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How To Install A Vintage Air A/C - Airing It Out
A Cool C2 Vintage Air A/C Install
Dec 26, 2007
San Antonio, TX
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How To Install A Vintage Air A/C - Airing It Out
The Keisler Project Maximum Overdrive Corvette gets a new Vintage Air A/C system.
To start the project, the original heater plenum case is removed following the service manual info. While the area is clear, the vent door should be checked for proper operation. The vent door uses a foam-rubber seal around its circumference to seal external air from entering the passenger compartment. A leaking seal will dilute the cold A/C and cause condensation. Now is the time to do it as it's impossible to service once the A/C system is in place.
The next step is to install the supplied defroster duct assembly using the original hardware. We had to modify ours slightly to keep the wiper motor arm from hitting the new duct assembly. We modified our duct assembly with a heat gun, then installed and checked for interference when the wipers were on. This is another one of those areas that is difficult to check or modify after the A/C evaporator is installed.
The Vintage Air system uses many micro-electrical switches that can be damaged if care isn't taken during installation. The switches are very reliable, but watch for wiring or braces that can catch the switches during installation. We were instructed to install and adjust the temperature-control cables before installing the evaporator assembly.
The evaporator unit goes in under the brace and uses one of the existing glovebox hinge screws to retain it. This is another area to check for wiper-arm interference before final wrap-up to make sure the wiring and cables are clear. We routed the wiring out of the passenger compartment once the unit was in place.
Before we ran the hoses out of the firewall opening, we installed the supplied firewall blower motor cover. We used strip caulk to seal the cover to the firewall and then tightened down the cover using the supplied inner bracket.
Now we install the heater hoses and A/C hoses to the evaporator/heater assembly. The large A/C refrigerant hose (suction side) gets very cold and condenses moisture so it must be taped with press-tite tape to prevent internal water drips. We found it easiest to install the hoses through the cover before installing the hoses.
At the time of this install, we were using an early Vintage Air FrontRunner accessory-drive system so we had to crimp the supplied fittings to the VA hoses. Currently, Vintage Air has improved the kit so the fittings are already crimped on and ready to install whether you're using a V-belt or serpentine-drive belt. Most A/C specialty shops have crimping tools if necessary.
It takes a little wrangling to get the hoses to align properly as the cover is moved into position. A light coating of silicone spray helped the hoses slide as we positioned the cover. Once the cover is in position, a helper can install the nuts on the inside while the screws are put through from the outside that retain the cover.
Vintage Air provides a circuit breaker for blower fan high-speed and system protection. We decided to put it in an accessible location on top of the provided cover. Be sure to install the rubber cover that protects the terminals as they have battery voltage all the time. The power-supply lead was connected directly to the starter positive terminal.
Vintage Air supplies the correct brackets to install the A/C condenser without any hassle. We're installing the brackets per the instructions, then the complete assembly will be dropped in place. Save yourself some time and make sure you have the condenser fittings in the correct orientation before installing the brackets. The large fitting goes at the top and connects to the A/C compressor discharge hose.
Be sure to use the supplied A/C-system lube to each O-ring before installing and tightening the fittings. Firmly hold the line in place to prevent any rotation while tightening the fitting. Tightening the line without holding the line stable can tear the O-ring.
The condenser is about ready to drop in place. All we need to do is to tighten all the fittings. We try to keep the caps on the drier and condenser until the system is ready for complete closure to prevent moisture intrusion. The desiccant in the drier is sucking up the moisture in the atmosphere while the system is open.
The driver-side vent looks very similar to a factory-air A/C outlet and installs in the vicinity of a factory-air-equipped midyear. Vintage Air supplies spacers to drop the hood cable down so the vent housing clears the dash. We installed the hood cable bracket bolts into the brace to make installation easier. We also had to move the headlight door switch to the factory A/C-equipped position on the bottom of the dash.
Now back to the inside while the system is being evacuated. The first step is to connect the distribution hoses to the A/C-heater assembly before installing the vents. We're measuring the hoses with the tubing stretched out for each duct.
Once the hoses are cut to the proper length, they can be installed on the A/C evaporator-heater case. We found that squeezing the passenger-side hose into an oval shape helps glovebox installation. Vintage Air's A/C kit allows you to use your original glovebox assembly for a true factory installed look.
We wrapped up the interior with the supplied A/C center console panels. Distribution hoses are connected to the console side panel, and then the panel is installed. It's a good idea to loosen the console plate screws before you try to slide the panel in position. The console side panels can be painted to match your interior color, and you can save your originals in case you want to go back to Bloomington Gold standards.
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