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General opinions on adding A/C
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drosera88
Posted 2015-07-26 4:33 PM (#485181)
Subject: General opinions on adding A/C



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I'm going to be putting A/C into my 61 Windsor pretty soon. Considering the time and money needed, I want to make sure that I've looked into everything before doing so. All opinions are greatly appreciated.

General questions:
-Is it best to add a universal aftermarket system? Or do you think it would be better to seek out all the components of a factory A/C? What about some combination of aftermarket and factory A/C components?
-Is taking a A/C system out of a newer model car and adapting it to my Chrysler a viable option? Or would that be asking for trouble?
-If you added A/C to your car, what types of problems did you run into while you were installing your system?

For those with factory A/C:
-How well do the OEM vents placed on top of the dashboard work (it seems to me like an awkward place to put them)?
-How well does the system work in general?

For those with aftermarket A/C:
-Did you use OEM vents, or did you go with aftermarket vents? Did you cut into the dashboard to place them? If you did, where did you cut the holes?

-What type of system did you go with? Under-dash, in-dash, or trunk mounted? How well does your system work?
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ttotired
Posted 2015-07-26 6:22 PM (#485200 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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To fit factory under dash A/C will require the removal of the entire dash (or at least unbolting and shifting to the rear) and the removal and replacement of the entire heater assembly from what I have seen of it

You would also need all the engine stuff as well and the control stuff

All could be sourced from a parts car and retro fitted to yours, but its not an easy weekender job

I havnt done this job though

I have fitted an under dash one to mine (heater and a/c combined), but its winter here, so no real time yet to test it out

I did look at fitting a vintage air under dash (hidden) unit, but it wouldnt fit in that well (remember, my car is r/h/d so might work on yours)

You can get rectangular vents that attach with a couple of screws under the edge of your dash, no need to cut anything in your dash if you dont want to

Easiest option is a kit to fit an under dash style, then it gets harder from there (= expensive)

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Beltran
Posted 2015-07-26 9:33 PM (#485224 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Interested in all the same questions so will be watching this thread.
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LD3 Greg
Posted 2015-07-27 12:35 AM (#485233 - in reply to #485224)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C


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I have transplanted factory A/C systems into two cars. Both 1958. It was hard, it was expensive, it was difficult to find ALL the original parts and it was difficult and expensive to maintain! All said and done, it works very well.

I know people who have bought trunk mounted systems, which suck air into the trunk evaporator from package shelf vents and discharge cold air into the car via similar package shelf vents/grills. One used an aftermarket system and the other used a completely rebuilt unit from a 56 Chrysler or Imperial.

When you enter a very hot car it is refreshing to get a blast of cold air in your face within a minute or so. This will happen with a factory indash system but it will take some time for the trunk mount systems to cool the car down.

I think if I were doing it over again, I would go for the trunk unit. There is peace of mind knowing that you can simply unbolt the entire unit and send it for repair etc. without disabling the car like you have to do with a factory indash system.

I have had no experience with aftermarket under dash systems. These cars, IMHO, are already lacking in front seat knee room and anything that makes that worse is simply not an option for me!

Greg
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Coronet361
Posted 2015-07-27 2:46 PM (#485283 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C


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I have bought a complete factory AC system. The parts are coming from a dealer demo car. It's a low mile car but full of rust. A guy here in Sweden has imported it as a part car. My winter project is to install the factory AC in my 59 Dodge. If you are interested I will start a thread.
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57chizler
Posted 2015-07-27 4:07 PM (#485297 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: RE: General opinions on adding A/C



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If you're not concerned about the "hokey look", an under dash (hang-on) unit is the easiest to install. Avoids the worry about where to put the vents and dealing with the original heater box.
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ttotired
Posted 2015-07-27 5:07 PM (#485308 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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A restoration and install thread on a factory a/c would be good

Not sure what "hokey look" is, but I guess my car now has it

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56300B
Posted 2015-07-27 5:12 PM (#485309 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: RE: General opinions on adding A/C



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Everyone has their own opinion and preference for adding a/c and mine is to make it look like a factory installation. There are many subtle parts changes from thermostat housing, smaller water pump pulley, brackets, longer bolts, hoses, mounting clips, additional vacuum hose through the firewall, potential relocation of the horns, cutting the dashboard (not aware of any reason to remove it) and perhaps the largest change is cutting out a couple of fairly large pieces of the non a/c firewall sheet metal to accommodate the new air box. This is not for the feint of heart and is the most challenging of all the factory accessories I have added to the 61 New Yorker but very worthwhile when all is said and done. If you can find a donor car with ALL the pieces in place, you will be much better prepared to take on the project.
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ttotired
Posted 2015-07-27 5:55 PM (#485315 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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The removal reason is purely to give easy access to where the heater stuff is, instead of trying to fit everything from
looking up under the dash and dealing with all the stuff jammed in there

