View Full Version : Vintage Air in a 71 Chevelle (from old site)

08-18-2004, 06:20 AM
Ok, this thread was lumped in with the "welcome to the new forum" message. I've edited the thread to remove the replies that weren't directed at this issue - D

Registered User
Posts: 9
(7/29/03 11:52 am)
Reply Re: New catagory!
man this is a great site
well here goes i want to put a vintage air setup in my 71 chevelle that originally came w/ac.
has anyone done this?what i need to know is should i just weld up the holes left in the firewall from the blower motor and original ac box?

Registered User
Posts: 185
(7/29/03 12:06 pm)
Reply | Edit Vintage Air in a 71 Chevelle
When I had my Camaro, I called Vintage Air up and they mailed me the instructions for their Camaro setup.

While I'm pretty sure that yes, you do weld up the holes, I'd want to have docs-in-hand before I did something like that.

From what I have read on chevelles.com, VA will tell you that they don't really have a drop-in setup for 71s, since factory air 71s and 72s have 2 cables to control the system and theirs requires three. Check it out:

If you don't want to check it out, here's the relevant portions here: (72 and 71 should be the same, he was talking about a 72)

All I think you need is a VA Sure Fit kit for a 69 Chevelle that was originally equipped with A/C and a dash panel control unit from a 72 Chevelle that originally did NOT have A/C! The dash panel control unit will replace the A/C control unit you have as a bolt in. I know it I have done it. Read on.......

I am using a VA kit for a 69 Chevelle that would have originally been equipped with factory A/C. The issue in using a 69 kit in a 72 revolves around the cable actuator mech. in the dash panel. The VA system requires 3 cables. Some time in early 70 The General decided to change the control panel on A/C equipped cars to a panel that had two cables. Some of the function of that disappearing third cable was from then on performed by an electric switch as opposed to the cable. Why that is better and why they did it is unknown to me.

Cars built after early to mid 70 with original factory A/C have only 2 cables. Cars originally built in 72 WITHOUT A/C have three cables controlling the heater. All these cables do on a stock system is route air around to different outlets like the floor or the defraust. The little verticle switch controls the blower speed only on non A/C equipped factory cars.

I have test fit a 72 non A/C dash control to the VA Sure Fit R134 kit for a 69 /early 70 Chevelle under dash system. Things hook up just like the VA instructions for a Sure Fit kit designed to replace a 69 or early 70 R-12 Factory system say they should. It is as simple as connect the top cable to lever A on the under dash unit, connect the middle cable to lever B on the under dash unit and Connect the bottom cable to lever C.

I have not fired up this system yet and VA says "It should work if it has three cables" They are NOT telling me it will work and I MUST restate that fact. I should add that the non air 72 control panel accepts the new VA blower speed control switch no sweat, just like the instructions say. There is one switch on the new under dash VA system that controls the temperature of the VA A/C. Since that switch is not part of the dash control panelit has no effect on the dash control panel cable operations.


Now, this was posted over there early last year, these things may have changed.. definitely give Vintage Air a call, they would be the ones who would know.

Hope this helps.

Registered User
Posts: 11
(7/29/03 7:33 pm)
thanks derekf
i will definely read that i forgot to even check there

Registered User
Posts: 129
(7/29/03 10:01 pm)
Reply "Sure Fit" install
The v/a "Sure Fit" kit for cars w/ original style AC comes with a plastic cover for the original hole left in the firewall after you remove the stuff. The piece is kinda cheap, and the hoses/lines go through it to the under dash unit. Also, the heater control switch is in the engine compartment (I guess so it won't soak your carpet if it leaks). This also looks bad. I used one of these kits on my 69 Camaro, and a friend has one on his 71 Chevelle. If I had to do it over, I would weld a plate over the hole, get one of v/a's 4 hole bulkhead fittings, and use that. I would also get a small, hot rod style under dash unit, and operate it with an electronic switch. We both found that the "Sure Fit" units did not line up with the original mounting points under the dash, and that the cables don't really operate the unit very well. Also, you can't adjust the temp of the cool air coming in. For that, you have to reach under the dash on the passenger side and turn a knob on the unit itself. Impossible to do when driving alone!


Registered User
Posts: 189
(7/30/03 5:08 am)
Reply | Edit Why not...

Since your car is an original AC car, why not go back to factory (converted to 134?) Admittedly, you'd have that big box taking up space in the engine compartment, but you'd have control over the temp of the air coming in, you'd have a better defroster, and you'd be able to get parts at (almost) any auto-parts store. I'd imagine you'd be able to find someone that was making their 71 (or 72 I imagine would be the same) into a drag car and didn't need the AC stuff, should be able to get whatever is missing from yours in a set.

Of course, I'm one to talk, my compressor is in a box somewhere in the garage.

Registered User
Posts: 12
(7/30/03 7:34 pm)
Reply Re: Why not...
Yeah thats probably what ill do
I remember clear as a bell the day i thought i was a drag racer and cut my box in half so i could keep the blower motor but get rid of that big box....
oh well i guess ill start searching

Registered User
Posts: 466
(7/30/03 10:20 pm)
Re: Why not...
Put in a GenII VA system..........no cables.........smaller unit more power.......no giant HVAC box in engine compartment.........an R12 system with 134 in it will most likley leak due to 134's smaller molecules. The shop I work for now does a lot of A/C work and has seen nothing but problems with converted systems. Let VA be the NOS for Your climate control.
Daniel Kuehn '71 Pro-Tour Chevelle


Unregistered User
(11/13/03 2:29 pm)
Reply do it all or don't do it.
In regards to the retro-fit kits on going from R12 to R134, AC systems should not leak as long as you replace your o-rings. I was a manager at Autozone for a time but I actually know my car stuff and you wouldn't believe the number of people who think "ahh, it's all the same stuff.....I'll just throw some R134 in it and....." before you know it-locked up compressor, or it leaks like hell anyway! Doesn't happen to all but it does do it to some. I've done a lot of conversions and I have not had any problems. My Monte is retro-fitted...has been for four years now and is still on the original R134 charge! From what I know (I'm not AC man-I'm the first to admit it-but I know what works) R134 operates at a slightly higher pressure so as it passes through the condenser there is less time for heat dissapation. So, it would appear that R134 doesn't cool as much. But, in a retro-fit of my '70 Monte after changing just o-rings and installing a new expansion valve, my vent temps were a consistant 58-60 degrees, providing humidity was low. So, my point is that in regards to AC, you really gotta close all the loose ends before expecting good results. This thread is old but I figured I'd add my .2 anyway-G