• Welcome to For E Bodies Only !

    We are a community of Plymouth Cuda and Dodge Challenger owners. Join now! Its Free!

Want to Upgrade Factory AC but Keep Stock Appearance

Kez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Hello everyone - I would love to pick your brains for the excellent advice on how to proceed with my Factory AC (71 RT with 383 and Rallye gauges). As I have mentioned this car was bone stock, highly optioned and I would like to leave it that way as much as possible. I live on the CA coast and don't anticipate the need to cross deserts with this car. I have had the evaporator and condenser coils cleaned and pressure checked, and would like to keep the piston compressor for stock appearance. Car sat many years so I assume the worst for most parts. Would like to convert to R134 but see other threads where that is debated. Thinking I should have the compressor rebuilt with R134 rated seals, get new high efficiency condenser, new drier and expansion valve for R134, and have the factory lines reconditioned by Vintage Air. Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions?? Thanks in advance!

IMG_1820.JPG
 

moparleo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2011
Messages
6,922
Reaction score
1,701
Location
So. Cal. Riverside area Moreno Valley
The problem is with the compressor. It is the component that most affects the efficiency of the a/c system . Everey thing else you want to do just freshens up the system but doesn't make it wok any better than it was.
The Sanden compressor is the key to a modern system.
 

pschlosser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2022
Messages
545
Reaction score
180
Location
Santa Rosa, California
Doing nothing may be an option, too. It will still look factory. I've paid exorbitant (close to $4000) amounts to a shop to rebuild and convert a vintage system to R134. And to be clear, living in Northern California, it didn't feel worth it. I just didn't drive the car often enough to feel justified having done it.
 

6PKRTSE

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2010
Messages
770
Reaction score
361
Just find some R12 and fix and recharge as needed with what you have. I think the older R12 cars are colder feeling anyway. My 74' New Yorker's A/C would freeze you out. Which I do need to recharge now.
 

Kez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Great info - the Sanden compressor would work better (and more efficiently, no doubt) but to me when you open the hood and see it sitting right there on top of the engine it screams "resto-mod" and I really wanted to keep the stock appearance even if the compressor will be lumpy/noisy and not as efficient. Does anyone have experience installing a hybrid system (rebuilt piston compressor, new dryer, expansion valve and upgraded condenser running R134)?
 

Avalanche

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2011
Messages
575
Reaction score
77
Location
Massachusetts
If your not using a mechanical fuel pump, you can locate the sanden compressor in that location and keep the original on top for show
 

Kez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
If your not using a mechanical fuel pump, you can locate the sanden compressor in that location and keep the original on top for show
Never thought of that possibility - would be a good idea but I am keeping the mechanical fuel pump
 

cuda joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
288
Reaction score
95
Location
nj
I tried doing that with 134a brazed new barbs on the lines had them plated got barrier hose crimped on new drier and condenser put a front seal in the original compresser .the seal leaks very slowly need to recharge every year works not that good. my mistake was to put in the original style condenser you need to go with the newer style one much more efficient .anyone know of a competent rebuilder for the compresser i bought one on ebay once total junk
 

Kez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
I tried doing that with 134a brazed new barbs on the lines had them plated got barrier hose crimped on new drier and condenser put a front seal in the original compresser .the seal leaks very slowly need to recharge every year works not that good. my mistake was to put in the original style condenser you need to go with the newer style one much more efficient .anyone know of a competent rebuilder for the compresser i bought one on ebay once total junk
Original Air will rebuild your compressor and use R134 compatible seals and gaskets, but you have to get on a wait list because they are backed up with orders. Plus you are going to have to pay to mail that heavy compressor back and forth. My guess is that a local auto AC shop could do that job for you, but I have not checked to confirm.
RESTORATION SERVICES | Original Air Group
 

Kez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Original Air also makes an upgrade kit that is reasonably priced, has the combination hard and rubber refrigerant lines (although I have not confirmed they would look similar to originals when installed) and you can also get the Sanden compressor painted black for an upcharge.
71 Charger/70-71 Barracuda A/C Performance Upgrade Kit Big Block STAGE-2
It comes with the higher efficiency condenser, and the other bits and pieces to switch to R134 and still operate well (hopefully). Anyone used this kit? I am a little more inclined to switch to the Sanden because at least painted black it would not be so obvious it was not the original. Can keep the original compressor in case any future owner really wanted to switch back to a completely original system.
 

ctaarman

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2016
Messages
105
Reaction score
24
Here is another option. Convert your original system to be R134 compatible, but do not use inefficient R134. Instead go to R12a. Used all across Canada, but the R134 manufacturers blocked it in US as flammable. But guess what every new car now has? Flammable R1234yf. ( And did you ever hear stories of a rash of AC related car fires in Canada?)

R12a is just about as efficient as R12 and you can buy it online and put it in yourself for less than $100 once your seals are made R134a compatible. If you have a good ole mechanic they will charge it for you, but technically they are not supposed to do it.

My AAR of course doesn't have air, but I've been running it in my stock 69 Mustang Mach 1 390 (heresy!) with factory air for 2 years and it works great.
 

Kez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Here is another option. Convert your original system to be R134 compatible, but do not use inefficient R134. Instead go to R12a. Used all across Canada, but the R134 manufacturers blocked it in US as flammable. But guess what every new car now has? Flammable R1234yf. ( And did you ever hear stories of a rash of AC related car fires in Canada?)

R12a is just about as efficient as R12 and you can buy it online and put it in yourself for less than $100 once your seals are made R134a compatible. If you have a good ole mechanic they will charge it for you, but technically they are not supposed to do it.

My AAR of course doesn't have air, but I've been running it in my stock 69 Mustang Mach 1 390 (heresy!) with factory air for 2 years and it works great.
Will look into that! And no judgment from me - I have lusted after the '69 Mach 1's since I was 12 years old, hope to own one someday!
 

cuda joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
288
Reaction score
95
Location
nj
last year i put in the r12a a little better nothing to write home about .then again i need to put new seals in the old heater box after 52 years they probably turned to dust by now
 

pschlosser

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2022
Messages
545
Reaction score
180
Location
Santa Rosa, California
All this talk of R12 makes me think of a funny time back in the 1980s. A friend came over and we sipped beer and gave his 1970 Challenger 383-4 a tune up. The last task was recharging the A/C system. We left the car running with the R12 can attached and A/C running. We sat and drank another beer. Or two. maybe 3. About an hour later, I remembered the car was still in the driveway idling. When we went out to check on it, there was frost, yes, frost and condensation on the windshield and door glass. It was low 70s ambient that afternoon. I was shocked the A/C system worked so well, and pleased the car didn't overheat. Good times.
 

Kez

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 21, 2016
Messages
87
Reaction score
20
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
last year i put in the r12a a little better nothing to write home about .then again i need to put new seals in the old heater box after 52 years they probably turned to dust by now
The airbox was simple to rebuild with the seal kits they have available. Not sure how hard it is to get that airbox out when the dash is installed though!
 

cuda joe

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
288
Reaction score
95
Location
nj
I was planning to remove the seats anyway to put sound deadening pads down .moparleo i figure i would have to take out seats ; console; glove box ac lines ;heater hoses and unbolt it from the firewall anything else ?
 
Back
Top