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Quattroporte III A/C

Discussion in 'Maserati' started by sowest, May 12, 2009.

  1. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #1 sowest, May 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I've had this car for 10 or 12 years and the A/C has always been pretty weak. I felt that the expansion valve was faulty or partially plugged. I got under the dash and was able to get the expansion valve changed and put in a new receiver/drier. The expansion valve was a real chore because the steel nuts that secure the suction line and expansion valve to the evaporator lines were severely rusted under the insulating mastic. The nut on the suction line was rusted solid to the steel shaft of the hose fitting so I had to cut the hose in order to unscrew the fitting. I was able to clean up the threads and get the new expansion valve in place and crimped a new fitting to the suction line and was re-charging the system. Everything looked very good.....for about three minutes.

    The blower motor started to make horrible noises. It turned out that the plastic fan had cracked and was spinning loose on the motor shaft. After some effort, it became clear that the blower motor and fan was not going to come out of the evaporator unit unless the evaporator was removed from the car. It also became clear that the evaporator unit wasn't going to come out of the car unless everything else did too.

    I can take comfort in knowing that after I put this $3K or $4K worth of work into the A/C I will have a car that is worth $3K or $4K.
    It's all good. I am trying to have fun along the way. ;>)
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  3. Jalpa_Mike

    Jalpa_Mike F1 Rookie

    Apr 2, 2004
    2,838
    Sequim
    Full Name:
    Michael Wilson
    I know how you feel..... I had my 1980 Quattroporte III for nearly 18 years. I put a TON of money into it. But, I still loved the car! It still pains me that I traded it in on a my current 2002 GT Coupe. But, I must say the new one is a heck of a lot more reliable! :)

    Mike
     
  4. Mexico074

    Mexico074 Formula 3

    Aug 14, 2008
    1,133
    Harriman, TN USA
    Full Name:
    Michael Demyanovich
    Sowest / Jalpa...

    The picture made me laugh... (in a good way)...

    I currently have a 1982 QPIII... When I bought it, it needed
    some bodywork.. So I removed everything except the engine
    and electricals then sent it to the paint/body shop... I have had it back for
    about 3 years and need to start re-assembly... The picture
    reminded me of exactly what my dash area looks like!

    I am interested in the replacements you made for the A/C (drier and expansion
    valve).. Could you provide the manufacturer, model, and part number of
    what you used? How were the costs for these parts?

    Any help is always appreciated...

    Mike
     
  5. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899

    Hi Mike

    The picture makes me laugh too, in a "please shoot me kind of way".....;>)

    I will be happy to provide you with the info on the parts that I used. The expansion valve is standard fare. I think that I got it at NAPA for about $35.00. I had a little more trouble finding the receiver/drier, but I got a unit that had the correct hose connections. I had to change the pressure switch too. I think that the unit is VW/Audi. I have all the relevant numbers at work. I will post them later. I was able to find a blower fan wheel that I think is going to work out well. It is slightly bigger in OD, but I was able to trim a small amount from the housing to fit it.The original fan was plastic and made in Texas. The company that made it is still in business, but the gentleman there said that part was no longer being produced. The replacement that I got is metal and it came from NAPA. It seems that there are several different evaporator units used in these cars, so I don't know if what works for me will work for you.

    My car has the slide lever controls on the dash, not the rotary knobs. I do have a parts manual, but it only shows the unit with the rotary controls.
     
  6. menoy

    menoy F1 Rookie

    Mar 12, 2005
    2,644
    PL
    Full Name:
    MRodziewicz
    ... and now I don't know how to put everything back. HELP! :D
     
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  8. ferrariblex

    ferrariblex Karting

    Sep 28, 2005
    116
    Madison, WI
    Full Name:
    Brandon Blexrude
    Sowest,

    Your photo brings back many memories of the time I spent working on the '84 QP III owned, which ended up being a great car once I got it sorted out. What I didn't like about the car is that there are so few people that know anything about them and many of the parts for them have fallen off of most manufacturers' parts catalogs despite them being common parts found on 80's Audis, BMWs, and Porsches. I got so fed up with this that I created the Quattroporte III Parts Listing and Interchange on the Yahoo Groups Discussion list for Maserati automobiles. I encourage you and all QP III owners to check this out and add other parts to it so that we can keep more of these glorious beasts on the road as they are truly are special cars.
     
