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  • Other: air conditioning: an idler or no idler

    Is an idler pulley/three point belt necessary on air conditioning?

    In my slow process of adding air conditioning to my Lark, I finally picked up the two main brackets for a compressor but not the bracket who's sole function it is to hold the idler pulley. My original plan was/is to buy a bracket so the compressor would pivot and the belt would run from the crank to the compressor for a two point belt set up.

    I have an aluminium base for a fixed compressor that came with the compressor. Since I want to do this right which is the best way to go... a three point belt system like in the parts book or a two point belt system like if one had power steering.

    Either way I have to buy another bracket

    Jeff T.
    \"I\'m getting nowhere as fast as I can\"
    The Replacements.

  • #2
    You know what?...That's a good question! If everything clears with a pivoting compressor, why not go with the two point? (belt-whip may possibly be a problem though)

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    • #3
      How do you propose belt tensioning if there isn't a provision for adjustment? Either an idler pulley or the compressor has to have adjustment in its mounting bracket. Modern serpentine systems have one idler for all the solid mounted pumps ect to reduce NVH.
      59 Lark wagon, now V-8, H.D. auto!
      60 Lark convertible V-8 auto
      61 Champ 1/2 ton 4 speed
      62 Champ 3/4 ton 5 speed o/drive
      62 Champ 3/4 ton auto
      62 Daytona convertible V-8 4 speed & 62 Cruiser, auto.
      63 G.T. Hawk R-2,4 speed
      63 Avanti (2) R-1 auto
      64 Zip Van
      66 Daytona Sport Sedan(327)V-8 4 speed
      66 Cruiser V-8 auto

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      • #4
        The last air conditioner I installed used a single belt for everything. The belt is tightened with the alternator. So far, so good. I did a 65 Cruiser last year with a three point/idler system. With the Sanden type compressor and home-made mounting bracket, I had to shorten the idler pulley mount for proper fit.
        Jamie McLeod
        Hope Mills, NC

        1963 Lark "Ugly Betty"
        1958 Commander "Christine"
        1964 Wagonaire "Louise"
        1955 Commander Sedan
        1964 Champ
        1960 Lark

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Warren Webb View Post
          How do you propose belt tensioning if there isn't a provision for adjustment? Either an idler pulley or the compressor has to have adjustment in its mounting bracket. Modern serpentine systems have one idler for all the solid mounted pumps ect to reduce NVH.
          Warren,...Jeff T mentions a 'pivoting compressor'. That would be where the belt tensioning would come into play.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by starliner62 View Post
            The last air conditioner I installed used a single belt for everything. The belt is tightened with the alternator. So far, so good. I did a 65 Cruiser last year with a three point/idler system. With the Sanden type compressor and home-made mounting bracket, I had to shorten the idler pulley mount for proper fit.
            Jamie,
            I have ran that setup on the 56J for years, and until recently on the 62GT for years. I run mine with the compressor between the alternator & water pump. Biggest problem with that setup is, the belt doesn't get much surface contact with the compressor pulley, due to the belt angle. Running the belt good and tight helps, as does running the widest belt that will fit. I suppose swapping the alternator & compressor locations would help the compressor, but then the alternator would experience the same problem. I have just learned to keep the belt tight.

            Comment


            • #7
              The ideal setup is a separate pulley off the crank serving only the AC compressor and an adjustable compressor to set the tension. That setup gives maximum wrap on both pulleys and therefore less tension needed. Less tension = longer belt and bearing life.

              If you include the compressor on the same belt as the water pump, generator/alternator, you'll need more tension and can overload water pump or generator bearings. AC compressors consume more HP than other accessories and need higher belt tension.

              A little extra forethought and fabrication can make for a more reliable installation.

              If you're going to drive just a few thousand miles/year, it may not matter.

              Comment


              • #8
                The factory system used three belts with a tensioner for a separate A/C belt. This may not be a factory type system, but I'm just showing this as an example.

                Tom - Bradenton, FL

                1964 Studebaker Daytona - 289 4V, 4-Speed (Cost To Date: $2514.10)
                1964 Studebaker Commander - 170 1V, 3-Speed w/OD

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Swifster View Post
                  The factory system used three belts with a tensioner for a separate A/C belt. This may not be a factory type system, but I'm just showing this as an example.

                  Right, but we're not discussing the factory system here. We're discussing ELIMINATING the belt idler/tensioner pulley through the use of a pivoting a/c compressor installed onto a custom mounting bracket.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jeff T. View Post
                    Is an idler pulley/three point belt necessary on air conditioning?

