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Installing a Vintage Air SureFit System in a 1968 Camaro

Setting a Cool Vibe

Chuck Vranas Aug 13, 2018
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Owning a classic Chevy muscle car sure has its benefits, especially when you go out in the garage, fire it up, and hit the open road. The thing is, you can wheel your car through every season regardless if it’s blistering hot or freezing cold outside. But wouldn’t it be a whole lot better if you had the extra comfort of a perfectly balanced climate control system? Regardless if you’re running a factory stock driveline or a hopped-up mill with a supercharger or turbo setup, you can turn to the team at Vintage Air to help incorporate one of their well-engineered systems into your ride.

We met up with Peter Newell of Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, who needed to add a climate control system to a ’68 Camaro that was recently updated with a wicked twin-turbo small-block Chevy. Vintage Air offered a seamless solution with their Gen IV SureFit complete system engineered for the 1967-’68 Camaro. The cutting-edge system features fly-by-wire, fully electronic servo motor controls—eliminating the need for cables or routing of a capillary tube—as well as infinite blower fan speed adjustment and temperature air blending. Added features include a high-volume dehumidified defrost mode, the ability to utilize factory system controls with their patented electronic cable converters, and a separate high-capacity copper parallel-flow heat coil and aluminum plate-and-fin cooling coils for instant temperature adjustments.

The complete kit comes packed with everything you’ll need to take on the conversion, including all the related components like the evaporator, compressor, engine brackets, condenser, drier, hoses, lines, ductwork, wiring harness, templates, and detailed instructions. We eliminated the compressor from the SureFit kit since we already had a Vintage Air unit from when we added a Front Runner accessory drive to this engine a few months ago. Newell upgraded to Vintage Air’s optional black-anodized Gen IV ProLine oval dash control panel featuring soft-white LED lighting in each knob. He also chose to upgrade to the chrome replacement vents packed with black-anodized ProLine Penta Louvers and chrome-plated ProLine oval center louvers.

Vintage Air offers a wide variety of ProLine control and louver options to give hot rodders the ability to tailor the look of the system to match virtually any interior.

To complete the installation and make sure there was plenty of cooling to support the modified V-8, Holley’s Frostbite Performance Cooling four-row aluminum radiator and electric fan shroud package added flawless dependability. You can be sure this business office will maintain perfect temperatures throughout every seasonal change. CHP

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1. Vintage Air’s Gen IV SureFit Complete Kit for the 1967-’68 Camaro non-factory air model comes complete with everything you need to take on the job of adding a cool breeze to your first-gen. Our install deleted the compressor and mounting bracket since it was already in place thanks to a Vintage Air Front Runner install we previously covered.

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2. Peter Newell of Competition Specialties in Walpole, Massachusetts, got started by first installing the front and rear mounting brackets to the evaporator with the supplied hardware.

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3. To help illustrate a number of connections, which are typically done with the evaporator unit installed in the car (but difficult to see under the dash), the main wiring harness was plugged into the case. Most connections are pre-terminated to make the wiring a plug-and-play operation.

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4. Newell elected to use Vintage Air’s optional Gen IV ProLine oval dash control panel in a black-anodized finish featuring their exclusive soft-white LED lighting in each knob. The wiring harness was then plugged into the evaporator.

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5. If we were using the standard kit and compressor arrangement we could have ordered the kit with all of the refrigerant hoses pre-crimped. Since Newell’s Camaro was more of a custom installation, he opted for a hose kit without the fittings crimped. To prepare the #6 A/C lines to fit the application, Newell first measured the desired length then used a handheld hose line cutter from Earl’s Performance to carefully cut the line to fit.

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6. During the mockup phase of the A/C lines to the evaporator it’s important to coat the O-rings with the provided refrigerant oil to help keep the O-ring from catching or rolling during assembly. We also put a drop of refrigerant oil on the threads of the fitting. (Note that in this mockup, the A/C lines are not final crimped.)

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7. During the mockup phase of the A/C lines to the evaporator it’s important to coat the O-rings with the provided refrigerant oil to help keep the O-ring from catching or rolling during assembly. We also put a drop of refrigerant oil on the threads of the fitting. (Note that in this mockup, the A/C lines are not final crimped.)

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8. For illustrative purposes, we laid out the basics of the Gen IV SureFit system to let you see the main A/C lines as they are routed from the evaporator to the compressor, condenser, and drier.

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9. The servo heater control valve was then installed with the servo motor facing down. A flow direction arrow is molded into the body of the valve to make the install a snap. Mounting the heater control valve in the engine bay is usually the best option.

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10. Here you can see the layout of the A/C and heater lines, including the mounting position of the servo heater control valve. Prior to final install, all the lines will be completed (crimped and clamped where applicable) and secured in place.

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11. It’s critical to test-fit your hose sections and ends to be sure they are properly clocked prior to crimping. Here you can see how a small section of marked masking tape makes the job easy.

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12. Using a refrigerant line-crimping tool and the Vintage Air A/C compressor fittings in the kit, the lines were assembled.

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13. Once removed from the line-crimping tool you can see just how nice the crimped compressor fitting came out.

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14. The condenser kit comes complete with all brackets and mounting hardware, making it easy to assemble on the workbench.

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15. The drier was then mounted to the condenser following the detailed instructions included in the kit. When installing the provided hard line and connecting it to the condenser, be sure to use the included lubricant on the O-rings and fitting threads to help ensure a nice seal when tightening it up.

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16. Being that the car is a full custom, the original heater box hole in the firewall was previously filled and smoothed. A Vintage Air fresh air bulkhead cover was installed to allow both A/C and heat lines to run directly through the firewall and under the fender to keep the lines out of sight.

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17. To give the interior a truly signature look, Newell installed a pair of optional new chrome replacement bezels to each side of the dash and filled them with black-anodized ProLine Penta Louvers.

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18. With the dash prepared for installation, the evaporator unit was leveled and secured in place. From there, all the lines, connections, and ductwork were finalized.

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19. Here you can see just how nice the installation of the Gen IV ProLine oval dash control panel looks in place—accented by a carbon-fiber backing plate—especially when combined with the optional chrome-plated ProLine oval center louver.

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20. Since this particular car will be running a hopped-up twin-turbo small-block, it was important to make sure there was ample cooling. Holley’s Frostbite Performance Cooling four-row aluminum radiators are built to handle the job.

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21. To complete the cooling system, the Holley/Frostbite electric fan shroud package includes a form-fitting, aircraft-quality aluminum shroud to fit the specific application along with dual 10-inch fans. To complete the installation, their electric relay kit was used.

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22. You can see just how perfect the fit of the Holley/Frostbite four-row aluminum radiator and matching fan shroud with fans fit the application alongside the twin turbos.

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23. Newell then carefully installed the Vintage Air condenser/drier assembly and secured it in place along with the remaining supplied hard lines.

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24. In this photo, it’s easy to see the tight proximity of the turbo to the compressor, which typically could be a big problem when routing the compressor lines.

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25. Vintage Air has addressed the issue with their exclusive Front Runner TiteFit polished line kit for when space is an issue.

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26. The fitting comes complete with mounting hardware, making the solution to the problem a fast fix while also adding plenty of added dazzle to the area.

Photos by Chuck Vranas

Sources

Vintage Air
San Antonio, TX 78266
800-862-6658
www.vintageair.com
Competition Specialties
508-510-7043
www.competition-specialties.com
Holley Performance Products
Bowling Green, KY 42101
866-464-6553
http://www.holley.com

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