Early A A/C how well does it work

Early A-Body Discussions

  1. SSVDP

    SSVDP FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    I was thinking I need to get Air Conditioning for my car since I'm now in Tennessee and it is so humid. The '66 Signet my family had when I was younger had A/C and I remember it worked ok but not great.

    My question is: How good is the stock Ac system on the early A bodies?

    Also if anyone has tried an after market unit please let me know.
     
  2. no1newb

    no1newb Well-Known Member

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    I dont have one, but i thought they got cooler than cars do now, I may be wrong though.
     
  3. hemitheus

    hemitheus 19? Plymouth Scampenstein

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    if you go aftermarket, vintage air.
     
  4. goldfish65

    goldfish65 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    My memory of our neighbor's '65 Valiant with factory a/c is it worked great...very cold. I will be interested to hear what others say.
     
  5. 69 fstback

    69 fstback Well-Known Member

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    i put factory air in my 68 worked great even converted to r 134 i am now in the process of putting factory ac in my 69 fastback
     
  6. cudamark

    cudamark Well-Known Member

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    The ones I've had in the past worked great when they were charged up. Froze my right side when I was driving and my left side when I was a passenger!
     
  7. C130 Chief

    C130 Chief Mechanical Genius

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    Factory a/c showed up during 65 model year, these cars had an integrated unit with pushbutton controls. Earlier cars had dealer installed units which operated separate from the heater and were not fresh air capable. My argument with most of the "hot rod" a/c systems is that they do not ingest fresh air. Much as I like the smell of my own farts, even chilled and recirculated they get old after a few.
     
  8. 67Dart273

    67Dart273 Well-Known Member

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  9. LH23H2R

    LH23H2R Well-Known Member

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    One of the predominate factors in the superb operation and functions of the old RV-2 York compressors was the freon : R12 , the REAL stuff ! None of this junk 134a sh*t !

    With a properly-functioning R-12 charged system , you could hop into a car that's been sitting in direct sunlight , in the basin of Death Valley , in mid-August ( 120 degree
    temps ), and crank the a/c , and that car's cabin would be meat locker cold in a minute !!

    The downside to those old twin-piston pumpers ? They drew A LOT of power , up-to 50 h.p. !!

    Early , early Chrysler a/c setups used R-22 , which is commercial-grade gas ; city buses use this , too .
     
  10. slantsixdan

    slantsixdan =..=

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    The self-contained under-dash units, the only type available in A-bodies until midyear '65, work great when in good condition. This is because, as has been mentioned, they don't pull in fresh air -- they recirculate the air inside the car through the evaporator again and again. The first few years of integrated A/C weren't the world's strongest system, but how well any car A/C system works depends on a lot more factors than whether it's charged properly. There's a great deal you can do that will determine whether the system performance is inadequate, adequate, good, or freeze-yer-balls-off excellent. See here.
     
  11. slantsixdan

    slantsixdan =..=

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    The characteristics of R12 and R134a are different, to be sure, but most of the "inadequate" performance attributed to R134a is in fact due to (grossly) inadequate/improper R134a "retrofit" procedures. See comparative refrigerant tests under standardized conditions for info based on reality and facts rather than baseless rants. Look at the difference in performance between a regular serpentine condenser and a parallel condenser...with ANY refrigerant.

    I'm not sure what this kind of silly exaggeration is supposed to accomplish. The question that started this thread was a legitimate one; let's try and help out with useful information.

    This is not even slightly close to being true. The Chrysler V2 (9.45 CID) and RV2 (10.5 CID) is one of the most trouble-free auto A/C compressors ever made. It's heavy, sure, but it is also extremely durable and has its own oil sump and pump -- very much better than relying on refrigerant miscibility to transport the oil, especially if you convert to R134a which does not transport oil as readily as R12.

    It is a very common misconception that axial compressors (e.g. the Sanden, Seltec, or Nippondenso) are "more efficient" or take less power than the reciprocating V2. Internal friction in the axial compressors is higher than in the V2 due to the greater piston/cylinder total surface area (5 or 6 or 7 pistons instead of 2) and the losses due to the swash plate. The V2 requires lower overall torque for a given head pressure, though the downside is that its torque profile is very "peaky" (torque input required spikes sharply as each piston hits its compression stroke). This makes belt setup and tension more crucial than with an axial compressor. The axial compressors are also lighter weight.

