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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:33 am    Post subject: In Dash A/C Reply with quote

Ok, I know that there are threads on retrofitting AC into a Vanagon dash.
I want to go on to a differ vein here.
I've got "factory" air in my van. takes up the entire rear area above the rear bed. I'd like to utilize that storage space and i, told it doesnt work very well. it freezes out the back seat while the front passengers roast! I've no rear passengers to worry about but I want to be cool up front, just like i am in my modern sedans I drive. Cold air blowing on my face and sweat free!

I want to Keep things stock. Utilize Same heating system, using the same controls......... just add AC with as few modifications as is possible leaving the dash when finished as factory as it looks now.

What I've discovered on my Internet search.........

Behr at one point offered a aftermarket kit, but I've never seen one or pictures of one.

small car.com offers an installed retrofit inside the dash.
http://www.smallcar.com/index.php?dispatch=pages.view&page_id=62
This sets one back just shy of $4000! It also relocates the radio and kind of "messes" up the stock dash but not badly.

https://sites.google.com/site/blakeheinlein2/vanagon-airconditioning ........ Installed an entire Heating/Cooling assembly from Vintage Air replacing the stock air handling unit. The issue with this is how badly the dash was modified with a repurposed instrument cluster to hold the radio! Not at all attractive.....SORRY! Embarassed
I did snag a few photos of his installation to help me illustrate what I want to do.......... Thank you! See all his photos at this link.......
http://picasaweb.google.com/blakeheinlein/VanagonAirConditioningInstall#

Ok, I'm looking at Vintage Air......
http://www.vintageair.com/2012catalog/2012%20Vintage%20Air%20Complete%20Catalog%20web.pdf.
And I'm looking at the Special Applications section, specifically the 05000-VUX-A.

I removed my glove box and doing some measuring I can get this unit in there above the reinforcement rail if I trim the top of the mating flange off. Not the flange, just the extra metal above it...........
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


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


The only issue is that the unit is 16" long. It fits...... But without a lot of wiggle room.
I will also need to lengthen and reroute the passenger side vent hose.... Easy, no biggie.

The unit is also tall but I called the company and that top plenum is just plastic, plastic I do not need. So if I cut off all of the individual outlet ports that will leave me with one large square outlet port.

Depth is fine, I'll need to trim the glove box losing a good portion of it but that is minor loss! I can creat a new drawer glove box utilizing that space under the front seats! Smile ................
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I've located another unit that doesn't have the heater core in it and is just AC. The unit is the same height and depth but is only 13" long...........
It is from Old Air Products and just the Evaporator IP2000-T is $575, well above Vintage Airs unit at $375!
Excuse the picture, best that is available but it looks very similar to the Vintage Air unit.........
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


---------------------------
Ok, WHERE IS THE COLD AIR GOING TO GO???
-----------------------------------
Well, here's what I'm thinking........
The heater assembly is mounted mid dash behind the radio, above the crash reinforcement and against the front of the car.
There are two triangle holes that let in the fresh air for the heater.......AND THE MICE!!!!...........
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Unit removed showing holes.........
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here is a close up of the Passenger side of the unit, see the round hole? That feeds the passenger door vent. Inside that hole is a flap to open and close the fresh air intake. The is a large triangular space where the unit mounts to the dash holes, this space is where the mice build nests. Smile ...............
On this photo that triangle is in the area of the red circle saying "screw". The pin above the round hole is the hinge for the air flap.........
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I plan on cutting out that triangle plastic and making an input duct from the Evaporator to this new hole, I will do both sides if needed.
A disassembled air box to help visualize what I intend to do......
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Not having a way to shut off and turn on the fresh air and to prevent the hot outside air from diluting my expensive cold air, I will simply close up those holes that provide fresh air making a system that only recirculates cabin air.

I imagine you could create a new flap system to control this but honestly, I almost always recycle interior air in both the Winter and the Summer. I would lose out on the cool fresh air in those times when you don't want heat or AC, but that's a small price to pay for good AC.

