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1980 - 1986 Bullnose F100, F150 & Larger F-Series Trucks Discuss the Early Eighties Bullnose Ford Truck

need a/c

 
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Old 02-28-2019, 04:55 PM
mcarb80682
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need a/c

Hello, i have a 1986 f150 I6 300. The car came with a ac system installed but did not work . The hoses use clamps for condenser and evap . I really need to install an a/c because this is now the daily driver and its hitting 80 in Miami already . I really don't know what to do, the installed unit is after market it seems . should i just replace everything or work with what i have. I have seen kits on ebay for around 500 and a local shop also sells for about 500. They seem to use clamps like the system already installed . should i just install new drier and work with what i have . money is a concern . Thank you
 
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:12 PM
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Pic: 1982/86 F100/350 & Bronco with dealer installed A/C

It would be cheaper to fix what you have, then installing an all new A/C

Take your truck to a local A/C shop for an evaluation.


 
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:27 PM
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thanks for the reply, i took the truck to 3 shops in Miami area and maybe its me but i feel that people don't want to work on these old cars anymore. one guy told me what you have is after market i don't know what to do , he send me somewhere and that person told me lets change everything , i can sell it to you but i can't install it. Another place i went to they sell on ebay but have a little ware house in miami she wanted to sell me a kit with everything and that it. i started tio do my own body work because other places around the area told me they work on new cars that they buy parts install then paint , the one place i found that does body work charges arm and leg they told me 5,000 body work 6,000 paint
 
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:44 PM
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Do you have a voltmeter and a little mechanical knowledge? We could get you to check some things. I hate to say it, but if you can't do your own work you should get a newer vehicle. These old vehicles are great only if you can work on them yourself. You will have a bunch of money in it if you have to pay someone else to do it.
 
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Old 02-28-2019, 05:54 PM
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i actually fix all my cars, I have this truck , 1964 pontiac , excursion , and my harley . i had to learned to do body work and own several tools , welders ect.. so i can do the work but were to get the parts and what route to go is kind hard . I used to have a 1984 grand prix that i retrofit to run on 134a and worked great but i used everything original just changed compressor bottle flush and charged . this one seems more difficult
 
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Old 02-28-2019, 06:01 PM
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Ok, now we can talk a little bit about it. The main basic thing is the compressor needs to run. I am assuming when you turn on the A/C the clutch is not engaging? If that is the case, the #1 reason usually is low freon charge. If you follow the wires from the clutch, you should run into the low pressure switch mounted in the piping or the dryer unit. Unplug the wiring, and with the engine running and the A/C switch in the dash on, take the plug that went to the low pressure switch and jump it out. If the clutch engages, then most likely it is low on charge. The switch could be bad, but you are going to retro fit this unit to r134a also correct? So if you get the conversion kit, and convert it, you can put your cheap pressure gauge on there and see how much you have. You could also just poke the low pressure service port and see how much hiss you get. Not much, it's probably low.
 
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Old 03-01-2019, 07:02 AM
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I understand the guy. No one wants to touch my older stuff anymore either. I've even had a paint and body shop tell me straight up, they only do newer cars and only insurance work. They won't even quote, won't even talk hourly rate. If I were you, I'd be running a gazillion internet searches and planning what needs to be replaced and how and what (if any) special tools you'd need. I have replaced a couple a/c systems in vehicles through the years, not too hard to bolt and unbolt. Parts are not terribly ridiculous. But, you have to really watch cross threading, easy to do on a/c work. If money is an issue, the computer is your friend to help you figure it out. I replace everything I can in a system, to get a fresh baseline and hopefully several years of a/c, some get by with judicious replacement of parts and with cleaning out and blowing out lines.
 
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:00 AM
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I brought back the A/C on my 86 from the dead. First things first test for leaks. Being familiar with wrenching on old cars you should be able to do this. Rent a manifold vacuum gauge set and vacuum pump from Autozone or wherever and test your pressures while running at full blast.

Do you have proper high and low pressures?
Is compressor kicking on at all?
Basically your problem is either a leak, where you have no refrigerant or electrical/mechanical where your system has a good charge but isn't turning on or pumping.

If the first, pull a vacuum overnight and find the leaks by hissing, soap bubbles, dye, etc

If the latter, test compressor clutch, shut off switch, orifice/expansion valve, etc, control panel wires/vac lines etc. Take it step by step or we can't really help you.
 
