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Griffith's AC upgrade for 930 install thread

I've had my 930 for 10 years and the AC has never worked. I had determined at some point that the compressor was bad and I just never did get around to an R-134 changeover. Maybe I'm getting older, but I just wasn't using the car as much as I could have because of the oppressive temps the black on black coupe gets up to in the summer.

Researching here and elsewhere, I decided it's been long enough and I wanted to nuke this once and drive the car rather than nibble around the edges. I called Charlie Griffith (Kuehl on this board) and we worked out a plan for my 86:

Kuehl Stage 3 System
The rearward mounted Kuehl Condenser with a blower fan attached.
Complete new barrier hose set for system integrity.
A high low pressure switch to help protect the system
Receiver Drier.
R134 conversion oil and charge port adapters.
New o rings for all system connections
Plus options:
Kuehl improved evaporator box gasket kit.
Kuehl Evaporator with expansion valve and improved gasket kit,
Duehl Kuehl Condenser with full time blower fan, stone guard kit, mounting and electrical hardware. (mounted in front of the rear LH tire)
Center Kuehl vent
Kuehl Thermostat
Kuehl Serpentine Front Condenser
Denso Compressor
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:56 PM
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I'm doing the install myself, as my schedule permits. I drove the hour to his shop in (way) north NJ and met him and his son. Had a great walkthrough of the shop and the parts that I was purchasing, as well as some pointers on the install itself. It's nice to be local enough, and I'll run back over there for the evac and R-134 charging when I'm done with the install.

So far I've tackled the smuggler box overhaul and the new thermostat. The thermostat was a pain in the ass.
I believe I am the first person since the Stuttgart crew in 1986 to open the smugglers box. It was very dusty, foam gaskets tearing as I removed parts, and some little Porsche part number stickers floating around in there.


Here's a blurrier photo of the complete backache. Luckily I have recently replaced the two gas struts that hold the hood up, and have retired the Titleist 52* gap wedge that served for many years under there.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:06 PM
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To get the front evaporator out, you need to remove the front floorboard to get at a little duct fastened to the firewall that projects into the box.


This was a surprise... there is an amplifier fastened to the backside of the floorboard. Some hack whaled into to wiring harness in several places. I'm leaving it for another day for now; the radio doesn't work and the exhaust is loud. Up to this point, I've usually had the windows down when I drove anyway. That should change with the AC upgrade underway.


This is what it looks like once it's all pulled out.


The little slide clips on the box are difficult enough to remove on the workbench. Charlie recommends ditching them and securing the two halves with some #4 screws for easier in place service of the fan in the future. I definitely concur. You'd never get the slide on clips on in the smugglers box.


There's some gaskets and baffles that Charlie has developed that require some box prep work, but it's very straightforward work.


Here's the new evaporator next to the original. Different construction and 25 years younger. As nice as it looks, I hopefully never see it again.
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Last edited by gsxrken; 08-04-2012 at 06:45 PM.. Reason: edited pic
Old 08-04-2012, 06:19 PM
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Thanks for all the pics. Keep up the great work!
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:24 PM
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A/C Upgrade

Thanks for sharing. I'll be watching your progress with great interest. Mine will need the complete rebuild. Especially after this Summer in the new dustbowl.
Old 08-04-2012, 06:35 PM
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Swapping the thermostatic tube was tedious. First of all, it requires taking apart the cheesy console rack under the radio. Porsche left precious little extra wire length to work with. And the way the slots slide onto to each other was a truly frustrating experience. On my knees outside the car, reaching into the car under the dash, while getting occasional 2nd degree burns by my old school 75w drop light.



There was some dremel work required to a little plastic divider between the AC temp knob and the AC fan knob to fit the new thermostat. Another tidbit that I hope to not have to see again. Here's the new one next to the old bastard. I taped some auto wire to the old one before I pulled it, so I had a snake to repull the new one with. But the thermostat is fairly stiff, and cannot be bent sharply, so it's not as easy as it sounds. But it is done.


That's it for the first day. I hope that was the worst of it (and it really wasn't that bad, just physically tough from the contorting and bending over in the bonnet). I've got to read the directions to see what's up next in the sequence. He has the directions down to paint by numbers easy, probably to avoid all sorts of time-wasting phone calls into him. He did say figure on 8 hours to R&R the nearly 40ft of AC lines in the car. I just find that hard to believe, but I'll time myself for the heck of it when I get there.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:39 PM
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I've done the low budget version, r134 conversion with the new fenderwell canister and the keuhl center vent. Overall it's cool but not ice cold. Cost around 500 total.
Old 08-04-2012, 06:48 PM
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:16 PM
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I am looking to do that on my 86 930 as well. I will be interested in your results. I think that I am going to do the 930 kit plus the new evaporator. I have the center vent already.


