spankrjs's Biloxi, MS '83 Scrambler


Scrambler Junkie
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
God's Country
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!


CJ-8 Member Member
Pull the centers out of the old knobs and glue them to the mts knobs. I did that on dads scrambler.


Scrambler Junkie
I have not been happy with how this one rides, the 1" Superlift springs are too stiff. I could have tried some replacement springs, but not sure on who makes quality/replacement/stock/no-lift springs?

People seem happy with the Old Man Emu springs, BUT they are 2.5" lift springs, and you end up having to buy a whole bunch of other parts/pieces/bushings to make them work on a CJ. No big deal, but I am getting lazy.

So, I decided to give BDS a try. They make a "CJ to YJ spring conversion kit", and they sell 2" YJ lift springs. I bought a few other things from them, and basically built a brand new suspension.

Parts I purchased from them:

BDS 124021 (x1) - CJ to YJ Conversion Kit
BDS 004200 (x4) - YJ 2" leaf springs, front or rear (same springs at all four corners)
BDS 074000 (x4) - YJ Spring Bushing/Sleeve Kit (one kit for each leaf spring, shackle hanger bushings come in conversion kit)
BDS 124109 (x2) - CJ rear shackles, 1/2" lift (boomerang style) (each kit contains two shackles)
BDS 85900 (x2) - 13.4 - 21.7 FRONT shock (what they recommended)
BDS 85950 (x2) - 14.65 - 22.95 REAR shock (what they recommended)
BDS 55410 (x1) - steering stabilizer with bushings (must reuse your OEM brackets)
BDS 124002 (x1) - sway bar links with bushings

The above parts list cost around $1,400 from the local BDS dealer. Using the above parts, the only suspension parts you must reuse are:

1) the four 9/16" main eye leaf spring bolts
2) the OEM steering stabilizer brackets
3) upper rear shock nuts, upper and lower front shock nuts and bolts
4) upper sway bar link bolts/nuts

All other suspension parts/bolts are new, and provided, so pretty complete one stop shop.

All the goodies:


Parts contained in the "CJ to YJ Conversion Kit": u-bolts, spring plates, shackle hangers, shackle hanger bushings, drop brackets for front shackle hangers, all new nuts and bolts, grease fittings, spacers


Longer sway bar links with bushings:


Shackle kits:


Leaf spring bushings and sleeves:


I am not going to do a "step by step", but will do the high lights.

All four leaf springs are the same. There is no "front or back" to the springs. They are four leaf packs. They are YJ springs, they use a much larger bushing then a CJ spring. The 9/16" sleeve goes to the fixed frame hanger, the 1/2" sleeve goes to shackle end of the spring.


I decided to "cheat" and start on the rear suspension first, since it would be "easier". Well, in my haste, I did this:


Broke both capture nuts on the driver side rear shackle hanger. This Jeep isn't rusty, but I still should have heated these old bolts up with a torch, makes removing them much easier.

I ended up dropping longer bolts down through the frame to fix this, but ended up revisiting this repair later. It is a PIA to fish bolts, with washers on them, at this location:


Besides that, the rear went together easy enough.

Note orientation of rear shackles. This is how they go. Also note the shackle hanger, the part with the "triangulated reinforcement" faces out.


The BDS kit came with this spacer to install under the rear brake line "T-Fitting":



Scrambler Junkie
Even with the spacer, the stock length rear brake line is pulled tight at max droop. I need to install a longer rear brake line.


And the rear end finished. Except for my dumbass busing off two captured nuts inside the frame, no other problems, went together easy.

On to the front, which is more work. With frame on jack stands:


Use my MAP gas torch, heated up each front shackle hanger/steering box bracket bolt. Heated up each one for about a minute, then they would turn easy with a wrench. If they started to feel tight, I would reheat them, and loosen up some more. Doing this, got them all out, no problem. Should have done this on the rear, would have saved a lot of time.


