How difficult is it to add air conditioning to a TJ that didn't come with it originally?


TJ Enthusiast
Jun 29, 2021
Asked a few days ago about an 03 Rubicon. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with it and it needs AC work along with other recent work. So, now I'm looking at an 01 Sport, but it didn't come with AC....he thinks maybe it came from Alaska originally.

My question here is how difficult is it to add AC to one that didn't come with it from the factory? He thinks mounts and such are there. I doubt interior controls are, but would wire harness be there? Would it be as simple as adding compressor, line-set, dryer, etc.... I've found several others that I liked, but AC doesn't work, so I'm wondering if I'm any worse just adding it.
I put a jeepair kit in my 99 last year. You can do it in a day if you stay on track. I did a ton of stuff all at the same time so I pulled the steering column and seats out along with the hole dash. I've also hung the dash from the roll cage with ratchet straps. I much prefer to remove it entirely especially if you have another person to help put it back.
I went to Jeep Air and got an aftermarket, but they said it was the exact one that comes on the jeep. It had everything needed to install in my 05 Jeep wrangler
I did it myself on my '99 - not via a kit as the Jeepair kits were only available for LHD. I got most of my bits from a local wreckers except for the control panel from eBay and all the consumable parts like the accumulator etc. 99 is about the worst year for DIY A/C as the brackets and hard lines are different to the 98 and to the 2000-2005. In the end I had to have a couple of flexible hoses custom fabricated to get around the lack of other options for hardlines but apart from that it was surprisingly easy. The biggest task was pulling the dash out and fitting a new actuator to the blend door - I watched lots of Youtube videos which terrified me but actually doing it was nowhere near as hard as I thought. My DIY job was about half the cost of a Jeepair kit and that was with really limited wrecker options - in Kansas you should be able to get all the bits for 1/3rd the price and its then a day to install.
Did a jeep air kit on my 02. It's an involved project for sure but totally doable. Mine has never been fully up to par on the cold side of things, works okay..