Pls recommend source for full AC system for non-AC 1971 5.2 L Duster

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Ken71Twister

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Years ago - I pulled out my old Sears under-dash AC system and I plan to have a new system installed from scratch. What design and source is recommended? The car, with a 318 came from the factory with no AC.
 
I have a Classic Auto Air Exact Fit setup in my 69 Barracuda. It works great. I put it in myself about 15 years ago.
 
Classic Auto Air
I liked their kit when I put it in my '70 Charger.
It hasn't been perfect though. I don't like the way the slide controls are designed. The A/C-Heat slide is fore and aft. This makes it hard to know which way to push or pull to get the temperature where you want it.
I've had trouble with it keeping the A/C working. I don't know if there are possible mistakes in the installation that is the problem or if there is something wrong with the components.
Right now, my high-low pressure switch is dead. The compressor clutch won't stay engaged. I used a jumper wire to power it up and while it did start blowing cool air, then cold....the compressor started knocking and the belt would occasionally squeak. I'm going to call their tech line tomorrow.
I'd love to report that it was ME and some rookie mistakes were made during the installation.
I installed a Vintage Air system in a '68 Satellite....

VA 726.JPG


I did a very clean installation and the owner was quite pleased with it. I didn't like the fact that the VA under-dash units didn't have extensions for the A/C fittings to fit through the firewall. The VA unit had short stubby fittings that require the installer to make and install lines that run from the evaporator to the far right side of the firewall into the wheel well. I didn't like that routing but it does make for a cleaner looking system with an unmolested firewall.
 
I would use Classic Air again, but beware - they market this like it is all scienced out and all the problems are solved. This is absolutely not true - a "perfect fit kit" it is not. If you are reasonably skilled hot rodder who can do some light fabrication you can install the kit and address the inherent problems, just be prepared that this is the situation. It isn't a plug and play situation. They have slowly changed their set up over time, but you should look around on here and read through some of the accounts of the kind of work that it has taken to resolve design issues. The worst part is that when you find problems, 80% of the time the "techs" at Classic Auto Air are useless in helping you, and frankly give you that "I couldn't be bothered by your problems" vibe. You are more likely to find real practical solutions right here at FABO.

Whatever you do, DON'T buy the front pulley set up based on the use of a factory air crank pulley. PM me if you want to know, but their set up in 2023 resulted in a system that squealed like a pig every time the compressor kicked on. The folks who used the add on pulley groove set up that gives the belt more wrap around the pulleys and a separate belt for the compressor seem to have a lot fewer issues in this regard. Follow CAA's advice to mock up the system on a bench, power it up and make sure everything works as intended. After it is in the dash it's a pain to work on and the alternative is to take stuff all apart again.
 
Classic air. Honestly if you are looking for a do it yourself. It’s not perfect but it will work.
Being in FLA have you tried to find an ac only install shop? They used to be popular but with the fact most new cars come with ac now standard. Possibly not so much. Showing my age there.
Syleng1
 
Years ago - I pulled out my old Sears under-dash AC system and I plan to have a new system installed from scratch. What design and source is recommended? The car, with a 318 came from the factory with no AC.

@TrailBeast just made a video of his install but I can't find it.
Classic Auto Air update 4/5/2024
The video is on my YouTube channel, Mopars4us.



My Classic Auto Air install video isn’t real detailed, but just an overall of what I did to resolve some of the small problems.

CAA was excellent about support when the expansion valve was bad right out of the box.
They had a new valve here in 3 days.
The support guy I dealt with Steve, was friendly, helpful and always available.

In my case I got the Perfect Fit Series that comes with the lower pulley.
The system only involved the compressor, lower pulley and idler, so no squeaking belt problems at all.

As far as the controls go I opted to completely remove the slide controls and order only the control knobs, then make my own panel to match my dash and gauge pod face with carbon fiber.
Modding the original controls with plastic add ons just seemed sketchy to me.

My kit didn’t involve the inner or outer fender at all, and the premade hoses fit absolutely perfectly.

I had a small problem with spacers for mounting the compressor, but that was easily solved.

IMG_5363.jpeg


IMG_5384.jpeg
 
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Thanks everyone for your inputs. Sounds like all of you are using equipment from Classic Air. That helps and I’ll definitely search for a professional installer.
 
I liked their kit when I put it in my '70 Charger.
It hasn't been perfect though. I don't like the way the slide controls are designed. The A/C-Heat slide is fore and aft. This makes it hard to know which way to push or pull to get the temperature where you want it.
I've had trouble with it keeping the A/C working. I don't know if there are possible mistakes in the installation that is the problem or if there is something wrong with the components.
Right now, my high-low pressure switch is dead. The compressor clutch won't stay engaged. I used a jumper wire to power it up and while it did start blowing cool air, then cold....the compressor started knocking and the belt would occasionally squeak. I'm going to call their tech line tomorrow.
I'd love to report that it was ME and some rookie mistakes were made during the installation.
I installed a Vintage Air system in a '68 Satellite....

View attachment 1716249954

I did a very clean installation and the owner was quite pleased with it. I didn't like the fact that the VA under-dash units didn't have extensions for the A/C fittings to fit through the firewall. The VA unit had short stubby fittings that require the installer to make and install lines that run from the evaporator to the far right side of the firewall into the wheel well. I didn't like that routing but it does make for a cleaner looking system with an unmolested firewall.
It sure does molest the heck out of that inner fender though, doesn't it?
 
That was the owners choice. Trying to go through the firewall on the engine side is quite difficult due to the strange placement of the # 6 and # 10 fittings on the evaporator. Vintage Air doesn't have hard line extensions to project through the firewall. They leave the fabrication of the lines up to the installer and it is really cramped up in there....I can only guess that clearances are even tighter on an A body.
Vintage also offers the opportunity to route the lines in the right wheelwell, over the UCA and through the front alignment cam access port.
THAT is okay for cars with narrow wheels and tires but it does pose a problem for lowered cars with wide wheels and tires. The Plymouth I did had 15 x 7" wheels that had 215 series tires that only had an inch of clearance. That leaves too little room for tire flex or suspension compressing when going over bumps.


VA 325.JPG


The owner wanted the freedom to go with a wider wheel in the future so we went through the fender apron.
Mock up:

VA 366.JPG


VA 371.JPG


VA 723.JPG


This kept the firewall less cluttered and cleared everything.
 
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