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Old 11-21-2006, 12:44 AM   #1
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Location: Canberra, Australia
Default Retrofitting A/C

Well while I know that all you softies who live in cooler climates yank the A/C for a couple of extra Hp. In Australia it is hellishly hot, so I would like to do the reverse; add A/C to my car so I can be nice and chilled as opposed to having my flesh boiled off.

The question is: What would I have to do to pull this off:
-Obviously I need all the components, should I go new (if so where from) or should I go used eg wreckers?
-Are there any special tools that I'd need?
-Will I need professional help eg in gassing it?
-Is there a kit to do this?

Anyways it is 35 celcius (95 fahrenheit) now and summer hasn't begun so I will be sweating on your answers.
1972, 144, Orange. SOLD (twice purchase price)
1981, 244, Blue. Big plans.
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Old 11-21-2006, 06:08 AM   #2
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Location: Long Island New Yorks

i cant tell you where to get a kit, sears over here used to retrofit ac all the time, but that was many moons ago.

as for the tools you'll need a line release tool, some line wrenches, and bracketry.

for filling it up, r134 is the way to go, and i would recommend a pro look at it before you pressurize it, otherwise it shouldnt be too difficult, as its just a shraeder valve.

used junk systems are often tired and dont work very well, plus there is a good possibility that you'll destroy it getting it out of the donor car. but if you can and it works, do it, because it will be leap and bounds cheaper than buying and entire new system.
you may just have to buy the lines new.
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Old 11-22-2006, 06:56 PM   #3
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Location: Sydney, Australia

its not exactly going to be a 5 minute job to put it in. i cant imagine it would take to long to fit the condensor and the pipes but u have to pull the entire dash apart to get to the heater box and put the thingamy in it...

just wind down ur windows and dont stop. that said i really should get around to replacing the AC conmpressoer in my car and getting it regassed.
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:06 PM   #4
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Location: Edmonds, WA

Is this for the 240 in your sig or for the 140? I'll try to do a quick summary for both.

For the 140, try to find a 140 with AC and grab everything, the compressor, the bracket it mounts to, all the hard lines and the evap plus whatever it got under the dash. I know people have swapped AC into 140's, not too complicated to do since it was pretty much a bolt-on affair in the beginning. I have seen a RHD 140 with AC in person, looked like our LHD layout to me. Early 140's may use a separate AC console under the dash like the 122's do.

Does your 240 have the heater console with the four sliding levers? If so, you are in for quite a job. You will need to replace the entire HVAC system with the "combo" unit (the three buttons and two knobs that all US cars got).
If it already has the combo unit it is just a matter of getting all the appropriate parts from a 240 with AC and swapping them in. Then go get the Volvo r134a conversion kit for your particular car and put it in (larger evap, expansion valve, new receiver dryer, new seals).
Remember that the various years use different parts, so a York piston compressor and bracket, the receiver drier mounted near the radiator, the smaller evap, and the capillary tube/rotary knob control system were meant for your car. Later cars use a rotary compressor, 90+ switch to an on/off switch in the dash, 91+ change a ton of hard lines and receiver dryer location. I recommend the Volvo greenbook to identify what you want and what to get it off of.
I have the entire system from a 93 240 I am planning to put in to my 81 some day. Factory r134a with the larger evap and improved rotary compressor. But I haven't done it yet so I can't help you out there.

I really recommend the Volvo greenbook on the HVAC system if you are going to do any major work like this. Very informative.

Some companies there must make the AC systems driven by an electric motor that put the compressor and evap in the trunk and blow cold air into the cabin through vents cut in the parcel shelf. They are very popular in the classic car circles. You might want to look into having something like that installed, might be cheaper and easier.
1981 242 Turbo |1996 850R |1980 Coupé (Project)
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Old 11-22-2006, 09:49 PM   #5
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Default Ac

If you find boneyard parts for your system, any of the older cars [before '92] had R12 the newer cars have R134, this all makes a difference in the hoses. The newer cars had to have tighter fittings, or the R134 would leak through. The oils are not conpatible, either. Whatever system you put in should have a new drier. Moisture is the enemy of freon. After you hook it up, evacuate the system with a vacuum pump before filling with freon. Consider putting dye in with the freon, so you can find leaks later.
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Old 11-22-2006, 10:44 PM   #6
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

There are always a few of each type (rotary and piston driven) in pickapart, in fact an 89 740 just came in to kilsyth.

If i were doing it, i'd install the whole system apart from dryer and compressor, then get the compressor from a wrecker with warranty, and swap it if it isn't up to scratch. They don't check what you return, so if the system is cold, but not cold enough, you can easily swap the part with out them questioning you. Quite nice (seemingly newish) compressors are seen at the wreckers every-so-often.

With the amount of load my AC puts on the engine (heat and power), and the average cooling it provides, i'm on the border of removing mine...
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Old 11-22-2006, 11:30 PM   #7
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Neptune thanks for all the info. It is in regards to my 244, an '82 (imported from somewhere) equiv to an Australian '81. B21A powered. (the 144 has been sold Tb has just reverted my sig to an old version).

And from what I can gather I am in for a helluva job as I have the four sliding 'levers'. In terms of what to retrofit I assume that the newer (91+) is the preferable system? Given possible difficulties in finding one what are the practical problems of using a non-volvo system eg a camry a/c (camry's being in plentiful supply). Would I be right in saying it is only the hard-lines that are the problem? Hence if I could find somewhere that would fab up some hard lines or convert to 'soft' the problem would be solved.
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Old 11-22-2006, 11:42 PM   #8
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It's not hard, actually, I started doing this to my first Volvo - an '81 242 DL.

The evaporator slips right in. There are clips that hold a cover on for this part, and you'll need the cover off of the donor car due to the cutouts for the hardlines. Holes in the firewall are all there for the lines, just make sure the grommets are intact as well. Condenser drops in. You'll need a new dryer. Your heater controls won't be a problem, as the control switch is completely separate. Get new o-rings for every connection. You may want to get an expansion valve that is optimized for R134. The biggest problem you may have is getting the right brackets for the compressor.

Good luck!
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Old 11-23-2006, 12:56 AM   #9
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Location: Denver, Colorado

My Mom had A/C installed at the dealer on her 79 242 - about a year after she bought it.

If the dash unit is A/C compatible the evap just slides in. A/C switch in the dash (it has a lead to evap) and all the underhood parts & hoses.

If a non-A/C HVAC system (I assume all US cars got the A/C compatible version) then you need to find a donor car and swap it all out.


I just converted my 84 245 (York) to 134 and replaced a bunch of components this summer.

Charging it yourself is not hard if you buy the proper gauges, a scale, and a vacuum source. Using just the can from the FLAPS not so easy.
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