TexRiv_63

Vintage Air A/C Conversion for 1st Gen Rivieras

Recommended Posts

Do you like the stock controls on the '63 because of the looks or because of the headaches of trying to find and swap out levers after they break? :) Installation of an aftermarket unit is much simpler and they're better systems than the old suction valve systems. The compressors take less horsepower and they're much easier to work on because everything is in one unit. If you like the looks of the OE '63 controls, leave them there and hide the aftermarket controller - good use for that non used ashtray slot. You'll even have the lid to hide the controller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Do you like the stock controls on the '63 because of the looks or because of the headaches of trying to find and swap out levers after they break? :) Installation of an aftermarket unit is much simpler and they're better systems than the old suction valve systems. The compressors take less horsepower and they're much easier to work on because everything is in one unit. If you like the looks of the OE '63 controls, leave them there and hide the aftermarket controller - good use for that non used ashtray slot. You'll even have the lid to hide the controller.

I do like the look, mine have not broken....yet. I guess the controls ( for appearance ) and the stock vents are the only reason I was considering stock. I can install some stock or stock appearing vents. The ashtray idea is simple and was my intended solution. Thanks for your response.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can use your existing stock vents with the aftermarket installation. The interior will look stock, just your engine compartment will be so much less cluttered.

Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool57. Its not for lack of trying. I have literally spent thousands of dollars trying to fix the old unit. New compressor, new condenser and 30 lbs of freon just to start with. Rebuilt STV valve and then a STV valve replacement. But when I was told that my evaporator was leaking and I would have to pull all that out, I said enough. Plus this way I get a heater too which is something that has been bypassed.

Ed's comments are also true. As I pulled things out the engine compartment is a lot cleaner looking. Not clean but less cluttered.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a picture that Don Rundgren - the originator of this post waaaaay back when - sent me of his engine compartment after his installation was complete. The cosmetics were not fully completed but the installation was. What a difference.

post-50017-143141914321_thumb.jpg

Especially on a '63, not so much a '64 or '65, where the switches, vacuum ports, etc. are all in that little flimsy plastic box that sits on the inner fender.

Ed

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not clean but less cluttered.

It's cleaner now that much of the grunge is on my shirt, hands and arms.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fit my firewall patch panel today. First I made sure it would clear everything and look good. Then I measured for the bulkhead fitting and drilled the holes for that:

null_zps3c640c03.jpg

Then I painted it black and installed the "manifold". It's hard to see since the bulkhead is black also:

null_zpsbb6e34a3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cool57. Its not for lack of trying. I have literally spent thousands of dollars trying to fix the old unit. New compressor, new condenser and 30 lbs of freon just to start with. Rebuilt STV valve and then a STV valve replacement. But when I was told that my evaporator was leaking and I would have to pull all that out, I said enough. Plus this way I get a heater too which is something that has been bypassed.

Ed's comments are also true. As I pulled things out the engine compartment is a lot cleaner looking. Not clean but less cluttered.

This is why I decided to convert my 63. I reused all the stock AC outlets and left the original controls in place but not connected. I was originally going to hide the AC controls in the ashtray but wound up putting temp and oil pressure gauges in there, so I did cut the console trim for a VA controller, that shouldn't be necessary in a 64 or 65. Here are some pics of my car in finished shape.

post-51036-143141916949_thumb.jpg

post-51036-143141916953_thumb.jpg

post-51036-143141916957_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I always planned for the conversion to be as reversible as possible, just in case a later owner may want to go back to stock.

Lemme put it this way.

It wouldn't be easy!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Started fitting parts on. OEM bracket should work, like Don said. A little filing and an extra washer or two.Man, the evaporator only goes in one way (kind of a twisting install) and its tight!

null_zps49ba827b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You can use your existing stock vents with the aftermarket installation. The interior will look stock, just your engine compartment will be so much less cluttered.

Ed

I have no AC vents, my car came from the factory without air. I will try to find some stock ones to install.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If that's the case, then see what options the manufacturer has to offer. From what I've seen, they have quite a selection of vents - some pretty close to what you'd find stock.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Started fitting parts on. OEM bracket should work, like Don said. A little filing and an extra washer or two.Man, the evaporator only goes in one way (kind of a twisting install) and its tight!

When I was first fitting the in-car unit I had left the carpet in - It wouldn't clear until I removed it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I had to doublecheck the number you gave me!

Got that installed today. Your ears should be burning in a good way :)

I was singing your praises to Mr. Stoneberg.

He should post later with some cool pics about the center dash vents. I thought you were both crazy for ordering the extra vent from VA, but holy S...! It's gonna be perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, It will be perfect.

