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View Full Version : How dfficult to add this A/C system


Richard Vyse
11-02-2016, 05:09 PM
I think this is a complete kit but just how difficult would it be to install this in my Lifeliner. My A/C has been an issue since the beginning and don't care about original condition just want cool air. My biggest concern would be the bracket for the compressor but confident my mechanic could fabricate one. This seems to be the biggest one I can find.

Has anyone ever installed something like this?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/262364298949?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

Peter Grave
11-02-2016, 06:31 PM
My 56 Packard Caribbean has the add on modern air like this it works well. In the case of the Packard added was an alternator to replace the generator this was a plus and it uses 134. With your lifeliner its only going to do the front compartment I assume thats all you want. I would guess the Cadillac has the BIG alternator. I don't think the AC kit sellers factor that in. My suggestion would be email them and see if the have an adapter that will allow the installation of the modern smaller compressor in your existing compressor bracket.This would make the job easy and easily reversed for a purest later. The other thought I have is disconnect the rear AC and just have the front hooked up new O rings etc then it should be OK unless you have mode issues with the "Climate Control". You can easily eliminate the "Climate Control" and make the system manual requires some rewiring and proping doors in the proper position.

John ED Renstrom
11-02-2016, 08:20 PM
or as Peter said fairly simple to put on. as it designed to replace all that you have. a reasonable smart man with normal hand tools should be able to put it on in a good day. me it will take at least two maybe three. but if you go with a kit from Old time air as we discussed the last time they can supply you with either the direct replacement compressor or one that will bolt into were you factory one is. the add on units are OK for what you are doing but if you go with one of the replacement heater /AC kits you can plumb it into your factory duct work and have heat and defrost also.

Paul Steinberg
11-02-2016, 11:33 PM
What is wrong with using your old compressor, or buying a new rebuilt one to convert to R134? I doubt that the weight difference is going to be an issue for a light weight compressor. Making the bracket is the easy part. Making it so it work with the rest of the engine belt alignment is the difficult part.

John ED Renstrom
11-03-2016, 12:53 AM
Your compressed and condenser are good all you need is the inside unit and some one to plumb it.

Richard Vyse
11-03-2016, 07:16 AM
Another question: Will this unit draw air circulating directly from the cab or will it require an outside air vent? Appears to be just inside air.

Much appreciated guys, thanks. This kit seems to be the biggest and the cheapest, oops least expensive, kit I've found and it complete.

thanks

Peter Grave
11-03-2016, 09:09 AM
These don't draw any outside air just recirculate. Just like your old underdash units of the 60s. One of the reasons they cool so well is the recirculation. RE Pauls comment on using an original comprerssor some checking needs to be done. I heard a rumor That they fail when used with 134 due to 134 not lubercating as well. Let me stress this is a rumor unproven at this time but some checking needed.

John ED Renstrom
11-03-2016, 10:12 AM
Another question: Will this unit draw air circulating directly from the cab or will it require an outside air vent? Appears to be just inside air.

Much appreciated guys, thanks. This kit seems to be the biggest and the cheapest, oops least expensive, kit I've found and it complete.

thanks

remember a few hundred dollars spent up front can make a lot of difference down the road. but yes with our system being shot shy of a parts car to swap everthig from one to the other one of the hanging unites is the cheapest way to go

Richard Vyse
11-03-2016, 10:41 AM
These don't draw any outside air just recirculate. Just like your old underdash units of the 60s. One of the reasons they cool so well is the recirculation. RE Pauls comment on using an original comprerssor some checking needs to be done. I heard a rumor That they fail when used with 134 due to 134 not lubercating as well. Let me stress this is a rumor unproven at this time but some checking needed.

My unit was changed from R-12 to 134.a years ago and of course never cooled right. The wiring and vacuum tubes which operate everything are simply rodent chewed on under the dash. Currently leaks Freon getting only a couple weeks before needing another charge. Even when charged it does not cool that well and something I have to deal with when Terri is with me always complaining. I reached out to this company which happens to be in the Tampa area to get their thoughts as well. Good advice to do a little research before doing anything. This picture contradicts the phrase, "Happy wife Happy life". Not happening here for sure.

