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  1. #1
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    Default 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    I see quite a few write-ups on the non-ac cars being converted to vintage air but I want to clean under my hood up from the ugly 1966 evap case, slick the firewall and go vintage air. It seems we have mixed results between the chevelle and gto kits but once again, mostly non-air cars. I don't HAVE to use factory controls as my car will be more of a pro-touring build. I'm using intelletronix gauges etc, so the dash will be different anyway. Any advise from guys with experience on a factory AC car? Any market for my old ac parts to offset the cost a bit? I have a complete system, compressor and all. Thanks, Bill
    Bill from Pensacola
    the lowest common denominator can ruin your whole day!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Bill Bell

    GSCA 4487
    BPG 1044
    BCA 35980

    67 Special Wagon
    68 LeSabre 400 vert
    70 GS 455
    71 GS 350 vert -sold

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Check with Vintage Air for complete kit. I used Vintage but I had to find and buy the factory OEM parts to mount the compressor, find the pulleys etc. We used the aluminum A-6 look-a-like compressor (painted it black) so at first glance when you raise the hood it looks factory until you realize there is not a big factory box on the firewall projecting into the engine compartment.

    Photos below show before and after compressor installed.


    Attached Images Attached Images
    Chuck

    Buicks
    1932 Model 67S
    1967 GS 400
    1967 Sport Wagon 400
    1967 GS 400 Convertible
    1973 Riviera
    2016 Enclave

    Others
    1929 Model A Ford Pickup
    1931 Model A Ford Deluxe Phaeton
    1965 Corvette Coupe 365/4 spd
    2006 Chevy SSR pickup
    2007 Corvette Indy Pace Car replica

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Quote Originally Posted by chucknixon View Post
    Check with Vintage Air for complete kit. I used Vintage but I had to find and buy the factory OEM parts to mount the compressor, find the pulleys etc. We used the aluminum A-6 look-a-like compressor (painted it black) so at first glance when you raise the hood it looks factory until you realize there is not a big factory box on the firewall projecting into the engine compartment.

    Photos below show before and after compressor installed.


    mine will likely have a 76mm hair dryer hanging where your compressor is but the small box is what I want to do if I have anything external at all. Thanks for the pics. Looks great!
    Bill from Pensacola
    the lowest common denominator can ruin your whole day!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Check with Classic Auto Air also. Their systems are just as good as VA. I might be interested in your parts. I pass through pensalcola a few times a yr on my way to tampa from texas.

  6. #6
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    Default List of issues (Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air)

    Dear Bill, Bill, Chuck, musclecarz, and V-8 Buick cool cats, . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    I see quite a few write-ups on the non-ac cars being converted to vintage air but I want to clean under my hood up from the ugly 1966 evap case, slick the firewall and go vintage air. It seems we have mixed results between the chevelle and gto kits but once again, mostly non-air cars. I don't HAVE to use factory controls as my car will be more of a pro-touring build. I'm using intelletronix gauges etc, so the dash will be different anyway.
    As Bill Bell said, my trusty wagon has Vintage Air, but she wasn't an A/C car so the installation was harder. Also, I tried to preserve the dash appearance so I worked out a way to use the Vintage Air GTO kit to use the OEM Buick control. As musclecarz noted, you should check out the competitors to Vintage Air as well. There are two of them:

    http://www.classicautoair.com/

    http://www.oldairproducts.com/catalog/

    As Chuck noted you'll need a custom bracket for your compressor. If (as your handle suggests) you have a Buick big-block in this car then you can buy a bracket from this fellow who has a thread on V-8 Buick:

    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.ph...ressor-bracket

    If you go with a custom fit kit like the Vintage Air Sure-fit kits, you'll need to trade the condenser for one that fits in your Buick. In my case I swapped the GTO condenser by calling Vintage Air and "making a deal."

    To improve the look of your engine bay, you might want to invest in a Detroit Speed heater delete plate as described in this thread about installing A/C into my wagon:

    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.ph...kylark-Special

    You'll need to reconfigure things under your dash and it is best to take the dash apart to do this. Again there are examples on my A/C thread.

    The last unexpected problem is that you can't use the OEM glove compartment box. I made my own that is partially described on this thread:

    http://www.v8buick.com/showthread.ph...nybody-done-it

    I guess I never did complete the explanation, but PM me if you are curious.

