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AC retrofit confusion

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Old 07-11-2018, 11:37 PM
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AC retrofit confusion

I have an '81 with a 20R in it, plus all the AC parts for a normal '81 (that is, with a 22R) except the condenser. Both are California models, I believe. I pulled those parts years ago and only installed the stuff inside the cabin - the switch, the evaporator, its housing, and whatnot. The rest went into storage, came back out today, and it all goes together nicely except the mounting bracket and tensioner. I have three brackets. One looks like the one on the right here:

And it fits my compressor perfectly, with three bolts that all run front to back, threading into "ears" on the compressor with some ears left over. The second bracket looks sorta like this but not quite:

Whatever it mounts is designed to take four bolts that run side to side, to go through the body of a compressor that would look approximately like this:


These two brackets overlap, sharing two bolt holes on the block, so they cannot coexist unless chopped.

The third bracket is slotted to accept a tensioner, but I cannot for the life of me find a matching picture of it. It has two mounting holes that match the distance between inboard and outboard ears on the compressor, but the way it's shaped, I can't get it to mount in a way that looks right. I'll upload a photo of it tomorrow. Meanwhile, some questions:

1. First and foremost, is the factory AC any good? Is it worth another ~$200 in parts and AC shop fees, plus my time putting it all together?
2. It seems the 20/22R AC setups I can find used a smog pump that apparently doubles as a tensioner. Was there an option for AC but no smog pump?
3. Is my tensioner confusion due to 20R vs. 22R differences? Are there any relevant differences?
4. What's with the two styles of AC compressor? Difference in years, or Federal vs. California, or 20R vs. 22R...?
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:11 AM
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Red face

First different compressors different vendors .

I can only say in 83 The 22REC engines in the Celica did not have a smog pump

Do you have any idea if this system or different parts of a system even worked when you brought them home

The only thing you can do is assemble everything and see if it holds a vacuum

When new the Factory AC was good used parts this old I hope your luck is better then mine.

Worth it I guess it is a matter of how bad do you want AC
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Old 07-12-2018, 04:11 AM
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afraid I canít help with the compressor questions at all. Iím also retrofittting Into an 83 right now, and also wondering about the effectiveness of the factory system. I can say that my donor evaporator fins were extremely plugged up and nasty, and it took a lot of work to get it closer to clean and usable ... you didnít mention if you opened up the evap housing or not.

Hope you can get the mounting sorted out, would be nice to see your progress beyond that noted here for future reference.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:03 AM
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Couple of questions. Are you in CA and still need all the smog stuff for your year? Power steering? Alternator still in stock position? Do you have the extension to the harmonic balancer? Does that compressor have long bolt to mount?

My 81 was a smog truck from Ca. and now in Texas. So all smog stuff is removed. I've added power steering and aftermarket a/c to the engine that can be seen in my build thread. Anyways, after all the items were,, I fab'd a new compressor bracket.using the bolt pattern from the smog pump as seen below. The a/c, alternator, water pump to crank, run of the V groove closest to the engine. Adjustment is on the compressor side with a fab'd flat bracket to a front facing bolt on the engine. From the extension on the balancer, that belt runs the power steering pump to the crank with stock tensioner.

Sometime it is best to fab what you need because some of those stock mounting brackets just don't fit to what you need. Also, you will have to do a R-134 retrofit to your system when you get all put together. Hope that helps in your build.

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Old 07-12-2018, 11:37 PM
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The donor truck the parts came from had a front-end wreck that took out the condenser. I did take apart the evaporator manifold and it looked brand new. Turning the compressor gently by hand, it turns smoothly and I can feel pressure at one port and vacuum at the other. So I reasonably expect it all to work with a new condenser. I can get one for somwhere around $140, but if I hear the original system is weak (and would be weaker still with R134a), I'll pursue other options.

No smog check where I live. All the equipment except the cat was ripped out, plugged up, or otherwise disabled when I bought it. I have power steering that came off a 22R and required minor fabrication to fit the tensioner bracket to the head. Stock alternator;. Three pulleys on the harmonic balancer and the middle one lines up perfectly with my first bracket and compressor. I don't have an idler pulley for either tensioner bracket.
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Old 07-14-2018, 12:17 PM
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Since you have the balancer with 3 v- grooves, I would suggest fab'ing a new compressor mount bracket. You'll need to make sure correct alignment with which ever drive pulley you want to use. I mocked mine (above) with steel, but built the one I used out of aluminum. I kept the mounting holes away from being under the motor mount on the engine side
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Old 07-14-2018, 02:52 PM
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Why would I fabricate a compressor mounting bracket when I have a perfectly good one? It's the tensioner that's confusing me.
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Old 07-15-2018, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by moroza View Post
Why would I fabricate a compressor mounting bracket when I have a perfectly good one? It's the tensioner that's confusing me.
than fab as in have the tensioner brack cut and extended so it lines up
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:18 AM
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If your compressor and bracket line up with a V groove off the crank when mounted, then fab an adjustment arm off the engine to set the tension and not use the one you have. I made mine out of some1/8" steel with holes for the bolts and a slot for adjustment. It may require some bending in the middle to align with compressor bolt flange. Then measure for your belt.

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Old 07-16-2018, 08:17 PM
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I struggled with this also.
I finally just got a old belt I had around and loosed the compressor, slipped the belt on, then put the compressor back on.
No tensioner needed.
Only problem my AC doesn't work because of electronic issues.
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:26 AM
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difference between dealer/aftermarket a/c system and the factory air option is what was normally the cause of the different brackets. the side mount was the factory. the compressors that were front and rear mount were dealer installed,, or aftermarket.
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