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Vintage Air AC installed in a 77

 
Old 01-28-2016, 11:11 AM
  #21  
Richard Daugird
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Top notch work!
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Old 07-24-2018, 11:17 PM
  #22  
Jim__H
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Resurrecting this thread, it's the Holy Grail for anyone with a '77 who wants to fit a Vintage Air heating and AC unit. I have referred to it many times as I put my car back together. One of the trickier mods that needs to be made is an adapter for the center dash outlets that are not accommodated by the VA unit that only covers up to '76. I opted for a different approach than the common plenum design that Rotonda used. I chose to treat the left and right center outlets independently and fabbed two transition pieces that fit into the center dash piece and will accept the VA hoses.





I started by solvent bonding two sets of 45 degree 3/4" PVC pipe fittings


I then built and bonded a rectangular frame around each one using 1/8" sheet PVC.


Using a latex paintable caulk I filled in the voids between the frames and the fittings



Here is the final assembly in place. I painted the fittings and frame so that they would not be visible through the outlet air deflectors. Not knowing what type of plastic is used for the center dash section I used Gorilla glue to bond the bottom of the frame to the top surface of the dash section. Foam weatherstripping seals some gaps in between. I'll need to wrap more foam to the ends of the extension piping to get a good fit with the VA ducting


This whole thing would have been easier and more elegant if the defrost duct was not right behind the right center outlet but hey they did not design the kit for a '77.

I think this is goint to work, it's another option if anyone else is thinking of going this route.

Cheers,
Jim

PS Sorry for not resizing the photos but I'm on a six year old Chromebook and... not so easy
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:49 PM
  #23  
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Wow I can't wait to see how this comes out Jim_H.
I have a 77e AC car and want to go anftermarket air. I am missing half the crap that should be under the hood. PO removed it all and tossed it.

Does the VA kit come with everything you need to mount the compressor to the engine? I am missing the original AC brackets.
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:21 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by ConnecticutJunkman View Post
Wow I can't wait to see how this comes out Jim_H.
I have a 77e AC car and want to go anftermarket air. I am missing half the crap that should be under the hood. PO removed it all and tossed it.

Does the VA kit come with everything you need to mount the compressor to the engine? I am missing the original AC brackets.
Me too but it is going to be at least a few weeks if not months before I get it all back together. I can't think of any original parts under the hood that are re-used in the VA system, including the compressor mounting brackets. My car was a little complicated because of the Hedman 68301 headers that I put on but it worked. And my car is also early, built in Sept '76.

If you read Rotonda's thread starter, you know that two major issues with adapting the VA unit to a '77 are the controls and the center dash outlets. You need to fab some pieces for the outlets as I did above, and for the controls you need to ditch all original parts and install VA's universal control kit. If you want to see what that looks like, another thread that I started "Aftermarket radio wiring" has a photo of the upper console and you can see how I mounted the *****. So far this has been straightforward but I am just getting into the wiring. At the moment I have an issue with a mismatch in the part no. of the harness they sent me and the part no. referenced in the instructions. VA and I played phone tag today, hopefully I can connect with them tomorrow and find out what the deal is.

If you end up going this route, VA will try to talk you out of it but they will cave pretty easily once you let them know that you have a clue on how to make it work. They put a disclaimer on my order sheet saying that the customer knows the system is not designed for a '77.

Good luck,
Jim.

Last edited by Jim__H; 08-07-2018 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 08-07-2018, 03:53 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Jim__H View Post
Me too but it is going to be at least a few weeks if not months before I get it all back together. I can't think of any original parts under the hood that are re-used in the VA system, including the compressor mounting brackets. My car was a little complicated because of the Hedman 68301 headers that I put on but it worked. And my car is also early, built in Sept '76.
My car is just a bare shell now. It took me about a year to finish the frame/engine/trans/rear. Now I am working on the fiber glass and body work.I got awhile to figure out the AC system so I look forward to your updates in the coming weeks or months on this!
I checked out your other thread with the photo of the 3 **** universal control and think that looks A-OK. The style of those controls fit the rest of the dash just fine. Better then that sliver aluminum set they sell.

When you ordered your VA system did they let you substitute the basic universal controls for the 76 controls in the kit or did you have to buy those in addition to the full 76 kit?

Thanks

Last edited by ConnecticutJunkman; 08-07-2018 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 08-07-2018, 10:58 PM
  #26  
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[QUOTE]
When you ordered your VA system did they let you substitute the basic universal controls for the 76 controls in the kit or did you have to buy those in addition to the full 76 kit?


Good question. I did not receive the '76 controls so my guess is that I did not pay for them as part of a Gen IV kit. I bought it 2 1/2 years ago so the recollection is a little shaky, I paid $1500 plus shipping for the whole package.

Good luck with the bodywork. I had to replace my right front fender, if you need advice Dub is a great resource over on the Paint/Bodywork forum.
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Old 08-08-2018, 08:10 AM
  #27  
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Jim,
I was surprised to see my old thread resurrected! I was impressed by your craftsmanship with the center duct replacement and it should give you plenty of air velocity. as far as the controls are concerned, there is/was a person named "autowiz" who posted on the digital corvettes forum who put together a 3-D printer program that produces a perfect mount for the Vintage Air 3 **** controls into the 77-82 center console.

I have my center console out (It's the rainy season and I'm installing 82 pulse wipers into my 77. Willcox said its a b---- of a job and Ernie is right!) so I took pictures front & back of my console for your info. If you have any questions, PM.