    That's a rough list of the issues you'll be facing. Go ahead and ask any questions you might have.

    Cheers, Edouard
    Caretaker of a 1965 Buick Special "Billy-goat"

    Read more about: The grand adventures of a trusty "billy-goat" wagon
    More photos at Biquette's stall in the V-8 Buick garage


  7. #7
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Thanks for all the guidance on this. I'm not using Buick power at all(I hope you guys don't hate on me too much) but instead I'm using a 5.3 LSx-based motor and to start a 4L60e automatic unless I can find a T56 at the right price. I'm wanting to smooth the firewall as much as possible for the clean, no frills look but need heat and AC because it's being built as a distance touring car that my wife and I can drive anywhere and stay reliable. With the single 76mm turbo at 13psi it should make somewhere around 600 very reliable horsepower if my figures are correct. The rest of the car is getting tubular uppers and lowers and although I have springs for it I may go air ride for fun. The DSE firewall plate is awesome but I can probably make a piece as well with my brake, shears etc at work. Is the basic Buick firewall the same as the chevelle? Just curious. Thanks again for the help, Bill
    Bill from Pensacola
    the lowest common denominator can ruin your whole day!

  8. #8
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    Default Easier still. (Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air)

    Dear Bill and V-8 Buick cool-cats

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    Thanks for all the guidance on this. I'm not using Buick power at all(I hope you guys don't hate on me too much) but instead I'm using a 5.3 LSx-based motor and to start a 4L60e automatic unless I can find a T56 at the right price.
    That simplifies one problem right there. You can buy the bracket that holds the Sanden compressor from a number of outfits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    I'm wanting to smooth the firewall as much as possible for the clean, no frills look but need heat and AC because it's being built as a distance touring car that my wife and I can drive anywhere and stay reliable. The DSE firewall plate is awesome but I can probably make a piece as well with my brake, shears etc at work.
    If you have the tools, I'm sure you can easily make a firewall delete plate. You might check out my thread to see how the guys at Orinda Motors reused the OEM header housing to route the hoses. That might be cleaner than the way Buick routed them in 1965. You'll find similar tricks used on threads on the Team Chevelle forum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    Is the basic Buick firewall the same as the chevelle? Just curious. Thanks again for the help, Bill
    I'm fairly sure they are close at least. Perhaps some else can confirm one way or the other.

    Cheers, Edouard
    Caretaker of a 1965 Buick Special "Billy-goat"

    Read more about: The grand adventures of a trusty "billy-goat" wagon
    More photos at Biquette's stall in the V-8 Buick garage


  9. #9
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    Thanks for all the guidance on this. I'm not using Buick power at all(I hope you guys don't hate on me too much) but instead I'm using a 5.3 LSx-based motor and to start a 4L60e automatic unless I can find a T56 at the right price. I'm wanting to smooth the firewall as much as possible for the clean, no frills look but need heat and AC because it's being built as a distance touring car that my wife and I can drive anywhere and stay reliable. With the single 76mm turbo at 13psi it should make somewhere around 600 very reliable horsepower if my figures are correct. The rest of the car is getting tubular uppers and lowers and although I have springs for it I may go air ride for fun. The DSE firewall plate is awesome but I can probably make a piece as well with my brake, shears etc at work. Is the basic Buick firewall the same as the chevelle? Just curious. Thanks again for the help, Bill
    I'm also doing an ls swap to my 66 Special wagon. But I'm keeping the factory ac.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    Talking Wouldn't really rather have a Buick? (Re: 66 Special factory A/C)

    Dear Musclecarz and V-8 Buick longroof fans, . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by musclecarz View Post
    I'm also doing an ls swap to my 66 Special wagon. But I'm keeping the factory ac.
    . . . . For shame doc! Don't you think your Special wagon would really rather have a Buick (engine?) . . . . . .

    Cheers, Edouard
    Caretaker of a 1965 Buick Special "Billy-goat"

    Read more about: The grand adventures of a trusty "billy-goat" wagon
    More photos at Biquette's stall in the V-8 Buick garage


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Wouldn't really rather have a Buick? (Re: 66 Special factory A/C)

    Quote Originally Posted by elagache View Post
    Dear Musclecarz and V-8 Buick longroof fans, . . . .



