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Heating & Cooling Heating, cooling and air conditioning

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  #1  
Old Aug 28th, 06, 7:42 PM
1BadBu 1BadBu is offline
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Scott
 
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Default Vintage Air install (pics)

Just finished installing a Vintage Air Gen II Compac. After looking into the Classic Auto Air Direct Fit system, I went with the VA system because a) it was better suited to my needs and b) there is a stocking dealer about 5 miles away.

The urban-legend about problems with the VA system is exaggerated. In the VA system the heating and cooling coils share the same compartment. If you have ONLY WATER in your cooling system (which makes you an idiot) then the heating coil will freeze-up and burst when you run the A/C. Vintage Air has printed in BIG BOLD LETTERS about 10 times all thru their install instructions: "You must run a 50/50 mix of antifreeze or you void the warranty".

Lucky for me, one of the biggest VA dealers is American Pastimes in Sacramento. It's a HotRod shop about 5 miles from my house and they stock everything VA sells, right down to the stickers for the fan setting. What really sold me tho was that they stock ALL the crimp fittings and hose for doing custom installations and LOAN YOU the crimping tool for free.

I wanted to replace the factory air with something more modern that would let me clean-up the firewall. I looked at the installation instructions from CAA for one of their Direct Fit kits and decided it just didn't fit my needs.

Some of you have seen my custom dash and I wanted to put something in that continued the style of my previous work. The VA system knobs were perfect for my application. The free use of the crimping tool allowed me to achieve my other goal; hidden hoses.

The Gen II Compac fits VERY nicely where the old evaporator used to be. There's a flat-spot on the firewall that was made for it. It took me less than an hour to install it and the better part of two days to trial fit and make-up the hoses and custom mounting plates I made to mount the bulhead fittings. That includes 2 trips back to American Pastimes to get fittings when I made booboos. Once you crimp 'em, that's it! All-in-all, not hard at all.
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Last edited by 1BadBu; Apr 6th, 09 at 11:11 PM.
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  #2  
Old Aug 28th, 06, 8:59 PM
vrooom3440 vrooom3440 is offline
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Steve
 
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

Looks pretty good although your preferences are different than mine
I was less concerned about hidden hoses than I was about losing the kick panel vent and fresh air intake.

Is the case height on the Compac a lot shorter than the Sure-Fit and Perfect-Fit? You seem to have a lot of space over the top compared to those two setups.

I might have to check out American Pastimes... I could use some of the extraneous bits like vents and such.
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  #3  
Old Aug 29th, 06, 8:19 PM
1BadBu 1BadBu is offline
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Scott
 
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

Classic Auto Air makes a unit that is similar to the Vintage Air system. Can't really compare the "Perfect Fit" units to those because they were designed to "fit" where the OE system was. I really liked the CAA "Street Rod Cooler II" but just couldn't get behind the ducts that shoot out, not up like the VA systems. Mostly tho, I just wanted the black knobs.

Gen II Compac = 9 X 20.5
Street Rod II = 9.5 X 20.5
Perfect Fit = 10.25 X 29.5

American Pastimes is on Fair Oaks near Manzanita. I was surprised by how much stuff they have there. Lots of chrome goodies and performance stuff. Very cool guys working there, Ron, Big Mike, R.C. and Ryan all equaly helpful. It was very comforting to find guys who actually understand what it means to do custom work. They never once asked me "what does it fit?". Same goes for Classic Auto Air, the phone crew was very helpful. I will be buying a "Perfect Fit" condensor from them in the near future.
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  #4  
Old Aug 29th, 06, 10:12 PM
SS540 SS540 is offline
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

You may have a problem when it rains or when you wash the car. With the hoses routed through the passenger kick panel, water coming in the cowl vent may run down the hoses and into the car. Ask me how I know.
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  #5  
Old Aug 30th, 06, 12:00 AM
1BadBu 1BadBu is offline
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

Don't worry, got plans for that. Honestly tho, I was more concerned with air whistling into the car. Either way, it'll be sealed up nice and tight when I'm done.
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  #6  
Old Aug 30th, 06, 3:28 AM
vrooom3440 vrooom3440 is offline
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Steve
 
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

I guess that (keeping water out) is why VA provides a kick panel vent block off with grommets.

