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Thread: Diving in at the shallow end!

  1. #26
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    I would like to share my attempts at making my own block-hugging A/C setup. This may not be what I wind up going with, and there are a few unexpected turns in this journey, but I hope it helps someone in the future. I am sorry that there is a bit of a saga here. I am going to take you through my thought process, which may have landed me in a pitfall.


    Premise: I would like air conditioning. The stock F-body A/C compressor barely fits. There are a number of companies that make block-hugging AC setups, such as Holley, Vintage Air, and Dirty Dingo. Typically, they use a slimmer compressor, usually made by Sanden. These solutions are nice, but are not that cheap. Holley makes a nice rig, but bracket + compressor runs $551. The others will, with a new AC compressor, still run you about $400.


    For better or worse, I was interested in cooking up a cheaper solution, hopefully involving junkyard parts. In particular, I noted that all of the LS-swap commercial solutions used a compressor with “ear” mounts, where the mounting bolts are oriented parallel to the axis of the compressor. I can understand why: this geometry is ideal for mating to a bracket that snugs up against the block. However, most OEM applications use so-called “direct mounting,” where the bolts are oriented tangentially to the round body of the compressor. Again, it is easy to understand why that is, if you are thinking about bolting a compressor on in a production-line situation. I tried to come up with a bracket that allowed a direct-mount compressor to sit close to the block.


    I started by looking at the compressors used in these other kits. Many use a Sanden SD7 variant. I asked myself what OEM applications used a Sanden SD7, but with a direct mount, so I could hope to find one in a junkyard. I located the Sanden catalog (available here: https://www.sanden.com/catalog.html#SD%20Series). To my delight, the catalog listed applications for Chevy and GM trucks from 1999 to 2002. (Foreshadowing: this turns out to be a BAD omen, but I did not know that at the time.)


    I found the specifications for compressor #4440 here (which looks like a genuinely useful resource for all AC swappers): http://www.sanden.com./productlibrary/schematics/. In my sleep, I came up with a scheme for a mounting bracket. The next day, I went to a junkyard and acquired the AC compressor from a 2000 Silverado (and a tensioner from an Avalanche). I was surprised: I expected the compressor to be a Sanden, but it was a Delphi; it still had the same dimensions as the Sanden, though, so I pressed on.


    I spent a day on CAD and designed a bracket that extends OUT from the bottom set of bosses on the passenger side of the block, but extends IN from the top set of bosses. This is nowhere as aesthetically pleasing as the Holley bracket, but cost me all of $15 + some Al I had lying around. The result (see pics below) is that the direct-mount compressor can sit close to the block.


    I kept researching the compressor I had with little success. It was marked Delphi 7067, but little information came up in a google search. The Delphi website cross-referenced this as part #CS20011. Some other site cross-referenced this application as SE10BH17. Yet another site cross-referenced that as 10PA17. Yet another source cross-referenced this as a “GM/Frigidaire HT-6.” And this turns out to be one of the worst AC compressors in modern times.


    Why? Because the body of the compressor lacks dowel pins to locate the components; they tried to rely on the assembly bolts to keep the body aligned. But often, the bracket warped and placed torque(s) on the compressor that twisted the AC compressor body, causing leaks. This most often happened due to shortcomings in the bracket.


    The WHOLE REASON this was listed as a Sanden application was that there was high demand for an aftermarket replacement (which Sanden provided) for a crappy OEM design. AND this flaw was exacerbated by to substandard mounting brackets. And here I designed a (probably substandard) bracket for exactly this compressor! Perhaps I can find a Sanden replacement (which fixed this flaw).


    All of that notwithstanding, I did manage to mount my compressor so that it sticks out only 11.25” from the centerline of the engine. This is just a hair better than the commercial solutions from Holley and Vintage Air, and a hair worse than Dirty Dingo (who uses a mini compressor). Perhaps I can use this idea with a non-substandard AC cmpressor.


    Was this worth it? Probably not. Although $500 is real money, I put a lot of hours into this not-so-great solution. However, that is part of the fun of doing a swap, right? Built, not bought? Right? Right?











    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by motorV8ed; 05-14-2019 at 08:37 AM.
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  2. #27
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    Some more pics of AC bracket:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by motorV8ed; 05-13-2019 at 10:52 PM.
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  3. #28
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    I used the Dirty Dingo mount, it wasn't expensive. I still needed to modify the bracket and the compressor mount tabs as I was putting the LS3 into a different chassis.
    It's still close but doesn't hit. I used the Sanden compressor.

