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Didn't know where to put this, felt the garage thing was too fiddly. I'll be adding pics, and asking questions in the proper forum and linking to this thread and to those threads in this one. This is going to be my base of operations.

Okay, 2nd owner of a 1989 Taurus GL, born on date 11/2008, unfortunately it's nothing special like a LX or even a SHO, but been in my family all of it's 22 years, and I've had it for a good 10 of those. Been dependable for the most part, only turned 100k miles this Spring, upper 1/3 of the clearcoat has come off like they all have by now, otherwise nothing bad wrong with her. Well.. there's some things wrong that's why I'm doing a project thread.

Had a lot of work done on her in the past, some of the highlights are below.
1994 - Blower unit grenades on trip to Florida in middle of summer, parents use no less than 3 different shops in two different states to repair. Repair has been lacking, blower has always blown half assed since.

1996 - Entire AC system replaced/upgraded by dealership, 134a system was installed, but the R12 was put back in for better cooling purposes. Esther oil was used, pressure switch was kept R12. Blower issue addressed but not fixed to pre-grenade level of air movement satisfaction. The fan unit roars but the air just seeps out.

1998-ish - Second ever transmission service done by me, not a flush, just a pan drop and filter change. Never done since.

2000 - New water pump as the old one seizes up and dumps coolant.

2002 - Car stops wanting to charge the battery. Change numerous parts to do with this, never figure it out, until later, end up adding a battery cable from alternator to positive battery terminal.

2004 - Entire front end rebuild, done by me, minus shocks, old bearings pressed out, new ones pressed in, the works. Car stops crawling around in it's lane when holding steering steady.

2005 - Wife drives car for entire year after killing hers. Mass problems occur. Power steering pump goes south, replaced myself. Power steering hose goes out, replaced myself. Breaks start squealing, pads replaced. A/C finally quits, wife finally decides to buy her own new car. She leaves her steering wheel cover in the car with the tiggers and poohs on it.

2008 - Spend an entire evening researching, and finally tracing wiring inside the engine compartment and discover a fusible link wire burned out. It blew out the underside so it looks perfect and has all of a 1/4 inch missing. Replace and charging system works again, as Ford intended.

2009 - Find car dead, not wanting to start. Jump it off and it starts only to not start again. Battery tests fine, starter tests bad, replaced starter. Month later issue repeats, starter tests fine, battery bad, replace battery. Sometimes you can't win.

2010 - Car is 22 years old, qualifies for "Classic" tag status in the state of GA. Sucks to drive cos it smells musty, burns expelled oil, we start calling her leaky, and the air doesn't work. I've begun to notice I never see any more Gen1 Taurus on the road anymore and I realize I have a duty.
So.. Here we are, time for the project.

First I should mention I not only have a Haynes manual I also have the ultra-revered Ford SHOP manuals for this car, and it's the entire set. 3 books come in this set, general upkeep and maintenance for the car owner, this was mainly a bonus book one could buy when buying the car new, but also came with the set if you bought the shop floor manuals. Of the other two, one is the "Bible" it's about the size of a greater metro area phone book, or the Sears Wishbook for those who remember, and covers all the **** that Mr. Haynes and Chiltons thought best handled by a "professional" mechanic. The other book is the vacuum/emissions book, nice to have. Both have been an immense help in the past.

So this project started with the idea to "Get the A/C working". This portion of the project has been 2 years in the making now, mainly in researching it. Since I live in GA, not having an A/C meant the car has only been enjoyable while driving between November and March of the year, the other 7 months are unenjoyable to drive in, 3 of those being very unbearable.

Not only is the A/C a problem, last winter the thermostat went out and there was no frigging heat, I flush once a year, so I think it's related to the engine/radiator starting to get crummy. Replaced the thermo and now this summer have noticed some odd cooling problems, the car's temp needle tends to "swing" wildly. It likes to run slowly over near the H, then the fan kicks on and it races down, almost to the C, and starts working it way back to the H again, rinse, repeat. But noticed the engine fan doesn't like to kick on like she used to. Hmmmm...

