York A/C Compressor Install

All mods are done on a 1980 Toyota 4x4 with a 20R engine…

I had done some research on different on-board air options, and ended up using the York because of a few things: 1. York compressors have internal oil reservoirs, so a lubricator on the intake isn’t needed.

2. I had A/C stock on my truck, and wanted to keep it, so using the stock compressor for on-board air was out.

3. A York puts out way more air than any portable electric compressor.

4. Except for an occasional oil check, it’s basically maintenance-free.

5. It’s unlimited free air. Nothing to recharge, refill, plug in, or drive a couple miles from the trail to use.

When I first started looking at an on-board air setup, I was going to go with an electric, 120-volt compressor. I had installed a 1500 watt power inverter in my truck, and decided that was big enough to handle a compressor that would get the job done. But, one day, kind of on a whim, after reading a lot about the York compressors, I decided to head down to the local pick n’ pull and see what they had. I found 4 Volvos in the yard, 3 of which had York compressors. 2 were missing the ID tag, but the one I got was intact. It read F210R, which is the biggest capacity you can get. For a breakdown on identifying a York, see http://www.jedi.com/obiwan/jeep/york_id.html. So the compressor I snagged came from a ’84 Volvo, and it cost me $30.

If you find a York in a junkyard, there’s 2 things you need to do to make sure it’s still good. First, after you cut the intake/output hoses, put your finger over the output, and spin the inner clutch on the front a couple times… this should build up pressure on your finger. Also, the compressor grounds through your engine block via the case. So ground the compressor somewhere and touch the power wire to your positive battery terminal. You should see/hear the clutch click and engage the pulley. It’s best to find one with a v-belt pulley, so you don’t have to buy a new clutch to make it work on your Yota. Though, I’ve never seen one with a serpentine set-up stock… Also make sure to grab the mounting bracket and about a foot of the hose connected to the compressor… makes life a lot easier mounting and plumbing it.

Now you’ve got the compressor, on to mounting it!

This is what mine looked like about halfway through the cleaning process. It had about 20 years of dirt and grime on it, and after using about a can and a half of engine and brake cleaners, it was clean and ready to go. I drained out all the old oil and put some fresh 30w in (I’ve heard any type of oil will work, and that’s what I had extra in the shop)

This is what it looked like with the mounting bracket.

So when I finally got to the point of getting it on my truck, I had to figure out exactly how I was gonna get it rigged up. I ended taking off my smog pump, which the previous owner didn’t exactly have hooked up anyway, to make room under my stock a/c compressor, on the passenger side of the engine.

Once I got the smog pump off, I found I had a couple threaded holes in the side of the block, that would line up to the bracket, I’d just have to drill a few holes. Perfect.

After fitting the compressor and working with it a little bit, I decided the best thing to do was modify the stock Volvo bracket and use that, rather than fabbing up a new mount. So I cut off the things sticking up on the top, and marked and drilled holes in the side to line up with the holes in the block. (Note: make sure you locate the compressor front-to-back so the pulleys line up with whatever pulley you use on the engine. I used the same pulley on the engine that was going to my smog pump and my stock A/C pump.) There was also a sort of wing sticking out that got cut off too.

It got chopped off at the red line, as well as the round bushings on the top (right hand side of the picture).

This is pretty much what it looked like when it went onto the engine, except for 2 holes approximately where the red dots are, to mount it to the engine block.

So once all the excess was cut off and all the holes were double-checked to line up, we mounted the compressor to the engine. We re-used the stock Toyota bracket to mount the stock A/C pump, but if I remember right, we had to cut part of it off to it wouldn’t interfere with the York.

Also, we had to shave a little bit of the aluminum off the bottom corner of the York to make sure it wouldn’t hit the frame, which it doesn’t, and actually rotates away from the frame when the engine torques.

Once I got my York and stock compressor mounted, I used an idler pulley from a Ford Aerostar to keep the v-belt tight.

After the compressor was mounted, it was just a matter of plumbing. I got a ‘ricer type’ crankcase breather and used it as a filter on the intake, and used a 3/8”x3/8” hose barb splice on the output to run a hose to the oil separator, then from that to the air manifold.

Here you can see the intake filter, the oil separator, the pressure switch, air gauge, check valve with a built-in automatic unloader, and the manifold I made from brass t-fittings.

Everything is plumbed in 3/8”, except for the pressure switch, under-hood air gauge, and the in-cab air gauge, because it was cheaper to do 1/4”, didn’t make any difference for those things. It was also easier to run 1/4” air hose for the air gauge in the cab.

This is a somewhat crude schematic of my set-up.

From the compressor, I ran a 3/8” line to the oil separator. Originally, I didn’t put in an oil separator, but after dealing with getting oil all over the place, I decided for the 30 bucks It costs, it would be a good thing to have. So from the separator, I ran 3/8” hose to the check valve, which is also an automatic unloader. So when the compressor stops pumping air, it closes the check valve and releases all the air between it and the compressor without bleeding down the system. The check valve connects to the manifold, which is made of (2) 3/8” T-fittings, and (2) 1/4” T-fittings. From the manifold, there’s a front quick connect, which sits in the passenger side fender, a 3/8” line that runs to the tank that’s under the bed, an under-hood 200psi air gauge, and the last T-fitting has a pressure switch that automatically turns the compressor on at 95psi and off at 125psi, and a 1/4” line running through the firewall under the dash to a 200psi gauge inside.


The 3-gallon tank is mounted under the bed, where the spare tire used to be. I pulled the spare tire hanger out and used a piece of angle iron and a piece of metal strap to mount the tank solid. Off the tank, there’s a pop-off valve rated at 150psi (note: this is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your entire system. This is to keep the system from becoming over-pressurized if the switch/compressor sticks and keeps pumping past the shutoff point. Don’t skip this part!). There’s also a line that goes to the rear quick connect, and a line that goes to my air horn, which is always good for some fun…

The switch that turns the compressor on and off is basically an “off/auto” switch. I tapped into a fused, ignition-switched source in the fuse box (no sense in letting the compressor stay on and drain your battery when the engine’s not running), ran power through the switch, to the pressure switch, and then to the compressor. I considered using a relay, but in my opinion, there’s not enough juice flowing to burn out the switch, since it just needs enough to trip the magnet that activates the clutch.

So that’s basically my York Compressor Setup. As of this article, I’ve been running it for about 2-3 months, and am more than happy with its performance. I run it pressurized everyday on the street for my horn, and also have been wheeling quite a bit, and have had a lot of opportunity to use it, and it’s performed great. it will fill my 3 gallon tank from 0-125psi in about 25 seconds, and my 31” Super Swamper LTBs from 15-33psi in about 45 seconds… only takes 3 minutes of fill time to air up after wheelin!

I was actually out wheeling with a buddy one day and we came across some guys with a huge buggy-type heep. He had blown a bead on one of his tires (39” Iroks, I think) and so we pulled out my airline and had him re-seated in no time. The tank is big enough for what I need it to do, although the compressor is capable of keeping with one that’s quite a bit bigger.

If I were to do it over again, I would probably do most of everything the same, with a few changes. I would make sure I knew everything I was going to need and then do it all in one trip to the hardware store (fittings and such). It would have been a lot less hassle, and in the long run, cheaper, with no left-over parts. I would have worked an oil separator into my original setup, so I wouldn’t have to go back and put it in later. And I would make sure I had everything I needed before I started, so I wouldn’t have to make so many annoying nickel and dime trips to the store in mid-project.

I’ve put together somewhat of a price list to total what I spent on my setup. But, all the totals are approximate, because I don’t really remember exactly what everything cost. It all should be really close, though.

Compressor, Idler Pulley - AAA Auto Wrecking - $35
V-Belt - Shucks Auto Supply - $15
Pressure Switch, 2 Air Gauges, Check Valve - Grainger - $45
Fittings, Teflon Tape, 1/4" Air Hose, 150psi Pop-Off Valve, Hose Clamps, Misc. Stuff - McLendon - $50
Coalescing Oil Filter/Separator - Western Tool - $30
LED Lighted Rocker Switch, Intake Filter - G.I. Joes - $13
Quick Connect Chucks, Air Hose Accessories - Harbor Freight - $5
20' Roll of 3/8" PVC Air Hose, 3 Gallon Air Tank, Misc. Wire, Oil, Etc. - Already Had/Got For Free

Total = $193

You could do this for cheaper. I decided I was going to build it how I wanted it, not just based on budget. As an example, you wouldn’t have to have 2 air gauges. You wouldn’t have to build a manifold set-up like mine, one can be had for cheaper that will work just as well. If you build a mounting bracket, you wouldn’t necessarily have to use an idler pulley, and that would save you a couple bucks… remember, there’s a cheaper way to do everything, if that’s the route you want to take. So make out your list, draw everything up, and go get yourself started! It’s definitely worth it!

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