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Old 01-23-2010, 02:14 PM   #1
48richard
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Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

I have just bought a 71 C10 and am going to add air conditioning ( I live in Phoenix). Has anyone put in an aftermarket kit, or got together original parts and put in a non-a/c truck?
The kit seems simpler but won't look correct; also from looking at pictures of a/c and non a/c cabs the large holes in the firewall look different, so maybe putting in original parts won't work anyway.
Any thoughts on the best way to go?
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Old 01-23-2010, 02:38 PM   #2
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

I used a Classic auto air kit in my 69 swb. The kit uses a factory center vent, and you have a choice of their dash vent, or using factory dash vents. It uses the factory non A/C control, OR you can use a factory A/C control head. In other words the inside can look EXACTLY like factory. I think I have some pics of my truck, and will show you what I did. BTW my truck was blowing 35 degree air this summer, and blows HARD
Cannot find the pics I want. If you would like I will take several and would email them to you. I have installed several Classic auto air kits, and really like them. On their website, you can download the instructions, and see a couple of pics. If you want some of my truck, PM me with your email addy.
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:23 PM   #3
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

I'm in the middle of doing this to my blazer except i'm swapping original AC parts into a non AC blazer. I removed my dash by removing the windshield and drilling out all the spot welds and then installing an AC dash. I'm not even close to being done
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:22 AM   #4
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

oh i like this thread, i hope to see some pictures cause this sounds like something i want to do to my 69' blazer
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Old 01-24-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

here are some pics of my truck. The kit from Classic Auto Air is very complete, and also comes with templates for cutting a non A/C dash to accept the factory center vent, and the factory side vents. I chose to use their side vents, and a factory center. Their kit says that you cannot have an in dash speaker. i bought a " kit " from Brothers that is designed to improve air flow over the factory center vent. It also makes room for an in dash speaker ( just a benefit ) Brothers part # CVUG072
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Old 01-24-2010, 09:11 PM   #6
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Thanks for the pics - looks like a nice tidy job. I looked at the installation instructions from Classic and they look clear and complete. Whatever I decide to do, I'll post a progress report.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:19 PM   #7
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

I've been doing some research on aftermarket kits like Classic Air, Vintage Air, etc, and as far as I can tell all of them only cool recirculated inside air. The factory system in our trucks uses fresh air all the time unless the control is set to inside air, and IMHO that's the way to go.
I've taken paper patterns off a junkyard cab for the openings through the firewall and in the dash for the vents, and have made a parts list (fairly complete, I think!), using the factory service manual, the LMC catalog, and the junkyard cab I found.
Now I'm beginning to get together the parts I need.

I'm hoping to start the installation by April, since it gets pretty warm here (Phoenix) by early May.
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Old 03-01-2010, 05:23 PM   #8
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

I think there are templates in the classic auto air kit. Are you going to use Factory side vents? If you have any questions about the install you can PM me and I will give you a call.
Chip


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Originally Posted by 48richard View Post
I've been doing some research on aftermarket kits like Classic Air, Vintage Air, etc, and as far as I can tell all of them only cool recirculated inside air. The factory system in our trucks uses fresh air all the time unless the control is set to inside air, and IMHO that's the way to go.
I've taken paper patterns off a junkyard cab for the openings through the firewall and in the dash for the vents, and have made a parts list (fairly complete, I think!), using the factory service manual, the LMC catalog, and the junkyard cab I found.
Now I'm beginning to get together the parts I need.

I'm hoping to start the installation by April, since it gets pretty warm here (Phoenix) by early May.
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Old 03-02-2010, 09:23 AM   #9
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

I am going to use factory vents, which I already have. I want to use all factory parts if possible in the cab,but I haven't decided on the compressor yet - I may buy an aftermarket compressor/condenser/piping kit.

Thanks for offering assistance. When I get started I'll get in touch.

Richard
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Old 04-25-2010, 11:06 AM   #10
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Yesterday I finished converting my cab to factory A/C. Most of the big parts - inside and outside A/C boxes, blower, control panel, side vents - were bought from guys on the forum, but I decided to put in a new evaporator, heater core and wiring harness. Probably the best thing I did was buy a box of miscellaneous parts, which had many of the small parts and brackets that I needed.

I used a junk yard truck to take paper patterns for the openings in the dash for vents, and in the firewall to match up to the new evaporator housing. Turns out that there are already dimples in the metal to locate the holes for mounting the brackets for the vacuum operated valves in the cowl and kick panel.

Cutting the holes for the vents was probably the most difficult part; I ended up drilling a lot of holes and finishing it up with a rotary file. The firewall opening was easy to cut with a sabre-saw. On the difficulty scale, stuffing all the hoses under the dash came a close second.


This week I am off to buy the compressor, condenser and piping from Vintage Air. I went to one of their dealer seminars, where I learned a lot and came away with a discount coupon! With luck I'll have this all together before it gets too warm here in Phoenix.
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Old 05-20-2010, 03:01 PM   #11
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

I got this finished up last weekend; put in a compressor and cross-flow condenser with a hose kit from Vintage Air, adjusted the POA valve for R134a, and charged with 1.8 lb of refrigerant. This morning the outside temperature was about 90 F, and at 40 mph (I don't have a tach so I don't know the rpm) my center outlet temperature was 40 F. All in all I'm pretty pleased with the project.
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:42 AM   #12
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Nice job 48richard. I'm in the process of gathering parts to do a factory AC install myself. I think using all factory parts is the way to go for that classic and original look. I'm still up in the air about installing a factory AC dash or cutting the holes myself.