Good luck!
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Old 08-05-2012, 04:04 PM
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Sounds just like my story.
I have had my car for 12 years, it originally had AC but by the time I got it the compressor had been removed, so everything else came off about 10 years ago, with the thought I will fix it someday. Like you I have not been driving the car much so I decided now is the time to fix things, I too talked to Mr Griffith and ordered pretty much the same set-up except I plan on deleting the deck condenser added the upgraded blower motor with variable speed and will be making my own hoses.
All my stuff arrived last Friday and spent a good part of the weekend figuring out how to put it all back together again, Got the AC box rebuilt and re installed along with the variable speed fan setup, hopefully I sneak sometime this week to test things out.
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Old 08-06-2012, 11:01 AM
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I admire your efforts.

About ten years ago I bought the monster setup from Griffiths for a 76 930 I had. Triple condensers, all new hoses, compressor, evaporator - everything. I started to contemplate the under dash work, but then decided to have someone else do the entire installation.

The results were amazing. Laser temp was reading about 34 degrees at the vents. It would turn my knee caps blue.

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OK- I got into a bit further today. I R&R'd several of the AC hoses, which isn't too bad because I've got the car quite high on four jackstands and have a nice Racedeck floor to just lay directly on. Most of the hose clamps, and there are many, are simple 8mm screws or nuts. The new hoses just reuse the same mounting points and hardware.

It's been said before, but the directions rock. And each part, each hose etc has a label on both ends for where it goes.


And the kit is complete. For example, it comes with the wires, the wire shield loom, the wire connectors, tie-wraps, and each wire is labeled as well. Again, you're paying for the engineering and the thoroughness of the solution and directions, but you are never taking a part out of the box and scratching your head over WTH it is or where it goes.


I had two surprises today. First, I found some broken glass behind the leatherette rear seat side panel. Since the car was a bit of a creampuff when I got it 10 years ago from an MD in Cali, I was not aware that this was not the car's first rodeo. I don't know how the glass could have got where it was... even if the side wing window was broken (by a thief or in an accident) I don't know how it would have got down behind this panel. Troubling. Like an exboyfriend or something.


The reason I had to go back there in the first place is that the frontmost condensor mounts to a longer seat-belt retractor bolt that you must install in place of the OEM bolt.
Here's the new longer bolt protruding into the wheel well.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:19 PM
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Two posts so I don't timeout...

The other surprise is that there is a little fan above the front condenser, and it doesn't work. I found it while R&R-ing the condenser, and when I tried to spin it by hand, the squirrel cage was very stiff. So I took 12V direct from the battery to the motor and no joy. Quick call to Charlie and he offered to swap the motor with a more powerful one, and free up the fan cage itself etc. So, boxed it up and sent off for that "upgrade".

This shot is from the floor looking up where the condenser would be.


Here's a shot of the condensers: three bolts and it's out. Similar construction to the evaporator and the rear condensers that I'll post pics of in a minute.


Here's the front wheelwell condensor that mounts to the seat belt bolt I mentioned earlier.



Here it is partially installed. The other mount uses one of the torsion tube cover bolts.


I have one lousy image of the rear wheel well condensor setup, I'll put it up for now and then maybe add some better ones at another date.


I know I said I'd keep track of hours for the hoses, but it turns out the job unfolds in entire related phases. So rather than change every hose and install the new bits, it's install this, remove that, swap the hose, and run this wire etc. I bet I did put a solid 5 hours into it today spanning 10 hours with all sorts of errands and interruptions.
Unfortunately, it needs to lay up for a bit now while I travel next week.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:35 PM
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Nice job! How hard is re-plumbing the hoses? I have this idea that it is going to be a real hassle to remove the old hoses and replace them. Your description does not sound hard, just time consumming.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:07 AM
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Wow! Great job Kenny, next year hopefully I will be upgrading mine. So your post serves as inspiration.
Old 08-10-2012, 05:40 AM
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Nothing difficult just takes time like you said.
If doing it at home you get to lay on the ground next to and under your car alot.
Safety glasses will help keep dirt out of your eyes while removing the old hoses, and if you're doing it in Florida during summmer a powerful fan or two for some comfort and bug spray for the mosquito's helps alot.
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I am going to mitigate the Florida Factor by doing it in October or November! Good call on the bug repellent though. While the rest of the country bakes we are getting rain every day. It is actually quite nice but the mosquitoes are getting bad. They are big enough to be assigned side numbers!
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Old 08-11-2012, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E Ray View Post
Sounds just like my story.
Like you I have not been driving the car much so I decided now is the time to fix things, I too talked to Mr Griffith and ordered pretty much the same set-up except I plan on deleting the deck condenser added the upgraded blower motor with variable speed and will be making my own hoses.
All my stuff arrived last Friday and spent a good part of the weekend figuring out how to put it all back together again, Got the AC box rebuilt and re installed along with the variable speed fan setup, hopefully I sneak sometime this week to test things out.
Sure does sound familiar. If I ever go with a full-bay intercooler, I may ditch the decklid unit, but for now it stays.

