North American Turbocoupe Organization

Air conditioning and the HR980 compressor
JeffHWV Offline
Junior Member
I have read all the threads here I could find on AC. I posted a topic over on an AC website, but only got a couple of generic responses, mainly telling me not to convert to R134a. I don't really want to anyway and have access to plenty of R12 so that isn't an issue for me. However, the car always leaked out a can or two every year which wasn't an issue back when I was paying a buck or two a can when I was driving the car. I can see two of the springlocks are leaking by the oil on them and it looks like the compressor is slightly wet behind the clutch but it isn't easy to judge how bad it is since the car sat idle so long.

I plan on replacing the accumulator and the lines as they are dirt cheap for these cars. The problem as everyone knows is the HR980 compressor. It seems the supply for new ones has dried up. While my compressor is more likely than others to be in good shape on the inside since the car has spent its whole life in a moderate climate I am debating on ditching it and going with something a little more serviceable.

From my research, it seems that you need special tools to get the clutch hub on and off and put the seal in and out of the HR980. The factory service manual lists about a dozen tools needed to do the job, including one to install an o-ring. I was wondering if anyone here has replaced the seal in the HR980, and if so what are the minimum of tools needed to do the job and how successful they were.

Hard to justify spending a lot of money on tools to do one compressor when I could put that money along with what the seal costs to a better compressor. Of course I'd have to fabricate brackets, but I don't intend on selling the car so if this compressor is as bad as its reputation I would have to do that eventually anyway. From what I can tell the cost of the lines is pretty much a wash since the accumulator comes much cheaper without the line attached.

Also, I was wondering about the 2.3L Mustang bracket. From what I can tell, these cars came with an FS6 compressor, which is a pad mount. Do more modern compressors share the same bolt spacing as the pad mount FS6, like possibly the fs10 or pad mount compressors from Sanden or Seltec? How well does the FS6 tolerate R134a if I decide to convert?

No doubt the easiest route would be to replace the accumulator, lines and o-rings for about $50-75, evacuate the system and put the R12 to her and hope the compressor doesn't leak too bad. Maybe worth pissing a similar amount dollar wise in Freon away just to find out rather than spending hundreds converting. I am considering that too, but I don't like relying on luck as it usually doesn't work out for me.

Would like to hear opinions on this or any other ideas on the AC system of these cars. Thanks

Jeff K Offline
I have never changed the seal on an HR980, but I have removed the clutch plate, clutch, coil, etc with common hand tools plus a tool I made with a piece of exhaust pipe with 2 tangs welded in one end to engage the spanner type collar on one end and a few pieces of flat stock welded to the other end to make a 1/2" x 1/2"square hole for a 1/2" ratchet.

What about buying a seal and taking the compressor to an AC shop and have them change the seal?

I dont know if they are still available, but company in GA, called Hose Wizard made a kit to switch to 134a with a modern compressor, a Sanden if I remember correctly.
Jeff Korn

88 Turbo Coupe: Intake and exhaust mods, T3 turbo at 24 psi, forced air IC, water injection, BPV, Ranger cam, subframes, etc., etc.
86 Tbird 5.0 (original owner): intake, exhaust, valvetrain mods, 100 HP N2O, ignition, gears, suspension, etc., etc.
11 Crown Vic Interceptor
14 Toyota Camry (wifes car)
95 Taurus GL Vulcan winter beater
67 Honda 450 Super Sport - completely customized

86 XR7 5spd Offline
Senior Member
not sure what compressor is on my '86,
but my local shop 'converted' it to R134 about 6 years ago and it's still blowing cold after approx. 10k miles..

I don't think they did much..
perhaps an adapter was fitted to allow charging the 134..
pretty sure they didn't replace the O-rings,, dryer, etc

I could ask or dig up my old receipt if yur interested.

on a related note,
my compressor has been exhibiting more & more 'growling' during use..
I presume the 'main' bearings are going out,
so i may have to dig into it or replace or upgrade,.,.

my car has 97k miles on it and was formerly a CO car so prolly saw a lot of A/C use before it was moved to Northern Michigan.. Wink
David T
T5 / ported E3 / .63 / 35# / K&N
2.5" exhaust w/ cherry bomb
30+ mpg! 8.2 0-60, 16.4@88 1/4 (gTech)

JeffHWV Offline
Junior Member
Thanks for the replies. I wiggled the clutch hub on my compressor and there is about 1/32 - 1/16" of play in the bearings. When I turn it over by hand it is smooth but not a lot of restance like it seems there should be. Not how normal this is. After some more research, I think I could replace the seals without buying the tools but with the play in th shaft I don't know how successful that would be. I was just going to replace the accumulator and orings add some oil and R12 and give it whirl but now I am leaning toward a retrofit. I have a complete system from a 98 v6 mustang. Obviously the compressor won't work, at least not easily. Looks like the condenser would be an easy retrofit. Also looks like the liquid line would work. Anyone tried this?

anasazi4st Offline
Senior Member
I have the seal replacement tools--found them in a used tool shop in Tucson, AZ (Kent's Tools at Stone Ave. and Grant Road). I would bet there are still some to be found there, he had many left in a dump bin 2 years ago, but they weren't labeled as such (I used Internet photos and info to ID them). Perhaps one of our Tucson users can help out with that.

Seal replacements are readily available. I have part #s for them, if needed,

I have successfully converted my R-22 system to an R-134a with no difficulties, still blows cold (55 degrees) nearly two years later, using an HR980 compressor (and I live in the desert where it gets to 120 degrees). You'll need to replace the receiver/drier (accumulator), o-rings, and orifice tube--flush out and vacuum the system well. I wrote about this on this site'll likely have big trouble finding the right receiver/dryer, but I have a part number from O'Reilly's that works perfectly with an adapter, which I can also advise you on its availability.

Sorry to respond so late on this, I've been working out of town. Send me a PM or email, or just respond to this post and I'll help out as much as I can.

I had been contemplating this switchover since 2003...I finally did it and have never looked back.
Another proud dues-paying member.

1987 Turbo Coupe w/T5OD, 8.8 axle, grey smoke; most options. Got it in 1991 with 41K miles: 3 turbos, 2 heater cores, 3 T5OD full rebuilds, 6 clutches, 1 head gasket, 2 Teves II ABS units, etc. later....

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