The largest and best supported Jaguar cars enthusiast site on the Internet!

Serving Enthusiasts since 1993
The Jag-lovers Web

Currently with 3,166 members

Replacing AC Evaporator 83 XJ6

Replacing AC Evaporator 83 XJ6

Alex Lynch

Well, I felt it was finally time to tackle that leaking AC evaporator, although the leak was small it was getting expensive recharging it about three times during the summer.

I had a factory manual that was not entirely accurate as I found out. I believe that the procedure described is for the earlier models (i.e., Series 2). My car is a 1983 Series 3 XJ6. I also had a Haynes manual but this did not have anything about removing the AC box -- except a short paragraph about the cautions of dismantling an AC system. Anyway because of this lack of information, I felt that it might be a good idea to write-up the procedure for others who might need to get to the AC box or for that matter anything else behind the dash since the whole dash had to come out. Following is the procedure as I remember it but most of it is rather intuitive and straight forward. You will only need common hand tools and patience since there is a large amount of wiring that needs to be disconnected. Anyway everything is nice and cool now and I learned a lot about the mysterious connections that up until this project I only saw from laying on my back looking up under the dash.


1983 Jaguar Series 3 XJ6, North American Model

Looking back on this project I feel preparation is the most important rule to follow. Have a clear area where you can lay out the parts as you remove them, pieces like the dash front are large and fragile and you must lay it on a large well-padded flat area. I used the hood of the TR3 covered with a couple of blankets. This worked out well since it also gave me a convenient spot to work on the back of the dash (i.e., cleaning electrical connectors and checking bulbs).

You should also have a quantity of zip lock bags with masking tape. I put parts in bags and then wrote a description on the tape and affixed it to the bag. Also absolutely mandatory are wire markers, these are thin pieces of tape that come in a book that are numbered, as you disconnect each harness connector you wrap a numbered piece around each end with the same number. You do not have to use this method but do not even think about disconnecting wires without some plan on how to reconnect. There are lots of wires all through the dash and the console. This not a job that can be rushed through it took me about 10 hours to take it apart and about 8 to put it back together. In addition to the above, all I needed was a couple of screw drivers and a few common wrenches, sockets, etc.

  1. The first step is to find a service station that can discharge the system. Even if you think the system is empty it would be wise to have it professionally discharged since even a small amount can blind you if you open a connection and the gas sprays out under pressure. You may also want them to disconnect the hoses to the expansion valve at this time since it can be tricky getting in there due to the limited amount of space.
  2. Once you get back to the area where you will perform your work, first thing to do is disconnect the battery. I did the work in the driveway, but you can get more work time if you use a garage.
  3. Moving inside the vehicle remove the steering wheel. This can be a little confusing and the AC section of the manual is really not clear on how to do it. Here are step-by-step instructions. (a)Remove the lower shroud and turn wheel one revolution till you see a grub screw and lock nut. (b) Loosen locknut and turn out grub screw about two turns. (c) Turn the wheel back to its original position (straight ahead) and lock in the straight ahead position. (d) Now loosen and remove the bolt on the collet clamp. You have to remove the bolt! (At first I only loosen it and couldn't figure out why the wheel would not come off. The bolt is in a groove in the steering column.) (e) Pull straight back and the wheel, along with spline and hand adjuster, will come off. (f) Now loosen one small silver screw from the plastic clamp holding the wiper, turn switch module, then remove two screws from the upper shroud. (g) These three screws are removed from below. You can pull the assembly off the column and then remove the upper shroud.
  4. Remove the plastic side covers that are located at each end of the dash below the A pillars. There is one screw at the lower edge that holds it in place.
  5. Next remove the crash roll (top of dashboard). This was easy. Just remove the four screws on the underside in front of the dash. I found it easier to pull the crash partially off, then prise out the map light, then pull off the temp sensor hose, then remove crash roll.
  6. At this point I removed the bolts from the demist support rail. (This is the rail that is at the top of the dash and below the lower edge of the crash roll). It holds the demister ducts in place. Disconnect the vacuum connections from the rear of the ducts.
  7. Next remove the console side covers. They are afixed with two screws in the vent outlet and the under-dash knee covers (under-scuttle). The screws are at the top and bottom edges and one on each side below the A pillars.
  8. The next step was to remove the radio. First remove the AC control knobs (pull off), then use two small screwdrivers or a pair of needle nose pliers to turn the shaft nuts behind the control knobs. Pull the control panel out slightly and remove the radio. (I have a Sony aftermarket unit that pops out when depressing two spring clips. I believe the original is removed by undoing the radio shaft nuts and separating from the control panel.) Anyway feed the fiber optic leads out far enough to lay the control panel face down on the console. From the back, prise off the spring nuts that hold the fiber optic leads under the plate. I used a small screwdriver with a blade that fit in the slots on the spring and worked it off. Separate the pieces and remove the fiber optic links then put it back together loosely so you will not have to remember how it goes together. Set it aside.
  9. Now remove the two screws that hold the center switch assembly and the trip computer in place. Pull it forward and detach the wiring harness plugs from the switches and the trip computer. Be sure to mark each connection for reassemble. Remove and set aside. Next remove the two screws from below the parcel shelf.