Mike McDonald
11-03-2016, 11:41 AM
I would opt for having your Old OEM System (properly) re-hab'd....can't be that much $$$ and in Florida there should be all kinds of qualified A/C outfits as there are here in CA. I seriously doubt if the after market under dash system you have shown would ever adequately cool the entire ambulance. MM

Paul Steinberg
11-03-2016, 12:18 PM
You will probably need a new compressor, along with new hoses to hook up an under dash unit. The original condenser and receiver drier will also have to be replaced, and you should use OEM replacement units, so you will get maximum refrigerant cooling with the larger units. The problems with most aftermarket units that are packaged, they are not intended for the amount of cubic footage that you Cadillac has up front, and the heat gain of the larger windshield. What you want can be done, however, it will cost about the same as if you were to completely rehab your factory unit. You should find an experienced AC technician no matter what direction that you go. Having your mechanic do this is not going to work well. Remember what happened that you had a low cost mechanic work on the unit. He didn't understand the unit, and as a result, bypassed all the safety switches that the factory installed, and as a result, blew the unit up. How much did it cost to fix his mistakes, just to get to the point where it is now?
A new / rebuilt A6 compressor with the new correct oil will work on a R12 system, if you charge it 80% of the original R12 amount.

John ED Renstrom
11-03-2016, 09:55 PM
I see you have never worked on a automatic climate system in a old Caddy. it has a lot of electric over vacuum and vacuum over electric controls to move the doors which all have rubber seals to shut off or mix the set temperature. and vary few people around that will rebuild the electrical components. most of vacuum controls are few and far between NOS stuff or used. with them having 3 different types of systems between 63 and 76. systems that do not share the same components. you can rebuild the system but it can be a expensive proposition. all the factory one does is cool the front the rear has a separate unit to cool it.

still if it was me in that boat I would call these people http://www.oldairproducts.com/catalog/?ibp-adgroup=ppc&gclid=COu2mpPVjMECFedzMgodCzgA_w

tell them what you are looking for they can set you up with a compressor that will fit into your brackets and a heating and cooling system that will go in your car. tucked out of the way that will operate threw you current ac duct work. defroster ducts also. then all the man that puts it in will have to do is remove your existing system putting the compressor and condenser in place designed for your car and a small amount of playing around to get the duct work hooked up and the hole in your fire wall covered. what you spend on the kitt will save labor putting it in. it is a reticulation type system with only the controls hanging under the dash.

Paul Steinberg
11-03-2016, 10:18 PM
I see you have never worked on a automatic climate system in a old Caddy...

I have worked on more of them than I care to remember. With the correct tools, they are not as bad as you might think.

John ED Renstrom
11-04-2016, 01:21 AM
Now if you just did the tracking shop thing:D

Richard Vyse
11-04-2016, 07:08 AM
I see you have never worked on a automatic climate system in a old Caddy. it has a lot of electric over vacuum and vacuum over electric controls to move the doors which all have rubber seals to shut off or mix the set temperature. and vary few people around that will rebuild the electrical components. most of vacuum controls are few and far between NOS stuff or used. with them having 3 different types of systems between 63 and 76. systems that do not share the same components. you can rebuild the system but it can be a expensive proposition. all the factory one does is cool the front the rear has a separate unit to cool it.

still if it was me in that boat I would call these people http://www.oldairproducts.com/catalog/?ibp-adgroup=ppc&gclid=COu2mpPVjMECFedzMgodCzgA_w

tell them what you are looking for they can set you up with a compressor that will fit into your brackets and a heating and cooling system that will go in your car. tucked out of the way that will operate threw you current ac duct work. defroster ducts also. then all the man that puts it in will have to do is remove your existing system putting the compressor and condenser in place designed for your car and a small amount of playing around to get the duct work hooked up and the hole in your fire wall covered. what you spend on the kitt will save labor putting it in. it is a reticulation type system with only the controls hanging under the dash.

Yeah Ed did that. A complete system installed in the dash with heat, defrost, and cooling was almost $4,000-too rich for me. They remove all the old stuff and install a complete system under the dash. I think Danny Ryder had a hearse where they did that.

Appreciate everyone's thoughts!