  9. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    Mike

    Here is some information that might be helpful. The A/C expansion valve is a very standard American part that any parts store or A/C shop should be able to provide. I got one from an e-Bay seller. The part number was 904-524. There was no indication of manufacturer. I got another one from my local NAPA store. It was "Four Seasons" part number 38610. The one that came from e-Bay was $89.00 including shipping. The one from NAPA was about $35.00.

    The receiver/drier is a little more problematic. I couldn't find anything that had the correct hose fittings and had the proper port for the pressure switch. I got a unit from the same e-Bay seller that provided the expansion valve. The part number was 804-729. Again there was no indication of manufacturer. The original Maserati switch would not fit this drier, so I installed a NAPA switch, part number 207068. This is only a low pressure switch, so I will be operating with no high pressure protection. I am OK with this as too high a pressure is a pretty rare occurence. This drier unit was about $80.00 including shipping and I think the switch was about $25.00. With a little more searching, I found that the receiver/drier from a 90-94 Alfa Spider was a good fit and it had a combined high/low pressure switch. I got a genuine Alfa part, with switch for about $200. I also got an after market Alfa unit that did not have a switch for about $65. The after market part came from International Auto Parts, (IAP).

    I got a new blower motor from NAPA, part number 655-1020. It cost $50. The new blower fan wheel was NAPA part number
    655-1416. It cost $30. I ended up re-conditioning by original blower motor because the new one was the typical "made in China" marginally acceptable, piece of semi-junk.

    Hi Ferrariblex

    Thanks for the heads-up about your cross reference list on the Yahoo group. I will check it out.
     
  10. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #8 sowest, May 14, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Since I had to remove the evaporator assembly and it is so much work, I wanted to fix as much as possible to avoid doing a repeat performance. The foam on the blend doors was nothing more than crumbling dust. I got some high quality, long life foam to re-do the doors. Someone mentioned to me that "Gorilla Glue" was the best thing going. I had never used the stuff, so I did a test piece and it was a disaster. It stuck very well to the foam, but it simply peeled right off of the metal door. I did a test piece with Weldwood contact cement, 3M Super 77 spray adhesive, and 3M Super Weatherstrip Adhesive. All of these had very good adhesion to both the foam and the metal. The solvents in the Super Weatherstrip Adhesive were active enough that it did some damage to the foam, kind of like getting a slice of bread wet. The Weldwood contact cement was good, but it is a little hard to spread in a nice even coat. I ended up using the 3M Super 77 spray adhesive, with strategically placed pieces of waxed paper to protect from overspray.

    The pictures: One shows the three test applications, one shows a blend door by itself, one shows the blend door installed.
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  11. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #9 sowest, May 20, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I am finally headed in the right direction. Parts are going together instead of coming apart. The evaporator unit is completely assembled. The blend doors are re-conditioned. The heater and A/C cores are cleaned and the fins are straightened. I cut off the inlet pipe to the evaporator core and replaced the severely rusted nut that holds on the expansion valve. The evaporator core has been pressurised and leak checked. The picture shows the assembly on the bench with the push button control plugged in and a vacuum pump supplying vacuum. All the vacuum motors and blend doors operate as advertised. Unfortunately, the electrical part of the push button switch is kind of "iffy". This can be resolved later. The evaporator unit is ready to go back into the car!!
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  13. Mexico074

    Mexico074 Formula 3

    Aug 14, 2008
    1,133
    Harriman, TN USA
    Full Name:
    Michael Demyanovich
    Sowest...

    Thank you for the info.... Am enjoying reading your posts..
    Sounds like you are getting there... Please keep the posts
    and pics coming... They will be extremely valuable when I
    get to that point... There doesn't seem to be much info
    on this (extremely) important QPIII system... I am glad
    you are taking the time to go through it and especially to keep
    us in the loop!!!

    Mike
     
  14. ferrariblex

    ferrariblex Karting

    Sep 28, 2005
    116
    Madison, WI
    Full Name:
    Brandon Blexrude
    Sowest,

    I am happy to see that you are doing an A+ job of restoring your climate control system and sharing this experience with us. I can only wish that all QP IIIs were getting the same love yours is.
     
  15. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #12 sowest, May 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Mike and Brandon

    Thanks very much for your words of encouragement. It is nice to know that I am not merely talking into the void. I enjoy making things as "right" as possible, but there is also self preservation involved. I am having fun doing this job once, but I don't think that I would care to do it again!!

    I'll include a few more pics. One shows the evaporator core inlet pipe that was cut off, a new nut slipped in place, and the pipe silver brazed back together. Another pic shows the temporary fittings that were used to evacuate and charge the evaporator core with freon to check for leaks.