Tom


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Old 08-08-2018, 11:26 PM
  #28  
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[QUOTE=Rotonda;1597751168]Jim,
I was surprised to see my old thread resurrected! I was impressed by your craftsmanship with the center duct replacement and it should give you plenty of air velocity. as far as the controls are concerned, there is/was a person named "autowiz" who posted on the digital corvettes forum who put together a 3-D printer program that produces a perfect mount for the Vintage Air 3 **** controls into the 77-82 center console.

I have my center console out (It's the rainy season and I'm installing 82 pulse wipers into my 77. Willcox said its a b---- of a job and Ernie is right!) so I took pictures front & back of my console for your info. If you have any questions, PM.

Tom


It's a must read for anyone who wants to put a VA unit in their '77. Maybe the guys at Vintage Air will take notice. Shouldn't be hard for them to design and mold a center outlet adapter and the universal controls work out just fine. Not stock but I wonder how much of a big deal that is to most '77 owners.

I should finish up the wiring tomorrow, then I am in the home stretch of getting my car back on the road. I generally don't set hard goals for my car projects cuz I always miss them but I am trying real hard to have it ready for the San Francisco Old Car Picnic in mid October. Thanks for the offer but hopefully I am done with the console. I was not able to find the 3D printed part over at Digital Corvettes, do you happen to have a link to the thread? Sounds interesting.

Jim
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Old 06-10-2019, 05:40 PM
  #29  
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I just pulled the trigger on a Vintage Air system for my 77 after reading through this thread.
I also subscribed for future reference once the goods are delivered.
When talking to the distributor while placing the order, he said that Vintage Air was developing system(s) for post-'76 Corvettes.
He said that they should be available in about 6 months.
Thank you Tom for blazing the trail.
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:02 PM
  #30  
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[QUOTE=wendellp601;
[b]When talking to the distributor while placing the order, he said that Vintage Air was developing system(s) for post-'76 Corvettes.[/b]
He said that they should be available in about 6 months.

I could easily be wrong but isn't the '77 dash a one-year only design? Might be worth a call to VA to see if they are going to accommodate it along with the later C3s.

I still have not gotten my car running, derailed by some unexpected projects the last few months. I'll get to it...
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:48 PM
  #31  
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[QUOTE=Jim__H;1599559242]
Originally Posted by wendellp601;
[b
When talking to the distributor while placing the order, he said that Vintage Air was developing system(s) for post-'76 Corvettes.
He said that they should be available in about 6 months.

I could easily be wrong but isn't the '77 dash a one-year only design? Might be worth a call to VA to see if they are going to accommodate it along with the later C3s.

I still have not gotten my car running, derailed by some unexpected projects the last few months. I'll get to it...
I have not studied in granular detail the unique design features of the ' 77 dash.
As Tom said in his original post, the 77 body/firewall is substantially unchanged from the 76 and prior.
In my mind, this makes the development of a ' 77 system at least some bit easier than 78 - 82 because of their glove box and different dash shape.

The next key point is the controller, in that the ' 77 was first to have the "corporate" GM horizontal slide A/C controls.
If V.A. can provide a solution that addresses the dash differences, along with a controller, they should have a good product.

I have a fairly customized center stack, with all of the gauges replaced by a large flat screen.
For me, replacing my stock controls with the 3-**** part that Tom used if preferred because of the other customization.



Last edited by wendellp601; 06-10-2019 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 06-10-2019, 08:55 PM
  #32  
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[QUOTE=wendellp601;1599559502]
Originally Posted by Jim__H View Post

I have not studied in granular detail the unique design features of the ' 77 dash.
As Tom said in his original post, the 77 body/firewall is substantially unchanged from the 76 and prior.
In my mind, this makes the development of a ' 77 system at least some bit easier than 78 - 82 because of their glove box and different dash shape.

The next key point is the controller, in that the ' 77 was first to have the "corporate" GM horizontal slide A/C controls.
If V.A. can provide a solution that addresses the dash differences, along with a controller, they should have a good product.

I have a fairly customized center stack, with all of the gauges replaced by a large flat screen.
For me, replacing my stock controls with the 3-**** part that Tom used if preferred because of the other customization.

The firewall installation on my '77 went exactly per the VA instructions.. Since the '76 and '77 cars don't have gloveboxes you don't have to worry about that. There is some trimming of the right dash panel and the VA instructions cover that. I have no idea what '78 and later guys have to deal with. The main difference is the center vent and you can see in the thread the different solutions that Tom and I used.

Indeed you do have a unique center section. Very cool but if it takes up more space behind the dash than the stock instrument cluster then you are in big trouble. Running the hoses from the VA unit to the right side vent is not easy and it is *very* tight. If your screen takes less space (is thinner) then you are good, actually better than what I (and I think Tom) had to deal with.

Tom and I both used the VA universal control option (3 ****) and mounting it in my car in place of the slider controls was a piece of cake. Tom's is a bit more complicated because he mounted some small circuit boards for some unrelated stuff. If I recall correctly you need to tell VA that you are using it so that they can supply you with the correct wiring harness, again I am not 100% sure about that but a call to VA should answer that. They are very helpful btw.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:26 PM
  #33  
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Great information here. Based on your write-up Vintage Air is the way to go.
I will be doing this soon. Right now I must put the top down.
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