Low Cost AC Recommendations Please

Heating, Cooling & AC

  1. Moparfeind

    Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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    Hey guys just some forward planning and information gathering to update my current AC system with minimal cost and maximum re-use.

    Details: 1970 Plymouth Sport Satellite small block LA 340 swap from the original 318.
    Automatic transmission PS PB Factory Heat and AC
    Duel core aluminum radiator with duel pullers in a custom shroud! 175 degrees thermostat car runs 180F all day?
    Have all the original AC lines and brackets components
    Live in Phoenix AZ
    Heater lines not connected as I won’t need heat ever here in AZ lol

    So Ideally was thinking of a Sanden compressor swap and R converion only. Are there other things I should consider to improve cooling efficiency that are not too expensive?

    If I had the money I would just order the Auto Air AC system but unless I win the lotto thats just not going to happen. I also realize getting the old system running is more work than a brand new install.

    Thanks and looking forward to your comments and beating lol
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
  2. dryheat

    dryheat FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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    Ron,

    From my perspective it will really come down to the condition of your 48 year old in-dash unit. I would highly recommend getting a professional to take a close look at it and get a reasonable idea if it needs any immediate repairs or not before going too far. A few basic diagnostic steps would be to:

    1) isolate the evap unit and pull a vacuum on it to see if it has any leaks
    2) have the fan motor tested
    3) make sure all of the doors work properly

    Replacing compressors / condensers / driers / lines really isn't too expensive or difficult to do but having to remove / replace the in dash unit more than once is a real pain.

    Good Luck!
     
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    • Moparfeind

      Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      Hi Jim, thanks that’s very reasonable. Is a simple R conversion and compressor going to hack our summers? Any shop you would recommend for box testing and or rebuild? I am guessing by my initial inspection that the box needs an overhaul. I seen non local recommendations for good box overall and some nice work done by fellow members as well. Just wondering if there is a good turnkey guy here in the valley.
       
    • dryheat

      dryheat FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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      Ron ... if you just convert to R you will probably be OK as long as it holds a charge of course.

      There isn't anyone I can personally recommend here in town. When I worked on my other cars in the past (including the Polara) I just bit the bullet and replaced the entire evap with a new one from Vintage Air and have always been very satisfied with their products. Not to say that I haven't had issues during the replacement (because I have) but they were almost always self inflicted.

      I have the #6, #8 & #10 line set crimpers if you decide to tackle this on your own!
       
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      • Kern Dog

        Kern Dog FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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        A/C setups rely on the heat to modulate the temperature. You will need to have a working heater. Heat blends with the A/C in the under dash unit.
         
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        • Moparfeind

          Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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          Thanks KD. I had that feeling that both heater and AC works together. Thats why I guess I mentioned that the heater is currently not in circuit. This helps me consolidate the plan for a revamp of the box when I tackle the environmental system. I know the controls need to be restored as well.
           
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          • Moparfeind

            Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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            Thanks Jim!!
             
          • idrivemopar

            idrivemopar Well-Known Member

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            I have to ask, do you have the original size radiator and AC condenser for your car? If so, than you may be good, but if you don't, then keep in mind that regardless of what you have now with out AC for your cooling system, it may need to be adjusted to accommodate the addition of air conditioning. For two reasons, one, adding a compressor will add additional load to your engine which will make it want to run hotter, therefore a larger radiator may be needed. Second, adding a condenser for AC which goes in front of your radiator will require more air flow and again additional cooling for your radiator because you will be pulling air across the condenser first which will not be as cool as without AC, so the radiator will have to be adjusted to accommodate for that change.
             
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            • Moparfeind

              Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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              Hi Idrivemopar, thanks for the tip. The radiator is the same size physically. It is of different material (AL) and internal design with duel electric fans so its thermal cooling capability compared to the stock set up can be debated till the cows come home. But physically its the same dimensionally. Also I have the original coil yes and it looks to be in very good shape for what thats worth. I anticipate the additional thermal load due to the extra work AND the efficiency loss of a coil mounted in front of the radiator. Was thinking of slipping a HV 3000 CFM 16 fan as a pusher to improve things. Is this what you were possibly thinking as well?
               
