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Old 12-27-2006, 08:56 PM   #1
checque
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Default How To: A/C Removal

This is a How To for those of you that are interested in removing your entire A/C from the engine bay. It really isn't that heavy, I haven't weighed in, but I was fully expecting each piece that came out to have some weight to it, most did not.
This How To does not go over anything in car, I originally wanted to include that, but unless you plan on using it for track only purposes, you're going to want the fans (which will still blow cool air) for heat. I live in Pittsburgh and Virginia Beach, so I see snow and some decent summers. I never use A/C, I just drop the windows. In the winter, I like my heat.
There are various pics, some are good, most probably suck because I'm not the kind of guy to do something and then grab the camera. I just do it and then remember later that some pics would make for a good write up.
I removed the front bumper because I had a front bumper beam fabbed up that is much lighter than stock or JDM but still retains the ability to use the foam, grill, and bumper cover.
I did some other things at the time too, just out of curiosity, so your car probably won't look like mine when you do this yourself.
Enough talk, I'll try to explain things but once you get into you'll be able to figure it out on your own. Hopefully the pics help everyone out and you can probably refer to them for some other things as well. I did this in my parent's garage, so you really don't need any real tools for this job, it's easy.

First, drain the coolant out of the radiator. You'll need 10mm, 12mm, and 14mm sockets for everything, some extensions of various sizes, flex joint sockets are going to be a huge help, PB Blaster or WD-40, breaker bar, rags, and some long needle nose pliers helped me out as well.


Bumper cover removed, some gay mods done. Radiator and condenser have already been pulled.


Remove these two bolts. Undo the obvious hoses that connect to the radiator. On either side of the radiator, near the bottom side on the back, there are plugs you'll have to disconnect. Once these two bolts are removed and the hoses are disconnected and those 2 plugs are disconnected, you can pull the radiator right up out of the engine bay and set it aside.


The 2 plugs on the backside of the radiator.


Put your radiator aside, carefull, it will drain some more coolant as it sits. (I HATE coolant!)
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Last edited by checque; 12-28-2006 at 12:08 AM. Reason: Addition of some pics
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Old 12-27-2006, 08:56 PM   #2
checque
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Alright, we've got the radiator out of the way. Now we can attack the A/C system. I read about people suggesting you go get your A/C evacuated at some shop and they'll do it for free sometimes and blah blah blah. Some people claimed it was messy to do it yourself, others were tree huggers and cared about the environment, and some were just scared because they might not have a whole lot of wrenching time. I called around, the dealership wanted $40 bucks. Some muffler shop manager said it was easy and not messy, just do it myself. For someone who's never turned a wrench before, evacuating the system is extremely easy.
There are two places to do this, one I have a pic for and the other I don't.


This is one way to do it. There used to be a bolt there, and you can see where the goo leaked everywhere. Just slowly back the bolt off until you hear the hissing, then go about 2 more turns. Put a rag around it to catch the goo (more like an oily film, not too bad). It will take a minute or two to drain, DO NOT breath in the fumes. Do this in a well ventilated area, like both garage doors open. Walk away for a couple minutes and let it drain, then come back and wipe up.


The second place to do this, which makes for a quicker clean up, is behind the TMIC. Same procedure, slowly crack it open and then go a couple extra turns. Walk away for a bit and come back.

Before or after you do this, take the belt off. I took the tensioner off and just cut the belt with a hacksaw. Nothing else runs off that belt, NOTHING, so no worries about power steering or water pumps or whatever else you're worried about.


Now you need to pull the A/C compressor. There are 2 bolts underneath that are a PITA to get at, this is where the flex socket comes in handy. There are other bolts on top and in the front. Take all of them out and the A/C compressor will lift right out.


Here's a side shot of the compressor to help you understand where all the bolts are. This isn't a heavy piece, unfortunately.

Once you pull the compressor, the alternator is probably only being held in place by 1 or 2 bolts now. Make sure you put the appropriate bolts back that hold it securely in place, or this would be a good time to move the alternator to the A/C compressor's former place of residence and reverse your intake manifold . . . I'm not doing that How To, it's already been done, search.