    R22 is no more or less "commercial grade" than R12, R134a, or any of the many other refrigerants that exist. Refrigerants are not classified by "grade" like this. There's no "residential-grade", "consumer-grade", "commercial-grade" or anything of the like. The characteristics of R22 are different to those of R12 and R134a. It is not intrinsically better or worse than another refrigerant, it is just different, and its characteristics make it well suited for systems designed specifically to use it, such as most household air conditioners. The earliest Chrysler car A/C units did use R22, which operates at much higher pressures than R12, which was quickly found to be much better suited to automotive usage.
     
  12. 65TerrorCuda

    65TerrorCuda Well-Known Member

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    Anybody used duracool? I guess it's primarily propane, but on my old R12 system(toyota pickup), it works great. Put it in a Ranger with a r134a system and it works great there too. Too bad they don't have it at Autozone.
     
  13. slantsixdan

    slantsixdan =..=

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    It is an enormously bad idea to use hydrocarbon-based refrigerants (Duracool included) in an automotive A/C system. These are blends of isopropane and isobutane. They're sold under names like EnviroSafe, RedTek, DuraCool, HC-12a, OZ-12, MX-12a, ES-12a, HC-12a, "anything"-12a. They're inexpensive and widely touted as "drop ins", even though legally there is no such thing as a "drop in " replacement for R12.

    Do these hydrocarbon blends work? Yeah, they work.

    Is it safe to use them? The sellers say yes (of course), but can't seem to provide enough supporting data, despite 15 years of trying, to pass the refrigerant safety tests ALL refrigerants are required to pass before they're legally approved. The sellers claim it's due to politics and Big Refrigerant Inc's
    desire to own the market. EPA says Don't. MACS says Don't. Pretty much every other knowledgeable authority on the subject says Don't.

    One argument commonly advanced for these refrigerants is "You carry 20 gallons of gasoline and you don't worry about that, so why worry about 2 pounds of hydrocarbons in your A/C system?" The answer is that the fuel system is specifically designed and tested to store, carry and transport flammable fluids. The A/C system isn't. What's more, our old Mopars don't have anywhere near the ventillation that newer cars with their through-flow air exchange systems have. In a newer car, a small leak of hydrocarbon refrigerants is not as likely to lead to a critical (BLAM!) accumulation of hydrocarbons in the passenger compartment. In an older car without through-flow (all A-bodies and most other '60s-'70s Mopars), the opportunity for accumulation is much greater.

    And don't think you're not at risk 'cause you don't smoke in your car. There are lots of sparks happening all the time in and near the passenger compartment. Blower motor, all the dash switches, static electricity, etc. It only takes one.

    Freon does not "burn". In fact, like other halons, it tends to extinguish whatever fire it encounters. Fire + Freon can produce a toxic gas (phosgene), however, injury or death from phosgene created by a fire in an A/C equipped vehicle is far less likely than injury or death from fire or explosion caused or aggravated by hydrocarbon refrigerants. Think about it: The antidote to toxic gas exposure is ventillation. That's easy to accomplish and you've got time to do so after the exposure. The only antidote to a hydrocarbon explosion is not being there when it happens. That's much harder to do since it involves predicting the future.

    if you mouse around on the websites selling this stuff, you'll find them talking about "legal 2nd-generation drop-in" refrigerant. This is a bit of doublespeak. Here's how it works: It's illegal to replace R12 with hydrocarbon refrigerants, but it's not illegal to replace R134a with hydrocarbon refrigerants. A law against the latter was never written, 'cause there's no reason why anybody would ever replace R134a with hydrocarbons. Unfortunately, that legal omission is being treated as a loophole by those selling hydrocarbon refrigerants. The idea, they say, is to convert your system over to R134a (which is legal), then replace the R134a with hydrocarbons. Nudge nudge, wink wink, elbow in the ribs, and if you happen, wink wink, to forget the "change to R134a" step, wink wink, why, that would be awful. Wink wink. Just terrible. Wink wink.

