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Northern Goat
09-08-2008, 10:05 AM
Need to purchase an AC system for my 71 Firebird. The car is non-air with a 2003 LS1 and a Corvette accessory drive. VA says I can't use the Vette compressor. CAA says I can on their system (therefore $250 cheaper).

What are the pros and cons to each? Even if I have to go to a Sandan unit I would like to keep the compressor in the stock location. I haven't notched the subframe yet, so I don't think that is a variable.

ProdigyCustoms
09-08-2008, 06:44 PM
The Classic system is good. The VA Gen IV is just the baddest aftermarket A/C on the planet, period. Why? Simple. The Gen IV is a OEM quality system. Ford Motor Company hired Vintage Air to develope the A/C for the $200K Ford GT. When they were finshed, they had the Gen IV. If it is good enough for a $200K super car, it is good enough for our old muscle cars.But your right, you have to use a NON variuable compressor. We can mount it in the factory location.

Northern Goat
09-08-2008, 07:34 PM
Frank,
I called and left you a message on this topic earlier today. I see a kit is offered for the Camaro, will this kit work on my Bird? What is involved in moving the line to the blower motor spot, like you did on EmptyNest? Can you set me up?

Z06killinSBF
09-09-2008, 08:35 AM
I have a VA on my car and absolutely love it. Fit and finish is great.

Twentyover
09-09-2008, 11:24 AM
While the Gen IV is as decent as aftermarket A/C is probably as good as the aftermarket gets, to suggest it is OEM quality, even if used on the Ford GT, is to assign it properties that it clearly does not have. I have a Surefit in my 70 Camaro, and I find the performance is borderline acceptable in Michigan.

I probably have a high standard, as I’ve worked in automotive HVAC design for a couple decades. My criticisms of the system are typical of most aftermarket systems- inadequate airflow and no attempt to bring outside air into the car. In addition, in my case (70 Camaro), they tried to use existing outlets exclusively, so my left knee would be cool, my right elbow would be cool, but my face and upper torso remain warm. GM overcame the problem with airflow, the VA doesn’t have the airflow capability to do so. A bunch of other detail stuff most guys won’t notice (uses a reheat system with a pwm controlled water valve- cute, but does provide limited control of outlet temp. I find myself adjusting the system, hunting for a temperature when I pull it off full cold or full hot. Lack of an independent A/C control switch, so when adjusting mid level temps I'll be right about where I want to be in heat, than I'll slide over to the A/C side and need to start hunting again. I don't like the control linearity wrt temp or mode. But hey, that's just me.)

Would I recommend the unit to someone? If they had factory A/C in the car, and A/C is important to them, no. Keep the stock stuff. That’s the plan on the el Camino. If it’s factory after about the mid-60’s, it WILL work better than aftermarket. Maybe get a newer blower motor and resistor to pump up airflow.

If they/you need a smooth firewall, then OK. But it helps to try to address the shortcomings of the system.

For instance, starting with a heater car, I kept factory ventilation on the drivers lh vent. Using a Coven’s Instrument Panel (I know, it looks cheap- I’m toying with a fix) I installed a face level vent in the wiper/headlight switch portion of the IP, and moved the wiper/headlight switches down to the kneeboard. After having been in service this summer, were I to do it again, I would add a second face level vent on the RH side of the gauge cluster panel. May still do that. These are/would be in addition to the closing center vent in the middle of the IP, and the RH low passenger’s knee cooler vent.

Driving by myself, I direct the two center vents and LH face vent at me, when carrying passengers, I give shotgun one of the two center vents and the back seat suffers

I have a old (circa 1995) Gen II for a 76 Capri, and am looking at what it will take to adapt a higher power blower motor to it, and how to grab outside air. Can’t do that w/ a Gen IV since it uses pwm to control the blower. May still look at an external air feed- next time the IP comes off

The key to comfort in a/c cars is airflow, and making sure the airflow is controllable by the operator. Make sure the vents point air to your face/upper torso. Make sure when you point them, they have enough friction in the pivots to stay put. Put the biggest damn motor in it that will fit- you want 250-300 cfm to cool you down, then go for the blower switch to cut speed and noise back.

As much as I wish they would go to systems grabbing outside air and processing it, packaging probably prevents that.

So Goat- If you want aftermarket air, the Gen IV is probably close to the best. Just have realistic expectations and you won’t be disappointed

Greg Fast
Product Engineer
Valeo Climate Control Systems

(Note- sig line added only to show I do have some small idea that I know what I’m speaking of. This opinions are my own. Valeo Climate Control, and Valeo Group, have no position of use of VA’s or any other manufacturer's HVAC systems in old cars. That enough of a disclaimer?)

vidguy
09-12-2008, 10:48 AM
Greg-
I agree that airflow is critical. To that end, in a 2nd gen firebird/camaro, what options do we have for a more efficient blower motor?
Thanks
James

Twentyover
09-13-2008, 06:07 PM
Factory system? Aftermarket? What manufacturer? My car came sans air, so I put a surefit in. I don't have airflow numbers for the surefit or factory blower motors motors of that era (it predates my gray hair). I can say that modern motor, scroll, and expansion sections provide 275-300 cfm on passenger cars.

