A/C in a 1966 Dart GT with 360

Early A-Body Discussions

  1. FL_MarkD

    FL_MarkD Member

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    I purchased a well restored and upgraded 1966 Dart GT earlier this year. The people that owned it had added a lot of nice features like a 360 with a few performance parts, a 727 auto and 8 ¾ rear end with 3.23 gears. The car looked very good and ran well after some tuning and tweaking.

    The problem was the car did not have air conditioning. A dark blue car in Florida is not fun to drive without A/C. It really restricts usability.

    So as I did some research I did find that adding a ‘factory correct’ unit to a car that did not originally have A/C would not be a reasonable undertaking. And of course nobody makes a kit for that car with that engine. So the decision was made to do a ‘custom’ install using Vintage Air and do the work myself.

    The high level build sheet of Vintage Air parts included a Slimline Heat/Cool under dash unit, a compressor/alternator engine bracket, a 14x20 condenser, a Sanden 508 double V-Groove polished compressor, and the standard length hose and fittings set.

    The install took quite a bit of time as I used my moderate mechanical skills and took my time figuring out the next steps. Luckily I have a brother that owns his own custom car shop so I had his input and access to tools and all the little things I needed to put things together.

    I did just get it finished up and took the first ride. It seems to be working as expected. I think some additional work may be necessary to swap out the flexi-fan to a standard steel blade and/or do some additional shrouding to get a bit more air flow through the condenser. It was blowing 50 degree air during my relatively short trip and I would hope to get it a bit lower.

    I am open to share more details with others if they are contemplating this type of install.

    Mark
     
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    • FL_MarkD

      FL_MarkD Member

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      One pic of the engine bay showing the install. 66 GT AC.JPG
       
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      • trapster

        trapster Well-Known Member

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        nice
         
      • JDMopar

        JDMopar Well-Known Member

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        Is Vintage Air the ones who have electric servos on the inside units? Hope you get the temp lower, so it will cool in that blazing FL sunshine. You may need a bigger condensor.
         
      • FL_MarkD

        FL_MarkD Member

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        Yes, I am hopeful that the condenser is large enough. I chose a 14x20 as that fit the opening well, but there may be one slightly larger that could have fit too.

        The Slimline under dash (part 11401-VUX-A) has built in controls, so no servos or connecting to the stock controls. Simple, but perhaps not as 'elegant' as hooking to the factory controls. But again this car was previously only a heat/defrost car so I don't think I could have used those without replacing with Vintage Air controls.

        Any install where there isn't a proven 'kit' makes decisions a challenge. I will report back once I have some additional miles on the setup and make a few tweaks to make sure air flow over the condenser is optimum.
         
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        • JDMopar

          JDMopar Well-Known Member

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          My bad on the servos.....doh! I read and understood that you had the under dash unit, and had a brain fart....lol. Those type units usually just have a fan control and temp setting switch. They work good. I had one in a Duster at one time. It was a put together piece at a time thing with factory Mopar underhood stuff, and an aftermarket under dash unit. It worked ok, but the evaporator core in the under dash part of it was too small to get it as cold as I wanted it to. I never could get the vent temps below low 50's. It kept the car fairly cool if it was no hotter than mid 80's, but struggled when it was hotter than that. Next car I do with aftermarket air will be a complete under dash kit from Vintage or Classic. I want it to spit ice cubes out of the dash....lol. Good luck, and keep us posted.
           
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          • Jim Lusk

            Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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            I would be interested in a close up of the firewall and of the underdash unit. I may be installing AC in a '66 Commando Barracuda. I did some research and found that the Classic Auto Air for the '67 might fit. Don't know for sure. I've also found underdash AC units on WalMart's site that might be good to use.
             
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            • 66Dartdriver

              66Dartdriver FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              Thanks for the write up. A/C is on my list of things to get done although my car is an air car so maybe a bit easier i dont know. That looks like a very nice dart i would love to see more pics of it.
               
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              • FL_MarkD

                FL_MarkD Member

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                Here is the close up of the firewall. The black 'tube' is the vacuum control that goes to the heater control valve. The red wire is the main power wire that I connected where power from the trunk mounted battery comes into the engine bay. I plan to clean this up a bit with some spacers for the hoses, but the old zip tie method works fine for now. The previous owner had a piece of aluminum that was used to block the gap for where the heater fan motor normally came through. I drilled holes in that and used the supplied grommets to route the hoses. Tight fit, but it worked while retaining the standard mounting ring. I will take some pictures of the under dash area this weekend and post to this thread. 66 GT AC Firewall.JPG
                 
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                • 66Dvert

                  66Dvert Working on my custom car parts again! FABO Gold Member

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                  That looks like Ray Foremonts old dart, I've seen it and it ran pretty good if it is his old dart.
                   