Not a problem with the Classic Perfect Fit units.

This is a good example of the little things that get over-looked in a lot of the aftermarket "solutions". Kinda like that little 1/4" hole in the bottom of the factory blower duct. The one that drains out incoming water before it passes through the firewall. I bet most do not even know or notice that it is there.
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  #7  
Old Aug 30th, 06, 7:03 AM
ProdigyCustoms ProdigyCustoms is offline
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

We sell a lot of the Compac and other gen 2 systems for smooth firewall applications. The VA Sure Fit and Classic Perfect Fit are both good choices for replacing factory heat in true bolt in fashion.

Looks like a Super Cooler would have fit?
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  #8  
Old Aug 30th, 06, 11:18 AM
TC TC is offline
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Terry
 
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

I bought a "Sure don't fit" VA unit and was VERY disappointed with the directions and some of the parts as to the way they didn't work/fit properly.
Another thing I didn't like is there vents aren't very OE looking.
No where did I see any mention of 50/50 mix of water and coolant.
I also didn't like the fact you are supposed to discard the Astro Vent system and the pass. side kick panel vent.
The defrost vents they provided wouldn't stay on and would be a big problem if they fell off after the dash was together.
My directions didn't have any charging pressures or how much coolant to put into the system.
They also didn't mention what the black knob on the unit was for?
I figured it out after reading other directions from there web site that it's the temp. control, just in case your unit isn't cooling or freezes up.
The connection on my condenser were mickey mouse and I actually had one break and had to custom make a part to repair it.
Poor planning of the routing of the heavy A/C hoses causes undue stress on the connections and will eventually cause leaks.
SS540 is correct about the grommets they supply as they are a fits-all type and will have a large gap on one side if the tubing isn't in the center as it passes through them.
I finally got the unit working and with all the mods I made it works well, but if I was to do it over I would buy it in pieces, that way I could control how things were mounted and routed.
T.C.
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  #9  
Old Aug 31st, 06, 12:17 AM
1BadBu 1BadBu is offline
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TC View Post
I bought a "Sure don't fit" VA unit and was VERY disappointed with the directions and some of the parts as to the way they didn't work/fit properly.
Another thing I didn't like is there vents aren't very OE looking.
No where did I see any mention of 50/50 mix of water and coolant.
I also didn't like the fact you are supposed to discard the Astro Vent system and the pass. side kick panel vent.
The defrost vents they provided wouldn't stay on and would be a big problem if they fell off after the dash was together.
My directions didn't have any charging pressures or how much coolant to put into the system.
They also didn't mention what the black knob on the unit was for?
I figured it out after reading other directions from there web site that it's the temp. control, just in case your unit isn't cooling or freezes up.
The connection on my condenser were mickey mouse and I actually had one break and had to custom make a part to repair it.
Poor planning of the routing of the heavy A/C hoses causes undue stress on the connections and will eventually cause leaks.
SS540 is correct about the grommets they supply as they are a fits-all type and will have a large gap on one side if the tubing isn't in the center as it passes through them.
I finally got the unit working and with all the mods I made it works well, but if I was to do it over I would buy it in pieces, that way I could control how things were mounted and routed.
T.C.

