Factory AC Dart and options

Heating / Cooling / AC

  1. Mako21

    Mako21 Well-Known Member

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    I hope everyone’s having a good weekend. So far I’ve done a lot to my 100% stock Dart and it’s proving to be very reliable.

    The Dart (1976) has a factory AC and the original owner told me it hadn’t run in 10 years, but he never repaired it since the far just mostly sat. It’s getting hot here in FL. Where do I start trouble shooting? I don’t here the compressor turning on.

    I’ve been searching these forums and google and most posts are people:
    1. installing aftermarket units on non AC cars
    2. Their AC cars are missing components and are forced to install aftermarket
    3. People taking the compressor out and getting the oil out and replacing seals and adding r133
    4. Install a Sanden clutch style compressor and components.

    I’m tempted to go with number 4. Is this a simple plug and play? Has someone in the past posted a link to itemized parts and process for doing it?

    Really don’t want to just throw money at it and not know what I’m doing. I’ve attached pictures of my setup (stock). Any suggestions?

    493F72D6-60DD-4C1B-87A2-2E5979D106B1.jpeg

    D8FA487F-C2A9-4392-A886-A93FC075D783.jpeg
     
  2. Mattax

    Mattax Just the facts, ma'am FABO Gold Member

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    Get the engine running.
    Find someone with A/C gages and preferably with a vacuum pump and some refrigerant.
    Get the shop manual.

    Hook the gages up when the engine is running. See if the system is holding.
    If you think its just an electrical connection to turn the engage the compressor clutch, that shouldn't be a big deal.

    1976 has very different electrical system compared to other years. It's not hard once you know to look for it, but it is different.
     
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    • YY1

      YY1 Well-Known Member

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      Step 1-

      There is one wire to the compressor.

      Apply 12v to that wire. Turn the AC on (might be easier to turn AC on first) Does the AC clutch engage?

      If the car is running, and the clutch is engaged, does air come out of the vents?
      Is it cold? Cool?
      Does the fan speed switch work?

      Do NOT add refrigerant with "stop leak" at this point.

      The next step is going somewhere with gauges and a recovery tank.

      Stop leak will contaminate a recovery tank.
      Most shops won't evacuate your system if you've put stop leak in.

      If the system checks out, I'd go for a 123a conversion.

      It;s likely you'll need seals and a new dryer.
      You'll also need conversion fittings.

      If the compressor is shot a sanden might be the way to go, but it takes different mounts.
       
    • lemondana

      lemondana BlackDart

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      I vote for all of his suggestions, but use R12 if you can find some.
       
    • Mako21

      Mako21 Well-Known Member

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      Hey guys, I'll start with simple things first as suggested. Like the one wire to compressor, etc...
      I'll just be getting started probably next week.
      My Dart's up an running, that picture is from when i re-did the whole cooling system, hence the radiator and cooling system missing.
      Thanks!
       
    • Mike69cuda

      Mike69cuda 66 is the new 17 FABO Gold Member

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      I would evacuate it and put in a couple $5 cans of r134 from Walmart & see if it works. It is a cheap way to troubleshoot problems.

      If your compressor works and the lines are good, not much point in going to a sanden unless you just want to tinker with it. You can spend a lot of money once you start changing things.

      Eventually you will want to replace the dryer & the oil. R134 works fine.
       
    • CRUZE 418

      CRUZE 418 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      If you see oil at any connection with the A/C system, it's leaking.
       
    • 89on35s

      89on35s Inferno Red Duster FABO Gold Member

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      Budget underhood AC retrofit.

      Not sure if this is of interest. Maybe some or all will help. I installed underhood components from an 80s Dodge truck along with a generic crossflow condenser on my Duster. I did this because all my factory components were missing.

      Cley
       
    • CRUZE 418

      CRUZE 418 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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      I need to go through my '72 Darts whole system, would like to keep it orginal looking, but may have to reconsider some ot that thought.
       
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