Stock Air Conditioning on a 1980 Z28

Discussion in '1978 - 1981 Specific' started by MoarThrottle, May 7, 2014.

  1. MoarThrottle

    MoarThrottle Veteran Member

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    I've been poking around trying to see what i can find out about installing the AC vs deleting it. Seems like everyone is into deleting them for more power, which i completely understand! :D
    But when it comes to adding AC it seems the general consensus is that an aftermarket AC unit is better than the stock. Is this just because of parts availability or what?
    When i bought my car the prev owner was in the middle of a project so i have all the parts...i think :). So what would you do? Go OG since you have all the parts or go aftermarket? If so why? Something about gasses?
     
  2. 57Plymouth

    57Plymouth Veteran Member

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    Call Classic Auto Air and get the parts to upgrade your stock system. I was missing most of the original parts, so I made a hodge podge of street rod and conversion stuff work. It's not as good as the original, but it was the cheapest way to go.

    If you have all of the parts, the CAA conversion for a stock system will be the best of the original with modern parts. Everything will work correctly and you will get good cooling.
     
  3. MoarThrottle

    MoarThrottle Veteran Member

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    I'm just in the thinking about it, talking about the issue and looking at things hard phase. I probably won't be taking this on for another month yet.
    Logically i can see how a brand new system would work better than a 30yr old system. But is it just that overall there's different/better tech at work now days? I'm thinking back in 1980 people were happy with the AC that came stock.
    Also since you guys are waaay more expert than i am. Is there just some part that fails miserably and that's why it better to get a new unit?
    A brief rundown of the parts i know i have, assuming everything under the dash is ok.
    -Compressor - needs the belt
    -lines coming off the compressor- some have rubber hoses!
    -ball thing (vaccum?) on the passengers side right up on the fw
    - Grey cylinder thing that isn't hooked up but is supposed to live on the passenger side near the ball thing. I have two of these, one seems to be new in box.
     
  4. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    The "Orb of Mystery" (ball thingy which most people have no idea what it's for) is a vacuum reservoir and is connected to the vacuum controls which run the vent/heat/defrost actuators to control where the air goes.
    It's not actually part of the A/C system itself.

    Sounds like you have a new accumulator.... Use the new one if the other one was open to the air.

    Hoses... Should be replaced.

    The front compressor seal is very prone to leaking on these systems.
    If you're going to rebuild the stock system, I would have the front seal replaced.


    Getting R-12 Freon is another matter.
    It's quite expensive now and requires a license. (R-34 isn't cheap either.)

    Do you have the brackets for the original system?

    I've kept my original system operational and it still works pretty well.
    I did have the front seal replaced years ago and it still leaks down so that I need to add a can of R-12 every other year.

    Maintenance also requires access to a gauge set.
    Evacuation/leak testing requires a pump. (This will need to be done after assembly and before Freon is added.)

    I haven't priced out an aftermarket system but I'm thinking you could replace any questionable items (belt/hoses, front seal and Freon) and have your A/C functional for < $500.
    Evacuation & leak testing will need to be done no matter what system you use.
    Do you have the condenser? (in front of the radiator)
    Compressor brackets?

    Converting it to R34 is something I wouldn't do unless you are absolutely sure there are no leaks. (smaller molecules leak faster)

    Hope this helps!
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  5. twozs

    twozs Veteran Member

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    Front ceramic compressor shaft seals are supposed to leak small amounts to lubricate the seal . If your loosing freon , your loosing oil too . You have to replace some oil once in a while . On another note , the demise of the early systems was compressor failure due to lack of oil and the compressor would lock up . The oil leaks out with the refrigerant and everyone replaced the refrigerant and ever added oil . With The lack of pressure switches and the such , the compressor would engage durring the windshield defrost setting and that was that . With the compressor being the most expensive part of the system , the system went unfixed . You have to remember 40 years ago probably 1 in 10 cars had ac as it was a very expensive option
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2014
  6. hhott71

    hhott71 R.I.P 11/19/18 Lifetime Gold Member

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    Twisted has got it spelled out nicely for you.
    You can upgrade to a Sanden compressor replacing the A6.
    I sell an A6 to Sanden compressor bracket kit.
    A new Drier (or Accumulator) is in store any time the system is opened.
    R134a is the freon to use.
    For the best performance with R134a a New Parallel flow condenser with brackets from ClassicAutoAir is the ticket.
     
  7. MoarThrottle

    MoarThrottle Veteran Member

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    Last edited: May 8, 2014
  8. MoarThrottle

    MoarThrottle Veteran Member

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    Yea Twisted thanks for that run down. I was just thinking hook everything up and get some gas in there. (provided i had all the parts). Its seems that was a little simplistic lol.
    That R-12 Cert doesn't sound too hard. It's just an open-book test online, 25 questions, get 21 right and you pass. Costs about $20 it seems.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. Twisted_Metal

    Twisted_Metal Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Sounds like it hasn't changed.
    (I got my 609 certification a long time ago.)

    All I see missing is the accumulator(drier)and one line from the condenser,over the fan shroud and back to the evaporator in the big box on the firewall.


    You can see part of it in this pic.
    [​IMG]


    You're going to need a fan shroud too.
    You will NEVER keep the engine cool while running A/C in hot, slow traffic without a shroud.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2014

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