Last edited by checque; 12-28-2006 at 12:25 AM. Reason: Pics and explaining
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Old 12-27-2006, 08:57 PM   #3
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Alright, now we need to pull all the lines out and dress the engine bay up real nice (do that last part on you're own).
There are lots of pics missing for this part, but any line that is shiny and silver and connects to either the A/C compressor or the condenser, needs to come out.
I used a hacksaw for one of these, might be a good idea for you too (I never liked pulling that TMIC off, and there is a line that runs behind it. If you have strut braces, the front will need to come off to get at a retainer for the line).


Great example of what I was talking about. Trace this line around the engine bay and remove it. This is the one I hacked up so I could pull it out without pulling the TMIC off.


This piece is under the windshield fluid resevoir. I pulled it up out of the way and unbolted this piece and bolted the resevoir back up.


Another shot of that retainer.

Alright, now that you've got all those lines out, we'll pull the condenser.

This line is bolted into the condenser, you should've already pulled it so we're good. Continue on.


These are where you're looking for bolts on the condenser. The 2 near the top are in front. The 2 on the bottom are on the backside.


See how badly mine got beat up. I bet you can't wait until your radiator gets beat up this bad! Now you probably want to put the condenser back in for protection! If you're that concerned, put a screen in. This was after 2 years of driving, BTW.

That's all there is to it. Just reinstall your radiator now, don't forget to hook up the connections to the fans and tighten up all the hoses and refill it, and you're good to go.

Last edited by checque; 12-28-2006 at 12:39 AM. Reason: End of the job
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Old 12-27-2006, 08:57 PM   #4
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Alright, here is what I came across when I looked into the interior side of this job. Unless you're ripping out the interior for a full track car or are just looking to pull the middle vents to put gauges there, I don't recommend going this far because it's just a stupid amount of work for almost nothing.


Pull the glove box and you will see an interior similar to this. To see how little you can to pull the A/C lines from the interior, focus on these spots to get the lower half of the blower off.


It looks like this.


Yep, what a disappointment. That is all you're going to remove from the inside. I never could get it out that day, it's really in there. You have to pretty much pull the entire dash out, but it's a little more fun to smash it out with a sledge when you're going full race.


And for those wanted to put gauges in the vents, here you go. Pull up and back on the shifter piece. There are 2 screws on either side for the piece around the cd player. Grab the bottom of that and pull out. There are 2 clips near the top, on each side, stick a screwdriver in those spots to pop them off and that piece will come off. Now there are 3 screws on the bottom, underside of the vent piece. Unscrew them and that will pull off.


Well, I suck at How To's, but maybe that will help someone accomplish something.
I have no argument for removing my A/C. I hate it, I never use it, and I hate when other people drive my car and use it. It's not that heavy, so don't expect to notice a difference in handling. Individually the components didn't feel like they'd add up to 20lbs, but they actually do. I was wrong, this is a fairly decent weight savings mod.I had more power than an STi at this point and didn't do it for performance gains, I highly doubt that there were any anyway.
BTW, this was done to an 05 WRX that had the comfort package, basically a fat pig that kept me warm in the winter.
Any questions, post 'em up. I'm sure someone will answer them faster than me.

Put anti-fog on your windshield if it becomes an issue. My brother does this and it actually works really well.

Last edited by checque; 12-28-2006 at 03:00 AM. Reason: I was wrong, it is heavy
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Old 12-27-2006, 11:38 PM   #5
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I'll just post here to sort of screw up your order here. Why not just type it all out in Word or something, and then copy/past here to the forums?
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Old 12-28-2006, 12:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bomber991 View Post
I'll just post here to sort of screw up your order here. Why not just type it all out in Word or something, and then copy/past here to the forums?
I planned on people like you doing that, that's why I reserved spots. Gotta wake up early in the morning to pull one over on me.
Good idea, but I probably won't ever do this again.
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Old 12-28-2006, 01:01 AM   #7
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So you didn't remove the evaporator from the "Heater Cooling Unit" assembly?

According to the weights table, all the under-hood components for the AC (belt, tensioner, compressor, lines, condensor) total up to about 22lbs.

Last edited by nhluhr; 12-28-2006 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 12-28-2006, 01:11 AM   #8
checque
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It just didn't seem that heavy to me, put them all together and it's probably close, I was just expecting the compressor to feel like a 6-pack of beer.
The blower was kicking my arse then, I was fuming from a side project and just wanted to drive the car again, so I put it back together without messing with the inside anymore. It's a different story now, I'm almost done with the transformation from almost stock 2.0L to dedicated track 2.7L. Just wanted to give something back to the community after all this time.

