A/C suitcase install tips

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

  1. Popper

    Popper Veteran Member

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    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.
     

    Attached Files:

    Oldskool62 and BillyDean7173 like this.
  2. Macsouthcarolina

    Macsouthcarolina Member

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 7, 2018
    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

    Messages:
    10,742
    Likes Received:
    625
    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2004
    Location:
    Ringgold, GA
    Mine was a real PIA also. Thankfully I live near a Costco and they sell 36 packs of Miller Light.
     
    joeparamonkey, Rdobbs1977 and kelvinJ like this.
  4. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,788
    Likes Received:
    1,350
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    Location:
    Bloomington, MN
    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 Veteran Member

    Messages:
    101
    Likes Received:
    13
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2018
    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

    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    4
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2017
    Great for you man. Sounds a great deal miller light packs.
     
  7. erhan ergin

    erhan ergin Member

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Hi Folks

    I am in the process of updating the A/C on my 70 RS. I could not get the POA valve off as it is seized on the evap. As I applied force evap aluminum U shaped pipe started twisting. I am going to have to take out the evap and see if I can remove it that way or worse replace the evap along with the POA. I got the POA bypass kit from classic air. I started taking off the evap suitcase. The two nuts at the bottom are very hard to get to as I have long tube headers. I can probably get the front but dont see a way top get tp the back one. Some questions that was asked earlier in this thread:
    1- Do I need to take the suitcase completely off to get the evap out or can I get the engine side and fender side loose and squeeze the evap over the top.
    2- I assume I have to take the inner fender off as I see no wiggle room for the case to the fender side
    3- I was able to get all the bolts off but engine side is wedged between the firewall and the back of the engine. I removed the bolts on the studs coming thru the fire wall but studs are quite long so the case will not come off I can slide it back and forth.

    Any suggestions when putting things back together. Do I need to use something to seal the case or just bolt it back up?

    Thanks for any suggestions.
     
  8. Macsouthcarolina

    Macsouthcarolina Member

    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    1
    Joined:
    May 7, 2018
    Sorry for the late replies, missed the notifications somehow

    When I removed And replaced my evaporator I only pulled the engine side cover. I had the heads off, so it was easier to get to. I also was using a lift (thanks Dad!) which night AD3 it easier to get to the bottom bolts of the evaporator box.

    the compressor is a rotary style compressor. I’m picking the car up tomorrow to get exhaust work done and will try to remember to look. Should have a report on soon. My mechanic finished it off with some other stuff and says it’s blowing cold
     
  9. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,788
    Likes Received:
    1,350
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2004
    Location:
    Bloomington, MN
    Erhan...
    If you take the third nut off the stud from the under-dash box (the stud at the blower motor end), you can pull the under-dash box into the passenger compartment a bit to get those studs out of the way.

    I plan on doing this job at the same time as I replace my heater core so the interior piece with the studs will already be removed.

    Try that method and let us know how it works for you.

    Good Luck!
     
  10. erhan ergin

    erhan ergin Member

    Messages:
    96
    Likes Received:
    9
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2019
    Hi Folks,

    I was able to get the evap out oif the suitcase and took it to a local shop. They took the old POA and the expamsion valve off without damaging the fittings. They pressure tested it and told me it was good to go. 50 year old evap still in good shape. I took some pics and will post them.
    The hardest part was the two bolts under the suitcase. Even after taking off the inner fender and dropping down the header they are very hard to get to. I am not sure why they put the heads from the engine side rather than from the fender side. It would have been so much easier to take them off.
    The suitcase had a ton of debris, leaves and crap. I am not sure how they can get in as the suitcase was very well insulated. Now all the gray insulation pealed off. I found someone suggesting 3M strip insulator. I am not sure what you guys suggest?
    BTW I can confirm the evap will not come out unless you loosen both sides of the suitcase. Even then it just barely eaks thru. BTW my suitcase engine side will not come off unless I possibly pull valve covers off.
    I am not looking forward to putting things back now. I hope I can get the headers to seal properly. I had trouble with this in another car not too long ago.
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page