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Old 08-22-2009, 01:26 PM   #1
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Removing A/C on BBC 454

I've got a 1983 Class A Brave with a BBC 454. It's the original engine with at least 75k miles on it and the A/C unit no longer pumps cold air. I'd like to remove the A/C unit all together because I'm not using it and it's just one more component the engine has to turn.

So what's the proper way to remove the A/C system? I'm not so much interested in knowing how to unbolt the unit from it's mount on the engine, but rather which hoses to disconnect/cap and is there anything special I should do or know to accomplish this task?

I've also read somewhere that removing the mechanical fan off the front of the engine and replacing with an electric fan will also lessen the load on the engine. Do you think this is a good idea?

I appreciate any feedback you can provide.

Thank you!
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Old 08-22-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
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The "Fan" idea is NOT good.....Those mechanical fans pull much harder then any dual electric fans can dream of...
17 to 21 horses are the percieved loss, Just fix the air flow problem into the radiator and seldom will the fan engage 'cept for long hill climbs..
For the A.C. connections you can purchase plastic plugs and insert them into the lines you have removed..

Jim
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:41 PM   #3
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Thanks Jim......I'll look for the plastic plugs at the parts house.

My RV's temp gauge spikes up to 3/4 guage on any hill I hit whether I'm towing or not. On flat runs the needle is in the middle of the gauge, and because of her age, I'd like to do anything I can to keep the motor running cool/longer. I've had the RV for 3 years and she runs good and strong....even passed CA smog test after a tune up....and she handles well. I live 7 miles from the Beach and that's where we go most often; but we also hit the dessert with toys in tow each fall/spring and these trips is when the work out really happens. So besides the A/C removal, my list of tasks includes:

thermostat
radiator serviced
water pump
air damn from front bumper to radiator
carburator air intake extension to fresh air

I figure with the A/C out of the way I'll have better access to the front of the motor to accomplish some of these tasks and a little more power being saved not turning a usless pump.
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:02 PM   #4
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On my '88 Super Chief class A with the 454, looks like a single belt drives the A/C, and nothing else - if yours is that way, you might simply remove the belt, if also leaving the compressor in place wasn't that important...
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Old 08-23-2009, 08:37 PM   #5
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On my '88 Super Chief class A with the 454, looks like a single belt drives the A/C, and nothing else - if yours is that way, you might simply remove the belt, if also leaving the compressor in place wasn't that important...
Exactly what I was going to say. You won't save any worthwhile weight without the A/C and if it ever gets repaired it will be much easier if the parts are there and the system is still sealed off.
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Old 08-23-2009, 09:14 PM   #6
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thermostat
radiator serviced
water pump
air damn from front bumper to radiator
carburator air intake extension to fresh air

Thermostat....I reccomend the "Stewart high flow" 180
Water pump....Stewart stage 1 pump, If you have the water heater that uses the hot engine water this pump works...Period
Both of the above items can be ordered from "Summitracing.com" 1-800-230-3030.
Since you have the same year as mine yours has the "V belts" long water pump and this is what I've been told from the "Stewart factory", Factory pumps flow 10 gallons per minute and the cast iron stage 1s flow 19 GPM....
With that 20 foot plus run (1 way) to my water heater PLUS the coach heater is very high up that pump like I said does extremely well...
Although my radiator was a 4 row the tubes were only 3/8......New core is now 4 rows with 1/2 inch tubes, Check it out real close.
Save your old belts as spares....It will be easier to reinstall the new belts without the radiator (Belts are your choice) I use goodyear gator backs.

Jim
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
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thermostat

Thermostat....I reccomend the "Stewart high flow" 180
Water pump....Stewart stage 1 pump, If you have the water heater that uses the hot engine water this pump works...Period
Both of the above items can be ordered from "Summitracing.com" 1-800-230-3030.

Although my radiator was a 4 row the tubes were only 3/8......New core is now 4 rows with 1/2 inch tubes, Check it out real close.
Save your old belts as spares....It will be easier to reinstall the new belts without the radiator (Belts are your choice) I use goodyear gator backs.