Also have had a coolant "disappearing" issue the past few years, after numerous inspections, concluded it's most likely the head gasket leaking into one of the cylinders, can faintly smell anti-freeze in exhaust and sometime in engine bay. Will be replacing hoses and gaskets to do with cooling along the way before taking off the heads, which I am going to eventually do. This won't be the first car engine I've rebuilt.

Have had a mystery steam spot show up on the inside windshield just this year. Figure it's going to be the heater core, 22 years is a long time on the old one. The book says if you go to replace heater core the A/C system needs to be "evacuated", time to kill the proverbial two birds with one stone.

Have a mystery pulley squeak, most likely the tension pulley, sounds awful when spun by itself.

Transmission has been leaky and a little hesitant if giving gas on the shift, will be looking into this. Already asked about what line to use to flush, in the stickied thread.

And how could I forget, this thing needs a oil pan gasket. It's been burning oil off the cat for about, oh, a decade now. Whenever I would get underneath to look, the gasket was just nearly hanging out all around. I loosened the pan up once and poked it all back in, it helped a little, but didn't fix. Too bad the entire catalytic converter setup has to be pulled, those header flange bolts look entirely too rusty to fool with, I'll do it later..

No.. this time I'm doing it now.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Work done thus far (synopsis):
Garaged - Nice basement garage not on my property with A/C to work on car at my leisure. It's been in the 90's with 90% humidity for the past few weeks. Climate controlled working conditions are a must. Only 20min away from house.

Moved - My tools and sundries. Got my 15Gal upright portable compressor over there this Friday, need it mainly to flush out the condenser and evaporator. Coulda used it earlier on header flange bolts, but I suffered through it.

Disassembled - Entire left side of engine teardown as well as underneath taken out. Passenger side front tire, removed. Passenger side wheel well, removed. Radiator, drained, lower hose, removed. Reservoir, removed. Alternator, removed. Tension pulley, removed. Engine strut, removed. Power steering pump, drained using hand pump, removed, not a drop spilled. AC Compressor, removed. All AC lines, removed. Cat setup, took awhile using rust buster and elbow grease, the almost destruction of my 3/8" socket wrench, and a cheater bar, but, removed. Oil pan, removed.

Worked on - Flushed out condenser and evaporator. Cleaned up oil pan. Cleaning up oil pan mating surface, still more to go on that. Cleaned exterior of AC Compressor.

Discoveries pt. 1 - A wish that I could go back in time to pressure wash the underneath of car. Grime doesn't begin to describe what's in the cavern and falling on my head while I'm working down below. Curse my eagerness to be in the cool cold garage on a 90 degree day with a watery haze in the air.

Discoveries pt. 2 - Both motor mounts are goners. Tension pulley sounds rough when hand spun. AXOD pan has seen better days but will hold for now. Inside bottom half of engine looks like it was dipped into a vat of varnish, chestnut colored to be precise. Serpentine belt is still good after all this time (was replaced about 8 years ago). Alternator belt looks like hard packed soil during a drought it's so full of cracks. Flushing out condenser and evaporator are time consuming but much needed. FS10 Compressor is probably best replaced.
For those who love details:

Okay I moved the car into the garage on Tuesday afternoon and started some preliminary work. Draining oil, draining coolant, removing the reservoir, and belts, nothing heavy. Got home that night and remembered that I forgot to hit the header flange bolts with rust eater lubricant, realize later that will haunt me, and it does.

Wednesday, had day off so I arrive at 7am to get started. Spend entire day working on removing everything in my way of the AC system. Go back and forth on the header flange bolts while doing other stuff. I end up working on them all day in this fashion while using a combo of rust eater and about 4 foot of socket extensions on my 3/8 socket, can't find my 1/2 to 3/8 reducer, and utilize a cheater bar on the wrench, every time I think I'm about to strip the gear in it, the bolts finally break.

All header flange bolts can be removed from underneath car with right length of extensions, meaning Ford actually engineered them to not have anything really in the way of reaching them in such a manner. Once I get them 1/4 of the way off, which takes most the day, they come off smooth as butter the rest of the way. Seriously I used my fingers on the last half inch.