            • idrivemopar

              idrivemopar Well-Known Member

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              One other thing to keep in mind whether or not you use the factory compressor or an after market, if your evaporator has been open to the atmosphere, make sure you get it power flushed, meaning using an AC solvent under pressure to clean out the evaporator, otherwise you will clog the inline filter that are on most compressors, at least factory ones.
               
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              • idrivemopar

                idrivemopar Well-Known Member

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                I was thinking about this because recently I adjusted the fan clutch on my 340 and its pulling a noticeably larger volume of air and therefore my AC is more efficient, well, from the tests I have done so far.
                 
              • Moparfeind

                Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                The clutch is a critical part of that excellent factory system. Will make or break it if it is not correctly set up. Good work!
                 
              • mopar 3 B

                mopar 3 B Well-Known Member

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                I understand there is an A/C supplier in the valley that should be able to supply all that you may need. At one time this would have been as simple as going south of the border and having it filled with R12 and bringing it back.
                 
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                • Cornpatch MO

                  Cornpatch MO Well-Known Member

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                  My 68 Sport Satellite with 318 and factory air. Mine did not work when I bought the car. Even though the car was in great shape, the age of all the A/C components had taken it's toll. So much would have needed to be repaired or replaced that I am sure I would have more money in it than going with all new "Vintage Air" kit -under dash and all of engine compartment. The control lever assembly( broken ) alone is hard to find, and still may not be a good one. New kit does not have any vacume lines, all electronic. Stock compressor is huge and not designed for new 134A . Get the stock one all done, and then it is not likely to last long. The heater-A/C box and duct work would need a lot of work. The complete kit was under $1500 and then it would need to be installed. .............................MO
                   
                • Moparfeind

                  Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                  Good points made. Why dump good money into an old system that may not be reliable. Seems like all the reliability issues reside in the box. The engine bay stuff as Jim mentioned is easy to repair and new compressor should be reliable if a good one is used. Jim’s apparently used this approach with a new box. The new AA system with controls I believe is $1700 which is a hefty amount. I am trying to keep the system to $500 max. I was even wondering if I could pull a more modern system (controls and compressor) from the salvage yard..????
                   
                • idrivemopar

                  idrivemopar Well-Known Member

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                  My system is complete original RV2 setup and converted to 134a. Keep in mind that you will have to get a new drier, expansion valve, and update your hoses for 134a. It cost me about a grand to do all of it including having the compressor and clutch completely rebuilt. I don't know if you can get everything done on your budget.
                   
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                  • Moparfeind

                    Moparfeind FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    Good feedback thanks idriver this is why I am reaching out to everyone. I am trying to create a good workable plan. Since I am not looking for originality I have options and yor replies ate very helpful. I might just save up longer and go the auto air route after all. Especially if the difference is only 500 bucks. I would affectively have a new system. Fortunately the AC system will be one of the last things I do to the car. So I have time. Thank you
                     
                  • dryheat

                    dryheat FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                    Excellent points on the drier & expansion valve ... I had forgotten about those.

                    Ron ... one other thing to consider is your electric fans. Do you have a thermostatically controlled setup? You might want to look into a trinary switch so he fan's will come on when the AC is being used.
                     
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                    • idrivemopar

                      idrivemopar Well-Known Member

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                      Some other things to think about
                      all the rubber hoses will have to be updated to handle 134, its a smaller molecule and can weep across rubber on r12 setups, therefore you need barrier hose on 134a. If you stay with an RV2 compressor, you will need to get a 134a service port adaptor kit so you can fill and test pressure. 134a and r12 connectors are different. You will also need a thermal cut off switch as it is recommended to remove the epr valve from the RV2 compressor, so you will need something to cycle the compressor to prevent freeze up. Switch all of your o-rings to green ones.
                       
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                      • munger77

                        munger77 FBBO Gold Member FBBO Gold Member

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                        There is a universal heat/AC system made by vintage air for street rods that is smaller in size and I believe the under-dash unit by itself is around $485 - 600.00; that excludes anything on the engine side of the firewall. I bit the bullet/grenade and bought the classic auto air kit to save time and money on the install which I have yet to find time to do.
                        If you can do all the work yourself you might be able to do it all for a decent price.
                         
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