TexRiv_63

1966 Dodge Monaco Wagon A/C Resurrection

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Spring is here and I need to repair my A/C system so I can keep this cruiser going in the Texas summer. The car has the optional dual air system with a second evaporator and fans hung from the roof, I had recharged it last summer (R134) and it worked great until the compressor locked up. I'm considering either a stock rebuild or a switchover to a modern Sanden compressor and want to do the work myself. What I'm looking for are people who have already done this on a big block C-body Mopar that can share their experience or lead me to good sources of information and parts. Thanks!

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I see Vintage Air has Sanden compressors with dual V-belt pulley. I would call them, see if they have brackets also.

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13 hours ago, Frank DuVal said:

I see Vintage Air has Sanden compressors with dual V-belt pulley. I would call them, see if they have brackets also.

Thanks Frank, they are on my list of potential suppliers.

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After additional research I am now leaning toward using the Sanden compressor and adapting the underhood lines, would appreciate any tips.

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March sells a serpentine kit for these.

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Posted (edited)

As an old c-body nut from long ago... I hated a/c cars. The compressor or the lines are always in the way of something you want to do. It's heavy, and has to have 2 matching belts cut from the same tube. Parts stores never seemed to have that.

 

I would be extremely tempted by a Sanden compressor if there were some way to mount it down low and to the side, out of the way. If it is going to be up front and center like stock, I would stick with the stock compressor. It looks right. They were dead reliable. You basically never saw any bad ones (unlike the compressors used on some other makes in those days). A/C problems on Mopars were almost always leaks (o-rings, rocks knocking holes in the condenser, etc.).

 

My experience with these mostly predates r134a, so perhaps others can comment about that, but I strongly suspect something was done improperly in the conversion and it ran with insufficient or incorrect oil.

 

Nice car!

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)

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First, I love this car. it's just begging for a road trip. That's first-class travel as far as I'm concerned. Awesome!

 

Second, I would try to get the A/C working with the original compressor. On an original car like this, it matters and as Bloo says, it's rarely the compressor that fails. If the clutch is good (you can energize it manually with jumper wires) then it's likely that the compressor is good, too. O-rings, hoses, and other items are probably the source of the leak, and if it's been converted to R134a, you're probably going to have to charge it every spring. The problem is that the R134a molecule is just smaller than the R12 molecule and it slips out through holes that the R12 won't fit through. Not necessarily because of age or a defect, but simply because the materials weren't designed with R134a in mind. If it holds vacuum and/or a charge, then it should be OK without a lot of additional work.

 

If the original compressor is done and a Sanden is the solution, I'd say that Vintage Air probably has a setup that will work. Here are some photos, including some close-ups, of a big block (383) 1970 'Cuda I have that uses a Sanden compressor and a Vintage Air setup integrated with the original system. It's a tidy install, but you can see that the brackets are definitely custom, particularly the heim joints. It also uses an aftermarket serpentine belt setup with two belts, but I don't know whether it's mandatory and probably increases the degree of difficulty. You will likely need new hoses to fit the Sanden manifold, but you should be able to find a shop locally that makes hoses and I think Vintage Air will sell you some that are finished properly for the compressor and you cut them to length and have a hose shop crimp the proper fittings on the other end. DO NOT just use a hose clamp, it'll never be leak-proof.

 

Hope this helps!

 

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I believe if the old r12 oil is still distributed through the system, it has a tendency to plug the pores of the hose and keep the r134 from leaking out. Since I believe TexRiv_63 mentioned a seized compressor, that is unlikely to be the case. The system will probably need to be thoroughly flushed.

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Posted (edited)

I think Matt means it wont be leak proof with a hose clamp.

And I agree with that.

Edited by JACK M (see edit history)
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Thanks Matt, Ben, Bloo and Jack. The A/C system on this car had been backyard converted to R134 when I got it but did not cool. The PO said it was converted about 6 years ago and worked great for 2 years but then it was stored the next 4 years and barely driven. I put the gauges on it and was surprised to find it was about half full, so I topped it off and added a little oil and it cooled great. That only lasted a month then the compressor seized, I have been told elsewhere this is a common problem with the RV-2 and stock system. When the pressure drops too low the oil settles out in the evaporator and condenser and starves the compressor so it fails. Supposedly the newer rotary compressors are less sensitive to this problem and the newer condensers work much better with R134. I have found one company, Bouchillon Performance, https://bouchillonperformance.com/ac_condenser_kits that specializes in Mopar applications and I will be talking to them to get more information. I did a total Vintage Air conversion on my 63 Riviera more than 10 years ago so if I can fix this with just the underhood part I'll be very happy.

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I'm still researching but I am pretty sure I will be dealing with Bouchillon for my conversion parts. Due to the rear mounted second evaporator on my car I am planning on retaining the existing tee fittings and lines that service it and would like to reuse the large suction line that goes to the dash evaporator (pictured) with a new expansion valve. The old expansion valve uses an equalizer line the screws into a fitting on the metal suction line, I assume removing this opens the line to atmosphere. This equalizer is not needed with the new compressor, does anyone know how I could close up that fitting and reuse the line?

