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Old 07-07-2008, 08:50 PM
F&J F&J is offline
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Underhood air compressor from A/C parts

Someone wanted some pics of the air compressor made from an A/C pump.

This is one that I put together 25 years ago, still working good.

We ran these only for airing up tires after camping out on the dunes at the beach. We did try a tank but with all 4 tires nearly flat, the tank would run low enough on the 2nd tire to make the clutch kick back on. So there was no real time savings by using a tank. I did like having the tank for other things though, but did not put one on this build.

This A/C pump is an aftermarket unit used on older VW aircooled cars; a small one. The Ford A/C units from 60s 70s would be bigger CFMs. All of these have dual oil filler plugs and you are supposed to use a bent wire to check the oil level. I run motor oil or A/C oil. You need to save the pressure hose & fitting as well as the suction side fitting, so you can clamp a rag over it for an air filter. I use a piece of bath towel with oil on it, held on with a hose clamp.

I ran many beach trucks and never found any oil slime in the tires, but you can see oil film on the fittings & coupler.

Back then, there were shops that installed aftermarket A/C on used cars. They had a "mount & drive kit", that only had a mounting bracket, an idler pulley, a crank pulley and a belt. I tried one for a SBC, but it was hard to check the P/S oil due to their bracket.

I made my own for the other side of the engine. A simple rectangular 1/4" plate with slotted holes for adjusting the belt (no idler). Then a small flat bracket at the front to tie into the water pump holes & alt main bolt. Then a J shaped bracket on the back to fit the accessory holes on the cyl head. ALL 3 parts are welded together. Motor is a 400 Chevy small block with long water pump.

You can see some of the rear J bracket here..

Then there is the fitting stand that holds: the compressor clutch shutoff switch from an old air compressor, a safety blowoff valve *(a must have, IMO)., an air chuck. These are all mounted to a galv fitting welded to a plate shaped to fit the inner fender, or whatever. On this one, I had a plastic fitting from a portable air tank, so the galv tee is not really being used here. You could run another air line from a remote tank on the underside, and hook to that Tee.

Bear in mind that these pumps are very low CFMs, but they will do simple jobs.like tires or whatever else. I really wanted to add an idle solenoid to race the engine, but never did. I always had a helper to throttle up

It's something that I wish I had on all my cars. You don't use it every week, but it sure was handy.

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Old 07-08-2008, 05:17 AM
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Inginuity at it's finest. Thanks for posting.

In a while, Chet.
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Old 07-08-2008, 10:47 AM
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Here's some more info for anyone looking to do something like this: http://coloradok5.com/york.shtml
They are using a York 210 A/C compressor in that link, but the most important thing to look for when choosing an A/C compressor is to find one that has it's own, separate oil supply/sump. The York compressors fit that bill, as well as the Mopar RV2 compressors. There are probably other compressors that would work, but I am not sure of which ones. I am in the hunting/gathering process of setting this up myself (gonna be using an RV2 compressor), but am still a ways away from completing it.
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:21 PM
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Hook up the intake to one of those small cheap chrome air filters. One of the PCV or valve cover breather ones should work too. I would go with the little chrome filters with a wash out filters.
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:56 PM
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I've seen a similar setup where they tapped the intake into the bottom of the air cleaner. Worked pretty slick.
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