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Old 06-17-2011, 06:19 PM   #1
Navy_chief
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Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

Hello,
Who here has one installed in their truck? I plan on dumping the factory set-up, which would cost too much to put back in and as much as I have read the vintage air systems are much better all the way around.

My question is does it take a rocket scientist to install or are they pretty much straightforward? They sell the direct bolt on kits for our trucks on thier website.
Thanks Matt

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Old 06-17-2011, 07:01 PM   #2
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

hmmmm, me too... Very interested in this myself
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:22 PM   #3
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

also interested in this.....
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:23 PM   #4
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Cool Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

I just converted my 87 to r134a. I was able to convert mine with simple tools. It was very easy to do. I used Classic Air for my new parts. They were very helpful providing the correct compressor. I now am able to stay cool in the GA. 98 degree weather.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:26 PM   #5
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

If I were basically building an entire new a/c system from scratch, vintage air would be the way to go. I just got my stock a/c system working correctly, and it took a lot more work than if I had gone with a vintage air system. I however already had parts of the stock system to work off of.

I talked to Vintage air directly a couple of weeks ago, and they said they were about to release the Gen-IV system for the 73-87 trucks which is fully electronic, and therefore doesn't need cables run under the dash, or require vacuum to work.

As far as install.....I would think if you were considering putting back the stock system that this wouldn't be too much harder to do. There's a writeup (here) that should give you an idea of the work. It's for the 67-72 trucks, but there won't be too much difference.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:56 PM   #6
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

If you plan on keeping your truck for many years I think Vintage Air's new setup would be preferable, assuming that it is all electric (no vacuum and cables as they say). I have had two squares with factory A/Cs and even though they do put out a lot of cold air and work OK, I was never happy with the performance or quality of the controls. If you read all of the posts about various A/C control problems on this forum you will know that these problems are not uncommon. The number of valves/actuators/cables, switches, etc. on the stock A/C setup is very antiquated, and I don't think you can even buy a whole new A/C heater control assembly any more. I have replaced most of those do-dads over the years.
If the Vintage A/C electronic setup is around $1,000- $1300K for the whole shebang, then I think that would be a reasonable price. Beyond that, I would fight with the stock setup, assuming that you already had all of the parts or could get the stock parts cheaply.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:04 PM   #7
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

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Originally Posted by tucsonjwt View Post
If you plan on keeping your truck for many years I think Vintage Air's new setup would be preferable, assuming that it is all electric (no vacuum and cables as they say). I have had two squares with factory A/Cs and even though they do put out a lot of cold air and work OK, I was never happy with the performance or quality of the controls. If you read all of the posts about various A/C control problems on this forum you will know that these problems are not uncommon. The number of valves/actuators/cables, switches, etc. on the stock A/C setup is very antiquated, and I don't think you can even buy a whole new A/C heater control assembly any more. I have replaced most of those do-dads over the years.
If the Vintage A/C electronic setup is around $1,000- $1300K for the whole shebang, then I think that would be a reasonable price. Beyond that, I would fight with the stock setup, assuming that you already had all of the parts or could get the stock parts cheaply.
When I called Vintage air they stated thier new system will be out in a couple of weeks I will be buying it and installing it in the Desert Fox. I dont really feel like trying to track down all the stuff I need to put the truck back together with the stock A/C plus out here in Oklahoma it gets pretty damn hot in the summer time currently 105 now where I live and then we get that dang 30 below with windchill storms in the winter so I want something more modern and more efficent.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:09 PM   #8
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

Did they tell you the cost of that new-fangled electronic system?
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:10 PM   #9
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

I'm interested as well, I plan on removing the stock blower motor from the firewall to clean it up, and to make room, plus I need a/c.
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Old 06-17-2011, 08:30 PM   #10
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

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Did they tell you the cost of that new-fangled electronic system?
Yes,
will still be around $1,300 for the kit
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Old 06-17-2011, 10:53 PM   #11
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

The kit for the 81?-86 models is out. It came out this week. The cost is $1335 plus shipping. The one for the 73-80? will be out in maybe a couple of weeks.

It is all electronic. It completely gets rid of the original dash controls (the older systems used dash controls for a non-air truck...). All functions are on electronic slide controls. There are no cables or vacuum lines. Even the fan speed is variable rather than having 3 or 4 speeds.

My truck was the first to have the new Gen IV system installed. My '86 C10 was the initial one used to adapt the Gen IV to the squarebody trucks. I have had it back for two weeks now.

Over all, I like the new system. The Sanden compressor uses noticeably less horsepower. It also cools better than my old setup that had been converted to R134A. It cools the truck down very quickly. My only real disappointment with it is that the vent temperature will not go below 45 degrees.