After a decade of hemming and hawing I finally pull the beshitted oil pan off, the gasket come apart upon my doing so. Oil has worked its way out of all sides of the pan, the bottom of the block is stained showing the worst areas. Valley pan is varnished badly, knew it would be bad didn't expect it to look "distressed". Have thoughts of going ahead and pulling entire engine, realize I'm on a budget, I'm using someone elses garage space, and would rather do this in the fall in my own garage when the weather is nicer and I have more time to spend on it.

I find tiny pellets of rounded metal bits in the pan, nothing worrisome, not more than 1/3 thimbleful. I realize many started out as shavings but have been "polishing" in the bottom of the oil pan for probably close to 22 years. Really should have invested in a magnetic oil plug all those years ago. I use a brush to dislodge a few larger metal bits from the oil pump screen.

Thursday, head over to garage after work, picking up my first order that arrived in the mail along the way. Got an oil pan gasket, 2 of my AC hoses, the accumulator/dryer and orifice tube line, also lower radiator hose. Did this order from Autozone, won't do so again, realize they "exercised" their right to replace a stated part with a shittier one. Instead of a FELPRO gasket I got an offbrand one. Will do my next order with Rock auto, sorry but free shipping isn't going to do it for me next time Autozone. The only good thing about Autozone is they DO send a receipt which you can take and return your ordered parts at any store. Wanting to see how they react when I show up to return a non-felpro gasket when my ticket says they sold me a felpro gasket.

Mainly spend evening using scotch brite pad on the bottom of block mating surface. Take oil pan outside and use entire can of gunk engine cleaner on it. Over an hour and half, in 20min rinse intervals, clean it inside and out. Looking at my work thus far in engine compartment I and reach down and pluck big chunk of rubber out from where the front motor mount is. Go home disgusted and plan next online order.

Friday, I spend evening after work getting my portable compressor ready, had to put on new quick connect. Take it over and get my flushing tools setup. Connect drain hose to inlet of the condenser and put other end into drainpan. Reverse blow my condenser using air. Oil and dye come out, smells awful, but looks clean. Use brake cleaner to reverse flush with, comes out smelling worse, but looks dirty. Just remembered to ventilate area with shop fan blowing out Garage Door with pan sitting at back of fan, start to come down from brake cleaner high. Continue to flush condenser, reverse, and normal for 30min with brake cleaner until clean fluid comes out each way. Start to dry flush condenser, notice a white powder coming out, realize brake cleaner is leaving a residue. Run to Autozone to buy can of flushing liquid, reverse flush twice with flushing liquid, normal flush once, first time I use cleaner it comes out jet black, but runs clear on 2nd and 3rd flush. Air flush and everything comes out clean and smelling of lemons. Keep flushing until smell is gone. Time spent flushing condenser, 2 hours.

Spend an hour and half on flushing evaporator coil using same methods as condenser. Not as dirty by a long shot. Little oil and dye come out but no black junk.

Clean all this up just as it's getting dark and finally sit down with compressor. Already know from seeing black stuff in condenser that the prognosis is bad, the shim on it's good, the compressor would jumper and come on just fine, but last time I did that, before putting it into the garage on Tues, it squealed really badly. I clean up the caked on oil on the outside then start my examination. The compressor isn't seized, and I can turn the end plate with a normal amount of resistance and feel pistons inside moving freely. About 2oz of oil comes out, it's clean looking and dyed green. But I can see black stuff has stained the outlet in the past.

Knowing I can't really flush out the compressor using any type of solvent, unless I want to just waste some pricey AC oils, which won't really clean it, come to conclusion if I'm doing all this work I'm either going to buy a new FS10 or rebuild this one. Time being an issue I'll probably buy one, I've got the garage for 2-3 weeks to use, but don't want to spend my time re-building an AC compressor.

Want to note that I found the source of my R12 leak, one of the manifold to compressor O-rings looks like it pushed out of it's groove into the space between the manifold and compressor. More fuel for the new compressor fire I say.

Before I leave for the night I look down and inspect the rear motor mount, it's collapsed, make a note to get both.