Last edited by checque; 12-28-2006 at 01:15 AM. Reason: mods are always right
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Old 12-28-2006, 01:14 AM   #9
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the service manual details a procedure for removing the evaporator but it is not clear if the heater will still be 'functional' after evaporator removal... i.e. - not sure if the evaporator forms a part of the heater/blower unit's structure or if it just inserts into/onto it somehow.
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:54 AM   #10
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I pulled the blower apart on my 05 and it didn't appear to have anything A/C related inside. You can see the A/C lines coming thru the firewall in one of the pics, but they don't go very far into the inside of the car. From what I could gather, and I'm not savvy on A/C or heating elements, but it looks like the blower is nothing more than a filter, fan, and heater.
That blower is fairly heavy though, I remember it being heavier than the compresser. Could be a summer mod for people . . .
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:57 AM   #11
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the blower is a separate assembly from the heat/cool module... the evaporate is part of the heat/cool module, but it's only a small radiator type thing and probably not much weight at all.
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Old 12-28-2006, 03:00 AM   #12
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Post 4, first pic, upper right? That what you're referring to?
I have no owner's manual, I just figure things out as I go
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Old 12-28-2006, 03:10 AM   #13
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yep that's what it looks like in the service manual as far as i can tell...
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Old 12-28-2006, 03:43 AM   #14
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I've heard of people hearing noises from behind the glove box, like gurgling sounds, and that would be the heater for just about every Subaru. I'll check with my old man tomorrow, he owned a few Scoobies and took the A/C out and also worked for Subaru for a number of years. I'm sure I'll have a solid answer for this once I talk to him.

Edit: The service manual lists the evaporator as a 5 hour job. My old man never removed any of his, but as far as he knows, it's just like a small radiator just as nhluhr stated. Weight savings is very minimal, maybe 2-3lbs. It's more hassle than it's worth, if it takes techs near 5 hours, it would take us 2-3 times that.

Last edited by checque; 12-28-2006 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:05 AM   #15
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is the removal of the a/c possible without taking the radiator out? i want to tackle doing this this weekend but would prefferbly not take out the radiator.
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Old 11-09-2007, 11:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrx tekker View Post
is the removal of the a/c possible without taking the radiator out? i want to tackle doing this this weekend but would prefferbly not take out the radiator.
Unless you can magically pull it through the bumper beam,the radiator has to come out....yeah..fun
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Old 01-10-2008, 02:21 PM   #17
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Thanks for this post!

This is exactly what I've been looking for.

FYI...you should rip all of that sound deadening material behind the dash out. That stuff all adds up to about 25lbs. It does get loud though.
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Old 01-10-2008, 02:27 PM   #18
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Can you remove the compressor without taking the radiator off?

Clearly the radiator has to come out to get to the condensor...
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Old 01-12-2008, 06:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ejh25 View Post
Can you remove the compressor without taking the radiator off?

Clearly the radiator has to come out to get to the condensor...
I'll answer my own question with my experience from today: YES you can remove the compressor and all engine bay A/C lines with the radiator left in the car. The condensor requires the removal of the radiator and I'm going to wait on that until I have a need to lift the radiator.

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Old 04-10-2008, 07:37 AM   #20
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:34 AM   #21
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Just saw this pop up....I think I'll sticky it since it comes up from time to time.

One thing to add though:

You CAN remove the condensor without removing the radiator. I know as I did it this weekend on my car. It's a two man job though. You undo the top two bolts as shown in picture 2. Then, your friend can blend the radiator out of the way (it flexes via the rubber hose on the bottom). Removal was tricky for my but VERY doable. Putting in the new one was much easier for some reason. If you remove the radiator expansion tank it gives you some extra room. So I swapped out condensors in literally 30 minutes.
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:24 PM   #22
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I would just like to add a warning that you defogger for the front window won't work very well at all after the A/C has been removed, if driving in very foggy and humid areas, you may find that it addition to keeping all of the windows open, you will have to keep wiping the interior of the windshield by hand to maintain good visibility.
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:33 AM   #23
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I would like to get my hands on some used a/c components
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:41 PM   #24
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isnt it against the law to release those harmful chemicals into the atmosphere... $10,000+ dollar fine FTL !
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:26 PM   #25
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What do you do about the connecter in the firewall where the condenser lines plugged into?

just find some kind of a plug so they don't get exposed to dirt/sand?
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