So folks what has happened today. Mike is rather terse in his comments.

I went over to his shop today and cleaned some of the grunge out of the empty areas. No more muffler, or vacuum ball or anything else relating to A/C.

While I was doing this Mike was hanging the evaporator under the dash. Once it was hung we started talking about the vents. We knew we wanted to use the 2 outboard vents and according to Don we could do this.

Also ordered and I followed suit in orders a set of vents. No idea what for but follow our line of reasoning here.

Here is the original center vent and the ducting goes along with it. Big rectangular duct that fits well with the factory system. Doesn't do well with the Vintage Air system. Vintage air uses nice round ducting

post-30710-143141918171_thumb.jpg

So we looked and tried various ways of shoving the ducting in and never liked the results. Then we went to look at the duct we ordered.

post-30710-143141918204_thumb.jpg

Sorry but this is ugly. Plastic versus metal Old versus new. We knew though that Don had us ordering for a reason so we started investigating a pretty soon we had it apart.

post-30710-143141918226_thumb.jpg

Maybe can shove this in the square ducting maybe we can use this another way ??? Finally it hit us....

post-30710-143141918248_thumb.jpg

The vents ill fit right on the groove on the back of the metal vent. A little grinding off of the chrome and it will work Plus they both have Louvers that can be pointed at the driver or passenger as opposed to straight back

post-30710-14314191827_thumb.jpg

Looks like to was made for the car and with some more tinkering we found that the vents will drop right in the hole and lock in place with the locking tabs. The the metal vent will go right over the top of it.

Once all of it is in, it will look like factory and nobody will ever know. The vent tubing connects and we dont have to use the big rectangular piece of plastic.

post-30710-143141918294_thumb.jpg

Once we have it all back together, we will post more pictures but I hope you see how its working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Boys,

I had to take care of some rental house business.

Got back to it today.

The original compressor bracket was reused. I had to drill out the holes to accommodate using 3/8" bolts which is what the Sanden compressor is drilled for. After doing that, I realized that I had some old door hinge pins with bushings. Conceivably, you could press the bushings into the compressor holes, and use 5/16 " bolts without drilling your original bracket. I don't know for sure, but maybe the next guy can try that. Either way, I used some lock washers between the original comp bracket and the Sanden and the belts lined up perfectly.

I also used the original drier bracket. Bill took that out and cleaned it up, so I may have installed it backwards and upside down. I don't care, just letting you know that it is way better looking than the cheesy clamps that come with the "kit".

Thusly:

null_zps39cd97f2.jpg

I also got the condenser mounted. That is just trial and error. If you can't figure this part out, you shouldn't be trying this project ;) .

Hard to see, but looks neat:

null_zps2fb18e2d.jpg

So far, I have about 24 hours into this. I may be slower than people who do this all of the time, but think about how much this would cost if you were paying restoration shops (REAL restoration shops) $100 / hr. Even if they did it in half the time, you would be $1,200 into the project and I bet I am just a little over halfway there...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is the glove box lost entirely? Or can you retain a shallow portion of it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have not gotten there yet, I am hoping we can keep some of it or else I dont know where I will put my trunk opener.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know we will have a portion of it left. I just rebuilt the "oh, so loose" jingle ball vents and hooked up the ducts. Yes, the ducts fit REAAAALLLLY tightly on the original outlets, but you have to fit them first, THEN screw them back to the dash. I also used silver HVAC tape to further secure them (duct to outlet) , but they aren't going anywhere. I chose to run the ducting before doing the hose connections so I would have more room. Speaking of hoses, I am GOING to be hosed if this thing has a leak anywhere, since it is all ducted now.

Fingers crossed...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are a couple of pictures of the ducting.

First is the passenger side vent. It is hanging until I make all of the hose connections at the evaporator.

null_zpsd0ba69e5.jpg

Here is the mess at the top of the evaporator.

The defroster vents went in first, because the outlets are in the back of the evaporator. They are just squished up in the factory vent.

From left to right (as viewed in the car)

Left side center vent

Drivers side vent

Right side center vent

Passenger side vent

This made for the most straightforward routing, and should avoid all radio parts.

null_zps00a4dffa.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I on the other hand made a trip to San Antonio for other business and on the way I spent another 500 dollars on connectors at Vintage Air.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Speaking of hoses, I am GOING to be hosed if this thing has a leak anywhere, since it is all ducted now.

Fingers crossed...

As I recall I ran the ducting but I left the dash completely apart until I had it charged. And I did have a leak...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I on the other hand made a trip to San Antonio for other business and on the way I spent another 500 dollars on connectors at Vintage Air.

I hope you can return the ones you don't use for credit!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now