Quote:
Originally Posted by M5guy View Post
I admire your efforts.
About ten years ago I bought the monster setup from Griffiths for a 76 930 I had. Triple condensers, all new hoses, compressor, evaporator - everything.
The results were amazing. Laser temp was reading about 34 degrees at the vents. It would turn my knee caps blue.
That's what I'm shooting for, too. Thanks for the feedback.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1986 930 View Post
Nice job! How hard is re-plumbing the hoses? I have this idea that it is going to be a real hassle to remove the old hoses and replace them. Your description does not sound hard, just time consumming.
As Jim said, it's not hard. There is a lot of road debris that falls down especially under the front wheelwell area where the two lines go to the front condenser. But nothing is intellectually challenging.

In fact, I snuck out there for 3 more hours and banged out most of the rest of it.

Here's a shot of the line running from the decklid to the rearward Kuehl condenser.


This line goes from here all the way to the smuggler's box evaporator.


Two better shots of the rearward condenser, one of the lines runs to the other Kuehl condenser in the rear wheelwell, and the other goes to the decklid condenser. The install requires that you install the right angle sheet metal as a heat shield for the hose.


You can also get a peek at my virgin RarelyL8 heat boxes.


Here's the new dryer and associated lines to the evaporator and front condensor. It was rather difficult removing the old lines to the front condenser; they go over the water bottle and into parts unknown before they emerge at the front. After pulling from the wheelwell and cussing at them for quite a while, I cut them in half and pulled them from the front. I was dreading snaking the new ones, but it took 1/4 the amount of time it took to remove the old ones. Not the typical experience, but a welcome one.



One of the last things is to swap the hose fittings from the old compressor to the new one. I need to run to the hardware store for a schraeder tire valve stem removal tool to discard the R-12 sized fittings.


I'm pretty much done. Unfortunately, I need to travel this upcoming week so it'll all have to sit.
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:06 PM
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If you remove the fuel expansion tank behind the headlight bucket and big water tank for the wipers and headlight washers below it then you'd see how the AC lines going to and from the front condensor are routed.
Those two plastic tanks are held up in place with one bolt each. The 2 gallon water tank holds up to 2 gallons of water so support it when loosening the bolt on the strap clamp that holds it up in place so it doesn't drop down quickly possibly popping out or breaking off one of the 3 washer line nipples pressed into the screw on plastic cap on top. BTDT and repaired it with superglue.

The reason the origonal AC lines were really hard to pull out of that area is because the factory routed them behind the bracket that the front bumper shocks are mounted on. That was to hold them snug in place against the side of the chassis in that area and it's a tight fit.
You probably can't see that and you can't get your hands at them to feed the hoses through that spot while the expansion tank and washer bottle is in place.

Lots of road dirt and dust falling down and getting in your eyes and nose is the unpleasent part of replacing the AC lines. Other than that it's a satisfying job as you get it done.

Good luck with the AC.
Old 08-12-2012, 07:04 AM
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Thanks Jim. As so often is the case, had I spent a little time up front and removed the thing blocking me instead of struggling around it, I actually would have saved some time.

One last note- I decided to check my decklid condenser for contamination and holy crow, I'm glad I did. A Q-tip swab came out pure gray. I bought some AC flush after checking with Griff on my options, and proceeded to flush and then use compressed air to clean out the condenser. The amount of fine gritty crap I got out was impressive. I'm glad the one original part that I am reusing will not be contaminating my otherwise entirely brand new system. I strongly suggest anyone doing an upgrade but reusing something of the old system perform the series of flushes to clean it out.

Here's the color of some of the flush I got out (and yes, the flush is clear in color) and remember, this is just from the smallish rear condenser.
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