The PO had cut a hole in the dash for an alt Gauge and I think it may align right where the vent would go anyways.

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Old 08-08-2010, 09:03 PM   #13
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Not to confuse the situation, but...

My last truck was a 69 SWB with factory air. This little truck was pristine and I kept it that way. The AC was in top notch shape... I kept it proffesionally maintained. That being said... it never ever really cooled the cab that great in fact, when the outside temperature got above 90F it was really marginal.(this was with good old R12 btw)
My new project is a 2wd Jimmy... it too has factory AC. Now Im thinking, if that factory AC didnt work in the little cab of my 69 pickup... How in the heck will it cool a comparitively large cab of a Blazer/Jimmy??
I tore out the factory AC when I did the frame off and went with Vintage Air. (I am told that Old Air is great as well)
Now I havnt started it up yet so I cant vouch for performance improvement, .. but I doubt it could be worse than factory. Here is my way of thinking... With factory air, you are cooling outside air that could be 100F plus continuously. With the aftermarket kits you are recooling cab air which should be Way way cooler since its Re-Circulated.
The only way you can tell that its not completey factory is to look under the hood... I personally can live with that. New technology can be a good thing.
FWIW
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Old 08-11-2010, 09:59 AM   #14
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Quick update on performance - I drove the truck from the LA area to Phoenix yesterday, and most of the way was 105 to110 degrees. I was comfortable, but only just, using outside air. I am going to tint the side and back windows, because the back of my neck was getting fried by the afternoon sun; also I've got to work on engine cooling - I didn't change the radiator from the original, and the temp gauge was at the top of the normal range all the way over. I think I would have been in trouble if it had been any hotter.
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Old 08-11-2010, 11:58 AM   #15
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Can't the original setup be modified to recirculate the inside air?
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Old 08-11-2010, 12:05 PM   #16
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

The problem with using recirc air is humidity, but dont think you will have a problem in Phoenix! Here, we would get condensation on the windows! Great lookin build tho!
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:07 PM   #17
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

The original system lets you select either inside or outside air. With mine I have noticed that the air flow is much less when I select inside (recirculated) air, so it doesn't seem any cooler. Now I think about it, though, I never did check to see if that passage from the kick panel vent, which is where the recirculated air goes, is clogged up with leaves or other junk, so it could just be my truck.
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Old 08-11-2010, 05:12 PM   #18
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Thanks 48richard, wasn't sure if it was selectable on the originals. Keep me posted on your findings, I'm really wanting to keep it original.

-Bob
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Old 12-21-2010, 04:25 PM   #19
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

For coop34,

Aaron,

Here are some pics of the air recirculation valves as I installed them. All the hole locations for the brackets, etc. were marked on my truck with dimples in the metal, so easy enough to do it right.
Hope this helps,

Richard
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:24 PM   #20
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

You are the man 48Richard! Thanks alot. This is exactly what I was looking for!
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:46 PM   #21
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

How much are conversion kits for this? Btw the pics look nice for install
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:49 PM   #22
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

I reread this post and felt the need to comment. I have talked to a lot of professional automotive A/C guys, particularly Carlisle Air here in San Antonio. Carlisle has promised me that if I let them choose the parts they can make my factory setup colder than any of the after market kits. They achieve this by knowing exactly which crossflow condenser, POA Valve (or orifice tube etc), amount of refrigerant, etc to use. The other key is using an updated compressor such as a Sanden (their opinion). So it wouldn't be completely stock but the firewall and everything inside the cab would look that way. I have seen a couple 67-72 trucks they updated in this way and they were COLD especially for here in South Texas. As a side note the owner of Carlisle air is old freinds with the owner of Vintage Air which is located here in town.

Also the hangup I have with the aftermarket kits is that they are 100% recirculated air, you don't have a choice. This isn't a big problem for a/c but it makes the heat real stuffy and uncomfortable in my opinion. The stock heater set up is 100% outside air. In my part of the world we use both a/c and heat in different times of the year. Summers are 100 degrees and winters can be down in the 20s. The way I see it is the aftermarket kits are awesome if you are dealing with a non-a/c truck, but if you originally had a/c you might be better off keeping a stock style system the key is to matching up all the old and new components to work together. Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts, I plan to update my original system in the way I mentioned above.

48Richard you did a wonderful job at converting yours! Great inspiration for all of us.
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Old 01-19-2011, 11:02 AM   #23
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Hey guys, we have tried to refurbish the factory air in my truck, but switched to a serpentine setup so the compressor is a new style. Everything else factory or factory style. The air was somewhat cool, but there was too much head pressure building up. We were told that there was not enough air movement through the condensor, so we mounted a single electric fan that comes on only with the a/c along with the the dual fans that kick on with temperature of the engine. Did you guys run into that when you used a factory a/c system? Also, did the aftermarket systems come with a different place to mount the condensor?
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:01 PM   #24
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

Are you using R-12 or 134a? The original condensors don't work well with 134a, you are better off with a "cross flow" condensor. Here is an old thread discussing it.

http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s...d.php?t=408270
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Old 01-19-2011, 06:09 PM   #25
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Re: Installing Air Conditioning in a 71

i used a new crossflow condenser from Vintage Air, and have not had any problems. Also switched to R134A, so had to re-calibrate the POA valve to lower the low-side pressure.
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