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


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



(In process, just didn't want to lose this)

Dave
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Last edited by djkeev on Thu Sep 19, 2013 11:51 am; edited 6 times in total
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Summers420us
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neat idea. All the front AC options I have seen are pretty pricey. Is cost point a factor for you? Watching with interest.
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DLJ
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:07 am    Post subject: air Reply with quote

I understand that the Behr Air conditioner is pretty good. There are a few people I know that are installing them now and I anxiously await their results.
I have a complete Behr that I was going to install in my syncro,but have decided not at this time. Lots of work.
Behr can be purchased when available for $200.00 to over $400.00. Check Samba want ads.
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costal_cat
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is the need for the AC system up front simply that the AC isn't working well that exists or you do not have one?

In my 87 westy the AC is damn cold my wife and daughters are always asking to turn it down.

One thing I did do was take the vent in the back closest to the closet and made a plastic cover. I took out the vent and took a piece of rubber hosing and inserted that well into the AC enclosure. From there I ran the hose along side the little storage rail above the stove and drop it down right above the driver seat. The cold Air is then dumped right into the front of the Van. I added a 12v Fan right there attached to that same storage rail that helps move it around.

The air flows out strong on 4 and 3 and as expected is a little weaker on 2 or 1 with the AC fan. I should note that in the summer I also block off the fresh air from the outside.. Even on the hottest NC summer days I run very cool so much so that I would never look at the cost of an AC up front unless it was a super easy $200 thing.

Pretty simple set up took maybe 15 mins to do....
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djkeev Premium Member
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

costal_cat wrote:
Is the need for the AC system up front simply that the AC isn't working well that exists or you do not have one?

In my 87 westy the AC is damn cold my wife and daughters are always asking to turn it down.

One thing I did do was take the vent in the back closest to the closet and made a plastic cover. I took out the vent and took a piece of rubber hosing and inserted that well into the AC enclosure. From there I ran the hose along side the little storage rail above the stove and drop it down right above the driver seat. The cold Air is then dumped right into the front of the Van. I added a 12v Fan right there attached to that same storage rail that helps move it around.

The air flows out strong on 4 and 3 and as expected is a little weaker on 2 or 1 with the AC fan. I should note that in the summer I also block off the fresh air from the outside.. Even on the hottest NC summer days I run very cool so much so that I would never look at the cost of an AC up front unless it was a super easy $200 thing.

Pretty simple set up took be 15 mins to do....


Pictures?

My unit is old and rotten needing an upgrade anyway. When I am finished I will have a new 2013 AC system in my Van. New Compressor, pipes, hoses, rec/dryer, condenser, evaporator and controls...... All designed for 134a.

Early number crunching has me at well less than $1500! Smile

Plus...... I will gain significant storage space.

Dave
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http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=392473

Vanagon
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6315537#6315537

Beetle
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=482968&highlight=74+super+vert
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costal_cat
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djkeev wrote:
costal_cat wrote:
Is the need for the AC system up front simply that the AC isn't working well that exists or you do not have one?

In my 87 westy the AC is damn cold my wife and daughters are always asking to turn it down.

One thing I did do was take the vent in the back closest to the closet and made a plastic cover. I took out the vent and took a piece of rubber hosing and inserted that well into the AC enclosure. From there I ran the hose along side the little storage rail above the stove and drop it down right above the driver seat. The cold Air is then dumped right into the front of the Van. I added a 12v Fan right there attached to that same storage rail that helps move it around.

The air flows out strong on 4 and 3 and as expected is a little weaker on 2 or 1 with the AC fan. I should note that in the summer I also block off the fresh air from the outside.. Even on the hottest NC summer days I run very cool so much so that I would never look at the cost of an AC up front unless it was a super easy $200 thing.

Pretty simple set up took be 15 mins to do....


Pictures?

My unit is old and rotten needing an upgrade anyway. When I am finished I will have a new 2013 AC system in my Van. New Compressor, pipes, hoses, rec/dryer, condenser, evaporator and controls...... All designed for 134a.

