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AC Upgrade from York to Sanden Compressor
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Pelican Technical Article:

AC Upgrade from York to Sanden Compressor

Bob Tindel


3 hours3 hrs






6mm Allen head, 13mm socket, metric socket set, metric allen key set. a bit of motor oil,

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)

Parts Required:

Seiko rotary A/C compressor kit with plates and hose, Porsche OE receiver and dryer, leak test, 2.5 pounds of R12 refrigerant

Performance Gain:

Ice cold air conditioning for your Porsche 911

Complementary Modification:

install additional A/C vents in the cockpit
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
     Recently, while driving my 1983 911SC, I noticed that the air conditioner was no longer blowing cool air. The fan was still blowing, but the air outlet temperature had risen. I stopped the car to take a look in the engine bay, and saw that the compressor fan belt had jumped out of the pulley groove. I cut the belt off to prevent any damage, and continued driving. When I got home, I found that the compressor was hard to turn by hand. Apparently, it had nearly seized, which caused the belt to jump off the pulley.

    Because the York compressors cause engine roughness at idle and have a tendency to leak, I decided to upgrade to a more modern design. I obtained a new Seiko-Seiki rotary vane compressor, mounting bracket adapter, hoses, and belt. (Figure 1) This is a true rotary unit, similar to a Wankel engine. (Figure 2) Here are the steps in replacing the factory compressor.
Take the car to a shop with the proper equipment to recover the refrigerant, and have the system drained. Now you are ready to remove the old compressor.

    Loosen the three compressor mounting bolts (6mm allen-head or 13mm hex-head), and back off the 13mm adjustment nut. Remove the three compressor mounting bolts, and remove the compressor belt.

    Remove the top (discharge) hose from the compressor, and from the engine lid condenser. Be sure to counter-hold the fitting on the condenser with another wrench-this is a fragile and expensive part. (Figure 3) Tip the compressor up on end to gain access to the suction hose, and unfasten it from the compressor. This hose will be reused, so there is no need to detach its other end. Remove the old compressor, and check that the bolts holding the compressor mount to the engine are tight. Remove the mounting adapter plate from the old compressor, and attach it to the new compressor.

    Before installing any hoses, lubricate the hose fittings with refrigerant oil or motor oil. Connect the new suction hose extension to the old suction hose. (Figure 4) As you install and tighten the hoses, allow them to assume their natural position, so they are not twisted. Make sure the hoses don't rub against anything sharp, or have any sharp bends. Route the hoses so they don't interfere with removal of the oil filter.

    Place the new compressor on the engine, tilt it toward the center, and install the new belt. Now you can install the three compressor mounting bolts, but don't tighten them yet. Connect the suction hose to the compressor, and install the new discharge line between the compressor and the engine lid evaporator. Adjust the compressor belt, and tighten the compressor mounting bolts.

    The next part of this job is to replace the receiver-dryer. The receiver-dryer acts as a filter to remove water and contaminants from the air conditioning system, and should be replaced any time major work is done on the system. It is located in the left front wheel well, behind the wheel. (Figure 5) It is a good idea to clean this area, especially around the hose fittings, before proceeding. This is a dirty location, and the air conditioning system won't tolerate dirt. Loosen the two hoses at the top of the receiver-dryer, unfasten the hose clamps holding it in place, and remove it. It is easier to completely remove the hose clamps for this part of the job. Install the new receiver-dryer, tighten the hoses, and reinstall the clamps.

    Now you are ready to go back to the shop, have the system vacuumed down, and the refrigerant reinstalled. 

    The Seiko rotary vane compressor is much smaller than the old York. (Figure 6) It is so quiet and smooth I can't tell when it cycles on and off. You can even change spark plugs without moving the compressor (and maybe even adjust the intake valves).

    The last step in this procedure is to enjoy cool summertime driving in your Porsche. The air outlet temperature in my 911 is now lower than in my wife' s brand new car!

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Comments and Suggestions:
Coopster Comments: Hi. Q: Dont you have to get a specific R-12 or R-134a compressor the '134's run quite a bit higher pressures?
Where do you still get 12? The only place I've heard it's still available is in Juarez Mexico.
November 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: R12 is no longer available, unless you find a workshop that still has around.

The charge amount changes when you convert to R134, a replacement compressor is not needed. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Luis Comments: I have a 912e and want to install a ac don't have any parts where can I get all the components to do this job
September 21, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Klanke Comments: Where can one purchase the Seiko-Seiki rotary vane compressor??

i have an older 912 it's been sitting and the compressor as removed.. The high pressure hose are stll there.. What parts shoulf i purchase to restore this AC...
August 11, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you assemble a parts list. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mac Comments: I have a 1981 911 SC and was wondering where I could purchase the Seiko compressor. Thank you for your help.
July 6, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: From us. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right compressor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
mike Comments: Where can I purchase the seiko rotary compressor?
September 3, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: From us. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right compressor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
PorschaPaul. Comments: Hi Bob,
I appreciate your comment on the Seiko.I own a 911 SC 1979 it is in flawlless condition.I have 255,000miles and now getting my engine and transmission re-built by Andre Gaudet Eng at Porschehause.com he is actually the eng taking care of the Dicom racing division,you must of hear of M.Gaudet.I am sending your info to Andre and would like to have this system on my Porscha.Where do you purchase this system with all the bell and whisell?Would greatly appreciate your help!
Paul Vincent Quebec Canada
September 11, 2009
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can get the compressor from Pelican Parts. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right compressor. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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