Under dash AC

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By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
I’m look to see photos of under dash AC installations. Not like the 60-70’s single units like a Mark IV but custom panels if you have made them or had them made. Painted it upholstered would be great. Thanks.
By miker - Last Year
My bird has a classic air perfect fit system (more on that if you'd like to know) and I had a custom center panel cast, got matching engine turned material, and mounted the vents and two gauges. None of the classic air vents were used.

Left and right sides I used Moal vents which fold up and hide. Maybe something similar for a passenger car would work. Birds are pretty limited for space.

By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
Looks great and I'm sure it works fantastic in the the Thunderbird.. Were you able to convert the original controller? 
Great thread for those of us contemplation A/C.  In addition to interior pics, would someone mind posting their installation of the compressor? Miker, very nice install in your Bird by blending in some of the original design features.
By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
Ford Dearborn... On Compressor mounting most use the one from Vintage air and they have a photo of it. The compressor mounts in the old generator spot and the alternator on top and infront of the cylinder head, I did not get a photo but saw one on a 56 post body and it looked ok for me. My engine has dual quads and I don't want something sticking up high. The person who owned the car was sitting in it so I couldn't get all the info I wanted. It was a Vintage Air unit with a double vent in the middle and a single out at the edges in plastic housings screwed to the bottom of the dash.. The E- brake handle was tricky but doable. He also had the VA conversion for the original controls but said it did not work as good as he wished. I have found a VA authorize installer near me and he also advises against it.
My Thoughts are a 3- 4" steel panel under the dash end to end notched for the steering column and E-brake handle. 2 rectangular air registers in the middle and a 2-1/2 round vent on each end.  It would be covered in the the same vinyl Peacock blue of the interior (I have some left over) padded, and if I use VA, their slider controller to the left of the 2 center air registers. I have a VA book and am sort of designing it. The installer WILL do this and has done this before. He has the metal bender and upholstry shop he works with. He has been in the business for 45 yrs and has done hot rods since VA came into business. I'll get a complete unit which removes a lot on the firewall. I'm hoping I can still come up with a cable to actuate the right side air vent door. He removes every thing from the original controller and just leaves it there. I figure I can make a way to use the lower or upper slider to do what I want. He does say we loose about 2/3's of the glove box.  VA does have a Gen II and Gen IV that fit our cars keeping the defroster and every thing. Like the T-Bird above there are other companys also.

My idea with the thread was to see what  others have one on this site, I'm sure there are quite a few, and see how they feel about what they have done.
DLR, thanks for the reply. My thoughts are the same in regards to having a compressor in your face as soon as the hood is raised. This is the main reason I haven't installed A/C as of yet. I visited Vintage Air as suggested and was pleasantly surprised how much nicer the arrangement now is. Alternator forward of the cylinder head and the compressor somewhat hidden down-under is about as nice as I've seen yet. My F100 does have power steering so a double shiv add-on pulley would have to be worked out.  A/C may be this winter's project. Now if only I could nail down a plan for in the cab............. If I were good at sheet metal fabrication (which I am not), I'd like to incorporate the evaporator coil into the present heater core box and go from there.
By miker - Last Year
Classic air uses the original control panel with replacement cables. The temp control runs a manual valve in the heater line. The heat/defrost / right air (at least on a bird) now runs heat/cool/defrost/right air. That's a little wonky, and not much travel. My main air box also doesn't completely close off from one to the other. Not enough leakage to be a problem, but there.

I've got an OT 67 Camaro with the vintage air replacement. It works almost like a new car. Several friends have VA in various street rods, they just work. I think you're on the right track with the underdash ducting and building in the controls. I don't know what you're doing under the hood, but I pulled everything out and used the "heater delete" plate and the cover for the air duct to the heater. The bird guys have those, but I don't know about passenger cars. I used that location for bulkhead fittings for the heat and a/c hoses.

Modern cars have so many more vents (as opposed to 4 or so, and up higher, we get spoiled.