Came home and did an order with RockAuto tonight. My first ever. Getting another "Felpro" oil pan gasket, 2 motor mounts, and my heater core on this order. Will wait unilt next week when I make my mind up about the compressor to get it, the manifold hose, and R134a pressure switch. Forgot to add my tension pulley to this order, but that's not needed until I'm close to being done.

I came REAL close to getting an upper gasket set and new head bolts, but only have the scratch to either get a new compressor or start rebuilding the engine. Can't do both right now, and I set out on this project to do the A/C. Plus Flatlander Racing - High Performance Engine and Racing Parts has the engine kit I want for this car, complete, for $500.

Sorry no new pics, I've just been way too busy and greasy to be handling my phone. I'll snap some and add them Saturday evening I hope.
 

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Subscribed to the thread. Do keep posting updates on it...interested in how things turn out. I don't see Gen 1s and 2s as much anymore in SC :( G3s and 4s are the new beaters. Heck I can't say I've seen a rolling G1 in person for quite awhile...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
There's still a few, and I mean few, Gen2's being driven around in this area. I recognize them when I see them. Saw one the other day where someone primered the hood a flat black, and it looked pretty good, better than I would expect. Thinking of doing the same on mine. Looks more beater with the clearcoat haze than with primer I think.

Gen1's are non-existent now. Last 5 years the emissions guy sees mine and is like "Damn still running and passing!", and comments on how I keep bringing it back. I've seen more original VW Beetles on the road than Gen1's in the past year.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Pic time, resized and compressed, so should be no issue with the page loading.


A veritable cornucopia of dirty parts.


Drivers side view. All clearcoat gone from roof. Also side mirrors need removal and repainting.


Deck lid is the worst looking area on the car by far. Also plastic on window trim is near gone.


Things are missing. Cleaned up a bit. But not cleaned up enough. Can you spot my cheater bar?


Catalytic Converter with baked on oil. Wonder if soaking it in a sink full of Dawn would help it? :p


Badly varnished Valley Pan. Still some debris in oil pump screen.


Oil pan still needs inside cleaned some more, along with mating surface.


The pic makes the lower radiator hoses look 2 different sizes. The bottom one is a direct match with proper bends. The top one has swelled some from the heat and leaking fluids over the years.


FS10 Compressor. 1996 New Built, not Reman. Left outlet has "black death" marks that go inside. Right side inlet O-ring is swollen out of channel, hard to see here, but you can tell if you look closely. It also has a thin rubber skin that squeezed out from it between manifold and housing around the swollen area.

Wait just a sec.. isn't the inlet side supposed to have a "screen" in the recessed area? Yeah it's not even there.
 

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Oh wow, so you are close enough to Atlanta to need the e-check? Dang. What part of the N. Georgia (aka Atlanta area haha) do you live in? Former Marietta resident.

That heater hose seriously changed in size, Wow! It's surprising that you even have paint left on your Gen 1 considering how poor the paint was in the late 80s early 90s on many cars from that era. Have you checked out Pull-A-Part and visited their yards in Atlanta? You might score a "Police"/slotted grille.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm actually sitting about 3 miles from Lost Mtn. in West Cobb, due west of Marietta square off 120 right now. I live further out in Dallas.

I've been to Smallwoods on Bankhead, inner perimeter, in the past. And there's some local yards I need to go look through when the weather gets a bit better. Too damn hot to be pulling anything now. I really only need some seat belt receivers in the front, and a drivers side tail light. A police grill would be awesome if I could find one.

I had planned on pulling apart interior today but thinking I can wait a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Seen your posts and pic with the stable of bulls you own there Chris, very impressive. One of the last Gen1's I saw on the road recently was a beater of a Taurus wagon last fall. I personally think they're of a style only an owner could love, but I also think one of the best looking station wagons Ford ever made were the mid-70's LTD wagons with the big blocks in them.

A few years back I was looking around for another Gen1 to be a "donor" car of sorts if I needed one, more as a second bull though, but seems most of the ones I found were being sold by those 3rd rate pay by the week used lots in about the same condition as mine. I couldn't imagine spending $3k+ for a non-SHO Taurus, and eventually gave up, so I guess I'll just always own this one Taurus, I've long since given up on finding a LX or even a SHO still in decent condition as well.