TC buddy, I feel ya' on the problems that come up with some so called "Direct Fit" systems but you're way off topic comparing your problems with a direct fit system with a GEN II unit. They have nothing in common. If you just need to vent about the problems you had, that's cool. That's why this place exsists. But please, start your own thread next time. The only constructive thing you said was that next time, you'd do what I did; buy the universal fit unit and put it in your way. My experience was very different than yours and the ONLY problems I encountered were caused by me. I wasted two fittings by not paying attention. Other than that, it went in like a breeze. Sure, it took a lot of work to make the plates and trial mock-up all the lines but in the end, it's worth it. To me. I'm not about keeping the car looking stock. That's a different thread altogether.

The Vintage Air Gen II Compac directions are very clear.
I used reducers (3" to 2.5") available from VA and used the stock vents.
The 50/50 mix warning is on every page in bold print.
I yanked my entire factory "old tech elephant" anyway and pulled the fresh air vent because I wanted to run the hose thru there. Bye-bye fresh air vent. Hello smooth firewall.
I used sheet metal screws to attach the defrost vents, just like the factory did. Maybe sewing machines use Elmers glue, but not Chevy's.
My instructions include charging instructions and amounts for R-134.
There is no black knob on a GEN II. Maybe its newer or maybe because it's all electric?
I only bought the EVAPORATOR (the part inside the car). It has male o-ring fittings for the a/c and standard hose nipples for the htr hoses. All other fittings in my system are crimp-on o-ring style. Including the htr hoses.
The CONDENSOR (in front of the radiator) will have the same o-ring fittings on it and will be a direct-fit unit from Classic Auto Air.
Since I used only bulkhead style connections to go thru the firewall and at the engine bay, I didn't have to worry about grommets etc. I MADE my own mounting plates, as usual, to get the look I want.

My experience with the Vintage Air GenII Compac unit was very positive and I am extremely pleased with the outcome.
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Last edited by 1BadBu; Apr 6th, 09 at 11:11 PM.
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  #10  
Old Aug 31st, 06, 2:49 AM
vrooom3440 vrooom3440 is offline
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Steve
 
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

Scott,

I like your heater hoses. Nice job.

I find some of the contrasts between the Gen-II and the Sure-Fit interesting. Both are VA products and obviously the Sure-Fit was designed awhile ago. But you would think they could have updated the documentation on it with some of the critical information they have added for the Gen-II. The antifreeze warning seems rather important and I do not remember seeing it in the Sure-Fit info either. If nothing else this thread might help get that particular word out.
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  #11  
Old Aug 31st, 06, 8:53 PM
TC TC is offline
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

Scott,
I didn't mean to be "Off Topic" or "VENT " as you say.
I see others in this thread mentioned the "sure fit" system?hummmmmmm?
I guess this part of your post (quote) "The urban-legend about problems with the VA system is exaggerated " got me thinking about the lack of general information, poor quality and uselessness of some of the parts and directions in my kit.
Believe me, that is NO exaggeration and I don't see a problem in letting others know about it.
I thought your statement about the problems with VA systems being an urban legend sounded like a blanket statement that covered all VA systems and I wanted others to know that's not so..
I am very happy you had a good experience with your VA system and I am sure others will be happy with there unit due to the information you have provided.
Hopefully they will take the information I have provided and realize that not all VA systems are as great as the one you have pieced together.
Hopefully they will make an informed decision as to what unit or parts to buy ?

Again probably off topic ?
Quote "I used sheet metal screws to attach the defrost vents, just like the factory did. Maybe sewing machines use Elmers glue, but not Chevy's."
The General didnt use sheet metal screws to hold my vents in place at the dash and the junk VA sent, well lets just say it was junk and leave it at that!

FYI Sewing machine mechanics really do fix the machine, not just change out parts sticking them back together with gorilla snot as in the automotive world.
T.C.
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Dark blue with parchment interior.
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  #12  
Old Aug 31st, 06, 10:07 PM
Burbank SS Burbank SS is offline
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

I used to fix sewing machines and we didn't use glue or sheet metal screws. The heads are cast iron or steel. Try taking one apart and putting all the little parts back together. It isn't easy. By the way, a lot of these machines work great after 100 years with just a little light oil. Try that with any automobile.