Jim
I finally worked on my beast last weekend and she's back on the road after taking Jim's advice and getting a Stewart stage1 water pump, the 180 HF thermostat. I also bought a new thermal fan clutch.

I ended up poking a hole in my radiator when I removed the A/C condensor, so I had the radiator serviced and found she's a 4 row that's in pretty good shape.

Once everything was installed she fired right up and appears to be running cooler already. I didn't take her on any big climbs yet, but I did take her for a trip to the tire shop and the temp stayed cooler than before and the temp needle hardly moved during the small climbs along the way.

I did notice a new whistling sound coming from the motor, which I'm hoping is just the thermal fan clutch.

It's nice having the A/C unit off the front of the motor as there's much more room to get at the t-stat housing and for making belt adjustments. Also made it easier to get to some of the rusty components in and around the engine compartment so I could splash some POR 15 on them.

We're heading to the dessert this weekend, so the beast will get a real test up the Cajon grade while pulling a trailer.

Thanks again for the feedback!
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Old 10-20-2009, 05:34 PM   #8
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We're heading to the dessert this weekend, so the beast will get a real test up the Cajon grade while pulling a trailer.

Thanks again for the feedback!

Piezzi, Good show on your upgrades.
My critter will pull Cajon pass with the temps climbing to and around 192 at 60 MPH towing a Saturn SC2 so you should NOT have any problems either.....
Last pull out of the Coachella valley (Palm Springs) the temp never exceeded 190 but I consider that last day of SEPTEMBER rather cool....

Jim
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:17 PM   #9
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Piezzi, Good show on your upgrades.

Jim
Thanks again for your input, Jim. I'll follow up with another post after this weekend to report on how she faired.

Going forward the next cooling system projects are:

1). Build air damns for top & bottom of radiator
2). Build air intake extension

Any suggestions on the material to use for the air damns? I've seen other posts where folks have used aluminum, but I'm thinking sheet metal will probably do the trick.
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Old 10-20-2009, 07:43 PM   #10
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Thanks again for your input, Jim. I'll follow up with another post after this weekend to report on how she faired.

Going forward the next cooling system projects are:

1). Build air damns for top & bottom of radiator
2). Build air intake extension

Any suggestions on the material to use for the air damns? I've seen other posts where folks have used aluminum, but I'm thinking sheet metal will probably do the trick.
I used rubber like bender board purchased from Home Depot (6 inches wide) and attached it to the front bumper with L brackets and 1/4 bolts.
Had e'nuf left over to block the sides & top of the radiator....
Take a look and see if you have a space between the front bumper and the A.C. condensor unit...If so block the air leakage also...
Found a carb intake on a 84 Chebby blaser that was long e'nuf to hang a few inches beyond the upper radiator support, Also bolted up a 6X10 household register that had the 4 inch hole to slip the hose over and high e'nuf to keep the rain water out...
Smart move on your part to get colder air to the carb....Tony Pedragone says for every degree you can cool the air you will regain one horse, My carb temps here in the Palm Springs area during August would run around 165 and with the air tube the temps dropped below 130....
Back & forth to Orange county 3 weeks ago the carb temps lingered around 108 at 62 MPH sooooo my Chebby has regained about 35 or so horsies....Free also

Jim
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:38 PM   #11
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We had a good trip to the desert last weekend and my rv is definitely running cooler. Looks like my new operating temp is a little shy of 1/2 way on the factory temp gauge and for big climbs the needle only nudged straight up to the 1/2 mark. What a difference! I figure 1/2 way on the gauge is about 210 degrees and I'm pleased with this result.

Of course when one thing is fixed another thing breaks. After a nice dusty day of offroading, we returned to the rv for a shower and I could hear the house water pump cycling, but water wasn't flowing to any of the spigots. No biggie as I've been wanting to put a quieter demand-pump in anyway, but a shower would have been nice at that time. I settled for a birdbath using a big pan of water. Took me a while to figure out how I was going to get at the water sitting in the tank and I finally remembered about the manual tank drains. Good times....

Thanks again for all the advice about cooling down my rig. It adds a little more peace of mind for me when I know she's running at a lower temp range.
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