    DSCN1605.JPG

    DSCN1603.JPG

  4. #29
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    I commend your resourcefulness and I realize the Holley setup is expensive and might not be an option for some; That said, I think the money for the Holley setup is money well spent. It simply works and it's quite compact. Also, the Holley kit comes with an actual Sanden SD7 compressor, while the Dirty Dingo and others come with a Chinese knockoff Sanden "style" compressor. So, while I respect your efforts at building a better (cheaper) mousetrap, I think the Holley setup is worth the price.

    Also, just my experience (we're all using different mounts) but I found it easiest to install the FEAD after installing the block in the chassis. Having the FEAD removed makes it a lot easier to access the mounts, etc.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by TipsyMcStagger View Post
    I commend your resourcefulness and I realize the Holley setup is expensive and might not be an option for some; That said, I think the money for the Holley setup is money well spent. It simply works and it's quite compact. Also, the Holley kit comes with an actual Sanden SD7 compressor, while the Dirty Dingo and others come with a Chinese knockoff Sanden "style" compressor. So, while I respect your efforts at building a better (cheaper) mousetrap, I think the Holley setup is worth the price.

    Also, just my experience (we're all using different mounts) but I found it easiest to install the FEAD after installing the block in the chassis. Having the FEAD removed makes it a lot easier to access the mounts, etc.
    Thank you for your comments and for sharing your experience. I will probably wind up there soon! I will need to make my decision before specking any hoses or other components... I don't really regret the process of building the bracket, as it was kinda fun, but I do regret the hours I put into it. Oh well.


    As for the FEAD, I really appreciate the tip. I did spend the day yesterday installing all the FEAD, but I needed to do this anyway to clean 'em up and make sure all was well. Obviously, it is not a big deal to take off the AC, PS pump, and alternator, and so I will. Am I right in thinking the water pump can stay, though?

    Also, despite having read about 10 swap threads (and counting), it still isn't clear to me whether the headers get installed before or after installing the block. Comments?
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorV8ed View Post
    ... Am I right in thinking the water pump can stay, though?
    I doubt the water pump will get in your way, especially if you have the front of the car removed (not trying to swing the engine in from over the core support, etc).

    Quote Originally Posted by motorV8ed View Post
    Also, despite having read about 10 swap threads (and counting), it still isn't clear to me whether the headers get installed before or after installing the block. Comments?
    With the JTR mounts, there's no way I could swing the engine in with the headers. Again, every mount setup presents different challenges but after much trial and error (and after scratching much of the heat coating off of my headers) this is what I found worked best for me;

    I would attach the hoist to support the weight of the engine. Then, one at a time, I would remove the engine mount from the block. It took several times test fitting the headers to figure out that removing the mount was the key to simplifying things, for my setup. I could drop the passenger side header in from above. The drivers side header (again, with the block supported by the hoist and the engine mount removed) needed to be raised up from underneath. Having the front of the car elevated a bit greatly simplifies this.

    Again, every mount/header combination will be different. But after much frustration and scratching the hell out of my headers, this is what worked best for me using JTR mounts (which use OE rubber C4 isolators mounted to the E36 subframe).

    The steel mounts circled in red below are what I unbolt and remove from the block when installing/removing the headers. You can see why having the FEAD removed is a benefit. If the FEAD were installed, if would be a lot tougher to access and remove the mount.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by TipsyMcStagger; 05-16-2019 at 07:13 AM.

  7. #32
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    Thank you for the additional info, Tipsy. That makes a lot of sense, and I am sure I will be trying various strategies to crack this nut.

    Just a small update from progress yesterday. I worked on the back end, pulling the old pilot bearing (non-trivial), and then installing a new LS7 flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate. I also trimmed that plastic splash guard near the starter, and installed a new starter. I am now working on a heat shield for the starter; I think I will take my old GM clip-on heat shield (#GM 12668713) and rivet a larger stainless steel sheet to it.

    Anyway, here are some progress pix from the back end:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by C10 LS1 1968 View Post
    Again a bit late but don't forget a bit of RTV on the rear cover and timing cover where it meets the oil pan.

