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spankrjs's Biloxi, MS '83 Scrambler


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
OK, pics of what the JeepAir kit includes.


Dryer, belts, compressor brackets, idler pulley and bracket, nuts and bolts, and dryer bracket:


Pressure switch, condenser mounting bracket material, bag of screws, AC rubber hose fittings:


New compressor:


Various lengths of AC hose, 3 different sizes:




And the under dash unit:



Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
I installed the under dash unit first. A few "issues".

Go ahead and cut off the top part of your gas pedal now. You wont get the under dash unit in place without cutting it. Cutting the pedal in no way affects its operation. The instructions mention this "might be an issue on Wranglers", I will say it was an issue on my Scrambler. Pretty easy step.


The next issue I ran across: When you go to bolt the under dash unit to the bottom of the dash, the inner most screw that holds the glove box door in place prevents this from happening.


So, I removed this screw, still need to figure out how to secure the glove box door on this side. Even with the screw removed, the flat steel mounting bracket of the under dash unit interferes with the inner most hinge of the glove box door. So, I marked then trimmed the mounting plate of the under dash unit:


With the mounting plate trimmed for the glove box door hinge, the door works like normal. BUT, I need to look at a factory AC Jeep to see how the hell they screwed this thing in place???


Anyway, the door stays shut, and opens fine, but I still need to secure this hinge somehow:


And the under dash unit installed. The blue tape just shows where the screw holes (4) in the bottom of the dash are. And the tape in the center shows the center line of the dash/center line of the under dash unit. Working from center, I was able to use three existing holes in the bottom of the dash, I had to drill the one hole in the bottom of the dash to line up with under dash unit mounting hole directly above the AC Fan/Compressor knobs.


The other "issue" - The little doo-hickey that sticks out the back of the evaporator just touches the heater box. I actually loosened the passenger side of the dash to get the under dash unit bolted in place. On mine, it barely touches. Other people have said they had to cut the heater box to get clearance. Mine touches, so not ideal.


Realistically, the dash should not be moving independently of the fire wall, but would still like some clearance. What I will probably due:

1) Remove the three screws that hold the dash to the body (the three that run vertically on the very edge of passenger side dash)
2) Place a washer between the dash and body at these three bolt locations
3) Replace the factory dash bolts with counter sunk screws (this will alleviate screw heads hitting the door)

Once the under dash unit was bolted in place, I installed this little reinforcing bracket on the driver side, under the fan housing:



That finished up the under dash unit install. So, things to note:

1) Trim gas pedal before trying to install under dash unit
2) Loosen up dash on passenger side before trying to install under dash unit
3) Check doo-hickey to heater box clearance
4) Inner most glove box door hinge/screw
5) Check fan operation before bolting in unit (if it is rubbing, you can loosen the fan mounting screws and adjust it)

I'll post more install stuff later.


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
OK, two quick random things I did before I installed the condenser.

I painted the kit supplied compressor bracket spacers, they come unpainted.


And also jumping ahead, I did not want to drill holes through the fire wall to run the AC lines. From the factory, the fire wall has a removable plate on the passenger side, near the floor. IIRC, factory AC jeeps do not have this plate, they use a big grommet in its place. Anyway, I wanted to drill the holes through this plate to run the AC lines. Picture of the removable plate:


And after careful measuring, marking and drilling, I was able to use this plate as my AC line entrance.


The picture above shows where the instructions want you to drill the holes. The holes in the factory plate will also work, as we will see in the future.


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
Condenser install time.

The kit comes with some thin "holy plates" to make mounting brackets for the condenser, since it is not a direct bolt in. This is similar to an aftermarket transmission cooler install. Some people have commented that these plates are too thin, they worked fine for me. If you are not happy with them, I would still use them to mock up the install, then use them as templates to make beefier brackets.

Anyway, I made the two top brackets as indicated in the instructions. The one thing I did not use were the supplied screws. I used #8 stainless bolts with nylon lock nuts in their place. The screws did not impress me. Picture of a top bracket, cut from the supplied plates. NOTE - the AC line fittings should point to the passenger side.