John ED Renstrom
11-04-2016, 11:34 AM
So your telling me that someone down there wants 3 grand to remove your old system and reinstall a custom built one for your car? But they would charge less to make the modifications to a doesn't fit any thing universal system? Old time air sells one of the hanging units with the designed for your application compressor and condensr also. It comes with a decent instruction sheet. R and R the components your self then have some one charge the system.you can do it in the driveway if it takes you a couple days who cares. its still new and will hold the charge. Bring the car up we'll do while we visit.

Nicholas Studer
11-04-2016, 01:59 PM
Yeah Ed did that. A complete system installed in the dash with heat, defrost, and cooling was almost $4,000-too rich for me. They remove all the old stuff and install a complete system under the dash. I think Danny Ryder had a hearse where they did that.

Appreciate everyone's thoughts!

I don't know who you're dealing with, but the industry leader is Classic Air and is 15 minutes from you in Tampa, FL. http://www.classicautoair.com/

As they say, buy once - cry once. These folks will be who I will have take care of my Cotington when it comes to that...

Daniel Scully
11-04-2016, 03:26 PM
I don't know who you're dealing with, but the industry leader is Classic Air and is 15 minutes from you in Tampa, FL. http://www.classicautoair.com/

As they say, buy once - cry once. These folks will be who I will have take care of my Cotington when it comes to that...

I believe they can also integrate your oem control panel to work with there system.

Richard Vyse
11-10-2016, 09:15 AM
I'm happy to report I did purchase a 23000 BTU A/C system for the Lifeliner. Turns out the compressor mounts are exactly what the old system is only issue is fabricating a mount for the rear of the compressor since the new one is much shorter. Comes with twin radiator fans as well. Does not appear to be a hard install and anxious to get it going. It's designed for heavy duty truck so should give me plenty of relief.

John ED Renstrom
11-10-2016, 10:35 AM
If heating issues are not a problem keep the fans in the garage. From the looks of things I don't see the condenser or received drier. White box?? If they were not in the kit be sure to test the condenser, replace the expansion valve and the O rings in every fitting. . The haing unit will easily cool the cab. That is what most of the ambulances used in back

Peter Grave
11-10-2016, 11:18 AM
Looks good same compressor as my Packard has. Bracket should be an easy make up. Like Ed says NEW!!! O rings everywhere save the heartbreaks of leaks. Watch how you route hoses keep them away from hot things. Sleeves over hoses where they get heat makes system work better. I would skip the electric fans that rig was designed for AC electric fans are redundant use only if you have problems. I do not think you will none of my 70s ever overheated in the summer with AC on. Good luck with the job. Oh yeah DO NOT open receiver drier box and pull caps off till you are ready to install you don't need Fla. humidity in it.

Richard Vyse
11-10-2016, 03:14 PM
If heating issues are not a problem keep the fans in the garage. From the looks of things I don't see the condenser or received drier. White box?? If they were not in the kit be sure to test the condenser, replace the expansion valve and the O rings in every fitting. . The haing unit will easily cool the cab. That is what most of the ambulances used in back

New condenser in the white box and it gets a new drier too. This is strictly a cooling unit complete with all fittings, O-rings, lines, and such but no 134.a Freon. Compressor is pre-lubed with oil. Never had an overheating issue even in parades with everything on and what little a/c I did have with compressor operating still remained within normal temp range. I'll use then only if need be.

Richard Vyse
11-28-2016, 10:31 AM
Happy to report the new A/C system is being installed in the Lifeliner this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

Richard Vyse
12-02-2016, 09:02 AM
I talked with my mechanic this morning and the compressor is mounted (he fabricated a mount) and was in the process of removing the evaporator system. I'll be using it in the NSB Christmas Parade on Saturday and will get pictures. He says the system inside mounted under the dash does not allow a lot of leg room but as long as Terri is cool, she'll find space for her legs.

Paul Steinberg
12-02-2016, 10:08 AM
Save all the old parts, no matter how small or insignificant you think it is. Even the original bolts are important to someone doing a restoration.

John ED Renstrom
12-02-2016, 11:16 AM
That is the problem with the hanging units. They gobble up a lot of room

Richard Vyse
12-05-2016, 07:44 AM
A few pictures as to where we're at. Compressor mount complete.