                    In my slow process of adding air conditioning to my Lark, I finally picked up the two main brackets for a compressor but not the bracket who's sole function it is to hold the idler pulley. My original plan was/is to buy a bracket so the compressor would pivot and the belt would run from the crank to the compressor for a two point belt set up.

                    I have an aluminium base for a fixed compressor that came with the compressor. Since I want to do this right which is the best way to go... a three point belt system like in the parts book or a two point belt system like if one had power steering.

                    Either way I have to buy another bracket

                    Jeff T.
                    Can be done, BUT..

                    The reason the compressor is fixed is because it will hold it stable, better. Remember, you are compressing a gas with pistons, so expect vibration..

                    In building your pivoting compressor, you will need an adjustment bracket for the front, like on the alternator, and one in the back as well..

                    Also as the belt stretches you will have to pivot the compressor more.

                    Depending on location, you might run out of room.. and then there is the Hose Placement and they will have to flex as well..

                    The 3rd man pulley sort of resolves all of the above issues. But send some pics or sketches and lets see your idea in whole..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SScopelli View Post
                      Can be done, BUT..

                      The reason the compressor is fixed is because it will hold it stable, better. Remember, you are compressing a gas with pistons, so expect vibration..

                      In building your pivoting compressor, you will need an adjustment bracket for the front, like on the alternator, and one in the back as well..

                      Also as the belt stretches you will have to pivot the compressor more.

                      Depending on location, you might run out of room.. and then there is the Hose Placement and they will have to flex as well..

                      The 3rd man pulley sort of resolves all of the above issues. But send some pics or sketches and lets see your idea in whole..
                      If you're going to re-engineer, it's probably worthwhile to change to a modern compressor like a Sanden. It weighs less, uses less HP and cools better, and it has eight ears to allow for most any sort of swing mount.

                      And if the belt stretches too much, spend eight bucks for a new one.
                      Last edited by jnormanh; 08-19-2013, 06:16 PM.

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                      • #12
                        When I installed AC on my Lark years ago, I used the old original style York compressor, factory style bracket, with double crank pulley and an idler pulley. If I ever do another one, I think I'll look into using one of the more modern compact compressors that I believe are more efficient and less draining on horsepower.

                        Just speculating, but I would investigate the possibility of a mounting bracket with slots for the base and an adjustable slide mount for the compressor base. That way, you could construct a lateral slide for belt tension without having to pivot the compressor. If it is possible to build a compact adjustable mount...without a separate idler pulley, so much the better. That eliminates one more component subject to maintenance and failure.
                        John Clary
                        Greer, SC

                        SDC member since 1975

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Swifster View Post
                          The factory system used three belts with a tensioner for a separate A/C belt. This may not be a factory type system, but I'm just showing this as an example.

                          That is the setup on our 63GT, that I am pretty sure has factory AC, except I put a Sanyo 508 compressor on it. Only downfall is the extra load on the water pump.
                          On the 62GT, I installed a kit from Vintage Air, that has a belt that runs from the crank pulley, to the compressor, then over to an idler, than back to the crank, so no load on the waterpump.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jnormanh View Post
                            If you're going to re-engineer, it's probably worthwhile to change to a modern compressor like a Sanden. It weighs less, uses less HP and cools better, and it has eight ears to allow for most any sort of swing mount.

                            And if the belt stretches too much, spend eight bucks for a new one.
                            Yes, I definitely had a compact 'Sanden' compressor in mind!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jeff T. View Post
                              Is an idler pulley/three point belt necessary on air conditioning?

                              In my slow process of adding air conditioning to my Lark, I finally picked up the two main brackets for a compressor but not the bracket who's sole function it is to hold the idler pulley. My original plan was/is to buy a bracket so the compressor would pivot and the belt would run from the crank to the compressor for a two point belt set up.

                              I have an aluminium base for a fixed compressor that came with the compressor. Since I want to do this right which is the best way to go... a three point belt system like in the parts book or a two point belt system like if one had power steering.

                              Either way I have to buy another bracket

                              Jeff T.
                              Personally I wouldn't want the compressor to be moveable in part due to the hoses and connections. When I bought a Vintage Air setup from J&N (Railway on the Forum), it came with an idler pulley. I would avoid using the factory idler pulley setup. I have found it very difficult to slide the idler pulley in a slot and hold it tight enough to tension the belt properly. Most after market AC installations used a pivoting idler pulley which worked a lot better (IMHO).
                              Paul Johnson, Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.
                              '64 Daytona Wagonaire, '64 Avanti R-1, Museum R-4 engine, '72 Gravely Model 430 with Onan engine

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