Adding Air Conditioning in the South

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JodysCars

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I live in Central AR and it is hot and humid here a lot of the year, oh yeah I’m a fat old guy also. I have an 84 K20 w/o factory a/c. What systems are you guys running? I haven’t really found any donor trucks so I don’t think factory a/c is an option. I want it to work 1st and foremost but I also want it to look decent. Hit me with your suggestions.

The most recent thread I found on this was a year old and incomplete. If someone knows a thread that covers all of this please recommend it.
 

Rickf

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I put a vintage air system about 10 to 15 years ago in my '85 CUCV blazer. The blazer has a lot more interior volume than a regular cab, so the a/c was ok in the front but not that well for the rear seating. Realize the CUCV's had no insulation or sound deadening and was heat absorbing dark green.
 

germando

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I have half the vintage air installed in my daughters 73 c1500. Installed everything but do not have it all hooked up yet as I am trying to finish the wiring and interior so I don’t have to do double work.

As far as the kit it is pretty plug and play. No fab or anything really, just bolt in on for the most part, plus it helps clean up the firewall.

G
 

JodysCars

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With Vintage Air does it have defrost and floor also? Does it use engine heat for heater or is it electric heat?
 

Rickf

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Best to check their website for available options.
 

germando

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The complete kit that I got has defrost abd the heater isn’t electric if that’s what you mean it uses the cooling system just like the factory heater. It is all just moved to one nice unit under the dash

G
 

Randy and Easton

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We did vintage air 1 year ago. Absolutely the way to go. Easy instal and works great. Engine heat is used and it has defrost and floor vents. We did it over a weekend and it performs as advertised. Great customer service and tech help if you need it.

Randy and Easton
 

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mikeoverland

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Hello all!!!!!

I hope that this post finds everyone well. I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the electric ac systems that you can get on fleabay for about 700$. my 81 is a no ac truck and to add factory ac would be a pain that i don't want to deal with. With an I6 and the 3 core radiator that I have adding a conventional ac clutch/pump assembly can be done but the wear and tear on a tired I6 would be the death of that old motor. An electric system seems to make sense to me but I would like to hear from the experts on the list (that would be you guys since I'm better at breaking things than fixing things)

Thanks in advance
 

Ricko1966

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@mikeoverland I'd do something like in the pic I'll post,a universal underdash evaporator/fan combo scout the salvage yard for some brackets and a newer more efficient compressor and condenser. Have some hoses made. I am skeptical of the efficiency of a 12v air conditioner but also just as bothered by the 70 amp draw.I suppose you can go with a seriously upgraded alternator,or add a second alternator and battery.To me a home brewed conventional A/C system makes more sense.
 

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mikeoverland

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@mikeoverland I'd do something like in the pic I'll post,a universal underdash evaporator/fan combo scout the salvage yard for some brackets and a newer more efficient compressor and condenser. Have some hoses made. I am skeptical of the efficiency of a 12v air conditioner but also just as bothered by the 70 amp draw.I suppose you can go with a seriously upgraded alternator,or add a second alternator and battery.To me a home brewed conventional A/C system makes more sense.
thanks for the advice. I didn't realize that they pulled 70 amps! gertting a bigger alternator is not a problem but 70 amps is a fire waiting to happen.
 

Hunter79764

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Most folks don't realize it, but AC systems in cars are actually pretty large capacity. It seems like a system should be kinda like a window unit, after all, a truck cab isn't that big. But a typical modern AC system is probably higher capacity than your house AC. Hard to nail it down, but anywhere from 4-6 tons is reasonable. It's not always USING all of it, but when you blast AC to cool a hot truck, it uses a lot of capacity. Even 70 amps of 12v power is closer to a 1 ton system, ok if you have mild climate and want to keep a truck cool, but would not have you very happy if you park in the sun on a summer day and need to bring the temperature down any reasonable amount.
Just my 3 cents (for inflation)...

If the main concern is pulling down on the I6, get a modern compressor and add a load switch to cut out the compressor when you're giving it the beans (either a normally closed WOT switch, or a vacuum switch). That's a common strategy on older 4 cyl stuff and usually isn't all that noticable.
 

kkgp81

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Vintage air and install yourself. It can be done in a weekend if you are comfortable taking your interior apart.

Still have to run the AC lines and install the compressor on this one.

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