The instructions somewhere mention you want space between the face of the radiator and the face of the condenser. In order to do this, I installed some longer bolts at the top, threaded on a nut. This kicked the condenser out, away from the face of the radiator. Not the best picture, but shows the inside of the grill, upper mounting studs with the nut spacers:


With my "nut spacers", I ended up with 1/2" space between the face of the radiator and the back face of the condenser. You can't get much more space then this, or the condenser will hit the grill.

When I installed the condenser, with the instruction dictated upper bracket size, the condenser was too high in the grill IMO. Also, the hood latch was rubbing on the face of the condenser. So, I made some longer upper mounting brackets:


With the longer upper brackets spacing the condenser downward, it is more centered in the grill, and more importantly, with the clutch fan:


And, the hood latch does not rub on the condenser fins. You can see where I slightly damaged some of the fins with the more upward/instruction dictated mounting height:


Once the upper brackets are made and the condenser in hung, time to make the lower mounting brackets. I used the pictured tool to bend the brackets, worked perfect:


And the installed condenser, centered in the grill opening, centered with the clutch fan:



Technically, the 258 is offset some to the driver side, but this is a good as I could get it. You cant slide the condenser over to the driver side, or it hits the headlight bucket.

A few notes on my "issues" with this part of the install:

1) Don't use the kit supplied screws. I used #8 bolts with lock nuts, more secure install, bit more PIA to use, but worth it
2) Take your time centering up the condenser before drilling the holes in your grill
3) My install height did result in having to trim the DS headlight bucket to install the upper AC line (we will see that in the future)

Next, I installed the dryer. I didn't use any exact measurements, just eyeballed it. But, make sure you can get the line from the dryer to the condenser through the grill. This will really dictate where you mount the dryer.


NOTE - The kit supplied dryer bracket is a hair loose around the dryer. I simply wrapped some black electric tape around the dryer, to make its OD slightly larger. This made the dryer fit snug in its bracket.


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
Time to install the compressor.

Not technically challenging, but I did have a minor issue - My engine is a 258, but it has either a 4.0 timing chain cover, or an aftermarket replacement. So, the mounting lugs/cast protrusions on the front do not exactly match a 4.2 timing chain cover.

The picture below shows my stock alternator bracket. You can see how I had to space it off the front of the timing chain cover to get the pulleys aligned:


I made a note of my spacers, then removed the alternator and bracket:


And a picture of all the plates/bolts/spacers that make up the new compressor/alternator mounting brackets:


The kit provides you with an exploded diagram drawing on how all this goes together. A bit like a puzzle, but not too bad.

I installed the upper rear mount first, to the two existing tapped holes in the block/head:


Before I could mount the front plate, I had a slight issue. One of the holes in the block was threaded, and the bolt needs to slip through this hole:


So, I drilled through the threaded hole with a 3/8 bit. NOTE -I had to use an angle drill, not enough room to use a normal drill, unless you remove the grill.


I then bolted on the front mounting plate, spaced out like I had the alternator bracket:


But, when I installed the idler pulley to check for pulley alignment, I was too far forward:


So, I installed the front mounting plate flat to the timing chain cover, so I only had spacers at the the top and bottom mounting bolt locations. You can also see the lower rear compressor mounting plate installed in the below picture.


Much better, the pulleys will align perfectly:


NOTE - I would imagine if you have a stock 258 timing chain cover, you should be good to go. My cover required me to use spacers at the top and bottom mounting bolts, so that the front mounting plate would bolt on flush to the cover. Just something to watch out for.


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
Time to bolt in the compressor.

NOTE - I left all of the mounting plates bolted loosely in place. I bolted the compressor to the mounting plates securely first, then snugged up the mounting plate to block/timing chain cover bolts second.



Make sure you slip the belt on first, before bolting up the compressor, don't ask me how I know !!!!!!!!

One other note. In the picture below, at this mounting bolt location, make sure the compressor mounting lug sits flush to the mounting plate. Or, it could be something with the bolt to hole. I remember having some slight interference here, so pay attention.


Next, the alternator bolts in place.



The picture above shows the idler pulley bolted to the front plate (aluminum arm). This simply bolts on with one bolt. But, this is also where you tension the AC compressor belt. It is not spring loaded like a modern belt tensioner, and rely's on the attaching bolt being tight. This did not work on my install, more on this later.


