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Discussion Starter #1
So for as long as I've had my '82 its had overheating issues. I've spent the last few years redoing basically everything in the cooling system and now the only time the car climbs above 180 is sitting in traffic with the A/C on. The car came into my possession with some sort of Chinese r134 conversion kit on it and wasn't exactly what one would call a quality install, though it is functional. The A/C compressor activating is noticeable enough that I can feel a power difference from the engine when it first kicks on as well. My main question here is what would be a normal amount of strain on an engine from an A/C compressor and if I do decide to replace it, is it worth going back to a stock style compressor?
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Hey Squag,

I'm getting ready to put a new system into my 86.
You can see some of the details in this thread....87 el camino AC upgrade
However, from your photo, it appears that your compressor is on the left side of the engine, where normally they would be on the right side.
Looks like you may be running electric fans as well?
With an A/C system, you are always going to have a parasitic loss of power when it's running. You can tell when the clutch on the A/C system is cycling on and off.
Also there should be a throttle kick down disengage that tells the ac clutch to disengage to give you addition power.
If that system is working..., i'd just stick with it.
Jonesie
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey Squag,

I'm getting ready to put a new system into my 86.
You can see some of the details in this thread....87 el camino AC upgrade
However, from your photo, it appears that your compressor is on the left side of the engine, where normally they would be on the right side.
Looks like you may be running electric fans as well?
With an A/C system, you are always going to have a parasitic loss of power when it's running. You can tell when the clutch on the A/C system is cycling on and off.
Also there should be a throttle kick down disengage that tells the ac clutch to disengage to give you addition power.
If that system is working..., i'd just stick with it.
Jonesie
Thanks for reaching out. The engine has a serpentine belt setup from a 90s K1500 on it so if I were to replace the compressor I'd probably get one for that truck to start. I think the fittings are the same. I've had quite a few v8 GM cars, though notably none as old as this one and none of them really buck the car kicking on and off as much as this one does at low rpm.
 

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I've had quite a few v8 GM cars, though notably none as old as this one and none of them really buck the car kicking on and off as much as this one does at low rpm.
When you say "buck" are you talking about power drain on the engine, or the engine itself, physically jolting when the compressor kicks on?
 

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It looks like you have a sanden universal compressor.
I don't know a lot about A/C compressors, but usually if I can find some relevant info, sometimes it can help me solve the problem.
You might want to look at this PDF of your compressor and see if it's anything that may be simple for you to solve. It may or may not help, but worth a look.
Jonesie

http://www.sanden.com/objects/Sanden SD Service Manual.pdf
 

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Two things: (1) the drag on the engine that you detect when the AC compressor first kicks in is normal and puts a lot of strain on any running motor. Just like when you shift an automatic transmission from neutral to drive, the idle will also drop a few hundred RPMs when the AC clutch on the compressor is engaged. (2) On this site, there are several El Camino owners who prefer the Sanden compressor over the R4 because of reliability. I have given thought to making the switch but need to find the right front engine accessory setup to accomplish this upgrade. I'm sure some others will chime in on this topic.
 

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X2. Stick with the Sanden type you have there. The stock compressor was an R4, even on the Serpentine setup. They don't hold up well against the pressures of R134a.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So it isn't worth swapping back to the stock R4 setup then, good to know. I actually think I've found that my problem is twofold and probably not the compressor. I went and disconnected the A/C vacuum line last night out of curiosity as I know I have a vacuum leak somewhere in the vent system and now the "buck" or load on the engine when first turning on the system seems to be much more subdued. I guess the vacuum leak is leaning out the engine enough to cause issues. I think I'm still having a bit of overheating but at least as of this moment I won't have to tear into the A/C system. I appreciate everyone's replies.
 

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If you don't have one, you should put a vacuum ball between the engine and the AC controls, with a check valve in the line back to the engine. This way changes in the vacuum of the engine won't effect the AC controls, and vice-versa.
 
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Darbysan, I've seen two shapes of vacuum "balls". One is a small diameter 5" ball and the other a box 6" in length with a curved top. Are there any differences/preferences that you know about between these two shapes?
 

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Darbysan, I've seen two shapes of vacuum "balls". One is a small diameter 5" ball and the other a box 6" in length with a curved top. Are there any differences/preferences that you know about between these two shapes?
I don't think shape patters too much. I've seen them with two hoses ( In and Out) and others with only one. No real difference- I think the checkvalve is built into the one with two, but not sure. I mounted mine underneath the battery, out of sight.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If you don't have one, you should put a vacuum ball between the engine and the AC controls, with a check valve in the line back to the engine. This way changes in the vacuum of the engine won't effect the AC controls, and vice-versa.
I do have a check valve in line with the A/C vacuum line as well as a vacuum ball that's less than a year old. A check valve will only keep the A/C vacuum from seeing a loss of vacuum from the engine though. They don't work both ways. A large vacuum leak like what I'm assuming I have in the A/C system will affect engine idle if its bad enough. Unfortunately my car came with the hot garbage known as a FAST EZ-EFI system on it so it never really idles that well but it seems to be better now that the A/C controls are capped off.
I drove the car to work this morning with the A/C on the whole time and it didn't go over 180, which is a good sign. The real test will be on the way back home tonight though once it gets into the high 90s outside.

Lastly, Darbysan I saw your thread about your own Sanden compressor install and have to say it looks quite nice in your engine bay! I may have to try running similar brackets on my car to see if I can't get rid of the sectioned valve cover that's on the car now.
 
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