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Custom Vanagon A/C: Under dash, under seat, or in cabinet?
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What's the best location for installing A/C in my non-poptop/non-AC'd '87 Wolfsburg?
Put in an overhead passenger-van-style "plastic octopus"
11%
 11%  [ 2 ]
Use something similar to the "in-the-upper-back-closet of a Westy" configuration
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Install an under-dash configuration
52%
 52%  [ 9 ]
Put A/C under the back seat with "plastic octopus" parts
5%
 5%  [ 1 ]
Put A/C under the back seat with "Westy closet" parts
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Put A/C under the back seat with "under-dash" parts
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Put A/C under the back seat with aftermarket parts
5%
 5%  [ 1 ]
Stick that damn A/C where the sun don't shine
23%
 23%  [ 4 ]
Total Votes : 17

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westy81
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:30 am    Post subject: Custom Vanagon A/C: Under dash, under seat, or in cabinet? Reply with quote

On Saturday, I picked up a 1987.5 Wolfsburg (non-pop-top) without A/C as my future pimped-out street machine. I'm planning on putting in a 2.5L Subaru conversion next summer, and will be fiddling with the interior, wheels, paint and other stuff over the next 10 months.

Currently:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Ideally (based on Eric Didier's "Vanagon S" image):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


My van doesn't currently have AC in it, and I'd like to add it. To make things more complex, I think the stock Vanagon overhead passenger van plastic-octopus vent set-up is gaudy. I have 3 kids and like driving through the desert, so want A/C - especially in the back of the vehicle.

I've heard of 4 different A/C configurations in Vanagons/Westy's so far:
1. the overhead "plastic octopus" passenger-van configuration,
2. the "in-the-upper-back-closet of a Westy" configuration, and
3. the under-dash configuration.
4. custom installations of A/C under the back seat (although I haven't found any details on this online)

Under the back seat seems like my preferred location - it retains the clean vaulted-ceiling Vanagon headliner, and would put cold air where I need it most: for my kids.

Does anybody have details or opinions about installing A/C under the back seat - either by adapting existing Vanagon A/C parts or by dropping in aftermarket components? For under-back-seat installations, would it be best to adapt "plastic octopus" parts, or start with a new aftermarket set-up?

(Note: ignore the Subaru-conversion part of this post for now - I can worry about that on my own, I think)

Garnet[/img]
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westy81
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As reference for this topic:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

More info: http://vanagonparts.com/ac_spec.html
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

from American 'conversion vans' have a DUAL Heat/AC unit under the back seat.. some are in the back side wall (blows up, not out.. Shocked )
these are a all in one unit, with a nice powerful dual squirrel cage fan and 2 to 4 duct holes.

you do need to be aware of OG orientation so that the condensate can drain out.. ie. an upright one should face upright, a laydown one should blow out the front..
in my local pick a parts they are CHEAP $35~ as they jut charge me for the blower motor, and the heater core..

for wiring and plumbing you would be on your own.. but it's REALLY NOT DIFFICULT, you can get the AC shops to mfg you up the hoses (the real $$ part)
I even have one for my baja bug Inline 4 conversion.

best.. Dan
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westy81
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan - thanks for the info...

danfromsyr wrote:
American 'conversion vans' have a DUAL Heat/AC unit under the back seat...


I think this would be ideal - I'll scrounge around local yards and see what I can dig up. Is this similar to what you're referencing?:
http://item.express.ebay.com/_Car-Truck-Parts-Acce...xpressItem
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


danfromsyr wrote:
you do need to be aware of OG orientation


Stupid question, but what is "OG"?

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ChesterKV
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok...here's my deal. I'm in the middle of an EJ22 conversion into my '84 Wolfsburg. The van has no a/c but since I'm moving to Hawai'i at the end of year I think installing a/c is worth the trouble. When I pulled the motor and electrical harness from the donor Subaru I also pulled all the a/c equipment including the condenser and evaporator. Everything that was buried in the dash of the car will fit into the passenger side of the rear bench..barely. I am going to try to at least get the a/c working under the bench and blowing cold air through the exhaust hole that the previous rear heater used (mine is gone). There are two speaker cutouts on the left and right side of the face of the rear bench so I'll convert those into intakes. I'm also going to insulate the SH*T out of the van to increase the thermal efficiency of the interior cabin. I'll also tint the windows. In the end I'll probably find it lacking enough power to cool things down in the front but if that's the case I'll consider running one single line underneath the van up into the dashboard and making something work......or not....


The Subaru a/c was a free bonus when I bought the car for the engine so it's worth a shot....

We'll see..


p.s. I expect the inside of the bench to look very chaotic a la the movie Brazil if you know what I mean
_________________
1984 Wolfsburg 7-passenger stock sunroof
1992 Subaru Legacy EJ22 boxer motor installed.... van is now sold.... currently playing with a 1987 Toyota MR2 with 1.6 liter twin-cam motor. Better than the Subaru boxers....... I'm impressed. Well, okay, in an "apples and oranges" kind of way. Smile
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westy81
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

freakness wrote:
Ok...here's my deal. I'm in the middle of an EJ22 conversion into my '84 Wolfsburg... Everything that was buried in the dash of the car will fit into the passenger side of the rear bench..barely.