    NOTE: At the center section we just discussed, there are three sets of two screws: two at the top, middle, and bottom. These screws are all different sizes and pitch, which wasn't obvious to me until I was reassembling. Mark them now as top (parcel shelf),middle(trip computer panel) and bottom (AC control panel).

  10. Next I removed the glove box liner screws (6) around the perimeter. I removed the screws but didn't remove the liner since the dash was coming off. You can remove it as easily once the dash is removed. From underneath, remove the screws (two each) that hold the ignition switch and the master light module to the dash and collect the plastic housings from each.
  11. On to the dash(fascia). Remove the couple of bolts on the demist support rail from underneath. There is bolt at each end under the A pillars. Now take your time with this next step. Slowly pull the dash up and tilt it over so the you can lay it face down on the parcel shelf gently. In this way, you can disconnect the wiring plugs from the back of the gauges, the speedo and tachometer. Don't forget to mark each with their mates. Once these connections are separated, lift the dash out of the car and lay it face down on that nice flat soft area you already prepared. Right?
  12. Okay so far so good. Next remove the demist support rail. This was a little tricky. There are bolts at the extreme ends at the A pillars that you can just get a socket on to remove them, but the rail is in recesses at each end so you can't pull it right out. I got it to come free by pushing it all the way to the left side, then applying a downward twisting motion towards the rear of the car. You may have to play with it a little but it will come out. An alternative would be to remove the A pillar casings for more access.
  13. Now its time to remove the center console. Remove the lid and the insert of the center glove box by removing the screws around the perimeter and prising out the plastic snap piece at the front center. Remove insert and then remove screw at top center that secures the window switch panel. Pull this piece up slightly and remove the window, sunroof and window inhibit switches. Mark for proper reassembly. Remove the shift T handle piece. Then lift the panel over the shift arm and disconnect the wiring from the cruise inhibit switch. Remove the panel.
  14. Start at the rear bottom of the center console, working from the back seat. Remove one screw from each side, prise up the metal surround holding the rear window switches. Work carefully with a wide thin blade screwdriver. There are six pins that push in holding the piece in place. By working around the perimeter you can free it. Once free, remove the switches from the piece and then remove the rear piece it was attached to. You can now remove two hidden screws, one from each side of the rear of the console. Inside the console there are four screws in the bottom holding the console to the transmission tunnel. Remove screws and lift out the center console. Be careful of the fiber optic unit.
  15. Now it's time to move under the hood. Remove the A/C hoses from the expansion valve and evaporator. This is tricky because there is hardly any room to maneuver. When they are removed it is a good idea to seal them off. I used a couple ziploc bags secured with duct tape. Then remove the coolant hoses and finally remove the two silver (aluminum?) nuts (about 3/4 inch) on the firewall that are attached to the AC box. One is next to the coolant pipes and the other is about 20 inches to the left on the firewall. (Left is looking toward the back of the car, but you won't have any problem finding them).
  16. Moving back inside the cabin, remove the bracket that the AC switches are attached to. There is a nut on each side. Pull off and undo the AIR slider cable from the side of the AC box. Turn the plate over. Remove small screw underneath slider. Remove plate and undo fiber optic link. Put the cover back on.
  17. On each side, push back the soft plastic blower hoses connected to the stub pipes on the AC box. Remove the stub pipes by using a half turn and pulling outwards. They come out and go back pretty easily.
  18. Now its time to remove the AC box. First disconnect the rest of the wiring. There is a roundish connector on each side at the bottom. Also carefully look at all the other wiring in case I forgot something. There are two vacuum connectors and the drain tubes which you can disconnect more easily after you move the AC box out a small way.
  19. OK, if everything looks good, grab the two demist outlets at the top and with a fair amount of pulling you should hear the foam backing start to break free as the unit comes loose. Tilt it forward and disconnect the drain tubes and two vacuum lines at the rear. Go slowly in case there are connections you missed earlier. I put it on my lap, made sure everything was disconnected, and maneuvered it out the passenger side door. Be careful of the sides and the bottom where the AC switches will still be attached. Set it down on its rear side.