A YJ's front springs are longer and wider then a CJ. The length presents a problem, you must slide the shackle hangers forward. There is a factory rivet in the way, on each side. The stock shackle hangers have a hole that goes around these rivets. On the BDS kit, they want you to remove the rivets because a bolt goes here.

Picture of rivet:


I didn't want to grind off the rivets, too many sparks in the garage. I don't have an air chisel. So, I used a drill. The rivets have a center indentation in them, so I used that as a pilot hole, drilled through each rivet with a 5/16" bit. I then used a 1/2" bit to wallow out the lower head of the rivet. I then used a hand chisel and hammer, knocked off the bottom head of the rivet. I then used a punch to remove the rivet body/upper head. Took less then five minute on each side.


View from the top, looking down through the rivet hole.


The BDS kit comes with these 1/4" spacer plates, they go under each front shackle hanger. These spacer plates allow the front bumper to be reinstalled with minimal modifications, more on this later. The kit should have come with a spacer for that one bolt, I need to go back and install washers/spacer.


THE BDS kit comes with all new grade 8 bolts and washers, for all four corners (shackle hangers/steering box bracket bolts). View from below:


Along with the shackle hanger spacer plate, you must also space down the steering box with the included spacers:



Scrambler Junkie
The BDS springs use shallow headed center pin bolts. This is only a problem on the driver side front, where the factory steering stabilizer bracket is sandwiched between the axle foot and the leaf spring. I bought a lightly longer 5/16" center pin bolt, and used a spacer under the head, problem solved.



The driver side front goes together easy. The passenger side front, is a bit of a PIA. The YJ springs are wider, and on the passenger side front the inner u-bolt slides over the cast differential center section. From the factory, a 3-1/4" ID u-bolt is used here. BDS supplies a 3-1/8" ID u-bolt for this location. I do not know why? Anyway, you have to grind down part of the center section casting web to get the u-bolt to work. Not a lot, and not enough to cause some kind of an issue, but it must be done.

Picture where I ground down the back side, where the casting "web" is. I did not take off a lot of material, just enough to get the u-bolt to drop over the center section:


I also gently filed down some casting flash off the front side, with a hand file:


Even with the grinding, I ended up drilling out the four holes in the spring plates to the next larger size, IIRC 9/16". With that, it bolted up just fine.


The stock length front brake lines will work, BUT they are almost maxed out.


The front end, almost completed.


Even with the spacer plates, my stock front bumper would not slide back on. Part of it was hitting the shackle hangers. The part I am pointing at must be removed on each side.


Quick work with a cut off wheel on the grinder.


It is still tight getting the lower bumper bolts installed. I ended up dropping the bolts down from above, put a nut on the bottom. I should probably go back and install self locking nuts here.



Scrambler Junkie
I was not happy with my "drop the bolts down from the inside of the frame" repair on the driver side rear shackle hanger. It will work, BUT you must use a lock washer under the head of the bolt and under the nut. If not, the bolt spins inside the frame. It is too hard trying to keep a flat washer and a lock washer stacked on top of each other inside the frame, while trying to fish a bolt down through them. Not sure what I was thinking. Anyway, I removed the bolts/washers from inside the frame. I ended up using wide flanged 7/16" nuts inside the frame. Much easier, and the nuts do not spin when you tighten the bolts. This also made it easier to install, and grease, the BDS supplied zerk fittings on the shackle hangers.


And back on the ground.

For reference, I am running 30x9.5x15 tires.

Front clearance:


Rear clearance:


Drag link has a bit more slope to it, but I have not noticed any bump steer.


And the whole Scrambler. It does not look too bad IMO, would look better with 31's. You could probably squeeze in 32" tires.




So, some $$$, and some work. BUT, it was well worth it. It rides much smoother now, very happy with it. It is no longer "jarring" when you hit bumps, much smoother. All in all, I am very happy with it, would do it again, and recommend it if you are trying to keep your Scrambler/CJ close to stock height.