Aftermarket A/C - Compressor Placement?

Discussion in '1978 - 1981 Specific' started by StrongSurvivor, Nov 1, 2017.

  1. StrongSurvivor

    StrongSurvivor Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Bold Springs, GA.
    Hi Everyone,
    My '81 Z28 in a prior life was a street/strip car. The previous owner stripped the heat and A/C out of the car and I'm left with a blank firewall. I plan to install an aftermarket A/C, heat, defrost setup; either Classic or Vintage, not sure of the vendor as yet.

    I am using aftermarket mounts for the alternator and P/S pump. The alternator is on the passenger side at about the 9:00 o'clock position and I think mounting the compressor above the alternator is the way to go. I know the compressor can be mounted passenger or driver side and I realize I may have to do some fabrication. I wonder if any of you have already been down this road?

    So here's my question; is it better to mount the compressor on the passenger or driver side? I've attached a photo of the mounts for reference. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

    Attached Files:

  2. ULTM8Z

    ULTM8Z Veteran Member

    May 19, 2000
    Los Angeles
    Passenger side for sure. It'll be far easier to route the AC lines to the passenger side of the firewall.
  3. 74BIBELOT

    74BIBELOT Veteran Member

    144B12B4-12E7-4B8B-BCB1-7E5C4BFE85F7.jpeg Passenger side, but not sure if you can/want change the alternator to driver side.
  4. hoppin5478

    hoppin5478 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Jul 20, 2015
    Tucson, AZ
    I agree with ULTM8Z, I would mount it on the passenger side. Not to long ago I retrofitted a Sanden compressor on the smallblock in my Blazer and left the compressor on the driver side where it originally sat even though I had to fab new lines and brackets. I wish I had switched it over to the passenger side, it would have made it quite a bit easier to route the lines and saved me a couple bucks on ac hose.
  5. Goodwrench1965

    Goodwrench1965 Veteran Member

    Apr 23, 2010
    Charlotte NC
  6. StrongSurvivor

    StrongSurvivor Member

    Jun 5, 2017
    Bold Springs, GA.
    Thanks everyone for your comments. It looks like I've got some fabrication to do!
  7. 8pack

    8pack Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    If you switch to a serpentine system it is all set up for the AC on the passenger side and Alt on drivers side. I believe late 80s Camaro and Caprice have the ones that bolt right up if you want to search the junkyards. Search on here and the info is out there. You will need a reverse flow water pump, alternator and fan.
  8. budro6968

    budro6968 Veteran Member

    Apr 2, 2016
    Jax Florida
    I always wondered why the factory A/C is on the D/S. Makes sense to be on the pass side. I like the Idea of the serpentine set up. Much easier to deal with.
  9. zeventy128

    zeventy128 Member

    Jan 5, 2014
    So has anybody mounted their compressor on lower driver's side? I have just recently brought this bracket for my non a/c '71 SBC car to use on the power steering pump (previously mid mounted) so now with this bracket the PS Pump is high mounted drivers side. Down the track I plan to install vintage air and would like to be able to mount like this. (Pic below is of a 69 SBC Camaro)

    Picture from Bracket suppliers website

    Bracket I purchased & installed

    How my Pump now sits with bracket installed
    (Will have 2-Groove V Belt (keyed shaft) billet pulley)

    Last edited: Apr 30, 2018

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