Vintage air...redo - Chevelle Tech
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old May 26th, 13, 9:22 PM Thread Starter
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Vintage air...redo

Hello guys, I searched this forum for VA and found some good posts but they all seem pretty old.

I have a 68 Chevelle with factory AC, well the evaporator and the POA valve are there and that's it. No condenser or compressor or lines.

The control head in the dash seems pretty stiff and isn't even connected to the ducts, etc.

The question is; should I just install a vintage air system or rebuild what I've got.

I kinda like the thought of the new controlers VA has????
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old May 27th, 13, 7:31 AM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

I have Vintage Air on my 67, it did not have factory AC. The VA AC works fine, when you need the defroster it is hard to adjust the temp. I installed a 4 way water valve and it is a little better. Its been on my 67 since 2004 and run a lot. When its hot and you need AC it is great. Temp at the RH vent is 44*. The VA does not have the capability of outside air and to me that is a difference.
On the other hand my 66 wagon has Factory AC. I opted to fix it. Had to repair the evaporator, replace the condensor with the largest that would fit for 134A, using the new style A-6 direct replacement compressor, mounts in factory brackets just like A-6 and the original lines fit the rear just like factory. Had the POA valve re-calibrated for 134a. I like the Factory AC better. The defroster works much better. Air at the RH vent is 43* sitting still with a shop fan in front of the radiator.


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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 8:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Vintage air...redo

Since I'm looking at probably replacing the evaporator and probably the heater core, I have no compressor, condenser, lines and all the AC wiring has been hacked out, I think I will go for the vintage air.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 10:32 AM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by elcamino66 View Post
I have Vintage Air on my 67, it did not have factory AC. The VA AC works fine, when you need the defroster it is hard to adjust the temp. I installed a 4 way water valve and it is a little better. Its been on my 67 since 2004 and run a lot. When its hot and you need AC it is great. Temp at the RH vent is 44*. The VA does not have the capability of outside air and to me that is a difference.
On the other hand my 66 wagon has Factory AC. I opted to fix it. Had to repair the evaporator, replace the condensor with the largest that would fit for 134A, using the new style A-6 direct replacement compressor, mounts in factory brackets just like A-6 and the original lines fit the rear just like factory. Had the POA valve re-calibrated for 134a. I like the Factory AC better. The defroster works much better. Air at the RH vent is 43* sitting still with a shop fan in front of the radiator.
2x...had aftermarket A/C and it is a compromise at best. Certainly not up to the standards of a properly working OEM unit. Recently removed an aftermarket A/C and reinstalled an R134 converted OEM system. I was just plain tired of the compromises.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 1:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by oman View Post
2x...had aftermarket A/C and it is a compromise at best. Certainly not up to the standards of a properly working OEM unit. Recently removed an aftermarket A/C and reinstalled an R134 converted OEM system. I was just plain tired of the compromises.
What compromises do you mean??
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 2:46 PM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

Hmmm.....I love the Vintage Air in my 66 Chevelle, 71 Chevy pickup, had it in my 56 Studebaker wagon, have the kit to install in my 47 Chevy 2 dr sedan, and will put it in my 56 Chevy 210.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 3:35 PM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by overdriv View Post
What compromises do you mean??
It all centers around the poor air handling quality of the systems. There is no way to mix outside air with the "airstream" of ANY of the aftermarket A/C systems. Essentially the aftermarket is running in Recirc / Max mode all the time. They keep recirculating the cabin air and the only way to introduce outisde air is to open the window. This doesn't sound bad at first BUT after awhile it becomes a big PIA. I did not think this would bother me at one point in time but after having one for a while it did.

Another item. The defrost is so-so. Air handling thru those flex hoses I suspect..or is it the blower motor capability? I don't know which it is. The evap core and heater core are small in the aftermarket systems. I have one here I am getting ready to junk and I just might cut it open to show the size of the evap core and the heater core and evap core from the aftermarket compared to an OEM Chevelle evap core.

Another item: my buddy has a VERY VERY nice 34 Ford Street Rod. I know I know we are talking about Chevelles but this is an example of the air handling issues with the aftermarket systems. When you first fire up the car if fogs the window until the system stabilizes the inside temp and drys off the inside of the windshield. Again..a show stopper? Might not be but is it a PIA? Oh yeah because you are NOT going anywhere until that window clears. The 34 has been charged and recharged trying to solve this problem and it just won't go away. Nuff said there.

Yes you can shut of the hot water to the heater core to assist the A/C output and help with the fog situation BUT the heater core and the evap core are side by side inside that tiny little box under the dash. Heat from the core WILL effect cooling even when the water shut off is closed as witnessed by what happens when you first fire the car up.

Cooling. There just is not the cooling capacity that the OEM systems have. Will it be cool..yes. Will it be COLD? No. The aftermarket outlet temp might be 40 degrees but the evap core is a heat exchanger. Here comes that little evap core in that little box again. If that evap core cannot take on the quantity of heat inside the car, and get ahead of the heat, you are always trying to cool the car. The 34 is TINY and I mean shoulder to shoulder tiny for two guys. Much smaller than a Chevelle. The car is insulated up the wazoo / tinted glass / steel body...all the Street Rod tricks and it just NEVER gets cold it gets cool. Cool ...yes, cold no!. That just won't cut it for me. Some folks have different toleration of the temp level. People love the aftermarket stuff and I am sure there are proponents here in this thread already. To each his own. For me it is about what is acceptable to one guy versus another.