Let's not diss people who do honest work, fellas.
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  #13  
Old Sep 6th, 06, 10:49 PM
oman oman is offline
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by TC View Post
Scott,
I didn't mean to be "Off Topic" or "VENT " as you say.
I see others in this thread mentioned the "sure fit" system?hummmmmmm?
I guess this part of your post (quote) "The urban-legend about problems with the VA system is exaggerated " got me thinking about the lack of general information, poor quality and uselessness of some of the parts and directions in my kit.
Believe me, that is NO exaggeration and I don't see a problem in letting others know about it.
I thought your statement about the problems with VA systems being an urban legend sounded like a blanket statement that covered all VA systems and I wanted others to know that's not so..
I am very happy you had a good experience with your VA system and I am sure others will be happy with there unit due to the information you have provided.
Hopefully they will take the information I have provided and realize that not all VA systems are as great as the one you have pieced together.
Hopefully they will make an informed decision as to what unit or parts to buy ?

Again probably off topic ?
Quote "I used sheet metal screws to attach the defrost vents, just like the factory did. Maybe sewing machines use Elmers glue, but not Chevy's."
The General didnt use sheet metal screws to hold my vents in place at the dash and the junk VA sent, well lets just say it was junk and leave it at that!

FYI Sewing machine mechanics really do fix the machine, not just change out parts sticking them back together with gorilla snot as in the automotive world.
T.C.
I am not necessarily a VA fan but I have been watching these VA discussions for some time. It seems to me that people are expecting some sort of just add water installation process on kits from VA. Beyond that they want a factory look, they don't want an evaporator on the firewall ( most call it a suitcase and likely don't even know it is the evaporator) others have a litany of other laments.

I think that folks need to realize that these kits are generally speaking UNIVERSAL FIT systems that require some work to install. If VA is guilty of anything it seems to me that the bracketry could be a lot better and that the nomenclature "Sure Fit" might be exemplary of marketing gettting a little too much influence. Sure Fit does not mean Perfect Fit. Sure Fit does not mean No fabrication skills needed fit. Sure fit is a name and a name only.

Anyone who charges out to load one of these systems in over a Sat. afternoon is in need of taking a deep breath. I hear all sorts of b____hing about the instructions. I did not think they were great but they told me what I needed to know. Using the instructons does require some creativity and some engineering / fabrication savy. I think that a lot of folks who are screaming about the VA instructions have an incorrect expectation set as to what they bought versus what it takes to make the kit work.

VA started out in the Street Rod market place and the guys building those cars are really into fabrication of everything from a sun visor to an independent rear installation. VA has been and I think still is a major player with the Street Rod crowd.

I don't like the brackets and the instructions sure could be better but come on guys get real..this thing is not gonna jump out of the box, install and charge itself, look factory and eliminate the suitcase and then wash the car after the A/C is installed and running.
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  #14  
Old Sep 7th, 06, 1:48 AM
Chevy 70 SS vert Chevy 70 SS vert is offline
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Chas
 
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MustangKiller View Post

The Gen II Compac fits VERY nicely where the old evaporator used to be. There's a flat-spot on the firewall that was made for it. It took me less than an hour to install it and the better part of two days to trial fit and make-up the hoses and custom mounting plates I made to mount the bulhead fittings. That includes 2 trips back to American Pastimes to get fittings when I made booboos. Once you crimp 'em, that's it! All-in-all, not hard at all.
Thanks for posting the pictures I really appreciate seeing how others do things!
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  #15  
Old Sep 17th, 06, 2:46 PM
TonyS TonyS is offline
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Default Re: Vintage Air install (pics)

MUSTANG KILLER;

Your install is nice and clean. I installed a VA in my 67 Camino and converted the existing heater control but would like to use the VA knobs. Is that set up in a kit? I could not find it in their catalog.

Thanks;

Tony
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