Anyways I took a break over the weekend holiday, need to get back to the car this coming up week. Will be pulling the dash in short order, and hopefully start getting in more parts later in the week. Then I get to tackle the motor mounts.

A little trivia, some friends and I took a road trip in the mid-90s out west in an 1988 LX, fully loaded with all the options, and the transmission grenaded in the middle of the Texas desert in early summer. We spent our entire "budget" on a tow to El Paso and putting the car up in a tow lot, and finally bus tickets home when we realized we couldn't afford a new transmission with what we had left. We never saw the car again, and tons of stuff we owned in the trunk, such a shame.
 

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Quick update.

Was busy all this week with school starting the summer semester.

Got here this morning, got new motor mounts in. The front wasn't that bad upon removal, the back was squished pretty good though.

Discovered the Trans pan is leaking on the back, haven't seen a drip on it for the entire time I've been under the car and then looks like it was starting to rain trans fluid out the back this morn.

Got all my parts in to do AC and the heater core and haven't even started on cracking open the dash. Ugh I'm behind.

Got oil pan gasket mating surfaces clean and grease free, finally. Will get oil pan gasket on soon.

Read about the crazy roll on enamel car paint jobs earlier this week and thinking the back deck lid would be a great "project" to try this on.

More pics to follow later tonight.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Changing motor mounts was an experience, used a 2x4 on my floor jack, on the bottom of the removed oil pan block, no cherry picker avail. Had to raise the engine almost 5" to clear the front mount. Soon as the front cleared the engine shifted towards the firewall by a great margin. I made sure the engine was stable enough and swapped both mounts out. Released my jack very slowly, and as it dropped, I pulled my engine back forward to get the mounting studs to line up with the subframe holes.


As you can see the rear one was garbage. rubber squished out.


The new rear one had the protective skirts, but the fasteners were all broken, had to resort to some drywall anchors and stainless screws.


Made the oil pan mating surface all nice and shiny, but regret she won't be getting a new timing chain, yet.


This is where I ran into serious trouble. This area is between the transmission bellhousing and oil pump. I tried tacking my gasket to my oil pan but when I went to put it on, I had do this area at an angle as the space between the dust plate and oil pump was smaller than the lip of the pan. The oil pump pulled the gasket off every damn time. After much cussing I had to put tack on the bottom of the block, put the gasket into place, and put the screws all in, not tight but snugged to the gasket, to hold it in place until the tack could set. What a pain, I'm not sure if this area is even lined up right still. If not I have a spare gasket to try with.


Here is about 2 hours into the dash removal. I used both my Haynes and Shop Repair manual, plus the SHOSource Forum Dash Removal Walkthrough to help figure this all out. I hit a point where those stopped being helpful and I worked solely on trial and error. Let me just say, there is a ton of crap to remove, unplug, disconnect, on the dash just to get even this far. The pillow is there to cover the seatbelt receptacles, they were digging into my back when lying in the seat.


This is the last pic I took before things got, difficult, let me just say if you ever have to remove the dash in a Gen1 Taurus, well, better make a weekend out of it. Because things get ugly, and my hands, they are like raw hamburger. Oh and don't worry the tiggers and poohs are gonna go.

The dash could only be 95% removed, and it's now dropped in the floorboard of the car rolled back onto the seats, and at an angle, as there's another harness mounted in the dash that I cannot remove unless I remove the entire ducting system from the back of the dash itself. No matter as I was able to get the HVAC housing pulled, the underfloor vents presented a surprising problem, I wasn't even aware the car had these, but rolling the housing towards the cabin popped this loose.

The heater core was indeed leaking, as i found evidence of crusty white and green scale all down one side, plus it was sitting in the housing in a puddle of antifreeze smelling sludge.

I had to cut open the housing to expose the evaporator, the evap was completely clogged with years of dead plant matter, like leaves and pinestraw, and the occasional bug carcass. No wonder the air just seeped out as it has to pass through this to enter the cabin. I first vacuumed the crap off the fins, then used shop air from the back side to blow more out, then I used some cleaning solution and water jetted the rest out.