    One picture is the whole unit, showing the blower end. I know that the cars with the rotary controls on the dash have a totally different heat--A/C unit. When I first knew that I was going to have to get into this project, I looked on e-Bay and there was a unit being sold out of a parted car. It was very similar to what I have except the blower motor was recessed about half way into the round housing. So there are at least three different styles that were used.
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  16. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #13 sowest, May 24, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    The heat/evaporator is back in the car. It looks much better there than on the workbench. The expansion valve and hoses are hooked up. The system is finally closed again. I will pull vacuum, but will not be able to charge the system until I get the dash back in and the heater lines replaced. I will leave the insulation off the expansion valve and hose connections until everything has been leak checked.
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  17. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #14 sowest, May 26, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Some good. Some bad. I was looking over all the bits and pieces to see what else needed attention before the main dash was put back in place. I noticed that the rubber boot that is supposed to seal where the steering column passes through the floorboard was damaged by age and the heat of the exhaust headers. The hard plastic bushing that rides on the steering shaft was even melted. Since I felt that these parts were probably specific to Maserati, I called MIE. Neither piece is available. It seems very unlikely that any used part would be worthwhile, I have yet to come up with a solution for this problem. I have an idea or two and am crawling under any car that I can get to, looking for a similar part that could be adapted. For now this is an open issue. I want to find something workable as it seems foolish to work on getting the A/C working and then leaving such a big hole for heat, noise, and smells to enter the passenger compartment.

    I found a fan speed switch. The handle is chrome instead of the original black, but the switch portion is the same. It is
    4-seasons, part number 35837.

    I also found a suitable heater control valve. Several of the NAPA part numbers that I had superseded to another number. This was cross-referenced to 4-Seasons, part number 74627. The valve is plastic instead of metal and it is a bit longer. The hose size is the same and the control is "pull to open". I think that it will fit in place without any problem.
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  18. VeloceOne

    VeloceOne Karting

    Jul 18, 2007
    87
    #15 VeloceOne, May 26, 2009
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
    Hi, to seal firewall openings, I have used in the past a product called "Duct Seal" (probably known by other names) It is a non hardening putty like product used by electricians to seal openings. Should be available from electical supply houses. As far as I know, it is also paintable.
    A little Michael Rodent, but it works. Regards Ian.
    Note: I think that body shop suppliers carry a similar product.
     
  19. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    Hi Ian

    Thanks for your suggestion. At the point where the steering passes through the floorboard, the shaft is open and is turning, so I need to find a solution that does not "stick" to the shaft. One option that is on the table is to have a machine shop make a nylon or teflon bushing that is a close fit on the shaft and then use a product like you described to pack around the bushing and fill the void.

    If he works, Michael Rodent is welcome!!.......;>)
     
  20. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    There are at least four different systems for heat--A/C used in these cars. I got some parts from MIE and since my parts book only showed the rotarty control system, the gentleman there included a photocopy of his part listing for the push button type. This diagram showed push button, vacuum operated controls, but the heat / evaporator had the double ended blower motor, mounted horizontally, just like the rotary, cable operated assembly.

    So, there is the rotary control setup with the horizontal, double ended blower. There is the pushbutton control with the horizontal, double ended blower. There is the one that I saw on e-Bay with pushbutton control but a single shaft, vertically mounted blower that had the motor recessed into the blower housing. Last (so far) is the set-up like mine with pushbutton controls and a single shaft, vertically mounted blower that hangs completely below the blower housing.
     
  21. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #18 sowest, May 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    The heater control valve connects to the system and is held in place by two 90 degree elbows of heater hose.The old hoses are actually the same inner diameter. One of the hoses has a much thicker wall. I just went to the NAPA store and looked through the in-stock hose selection and found these 90 degree pieces. I will just cut them to the desired length. They are NAPA number 9808 and they cost $12.99 each.

    I forgot to include the prices for the fan speed switch and the heater valve in an earlier post. The fan speed switch was $23.57 and the heater valve was $23.75.
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  22. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #19 sowest, May 31, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    The push button mode control switch was not in stock locally, but it did arrive from the mainland yesterday. It looks to be the right part, although I have yet to check that the vacuum and electrical switching is the same as the original part. I will be quite surprised if there is any difference. The pushbutton switch is NAPA (Echlin) part number HS322 and it cost $96.20.

