Air Conditioner Removal

Removing the air con unit is not really for the feint of heart but is doable with patience. This is the way i did it, pretty much by trial and error.


1. Remove the coolant. Best to get a mechanic to do this, as the coolant is not the nicest of stuff. If that is not an option release it via the low pressure schrader valve, its under the floor behind the drivers seat.

2. Remove the condensor unit on the starboard side. First remove the side panel, then the electrical connections. Then the coolant connectors at the edge. Then a whole series of M10 bolts (and a few phillips screws) to drop the whole unit out. Its heavy so use some blocks under it. The structure of the thing consists of a pair of smaller thick brackets attached to the condensers, then a thinner pair of side plates, then an even thinner sheet material to close the gaps to the bus skin, plus a bottom plate. Take them off in the reverse order mentioned here. Some of these bolts will sheer off.

3. Remove the coolant pipework between the condenser and the large pair of disconnects under the main engine cover.

4. Remove the compressor. You might opt to leave it be, as its a bit of a hassle to get out. But it might have some resale value, so...

- take both engine covers off. Cut the vinyl liner between the gearstick and the engine. Peel the liner away to both sides.

- lift the edges of the rubber boot around the gearstick (assuming manual), remove the 4 M10 bolts holding the gearstick down (not the larger ones), unscrew the gear knob, and remove the boot. Now you can remove the gear shift retaining bolt with a 12mm spanner.

- Now peel back enough of the main engine cover edge seal, remove one phillips screw each side that pinchs the vinal, then you can remove the black forward engine cover, by removing 4 more M10 bolts. Carefully massage the foam seal off if it sticks to both surfaces.

- Now you can get at the compressor. First remove the single electrical connector. The thing is a tight squeeze to get out, so most likely you'll need to remove the coolant piping tails at the compressor, a single pair of M10s.

- If you can, loosen off the belt tensioner. But beware that the long M14 bolt is seize prone. If you try this you need a M14 socket, a universal joint and a short extension. But its not necessary, you can just remove the four M14 bolts on the outer side of the compressor, and the thing will just lift out.

- Beware that the compressor is full of oil, a yellow evil looking stuff, perhaps a full liter. As you maneuver it to get it out, you will, if not careful, tip the contents onto the alternator which is directly below. Find a way to plug both holes, both for cleanliness and to keep the oil inside.

- You can if you want now remove the tensioner, and of course the belt.

5. Continue on with the overhead components in the same general vein, following the pipework down the drivers side pillar. Tie up loose electrical connectors. Put the engine bay back together, and several hours later call it done.