If I had a factory system, I'd look at late model B or G body blower motors, scrolls, and expansions.

If I had an aftermarket system, I would look at adapting a factory A/C blower motor and scroll from something late model with an integrated in-dash blower/scroll/expansion/evap housing. Assuming the A/C control uses fixed airflow switch poisitions (resistor control, not pwm control. Pwm provides infinite speed variation), i'd grab the factoray A/C resistor, motor, scroll, and expansion section of the underdash factory stuff; and for the high speed and m-High, I'd run a relay block so the additional current requirement required would not tax the aftermarket switch (I'm assuming the aftermarket switch doesn't have the current handling capability of of 250-300 watts (20-25 amps, this would be pre-emptive to prevent premature failure.) I'd open up the opening in the evap box to fit as much of the expansion section as I could- the expansion section slows the air down, increasing it's pressure and ability to punch through a wet evap (sounds counter-intuitive, but check out Bernoulli's equation- air speed and pressure are inversely proportional.)

The sure fit I have appears to be a pwm controlled motor- alot tougher to control- If I hd it to do over again, I'd look at dumping the pwm and used fixed blower speeds and a resistor.

I added a vent to a covans panel in my Camaro, in the light/wiper switch area. Weakness here was that the angle of that panel shoots the air toward the wheel- another 15 degrees or so pointed toward the driver would be helpful.

Not sure i'm answering the q, since it was kind of general.....

MonzaRacer
09-13-2008, 07:31 PM
Personally since I have been working all my life as a technician(ie mechanic) I see a lot of aftermarket crap, and so far I'll build my own.
I figure Ill use a similar set up like the grand ams and such where the evap and heater will sit in a tray and have two line coming out low into engine comaprtment unless I run some new lines.
Simple blend door will let me use the GM motor controls(motor ahd 3 wires, into controler and the rotorry switch, variable voltage tells the motor where to locate blend door, using a reasonably compact blower motor and setting my system up with a Automatic Adjusting Orrifice Tube UNLESS I can locate a decently reliable expansion valve with thermo tube (think valve controled like a temp guage, might require few tries to place it right but who cares).
My choice for compressor has to be the same type on newer GM trucks/vans (late90s to 2000s) as 4 mounting bolts make it an easy fit for me.
Driers I will simply source plenty of tubing old driers and such from slavage yard properly tagged and fit stuff till it sits ok. Then replace all hoses with new Gallaxy hose and charge by pressures like we ,(those mechanics who had to learn HOW to charge a/c not let machine do it)used too.
Since my stock Monza Radiator got stollen from my yard Ill be on look out for new rad and condenser so may even mod the front of the car too!
Simle is much better and aas for me I may have even found the optimum AC controler built a year or two before everything got to be "networked" simple sunload sensor, interior temp sensor and hook it up to either blend door or an electronic coolant flow controller(gotta seewhat the car actually has)
A/C isnt magic or rocket science but I do believe several cars have some spawn of Satan in them. As I have had a few tax my patience.

TnBlkC230WZ
09-14-2008, 08:01 AM
For those of us who are not AC experts, VA makes a good system. Frank is good to work with and will tell you what he knows and doesn't know.

Taylor1969
09-14-2008, 04:06 PM
I don't know... my dad has a GenIV sure fit in his 69 camaro and it blows really cold. Enough to keep his car cool in the 98 degree texas summer. His car is dark green and it still feels comfortable.

funbnme
09-14-2008, 07:25 PM
I have a vintage air setup in my 68 Camaro. The car is black and I can drive comfortably when it's in the low to mid 90's outside. It's not as cold as any OEM a/c in any of my other cars, but it comfortable.

The thing that bothers me the most is that in the 68, the center vent only blows air straight...you can't direct the airflow towards the driver. Not sure what your firebird is like, but if you have vents you can direct airflow with, it would be a lot better.

Do you have any factory vents in the car now? I thought I saw a picture of the vents that come with the classic air setup and they were pretty ugly...looked like an afterthought.

parsonsj
09-14-2008, 08:19 PM
I'm working on getting a Gen IV and Front Runner installed in II Much. Frank at Prodigy and the tech support at VA have impressed me.

I'll post back when I have it installed. My car produces a lot of heat, and has poor outside air flow (filled cowl). It should be a good test of their system.

If you decide to go with VintageAir, call Frank. He knows the whole product line and will set you right.

jp

Finch
09-16-2008, 04:04 PM
The Classic system is good. The VA Gen IV is just the baddest aftermarket A/C on the planet, period. Why? Simple. The Gen IV is a OEM quality system. Ford Motor Company hired Vintage Air to develope the A/C for the $200K Ford GT. When they were finshed, they had the Gen IV. If it is good enough for a $200K super car, it is good enough for our old muscle cars.But your right, you have to use a NON variuable compressor. We can mount it in the factory location.


