Mounting a Sanden AC Compressor with the 5.0 Serpentine Belt

The last piece I need in order to put the belt on is the AC Compressor. I ordered a vintage air setup and plan on making some modifications to get it installed in a way that keeps it a little more concealed. Even then, I still need to get the compressor on the engine, and it doesn’t just bolt on with the original 5.0 serpentine belt setup. But there is a fix for that.

My starting point today. Notice the spacious area on the top driver side front of the engine. It’s hard to see here, but there is a bracket mounted on the front of the water pump that the compressor mounts to. Since the original pump and the Sanden have different mount points, I had to do some modifications. The solution was to get a bracket kit from Original Air. It’s just a couple of angled brackets and hardware, but it’s what is needed.

The first thing I need to do is mount one of the brackets on the front plate so I can drill a hole in the plate. The compressor is going to mount to the bracket, so the plate is just a place to bolt the bracket on to. Two bolts for the bracket, two for the compressor.

Using the bracket as a template to get started, I used the biggest drill bit that would fit smoothly in the bracket in order to dimple the plate. I then removed the bracket and started with a small bit and kept going up each time I drilled through. My big bit would never last on its own. Just like drilling for the Arning drop.

The last step of modifying the plate was to trim off the long thin arm. This is a cosmetic step since the top connection is not going to be used. I probably could have gone lower, but it works. I started cutting with my 4″ wheel and a diamond blade, but it was taking too long. The reciprocating saw with a metal cutting blade made short work of it.

The two brackets were the same. One bolted on the back stock bracket, the other to the front. 4 bolts on the bottom of the compressor, plus some spacer from the kit and it’s locked in place. Being a serpentine setup, no adjustment is required, avoiding those issues, which I like.

I still have a nut and a bolt to find from the power steering pump. I picked up a couple of spacers to take the place of the pump, but I don’t think I really need them. I have them now though, so I might as well put them on. Here I have one in place, but not the other.

The last step was using the breaker bar to lift up the tensioner and put the belt in place.

All kinds of procrastinating, avoiding drilling and cutting, but it was together pretty quick. I think that covers all of the mechanical parts of the engine. I still have hoses and wiring, but not much more. I have my eye on some plug wire management and maybe a less eye catching distributor cap, but that is just more cosmetics. I have those waiting in the cart at Summit for the next order to reach free shipping.

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