Also I cleaned and degreased everything else inside the housing as all of it was coated in a nice black grimy film of carbon, I did remove the resistor and fan motor first. I'm going to have to reseal the entire housing as it seems to have gotten gaps in the mating surfaces over the years, plus my butchering up the case to get the evap out made a mess.

And yes to remove the evaporator you have to cut open the housing. It's got places to cut, and reseal everything, but the hinge portion broke on me when opening from the age and reduced pliability of the plastic. Funny how trying to fix one thing results in needing more fixes to fix the thing you are fixing.

So things are a real mess, the car looks just like one you'd find freshly butchered in a pick-a-part at this point. I don't know if it's Karmic, but since I've been working on this I've seen quite a few more Gen1's and Gen2's on the road around here lately.

I'm also giving serious thought to the "roll on" painting method for the hood, roof, and deck lids. Thinking I'll just go gloss black on those, has to look better than exposed and weathered paint with the odd spots of hazed clearcoat that's on those areas. I think the car would look pretty spiffy with a black paint job and red accents/side stripe. But only a thought about the "roll on" method. There's time.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Here we are with some more pics.

I spent an hour tonight cleaning up the duct some more and did a thorough inspection. Then I sealed all the gaps in the exterior using an acrylic silicone caulk.

This is where I really noticed that someone has been in the duct before me, probably to replace the old original evaporator core. This was readily apparent from the lack of missing screws, where I could see they had been torqued down into the plastic in the past, and gaps all around the factory seam of the duct.

The duct halves are supposed to be screwed and welded together (with a modeling type solvent/glue that melts the plastic) but it's obvious it was disassembled along this seam instead of cutting open the top of the evap casing like i did and the factory manual calls for doing.

I would have probably fared better just reopening the thing in the fashion they did except for a few problems. Firstly they didn't use the screws to reattach the air intake, they just melted the tab that comes out of the main duct over the slot on the intake to reattach it. Sloppy work I might add. Plus they did attempt to re-weld the main duct halves in some spots, but half assed that also. Then there's the slew of missing screws, nice work I suppose for a shop wonk who has to keep the repair job within the time allotted for it.

I didn't mention there are screws missing all in the dash on my tear down. There were only 3 of the 4 nuts holding the steering wheel on and one of the shims was missing on that as well. Jeez right?

Here is the pic showing the duct I did some drawing on it to expose the work they did.

The red lines are the GAPs, and the entire rear of the unit was a large gap except for the back corner not seen here. The white area is an area of glue. The yellow is where they melted the tab. The green shows the proper way it should have been done, there is a lip on the housing and the "lid" where I'm supposed to reseal with silicone once I'm done. All the green dots represent where I'm going to use screws, and I have the clips needed for two of those.


Another shot of the dash pulled and sitting half on the seat with the duct removed and passenger carpet peeled back. In this shot I highlighted where the under carpet duct is that goes to the rear seating area. I never knew this was there and have never seen outlet ducts under the front seats. I just recently steam cleaned the carpets, especially the back floorboards where gallons of spilled coffee was residing and didn't see these, maybe they go somewhere else, but the shop manual I have shows this duct and that it ends under the front seats.


Here is the old crusty heater core. I plan on using this pan to leak test it and the new one before installing it. I want to make sure the new one is sealed up before doing all the work to put it back in and have to remove it again.

Also, on the right, is the Evaporator core. This is definitely a newer evaporator core than what the car came with originally. Problem is there are two types of replacement cores. One offers more air movement, and then you have this one that cavitates the air more as it passes through and causes more air back pressure. The main problem is that it was full of debris but the increased back pressure probably exacerbated my low airflow at the vents problem. But the fins of this evaporator core were so packed full of debris that it was almost impossible to remove from the duct, and when I did debris exploded all over the place. It couldn't have been more clogged if it had been packed full of mud.

But for now it's sitting in the pan because no matter how much air I've put through the thing there is tons of residual cleaning solvent inside of it. So it's slowly drip draining. I plan to make sure it's completely clean and dry of solvent before I reinstall it. But I'm conflicted at the moment over getting a new one, after getting a new compressor I'm getting to the point that this A/C repair is becoming a bit costly, and being another special order part I'll have to wait another week before I can begin interior reassembly. So it's sorta forcing my hand on keeping the old one, but still.


