My 15 year old Maruti Wagon R has a weak AC relative to internal volume and often fails in intense Indian heat. Can I add an aftermarket AC to improve the cooling and prevent AC breakdown? My idea is to have 2 complete AC units installed to share the load in extreme heat. Only one would need to be used in cooler conditions. I could not find out whether this is feasible, despite much searching online.

  • Have you considered if the AC is leaking? Repair all leaks and fill it with proper volume of coolant, and the performance should improve. I don't think you need an aftermarket AC in most cases. – juhist Aug 12 '17 at 12:05
  • Thanks for the suggestion, @juhist -- in fact the AC is defective and going to be repaired, but it is so hot here in coastal South India that it can't cope and breaks down within 4 months. Even when functional our Wagon R's AC is weak and gives only tepid cooling during sunshine hours. One reason I can think is that Wagon R has much more internal volume than its sibling Maruti Alto, our second car (same vintage) whose AC is cooler and fails much less often. That's why I was wondering whether I can 'support' the newly repaired AC with an aftermarket AC for better cooling & to prevent breakdown? – English Student Aug 12 '17 at 12:12
  • That it fails so often is very strange to me. Unless there is a systemic issue with the vehicle's A/C itself, it shouldn't fail, even in the hottest of climates. It seems to me, whomever is "repairing" the unit isn't doing a very good job of it. I would expect any A/C system which is closed (not leaking) and undamaged (no physical damage) to run for years and years without incident or breakdown. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Aug 12 '17 at 12:35
  • Thanks, @Paulster2 for the information that the AC ought to work without error for years -- as you can see I am not at all an expert in this subject. It is very possible that the repair jobs were either partial or failed to diagnose the real issue. I had noticed the AC becomes 'less cool' within months. I shall know more after the car returns from repair. Is it theoretically feasible to mount 2 AC units in the same car and use them either together or one-at-a-time? If so, are there any practical restrictions to this arrangement? – English Student Aug 12 '17 at 12:48
  • I am also from India (Kolkata) and summer in here is hot too, but our Alto's(2008) A/C still works fine without failing, I only clean the ac vents once in a month and clean the condensed water outlet once in a year, my advice is if your local mechanic could not find any fault then go to Maruti Authorized Service Stations, and let them check, – Nilabja Aug 14 '17 at 8:51

There is aftermarket AC kits available, there are loads of manufactures and the kits differ depending on the applications.

Before looking into fitting in an aftermarket system I would take the vehicle to a garage with air con equipment to get the system pressure tested. Usually this procedure holds the system under vacuum for anywhere between 10-40mins and monitors the pressure.

Your option in regards to the aftermarket system seems to be:

  • A roof mounted electric unit - by far the cheapest and easiest solution, it can be fitted in a morning and at worst case you may need to install a second battery and split charge system and/or a larger alternator. Usually though there is no need for any extra battery's or alternators. Simply cut a hole in the roof and install.

  • An unfloor/dash engine driven unit - the most professional option if you want a nice 'factory' spec install. You install the matrix/blower assembly either under the dash, seat, floor or in the roof lining and either tap into the existing AC, install a larger AC compressor or add an extra one. The benefit of this system is you can get much larger cooling capacity than an all electric version. You can also get a matrix with built in heater.

I have had great success in installing Webasto products their equipment is also used in most OEM applications so that proves how well built it is.

Just google 'aftermarket air conditioning'. There are loads of kits targeted at the classic car community. Car builder solutions in the UK is just one company that springs to mind although I have never used their products.

  • Many thanks for the detailed answer, @Terry Gould; that gives me a much better idea of the possibilities! I shall make local enquiries and also assess whether the newly re-evaluated and repaired AC is capable of dealing with the heat in September-November months which have very hot sunshine here; by which time I could formulate an action plan. I shall be sure to ask further questions here if needed, before making a final decision. – English Student Aug 12 '17 at 13:20

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