    Just back from a cruise around the local lakes in the 68 C10. Such a radical difference from the C10 to the E36. The C10 is so much the old school hot rod. Still fun but just makes you think about the progress over 51 years.
    Good looking truck! A C10 is on my drool list of things I want.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorV8ed View Post
    Some more pics of AC bracket:
    What I have learned is it's sometime better to experiment with readily available solutions rather then create your own. Not that you didn't do a good job its more a matter of what you unexpectedly invest in material and time. I learned that on my first swap. The other big take away is I ripped everything (mainly chassis) down to bare bones and cleaned/painted everything. Won't do that again. I learned I would rather have it running then something I tinker with for years. More me ranting and sharing experiences, you have great progress so far. Thanks for sharing.
    Last edited by Lantz; 05-30-2019 at 11:36 PM.

  10. #35
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    Thanks for the kind words on the C10. It's been a great swap. I look forward to the summer months. I'm already looking forward to the next project. Don't what it is yet and that is the cool thing about projects. Never know what turns up. Just missed a real nice 68 AMX project. Never did a AMX but liked the body style. My trouble is that I like all the cool cars. 60's, 70"s, 80's and 90's. Our current long distance hot rod is a 2014 Mustang 5.0 vert. It's a great hot rod.

  11. #36
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    Very small bit of progress. I had more or less finished what I wanted to do on the engine for now, and turned my attention to the chassis. I thought it may be a big deal to strip off the bumper/front panel/radiator, etc., but it did not take long at all. Maybe because Jim had already done it, I don't know. Anyway, after about 2 hours of wrenching (and labeling and documenting), I have that inviting gaping hole in the front of the car.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  12. #37
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    I am super stoked to see you attempted at finding another solution vs the sanden/holley setups, ya it was money/time wasted but it's really cool to do these types of things. Only makes you better at trying some other crazy idea later haha.

    I Went down the same path, tried Fbody compressor and it didn't fit then eventually went with Sanden+Dirty dingo combo, it worked really well and kept me super cool during the AZ summers. But I found out that I didn't like driving the car in the super heat lol


    I hope someone eventually finds a setup that works to help other "budget build" type projects

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by RulyLSX View Post
    I am super stoked to see you attempted at finding another solution vs the sanden/holley setups, ya it was money/time wasted but it's really cool to do these types of things. Only makes you better at trying some other crazy idea later haha.

    I Went down the same path, tried Fbody compressor and it didn't fit then eventually went with Sanden+Dirty dingo combo, it worked really well and kept me super cool during the AZ summers. But I found out that I didn't like driving the car in the super heat lol


    I hope someone eventually finds a setup that works to help other "budget build" type projects

    Thanks for the kind words, Ruly. I appreciate it.

    Actually, I am going to continue to tilt at this particular windmill. I was discussing it with my wife, and it clicked for me that I am going to pursue it because it is fun! I stopped by the junkyard the other day, and measured the compressor on a 2005 Silverado (same compressor in 2003-2010). It has the same mounting pattern as the earlier compressor, so I can try that on my homemade bracket. It is a Denso 10S17F. I am not aware of any bad reports on this compressor.

    My bracket is for the compressor from the V6 model. The V8 has the same compressor, but it has a different mounting pattern. The V6 mount is easier to adapt, and, as a bonus, sits right on top of the engine for easy removal! Don't even have to get under the truck.

    DSCN2738.jpg
    Last edited by motorV8ed; 06-01-2019 at 10:10 AM.
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  14. #39
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    I wouldn't call yesterday's effort a "test fit." I don't even think it qualifies for "pre-test fit." Let's call it an "ante-pre-test fit." I merely hoisted the engine and pushed it into the engine bay.

    I just wanted to get a vague sense of what I will be facing when trying to install the engine. I left the FEAD on, just to get a sense of what the clearances will be. I also left the tranny OFF, to simplify things a lot, but I left the bellhousing on for checking clearances. I didn't even put the hood in the service position (more on that later).

    Of course, the first time was a little nerve-racking, but it went pretty well. I used some big pieces of plastic as guides/guardrails to keep the engine from banging about in the bay. (I was working alone.)

    At first, I left the engine mounts and adapters attached to the chassis. However, clearance to the bellhousing was a little tight, so I took them off later. It seems like the right course of action will be to remove the mounts, push the engine in until the bellhousing clears the mount area, then install the mounts to the engine, then shoot for aligning the mounts with the frame. (Comments?)

