Could adding AC to a used car be a DIY project?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jul 01, 1998

Dear Tom and Ray:

My relationship with my '88 Mercury Tracer is in trouble. We've been together
through many winters in Alaska, but now that we are living in Southern
California, the bloom is off the rose. You see, the car has no air conditioning,
and the cost of having AC installed (about $1,000) is putting a strain on our
relationship. I have a standard toolbox (crescent wrench, screwdriver and claw
hammer) and can read. Is this a project I can do myself? -- Tim

TOM: No. Under no circumstances should you attempt this, Tim.

RAY: Right. You'd have a better chance of building a nuclear reactor out of old
soda cans and cereal boxtops.

TOM: It's a huge job. A complicated, complete pain. Even though you may be able
to buy a parts kit from your Mercury dealer, and even though this car is likely
to be pre-wired and have the requisite duct work in place, you'll end up a week
later with no air conditioning, and $500 worth of Mercury parts strewn around
your garage floor.

RAY: Hey. Maybe he can build a nuclear reactor with those!

TOM: So if you really are in love with this car (which we can't quite
understand, but we'll take your word for it), take it to your Mercury dealer and
pay him $1,000 to install the AC. It'll be the best 1,000 bucks you ever spent.
Trust us on this.

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