Aftermarket A/C for a 1969 Buick GS400 4 Spd

Discussion in 'The Big Chill' started by mkeeler, May 25, 2012.

  1. mkeeler

    mkeeler Old car guy

    I am going to install either a Classic Air or Vintage air sytem in my 1969 Buick GS 4 SPD. Anybody attempted this installationor have any knowledge if one system is better than another I would appeciate the info.
    Thanx Mike K 772-834-6999
  2. tinker14bs

    tinker14bs Well-Known Member

    I am just finishing the install of a 'Hot Rod Air' system in my 1969 Skylark. I got one of the universal systems. It is the elite evaporator series. The whole unit fits up underneath the dash. I took out the original heater system and welded in a plate over the firewall and smoothed it all over for a clean look. I am using a billet bulkhead pass through for the hoses. I am a few weeks from getting the car together to try out the system, so can't talk about performance.

  3. mkeeler

    mkeeler Old car guy

    Real coincidence. My son's name is Brennan also. Did some investigating and by chance happened to talk to a fellow named Dwight ,who happens to be the owner of "Classic Air" in Texas and Fla. He gave me some real insight and set me up with one of his install workers in Tampa Fl. I am meeting him today in the afternoon. Told me that if I can find the brackets and pulleys from a big block they have a replacement comp for the old Frigidair and it will bolt right in. Said that 69 Chevelle will work without much alteration but a 70 might fit better. Told me that Buick and Cadillac got all of the better upgrades a year before the other GM divisions but I should take a look to see if it will fit better. I don't see why if you have a small block in your Skylark it would also be true for your comp mounting. You might all ready have solved that problem.
    Was also told to make sure when you mount your condenser in front of the radiator, it should be as big as you can install and make sure you fill in the space around the radiator so as much air as possible is funneled through the condenser for max cooling.
    I will let you know how I make out.
    Thanx for the advice.
    Mike K
  4. Tim N.

    Tim N. Platinum Level Contributor

    This is something I've wanted to do on my 68, but have run into roadblocks every time I start.
  5. jm3

    jm3 Well-Known Member

    FYI, I am doing this now, and taking pics.

    I can tell you so far that it is better to start with the 1969 Olds Cutlass, instead of the 1968 Chevelle (compressor on passenger side). 1969 Chevelle is on the drivers side, and is not as good of a fit.

    If nothing else, the control panel is silver on the Olds, like the Buick. Also, the Chevelle kit condenser bolts to the hood latch, and the Buick is completely different. The Olds bolts on either side, so gets away from the big Buick brace for the grille.
  6. Tim N.

    Tim N. Platinum Level Contributor

    Cool. Are you using the Olds kit then?
  7. jm3

    jm3 Well-Known Member

    I already bought and installed the Chevelle kit, but I had to buy two out of two hardlines from the Olds kit, as well as an adapter for the center-dash A/C outlets that worked perfect.

    In retrospect, the Olds would have been much better. I also changed my dash from silver to black, so I didnt need to match the controls. That would have been difficult too.

    The Olds condenser brackets would definitely have been better also.
  8. Tim N.

    Tim N. Platinum Level Contributor

    Any photos yet?
  9. jm3

    jm3 Well-Known Member

    Not quite yet, but it is completely done and works awesome. I have re-removed the dash and am finishing the detailing. I even ran ducting through the center console and into the back seat so there is "rear air".

    I will post pics when I am done, but clearly the silver Oldsmobile kit is the way to go. Part of why I am pulling the dash is changing the silver Buick fascia to black , to match the Chevelle black A/C controls.
  10. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    I'm interested in how this turns out as well. Though I have a 70 GS, I figure much of the under hood and under dash stuff will be quite similar.
  11. Tim N.

    Tim N. Platinum Level Contributor

    Bump for any progress.
  12. knucklebusted

    knucklebusted Well-Known Member

    Bump for any progress +1.
  13. jm3

    jm3 Well-Known Member

    All done and working perfectly, but the dash has been taken back apart to change the color scheme of the dash pad and bezel surround. here is a pic of the engine. I will post pics of the other bits as I get a chance.

    The compressor is the pro-ten sanyo replacement for the Delco, the lower bracket is stock, and the adjusters are homemade to show off the bits.

    The compressor puulley cover is actually a power steering pulley, machined out and bolted over the stock compressor pulley.

    Hose are hidden as much as possible.

    Wiring has been cleaned up since this pic.

    Attached Files:

  14. Tim N.

    Tim N. Platinum Level Contributor

    Thanks for the update.

    Now, can we have some pics of your dash layout?
  15. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

    How did you convert the OEM dash control? (Re: Aftermarket A/C)

    Hi jm3 and V-8 Buick A/C "cool-cats" :cool:

    Looking at your dashboard photos, it appears that you are using the original factory controls with your Vintage Air system. I'm hoping to do the same on my trusty 65 Buick wagon. Is there any special tricks to getting the cable converters to replace the old physical cables on the control levers? Here is a photo of the 65 dashboard control I'm going to use:

    65 AC dash control.jpg

    I bought the Vintage Air Sure-Fit kit for a 64-67 GTO as it looked closer to the 65 Buick than anything else. The dashboard control on a GTO look very similar to the Buick. The only difference is that Buicks don't have an extra lever to control whether to run the A/C on recirculation or outside air. Luckily, Vintage Air only works on recirculation so that additional lever on the GTO isn't used. I haven't had a chance to go back on this problem, but last time I looked it seemed like the Vintage Air GTO instructions would work with very little tweaking.

    If you have a tricks or gotchas sure would appreciate if you would share'em!! :Smarty:

    Thanks in advance!

    Cheers, Edouard :beer
  16. jm3

    jm3 Well-Known Member

    Its in a million pieces right now, I will atach pics when I am done
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  17. Tim N.

    Tim N. Platinum Level Contributor

    Hey, best time to get some pics of the backside of the bezel and how you attached it all. haha. I'm looking at a similar set-up in my 68. :TU:
  18. jm3

    jm3 Well-Known Member

    OK. Good idea.
  19. flippermtc

    flippermtc Valley Forge Pa- Go Phillies!

    Would it be possible to get a list of the parts, part numbers & manufacturer so we know everything that needs to be ordered when beginning this project?
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2013
  20. mltdwn12

    mltdwn12 Platinum Level Contributor

    JM3, so you used the factory A/C bracket on the bottom and then some turnbuckles for adjusting and holding the top of the compressor?

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