    I left the steering shaft attached, because I was going nowhere near installing the engine. However, it looks like I should remove the shaft, and then reinstall it after the engine is in?

    I am working in a garage; with the garage door open, the overhead space is limited. I will try putting the hood closer to the service position, but I will not be able to get it fully vertical. I think I will gain enough space to get the cherry picker in far enough to install the engine, but maybe not. If necessary, I will remove the hood, but obviously prefer not to.

    DSCN3004.jpgDSCN3012.jpgDSCN3016.jpgDSCN3017.jpgDSCN3020.jpg
    Last edited by motorV8ed; 06-01-2019 at 10:16 PM.
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorV8ed View Post
    If necessary, I will remove the hood, but obviously prefer not to.
    Remove the hood.

    (1) It takes 45 seconds to remove the hood.

    (2) You risk cracking the windshield moving the hood to the service position (ask me how I know).

    (3) It'll be way easier working on everything at the rear of the engine bay with the hood removed.

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by TipsyMcStagger View Post
    Remove the hood.

    (1) It takes 45 seconds to remove the hood.

    (2) You risk cracking the windshield moving the hood to the service position (ask me how I know).

    (3) It'll be way easier working on everything at the rear of the engine bay with the hood removed.

    Sounds like a plan! Thanks for the solid info.
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  17. #42
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    For steering shaft - if your steering shaft goes between the header tubes then for your engine install you will need to remove it. Make sure you keep your wheels straight, do mark both sides of the shaft so you can install it roughly on the same splines and lock the steering wheel so it does not move without shaft or you are running the risk of ruining your clockspring.

    If you can put your car on the jack stands it will help you greatly monuverimg the engine in as you will need to be angling it with your hoist leveler with transmission attached, otherwise you will be hitting the floor with trainy tail.

    I would suggest shortening the arm on the hoist, it will be easier to monuver it. Also as lowering the subfram will help you tramandiously and you will not need to remove the hood. It is just 4 bolts that hold the subframe in place, just put a jack under it, undo 4 bolts and you can slowly lower it and let it hang on the struts, and whatever else is attached to it. Just make sure steeringshaft is disconnected by then.
    Last edited by bimerok; 06-02-2019 at 09:45 AM.
    - 96 328is 6.0L. (LS1 to LS2 build thread: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...ad.php?2098938)
    - 96 328is 5.7L. (LS1 build thread: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1289987)
    - 95 ///M3 6.0L. (LS2 build thread: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1619249)

    - 97 ///M3. (e46 Fender Flares/track car build thread: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1727098)
    - 96 328is (Dual Fuel Pump to Surge Tank thread: http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...ad.php?1964025)

  18. #43
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    Keep in mind that you need to have it high enough to crawl under there and get the transmission mount on. The engine mounts will not support the weight.

    Moving the arm on the engine hoist back will greatly help as mentioned above.


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  19. #44
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    In brief response to previous input:
    -Hood is gone!
    -I have the car up on "hillbilly jackstands," viz., I put a tire/wheel from my Honda under each of the BMW wheels. This raises the car about 6". Of course, I cannot lower the subframe in this arrangement, as Leo suggested. May have to employ my real jackstands.
    -My steering shaft doesn't go through the headers. However, Jim (C10, etc.) told me it helps to remove it anyway. I spent an embarrassingly long time the other day figuring out the way to remove the Flaming River shaft that Jim put in without a mm to spare! Frankly, I have a hard time even fathoming how to install this with the engine installed. It was all I could do to install it while being able to sit in the engine compartment.

    On to progress:
    I replaced the old clutch (and slave cylinder) with a LS7 unit. However, I had not yet measured to see if a shim was needed for the slave. Sadly, it appeared I did. I was bummed, as progress came to a halt, and I ordered a 0.180" shim on June 3. It was due to arrive late on 6/6, so it looked like I was going to suffer a delay of 3 days. However, I was busy all day June 4 with other things anyway. I worked on other stuff this AM (June 5), and then the shim arrived at noon. Yes!

