’78 Cordoba A/C

Tech Question


Dave Sowles, Langley, BC, 1978, Chrysler, Cordoba, 400

I’m 15 years old and I bought this car a week ago. The seller said the A/C hasn’t worked for as long as he remembers. I was wondering how to remove all the A/C components properly, without wrecking anything to make some more room under the hood? Thanks



There are two aspects of this. First involves seeing if there’s any refrigerant charge left in the system. We don’t want any of this poison leaking into the atmosphere where it could nuke the gay unborn whales. Plus, R-12 is sells for very big bucks! Simply remove the cap and depress the valve stem for a second (the fitting is usually on the small, black muffler) and see if Freon sprays out in your face, blinding you. If not, you’re off the hook, the damage is already done. But if so, you should have all the charge sucked out at a shop that does A/C work. They should, really, pay YOU for this. But they probably won’t.

The second aspect is what to do about belt routing after you’ve ripped out all that dead weight. The later big-blocks were designed “around” the A/C system, since the option became almost universal. There was no separate set of pullies and brackets for non-A/C cars. What they did when A/C wasn’t ordered was to install an idler pulley closer to the driver’s side, so that the belts would clear the fan pulley on the way down to the crankshaft. (The weird back-tension roller idler was then deleted.) The only way you’ll ever find the right parts is to find a junked late-’70s non-A/C big-block car.

Actually, I think it might be easier to convert to a simpler ’60s-style bracket and pulley setup – mostly because many more of them were built sans A/C. If you go this route, you’ll need to take everything from the 383/400 cube donor car – all brackets, pullies, belts, alternator (if yours is the jumbo 100-amp one now), power steering pump, etc. Then it will all bolt in (depending on the year, you may need to oval out one crank pulley hole – but this is obvious and simple.) If you car now has an air pump, you can ‘lose’ that, too.


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