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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought an 03 Element that came stock without AC. With summer fast approaching, I'm thinking it's a good idea to get AC in this thing.

I called up my local dealer and the entire AC kit (compressor, evaporator, condensor, hoses, etc.) costs $1200. So there is an OEM kit and it's reasonably priced. However, the dealer (several dealers actually) have said they won't install it. That leads me to believe it's a real pain in the butt.

Has anyone done this? Does the Element only have one firewall, one harness, etc. so everything is a drop in installation? Any knowledge you have would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

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I bought a DX on 2003, and had the dealer install the AC kit. The price of that installation was part of the bargaining. The installation instructions used to be available on the web (from one of the online accessories dealers), and yes it is pretty involved, installing the condenser in front of the radiator, etc. It even includes the 2nd fan. It probably requires a half a days worth of labor. In 2003 they might have done a half dozen of these jobs, but since then very few.
 

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I put in aftermarket and factory ac units a few years after getting out of school . not hard but you need to be flexiable ,witch I am not any more. the prices in the 80's went from 350 inst to 1200inst, depending on what car you had,the cheveetts were the 1200 ones due to gm making a "safty car" that they never told any body about, & it was defrent, there was no way to tell untill you had it appart.so the boss tacked about $400.00 -600.00 more on to all cheveetts. kinda funny now that I think about it he was just sitting on his butt drinking& I was the one making the shop all the $$$ & I never saw any of that extrs cash. try jc whitney,fleebay,airtemp,frost temp there are a lot of ac mfr's out there. & 90% of the units are so well desigined that you cant tell them appart from OE. + they all have a better comperssor than OE. or just google it !! if you do it your self make sure you empty all of the compressor oil & replace with BG compressor oil.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info. I've got a race car and build an engine or two a year, so I'm not going to go to the dealer unless it's a really painful job. I'm just trying to get a feel for it before I dump $1200 and commit to this.

Paulj, do you have a link to the instructions? Anyone else know where I can find the instructions?
 

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About a year after I got the Element, I realized that the dealer had installed the second fan, but had not connected it up. The connector was still covered with blue tape. Fortunately I'm in Seattle, where the cooling load is rarely very high.
 

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I have done both aftermarket installs and factory kist and founf the factory kist are pretty easy to install and usually the evap is the hardest to install and the rest is plug and play. Just make sure you get the oil charge right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hmmm, I know of a coolant charge and the compressor oil, but what's an oil charge?

In that vein, I've been worried about the oil. Can you give me some details? Does the compressor come prefilled? In terms of charging the system with 134, do I need to have it flushed and/or vacuumed first? Thanks!
 

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Hmmm, I know of a coolant charge and the compressor oil, but what's an oil charge?

In that vein, I've been worried about the oil. Can you give me some details? Does the compressor come prefilled? In terms of charging the system with 134, do I need to have it flushed and/or vacuumed first? Thanks!
oil charge would be the ammount of oil required in the system. compressor's usualy come prefilled yes. When charging the system you will need to have it atleast vacuumed, and I would recommend a pressure test to make sure it doesnt leak. :)

Just ask if theres anythin else you want to know :) its my job!
 

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Have the dealer install it. If something goes wrong, they will be responsible for making it right---including the new OEM parts which won't be warrantied if you install them. Plus, unless you have an expensive piece of equipment, the refrigerant charge is critically sensitive on this extremely efficient, very low capacity system.

Our system is cooling at its peak at .08 less charge than the recommended fill of 1.2 lbs. It will just about make ice chips on a 100 degree day. Good luck.
 
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