Frank,

Are all LS compressors Variable or was that just an option on the corvettes???

Brian,

ProdigyCustoms
09-16-2008, 04:24 PM
Brian, They are all variable. but VA does have a adapter bracket to mount it in the original down low passenger side position.

I will let the personal testomonies defend the Gen IV. After all, I am just a "salesman"! LOL!

Finch
09-17-2008, 06:49 PM
Brian, They are all variable. but VA does have a adapter bracket to mount it in the original down low passenger side position.

I will let the personal testomonies defend the Gen IV. After all, I am just a "salesman"! LOL!

Thanks frank that's good to know.

One more question, On the VA bracket does it make the compressor stick out more than the factory comp? I need to get one for the vette but have very little space down low with the C4 cradle.

Brian,

dhutton
09-18-2008, 03:25 AM
One more question, On the VA bracket does it make the compressor stick out more than the factory comp? I need to get one for the vette but have very little space down low with the C4 cradle.

Brian,

The VA bracket does make it stick out more by a few inches and the belt is longer. The center to center distance between the compressor pulley the crank pulley is roughly 10.75 inches.

Don

Bowtie racing
09-18-2008, 04:48 AM
.

I probably have a high standard, as Iíve worked in automotive HVAC design for a couple decades. My criticisms of the system are typical of most aftermarket systems- inadequate airflow and no attempt to bring outside air into the car.

Greg i highly value your indepth professional points on this. Plese let me have your opinion should i left the "non air car" vented kick panels in the car or block em like VA instruction says ? I am talking about these:

http://www.rickscamaros.com/images/rfg/KP-1R.jpg

ProdigyCustoms
09-18-2008, 05:05 AM
The actuak net increase in width on the LS adapter is 5/8" over stock. Like Don says, about 10 3/4" over all

dhutton
09-18-2008, 06:18 AM
The actuak net increase in width on the LS adapter is 5/8" over stock. Like Don says, about 10 3/4" over all

There are some good pictures of my installation showing the spacing here:

http://www.ls1tech.com/forums/showthread.php?t=765005&page=3

Don

Twentyover
09-18-2008, 07:33 AM
Greg i highly value your indepth professional points on this. Plese let me have your opinion should i left the "non air car" vented kick panels in the car or block em like VA instruction says ? I am talking about these:

http://www.rickscamaros.com/images/rfg/KP-1R.jpg



Ack- Sure, I’ll give an opinion when asked, and it doesn’t have to be professional OR insightful. In fact, most of my opinions aren’t.

First, I will never tell you to ignore a manufacturer’s instructions. Since I’m being asked for an opinion, I’ll tell you what I did. Any decisions you make are, of course, your own.

I left the controls for the LH floor vent in place, and find I use it. Did I block the RH floor vent per instructions? Erm, ahh, cough cough, no. I left the vent open and ducted it toward the blower air inlet. Did I mention that I’m not a fan (a reach, but a potential pun) of recirc air and recirc systems? I realize it’s not a true outside air input, but with the timeframe I had with installation, it was as close as I could get. High probability I will revisit this feature this winter to get it closer to what I want. What you choose to do with yours may be based on how often you have a passenger, and what their expectations are (particularly if she’s wearing a ring you gave her.)

I don’t want to be misunderstood here, I’m not bashing the VA HVAC- I used the word criticism in my first post, and that is perhaps a poor choice of words. All HVAC systems have weakness’. OEM, aftermarket, doesn’t matter. On most new cars, HVAC is usually one of the top 5 warranty problems in dollar consumption.

I may have a different set of criteria than the original designer. He designed to his brief, I judge according to features I value. The closer the original design brief is to the features I value, the higher my level of satisfaction. In this case, I recognized two features I value highly are less well met by the original design. One (outside air) I half-assed to enhance my level of satisfaction, the second I spent more time on (airflow over face and torso) adding a LH Drivers face duct.

Like any product we put on our toys, particularly one where the interface constantly reminds you if you made good or poor decisions, I recommend you focus on defining your expectations. If the product doesn’t meet those expectations as designed, either go hunting for another product, or look at how the product can be modified to meet you expectations.

As long as you don’t ignore the manufacturer’s instructions.

Sorry for the thread hijack

Bowtie racing
09-18-2008, 11:11 AM
.... What you choose to do with yours may be based on how often you have a passenger, and what their expectations are (particularly if she’s wearing a ring you gave her.)



Thanks - i will keep the vents and try to make some kind of duct towards the air intake. One of the resons is at i dont plan running it all the time. Then its nice to have so fresh air in the cabin when driving long stretch on highway. Oh yeas shes still wearing it :cheers: