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Discussion Starter #1
Opinions needed! I have an opportunity to put in a factory ac system in my '69 convertible. I live in San Diego where it doesn't get too hot, but some days it can. One of my concerns is that I have a really nice looking engine (cobra air cleaner, valve covers, etc). Would adding a big compressor take away from the looks? Is this a rare opportunity that I should pounce on? The guy wants about $600+labor to put it in. Am I asking for more complications down the line? Also, can I get a rebuilt blower motor for a '69 ac system?

Thanks, Will
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Engine compartment looks is a judgement call....the compressor isn't that big. I'd say seeing the compressor and lines instantly shows the car has a nice option.

I'd corner the guy to get a concrete figure for "labor"


Does he have an entire system including the brackets for your current engine?

He'd have to cut a slot in the firewall for the AC lines....no biggie if he's not an idiot (not using a torch or something equally idiotic).

Does the engine stay nice and cool even on those hot days? Otherwise a nice four row or aluminum radiator and shroud are also in order. They're out there for around 200 on up.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I believe he has all the hardware necessary for my engine (351c). My rad is a new 24" 3 core (with a shroud), so I haven't tried it yet. Would this option greatly increase the value of my car?
 

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By factory, do you mean that it will include the dash with the center vents and the lower dash with vents on the end.
This will involve new controls, vacuum lines, electricals and vent tubing. Different heater box to include the AC.
Do you want the air cold or are you just jazzed about having a convertible w/AC?
That big compressor is also not a very efficient compressor.
Yes is could clutter the engine compartment a bit with the hoses and that big lawn mower engine looking compressor.
Maybe I'm just paranoid but I have trouble with your phrase "About $600+labor"...how much labor..$300...$12000?
Does the about mean he will charge extra is some parts need replacing? Is this a system being pulled out of a wrecked car? Is it a currently working system? Are you going R-12 or the new stuff R-134 or whatever.
Does this include a new drier?...expansion valve?...35 year old compressor or rebuilt?
There are a lot of items that are good sense to replace whie you are in there..heater core, heater box seals, hoses and o-rings.
I used to love cruising with the air on and the top down on the hot Texas nights in my 69 convertible. I don't think my brothers air ever get turned on on his 70 vert.
This is a complicated addition and requires a LOT of labor.
Check the details before you jump!
Bruce
 

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I believe he has all the hardware necessary for my engine (351c). My rad is a new 24" 3 core (with a shroud), so I haven't tried it yet. Would this option greatly increase the value of my car?

1. Don't take this wrong....are you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE that it's a 351C? (it has unique brackets, as does a 351W).

2. A new 24" 3 row with a shroud COULD be enough cooling. No guarantees.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
By factory, I mean he has the upper dash with the vents, lower dash, heater box, controls,...everything. I believe it's working and it's out of a '70. For labor, he's charging $35/hr.

I'm not sure how the lawnmower compressor will look in the engine bay. Maybe if I get it detailed it will be ok. Is there an aftermarket compressor bolt-on replacement that is smaller and looks better?

If I do go for it, I will have everything serviced/new (heater core, compressor, etc.) I must admit I am a bit jazzed about having ac, even though I have a convertible. I know there are some aftermarket kits that bolt on below the dash, but if you can have one hidden, why not? And, if it'll increase the value of the car, that's also a plus. (This is rare on a '69, isn't it?) At the same time, I don't want to have the ac and never use it. here's a question. If, for whatever reason, I want to take out the compressor, can I do it and put in my old pulley system and plug the ac hoses (if that's what you do)?
-Will
 

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The previous post asked a lot of valid questions about this little task. I also have a few to add to it. I have a 69 conv with factory air, and the A/C system in 69 was never that great. The evaporator was designed too small. If you run R134 instead of R12, that will decrease it's cooling ability even more. If you are like me, though, you just want the A/C, you don't care that much about using it. In that case, do it.

Another item I caught was you have a 351 cleveland. Most, and I thought all, 69's had 351 Windsors. So if it is coming off a car with a 351 Windsor, you could have trouble finding the right brackets to fit it on a 351 Cleveland.

The drier should be replaced before installation. Use O rings that are compatible with R134, even if you do not use it.

Good luck,
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The engine is indeed a 351 cleveland, originally out of a '70. The ac system donor is also out of a 70 with the same engine I believe. I don't imagine the ac systems back then worked great, but did they more or less cool you down? Judging by the posts, no one is saying snatch it up, so it is something I'm carefully deciding...
W
 

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Most of the after-market A/C units use Sanden compressors. They are a lot smaller and more efficient. You can get one in polished aluminum with a chrome pulley cover. They look pretty good. They take different mounts though. Take a look at Vintage Air or similar vendor. You might want to buy a few new parts to go with the old system.
 

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If you do this, take the heater box apart and put in a new heater core(pressure test it first!!) and also check the evaporator. They are copper and are usually good. Classic Auto Air has come out with a larger, more coils, evaporator that is supposed to improve cooling. This is an area in your Mustang that you would NOT want to revisit with a leaky heater core!! :horror: Would also start with a new condenser and dryer. It's not a cheap "DO" but can understand someone wanting AC. Re the compressor, go with a Sanden. Have had Sandens in two Mustangs, and they beat the "Dork" brand. I painted mine Satin Black and put a Ford Air Cond tag on it. Leaving it in aluminum calls attention to a non original part. The paint makes it look a bit more like it belongs! Forgot! Opinion.....If available, use R-12 Freon. There is a noticeable difference in cooling, is not corrosive like 134 and operates with far less pressure.
 

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Make damn sure he knows that there is a difference in the 69 and 70 underdash wiring. You will have to have a 69 underdash harness that has A/C. There are too many differences in the 70 harness to make it work.

I went with a Sanden unit off of ebay. I paid $75 for it and will a little polishing it turned out nicely. There is also a company on ebay selling the upgraded condensors for the 69/70 for around $80. Using an original condensor and R134a will not yield very cold air. It's alot of work but does add value to your car. Keep in mind that if you decide to sell it and someone gets a marti report of your car, it won't show A/C on the report. I doubt you care cause you have a cleveland in a 69 car and clevelands weren't available for production cars in 69 (only a few prototype cars came with clevelands in 69). It is a nice option, but alot of work. A short list of things that will needed to be done:

Remove upper and lower dash completely. Remove entire underdash harness (which also exits through the firewall and to the engine and alternator). Remove the old heater box and vents, drill the large hole in the passenger side of the firewall. Then install the condensor to the radiator support, buy a new evaporator and keep it plugged until the hoses and system is hooked up (otherwise it will suck in moisture from outside and it will be useless), hook up all necessary brackets and pulleys along with the compressor, install A/C boxes and run the new A/C underdash harness, run new coolant lines to the compressor and condensor, run the vacuum lines from the A/C and heater controls to all the ports on the A/C boxes, install lower and upper dash, run the motor with a vacuum hooked up to the compressor to rid the system of moisture, charge A/C and check for leaks. It is ALOT of work and time, but is definitely a nice accessory
 

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There are LOTS and LOTS of little detail parts that you need to retrofit a true factory AC setup from one car to another and if any of those parts are missing you are screwed. I did this conversion in a 67 (which is easier than a 69) and I will never do it again. It turned out that the original hoses, condensor, compressor, drier, and evaporator were all no good and had to be replaced.

Knowing what I do about the difficulty in servicing the under dash box in a 69 I'm not optimistic that you are going to get off with $600 labor if you attempt this swap.

If you want AC the most cost-effective thing you can do is get one of the complete kits from Classic Auto Air or Vintage Air. Everything is there that you need to do the conversion and it is all new parts.
 
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