I very much agree that if you want to go factory air, then get a car that has it for all the parts

Hard to find though, but it is a major project and the better armed you are, the better it will go for you

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imopar380
Posted 2015-07-28 2:07 PM (#485435 - in reply to #485315)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Vintage Air may be your best route for a complete kit start to finish. http://www.vintageair.com
They also sell a reproduction of the old Mark-IV under-dash evaporator which looks pretty special.
http://static.summitracing.com/global/images/prod/large/VTA-672001V...

I have an old Mark-IV setup in my Saratoga that cools very well and has likely been in the car since it was relatively new. I bought a new compressor for it last year.

Edited by imopar380 2015-07-28 2:11 PM
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skyhawk
Posted 2015-07-28 2:41 PM (#485440 - in reply to #485435)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C


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Of course, if you can find one of the under dash units sold and installed by Mopar dealers back then, you'll still be hokey, but at least you'll be Mopar-dealer-installed hokey. Slightly less hokey than a Sears or Frigiking, maybe, since it says "Chrysler Airtemp" or "Mopar" on the front panel. Server currently won't let me post pictures of examples.

Edited by skyhawk 2015-07-28 3:03 PM
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drosera88
Posted 2015-07-28 3:14 PM (#485444 - in reply to #485435)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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imopar380 - 2015-07-28 1:07 PM

Vintage Air may be your best route for a complete kit start to finish. http://www.vintageair.com


I live in San Antonio, so I actually went by their factory to see what they had to offer. Sales staff was friendly but they couldn't really make a specific recommendation since they don't know exactly what preexisting hardware is hiding under the dash of my car.

It looks pretty good the way you have it set up. I could live with the bulky center unit since I plan on changing out the bench for two bucket seats at some point. How effective is it with all four vents clustered together like that? Is it really all that much of a difference from having the vents spread out like a newer vehicle?
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imopar380
Posted 2015-07-28 3:17 PM (#485445 - in reply to #485440)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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skyhawk - 2015-07-28 11:41 AM

Of course, if you can find one of the under dash units sold and installed by Mopar dealers back then, you'll still be hokey, but at least you'll be Mopar-dealer-installed hokey. Slightly less hokey than a Sears or Frigiking, maybe, since it says "Chrysler Airtemp" or "Mopar" on the front panel. Server currently won't let me post pictures of examples.


My friend Ron installed a complete MoPar Air-Temp under dash system with an Air-Temp RV2 compressor in his 1960 Polara 2 years ago. The car was mine before I sold it to him. He spent several years finding all the brackets and several compressors from wrecking yards and flea markets in AZ while he was there for the winter. It took him 3 months of part time work to make up lines and install it all himself from start to finish. He had 1 line made up by a company in town, otherwise everything was done by himself. LOTS of work he said. There are pictures of the one in the Polara at this link 3/4 down the page http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=54573&...

Edited by imopar380 2015-07-28 3:28 PM
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jimntempe
Posted 2015-07-28 4:31 PM (#485462 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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As others have said, adding a factory unit is going to be a lot of work. I didn't want to do that much work so I just did an under dash unit. The only difficult part of an under the dash unit is finding the right brackets to mount the compressor and the right pulley combo for the crank and waterpump to redo the drive belt system. When I did mine I also swapped out the single pulley generator for a dual pulley GM Alternator. That let me generate enough power to keep the battery charged with the extra load of the AC clutch and Fan. With a three groove crank pulley and dual groove alternator I can run two belts for the alternator and Compressor. The third belt runs the water pump/fan and PS pump. I don't have quite enough clearance to squeeze a fluid fan in between the water pump and radiator so I'm running a flex fan. A fluid fan would be preferable and if I ever have to replace the radiator and can get a thinner one I would make that change. If you use a sanden compressor you can probably get brackets to mount it from http://bouchillonperformance.com/ac_compressor_brackets - I bought the underdash part from Nostalgic air. I don't recommend it because the case is made of very brittle plastic. The first one cracked so badly I had to return it. The second on also cracked but I caught the cracking before it was fatal and made a metal piece to reinforce the weak area. I've heard someone is now reproducing the old Mark IV units in metal... that is what I would get if I did it over again.
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ttotired
Posted 2015-07-28 6:11 PM (#485468 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Considering its a windsor, I assume the engine is a big block, so compressor brackets for a sanden compressor shouldnt be to hard

