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VINTAGE AIR AC INSTALL

Discussion in '40- & 55-Series Tech' started by drohweder, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. drohweder

    drohweder

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    Jared inquired about my AC install in the for sale section of the forum ( am trying to find the heater a home) and I thought this would be a good thread for those who own a 55 and are thinking about AC.

    Many pics to follow but I will give you the basics now.

    Ample research into the options revealed that only Vintage Air offered a unit that would be worth the time and effort. BTB, CCOT, and others routinely use thier products in thier project vehicles. They have great customer service and a good tech support. They helped a lot with the install and making sure I had all the components before I started.

    There is a package offer for the 40 but it will not work with a 55 so be advised it required some mix or various components to get the job done cleanley.

    Measuring twice, and constructing mock AC evaperators helped in figuring which size would fit and how best to maximize cooling.

    It cam down to the Next Generation Compact unit. Got the heater/defrost/AC evaperator. The rest was pretty simple. AC condenser I got from a local radiator supply (saved some money there). AC pump, drier and mounting brackets from Vintage worked great. The bracket I bought specific for a SBC, short water pump - upper right side. It required some modification to accomidate the power steering bracket. Used a hacksaw to notch out the area. Fits like a glove.

    I ran everyghing (hoses, drier) on the same side and passed the hoses behind the air filter against the firewall. Its a clean install.

    Getting the Evaperator unit mounted required fabbins some custom mounts and I was able to use existing bolt holes in the firewall.

    Dremel tool is a must to get the thing dash mounted. Wireing it up was easy but took some time cause there isn't much room under that 55 dash.

    I went with the custom horizontal machined control panel, looks great and since it is servo controlled I didn't have to worry about vaccume lines.

    Got it charged up for $90 and it blew 36 degree air :D. Of course its cold out now and I have not used it but having the split level control with the heater is excellent.

    A couple of tips. I kept my original blower so I can vent in outside air and retained the rear seat heater for those really cold days. The heater doesn't seem to bake me like the original which is good and bad.

    All in all an easy install for a guy who had never done it before. Plan, double check and plan again. The extra time I took to think about it made it a very clean install.

    Questions? :) Pics are worth a thousand words...... :cheers:
     
  2. IDave

    IDave

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    Where'd you end up buying it, Dan?
     
  3. sjpitts

    sjpitts

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    I don't see no pics?

    So does the compac cooler provide sufficient cooling? Maybe I should ask what your climate is, since that is likely to depend on that.

    I wanted to put in the new generation super cooler (I am in arizona, land of the 115 degree summer days)-- The super cooler is only about 3 inches longer than the compac, but it might be a tough fit. When I made a box to test fit it, it appeared as though it was going to interfer with my shifter-- and I have an auto.

    Again, where are those picts?

    Jared
     
  4. drohweder

    drohweder

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    IDave:buying what? I dealt directly with VintageAir, ordered everything over the phone. Great guys to deal with. There were no local dealers and they often don't stock much so Its probably better to skip the middle man.

    Jared, :slap: chill buddy, I am in the middle of a 30 hour shift. Once I am done delivering all these pregnant women I will take some photos and get them up sometime over the weekend. Sorry to get you excited, it'll be worth it :D

    Stay posted, I can answer any questions you got but the pics help a lot. Be patient with the overworked intern :rolleyes:
     
  5. IDave

    IDave

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    I had only seen their stuff through dealers. JTO sells them. Wasn't sure you could get the stuff direct.
     
  6. drohweder

    drohweder

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    Just get on line at vintageair.com and browse the catalogue. They helped me put together a complete package. I don't know if I saved any money (I am sure they try not to undercut the retailers). Good guys to work with in my opinion.
     
  7. drohweder

    drohweder

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    IDave,

    JTO carries the package for the 40. IMO that unit looks like crap and you can do better with some of the newer units. The 40 package eats up all the leg room on the passanger side.

    Still at work, don't go home until noon tomorrow so those pictures are pending.
     
  8. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew SILVER Star

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    One of my friends and usual wheeling buddies has the vintage air unit on his FJ-40 and isn't very happy with it. You're right, it basically eliminates the passenger leg room. Plus, you end up with belts and pulleys all over the engine compartment. The same belt has to run the Saginaw PS and A/C compressor and to not slip has to be tight as a bow string. That can't be good for component life. I think the 40 just isn't ment to have A/C. If you are using a 40 seriously, the top is off anyway so I don't see the (expensive) point of the A/C unit.
     
  9. IDave

    IDave

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    Well, maybe JTO saved my butt. At one time, early into this addiction, I decided that a Vintage unit would solve my heating and cooling problems at the same time. Not as adept at the time with doing my own work, I shopped and gave the local guys JTO's number for the best price I could find on the net at the time. After tons of calls, JTO finally sent them the wrong model. After tons of more calls, nothing more happened, so they just sent the crap back, and I decided to do something better with my money. Now I just go soft top/topless in the summer, and I fixed the heater so it works fine. I know you can't do that with your setup, but at least I have all the legroom, still. :D
     
  10. drohweder

    drohweder

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    My pig made me sweat in the summer!! Back window down didn't help cause the 3inch tail pipe would recirc emmissions right back inside somehow! I didn't run a serpantine setup with the compressor. Couldn't line up with the main crank so I am piggy backing off the power steering unit. I know the possible perils of stressing the pully but had no problems with it thus far.

    Can't tell you how nice it is to fire up the truck, roll up the windows and turn of the AC, cruising down the freeway at 75 when its 102 outside!!! Definately worth the work and money. Plus, the wife wouldn't ride in it during the summer before the AC. Now I can take the kids around and not have to stop off at the ER for heat stroke!

    Pics are coming.....I am still at work.
     
  11. drohweder

    drohweder

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    :slap: Forgot to mention.... If your going to cool a 55 you had better tint the windows first. Cutting down on the solar gain is paramount to keeping the cab cool on a low to medium setting. 8)
     
  12. cruiser_guy

    cruiser_guy

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    I've installed A/C as well in my '82 BJ60 :D. They did not come with A/C as an option till '83 and it was not widespread till '85 at the earliest! It was an exercise in finding all the right parts to make it work! I wanted a "stock look" so I have an evaporator and condensor as well as the dash switches from an FJ60, a compressor from an '87 or so Acura Integra (it fit the compressor mount I found on a 13B-T from Japan), and an A/C amplifier from an A/C equipped BJ60. Total bill under $1000 Canadian including custom hoses and 134A charge.
    It is sweet to be able to drive and be cool 8)! We tinted the windows as well.
    My daughter might be interested in your A/C setup when the restoration is far enough along. The body we're basing the FJ55 restoration on had factory A/C but we don't have those components :(!!
     
  13. drohweder

    drohweder

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    Dump the factory set-up. Why would you go for 20 year old stuff when you can get new servo controlled set-up? Total cost was about $1000USD. Not bad for aftermarket AC. Keep the stock set up if you are a purist, I personally like the feel of a new vehicle inside and the rugged bute look of the 55 outside.
     
  14. cruiser_guy

    cruiser_guy

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    Actually, the compressor ended up being brand new (the wrecker compressor was noisy so the A/C guy let me know before he finished charging), as were the hoses and filter/dryer of course. The other stuff was pressure tested and came out OK, electrics are all solid state, nothing to wear out there. It's been about 6 months and no complaints or problems yet. In my opinion it's basically new on the refrigeration side other than the radiators (condensor/evaporator), and if you think it's tight under a '55 dash you ain't seen a '60 dash!! Without the custom fit evaporator it would have been almost impossible.
    Besides, I'm a bit of a purist but not totally as the '55 is getting a deisel rather than a rebuild on the 2F.
     
  15. drohweder

    drohweder

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    Got some pics: I have never posted pics before so let me know if these are coming up. I'll try to start at the tops and highlight the process.

    My piggy:
     
  16. drohweder

    drohweder

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    It works. When I started I got everything done under the hood first. I had to keep my truck driveable so I pulled the heater and capped the hoses on one day and got to work shortley thereafter.

    Getting the condenser in actually took the most time. The one from vintage was about 1/2 too wide and so I sent it back and picked up a better one for cheaper at a local radiater suppy shop.

    I had to make larger spacers to fit the condenser, I got lucky that I didn't have to readjust my fan shroud.
     
  17. drohweder

    drohweder

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    Taking a good look at the engine compartment I planned to mount everything on the drivers side and run the hoses behind the air cleaner.

    Here is an overview pic
     
  18. drohweder

    drohweder

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    Mounting the compresser and bracket were easy. I had to cut out a notch on the bracket to clear the power steering pump bracket. Positioning of the condenser with lines coming off was tight. (note the chewed up air intake on my filter...I had to cut it off with a leatherman cause it was digging into the high pressure line) I'm getting a new one anyway :D
     
  19. drohweder

    drohweder

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  20. drohweder

    drohweder

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    I piggy backed the compresser off the power steering belt. It was my only option with the bracket set-up I had. Maybe someday a custom serpantine system but I doubt it ::)

    It actually lines up nicely. Think the angle is from the camera