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Posted (edited)

If the new expansion valve does not have the small copper line that connects to the line, just cut the copper line an inch or so (or longer to hide the loose end)) and braze the tiny copper tube shut. And by this I mean using the "silver solder" type brazing, like Stay-Silv 15, Sil-Phos 15, etc.  Or you can keep with the Buick theme, and use Dynaflow!

 

https://www.harrisproductsgroup.com/en/Products/Alloys/Brazing/Phos-Copper/Dynaflow.aspx

 

Hope you have an HVAC friend so you do not need to buy a package of this stuff to do one little joint.👍

 

Or you can figure what flare nut size that little line is and get a flare cap or bonnet  fitting to close it off.

Edited by Frank DuVal
Added product names (see edit history)
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On ‎4‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 11:40 AM, TexRiv_63 said:

I'm still researching but I am pretty sure I will be dealing with Bouchillon for my conversion parts. Due to the rear mounted second evaporator on my car I am planning on retaining the existing tee fittings and lines that service it and would like to reuse the large suction line that goes to the dash evaporator (pictured) with a new expansion valve. The old expansion valve uses an equalizer line the screws into a fitting on the metal suction line, I assume removing this opens the line to atmosphere. This equalizer is not needed with the new compressor, does anyone know how I could close up that fitting and reuse the line?

 

 

I have found out from other sources that I can retain the same type of expansion valve I have now and reuse the large suction line. The new suction line from the Sanden compressor will be a #10 size but I assume the giant fittings at the tee joint I have to connect it to are a larger size since the they have a 1 1/4" nut on them. Does anyone know what size those existing fittings would be and where a step down adapter to a #10 hose can be obtained?

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I realize there is probably little interest here in this topic since I am not going the "restore to original" route. I did answer my own question about the large fittings, they are size #12 used on some older cars and the upper limit of commonly available A/C hose and fittings. It looks like I can find what I will need so I have ordered all the conversion parts except hose and fittings and will be starting the work shortly. If anyone would be interested in seeing my progress please respond here, otherwise I will probably let this thread die.

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It's always good to know that there are upgrades/replacement stuff to be done to these cars if REALLY needed.

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Posted (edited)

I'd love to see the work you're doing, Don. I don't think you'll get many complaints from purists, since you're keeping your car "in the spirit" of original, which, in my opinion, represents most of the cars in the AACA today--not perfectly original, but functional and not significantly modified (engine/transmission/suspension/brakes/etc.). If you're not going for a trophy but want the car functional, then you are providing a solution that would be relevant to a lot of members, myself included. We're aiming to put A/C on Melanie's '56 wagon and I'm very interested to see how the factory might have done it, as well as any upgrades, so that I can create a system that looks right and works properly.

 

Also, I find posting my work here on the forum helps keep me motivated. The discussions surrounding my work often leads to new solutions and/or answers for someone else. If for no other reason, this is why you should continue to post: share the knowledge to keep the hobby moving forward.

 

Keep it up and keep us posted!

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Most everything you need for a 92 Roadmaster A/C is available from Rock Auto. Something you found is unobtainium?

 

Don, keep posting. 👍

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22 hours ago, TexRiv_63 said:

I realize there is probably little interest here in this topic since I am not going the "restore to original" route.

Indeed I'm following this thread however without comment because A/C plumbing is not my ding. Keep that thread!

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On ‎4‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 1:37 PM, Matt Harwood said:

I'd love to see the work you're doing, Don. I don't think you'll get many complaints from purists, since you're keeping your car "in the spirit" of original, which, in my opinion, represents most of the cars in the AACA today--not perfectly original, but functional and not significantly modified (engine/transmission/suspension/brakes/etc.). If you're not going for a trophy but want the car functional, then you are providing a solution that would be relevant to a lot of members, myself included. We're aiming to put A/C on Melanie's '56 wagon and I'm very interested to see how the factory might have done it, as well as any upgrades, so that I can create a system that looks right and works properly.

 

Also, I find posting my work here on the forum helps keep me motivated. The discussions surrounding my work often leads to new solutions and/or answers for someone else. If for no other reason, this is why you should continue to post: share the knowledge to keep the hobby moving forward.

 

Keep it up and keep us posted!

 

 

Thanks Matt, John, Ben, Frank and Roger, I will keep you posted on my progress. I love driving this car but living in texas reality is it won't get driven much in the summer without A/C!

Matt, a full Vintage Air system would probably be the best bet in your 56 but would all be custom. The big challenge would be getting dash vents and controls to look stock. If you want to get crazy you could add an inside roof mounted second unit like my car has to cool the back...

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OK here we go, my first batch of parts has arrived. I sprung for a genuine Sanden SD7H15 compressor from Cold Hose, the Bouchillion Performance 4710 Mount kit, and condenser, mounts, and thermo switch from Nostalgic AC Parts. I got a set of hardline compressor fittings from NAP that move the hose connections to the side, I'm planning to run the lines toward the drivers side. Not shown are a new expansion valve and filter drier that I already had. I also got a hydraulic crimping tool set from ebay, there were a lot of these available within a crazy price range and I picked the low end. No hose or fittings yet, I will measure and figure that out after the compressor and condenser are installed. The system has already been evacuated so I'll start the teardown soon.

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