Thanks for the compliments.
By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
Miler: the blower fan assembly is removed and a panel put in its place with the 4 bulkhead fittings for the AC and heater hoses. A cover goes over the 4” fan feed hole.
Like I said I’ll try to keep the right side air vent since the flapper and actuating lever stays and operate it from the original heater controller. It will be after the new year and I’ll take photos when I can. I am going to make a cardboard template to give to the installer. Paying a few extra hours of labor and materials is OK to me if it looks like I want.
By Gene Purser - Last Year
For general information, my experience with low mounted AC compressor. I have a '55 with AC installed when I got it. The compressor is down low near where the original generator was. I have to jack up the car and get under to hood charge hoses to the compressor. The AC compressor runs on the same belt as the water pump/fan. The belt has to be really tight if it doesn't squeal with higher engine RPMs making me worry about too much pressure on the water pump bearings. With all the bracketry mounted on the water pump bolts, it is a bear to change the pump. If I had my say, the compressor would be mounted on top and running off one of the pulleys forward of the water pump. Just my opinion. 
By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
Gene that is interesting about the wp and one of my concerns. I installed a CASCO Thunderbird alternator kit on our Victoria with slight modifications and it’s belt has to be much tighter than the old generator. My cars engine came with the extra pulley on the crank (not currently used) and I was hoping some kind of adjustment could be made to the compressor mounts to have it run just off that pulley and not the water pump. Thanks for your input.
By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
I’ve made arrangements to have Vintage Air installed at one of their approved dealer/installers. We had a small glitch about the under dash metal work and upholstery so I decided to do that my self. They gave me the controller and 4 louver/vents and the ordered the engine brackets. The controller is for a Gen IV so I’m hoping that’s what will fit. If it needs to Gen II super I’ll need to enlarge the controller hole. Just waiting for their call now. The panel is held in by clamps in the photo. They want it out when bring the car over.
By kevink1955 - Last Year
Thats the cleanest old ford install I have ever seen, great job.   If I went that way it would also conceal the EPAS motor under the dash
By paul2748 - Last Year
Drylakes - What is the height of the piece under the dash?
By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
Thanks Kevink, The main unit isn't there yet but I'm sure there won't much to see. On another site a fellow said he had a Gen IV in his 55 and it worked great. I'm also suppling the shop with a manual water valve since the stock one was vacuum, a double pulley for the water pump since I already have a Mustang single smaller one to help with cooling, and a double pulley for the alternator just in case. Every AC company uses the same brackets for a y-block so I'm good to go there. It isn't that many won't do it but I didn't like the plastic louver holders and regular twist knobs just screwed to the bottom of the dash with sheet metal screws. Since I had the Peacock blue vinyl I've on got $40 in what you see)

Paul, The flat face is bent at 3-1/2" as the ball ends are drilled at 2-1/2" leaving 1/2" on 3 sides.. The top 90* bend is 1" deep and the bottom is 3/4" bent at a 45* for stiffness/support and it could be less. It is .063” thick. The foam padding makes t look bigger. I made a mockup/template out of cardboard and used wood squeeze clamps to hold it up. All the demensions came right from the Vintage Air catalog I ordered. They have a lot of louvers and I wanted a certain look that why these ones in the center. They have a neat oval 3knob controller and oval louvers that thin enough you could do the panel at 2 to 2-/2”. The problem is at the e-brake handle. To the outer edge. The panel is 58-1/8” long for a 56.

The hardest was around the steering column and for the the emergency brake. If you just painted the panel the color of you dash or used vinyl with no padding it would have a hell of a lot easier and quicker but I know what I wanted by looking at hundreds of cars at shows and gatherings.

Here are 2 more photos, one of the cardboard and it was painted with a spray can and the Aluminum panel with all the parts fitted. That’s the pain in the butt. You need to really take your time. Measure 10 times and cut once then start filing.
By 55blacktie - Last Year
Nice job!
By miker - Last Year
Really nice, all the way from the design to the finished product. That's a new standard for guys doing a/c.
By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
Thank you..I’m just an old retired power plant electrician with too much time on my hands, a good 401K, a great understanding wife of 54 years, and memories of driving my moms black 56 Victoria on dates when I was in High School in the early 60’s
By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
I will add if anyone wants this under dash style and has a catalog from any manufacturer it would be really easy with 4 circular vents and a oval or single knob controllers 3 or 4. A 2-1/2” hole saw and a drill for the controller knobs would be way easier. A friend has a system like that and it’s perfect in his sedan delivery. There was a lot of trimming/aluminum filing and on the foam and vinyl for the center parts but the circular where 5 minutes and some vinyl trimming with a razor blade. Thanks for the compliments.
By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
An update... as many know other vehicles have direct fit air units.... no so for Fords as much.
#1. The CASCO alternator that’s been on for a few months is not compatible with the VA mount so a single wire PowerMaster has been bought and installed. A good thing in the installations says I can make the i-did-it light work. The compressor/alternator/condenser/dryer are installed. So I’ll be selling that alternator when I pick up the car and the removed original heater.
#2 A Vintage Air Gen II or IV units do not want to fit without major modifications to the radio... and even after you did the mods you could not get the radio out without removing the unit.
#3. A Old Air Products Hurricane unit will fit without interfering with the radio. They offer an electronic, horizontal rectangular controller so that’s what is now going in when it gets to the shop. I only need to make the hole in the under dash panel a little larger.
Nothing I ever take on is easy... oh well!
By MplsMike - Last Year

I didn’t want to hijack the post - I sent you a PM asking a question about your comments on your alternator install.

By DryLakesRacer - Last Year
The unit is in and completed. Works great. The Old Air Products compressor mount is different than the one the VA. Since it was already installed the shop just ordered the interior parts, electronic controller, and electronic water by pass valve. The VA compressor mount is on the bottom where the generator was and drives off the crank only. The OAP drives off the water pump pulley. The power steering is now driven off the 3rd pulley which was already on my crank. It was just spaced forward.
I’m pleased with the performance so far. We shall see in the summer will bring.