The clutch on the AC compressor died the other weekend at the track and since the AC was anemic at best, we decided just to delete it, saving almost 25 lbs of weight, mostly ahead of the front axle. Fortunately, MINI makes a deflection pulley (11287570810) for just such a purpose — so you can keep the same belt routing. You’ll also want to pick up two M8 x 50 Hex Bolts (07119904533), re-use the collar screw and spacer from the compressor, and pick up a nut and washer to work with the collar screw. This isn’t the most complicated DIY we’ve attempted, but if you remove all of the piping, it can be a difficult job and should be performed by someone with experience. Do not attempt to remove any component of the AC system without first having the system discharged in a safe manner. The information below is intended to supplement the use of an appropriate shop manual and are not intended to cover every aspect of the job. Proceed at your own risk. No wagering.
Time Required: 4-6 Hours if removing hard-lines; 1-2 hours if not.
Tools Required: Standard Toolbox, plus belt removal tool.
Decision: If you intend to eventually re-install an AC compressor, then do not remove all of the hard-lines. You will need to plan to support the lines that run behind the radiator and cap off the ends of the lines, but you do not need to follow the steps involving removal of the Air Intake and hard-lines at the firewall. Since the rubber component of one of our hard-lines was cracked, we decided to remove the hard-lines back to the firewall.
- Place the car on jackstands, disconnect the battery, remove the front right road wheel and wheel liner, and place the front-end in “Service Mode” (e.g., remove bumper cover, disconnect lights, remove under-body panel, and remove aluminum bumper.)
- Using an appropriate belt removal tool, remove the serpentine belt, and secure the belt tensioner. (If you plan to reuse the belt, mark the direction of travel.)
- With a 13mm Socket, disconnect the two lines running into the condensor (which sits in front of the radiator) and be prepared to catch any dripping oil.
- Working from the right edge of the condensor, follow the line back to the compressor and disconnect it with a 6 mm Allen Socket.
- Remove the two 13mm bolts holding the condensor to the radiator and lift it out of the cradle. Set the condensor aside. If you plan to reuse it in the future, cap the two openings within 24 hours of opening or the dryer will have to be replaced.
- There is some foam insulation to the left side of the radiator. Move it aside to access the top right bolt holding the compressor. Remove the bolt with a 13mm socket.
- Shift to the wheel-well and locate the top left bolt holding the compresssor. Loosen but do not completely remove the bolt.
- Remove the lower collar screw and slide the compressor out of the slot.
- Supporting the compressor, remove the top bolt and rest the compressor on a box.
- Remove the remaining line going into the compressor and be prepared to catch any dripping oil.
- Disconnect the electrical connection to the compressor and secure it out of the way.
- If you are not removing the hard-lines, secure the lines to the support behind the radiator, cap them off and skip ahead to step 18. Also secure and cap off the remaining line that was going to the condensor. If you are removing the hard lines, then proceed to the next step.
- Remove the air intake including the lower half of the box with the ECU.
- Notice the sensor located in one of the lines. Disconnect the electrical connection to this sensor. Once the line is removed, we’re going to remove the sensor, seal it up, reattach the electrical connection, and tie it off under the air intake. (If we don’t do this, the fan will run all of the time.)
- Start with the smaller diameter of the two lines and trace its route back to the firewall. Disconnect the bracket holding it to the left side of the engine bay and disconnect it at the firewall. This is the hard part — just getting a socket on the bolt to remove it, given the location. Once removed, be prepared to catch any remaining oil and cap it off. If you wiggle long enough, you can remove this line without cutting it.
- The larger of the two lines is not so easy to remove. I suppose if you removed the motor mount you may be able to lift it out, but since ours was shot anyway, we just decided to cut it in two places. Remove the sensor and reinstall it as mentioned in step 12. Cap off the opening at the firewall as well.
- Reinstall the air intake system.
- Remove the spacer from the lower bolt race of the compressor for reuse with the collar bolt on the deflection pulley.
- Install the upper right bolt through the opening next to radiator as in removal step 6, but only hand tight
- Install the upper left bolt from the wheel well also hand tight.
- Insert the spacer into the opening on the deflection pulley and install the collar screw, securing it with a new nut.
- Tighten the two upper bolts and the collar screw to 18 ft lbs of torque.
- Reinstall the serpentine belt and release the belt tensioner. Double-check routing and belt-fit before starting the car.
- Complete steps to reinstall front-end and secure from service-mode.