  20. Remove the two hex bolts on the evaporator plate and the bracket on the coolant pipes. Now you can remove the screws around the perimeter that hold the cover on. Finally, undo the wiring and the bolt attaching the thermostat to the side. Carefully pull the probe out from the side of the evaporator. Be very careful. That thermostat is US$191. Now slide the evaporator out of the box. Vacuum all that deteriorated black foam that has been blowing around your cabin for the last few years from the air ducts. I was originally going to have the evaporator repaired, but since I could get a new one, not factory original, at SICP for US$200, I figured this would last longer than a 15 year-old Delanair. Especially since it had already sprung one leak. When installing the new evaporator I had to slightly bend the plate where the pipes come out of the box. Do this slowly and firmly and keep trying the fit. Replace the padding on the top, bottom, and sides. Don't cover the part that the air will be blowing across.

The reinstallation is pretty much the reverse of the removal. Pay attention to putting everything back in the exact reverse order. I had the box all bolted in and realized I forgot to reattach the drain tubes. There was no way to do this with the box in place, at least I couldn't do it. Had to loosen the box again and partially move it out to get them back on. Wasted time -- not fun.

I wrote this from memory, so I might have missed a few minor items. My reason for describing the job so carefully was that the manual's explanation was very different in some areas (i.e., it was not necessary to disturb the steering column or mount). Not being sure of everything that had to be done, I started getting a little leery when I realized things were different. Especially when I was pulling on the AC box to remove it. At that point I wasn't sure if I had removed all the connections or if something was going to break. Anyway you'll save a lot of money if you have a leaky evaporator and know your car a lot better. It's also a great opportunity to clean all those connections.

Good Luck! 83 XJ6 S3 is cool again!

Looking for or selling Jaguar Automobilia? Then use our absolutely free Jaguar Collectibles Exchange! Got some pictures you would like to share with other Jag-lovers?
Then try our automated Photo Album and post some images!


Please help support the move to the new site, and DONATE what you can.
A big Thank You to those who have donated already!



Go to our Homepage
Improve your Jag-lovers experience with the Mozilla FireFox Browser!

  View the latest posts from our Forums via an RSS Feed!

Jag-loversTM Ltd / JagWEBTM 1993 - 2023
All rights reserved. Jag-lovers is supported by JagWEBTM
For Terms of Use and General Rules see our Disclaimer
Use of the Jag-lovers logo or trademark name on sites other than Jag-lovers itself in a manner implying endorsement of commercial activities whatsoever is prohibited. Sections of this Web Site may publish members and visitors comments, opinion and photographs/images - Jag-lovers Ltd does not assume or have any responsibility or any liability for members comments or opinions, nor does it claim ownership or copyright of any material that belongs to the original poster including images. The word 'Jaguar' and the leaping cat device, whether used separately or in combination, are registered trademarks and are the property of Jaguar Cars, England. Some images may also be Jaguar Cars. Mirroring or downloading of this site or the publication of material or any extracts therefrom in original or altered form from these pages onto other sites (including reproduction by any other Jaguar enthusiast sites) without express permission violates Jag-lovers Ltd copyright and is prohibited
Go to our Homepage
Your Browser is: CCBot/2.0 (, IP Address logged as on 10th Jun 2023 08:29:17