I did not do the install, but I have a set of the directions. It appears to be pretty straightforward. The only specialized tools required for the installation are the ones for vacuuming it down and filling it, but you need those to do any a/c work.

The directions for all of their kits are available on the Vintage Air website under the "downloads" section. The last I heard, the directions for my system are not available yet, but should be very soon. Take a look at them when they come out, and that will give you a good idea of what to expect for the install. In the mean time, take a look at the directions for the Gen IV for the '67-'72 to get a rough idea of what it will be like.

Coolair from this board works for Vintage Air, and is an excellent resource for info on their systems. He knows them inside and out.

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Old 06-18-2011, 06:07 AM   #12
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

Do you have an pics to post of that new setup? I know that A/C vent temperature is dependent on many factors, and 134A + the smaller Sanden compressor will not be as powerful as an old R12 stock compressor, but what does Vintage say should be your vent temperature? In 110 degree desert climate I wonder if 45 degrees would keep up at idle or city driving.
My stock 134A converted system is noticeably not as good at cooling as the old R12 system, so I have to run it on max cool setting more often to keep the truck cool at idle and stop and go driving. Whenever I have talked to A/C mechanics about converting the stock A6 compressor to a Sanden they have said that the Sanden was not powerful enough for the stock system, but that does not consider that the new Vintage system would be designed around the Sanden compressor.
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Old 06-18-2011, 06:39 AM   #13
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Slonaker View Post
The kit for the 81?-86 models is out. It came out this week. The cost is $1335 plus shipping. The one for the 73-80? will be out in maybe a couple of weeks.

It is all electronic. It completely gets rid of the original dash controls (the older systems used dash controls for a non-air truck...). All functions are on electronic slide controls. There are no cables or vacuum lines. Even the fan speed is variable rather than having 3 or 4 speeds.

My truck was the first to have the new Gen IV system installed. My '86 C10 was the initial one used to adapt the Gen IV to the squarebody trucks. I have had it back for two weeks now.

Over all, I like the new system. The Sanden compressor uses noticeably less horsepower. It also cools better than my old setup that had been converted to R134A. It cools the truck down very quickly. My only real disappointment with it is that the vent temperature will not go below 45 degrees.

I did not do the install, but I have a set of the directions. It appears to be pretty straightforward. The only specialized tools required for the installation are the ones for vacuuming it down and filling it, but you need those to do any a/c work.

The directions for all of their kits are available on the Vintage Air website under the "downloads" section. The last I heard, the directions for my system are not available yet, but should be very soon. Take a look at them when they come out, and that will give you a good idea of what to expect for the install. In the mean time, take a look at the directions for the Gen IV for the '67-'72 to get a rough idea of what it will be like.

Coolair from this board works for Vintage Air, and is an excellent resource for info on their systems. He knows them inside and out.

Slonaker
Thanks for the update, I am really looking forward to converting my 76 to vintage air kit.

Who did the install for you in SA?
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:07 AM   #14
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

From what I got from Slonaker, the vent temps are 45 degrees whether it is 80 outside, or 100 outside. He mentioned the new fan does move more air than the original, so that should help cooling somewhat as well. His truck was the first to have it installed, and there are three others at Vintage Air now that were used as prototypes. Mine is one of those also. I am looking forward to seeng it myself.

One other advantage to using this kit is that it moves the big evaporator box off of the firewall, and puts it behind the dash. It should look a lot cleaner.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:28 PM   #15
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

I'll try to take some pics and post them in the next couple of days. My system was installed by Vintage Air as part of the development process. They don't do installs, but have a network of dealers who are familiar with the process.

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Old 06-18-2011, 05:31 PM   #16
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

Man it sure seems like a lot of guys from tx are using the vintage air setup. Maybe I should get in touch with them to see if they would like to try out that new setup on my truck. where r they located anyway?
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:08 PM   #17
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

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Originally Posted by Slonaker View Post
I'll try to take some pics and post them in the next couple of days. My system was installed by Vintage Air as part of the development process. They don't do installs, but have a network of dealers who are familiar with the process.

Slonaker
that would be great if you could take some well detailed pictures. If you're able to, thanks in advance.
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Old 06-18-2011, 07:11 PM   #18
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

My original AC went out for the third time in a row (134a converted). It doesn't blow very strong but it cooled the truck when it worked... how "stock" do these Vintage Air systems look?
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:03 PM   #19
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

Subscribed.......

I was planning a Vintage Air install this past winter but a '50 Chevy pickup took the A/C money, maybe next year. I'm kind of glad it didn't work out since V-Air has a newer system.