    . . . . For shame doc! Don't you think your Special wagon would really rather have a Buick (engine?) . . . . . .

    Cheers, Edouard
    If the engine wasn't locked up, Id keep it Buick but since I already have a complete drop in 5.3/4l60e its least expensive way to go at the moment. I wouldnt mind a 455 but they are as easy and cheap to find/build.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Wouldn't really rather have a Buick? (Re: 66 Special factory A/C)

    Quote Originally Posted by musclecarz View Post
    If the engine wasn't locked up, Id keep it Buick but since I already have a complete drop in 5.3/4l60e its least expensive way to go at the moment. I wouldnt mind a 455 but they are as easy and cheap to find/build.
    if you REALLY want a stock motor I just happen to have a complete, running 300 with trans still in my car.....it's not coming out until the new shop is done though. Want to have it mobile until it's time to take the body off of the frame for all the "new stuff"!
    Bill from Pensacola
    the lowest common denominator can ruin your whole day!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Anyone do this conversion with the stock A/C box on the firewall??
    Pat Harmon
    1970 QQ GSX back half car
    1970 462 Skylark

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Wouldn't really rather have a Buick? (Re: 66 Special factory A/C)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    if you REALLY want a stock motor I just happen to have a complete, running 300 with trans still in my car.....it's not coming out until the new shop is done though. Want to have it mobile until it's time to take the body off of the frame for all the "new stuff"!
    My swap is already underway. I should be done with it pretty quick as ive done this swap before. I was interested in the your factory ac parts when you do the aftermarket ac.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Quote Originally Posted by bignastyGS View Post
    Anyone do this conversion with the stock A/C box on the firewall??
    I'm doing an ls swap with the stock ac

  16. #16
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    Default Take a few pictures along the way? (Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air)

    Dear musclecarz and V-8 Buick trailblazers,

    Quote Originally Posted by musclecarz View Post
    I'm doing an ls swap with the stock ac
    Since you are certainly one of the first guys to do this, could you take a few pictures of any steps that are unique to an A/C car? That way the next guy who tries it won't be quite so much of a trailblazer!

    Cheers, Edouard
    Caretaker of a 1965 Buick Special "Billy-goat"

    Read more about: The grand adventures of a trusty "billy-goat" wagon
    More photos at Biquette's stall in the V-8 Buick garage


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Wouldn't really rather have a Buick? (Re: 66 Special factory A/C)

    Quote Originally Posted by musclecarz View Post
    My swap is already underway. I should be done with it pretty quick as ive done this swap before. I was interested in the your factory ac parts when you do the aftermarket ac.
    I've still got the complete system bolted in the car, compressor, evap, condenser, cables......you name it it's all still here. I'll start tearing in to it in a couple of months when it's back inside again. It's sitting covered up on my car trailer right now......dammit
    Bill from Pensacola
    the lowest common denominator can ruin your whole day!

  18. #18
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    Default Don't forget your camera! (Re: 66 Special factory A/C)

    Dear Bill and V-8 Buick resto-mod documentalists, . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    I've still got the complete system bolted in the car, compressor, evap, condenser, cables......you name it it's all still here. I'll start tearing in to it in a couple of months when it's back inside again.
    When you get started don't forget to take pictures to share with the rest of us!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    It's sitting covered up on my car trailer right now......dammit
    Well, at least is it covered!

    Edouard
    Caretaker of a 1965 Buick Special "Billy-goat"

    Read more about: The grand adventures of a trusty "billy-goat" wagon
    More photos at Biquette's stall in the V-8 Buick garage


  19. #19
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    the controls are going to be the same either way and the box under dash if you use a vintage air unit ls or buick engine. if you use the oem ac it still going to be the same with a ls only thing is the ac compressor is different but it will work just need lines run to the ls one. you will need custom brackets to mount the ls compressor right but this is for a ls swap in any older gm car or truck. you can rig up mid 90s sbc brackets to make the compressor in the right spot.
    66 skylark 2 dr hartop...... in progression
    07 silverado 3500 hd 6.0
    12 kia sorento sx
    99 f150
    89 dodge spirit
    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v237/nekkidhillbilly/

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Quote Originally Posted by nekkidhillbilly View Post
    the controls are going to be the same either way and the box under dash if you use a vintage air unit ls or buick engine. if you use the oem ac it still going to be the same with a ls only thing is the ac compressor is different but it will work just need lines run to the ls one. you will need custom brackets to mount the ls compressor right but this is for a ls swap in any older gm car or truck. you can rig up mid 90s sbc brackets to make the compressor in the right spot.
    I have no intent on using the factory controls. I'm going to use VA control in one of their housings and build a place in my dash for them. Don't like the old cable controls. Just a personal preference.
    Bill from Pensacola
    the lowest common denominator can ruin your whole day!