    I also got a pair of new speakers that are mounted to the main dash assembly. One of mine was actually missing and the other had a small tear in the cone. The new speakers are Alpine SPS-406 and they cost $60.00. The new speakers are a little taller, bigger in some areas. I think that they will be fine, but I haven't checked to see if there will be any interference with the instument cluster or the swing down glovebox.
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  23. Mexico074

    Mexico074 Formula 3

    Aug 14, 2008
    1,133
    Harriman, TN USA
    Full Name:
    Michael Demyanovich
    Sowest...

    Thank you so much again for this info!!!

    I am enjoying reading it...In fact, based on your
    articles I am planning my strategy for when the
    time comes....

    Keep it coming!!!

    Mike D.
     
  24. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    Hi Mike

    Thanks for letting me know that you are getting some value out of this thread. I hope that it will play some part in giving motivation for you to start the assembly process on your car. It is actually helping me to keep the process moving. I keep telling myself that "It is not a big job. It is just a bunch of small jobs."

    I am really looking forward to putting the QP back together. I don't have a lot of room. There are QP parts EVERYWHERE!!!

    Just out of curiosity. Do you know what your A/C system looks like? Does it fit into one of the four types that I described in an earlier post?

    Aloha
    Larry
     
  25. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #22 sowest, Jun 5, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    The A/C project on my QP has been slowed a bit by the need to take care of some paying jobs. I should have been born rich instead of good looking.......;>)

    Today, I picked up a bushing that I had a local machine shop make for me. It will go on the steering shaft and will use a product like Ian (VeloceOne) suggested in an earlier post to seal the bushing to the car body. This should be effective in sealing up this area of the floorboards. I cut some radial and some longitudinal grooves in the bushing to allow the sealer to grip better.
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  26. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    Hi All

    I have finally been able to pick up on my A/C project again. I was going to post some more pictures and news, but I think that I am going to wait until the forum gets back to normal. I am finding this black/grey color scheme hard on the eyes.
     
  27. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #24 sowest, Aug 16, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Hi

    It is great to have the forum back to normal. It was a good demonstration of how different we can be. It is hard for me to imagine someone choosing the black and gray theme.

    The Q-Porte A/C project stalled for a while. There were two main reasons. One was that there were other more pressing projects to be taken care of and another was my avoiding the choices that I knew were were coming. There is a leather covered fiberglass piece that attaches to the top front of the main dash piece. It goes closest to the windscreen and it contains the defroster vents. The leather is right in the sun and it had shrunk away from the vents and portions of it were hard and brittle.This car just isn't worth much and, if I had any brains, I would try to soften up the leather as well as possible and glue it back down.This part of the dash cannot be removed without taking the whole dash out of the car. This means removing the rear seats, front seats, console, and steering column. I just could not bring myself to put it back in in that condition. I brought the piece to a local upholstery shop and the owner could not come up with anything close to the rather strange color of this leather......so I am waiting for a whole hide to come from the mainland. I will fix this piece and keep the hide in case other repairs are needed in the future. The rest of the leather on the dash is really in pretty good condition.

    This time will allow me to take care of some other issues. One of the many weird things that Maserati did was to rivet the slotted metal grilles to the fiberglass and then cover the rivet heads with the leather. The problem with this is the grille prevents the leather being fully wrapped into the opening and securely glued. I am going to remove the metal grilles, let the upholstery shop do the leather work and then devise another way to attach the grilles.

    I was a little surprised to see that the dash had been out at least once before. Several of the mounting brackets were stripped out. It seems like the all too common practice of putting in the fastener and then applying the power tool until all the threads are removed was employed here. Then the next step is to drill random holes and run in self-tapping screws until something grabs. These people must have been new at the game because they missed the chance to use a really long drywall screw and drive it in until a pipe, hose, or wiring harness was pierced. I will take the time to remove the leather and repair all the attachment hardware.
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  28. sowest

    sowest Formula Junior

    Aug 18, 2006
    899
    #25 sowest, Aug 27, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Hi

    I did debate with myself over whether or not to fix the leather on the dash, but I am glad that I did go ahead. I was able to fix all of the mounting hardware so that I can use the proper hardware instead of the self-tapping screws. The new leather looks very nice and it will be good to be able to drive the car without averting my eyes from the dry and shrunken leather.

    Just holding the dash piece in hand, it seems long and I wondered if the upholstery shop might have to put a seam in the new covering. I didn't have to worry. That was a fair sized cow!!
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