Vintage Air a/c - Team Camaro Tech
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old May 30th, 00, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: brandon, ms. usa
Posts: 278
my 69 factory air is not working. hadn't taken it anywhere to get it checked yet, so i don't know how much the fix will be. if it's a lot i was wondering about the Vintage Air a/c. how does it work on a factory a/c car? does the compressor go where the factory one is and parts use other factory locations or does the assembly mount underneath the dash? what happens with the A/C box on the firewall in the engine compartment? does the $1000 cover everything except installation? ball park cost on install if i don't do it myself? can i do it myself? do i get the new factory ducts, vents and control assembly or do i reuse my own? does the system automatically come for use with new freon? how does the heater and defroster work? did i ask enough questions? any comments from users welcomed.

To see a pic of my car, click here...
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old May 30th, 00, 04:24 PM
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
Posts: 755
I have the VA system in my '69 which was originally a factory air car. The douche bag who had my car before tossed all the heat and air parts so I had nothing.

One note on my experience - I got one of the very first kits they made for this application so they almost certainly have made changes that I'm not aware of.

The system installs very neatly and is complete - also comes set up for R-134a or the old stuff - I took the new. You can do this at home yourself over a long weekend (although I did not have to remove the old system). There is a condenser that fits in front of the radiator. The compressor can go in different locations depending on your needs. Mine went on the left side top above the power steering because that's where I had room. Other than that there are only a few coolant lines in the engine compartment. Everything previously mounted to the engine side of the firewall goes away. When you're done you will have a flat filler plate with 4 hoses passing thru it. Very clean overall.

The entire heater box/defroster/air co unit goes under the dash against the firewall. It's a tight fit but I got it in basically alone. I only had one major problem. There are 4 lines that go thru the firewall - 2 water hoses and 2 freon. Three of them were rubber flex lines and one freon was a hardline with a couple of jogs in it. It absolutely would not go thru the firewall without loosening up the fitting and then you could not get to it to tighten it up. I finally called VA and asked them to make me a flex line as a substitute which they did for free. After that it went right in.

The kit comes with ducting and some converter housings for the back of the dash vents. I had to buy replacement vents because mine were gone but after that they hooked up fine.

I have no idea what installation fees are. I also can't tell you how well the whole thing works yet! I haven't yet charged it up due to other issues but I will in the next couple of weeks.

I think I answered all your questions but feel free to come back with more.

'69 400SB, Richmond 5-speed; '99 HD Road King Classic
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old May 30th, 00, 05:28 PM
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Big D little a-l-l-a-s
Posts: 523

I too just installed a Vintage Air unit on my big block. Air temp is approximatly 35 degrees with the my 134A unit. When you order the unit, they can make it work with either the standard heater control switch without air or with the factory air switch. I chose to put my compressor on the PASSENGER side so that I would have less hose to route in my engine compartment. As far as labor goes, this is about a 16 hour job which is roughly $800.00 labor down here in Dallas. The RPM drop at idle with the compressor turned on is only about 100-150 RPM which is obviously much more efficient than the OEM Harrison compressors. I run a pretty big cam so I anticipated that I would have to install an idle solenoid but I guess not!!

I ran the AC the other day here when it was 98 degrees and the car runs roughly 20 degrees hotter with the AC on but it is still well within temperature limits. I have also run the car up to 6500 RPM (with AC off) and the belt stays on like a champ!!!


I forgot to mention that if you are going to use your existing OEM center AC vent, you will need to buy the adapter that fits on back of the existing vent from Vintage Air. Their kit comes with their own Center Air Vent but I choose to use a factory center AC vent and that is why the adapter is required. For an extra $50.00 you can order the compressor in a "polished" finish.

[This message has been edited by sr71bb (edited 05-31-2000).]

[This message has been edited by sr71bb (edited 05-31-2000).]
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old May 31st, 00, 04:19 AM
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Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Cottage Grove, MN
Posts: 217
On that note, I have another question regarding the install. I've seen Rocky's AC installation and it looks great. It looks as though it were meant to be there the whole time, but.... He had factory air, thus the center vents in the dash. What about non-AC cars like my 69 Z28? Do you need to get the AC ducting for the center and change the dash pad?

Shawn Peterson
1969 Z28, 406SB
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old May 31st, 00, 06:05 AM
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Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Winnetka (aka L.A.), Ca.
Posts: 103

In the "technical reference" section of this site you can read about the installation I did on my 64 Chevelle. It may give you some insite on what is required.

I have to say that I was impressed with the quality and forethought that went into the kit!

Wes. Vann
Technical Reference Section
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old May 31st, 00, 06:50 AM
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 92
Mike, I installed my VA into my 68 using the 69 "kit" for a factory air car. The difference is the 69 mounts the compressor on the drivers side. The installation described in this thread was also my experience. It takes about 6 hours straight through. Not at all a difficult job, I took various pictures of the installation as I did it and once I find them I can post them on the picture site I maintain on I wont be able to do this for several weeks though, sorry as I am in a hotel room bound for Texas. To hide the a/c lines I took the fittings and hose provided by VA added a coupler and more hose and made longer lines that run throught the core support area in front of the condensor. The only esposed sections are near the compressor and along the passenger inner fender (which is also where the high pressure switch is). Various photos on the Yahoo site show this. There was a VERY detailed installation sequence done by someone in the Chevelle site. It is worth reading as it has photos as well.

If you have a non-a/c car, VA provides ducting and vents along with templates for hole saws to install the pieces in your dash. Everything is top notch and complete. They have an 800 tech line with next to no wait and will ship any needed pieces immediately.

The best price I found was through Jim Dwyer Classic Chevy in Stockton, CA. He sells the complete kit for $900 and didnt charge me freight from VA to him. I lived in CA so I did pay sales tax. If there is anything at all I can do please email me at [email protected] - if you email the AOL address I cannot check it for some time.


web page at
and more pictures at
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old May 31st, 00, 10:24 AM
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Big D little a-l-l-a-s
Posts: 523
Yes Shawn,

You will need to get a factory Air dash Pad. All of the ducting is included in the kit. Another plus is that the defroster/heater ducts blow much harder with the Vintage Air Kit. You will discard your original defroster/heater ducting and heater core. The Vintage Air center AC vent looks OK but I wanted the Factory look so I got an OEM styled center AC vent also.
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