66 Special factory A/C car to vintage air

Discussion in 'The Big Chill' started by Bygblok, Jan 8, 2017.

  1. Bygblok

    Bygblok Well-Known Member

    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
  2. 12lives

    12lives Gravity is matter warping space-time - Einstein

  3. chucknixon

    chucknixon Founders Club Member

    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 Files:

  4. Bygblok

    Bygblok Well-Known Member

    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!
  5. musclecarz

    musclecarz Well-Known Member

    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. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

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

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

    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:



    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:


    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:


    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:


    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
  7. Bygblok

    Bygblok Well-Known Member

    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
  8. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

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

    Dear Bill and V-8 Buick cool-cats :bglasses:

    That simplifies one problem right there. You can buy the bracket that holds the Sanden compressor from a number of outfits.

    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.

    I'm fairly sure they are close at least. Perhaps some else can confirm one way or the other.

    Cheers, Edouard
  9. musclecarz

    musclecarz Well-Known Member

    I'm also doing an ls swap to my 66 Special wagon. But I'm keeping the factory ac.

    Attached Files:

  10. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

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

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

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

    Cheers, Edouard :beer
  11. musclecarz

    musclecarz Well-Known Member

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

    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. Bygblok

    Bygblok Well-Known Member

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

    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"!
  13. bignastyGS

    bignastyGS Maggot pilot

    Anyone do this conversion with the stock A/C box on the firewall??
  14. musclecarz

    musclecarz Well-Known Member

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

    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. musclecarz

    musclecarz Well-Known Member

    I'm doing an ls swap with the stock ac
  16. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

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

    Dear musclecarz and V-8 Buick trailblazers,

    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
  17. Bygblok

    Bygblok Well-Known Member

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

    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
  18. elagache

    elagache Platinum Level Contributor

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

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

    When you get started don't forget to take pictures to share with the rest of us!

    Well, at least is it covered!

  19. nekkidhillbilly

    nekkidhillbilly escaped mental patient

    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.
  20. Bygblok

    Bygblok Well-Known Member

    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.

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