If I remember rightly, the above company can supply pretty much the whole kit

For those with a poly, it turns into a bit of a can of worms, I ended up making my own compressor brackets to mount the compressor to the left of the carburetors (where you sometimes see a generator)

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FIN ME
Posted 2015-08-08 9:40 PM (#486581 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I just had a new, "retro-style", under-dash AC system installed on my '57 poly. It was the "Mark IV" made by "Vintage Air". It works really well. The lowest cooling and fan settings are all I've needed to use so far, and the temperatures here have been in the 90's.

The under-dash unit has a old fashioned look, and it seems sturdy enough. As jimntempe mentioned above, finding the brackets and pulleys was a challenge.

I replaced the four blade rad fan with a six blade rad fan. My car didn't have the heavy duty rad nor a fan shroud, but the car seems to not run too hot without them when the AC is on.

I sure wouldn't want one in a modern car, but the under-dash unit kind of fits in with the era of the car IMHO.

Check out the photos from my car's resto thread too if you want...mostly pages 2 and 4: http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=52146&...

Good luck!





Edited by FIN ME 2015-08-08 9:45 PM




(DESJULY201513.jpg)



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jimntempe
Posted 2015-08-08 9:50 PM (#486582 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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That's the evap unit I wish I'd used. And the your car looks terrific. My system is plenty cold when temps are in the 90's. When it hits 115 it struggles though, esp if the car has sat outside. I think the lack of tinted windows is a big factor. Once the car heats up while parked in the sun there's a lot of hot stuff to cool down.
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FIN ME
Posted 2015-08-26 9:42 AM (#488021 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I sure wish I had tinted windows in my car. I've been searching for years (and continue to search) for a company that makes window tinting that is the same shade as the Solex glass found in old Mopars but with no luck. If I ever succeed, I will let everyone here know.

I recently painted my car's roof black, and was worried that going from a white roof to a black roof may cause issues with heat. But my upholsterer was able to cram enough insulation into the roof (and floor, doors, and trunk) while still maintaining a great fit with the new, vinyl headliner. That, along with the rest of the car being painted a lighter colour seems to have helped a bit with heat issues...at least I'd like to think so.


Thanks for the compliment, jimntempe!
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mstrug
Posted 2015-08-26 10:12 AM (#488025 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Light blue tint?

http://www.aliexpress.com/item/TSAUTOP-1-52-30M-light-transmittance...
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FIN ME
Posted 2015-08-27 7:38 PM (#488148 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I wonder if they will send samples...that dang Solex colour is almost impossible to match.

Thanks, mstrug!


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mstrug
Posted 2015-08-28 3:50 AM (#488179 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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There is a tint called Air Blue out there too. Tint shops have it, or on ebay for whole rolls.

https://www.google.com/search?q=air+blue+window+tint+review&biw=1050...

http://northamerica.llumar.com/photos-and-case-studies/automotive-g...


http://northamerica.llumar.com/choose-a-product/automotive-window-f...


Edited by mstrug 2015-08-28 3:54 AM
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Ev's62Chrysler
Posted 2017-07-28 9:29 PM (#545070 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I'm contemplating adding A/C to my 62 NYer wagon, but not crazy about removing the dash to do so, nor do I care for the look of an underdash unit. Has anyone attempted installing a somewhat concealed unit but with ductwork up to factory vent locations on the dash and left of steering column?

Thanks,
Robert
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LostDeere59
Posted 2017-07-29 6:03 PM (#545128 - in reply to #545070)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I'm very interested in this topic as well . . .

I recently acquired a 60 Desoto, and when I was shopping a wide variety of cars one of my considerations was A/C. When I started to look at the Desoto (which does not have A/C) I spent some time investigating similar cars with A/C and discovered that not only do factory A/C cars carry a hefty premium in price, but the factory ductwork is simply atrocious in my opinion.

As a tech who has worked in the field since the 80's I'm familiar with Chrysler's big V-2 compressor, and was never a fan. Durable yes, sufficient output, yes. But what a huge, ugly, messy contraption.
(As an aside it is the only compressor that can be readily made to function as an air compressor due to having an internal oil sump - something to keep in mind)

So, between the cost, appearance, and engine compartment obstruction, I decided to go with a non-A/C car and add on.

I have yet to investigate up under my dash, but I have to believe there is sufficient space up there for an A/C equipped heater case. And while the big block isn't particularly accessory friendly, it would appear there is room down low on the drivers side to hide on of the modern high efficiency/small body compressors. On self fabricated brackets of course.

The aftermarket under-dash units do have a very appropriate period look, but they do use clutter the dash and interior. Another drawback is that because they aren't integrated, they don't provide dehumidified air for Defrost/Defog, a feature I happen to like.

I considered trunk mounted as well, but as stated above they lack the "in your face" feature we all enjoy. And I admit, I often drive in warmer weather with the windows down and the A/C blowing on me to keep me cool.

So what I'm hoping to assemble is a hybrid system of some kind, probably drawing on later model donor cars with R-134 systems. I have a fair amount of custom/fabrication experience, but I tend to like adapting readily available components when I can. I will also follow this thread and am very interested in what other people have done, and once I get started will post my own results.

Gregg

Edited by LostDeere59 2017-07-29 6:04 PM
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mstrug
Posted 2017-07-29 7:10 PM (#545137 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Air-Gen-IV-Magnum-Heat-Cool-Defrost...
429?epid=1694241882&hash=item4d2f273cdd:g:Mr0AAOSwNSxVAf4I&vxp=mtr


(Snippet from an ad)
We Offer A Complete Selection of Vintage Air Parts and Free Technical Assistance. ... Customers will find that this brand is offered through different complete system ... air capacity and control of the dedicated dehumidifying defrost mode.

This is the unit I would look at.
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LostDeere59
Posted 2017-07-30 5:16 PM (#545190 - in reply to #545137)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I like that set-up a lot - I wasn't planning on diving in so soon, but looking at the specs and the V/A catalog makes me want to go out and climb up under the dash today!
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Ev's62Chrysler
Posted 2017-07-30 7:11 PM (#545196 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Thanks Marc. I looked at that unit yesterday. It will be another 4 weeks before I head to my parent's where my car is to take measurements. I've been scouting vents and am waiting for people to respond with prices.

Deere, please do climb under the dash and see if it looks doable. I'm curious. They also have a couple of more compact units.

http://www.vintageair.com/2017%20Catalog/2017%20Vintage%20Air%20Cat...

http://www.vintageair.com/2017%20Catalog/2017%20Vintage%20Air%20Cat...

Robert

Edited by Ev's62Chrysler 2017-07-30 7:28 PM
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59 in Calif
Posted 2017-07-30 11:36 PM (#545206 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C


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I put a vintageair sys from Summit in wife's 59 Dodge. It works well and looks nice and doesn't clutter up the dash. Installation was fairly easy. A little planning was necessary to drill holes thru the firewall to not interfer with anything else. I had a local hose shop make up the hoses for me. I used a rotary compressor to allow clearance so hood would close. When mounting one of these units pay attention to allow foot room at the gas pedal. Jerry
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57chizler
Posted 2017-07-31 2:48 PM (#545242 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: RE: General opinions on adding A/C



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On a lot of FL models you'll find that the wiper motor prevents/limits in-dash A/C units, even the smaller units.
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Ev's62Chrysler
Posted 2017-07-31 6:11 PM (#545252 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I will definitely mock up a cardboard unit for test fitting before venturing too far. After looking at the exploded views of the factory system in the parts manual, I'd be willing to attempt a full conversion if I had everything. Problem is finding it all... at a reasonable cost, and then replacing all hoses, actuators, compressor, etc.

Anyone know if there are firewall differences in 62 between A/C and non-A/C cars? I'm referring to the area where the heater coil and A/C coil would go, not miscellaneous holes. Thought I read one or more years there were.
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56300B
Posted 2017-07-31 7:17 PM (#545256 - in reply to #545252)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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The 62 should be very similar to the 61 so, yes, there are significant differences in the firewalls of A/C and non A/C cars. It isn't that difficult but it requires a couple of fairly precise cuts to remove two sections of sheet metal from the non A/C dash to accommodate the A/C air box in the engine compartment. The dash also needs to be cut to accommodate the bezel and control for the floor air vent.
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Chrome58
Posted 2017-08-01 4:14 AM (#545276 - in reply to #545256)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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BTW, I recently discovered that a book has been written on the history of car A/C : https://www.amazon.com/That-Feels-Good-entrepreneurs-Satisfaction/dp...



