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What's the best/easiest A/C kit for a 73 non A/C car.


Ajh1973
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So for 20 years me and my 73 convertible have toughed out South LOUISIANA heat. Now with global warming :whistling: I have the excuse I needed to put in A/C. I know this has been researched in the forum threads before but I am asking again because times change and I can't find the links. All help is appreciated thank you .

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If you want it to look original the easiest thing to do is find a donor car. Can be any body style all the same air. Your non air car has an air vent on the drivers side that is not used with air but could stay in if it does not get in the way of the ducts for the air. It is actually easier to put air in to look original than to take air off. About all you have to alter on the body is to cut the hole in the firewall for the air and heater hoses to go through. There should be several threads on the subject. I know I posted lots of pictures for another member and also made a template for the cut out in the firewall.

You can go aftermarket if you are not worried about original but I have never done that.

I searched Craigslist and found a rust bucket vert that had Air, Power Windows, Power Steering, Power Disc Brakes, Console, Gauges, AM/FM, 351 C 2-V automatic. Got the entire car for $1,000 down south of Atlanta. So just go looking for maybe a rusty coupe, should be cheaper, and get the whole thing. That way you get all the brackets for engine / air and you can see how it is installed. I think all three years are pretty much the same.

It will be far easier to install with the entire dash pulled. You will need to change wire harness also and a 73 Vert is difficult to find not hacked. Midlife can add what you need to your harness probably easiest unless you get a donor car with good harness. Rebuild the heater box which is also in past threads. It is not a task anyone that does not like complicated assembly and attention to details should start.

Take what you need off the car part it out and sell for scrap when done.

Good luck would be a great winter project when you are not cruising.

When a man is in the woods and talks and no women are there is he still wrong??:P

David

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Greg (Austin Vert) did a write-up on his experience, you should be able to find it by doing a search.

 

 

“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

--Albert Einstein

 

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I went with a Classic Auto Air system in mine, which comes with everything you need, except an idler pulley for a dedicated belt (their online pics show a larger belt using the power steering path).

 

Even comes with an ABS plastic glove box insert, which is WAY better than the stock cardboard any day.

 

I installed mine with the dashboard and interior out of the car, so installation will probably be more involved with the dashboard still in the car.

Eric

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“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

--Albert Einstein

 

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As I have responded in one of those threads I did Classic Auto Air too. It's a good system

 

 

Sent from an iPhone please excuse the ridiculous spell correcting software.

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trying to put A/C factory air in a non-a/c car is not worth the effort get a kit from classic air to retrofit.

 

if you had a factory A/C car and the system was junked then i would get a donor and reinstall the factory system.

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  • 3 months later...

Very happy with my classic auto air system after 5 years-didn

't need an idler pulley, but then I have the armstrong power steering system ;)

http://www.7173mustangs.com/gallery/1_01_07_15_8_53_18.png

 

"I love my Hookers!" and "Get some Strange" probably have a different connotation to non automotive enthusiasts!

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I am looking for a third party setup like Exact Air, or Vintage Air, which company does a better job of fitting in the dash.

 

 

Saw this post today and thought I'd add my 2-cents for your info or anyone else who has this same question...

 

So here's an update to the installation of Classic Auto Air (CAA) after running the new engine and A/C over the first summer (2015) I wasn't happy with the compressor belt set up. As seen in the picture I "had" a 2-groove crank pulley, which CAA says is ok to run the Alternator and the Compressor on the same belt. (outer groove on crank pulley) The inner groove powered the water pump and the power steering pump.

The alternator/compressor belt was too long and the angle only provided 7 o'clock to 11 o'clock contact with my alternator pulley. The AC compressor mount would actually flex/move slightly as the belt was tightened. When the engine revved, the belt would visibly bunch up at the alternator. It would eventually slip which would require retightening. This process resulted in 2 broken belts.

I didn't like the look of the stock Ford AC brackets, which would provide a mount for a idler pulley but I did like the idea of using a 3 groove crank pulley with an idler pulley to run an outer belt around the water pump (not powering the water pump) to the compressor and back down to the crank. The Ford mount which reaches out and makes use of the threaded bosses available in the water pump also stiffens the compressor mount. (through triangulation) I fabricated my own bracket to mount an idler pulley to accomplish this but not to look bulky and cover the left front of my engine, as the Ford mount does. A few Heim adjustable joints stiffened this set up as well as an extended mounting tab over to the alternator bracket mount.

Works perfect and I think it looks much better than the factory setup. It's now Almost December of 2016, 5,000 miles on it and no thrown belts. CAA system works terrific with this custom idler mount.

