Fitting A/C to a BX 16

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Jugostran
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Fitting A/C to a BX 16

Post by Jugostran »

Hey all!
So, it has been more than a year since I got my BX. I love it so far. Yes, it is still quite broken, but it is endearing. However, since this is my daily, a new issue has presented itself. This year's summer has been extremely hot. This proves quite suboptimal for me. Unfortunately, when I was buying this car, I really had no choice over trim, color, engine or basically anything else. And thus, I couldn't get one with A/C. Now though, I'd really like to have it. I checked the market, and there are 0 BXs to be had. I could get a Y4 XM with hydropneumatic (a non hydractive model), but I don't like how it looks. So, I've determined that the only way to get an AC Citroën is to just retrofit it into mine. Now, I am not the most technically minded person, but I am willing to learn along the way. So, has anyone here done this to their BX? Where should I start? What are the pros and cons of such a modification?
My car is a 1989 BX 16 TRS with the XU5 2C engine (Solex two barrel).
Any input and comments are greatly appreciated!

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Re: Fitting A/C to a BX 16

Post by rutter123 »

I expect this would cost more than the car is worth unless you could source a doner vehicle.
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Jugostran
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Re: Fitting A/C to a BX 16

Post by Jugostran »

rutter123 wrote:
Sat Jul 16, 2022 10:49 pm
I expect this would cost more than the car is worth unless you could source a doner vehicle.
Well, this car has a confirmed worth of at least 3 grand with its current faults (of which there are many).
Anywho, it is less about the cost, since that wouldn't usually be an issue. The issue is that I live in a closed market. Serbia has a law that all imported vehicles must adhere to at least Euro 3. This makes it impossible to import older cars. And unfortunately, this was probably the last 'nice' (no crap LPG installation, no dents, no faded paint, no permanent damage to the interior) BX for sale. After it, it was all basket cases.
So, unfortunately I have to make due with what I got. Now, a donor vehicle could probably be sourced from a junkyard. I just need to find a 16 model with A/C...
Now, with cost out of the way, how difficult is this job? What are the main parts that'll need swapping over?
Thank you for the quick answer!

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Jaba
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Re: Fitting A/C to a BX 16

Post by Jaba »

First you need to find a donor car. Any BX model will do. The parts to salvage are:
Engine sump with compressor
Condenser and hoses plus the top black plastic retainer over the rad
Receiver dryer with pressure switch
The entire centre dashboard console complete with all connected switches dials and wiring and evaporator and expansion valve and control electrics box
All other aircon hoses and connectors.
Its an easy enough job to do but be prepared for it not to work initially and for leaks to be present. You will need a new receiver dryer and all the 13 o-rings on the refrigerant hoses.
The BX system used R12 gas originally and unless a conversion to R134a has been done then your donor will have mineral oil present in the compressor which will need to be flushed out along with any residues in the whole system unless you use Ester oil which will mix with a small amount of mineral oil when you recharge as the two oils are not compatible. You can tell if a conversion has been done by the type of charging port present. If it is just a schrader valve then its R12.

Several people on here have done this already so help and advice should be available if all the above has not put you off already [-X
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saintjamesy89
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Re: Fitting A/C to a BX 16

Post by saintjamesy89 »

Hi there, I'm fitting a/c to my MK1 GT and can confirm it is a fair amount of work, the hardest part is likely to be finding the parts and then getting it working! Finding a MK1 with a/c is even more tricky than the MK2, mk1's are even rarer and fewer had a/c. I imported a French 16 TRS with all the extras, I was lucky to find it!

As others have said, a donor vehicle is the best way forward as you then have all that you need and know what goes where, it becomes a parts swap from car to car. You will need to figure out the electrical side of things and it may be worth getting the compressor refurbished, the company doing so will then put the correct oil and quantity in it for you. It is probably wise to get new a/c hoses made up aswell, if you can find a 16 donor car then you'll have the correct carburettor parts too for the raised idle.

To add to John's list above, you'll need a second radiator cooling fan and associated relays etc. All a/c BX's had the twin fans I believe. Rivnuts are your friend when installing, the holes in the panels are there but nothing to bolt into. With the dryer - you'll need to cut a hole for it and use rivnuts in the three mounting holes for its bracket. Whilst your cutting, the bulkhead will need cutting for the expansion valve/hose connectors and both recirculation flaps, I'm yet to do this but will do it from the inside I think.

I am about a third of the way through my conversion, the engine bay stuff is all installed but I still need to do the electrical and dashboard parts. Unfortunately I've had storage issues, so I am using the car at the moment, finishing the a/c will have to wait!

Have you thought about window tinting? It helps with stopping some heat inside the car, it is something I plan to do.
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Jugostran
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Re: Fitting A/C to a BX 16

Post by Jugostran »

saintjamesy89 wrote:
Mon Jul 18, 2022 12:16 pm
Hi there, I'm fitting a/c to my MK1 GT and can confirm it is a fair amount of work, the hardest part is likely to be finding the parts and then getting it working! Finding a MK1 with a/c is even more tricky than the MK2, mk1's are even rarer and fewer had a/c. I imported a French 16 TRS with all the extras, I was lucky to find it!

As others have said, a donor vehicle is the best way forward as you then have all that you need and know what goes where, it becomes a parts swap from car to car. You will need to figure out the electrical side of things and it may be worth getting the compressor refurbished, the company doing so will then put the correct oil and quantity in it for you. It is probably wise to get new a/c hoses made up aswell, if you can find a 16 donor car then you'll have the correct carburettor parts too for the raised idle.

To add to John's list above, you'll need a second radiator cooling fan and associated relays etc. All a/c BX's had the twin fans I believe. Rivnuts are your friend when installing, the holes in the panels are there but nothing to bolt into. With the dryer - you'll need to cut a hole for it and use rivnuts in the three mounting holes for its bracket. Whilst your cutting, the bulkhead will need cutting for the expansion valve/hose connectors and both recirculation flaps, I'm yet to do this but will do it from the inside I think.

I am about a third of the way through my conversion, the engine bay stuff is all installed but I still need to do the electrical and dashboard parts. Unfortunately I've had storage issues, so I am using the car at the moment, finishing the a/c will have to wait!

Have you thought about window tinting? It helps with stopping some heat inside the car, it is something I plan to do.
Hah, thanks for all the tips.
Well, I haven't considered getting tints as of yet, but it sounds like an interesting proposal. And, good luck on that AC install, sounds like a lot of work.
Also, in the meantime, my car hasn't passed inspection and is way more broken than I thought. So currently I am without a car. The used market is completely dry. No good XMs, BXs or anything that I want to drive.
So I guess most AC plans are on hold until I figure out what to do next.