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1966 Belvedere factory A/C - How to get it working after 20 years?


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9:52 PM
Apr 18, 2024
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I am getting my 66 Plymouth Belvedere back on the road. The car has factory a/c. I guess the best way to get the a/c working again is to a kit made for my car? They seem quite expensive. Are they any other ways to make the original a/c work? I am unfamiliar with a/c systems. I assume it needs to be swapped from R12 to r134a?
If you are unfamiliar with AC systems, it may be more difficult for you. There are things you can do to decide which way to go.
Check condition of under hood hoses. Check all the vaccum pods and under dash vaccum hoses. See if the factory controls still operate the air doors. Check to see if the heater is still operational. If you are good so far, then see if a vaccum can be pulled on the system. This will probably cost you a conversion kit to 134 at most repair shops. If you have leaks it could be just O rings which will need to be replaced anyway for the 134 conversion. When you can pull a vaccum, you will know if the system evaporator and condenser are good. Under hood components can be replaced as necessary. Under dash or bad evaporator will require removal of the dash unit and can become costly for a full rebuild. The more you can do yourself helps with cost.
The system should be flushed and regardless a new receiver/drier will be needed. A new style condenser for the 134A is often recommended too.
These guys are giving good advice. Your current A/C might work (almost). Under the hood, you'll need an evaporator/drier, a 134a conversion kit & 134a freon with sealer and leak detector dye. Charge the A/C system with the freon and see if it works (e.g. does the compressor turn on?). If it works for only 1 day, then you've got a leak and the leak detector dye will show where (usually a 25-cent o-ring). After that, make sure your inside controls work and fix if necessary. The most expensive part is the compressor.
The AC in my 67 worked when I got it but had been converted to 134. Then it blew a compressor seal. I replaced all the o-rings in mine with green ones. Put on a new drier. The compressor front seal was replaced by an old AC shop locally. Went through all the vacuum cans and linkage. Flushed the whole system with something I now forget. Loaded the proper R12 oil back in it. Borrowed a vacuum pump and pulled it down for a while to verify it was tight. Took it to a mechanic friend of mine who could buy R12 and he charged it for me on his equipment. He gave me I think 5 spare cans of R12 that I still have. At the time it would put out low 40 degree air although I haven’t checked it for a while. That was about 18 years ago and I have yet to need to add more Freon. I need to go back through the max air linkage again because I don’t think the higher fan speed when put on max air is working again.
Some of the work you can do your self if your mechanically inclined you can rebuild the compressor parts can still be bought change the seals flush the system a few changes needed to switch to 134a or if your lucky and have a friend in the hvac bizz witha about 20 lbs of r12 left over to recharge after testing pressures
I have a service manuals for 1967 but im sure you can find vids online for comp rebuild its not that hard.
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