Outer crank groove now only powers the compressor.

Middle crank groove now only powers the alternator.

Inner crank pulley powers water pump and power steering pump.

 

Factory compressor/bracket look (not my engine bay, just a pic of the "stock look") Notice how the stock bracket covers everything up from the compressor all the way over to the thermostat housing...

1284418260_FactoryAClook.thumb.JPG.df2b2f13d7f0f6047f5189949710edd3.JPG

 

Belt routing suggested by CAA with a 2-groove crank pulley (threw 2 belts in 2 weeks) Notice this setup (my engine bay just after installing CAA's system), which does not include an idler pulley. I like the look much better but not at the cost of poor performance, ever.

674162920_beltroutingsuggestedbyCAAwitha2-groovecrankpulley.thumb.jpg.c13e51b14573e94897fb2980e270e578.jpg

 

Original mock up for idler pulley bracket. 2 bolt holes available on water pump to mount a custom idler pulley bracket which wouldn't block the view of the engine...

970481139_originalmockupforidlerpulleybracket.thumb.jpg.c74d971d047ca66f9a7e1c0e464045a1.jpg

 

Wooden bracket mock up, #2, for final positioning, shaping and better aesthetics...

149738587_woodenbracketmockupforfinalpositioning.thumb.jpg.d6fea835a01639c2c387bb5f82b0b35a.jpg

 

Final bracket prior to paint...

669169542_idlerbracket5.thumb.jpg.c40015e008919f1ec2e75a537c436727.jpg

1099912446_idlerbracket6.thumb.jpg.0e7e3554f57b61cdcd13cd6f133e35a6.jpg

 

Installed.

1420674492_idlerbracket1.thumb.jpg.505b8b1670c00b6211ea46824526cb1e.jpg

455883439_idlerbracket2.thumb.jpg.0e3be93706e1ac7569a39855e9cb2c61.jpg

110167566_idlerbracket3.thumb.jpg.572f455c03615414239f23b3edb742f1.jpg

 

High quality pulley.

1303739739_GATES36349.PNG.cc024dc7e2ff80cf9fcd7315bc645606.PNG

Don't be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark...Professionals built the Titanic! ::thumb::

 

 

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EBStang, I have the CAA set up too but had no problems at all with belt set up. However, My car was originally factory air and someone had already converted that to 134a with a Sanden compressor. I don't know where the bracket for it or the idler pulley came from I just reused what I already had when I converted to CAA. Here's how mine is.

 

 

 

c905be05001654bae163d7d8cf031643.jpg

 

2f02349e097e1f459864df00c839ad2a.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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EBStang, I have the CAA set up too but had no problems at all with belt set up. However, My car was originally factory air and someone had already converted that to 134a with a Sanden compressor. I don't know where the bracket for it or the idler pulley came from I just reused what I already had when I converted to CAA. Here's how mine is.

 

 

 

c905be05001654bae163d7d8cf031643.jpg

 

2f02349e097e1f459864df00c839ad2a.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Yes...I see that you have the factory setup, that is where the idler pulley/bracket came from. (the factory setup) The factory brackets/idler pulley will work just fine, if you're okay with how it looks. The direction I took is for the guy who doesn't have the brackets (factory setup) and/or doesn't like the way the factory brackets cover up the view/accessability of the left front of the engine. That huge bracket, which covers the view, is just a mount for the idler pulley which I chose to redesign.

Don't be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark...Professionals built the Titanic! ::thumb::

 

 

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Hey Eric,

 

I am SO digging your bracket and I was planning on taking a page from your book and making one of my own. Unfortunately, since the Auto Hobby Shop has re-opened, they got rid of their welders and most of the other tools I had used to fabricate the things I did for my car. :@

 

I also have the CAA system - mine was originally a non-A/C car, and I was really hinky on that belt set-up as well. I had considered adding the compressor to the power steering pulley circuit, but that looked like it would offer more opportunity for the belt to slip & squeal than anything. I have a 3-groove crank pulley already, and was looking to buy a factory-style idler pulley/mounting system, but I'm not as keen on that since the CAA compressor mounting system is so adjustable (and I don't want to have to take it all apart again ;) ).

 

Would you be interesting in making a copy of your cool idler bracket, and what would you charge for a complete package (materials, your time, shipping, etc.) if so? There would be no rush on this, either - PM me if you're interested.

