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Westfalia Air Conditioning Revamp?

hisport on Wed November 25, 2009 5:16 PM User is offline

Year: 1985
Make: VW
Model: vanagon GL
Engine Size: 3.3
Refrigerant Type: R12?
Country of Origin: Germany

Looking for your advice on revamping the air conditioning in our 1985 VW Westfalia camper "Edie". I'd like to make it reliable, and as effective as possible.

My questions have to do with hose and fitting selection, refrigerant type, and recommended improvements.

Edie just underwent an engine swap; new is a 3.3 L flat six Subaru SVX motor. It has the OE rotary AC compressor, originally charged with R12.

The Westfalia AC system is "factory", but still pretty primitive. An evaporator and fan mounted in the rear overhead; condenser behind front grill, R/D in LH front wheel well, and compressor (of course) in RH rear of the rear mounted engine compartment. Connecting everything is about 45' of #6, 8, & 10 hose. R12 original fill, and I think specs are:

- (1992 SVX) Calsonic V5 Compressor (2.4 - 3.2 oz oil?)

- (1985 VW Vanagon) system R12 capacity 50.75 oz (1450 grams); oil capacity 8.0 oz

I need to connect the SVX compressor to the Vanagon system. Also, the original Vanagon hose fittings can be turned by hand within the hose - so I plan to replace the hoses as well, with new ferrules and new or reused fittings as required. I have a new exp valve and receiver dryer already.

I spoke with Rob at AMA today - he was very helpful. I will measure up my hose, etc and order replacements from AMA.


- Should I consider adding a second condensor (w/electric fan) under the vehicle while I'm at it? Simply in series with the existing one?

- Rob suggests staying with R12 (vs R134, as i had planned). Is R12a (eg, Red Tek) an acceptable substitute for a DIY'er?

- My plan is to clean the condensor and evaporator with refrigeration flush and an air hose, and blow out the new hoses. How about the compressor?

- Rob suggested braze on "beadlock" fittings to adapt to the SVX compressor lines, as well as a "splice" to provide a high side valve. Any thoughts? I have an oxy acet rig.

- Assume I will remove and drain the compressor, and add (2.4?) oz of POE oil, then add 5.6 oz (ie, 8 - 2.4) to system after evacuating. Is this right?

- Assume recharge capacity is still about 50.75 oz even with new compressor (and about 76" of additional barrier hose. Is this about right?

- I have a cheap guage set and vacuum pump

- Is there any difference between an R134 and an R12 exp valve? Is so, any way of telling which one I've got? Ditto the R/D?

- Anything else I can do to make this (originally marginal) ac system work as well as possible?


chris142 on Fri December 11, 2009 11:56 PM User is offline

I've worked on 2 of those with no sucess. Even with R12 the cooling was very marginal so retrofitting to 134a didn't work at all.

I think much of the problem is the small opening in the front for air to get through. Upgrading the condensor won't help if it's not getting enough air.

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