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:29 PM
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My brain cell had to take a nap. From looking at a 90 Iím trying to get going, I guess first thing Iíd do is check if the part in front of radiator has caught a rock or branch or whatever. I forget right now what is called, might be evaporator? Itís just like the radiator and just in front of it.
then Iíd see if front of compressor looks ok and so on as everyoneís saying. But make sure you donít have puncture wounds and crush and torn alum fins behind replaced grill.
 
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Old 03-01-2019, 05:14 PM
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The radiator thing in front of the radiator is the condenser. The evaporator is the other smaller radiator in the black HVAC box on the firewall.

What I think you should do is check out some YouTube videos of how a car AC system works before you get into it so you have a better under standing of what you will be working on.
Then with a test light or meter you should be able to check for power from dash out to the compressor and find where it stops.
My guess is it will stop at the low pressure switch. I would then pull the wire off the compressor, jump the low pressure switch and see if you get power to the compressor.
DaveF said to jump out the switch but leave the compressor hooked up I would try this with caution just to see if the compressor works with out noise for a short time.
That will show 2 things, 1 the wiring is good all the way to the compressor & 2 the system could be low on Freon.

This is were you need a set of AC gauges to see what the PSI is. It could be just a little low and needs a topping off.
If it has no PSI then you will need to decide should you try and put a little PSI in it to check for leaks. If you pull a vacuum it cant tell you where the leak maybe other than a hiss if you can hear it. You can not use bubbles as it would be sucking it in not blowing it out.

Or you could start with replacing parts.
A must is to replace is the drier and orifice valve. If changing over to 134a may want to replace the low psi switch as it works at a different psi than the R12 one, but neither will fix a leak.

I would say replace the condenser, the leak could be in it from a stone or 2, it is the lowest part of the system so junk could collect in it.
The newer ones are a little bigger so takes a little "tweaking" (not bad and there are posts on this) and think they are for 134a Freon.
You need to replace all the O rings gaskets on the hose connections so might just want to replace the hoses also. The O rings & hoses could be the leak and why it is low on PSI.

On my 81 F100 project, I have moved everything from a parts truck to this project. The system was open, motor was sold off, when I got the parts truck and told it worked and had psi till they opened it up for motor pulling. They hit the condenser with the water pump and when checking found it crushed a tube and cut the flow to almost nothing and why I had to replace the condenser.

The evaporator looked good on the outside and I will flush it before I charge the system.
Because I am going with a newer type compressor my hoses will not work with it so will have new hoses, O rings and compressor.
I will replace the drier, orifice valve and low psi switch so my system should be like new when I get it together.

At this time I do not know if I will pull a vacuum and charge or have a shop do it, still getting parts together yet.
Dave ----
 
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:17 PM
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I just finished up getting my a/c going on my '86. Here's the thing about these older trucks...if the hoses haven't been replaced with barrier hoses and if the condenser is still the R-12 style then you are really wasting your time in my opinion. Here's why. Yeah, you can just replace what's broke, flush it, fill it with r-134a and try it out. If the hoses aren't barrier type hoses compatible with r-134a then the refrigerant will leak out. As for the condenser, well, the R-12 style are tube and fin while the r-134a are a multi-pass style. A lot of the issues people have with converting to r-134a is that they don't replace the condenser. I just replaced everything on mine. Compressor, evaporator, all of the lines, filter-drier, condenser, clutch cycling switch, belt tensioner, the works. Also, if the system has been empty for an extended period of time then moisture has combined with the oil in the system and formed acid which has been attacking the aluminum in the evaporator coil. That's why people mysteriously have leaks in the evaporator after converting to r-134a. Typically they are repairing a system that all of the refrigerant leaked out of and they are just trying to fill it up and go. Take my word and experience for what it's worth to you. I am a former EPA certified & NATE certified A/C Journeyman Technician. I am now a Power Plant Operator but still dabble on a/c systems.
 
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JHaritos View Post
I am a former EPA certified & NATE certified A/C Journeyman Technician. I am now a Power Plant Operator but still dabble on a/c systems.
Impressive.

Like this?



j/k
 
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:41 PM
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Lol! I can honestly say Homer is not the typical role model. Not if you want to keep your unit online anyway.
 