Hey... I TOTALLY would love some pics/notes about your experiences & process with this! If I get a full donor car, it make sense to use the Suby equipment.
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ChesterKV
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

westy81 wrote:
freakness wrote:
Ok...here's my deal. I'm in the middle of an EJ22 conversion into my '84 Wolfsburg... Everything that was buried in the dash of the car will fit into the passenger side of the rear bench..barely.


Hey... I TOTALLY would love some pics/notes about your experiences & process with this! If I get a full donor car, it make sense to use the Suby equipment.



I'll eventually document it.......maybe October though...... Think
_________________
1984 Wolfsburg 7-passenger stock sunroof
1992 Subaru Legacy EJ22 boxer motor installed.... van is now sold.... currently playing with a 1987 Toyota MR2 with 1.6 liter twin-cam motor. Better than the Subaru boxers....... I'm impressed. Well, okay, in an "apples and oranges" kind of way. Smile
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope, not quite what I was mentioning, that one is far more bulky and gangly to install neatly.. US conversion vans from the 90s used a very nice compact unit ..

but don't rule out Street rod parts as well

this one should not be too difficult to figure out how to install, but is A/C only
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/R134a-A-C-AND-HEAT-...dZViewItem
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westy81
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anybody is interested, here's some info that I found on someone installing an aftermarket AC in a Vanagon:
http://blakeheinlein.googlepages.com/vanagon-airconditioning
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


It looks scary and expensive: $2200!

I'm biting the bullet tomorrow and am picking up a complete stock Vanagon "plastic overhead ductwork octopus" system for $100 (it has a smashed condenser - I'll pick that up in a yard). My plan (for now) is to install the back plastic unit and not run the ductwork all the way to the front of the van.
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wolfsburged
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what its worth, the overhead "octopus" setup from the late vans seems to be the "best" of the stock configurations as to actual performance. I don't find it to be particularly unattractive, aside from its clinical drab gray plastic (which could be painted or covered if you are going through the hassle of a custom interior). The rear only units will provide cooling to the rear occupants, but usually don't really move enough air to the driver. I like the fact that I can have overhead vents blowing down on my head and my hands, while the vents in the overhead unit going all the way back allow all of the other passengers to individually move and select airflow to them.

With the rear only units, you will have a tendency to freeze your rear passengers to death while you will be burning up in the front.

I know there was an aftermarket Behr unit to be mounted in dash.

If you dont want the octopus setup, perhaps you can build a dual zone system using whatever rear AC setup and an in-dash? I'm not an AC expert so I don't know if you could splice the lines as such, but that would be a nice compromise in controllability.

But when it all comes down to it... The easiest and most effective, not to mention factory correct for your late model Wolfsburg Edition (resale value, hello!), is the octopus thing.
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Lanval
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you should sell this one to me, since I don't care about A/C, and I'll include a finder's fee. Then you can buy one that already has A/C!

Dude, now that's a deal! Very Happy

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r39o
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've got the whole overhead setup in an 89 parts van parked in Costa Mesa. Make you a deal!

The under dash stuff is fine, I like it for a Westy. For the Westy you do not have too much choice.But, it is VERY expensive to put in.

The over head one gives you air through out the van. Works well and is stock. Not hard to install either.
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"Use the SEARCH, Luke" But first visit the Vanagon FAQ!

1990 Multivan EJ 22, Rancho trans 0.82 4th, Small Car front AC, CLKs w/ 215/65-16, homemade big brakes 303mm, Konis, Recaros, etc....

Click to see my ads for Cup holders, Subaru clutch fix and CLK wheels (no wheels currently)
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camo westy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I went to a street rod shoe (Richmond Nationals) last Saturday, the rods were amazing, such paint and workmanship.
In the vnedors were 3 A/C speciality companies, they have some small units that would work nicely in the front of a Vnagon as a stand alone unit used with a VW rear unit, or mount two of the small aftermarket units.
I spoke in length with one of the A/C sales guys, he had sized hundreds of units, and using the Subaru Sanden compressor, along with a stock VW condensor, running two evaporaters is no problem

The good news is the small aftermarket evaporaters were $225. There was one that would fit directly in front of the shifter or replacing the glove box. Also, these guys have all the plumbing lines, dryers etc, and good prices.

When I get the A/C going this winter, I'll have a front and rear A/C units.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Subaru Sanden"

Where do you spec and find those compressors?
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"Use the SEARCH, Luke" But first visit the Vanagon FAQ!

1990 Multivan EJ 22, Rancho trans 0.82 4th, Small Car front AC, CLKs w/ 215/65-16, homemade big brakes 303mm, Konis, Recaros, etc....

Click to see my ads for Cup holders, Subaru clutch fix and CLK wheels (no wheels currently)
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westy81
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I pulled the AC out of a '90 Wolfsburg yesterday. Like everything else, it was a job that was much more work than it appeared it might be: jacking up the vehicle, drilling out rivets, plenty of mounting brackets, removing wheels, etc.: although I wasn't keeping track of time, I think it took about 3 hours to remove the AC, and I expect a couple of hard-workin' days to get the sucker into my van.

I'm going to wait on it for a while because I'm chicken to install it and ruin my mint-condition headliner and back interior side panels.

Michael: I also scored by getting a set of those "black wedge window vent thing" rear windows for $30 and a pile of other rare Wolfsburg nick-nacks for $10. In the process, I also learned how to pull/replace windows, too.

"Black wedge window vent thing" rear windows, like this:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Garnet
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