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
With evaporator, condenser, dryer, and compressor bolted in place, you now have to make up all the AC lines. This rubber AC hose is pretty stiff, but will bend without kinking. The one thing it wont do is twist. As long as you have a straight fitting on one end of the line, the orientation of the 90 degree fitting wont matter. BUT, if you use two 90's (or 45's) on a line, you have to get the orientation of the fitting to the hose correct, since the hose will not twist. I think I had two lines where I had 90'on both ends. So, besides cutting the hose the correct length, I also had to mark the orientation of the fittings to the hose correctly. In the picture below, you can see where I made a mark on the hose and fitting. Those marks have to line up when the fitting is crimped on.


All the hoses cut to length, fittings loosely installed, ready to be crimped. Note - Run the two lines that go inside the cab through the mounting plate before you have the lines crimped, makes life much easier.


After cutting all the lines, and deciding what fitting to use, I brought my lines to a parts store that had the special AC line crimping tool. I would have used an AC shop, but they are all closed on Saturday. Anyway, I had to buy one fitting from them, plus the 8 crimps, cost $25.

I mentioned earlier I had to trim the headlight bucket to get the upper condenser hose connected. IF you mount the condenser higher, like the instructions mention, this might not be necessary. But, if you do that, the hood latch rubs the condenser. I trimmed the headlight bucket as shown below, no problem:


Picture inside the grill, showing the two condenser lines. I wrapped them in plastic tubing to prevent chaffing. You can see the upper fitting to headlight bucket tightness.


Since my grill is not the correct '83 grill, I had to run my condenser hoses through this hole. The correct grill has a larger hole here, plus a hole on the side of the grill. I had no problem using my grills small hole, but it is tight.


NOTE - Do not install the radiator until the hoses are connected!!!!!!!!!

And, the two hoses that run into the cab running through the factory plate. I had to trim the backsides of the grommets to make it all work. Not the prettiest trim job, but it works, and it is all nice and tight:


And inside the cab, the hoses connected up. They are tight to the firewall/heater box, so no real loss of foot room.


Much busier under the hood now, with all the damn AC lines and heater hoses!!!!!!!


Notes on the hoses.

1) Mark your non straight AC fittings to the AC hose for alignment, if you have two 90 degree fittings on the same hose
2) Don't forget to install the o-rings on the fittings
3) Don't install the radiator until the condenser lines are installed
4) Trimming of the driver side headlight bucket may be necessary


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
And, finishing up.

The original upper radiator hose I was using would not work anymore, it was hitting the alternator. Also, I had to lengthen my heater hoses, due to the higher mounted alternator. On my heater hoses, I am using adapters to go from the larger size (at the water pump) to the smaller size (at the heater core), that is why you see hose clamps in the middle of the hoses.


I sourced a new upper radiator hose from NAPA, the part# is in the picture, lengthened the heater hoses, everything is swell:



With everything back together, time to do the wiring. The AC only has three wires:

1) Ground - I grounded it to the firewall with one of the gas pedal bolts, works fine.


2) Switched power source - I originally did this, temporarily, but it draws 30 amps, so I eventually installed a relay under the hood


3) Pressure Switch - plugs onto one of the compressor fittings


4) The third wire, from the under dash unit, to the compressor/pressure switch. I temporarily ran this wire loose, I eventually ran it in the existing wire loom on that side of the engine. I left this unplugged, until I charged the system.


One last thing before charging it up, installing the drain line from the under dash unit. I drilled a hole through the transmission "hump" up close to the firewall, out of the way of wayward feet.


And it dumps out on the side of the bell housing, near the stock vent drain hose:



Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
And finished. It may not look like NOS, but looks pretty good to me.



So, after all that, went and got it charged up. I knew the guy at the AC place, he only charged me $50 to evacuate and charge the system.

OK, so how does it work? It works super great, will freeze you out of the half cab, I never use the highest speed on the fan.

So, a bunch of work, but well worth it, if you live where summer times temps are brutal. When I was younger, I did not have AC in my Jeeps. Now, that I am older and fatter, it is great, makes the vehicle "four season" usable.


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
OK, all that is fine and dandy. But, I did three additional things not listed in the instructions.

