Air conditioning in vintage cars is often allowed to fall into disrepair, as many owners figure that it never really worked all that well when it was new, and assume that rejuvenation would be prohibitively expensive. The a/c in vintage BMWs is often the target of particular scorn; Roundel technical editor Mike Miller famously referred to the 2002’s air conditioning as “A hamster blowing on a snow cone.
For nearly 35 years, Rob Siegel has rejected that thinking. For a guy from temperate Massachusetts, Rob has gone to ridiculous lengths to have cold air in his vintage cars. After conducting his first a/c resurrection in a 1971 2002 in Austin in 1983, then performing garden-variety a/c repairs on his daily drivers, in 1999 Rob did a from-scratch a/c installation into his beloved ’73 3.0CSi, eventually learning how to perform all facets of a/c repair himself, including making new hoses, pressure-testing a system with nitrogen to detect leaks before refrigerant is introduced, evacuation, and recharge.
Rob has out a new book, Just Needs a Recharge: The Hack Mechanic Guide to Vintage Air Conditioning. In it, he spills all his secrets and details exactly what’s needed to resurrect long-dead air conditioning in a vintage car—or install a/c in a car that never had it.
In this talk, Rob will describe exactly what you need to do in order to get the neglected air conditioning system in your vintage BMW working. This will include discussing just enough theory to appreciate how the a/c performs its magic, the difference between R12 and R134a refrigerants, what you really need to do to convert a car that originally ran on R12 to R134a, the legality of continuing to use R12, flare and o-ring fittings, upgrading from an old upright piston compressor to a modern rotary-style compressor, the brackets necessary to use said compressor on a BMW 2002’s M10 engine or on the M30 engine in the E3, E9, E24, E28, and E23, changing from an old serpentine-flow condenser to a modern parallel-flow condenser, what those compressor sizes are in certain vintage BMWs, making or specifying custom hoses, recharging, leak detection, and basic troubleshooting.
Come to Rob’s talk, and suffer the indignity of R75/2 (75 mph, 2 windows rolled down) no more!