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I'm sure this has been done before, but I wanted to see if anyone has any photos or advice.  I'd like to add air conditioning to my '75 to deal with these Atlanta summers, but all of the aftermarket center consoles look, well, aftermarket.  I want to keep the stock look, so that would mean hiding the evaporator in the engine bay and routing some vent tubing to direct the air into the cabin somewhere.  Is there a reason I shouldn't do this?  Does the engine bay get too hot?  Maybe the glovebox is a better option?  Those with experience please chime in, I'm new to the A/C game.

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The longest single chapter in my book is about a/c repair and retrofit. I doubt there's enough room in the 2002's engine compartment to put an evaporator assembly. As you probably know, there were three dealer-installed a/cs in 2002s -- Fridge King, Behr, and Clardy, each with their own console surrounding the evap assembly. Many folks, including me, think the Behr unit has the most factory-looking console. There were also, back in the day, aftermarket units available where the evap assembly mounted in the trunk, but they're extremely rare, and you're trading off the trunk location for longer refrigeration and ducting lines, all of which cut into efficiency.

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Find a Behr system and be happy. You are going to have to hack up the firewall to get blower vents into the cabin.

 

Could technically be possible to fit an evaporator under the back seat but again where would you have the cold air come out? Plus the AC freon lines would have to run through the interior to the back seat.

 

http://www.bmw2002faq.com/_/technical-articles/body-and-interior/air-conditioning-basics-r126

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Thanks for the responses, really good info all around.  I totally agree that the easiest option is to find a stock center console unit and be done with it, but I'm really trying to hide the evaporator.  What are the dimensions of the evaporator?  I assume it's too big to fit in the glovebox, right?  Under the back seat isn't ideal for the reasons you mentioned, so I'm pretty much ruling that out.

 

On a related note, is it possible to use a modern evaporator that's smaller?  I'm trying to get creative here... 

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I and several others have made detailed posts here on the FAQ about from-scratch installations. One fellow, I believe in the far East, was looking at whether a slightly smaller, more modern evap assembly from, if memory serves me correctly, a Mitsubishi could be fit in, but I don't recall it ever coming to fruition. A few folks, including me, looked at buying a Hurricane 2000 generic unit that includes both heat and a/c in the same box, but, 1) it was larger, not smaller, and 2) I don't recall if anyone ever drove the project through to fruition.

 

Installing a/c from scratch into an 02 that didn't have it from the dealer is totally do-able, but non-trivial. I don't know of a clear path to what you're proposing. Attached is a pic of the stock dealer-installed Behr a/c console in my '72 tii. They don't look all that different from the non-a/c console.

post-32582-0-05243600-1422390181_thumb.j

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+1

What Rob said!!!

There was another aftermarket 2002 A/C unit in which you threw out your glove compartment and cut a sizeable hole in your dashboard parcel shelf. The evaporator blower occupied the glove compartment space, the parcel shelf, and then some. The outlets were in the cheap-looking, hard-plastic housing on the parcel shelf, but that is hardly a stock look. These units were very rare in the '70s, so they are probably much rarer today. Three or so years ago someone on the forum came across one: if you read all the "hits" when searching on "air conditioning," you might be able to find it. I assume it's performance was mediocre at best. If someone had created a good 2002 A/C unit, they could have sold lots of them. But there's too little space for the evaporator and the condenser to create a decent system.

As Rob said, the Behr easily looks best. We believed, at least in the mid-'70s, that the Clardy might have had slightly more output. My '76 has had a Clardy since it was new, and I've appreciated it. But today, if I re-install A/C in 2762757 (the hose holes remain, but the unit is gone), I'll go with a Behr unit for appearance purposes.

The trunk-mounted units Rob referred to were more commonly used in -- perhaps intended for -- NK sedans. I've seen maybe one for sale in the last 5 years: on eBay, and the seller knew exactly what it was. It did not sell fast, or ever! A custom trunk mount would give you room to enlarge the evaporator and blower, but you would still be constrained by the condenser space.

I believe members of this forum would embrace an A/C system that preserved the stock appearance and actually worked. So we wish you well if you wish to take on this project! But you wouldn't be the first '02 owner to take on such a project.

Regards,

Steve

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