Eric

mach1sig2.gif

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Hey Eric,

 

I am SO digging your bracket and I was planning on taking a page from your book and making one of my own. Unfortunately, since the Auto Hobby Shop has re-opened, they got rid of their welders and most of the other tools I had used to fabricate the things I did for my car. :@

 

I also have the CAA system - mine was originally a non-A/C car, and I was really hinky on that belt set-up as well. I had considered adding the compressor to the power steering pulley circuit, but that looked like it would offer more opportunity for the belt to slip & squeal than anything. I have a 3-groove crank pulley already, and was looking to buy a factory-style idler pulley/mounting system, but I'm not as keen on that since the CAA compressor mounting system is so adjustable (and I don't want to have to take it all apart again ;) ).

 

Would you be interesting in making a copy of your cool idler bracket, and what would you charge for a complete package (materials, your time, shipping, etc.) if so? There would be no rush on this, either - PM me if you're interested.

 

Eric,

First, I am flattered that you would like me to make one up for you. :D

 

However, the critical alignment of the idler pulley's fore/aft position needed to be mocked up in position and spot welded. Three grade five nuts were welded into the pipe section, while they were screwed onto the idler pulley's mounting bolt. (this bolt was shown in the original mock up pic) You can adjust the idler pulley forward, if needed, by adding a washer(s) between it and the pipe, which now has the 3 nuts welded inside. I was careful to make sure it wouldn't need to be moved rearward, as that would be more difficult after the fabrication was complete.

 

The tab which extends to the alternator mounting bolt and the tab which the heim jointed triangulation support rod bolts to were also spot welded in the position which worked in my car. Fore/aft position of alternator tab will only work if it is exactly correct.(easy to do on the car) Support rod tab was positioned so the rod would end up parallel to the belt adjacent to it. (see pic) If these 3 details could be made adjustable, I would love to hook you up with one.

 

I have saved the wooden template of the main curved bracket. I had a local shop use it to plasma cut me one out of 1/4" plate. If i remember correctly it cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $50-75. This bracket, along with positioning and welding/finishing the 3 nuts into the pipe section (for the idler pulley mount bolt) took the most time. If you could source an internally threaded (9/16-18), steel coupling, 2-3/4" long and avoid the welding of the 3 nuts into a pipe section, that would be a good start.

 

If you lived close by and could bring your car to my shop we could spot those aforementioned tabs in place and it would be my pleasure. Otherwise, you would have to REALLY want to have me make you one for you.

 

Eric

Don't be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark...Professionals built the Titanic! ::thumb::

 

 

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Understandable, and totally makes sense. Getting the belt path lined up is paramount, and there could indeed be some variation between our engine components - hence the term, "custom." Having you simply crank out another one might actually wind up not lining up with my stuff and turn out to be a big waste of time for both of us. Oh well - seemed like a good idea and I had to try. ;)

 

In the time since I last posted, I just remembered that my next-door neighbor is a welder for one of the biggest steel manufacturers in the local (West Texas) area. As well, a friend of mine I work with also has mad metal fabricating skills out of his home shop, just down the street from me.

 

I may have lost access to the Auto Hobby Shop's tools, but I might actually have access to some fabricators who might be able to give me a break for some custom work.

 

Since I don't live close enough to simply have you on the job, I guess I'll have to settle for swiping your idea. :whistling:

 

Thanks again for sharing it. ::thumb::

Eric

mach1sig2.gif

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Understandable, and totally makes sense. Getting the belt path lined up is paramount, and there could indeed be some variation between our engine components - hence the term, "custom." Having you simply crank out another one might actually wind up not lining up with my stuff and turn out to be a big waste of time for both of us. Oh well - seemed like a good idea and I had to try. ;)

 

In the time since I last posted, I just remembered that my next-door neighbor is a welder for one of the biggest steel manufacturers in the local (West Texas) area. As well, a friend of mine I work with also has mad metal fabricating skills out of his home shop, just down the street from me.

 

I may have lost access to the Auto Hobby Shop's tools, but I might actually have access to some fabricators who might be able to give me a break for some custom work.

 

Since I don't live close enough to simply have you on the job, I guess I'll have to settle for swiping your idea. :whistling:

 

Thanks again for sharing it. ::thumb::

 

I could trace the main curved bracket's final template that I have onto a piece of paper. It would get you off to a great start with an already thought over shape, length, bolt centers, etc. I would suggest tracing onto a piece of 1/4" plywood to make a wooden starter bracket that can be bolted to the water pump. (you can do this part without taking anything apart and it will inspire you to get moving!) PM me your snail mail address and send it to you.

Don't be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark...Professionals built the Titanic! ::thumb::

 

 

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