    I bench-bled the slave cylinder, installed the Tick remote bleeder, and installed the slave cylinder. I then re-attached my l'il hydraulic jack to the platform supporting my T56 tranny to reincarnate my crude transmission jack. Jacked up the T56 to approximate height, greased the spindle with correct grease, and slid the tranny home. It went unreasonably smoothly. It only took a small adjustment to the jack height, and I was able to mate the tranny to the bellhousing. I broke out my new ICT Billet bolts, applied some Blue Loctite, and torqued to spec.

    DSCN3034.jpgDSCN3035.jpgDSCN3037.jpgDSCN3038.jpgDSCN3039.jpg
    Last edited by motorV8ed; 06-06-2019 at 08:01 AM.
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  20. #45
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    How did you know you needed a shim? i didn't have to use one... or at least i don't think I need one .. I didn't check haha, I have a t56 magnum with an ls7 clutch. Clutch works fine though and disengages properly

  21. #46
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    For better or worse, I followed this procedure: https://www.tickperformance.com/tick...nder-shim-180/


    Attachment 653257

    I really wanted it to just be okay without a shim. I measured many times, and my "A minus B" distance was well over a quarter inch, like 0.32 or so. Purveyors of doom on the interwebs have said this will lead to grinding during shifting (due to incomplete disengagement), premature hair loss, and infertility. So I bit the bullet and added it.
    Last edited by motorV8ed; 06-06-2019 at 08:12 AM.
    Diving in at the shallow end!

  22. #47
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    Glad to hear the trans slid in easily. Mine didn't want to go the last 1/4 inch or so. Ended up using the bellhousing bolts to snug it down finally. Went with a pilot bushing instead of the bearing and it was tighter on the mainshaft though so that was the culprit. Also shimmed my slave with the one included in my clutch kit. I think I measured ten times just because I didn't want to have to pull it all apart later. I used the same method you referenced and fingers crossed I got it right.

  23. #48
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    Paul,

    Jim here. As I get older my memory does fade a bit. But as I recall the last thing to be installed will be the steering shaft. Engine in. Motor mounts in. Headers in. Then attach the steering shaft to the steering column keeping as said above the steering wheel straight ahead. Then unbolt the steering rack and lower it enough to slide the steering shaft onto the splined end of the rack keeping the tries straight ahead. Again I believe that as I built the headers the steering shaft goes thru the headers. I could be wrong. I will look to see if I have any pics.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by motorV8ed View Post
    For better or worse, I followed this procedure: https://www.tickperformance.com/tick...nder-shim-180/


    Attachment 653257

    I really wanted it to just be okay without a shim. I measured many times, and my "A minus B" distance was well over a quarter inch, like 0.32 or so. Purveyors of doom on the interwebs have said this will lead to grinding during shifting (due to incomplete disengagement), premature hair loss, and infertility. So I bit the bullet and added it.

    Thank you for this, i've done a handful of clutch swaps and never did this, will keep it in mind next time. Will be going with a mcleod next round and want to make sure everything is dialed in perfectly


    you are making great progress btw! keep it going

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by C10 LS1 1968 View Post
    Then unbolt the steering rack and lower it enough to slide the steering shaft onto the splined end of the rack keeping the tries straight ahead.
    Will definitely keep that in mind! The way I did it was to exploit the fact that the spline of the steering column near the firewall is spring-mounted; it can retract a few mm under spring pressure. That was enough to allow me to get the shaft into the universal joint. However, it was not an easy task, even with no engine installed.

    Again I believe that as I built the headers the steering shaft goes thru the headers. I could be wrong. I will look to see if I have any pics.
    Any pics would be awesome. I cannot post a pic of the header at the moment, as they are off being ceramicoated. But it sure didn't look to me like you could get a shaft anywhere through the headers.

    Thanks in advance.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt330LS View Post
    I think I measured ten times just because I didn't want to have to pull it all apart later. I used the same method you referenced and fingers crossed I got it right.
    EXACTLY! That was my fear -- don't want to have to redo it.

    Glad you got the tranny that last little bit in!


    Quote Originally Posted by RulyLSX View Post
    Thank you for this, i've done a handful of clutch swaps and never did this, will keep it in mind next time. Will be going with a mcleod next round and want to make sure everything is dialed in perfectly

    you are making great progress btw! keep it going
    You are most welcome, and thanks for the kind comments on progress. It usually feels like it is going soooo sloooow! But any progress is good, and I feel like we'll get there eventually.
    Diving in at the shallow end!

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