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57chizler
Posted 2017-08-01 1:20 PM (#545300 - in reply to #545276)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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That book claims "It took eight years after the close of World War II for Detroit to come out with factory air." Uh-uh, Packard introduced factory A/C in 1940 and they were in Detroit.
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hemidenis
Posted 2017-08-01 5:37 PM (#545318 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I couldn't read the volumes of comments, but I know for a fact that 61 Chrysler firewall opening IT IS NOT THE SAME as the regular heater car, so you have to cut the firewall quite a bit.
It was a member in here who did this job and was so frustrated that he regretted even tempted to do this job. His comments caused me to get the idea out of my head and I liquidated the complete AC system for $200.

Installing a modern AC is the way to go in my opinion.
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Ev's62Chrysler
Posted 2017-08-01 5:43 PM (#545322 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Thanks 56300B and hemidenis, this is exactly what I need to know sooner rather than later.
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LostDeere59
Posted 2017-08-01 7:19 PM (#545330 - in reply to #545322)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Well I climbed up under the dash today and discovered a few things . . .

First, as someone commented, the wiper motor and linkage do obstruct the available space pretty significantly. This is an issue not just in terms of room for the heater/evap case, but I'll have to see what this mod does to the serviceability of the wiper components. Having to remove the evap case to deal with the wipers might make a thorough reconditioning of the wiper mechanism before adding A/C a good idea . .

Second, there is less room that I thought. Also, the fresh air vent appears to be in the center of the firewall area (as opposed to many cars which take the air from the cowl and push it around to the kick panels).

So I think before assuming anything I'll have to disassemble the dash, remove most all of the current heater components, and then size up the installation from there. When I saw the "dummy" units on Vintage Air's website I thought they were a bit silly (esp for $60) but now I'm thinking maybe not so much . . . . lol.


Gregg
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billy
Posted 2017-08-04 2:20 PM (#545574 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Gentlemen,
I'm alittle late to the party, but I have A/C questions...I bought my 57 in 77 and the A/C has never worked....It is time to see if I can't get it fixed and working...The huge ars compressor is still under the hood, but I'm wondering if I am not missing the control unit....did the stock A/C work off the heater in the dash? Mine has a "warmer and cooler" setting but is that the A/C? It almost looks like a unit is missing? Any help would be appreciated...photo attached....
thanks,
billy



(57 AC4.jpg)



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Greg P.
Posted 2017-08-07 3:55 PM (#545771 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: RE: General opinions on adding A/C



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The switch on the right (Cooling-Heating) switches the AC on and off. There's one for sale on eBay now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1957-Chrysler-MOPAR-Air-Conditioning-Dash-C...



(1957 Chrysler AC.jpg)



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Ev's62Chrysler
Posted 2017-08-07 8:27 PM (#545785 - in reply to #485181)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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I printed the front and top views of two of Vintage Air's underdash units full size over the weekend to hold in place under the dash, but all it took was a quick tape measure dimension to realize neither are viable solutions. I also finally got a quote for some used dash vents for $270. Hate to think what kind of money I'd have tied up in a factory system piecing it together one item at a time. The Mark IV isn't looking so bad after all.
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mstrug
Posted 2017-08-07 9:05 PM (#545789 - in reply to #545771)
Subject: RE: General opinions on adding A/C



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Greg P. - 2017-08-07 2:55 PM

The switch on the right (Cooling-Heating) switches the AC on and off. There's one for sale on eBay now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1957-Chrysler-MOPAR-Air-Conditioning-Dash-C...

"Cept it's missing the SWITCH...

The A/C switch at the right side is missing, other than that it appears complete. As always, we are happy to combine shipping on multiple items.
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57chizler
Posted 2017-08-08 5:49 PM (#545872 - in reply to #545785)
Subject: Re: General opinions on adding A/C



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Ev's62Chrysler - 2017-08-07 5:27 PM

I printed the front and top views of two of Vintage Air's underdash units full size over the weekend to hold in place under the dash, but all it took was a quick tape measure dimension to realize neither are viable solutions.


The previous owner of my '57 NY managed to get a Vintage Air unit in the dash by eliminating the cowl vent and installing a remote cable operated wiper motor under the RH kick panel. Looked nice but not worth the work IMO, I'd just go with a hang-on unit like I did on my last three projects.



(P5150091.jpg)



(P5150101.jpg)



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Attachments P5150101.jpg (63KB - 97 downloads)
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