    Hydrocarbon refrigerants work but are a really, really, really bad idea in motor vehicles. It'd be a terrible shame to get killed, disfigured or maimed because you were too cheap to fix your A/C correctly. "Correctly" means using one of the two refrigerants designed and intended for the purpose: R12 or R134a. There are many substitute refrigerants on the market that are not so hideously flammable as the hydrocarbon blends, but they're still not a good idea. FRIGC, for example, is nothing more than R134a with a small amount of R600 added to try to shore-up R134a's poor oil return characteristics. Performance and materials-compatibility are poor. FRIGC is legal, but remember there is *no such thing* as a "drop in" for R12, legally speaking. EACH AND EVERY different refrigerant is legally required to use its own unique service fittings and a fully compliant retrofit is required, including approved labelling. Just dropping "Gunk-12" or "Freeze-a-lot" or any other non-R12 substance into an R12 system is a poor idea for a whole bunch of reasons. When your system breaks (and with most of these substitutes, it *will* break sooner than later), it's hard as heck to find a service shop local to wherever you happen to be that'll work on it. Virtually every reputable shop has a refrigerant identifier. If they sniff your system with the ID box and it says anything other than R12 or R134a, most shops will say "Sorry, shop elsewhere". (and if they detect hydrocarbons, they will usually tell you very quickly to get the hell out of their shop).
    Because all refrigerants are required to be recycled, not just vented to the atmosphere as in the old days, a separate recycling jug/system is required for each refrigerant. Most shops have two and only two: R12 and R134a.

    Replacing any components? New compressor, condenser, anything else? Most component warranties are void if you use anything but R12 or R134a, and yes they can tell.

    The refrigerant, even if you're buying R12, is such a small part of the cost of getting and keeping a vehicle A/C system working. In the long run it does not pay to use something that's not supposed to be in the system.
     
  14. GGs66GT

    GGs66GT FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    My 66 has factory a/c, it only has center outlets. So only the center of the interior get the major cooling.

    On a long drive it will get really cold through out the interior except on the sunny side with the sun beating down on you through the side glass.

    I'm going to add outboard outlets to the system as high as possible on the face of the dash. I may block off one of the center outlets to keep the air flow up.

    The system is amazing in that I've only had to add a half pound of R-12 to it since 1966.

    That said, it will probably all leak out now just for spite.

    After all its now 46 years old and has 122,000 miles on it.
     
  15. GaryS

    GaryS Well-Known Member

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    I custom installed a Vintage Air system in my '64 convertible and in 100 degree heat it will freeze you out when the top is up.
     
  16. BillGrissom

    BillGrissom Well-Known Member

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    slantsixdan, your fear of hydrocarbon coolants sounds like the EPA's rants. BTW, when was the EPA tasked with safety? Before I switched to Duracool, I read up. They claimed an engineering analysis that if the whole coolant charged leaked into the passenger compartment in 5 minutes, it would not create a combustible mixture. They add mercaptin, so you will smell even a tiny leak, just like natural gas. Most leaks are into the engine compartment and you would need an ignition source. I doubt most cars are so well sealed that their 5 minute leak analysis is even close to valid. I did Phd research in experimental combustion, so my lack of concern has some basis. In contrast, R-134A is both flammable and poisonous, in addition to being a potent "greenhouse gas".

    Your point about becoming a persona non-grata at AC shops is valid. The mercaptin smell will stay in the tubing long after you vent the coolant (which doesn't hurt the earth), so the fussy shops will finger you. However, I plan to avoid those. They started charging $100/lb for freon as soon as they could get away with it years ago. If I ever need shop work (unlikely), I'll find a shadetree guy or an amigo shop that isn't snotty with their customers.
     
  17. jd_physicist

    jd_physicist Well-Known Member

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    Not that it is very relevant to the discussion, but as I recall the early-A Barracuda had one of the first flow-through ventilation systems, using the vents at the rear base of the back glass as the 'exit'.
     
  18. 65TerrorCuda

    65TerrorCuda Well-Known Member

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    Ever seen the warnings about inhaling 134a? Now that's some scary stuff! 28 days later...
     
  19. 65dartcharger

    65dartcharger FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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    A couple of years ago I drove a 65 Dart GT convertible down to Great Falls fromLongview. We had to stop and put up the top due to the heat. But that factory a/c unit worked so good that I got a cold out of it!!

    I just hope I can collect all the remaining parts for my own factory a/c system in my convertible.
     
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