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Old 03-02-2019, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by JHaritos View Post
I just finished up getting my a/c going on my '86. Here's the thing about these older trucks...if the hoses haven't been replaced with barrier hoses and if the condenser is still the R-12 style then you are really wasting your time in my opinion. Here's why. Yeah, you can just replace what's broke, flush it, fill it with r-134a and try it out. If the hoses aren't barrier type hoses compatible with r-134a then the refrigerant will leak out. As for the condenser, well, the R-12 style are tube and fin while the r-134a are a multi-pass style. A lot of the issues people have with converting to r-134a is that they don't replace the condenser. I just replaced everything on mine. Compressor, evaporator, all of the lines, filter-drier, condenser, clutch cycling switch, belt tensioner, the works. Also, if the system has been empty for an extended period of time then moisture has combined with the oil in the system and formed acid which has been attacking the aluminum in the evaporator coil. That's why people mysteriously have leaks in the evaporator after converting to r-134a. Typically they are repairing a system that all of the refrigerant leaked out of and they are just trying to fill it up and go. Take my word and experience for what it's worth to you. I am a former EPA certified & NATE certified A/C Journeyman Technician. I am now a Power Plant Operator but still dabble on a/c systems.
I appreciate people taking the high road and following what all the books say and how they have been trained. If I were charging someone over $100 per hour, I certainly would do everything by the book, I would not want them to keep coming back and getting charged labor over and over and making the shop look bad.

But, r134a bought at the dollar store is cheap. A do it yourselfer is usually low on funds, and has lots of time. A conversion kit is cheap. There are investments you do have to make. The minimum is a vacuum pump, you can get one that works very well from Harbor Freight for not too much money, especially if you get it on sale. You can get the gauges fairly cheap from there also. If you figure what a shop is going to charge you just to charge the system up, that justifies these few specialty tools.

I work on HVAC systems also. There are minimum things I would do when working on a system. If you are converting a system over to r134a, I would ALWAYS pull a vacuum on it for an hour or so before introducing the conversion gas/oil. I would not leave any r12 in the system. I would then fill it, and try it. Have a leak? Find it, and fix it, and then vacuum and refill it again. Nothing lost but some time and a couple of cans of 134a. Make sure you always use ester oil unless you are going to flush the whole complete system. Do not use PAG unless you flush the system first.

It's a well known fact that older hoses exposed to r12 for years, will not leak 134a. New hoses usually are now all barrier type hoses. If you find a NOS set of hoses on ebay that have been on the shelf for years, you may be in trouble.

It is well known the r12 designed condensor is undersized for r134a. The system pressures are a little different also. In reality, it will still work well enough for 90% of the people out there, especially in a smaller area of a pickup cab. If you want your system to work to it's maximum capability, then yes you can change the condensor(and fight getting the correct line fittings for it) and you can change the orifice. Most pressure switches have a screw in the middle and you can adjust those with a small screwdriver.

All the above has been figured out by people not going by the rules. The above poster was pointing out procedures that professionals like to perform, but like I said they have reputations to uphold also.
 
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Old 03-02-2019, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Franklin2 View Post
older hoses exposed to r12 for years, will not leak 134a. New hoses usually are now all barrier type hoses. If you find a NOS set of hoses on ebay that have been on the shelf for years, you may be in trouble.
+1 on that. It has something to do with the existing oil coating the inside of the non-barrier hoses. I've done several R134a conversions and the original hoses were just fine. And as Dave has said, stay away from NOS non-barrier hose. Those will leak, as the oil used with R134a won't form a barrier.

This may be something of a moot point, though. Any pre-R134a hoses on our trucks are going to be getting up there in years. When I did my first R134a conversion about 20 years ago (different vehicle, not my truck), the existing hoses were still fairly new and in good condition. But any original hoses on a vehicle from when Reagan was still in the White House? Oy vey, they're getting long in the tooth. Just plan on replacing them and save yourself some grief. On my truck, none of the other hoses (fuel, coolant) are original, either.

For my '84 (factory air), I had new hoses fabricated locally by these guys several years ago. This is a franchise, with locations coast to coast:

https://www.tubesnhoses.com/


For an aftermarket or dealer-installed system (hose clamps, not crimped fittings), it will be very simple to replace the hoses yourself. I've dealt with ACKits.com before, and they offer bulk hose in full reels, but currently I'm not seeing options to purchase by the foot:


Barrier Hose Bulk | ACKITS.com


Might be worth calling to find out for sure. If not, I'm sure you can find some elsewhere if you shop around. ACKits.com also carries parts for older non-factory systems, which can be hard to find.


 

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