If you’ve got a better way, please let me know!
The heater hoses will be more of a struggle to get right. The hose that goes from the firewall to the water pump connects through the water valve. Okay, fine. Before I cut the hose I remembered that Ford ran a hose through the carburetor choke shield. The same hose runs from the water valve, so instead of a nice smooth run, now I’ve got several bends in the hose. The intake manifold connection looks a lot cleaner by comparison. I can’t finalize the hose routing until I install the carburetor, so again, if you’ve got ideas, let me know!