I have had two aftermarket systems and I just went back to an OEM system recalibrated for R134. It is just a general feeling: there are no glaring flaws with aftermarket. When ya stack up the issues I have outlined and other annoying things like getting a part if ya need one it just doesn't work for me. Some aftermarket systems are sealed...you can't crack that little box open and get inside. Again is it a showstopper? No it isn't until the heater core croaks or the evap core leaks or a servo chokes. Then what? Then send it back to the manufacturer because they are the ONLY people who can service it. I don't like that fact one little bit.

IMHO anyone with an OEM A/C car who goes with aftermarket has stepped backwards. I also don't subscribe to the clean firewall mantra. Sure the firewall has the evap core on it in the factory cars. I ride inside the car not inside the engine compartment so for me cool dry air where I ride is more important than a smooth firewall in the engine compartment.

In point of fact the car I just did was non Factory Air and I converted it to factory air rather than load in aftermarket. Was it easy to do? No. Will people tell ya it cannot be done ..certainly, but I am here to say I did it and it works. I did it without welding on the car. Not going into that long story here. Folks won't believe it anyway. Suffice to say that converting to factory air, even considering all the work involved, was for me preferable to all the work loading in aftermarket air then having aftermarket air when I was done.

Last edited by oman; May 30th, 13 at 3:56 PM.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 4:22 PM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

oman I'm just curious if you used 134a and the factory condenser. If so what outlet temps are you getting? I converted my '69 Malibu factory air to 134a and 56 deg is the best I can get, fully charged, with the factory condenser. Yes I had the POA recalibrated by CAA, new exp valve, heater hose shutoff works, etc. I disassembled and cleaned and flushed everything incl the evaporator. Yes Bob I know a parallel flow condenser will lower the outlet temp considerably but the factory unit is what I have for now.

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 4:34 PM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by von View Post
oman I'm just curious if you used 134a and the factory condenser. If so what outlet temps are you getting? I converted my '69 Malibu factory air to 134a and 56 deg is the best I can get, fully charged, with the factory condenser. Yes I had the POA recalibrated by CAA, new exp valve, heater hose shutoff works, etc. I disassembled and cleaned and flushed everything incl the evaporator. Yes Bob I know a parallel flow condenser will lower the outlet temp considerably but the factory unit is what I have for now.
I am running the parallel flow. Have no idea what happens with the old OEM condenser. I really think the condenser is the issue with your numbers. I suppose you have heard this already or will hear it again soon but R134 is a different animal than the R12. The structure of the condenser is critical.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 4:59 PM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by overdriv View Post
The control head in the dash seems pretty stiff and isn't even connected to the ducts, etc.
FWIW...not sure which part of the control head is "pretty stiff" but the lower horizontal control on the factory 70 thru 72 A/C is the only mechanical connection between the head and the air handler box. All the other parts of the air handling system operate by vac.

At least this is the way the system was built for 69 thru 72. Some things on 68's were one year only things and there might be other mechanical connections on the 68 that I am not aware of. If the 68 has a multi position electrical switch and two "sliding" levers then I suspect it is the same as the later years.
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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 6:45 PM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by oman View Post
I am running the parallel flow. Have no idea what happens with the old OEM condenser. I really think the condenser is the issue with your numbers. I suppose you have heard this already or will hear it again soon but R134 is a different animal than the R12. The structure of the condenser is critical.
Yes I've heard all that many times. Just wondering if my 56 deg (85 deg ambient) sitting still at about 2000 rpm is about normal with orig condenser.

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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old May 30th, 13, 7:00 PM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by von View Post
Yes I've heard all that many times. Just wondering if my 56 deg (85 deg ambient) sitting still at about 2000 rpm is about normal with orig condenser.
I think I got your drift. I suspect that might be a higher number than some guys see with similar "plumbing'. Could be the fan. Like the condenser there is p-l-e-n-t-y of info out there about fans that has been circulated and recirculated and recirculated...no pun intended.

Last edited by oman; May 30th, 13 at 7:17 PM.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old May 31st, 13, 5:23 AM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by oman View Post
I think I got your drift. I suspect that might be a higher number than some guys see with similar "plumbing'. Could be the fan. Like the condenser there is p-l-e-n-t-y of info out there about fans that has been circulated and recirculated and recirculated...no pun intended.
It has the factory VO1 clutch fan with a HD clutch that moves more air than the stock one did.

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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old May 31st, 13, 7:42 AM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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Originally Posted by overdriv View Post
Since I'm looking at probably replacing the evaporator and probably the heater core, I have no compressor, condenser, lines and all the AC wiring has been hacked out, I think I will go for the vintage air.

All that stuff is still very much available. I like the VA stuff for a non ac car, but reality is that its louder and can be tougher to diagnose when it wears out.

Couple of junkers and a few clunkers.
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old May 31st, 13, 7:44 AM
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Re: Vintage air...redo

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It has the factory VO1 clutch fan with a HD clutch that moves more air than the stock one did.
Well I wish I had more numbers for you but if you have an uprated clutch everything points to the condenser. You did charge the system with r134 @ approx 80% of the R12 quantity?
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