Here is a image showing the two types of evaporators, I obviously have the one on the left, as it looks exactly like mine and you cannot see through the fins. The one on the right is made by 4 Seasons and is more expensive but allows the air to move through much better. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know which should be in the car with the R134a system, but I'd much prefer the one on the right.

More decisions.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sorry no pics this time around, I've come to the conclusion that while posts that show pics in detail, especially as a work in progress, are awesome. I just don't have it in me to pause every few minutes, clean my grubby hands, to pick up the phone and snap off a few.

Pulled the radiator and condenser yesterday and I power washed the exterior of both using a degreaser.

I have been unhappy with my "flush" job on the condenser and the evaporator both. I could blow them both out and still get a chemical smell. When doing an A/C system, you have to be sure to totally get everything out. All debris and nasty residue have long since been flushed out, but leaving your flush chemicals behind are a no-no. And if you can smell them then you've not done it properly, and they will dilute, or eat up the system oils later when you add them.

I did my best to research chemicals to flush with but sometimes you find bad information on the internet. I used non-chlorine brake cleaner at the start, this is supposed to be good to use, but it left a powdery carbon residue upon drying that would blow out like a smoke. I tried the Flush in a Can from the Zone, this is an oil/solvent mix using a lemon oil as a base, this stuff will NOT dry out in the system and will leave the oils behind. While it worked to remove the residue that stuff is junk too. I then tried Mineral Spirits, worst **** ever, it won't totally evap out no matter how much air you pump through, but it did cut through all the oils left.

While all these things did "clean" the system they were just leaving too much residue/oils behind. I finally broke down and bought a quart of Dura II from NAPA. This is the real deal. Open the can and watch the **** evaporate. A quart let me flush the components twice. Now the evaporator and condenser are totally clean. Dura II is way to freaking expensive to use several quarts of to "clean" the system from the start, but as a final flush it worked wonders.

I got the now clean condensor and radiator back on yesterday. I did take the time to flush out all parts of the inside of the radiator. And put back together the HVAC components in the box. As it was late I left things as they were. But I think there's about 12 hours left in assembling the car.
 

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Evap coil question

I have an 88 GL with a 3.0. Did a ton of work to the car recently. One of the things done was a complete 134 conversion. However A/C isn't cold at all. Not even close. The car has 59,000 miles and Evap or heater coil was never touched. I noticed you were cleaning your Evap coil and wanted to know how bad was it to remove? How bad of a condition was it in? Should I attempt to clean or just replace it?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have an 88 GL with a 3.0. Did a ton of work to the car recently. One of the things done was a complete 134 conversion. However A/C isn't cold at all. Not even close. The car has 59,000 miles and Evap or heater coil was never touched. I noticed you were cleaning your Evap coil and wanted to know how bad was it to remove? How bad of a condition was it in? Should I attempt to clean or just replace it?
I'm finally done and have actually been driving the car for a few days now. My initial thoughts on completing the A/C portion has been mainly I would rather pay someone at this point than ever do this on another car again. Doing all this wasn't impossible as now I've done it, but doing the entire thing was a real bitch. And I can see now that the A/C system needs some serious modifications to work it's best after being converted.

While I'm not impugning on anyone's mechanical aptitude or abilities the main thing about doing an auto A/C system yourself is that there's only really one way to do it right and a million ways to screw it up. Most of them having to do with not taking the proper steps, not having the proper equipment, or just plain trying to go cheap or shortcut the job. You have to always replace certain parts such as the accumulator and orifice/liquid line when converting. Then anything else in the system if you question it's viability, like the compressor, should be replaced, or other hoses. Whatever is left remaining needs to be thoroughly flushed out with the proper flushing agents, like using DURA II from Napa as a final flush, then blown dry with dry shop air at a high CFM. If you keep the compressor you should remove it and bench flush with the new oil. Then adding the right amount of oil to the system is critical, the FS10 Taurus system requires 8oz max total of proper oil. After all that you reinstall parts, pull one hell of a vacuum for at minimum an hour. Then you have to get a proper weight R-134a charge for the system to work efficiently.