#1) AC system power - I ended up installing a 30 amp relay to power up the AC unit. The fan draws a bunch of current. Stock, AMC just wired the AC to the fuse block, but I was a bit hesitant doing this, considering the amp draw. Maybe this units fan draws more amps then an original. Anyway, I mounted the relay, under the hood, near where the stock firewall hole is for the under dash computer. I made a plate, finally, to close this hole, and installed a grommet in the middle of it to run out the AC system wires (power and compressor). Pretty simple, the relay is grounded to the fire wall, gets power from the battery, uses a stock "hot in run" wire, and the wire from the AC unit. I feel better running this off a relay :twocents:


#2) The stock alternator will not cut it. With the engine at idle, the stock 37/49 alternator could not supply enough voltage. The battery would drop below 12 volts. This is the alternator I was using:


NAPA listed another alternator for this year CJ, much more powerful:


The problem with this alternator, the case is a bit larger then the stock alternator, it would not fit in the bracket correctly. Also, it was a bit longer, so it might have hit the compressor AC line fittings.

The good news, AMC/Jeep uses a common Delco 10si alternator. They make these things in all kinds of outputs. I chose one for a late 70's truck with AC:


This alternator bolted right in place. I did "clock" it (pegged the brushes, pulled out the 4 screws holding the alternator together, rotated the rear to a different angle so the plug connections would face the passenger side, screwed it back together, removed the paper clip holding the brushed).

Much better. I will post up a picture later where I was testing the battery charge of the old alternator vs the new one, big difference.


#3) The idler pulley - The crank, water pump, and compressor are locked in place, they do not move relative to each other. So, the idler pulley must be positioned to keep the belt tight. With just a single bolt holding it, it wants to pivot, releasing tension on the AC compressor belt, causing it to slip and squeal. I could not keep it tight. A more modern, spring loaded, tensioner would be better here, but there might not be room. So, what I did, positioned the arm where the belt was tight. Marked the front plate. Then, removed the front plated, drilled and tapped a 5/16" hole. Reinstalled the front plate, tightened the belt, installed my new "peg" bolt, no more tensioner arm backing off.


In the picture above, the screw driver is pointing to the allen headed cap screw I am using to keep the tension arm from backing off. After a few hundred miles, the belt finally finished "stretching", and it was a hair loose. No problem, I removed the bolt, put a thick washer under it (to push the arm tighter), fixed. Like I said, a spring loaded tensioner would work better here:twocents:

All in all, I am happy with the JeepAir AC kit purchase.


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
Quick pic of my redneck alternator test. I recorded the voltage at the battery, not the "correct" thing to do, but whatever.

The column on the far left indicates what I turned on. I kept adding to the left column until everything was on. So, the very top row shows charge at idle. The 2nd column shows the stock alternator performance, the last column shows the higher output alternator performance.


The scribble at the bottom is pulley diameters/ratio.

So, stock, crank spinning alternator only, 169/67 = 2.5 X BASE IDLE RPM of 740= 1867 alternator RPM at idle

With the added AC, which spins the alternator, (169/125) x (125/67) =2.46 x 740 =1820 alternator RPM at idle

Anyway, from the above chart you can see the new alternator does much better. Also, I was testing worst case scenario at idle. I doubt I would ever have the heater fan on high the same time the AC fan is on high :crazy: So, the new alternator keeps me charging above 14 volts at idle, which keeps the fuel injection computer happy.


Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
Fantastic stuff, as always Raymond! :cheers:

One suggestion, I get that this is you continuing to build this Jeep, but this section on the JeepAir install would have been great as a stand-alone thread with a title like "JeepAir A/C Install" whereas these posts just bumped a thread with a title that has nothing to do with A/C and is in the Complete Builds section.

I might suggest (in the future) a stand-alone thread and then linking to that here in your main build thread? It's a little thing as anyone searching "JeepAir" will find this regardless, just from the point of view of helping as many people see your awesome write ups as possible. :thumbsup:


Scrambler Junkie
CJ-8.com Member
You do the best how-to's Raymond.

I have a couple of factory A/C's to install on my non-AC equipped Jeeps. Will probably buy new condensors and hoses, but the compressor and underdash units should be good to go.

I used to make fun of A/C in a CJ, but you're not the only one who's gotten older and fatter, and it gets hot in Arkansas!