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                  • mderoy340

                    mderoy340 Well-Known Member

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                    It was blowing 50 degree air during my relatively short trip and I would hope to get it a bit lower.
                    If this was recent a 40* temp drop from ambient is good. Take the car for a good cruise so the AC has a chance to cool down the interior. A lot of heat is stored in seat cushions etc. Make sure all openings in the firewall are sealed. An overcharged system will also not cool efficiently. When I fill a new system I stop adding refrigerant when the compressor suction line is getting cold.
                     
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                    • FL_MarkD

                      FL_MarkD Member

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                      Yes, I purchased it from Ray. He did great job on it and I am working on a few things to make it 'mine'. :)
                       
                    • Avispa

                      Avispa FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      Did everything come from Vintage Air? did You have to scrounge or fab anything
                       
                    • FL_MarkD

                      FL_MarkD Member

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                      Parts all came from Vintage Air (through Summit Racing). I had to build a wiring organizer board to put the relays and power breaker on. I did cut one hole in the radiator mount to pass the #8 hose fitting through from evaporator to the compressor. Mostly relatively simple stuff with the right tools. Total cost was around $1100 for everything. Plus a lot of labor. An experienced installer could certainly have done it faster, but I believe they charge $2000 or more for an install.
                       
                    • rustyfish

                      rustyfish Well Done Member

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                      Vintage Air has no listing for Darts, which kit did you go with?
                       
                    • Avispa

                      Avispa FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      Yep, what He said! I have a 65 Dart with a 360, non a/c car, no PS either, were your pully's already on the motor? I guess the pressure hoses off the compressor didn't interfere with the hood closing, do You think a larger condenser is need or just a change of fans and maybe some shrouding?
                      can You explain and show a pick of the board Your talking about?
                       
                    • FL_MarkD

                      FL_MarkD Member

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                      I pieced it together from parts available in the "Builder Series". Really not hard to do.

                      Here is the list of the main parts.

                      Slimline Heat/Cool Black Louvers 11401-VUX-A
                      Engine Bracket Compressor and Alternator 162774-SDA (my 360 was a 1978 block so this worked well, I did have it powder coated gloss black as it comes 'raw' steel)
                      Condenser 14x20 03261-VUC
                      Hoses standard length and 10 connectors 547003
                      Compressor Sanden 508 Double V-Groove Polished 04808-VUQ
                       
                    • FL_MarkD

                      FL_MarkD Member

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                      For the hood clearance I did have to get '135 degree' bend fittings instead of the 90 and 45 that come with the kit. Rotating the compressor caused the fitting for the #6 to hit the valve cover.

                      I am hopeful that I am cool enough, but may end up replacing my flexi-fan with a 7 blade steel (if it will fit) and/or adding some additional shrouding to force all air through the condenser before it hits the radiator. The 'board' I build is just a piece of PVC where I mounted the two relays, the breaker and also a ground bar for several ground wires. I then ran a wire for the ground bar to the steering column mount at the dash (where I also mounted the driver side bracket for the under dash unit). Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the board and it is pushed up high behind the dash, and at this point I am tired of climbing in there :) .

                      I did have a triple pulley on the crank but a single on the water pump (no power steering in the car). With the bracket from Vintage I was able to run a single belt (Napa 25-7565)and so far it is not slipping and the water pump is turning fine. Worse case I swap that out for a double pulley and then run two belts.
                       
                      Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
                    • Avispa

                      Avispa FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                      I appreciate the info, I have a 79 block, I'm sure I'll be back to pick Your brain some more.
                       
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                      • FL_MarkD

                        FL_MarkD Member

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                        Adding a picture of the under dash Vintage Air Slimline unit. I plan to build a 'cover' to hide the heater and a/c lines from the passenger foot well. The driver side mounting bracket I used the same bolt that holds the steering column bracket. That places this as far towards the driver as possible. It does allow for up to the left three ducts to be focused to the driver and works very well. Vintage Air Slimline Heat and Cool.jpg
                         
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                        • Jim Lusk

                          Jim Lusk Well-Known Member

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                          Nice, but it doesn't look like it will fit with the factory console.
                           
                        • FL_MarkD

                          FL_MarkD Member

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                          That's a good question. I have been thinking about adding one, my car was originally a 3 speed on the column. I think I will just go with a simple between the seats organizer for now. Most of the factory consoles I have seen need too much work to make them worth the trouble for me. I probably would also need to go with a stock shifter instead of the Hurst. I will measure the clearance above the tunnel to the bottom of the evaporator unit.
                           
                        • red67gts

                          red67gts FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          is your pulley on compressor 1/2"? I had trouble with 7490 belt that fits crank and water pump bottoming out and slipping on compressor. My clutch on compressor went out and I am trying to find compressor with pulley width to match crank and water pump.
                           
                        • FL_MarkD

                          FL_MarkD Member

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                          The compressor is a 1/2 inch. Because I don't have power steering the belt contact on the water pump pulley is not optimal. Sometimes I hear a slip/squeal, but for the most part it works fine.

                          Mark
                           
                        • red67gts

                          red67gts FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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                          thanks for the reply. I am still searching for a compressor with 7/16" pulleys
                           
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