A/C suitcase install tips

Discussion in 'Tips 'n' Tricks Topic' started by Popper, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. Popper

    Popper Member

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    I searched for detailed info and/or tips and couldn't find any so i thought i would post up what I found during the R&R process. First, we all know that thing is hideous and I know the cool kids are putting in Vintage Air however i was on a mission to re-do the AC for stock appearance (at least for now). With that out of the way the problem is how to work on the fiberglass housing, AKA suitcase.

    Here's the wrenching part... I went to the trouble of removing the inner fender which BTW is not really that difficult and frees up a lot of space. With that out of the way i could see what i was working with. The suitcase is attached to the firewall with a few bolts, you will need to remember that some are a bit hidden in the blower motor area so make sure you get those. There are also studs which protrude from the inner heater core box so make sure you don't bend or mar those during removal. There are also 6 bolts IIRC that hold the two halves together. Logic would tell you when GM/Harrison was designing the box to make the bolts accessible right??? Well the bottom two bolts that hold the two halves together are a nightmare to remove with any kind of exhaust in the car... to take them out you need to access from the block (not the fender) side. I did a mod to this - i used my POR15 epoxy which dries rock hard and filled in the block side and added a little more for some mass and drilled out the fender side. This gave me easy access to put the halves together with the bolts as i had a straight visual shot from the fender side. If you are replacing the Evaporator you will need to unbolt everything and open up the halves from the topside, this barely gives you enough room to R&R the evap - it is very do-able just take your time.
     

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  2. Macsouthcarolina

    Macsouthcarolina Member

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    I ended up finding the half I needed locally.

    since my condenser looked like crap and for piece of mind I bit the bullet and bought the stage 3 A/C kit from original air. Hope to have it here soon so I can continue with my aluminum head and header install. Hurt the wallet but now was the time to do it with the exhaust off
     
  3. CorkyE

    CorkyE Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Mine was a real PIA also. Thankfully I live near a Costco and they sell 36 packs of Miller Light.
     
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  4. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Great information and pics!! :D
    I've been debating replacing the entire system with new parts ($$$) and puzzled about this part of the process.

    So.... The evaporator CAN'T be replaced by removing only the engine side of the case?
    You need to loosen everything on the fender side too?

    This pic shows it out of the evaporator box... And it looks like the bottom is still connected.

    [​IMG]


    Won't loosening the bottom two bolts/screws (and removing the other ones) give it enough flexibility to slide the evaporator up and out?

    I can get my hand down there and feel the two heads.
    I'm pretty sure I can get them loose with the proper flex-head wrench and a short extension.
    I really don't want to have to take the fender half loose from the firewall if it can be avoided.

    BTW... I also have shorty headers too.
     
  5. Popper

    Popper Member

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    MacSC - Did you get the Sanden style compressor or a real Sanden compressor? Sanden style is usually a (chinese) knock-off of the Sanden comp. No experience with the knock off's but i do know the real Sandens' are nice units. Make sure you flush out all the lines thoroughly (not the new compressor though). Did you get the new style parallel style condensor (not the evap)? Keep in mind if there is any trash in the system it can clog up the new style condensors pretty quick. I have read the Ford orifice tubes work pretty well, maybe better that the GM... that's just what i read so who really knows. Just trying to drop some info for you so you know....

    Twisted - Its been a while since i did this so this info is a little fuzzy. I think i had the bottom bolts/screws that hold the two halves together out and all the firewall connectors out when i put the evap in from the top side. I can recall pushing the fender side of the suitcase up against the hood spring for Evap install clearance so i'm pretty sure both halves need to be loose. It looks like more of a daunting process than it really is. With the inner fender out you have a lot more room to work with and actually see what you are working on underneath. If you are re-doing the system you might as well re-seal the suitcase on the firewall side. I am pretty sure that you know these cases are already brittle and even a little push or nudge may crack or break something.
    I'll probably end up putting a Vintage Air in as i keep coming back and re-evaluating?!??! I want to put in some dash speakers and clean up behind the dash so while i am there why not? :happy: I do like the look of the clean firewall!!!

    And i know some people down-talk shorty headers but for ease of install vs potential power gains and asphalt scraping of the long headers I'll take shorty's all day/every day.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
  6. kelvinJ

    kelvinJ New Member

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    Great for you man. Sounds a great deal miller light packs.
     

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