And in the end your going to find out that you'll only be pulling mid to low 50's in the 90-degree heat like I am right now. At night I can drop into the low 40's with high humidity outside working for me. But the system is far from what I would label COLD and the air movement is still anemic compared to other systems. But this was expected as the system was designed around R-12 which gets a hell of a lot colder than R134a and is well within the acceptable results of a conversion.

I'm reusing my old evaporator but it's definitely been replaced sometime in the past. Also it's one of the most important parts to flush out because it's a parallel type flow unit it holds a good bit of the systems oil in. This also makes it a bitch to flush and one of the reasons I removed it from the housing while getting to the heater core was to be sure it was flushed properly. There wasn't anything really wrong with it once the fins on the outside were cleaned up and the insides flushed out other than I have reduced air movement as I did before, it's just no where near as bad.

I have about $500 in the A/C currently and if I had another $500 to just really throw at the system I could make it work like a new car. I would have sprung for a new evaporator in the same style I have now, gotten a drop in true parallel flow condenser, which would need some custom tubing made up, and then get a larger fan/unit to replace in the HVAC box to make up for the anemic air flow from the evaporator. The key to all this is really the damn condenser isn't pulling enough heat out of the refrigerant using the old style fin and tube condenser.

Getting an upgraded fan/motor unit is still on the table. As well as having R12 put back into the car at this point as I kept my R12 pressure switch. But I'm not displeased with my results as I can drive the car in the heat with the windows up and not be hot. But in the heat of the day I can't call the car chilly or frosty cold by any means.

I do want to report that the massive oil leak is no more, and the engine is much stronger. The transmission shifts like butter from the new motor mounts. I mean I can barely feel the shifts it's so smooth. The engine cooling system is working like new and the gauge needle isn't swinging back and forth like a metronome. I also flushed out my power steering fluid and it's steering like a new car. I've drove the car all this week and other than the fugly clear coat bringing me down I've been entirely pleased with my work as long as I am realistic about the A/C conversion results.

My specs:
8oz of Esther 100 A/C oil (medium viscosity)
38oz of R134a Refrigerant
 

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I was over in East Cobb today...thankful for the Air Conditioning. 101F sitting on Johnsons Ferry Rd. Saw a Gen 1 cruising along and it brought to mind your Gen 1 project. I don't believe the owner of the G1 I saw, had AC working, as their windows were down.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't see how anyone could stand this heat we're having combined with the humidity right now, it's unreasonable. Especially with the pop up summer storms, last time I drove my Gen1 with no A/C i got into a rain shower and came out of the car at my destination drenched from the sauna I had to endure inside.

Can't wait until fall, getting the engine kit and going to be pulling the 3.0L and rebuilding her from the ground up for the fun of it. Still think the head gasket is compromised as I've noticed a coolant loss in the past week.
 

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Mr. Nutz

There use to be this clamp-bolt system available for A/C quick connect hoses in a variety of cars. The brand is called Mr. Nutz. I have it on my 89. Basically it works as an additional clamp that goes over each of the connecting areas of the tubes. This is to prevent future leakage. My mechanic said that at the factory they just snap the A/C system together and the connections do not hold in the R-134 very well after time. I have had this on my car for a while now and it works pretty good. I have had to refill my A/C once with R-134 in the past 10 years.

I noticed you were replacing a lot of parts. Try the Pull-A-Part off Buford Hwy. It's kinda a drive from Marietta but well worth it. I was there about a month ago pulling a cloth interior out of one of the 89 LX's. They had 3 89's. 2 of them were LX's. One was a GL with something like 45,000 miles. Beautiful car! I couldn't believe it was in a junkyard. I think somebody just wanted to get rid of it. The interior was a dark blue and in mint condition. Even had the key in the ignition. The dash had no cracks whatsoever.

Here are some pictures of the LX I got the seats out of. :D
 

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I just found this...but awesome job!! Looks like I wont be the only one witha GEN 1... and hopefully I can get mine up and running as fast as you did, when I get the time. And yes, as you can see... I KNOW exactly what you mean about the dash... Let us know of any other work...
 
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