Richard Vyse
01-03-2017, 07:39 AM
Getting closer

John ED Renstrom
01-03-2017, 10:57 AM
Your taking all that off but the heater AC unit from old time air was going to cost more to put in? You doing all you needed to to do to mount it.

Richard Vyse
01-03-2017, 11:18 AM
Your taking all that off but the heater AC unit from old time air was going to cost more to put in? You doing all you needed to to do to mount it.

All coming out and doing a panel to cover hole. Removing the heater unit under the dash as well never needing heat down here.

John ED Renstrom
01-03-2017, 10:15 PM
I could see that. You doing everything you needed to do to put the old time air unit in and it came with the plank and the compressor that went in your mount. But this will make a. Nice clean unit when you get it done. Quit a change in the color over the years.

Richard Vyse
03-06-2017, 10:19 AM
A/C is in and finally have cold air. Still need to put some sealant around the lines in to the cab.

Daniel Scully
05-27-2017, 01:17 AM
I can now save all that illegal R-12. :rolleyes: :bitterCold::bitterCold:

Paul Steinberg
05-27-2017, 11:05 AM
R12 is not illegal, to own, purchase, or use! Thanks for perpetuating the myth. If it were not for people like you, others wouldn't think that it is liquid gold in a can, asking outrageous $$$$ for it....

Daniel Scully
05-27-2017, 02:01 PM
R12 is not illegal, to own, purchase, or use! Thanks for perpetuating the myth. If it were not for people like you, others wouldn't think that it is liquid gold in a can, asking outrageous $$$$ for it....

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Sarcasm is "a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt".[1][2] Sarcasm may employ ambivalence,[3] although sarcasm is not necessarily ironic.[4] "The distinctive quality of sarcasm is present in the spoken word and manifested chiefly by vocal inflection."[5] The sarcastic content of a statement will be dependent upon the context in which it appears.[6]

Walter Suiter
05-27-2017, 02:54 PM
R12 is not illegal, to own, purchase, or use! Thanks for perpetuating the myth. If it were not for people like you, others wouldn't think that it is liquid gold in a can, asking outrageous $$$$ for it....

Calm yourself. Take deep breaths, have a sniff of complementary Oxygen from the torch over there.

Good Lard man, it ain't like the kids discovered R-290 and loaded the leaky AC system on the tractor with it.

It was merely coincidence DuPont's Patents on R-12 expired right around the time it became hazardous to the Ozone layer. I'm still waiting to meet the chemist who can explain how R-12 breaks apart in the Atmosphere, but the Government says it can, and I need a license to buy or sell it because of that.

Paul Steinberg
05-27-2017, 04:27 PM
Calm yourself. Take deep breaths, have a sniff of complementary Oxygen from the torch over there.

Good Lard man, it ain't like the kids discovered R-290 and loaded the leaky AC system on the tractor with it.

It was merely coincidence DuPont's Patents on R-12 expired right around the time it became hazardous to the Ozone layer. I'm still waiting to meet the chemist who can explain how R-12 breaks apart in the Atmosphere, but the Government says it can, and I need a license to buy or sell it because of that.

:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Sarcasm is "a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt".[1][2] Sarcasm may employ ambivalence,[3] although sarcasm is not necessarily ironic.[4] "The distinctive quality of sarcasm is present in the spoken word and manifested chiefly by vocal inflection."[5] The sarcastic content of a statement will be dependent upon the context in which it appears.[6]

:beatdeadhorse5::beatdeadhorse5::beatdeadhorse5:

John ED Renstrom
05-27-2017, 11:49 PM
I just use propane it's a lot cheaper and cools better then T12

Walter Suiter
05-28-2017, 01:43 PM
:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Sarcasm is "a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt".[1][2] Sarcasm may employ ambivalence,[3] although sarcasm is not necessarily ironic.[4] "The distinctive quality of sarcasm is present in the spoken word and manifested chiefly by vocal inflection."[5] The sarcastic content of a statement will be dependent upon the context in which it appears.[6]

:beatdeadhorse5::beatdeadhorse5::beatdeadhorse5:

Pickey, pickey, pickey
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4kWLUnorTU&feature=youtube