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Suggestions on aftermarket underdash A/C...

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tomj View Drop Down
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    Posted: Apr/17/2020 at 12:10am
I'm looking for recommendations on an inexpensive largely DIY install A/C systems. I've done this before, scrounged all the parts, this time I have none so I want to buy a "kit". I will make my own compressor mount. 1968 199ci six, and I'll put it low on the passenger side that's unencumbered here. 

I have the under dash unit the original owner had installed in 68, but its got flare fittings, I learned my lesson years ago about trying to mix O ring and flare.

I have the crimp tool for the hoses, I'll pay someone to evacuate and fill it probably.

Looking for bare-bones, cool only. I've got 3-row Champion radiator, will get a big flex fan. 

I know the compressors will be Sanden clones, which is why I want to get a kit from a reputable supplier that has some responsibility for the parts being good.

Anyone recommend a supplier? There's a bunch of so called hot rod places that seem obsessed with style I'm unwilling to pay for... lol.

Here's one I keep looking at:

Nostalgic AC:


1961 roadster american, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 american, 199ci, T14
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AMXFSTBK390 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/17/2020 at 12:47am
Tom, I installed CLASSIC AUTO AIR in my 68 Camaro without factory a/c. Never did it before. Read the instructions several times. Had my own hoses made by "Source Tube & Hose" in Pacheco, Ca. Ran the hoses behind the passenger fender apron for the minimal look. The shop that evacuated and charged the system quoted me $125.00. He asked if I installed the a/c system. I said yes and it was my first attempt in doing so. He said we'll know soon if it works. About 1/2 hour later he says "By Golly, the system gets plenty cold. He then said, "as a professional courtesy I'm only charging you $110.00".

Classic Auto Air sells a Universal A/C system for classic cars that never came with a/c. They offer a trunk mounted system for $895.00. They also sell a Under Dash system for $925.00. Recommend checking their website out.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/17/2020 at 10:07pm
Originally posted by AMXFSTBK390 AMXFSTBK390 wrote:

Tom, I installed CLASSIC AUTO AIR ...

Thanks! I'll check them out. Hadn't come across them. 

1961 roadster american, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 american, 199ci, T14
AMC pages: http://www.sr-ix.com/AMC/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gtoman_us Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/17/2020 at 10:52pm
Look at Vintage Air.  They have some really cool retro evaporators like the Mark IV and large variety of other under dash kits.
I used to collect trophies, more fun to collect gas receipts and put on miles.

1964 Rambler Ambassador Cross Country Wagon
1965 GTO
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1931 Model A Ford

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 6768rogues Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/18/2020 at 10:12am
I have used Nostalgic Air. They were very good to work with. They sold me a kit but let me swap things in the kit for other components I thought would work better. And an English speaking person who knows about AC answers their phone.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/25/2020 at 4:55pm
Cool, thanks. Probably Nostalgic then. Yeah they seem to allow juggling parts within reason, probably easy for them if they maintain stocks, which seems to be the case, so they're not just drop-shippers etc.

Classic Auto Air does more in-dash, OEM stuff, not as many low-end old-fashioned underdash I'm looking for. VintageAir has gone the same route, though my my old 63 Classic I had their evaporator unit and a bunch of their parts and there's no issue with quality.

Shipping might hurt from FL. For some reason FL to CA seems higher than it ought to be; NY is a lot cheaper. 

If I don't find a shop in AZ -- you'd think there would be more! -- it's probably Nostalgic.

On Amazon there are Coldmaster Inc systems for under $600. Obviously tempting, but seems too good to be true. Saturday afternoon is a terrible time to look at this stuff, I'll make calls Monday.

1961 roadster american, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 american, 199ci, T14
AMC pages: http://www.sr-ix.com/AMC/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 6768rogues Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/25/2020 at 7:34pm
In addition to Nostalgic Air I have purchased parts from Arizona Mobile Air at ackits.com.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote farna Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May/04/2020 at 7:10am
Vintage Air and Southern Air are my "go tos" in this area. I like some of the Southern Air products better due to arrangement. Depends on what it's going in...

I used something like their Trimline on my Classic at one time. It works well, but with all the AC coming from the center of the car is less than ideal (same issue with the factory AC). I'd look at their Superfrost. It's basically the Trimline under dash unit with a front that has two front and two side outlets. I think you can mount their round vents directly to the two center/front outlets, then duct the ends over to each side. That would sure be better than all in the middle! They only show a round outlet online, but they do have rectangular. Might want to order a catalog. That or buy outlets from Vintage Air or some other company...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/06/2020 at 4:51pm
Month-later followup:

The NACP kit is great. Did a trip from LA to Santa Fe and back, though it wasn't very hot, only 90's through Needles CA, it works great. If I had a complaint for their kit is that the inexpensive evap unit's fan is too fast and too loud. It's got three speeds, the lowest is too fast IMHO and not very quiet. It's not terrible, just wish it went slower.

I just now solved the other problem -- gross overcooling. Though I readily admit it's not been super hot yet, I can't run it past the lowest fan speed and the lowest possible temperature setting -- too cold! Freezes me out.

Without really thinking about it, I used the accessory pulley I had "on the top of the pile", 7". Given the 5" compressor pulley, this put it at 140% overdrive; at 70 mph the compressor's spinning at 4500 rpm, about 1000 rpm at idle. When the compressor went on, it went >CHUNK< and you could feel it.

I also had a 4.5" pulley, so now it's 10% underdriven. MUCH BETTER. At idle RPMs drop a bit but not the shuddery load the 1.4 ratio did. D'oh. I was lucky to have the pulleys on hand.

1961 roadster american, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 american, 199ci, T14
AMC pages: http://www.sr-ix.com/AMC/

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tomj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jun/06/2020 at 5:19pm
Originally posted by AMXFSTBK390 AMXFSTBK390 wrote:

Tom, I installed CLASSIC AUTO AIR in my 68 Camaro without factory a/c. Never did it before. Read the instructions several times. Had my own hoses made by "Source Tube & Hose" in Pacheco, Ca. Ran the hoses behind the passenger fender apron for the minimal look. The shop that evacuated and charged the system quoted me $125.00. He asked if I installed the a/c system. I said yes and it was my first attempt in doing so. He said we'll know soon if it works. About 1/2 hour later he says "By Golly, the system gets plenty cold. He then said, "as a professional courtesy I'm only charging you $110.00".

Classic Auto Air sells a Universal A/C system for classic cars that never came with a/c. They offer a trunk mounted system for $895.00. They also sell a Under Dash system for $925.00. Recommend checking their website out.   



Sorry I missed this earlier. I looked at Classic Auto Air, they seemed rock solid. It was kind of a toss up.

I ended up buying a gauge set and vacuum pump, I figured it was gonna cost me $200 for that service here in LA, so I gambled on value, though I'm not super-fond of having bulky tools I use once a decade. So far so good. Bought Harbor Fright, quality appears decent enough for occasional use, I take it easy on them.

Just got the door seals lined up and working, now the car is probably as quiet as a 60's econobox ever was. Feels like luxury to me! lol

1961 roadster american, 195.6 OHV, T5
1968 american, 199ci, T14
AMC pages: http://www.sr-ix.com/AMC/

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