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Adding Air Conditioning - low compressor mount

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  • Adding Air Conditioning - low compressor mount

    Hi everyone

    While I'm waiting for my car to arrive from the US to Australia, I am busy ordering parts for the car. Unfortunately I wasn't lucky enough to buy a car with air conditioning, so I will be making an aftermarket system myself (I'm fully qualified in automotive air-conditioning in Australia)

    As my car will never be factory setup I'm happy to go off track a little with factory correct. So I want to add air conditioning to the car and was looking at compressor mounting. I'm not a huge fan of the high mount compressors, and have been investigating low mount ones on the passenger side. Has anyone done this? Does anyone have any pics know if there is enough room? I found on a Ford forum a guy that makes a bracket up which mount AC and an alternator which looks great. Any suggestions?

    Edit: anyone who would like to see the thread this is the address
    Last edited by Wyldie; January 8th, 2017, 01:49 AM.

  • #2
    If your car has the original 352 it doesn't have the hole drilled in the block for the low mount compressor as you have pictured. You also have a generator mounted in the same place so you will have to remove that and somehow install a high mount alternator. On a later 352/390 it's easy but not so much on an original 352.

    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223 856-779-9695


    • #3
      Interesting, sorry forgot to mention it has a 390 in it from a later bird not sure which model as I don't have the car, but that's what I have been told, it also has the 'thunderbird' valve covers.

      Also if it doesn't have an alternator on it already I will definitely be putting one on it. Which is also why I like the look of this bracket.


      • #4
        If the 390 in your car is mid-62 and later you should be able to mount the compressor and alternator as it shows in the picture as long as you can get all the right brackets and pulleys.

        John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

        Thunderbird Registry #36223 856-779-9695


        • #5
          Great thanks for the input john, just wanted to make sure the set up will have enough clearance in the engine bay.


          • #6
            Here's what I did for my '64.

            It's a two- belt serpentine system that adds quite a bit of depth, and you'll have to go with an electric cooling fan or adapt a fan to the water pump pulley. I had to move my radiator forward in the frame and tilt the top forward to fit it. Your engine may be further forward so measure carefully.

            They also make single belt systems but much more money.


            • #7
              Wow, that's quite the set up! Probably a little over the top for what I'm looking at. I really just wanted to know if there was enough room for the compressor to sit down the bottom passenger side. But that is a very nice setup


              • #8
                Not over the top for a system that is proven.

                As shown, there's room on the passenger side below the alternator if you use that compressor. It also allowed me to neatly route the hoses on the outboard side of the frame rail so the install doesn't get in the way of common maintenance. I have a write up on mine somewhere here.

                It's a huge improvement, in my opinion, over the factory set-up with a compressor the size of a four-slice toaster high up and on the wrong side of the engine bay.


                • #9
                  Haha, sorry I didn't mean it was over the top in terms of practicality, just that it was a touch pricey, would be over $1000 Australian dollars by the time I got it here, vs the $100 bracket I was looking at. If I had the money I would have brought it anyway

                  Agreed the York compressor are ridiculously big and in my opinion takes away a bit from he engine bay. Thus why I want to low mount my compressor.

                  Would love to see a pic of you engine bay yadkin, sounds like you and I are on the same page for looks.

                  I also plan on hiding all my wiring, upgrading the starter motor to a new model with the solenoid on it so I doesn't have to be mounted on the engine bay wheel arch and so forth.


                  • #10
                    Here's a vertical shot of the March twin belt system before I removed the engine again to repaint that compartment. Note the forward tilt of the electric cooling fan and radiator. The fan is from a Lincoln Mark VII, and as such is fairly deep. I have since moved it about 1/2" forward.

                    The second pic is a crop of the passenger side only. This fixed three problems that I was having:
                    1. The OEM AC mount (high, driver's side) requires a different Eaton power steering pump with a remote reservoir.
                    2. Upgrading from a 40 to 100 amp alternator (to power my modern devices) caused my OEM belt system to squeal. The wider belt with more "wrap" eliminates that problem.
                    3. The AC mount itself. Note the idler pulley between the alternator and AC compressor that acts on the back side of the belt. The idler positions the belt to more fully wrap the accessory pulleys. Without that the drive belt wouldn't have enough grip to make this work.

                    Aside from the Saginaw type (GM) power steering pump the system works flawlessly. Since the Saginaw is a keyway drive vs tapered fit on the other accessories it's pulley wobbles a bit.

                    Another big plus of this system is the belt tensioners. They are stainless steel turnbuckles. Huge improvement over using an old hockey stick to lever an alternator while reaching over to tighten a bolt to hold it in place!
                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      Here's another shot of the mocked-up engine bay with hood or fenders. The electric panel (drivers side front) is from an 06 Ford Focus. My alternator feeds it, then I use a 40 amp fuse to power the old factory panel.

                      My starter motor has an internal relay, but to trigger it requires a 20 amp circuit, so that is through a relay in the new power panel. I also have relays for horns, lights, etc.

                      Although the Focus power panel make the car "true to form", I think that an aftermarket power panel would have been far easier.
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        Wow, lovely set up and great information, you should be very proud, looks amazing and I love the integration of the new focus fuse box. Would fix many volt drop issues.

                        Thanks very much for the pics and info