Jump to content

Looking For Help w/ Air Conditioner


Guest thug23

Recommended Posts

Guest thug23

Looking for some help from you guys who live in the BOSTON area.

I have a 1961 Cadillac that ONCE had air conditioning but for whatever reason some of the parts have been removed and I would like to have it restored if possible.

I'm looking for a shop or mechanic that you know could do this job in my area please.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First you'll need to know exactly what is missing. If it's the underhood stuff, i.e. compressor, refrigerant lines, condenser, I think you could find that stuff easily enough as Cad used the Frigidaire A6 compressor. If it's the body and dash stuff, you'll need a parts car or a good Cadillac parts manual.

If complete originality is not an issue, the system should be easy to update with a Sanden type compressor and an STV replacement calibrated for modern refrigerants.

There's specialty airconditioning companies in FL and TX that can help you here, but their names escape me at the moment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Bob Call

One of the companies Glenn is thinking of is Vintage Air in San Antonio. They make kits that are customized to fit your car. Most of the OEM pices for your Caddy's AC are probably available except maybe the duct work mounted on the firewall. For that you will need to find a 61 or 62 GM parts car. Dashboard controls would probably be excusive to the Caddy. If there is a lot of stuff missing and you don't need a restoration to original for show judging, a Vintage Air kit would probably be no more expensive and should be better than a rebuilt 50 year old system.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest thug23

Well we're off to a good start anyway.

My car has all the interior parts and controls its under the hood that I need to have attention.

I'm not exactly sure what I'm missing but I can see I have some of the main components.

Like I stated I live in Boston so I was looking for someone in my area that I could drive the car to.

Any more info would be greatly appreciated or contacts you can suggest.

Thanks again guys.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whatever you do, don't put R-134a in the factory OEM R-12 system if you can help it. R134a runs at a higher head pressure and should only be charged to 80% of the R-12's capacity, plus you should replace the R-12 hoses with high pressure HFC hoses, but it could still shorten the life of the compressor and the rest of the system in some cars, not to mention still cause leaks. And the exhaust air may not be cold/cool enough. I have known people to do these conversions only to end up with air that is barely cool or not cool at all. Whereas other model makes, the air is only slightly warmer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

R134a refrigerant is fine for a replacement provided that PRIOR to installation

1. The rubber hoses are barrier type hoses which have a plastic liner to keep the R134a refrigerant from migrating through the hoses because the molecules are smaller than R12.

2. Most if not all of the R12 oil is removed from the system.

3. The system is evacuated and held at I think 27 inches of vacuum for 20-30 minutes.

4. The proper amount of PAG oil is installed along with the R134a.

If the system es pre 80, then would need to check what else is needed.

This is for GM cars.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest thug23

Thanks Larry and rhb1999 for all your great advice I appreciate it....BUT being brand new to all this you both might as well be speaking Chinese to me.

I get the basics of what your saying and trying to explain to me but could you break it down a little more for me please?

rhb1999...you stated that I should stay away from the R-134a model as it may be too much for the existing hardware and I would need to upgrade many extras to compensate for the new system.

Could you suggest another model I could go with that may not require all the extras?

Also, I was trying to keep the look of the car as original as possible, what does one of these systems look like, is this going to stick out like a sore thumb and make the look of the engine area look stupid in comparison to the original parts?

Thanks again for everybodys help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

thug 23,

This should not be so difficult for you.

It has been a few years ago, but I previously owned a Cadillac from the 1960's. The air conditioning system is modern enough that you should be able to go to any reliable full service garage that normally does air conditioning service and they should be able to fix your air conditioning system.

If their normal parts supply house does not have any parts needed, they (or you) can find what is needed through one of the companies that supply air conditioning parts for antique cars. I think that one or more of these has already been mentioned in this discussion. If not, do a google search for vintage auto air conditioning, and you should find what you need.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tend to ramble here so let me know if this makes any sence. I believe propane based refrigerants are illegal for sale in the U.S., because they have started fires when a spark from the engine and a system leak hap-pens at the same time. Something I forgot to mention before, Larry Schramm is right about removing the R-12 mineral oil from the system one of the reasons being it's not compatable with R134a oils and can cause compressor seizure. And is another reason people have had trouble with these conversions. thug23: R-12 and R-134a are only legal refrigerants for cars in the U.S.A. unless something has changed that I don't know about. All I'm saying is R-12 was the refrigerant designed for your car and R-134a does run at a higher head pressure so it's possible you could run into problems down the road and that the exhaust air has not been as cold on retrofitted systems on some cars. But, the down side to R-12 is that it is pricey. Is this going to be a show car? I don't know how the judges feel about retrofitted systems, but the one thing that will look different is the adapter fittings for the low and high sides of the system ( can you live with this?) and the barrier hoses MAY look different and if you determined to keep everything original may want to have your original compressor rebuilt. The question to ask is: How much do you want to spend? You could replace or rework/rebuild everything, which on a car that old, it might have to be done. But, first you might want to just look at it. What shape is the system in? Has it had recent work/service? new/reman/rebuilt compressor perhaps. Or is it the original system from the factory? Take a look at the condenser, it's in front of the radiator, does it look corroded? How bad? You can test the compressor clutch with a 9 volt battery and a pig tail from Radio Shack or just two wires and two alligator clips! If everything LOOKS okay, and you want try R-134a, replace the hoses (use oil on the seals) and the dryer (on yours it may be inside a cylinder looking part on the passenger side) and possibily the expansion valve, it's on the dryer location. Check to see how much R-12 the system originally had (may be on a label somewhere under the hood) this way you'll know much R-134a to put in to bring it to 80% of the original charge. Drain the condenser, evaporator,(on some this is easy, others harder) compressor( you'll most likely have to remove these parts) of R-12 mineral oil. Evacuate the system, ( you'll have to get a vacuum pump, and a set of R-134a manifold gauges like Robinair, etc.) like Larry Schramm says. Put a can of oil and R-134a with the engine running. And with a refrigerant sniffer (leak detector) check for leaks around the entire system. If they are no leaks, finish charging to 80%. OR you can just replace the needed parts hoses,etc. and take the car to good A/C shop and let them drain the R-12 oil, and recharge the system with R-134a. OR leave the mineral oil in recharge with R-12. but I would still replace the hoses and dryer. Some shops will not recharge a R-12 system with R-134a saying it runs at a higher head pressure therefore will have to be recharged with R-12, so you'll have to check around. I hope this helps.

Edited by rhb1999
adding information (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

One other thing that you might want to do to check for leaks is to put some dye in the system and then get an infra red light and glasses to check for leaks.

One quick check that can lead you to see if the evaporator core may be leaking is to put you hand under the case and feel the bottom of the case. If it comes back oily, probably corroded and needs to be replaced. For the condenser which is in front of the radiator, look for dark spots which usually indicate a leak.

On the propane, READ THE LABEL. I have a can of "alternative refrigerant" that keep to show how it was marketed to be sure others do not use the stuff. The ingredients are listed as hydrocarbon refrigerant.

Hope the words from myself and rhb199 have been of help.

Link to comment
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
×
×
  • Create New...