  21. #21
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    Default Easy trick to make VA control look nice (Re: 66 factory A/C car to vintage air)

    Dear Bill and V-8 Buick cool cats, . . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    I have no intent on using the factory controls. I'm going to use VA control in one of their housings and build a place in my dash for them. Don't like the old cable controls. Just a personal preference.
    The Vintage Air controls will give you better control of the air conditioner, so it is a practical choice. There is a guy on the V-8 Buick board who wanted to use the 3 knob Vintage Air controller and simply used some surplus radio control knobs for that year as the control knobs. That way everything still looked period correct while allowing you the modern convenience.

    Just a thought,

    Edouard
    Caretaker of a 1965 Buick Special "Billy-goat"

    Read more about: The grand adventures of a trusty "billy-goat" wagon
    More photos at Biquette's stall in the V-8 Buick garage


  22. #22
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    I have no intent on using the factory controls. I'm going to use VA control in one of their housings and build a place in my dash for them. Don't like the old cable controls. Just a personal preference.
    even easier then. if you could convert the old controls to electronic however that would be the bomb. you can get those that are stacked top to bottom and mount them in the chrome part of the oem control. otherwise your going to have a hole where the oem ones where or dead oem ones.

    https://www.carid.com/vintage-air/ge...91226-rva.html
    these and use your oem control panel cut a hole in it for these somehow would work nice.

    now a way you could use the oem controls they are just potentiometers so you could basically take it apart and mount the 66 levers to the switches back in behind it

    this is a potentiometer
    http://www.digikey.com/product-detai...FcO4wAod_MsBgA so it could be mounted however you need and extended wire wise.

    http://shop.hotrodscustomstuff.com/v...ngle-controls/
    might be able to make this work with the oem knobs to look oem also


    just thinking aloud
    66 skylark 2 dr hartop...... in progression
    07 silverado 3500 hd 6.0
    12 kia sorento sx
    99 f150
    89 dodge spirit
    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v237/nekkidhillbilly/

  23. #23
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    I had thought that I might be able to add an extra ac vent where the controls were with a little creative drive. Just being "creative"!
    Bill from Pensacola
    the lowest common denominator can ruin your whole day!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Quote Originally Posted by Bygblok View Post
    I had thought that I might be able to add an extra ac vent where the controls were with a little creative drive. Just being "creative"!
    you could do that idk if it would have any advantage though. plus to make it look clean would be a challenge. are you keeping the big pot metal piece around the radio and cluster that mounts to the dash?
    66 skylark 2 dr hartop...... in progression
    07 silverado 3500 hd 6.0
    12 kia sorento sx
    99 f150
    89 dodge spirit
    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v237/nekkidhillbilly/

  25. #25
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    Default Re: 66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

    Quote Originally Posted by nekkidhillbilly View Post
    you could do that idk if it would have any advantage though. plus to make it look clean would be a challenge. are you keeping the big pot metal piece around the radio and cluster that mounts to the dash?
    somebody already mounted a DIN chassis radio in the hole so that area has been pre-butchered for me. Not sure yet what I'll do there yet but I have a plasma cutter and a mig-tig so I can probably make just about anything I want if my talent will allow it. I also have the advantage of a full sheetmetal shop at work(I teach an aviation maintenance course for A&P's) so I can cut, shear, bend, roll etc. to whatever limit I feel I want. Should help me build a console for it I hope. I just can't wait to move the car in the shop when it's done and I can start getting stupid with it. I hope all the body bolts come out okay because I intend on doing the 5.3 with the body off the chassis at some point. I'm hoping for good things!
    Bill from Pensacola
    the lowest common denominator can ruin your whole day!

 

 
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