All of my street rod buddy's love Vintage Air products.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:11 AM   #20
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

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Man it sure seems like a lot of guys from tx are using the vintage air setup. Maybe I should get in touch with them to see if they would like to try out that new setup on my truck. where r they located anyway?
Vintage Air is located in San Antonio. They have all the trucks they need, AFAIK.

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My original AC went out for the third time in a row (134a converted). It doesn't blow very strong but it cooled the truck when it worked... how "stock" do these Vintage Air systems look?
On the inside, the only difference is the control panel. It is laid out a little differently, but still uses chrome sliders on a black panel. It uses all of the stock vents on the dash. There is just a little bit off the unit hanging down under the dash. Oh, and you lose about half of the depth of the glovebox.

Under the hood is where it is significantly different. It gets rid of the big box on the passenger side of the firewall entirely. The kit comes with plates to block off all of the holes that the original system used. You just have four holes in the firewall where the two hoses for the a/c and the two for the heater go through the firewall. It also comes with a parallel flow condenser, and it moves the drier behind the grille with the condenser.

My truck is at my other house, the one I am renovating to move into. I'll try to snap some photos this week and get them up.

Slonaker

EDIT: It all looks very similar to the 67-72 kit.

http://www.vintageair.com/67-72chevygmcpup.asp
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:39 AM   #21
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

I want to get this for my 87'. Anyone know why they say it fits 81-86 instead of 81-87? I wouldnt think there would be any difference. Is it possible to use the kit with an 89-91 serpentine belt set up?
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:12 AM   #22
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

Good info on this thread. I just talked with Gary at Vintage Air. Very helpful and knows his stuff. My truck had factory air, but it was not working. Blower was weak and noisey. The controls were stiff. My original plan was to fix the stock system. After reading this thread, I think the Vintage Air system makes more sense.

The entire climate control system will be new and modern. I suspect I would spend almost the same money to get the stock system working and keep it working as the old parts I thought were good failed. And I would have the frustration of needing to repair something that I thought was done. I want to avoid work in the interior once it is buttoned up for as long as possible.

By the way, he said fitting it with a serpentine pully was no problem. I am going to be fitting a mid-nineties serp system from a 4.3L blazer on mine.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:15 AM   #23
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

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I want to get this for my 87'. Anyone know why they say it fits 81-86 instead of 81-87? I wouldnt think there would be any difference. Is it possible to use the kit with an 89-91 serpentine belt set up?
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I was told by one of the salespeople (I recently tied to be one of them, but only lasted a couple of days...) that the computer under the dash interferes with the case for the system.

There shouldn't be any reason you can't use it with a serpentine setup. The only down side I see is that the surefit kit comes with hoses that are cut and crimped for their Sanden compressor. If you go with the serpentine setup you'll get a modified hose kit instead. You'll have to cut your own hoses to the correct length and have the ends crimped on somewhere. I think you'll also need an adapter to connect the hoses to your existing compressor.

They have a Sanden compressor that replaces the factory one in one of the GM serpentine setups. I don't remember the details, but it is explained in their catalog on the page with the compressors. That might be an option as well. Their sales folks can give you all of the details on this stuff.

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Old 06-20-2011, 08:19 PM   #24
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

Thanks Slonaker. I will give Vintage Air a call. I'm starting with a bare cab and think it would be easier to move the computer than deal with trying to piece together the old AC system. I would love to see some pictures of your setup.


Quote:
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I was told by one of the salespeople (I recently tied to be one of them, but only lasted a couple of days...) that the computer under the dash interferes with the case for the system.

There shouldn't be any reason you can't use it with a serpentine setup. The only down side I see is that the surefit kit comes with hoses that are cut and crimped for their Sanden compressor. If you go with the serpentine setup you'll get a modified hose kit instead. You'll have to cut your own hoses to the correct length and have the ends crimped on somewhere. I think you'll also need an adapter to connect the hoses to your existing compressor.

They have a Sanden compressor that replaces the factory one in one of the GM serpentine setups. I don't remember the details, but it is explained in their catalog on the page with the compressors. That might be an option as well. Their sales folks can give you all of the details on this stuff.

Slonaker
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:36 PM   #25
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Re: Vintage air in the 73-87 trucks questions

i did it a few years back.went with the surefit system for our trucks.it wasn't exactly "surefit"..but, it wasn't that bad either.other than the coo air.getting rid of the ugly doghouse in the corner was also a plus.i had some trouble with vintage air getting the right brackets,as i swapped the compressor and alternator to the other sides.i finally got brackets dierectly from alan grove.who was where they got them from anyway. here's a link to an old article a magazine did on the install.
http://www.classictrucks.com/tech/06...oning_install/
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