Early number crunching has me at well less than $1500! Smile

Plus...... I will gain significant storage space.

Dave



Sure. I'm at work but when i get a sec i will run down to the parking lot and snap a few.....
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Howesight
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my DIY front AC system. Since you already have the compressor and condenser, it should be easier for you than for me since my Westy did not have AC to begin with.

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


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


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


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


I have actually been curious as to how much interest there would be if I made a kit for this install. I would have to get a plastics shop to make an injection mold or make a fibreglass mold to replicate the tight fit needed for the evaporator box.

I would do two different kits, perhaps three. The "A" kit would be for installing front AC in a vanagon with factory AC. The "B" kit would also be for a factory AC Vanagon, but allow the user to retain the rear AC and add the front AC unit. The "C" kit would be for front AC on a non-AC van.

The idea would be to provide a complete kit for any such install together with proper instructions. Anyone wanting to replicate my design in my thread (see here: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=535444&highlight=diy+front+air+conditioning ) is welcome to do so, (if you are as frugal as me), but I think there might be some interest in a plug-and-play solution for the Vanagon. This would not be a charity for me, but I would price competitively.

Anyone installing a front AC system has to take into account the tremendous importance of re-sealing the factory heater/air distribution box to prevent ambient air ingress and installing a proper heater control valve to keep all hot coolant out of the front heater core.

This unit has unbelievable cooling power as I have installed it, but I used an aftermarket high-efficiency condenser and also used RedTek as a refrigerant.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm very interested in the C kit, competitively priced. I have a non-AC '84 westy.

Would that include the stereo housing pictured so the driver could still reach the controls? Very Happy

Would that do away with the front heater source then?

Plug and play is nice...
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My system (and any kit I would make), is configured as follows:

1. The factory heater and heater box is retained.
2. The outlets from the heater box to the far right and far left vents are not used and instead, those vents are used for AC air.
3. The AC flows out of 4 vents being the two existing ones plus two added at the centre;
4. I could replicate the Audi part that my radio sits in. I got it at an Audi "pick-n-pull". I have never seen another one before nor since. This requires a fairly large opening to be cut into the dash, but looks fairly "factory".
5. I now know how to make my install work with a completely stock Vanagon heater/air box. I modified mine for clearance, but later determined I did not need to.
6. I specifically decided not to go with electronic flap controls because I like the Vanagon factory system that allows you to blend floor heat flow, defrost flow, and heater temp. Electronic mode controls are usually on/off, not blending.
7. My AC system is not at all connected to the Vanagon heater box and runs as a stand-alone, but is a great de-humidifier to use on foggy/rainy days along with the running the factory windshield defroster at the same time.
8. I used switches in VW or Audi bezels to look "factory". I covered a hole in the dash face (from the old cig lighter location) with an escutcheon and 12V outlet from a '90's Audi.

If I made a kit, I would want to simplify and integrate a bunch of parts that I made by hand.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like it! AC will make our van livable for the rest of the family.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would definitely be interested in the "B" kit - that is, once I'm done repairing the rear A/C.

No such thing as too much cool air!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you describe what variation B would entail
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Vintage Air Gen II will fit in place of the stock heater core/box and will provide heat and AC. Some have said that you must relocate your radio with this installation, however I found that not to be the case and that there is sufficient room for the radio installed in the stock location. You do need to install a duct in place of the ash tray with this set up. Works pretty well for me.
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Howesight I could be interested in your kit.
I have a non AC rig and a good AC compressor from a subie install. I also just had my heater box rebuilt so that's all good. I was considering a Vintage Air heat/ac unit for some later time.
also was considering how I might make my instrument cowl wider so the radio would fit inside it. or one of those full with dash toppers with the flip out desk thing to add room for venting.

also you might consider vaccufoming a pair of shells for the air box like the heat box. seems like less work then laminating fiberglass or injection.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it would be AWESOME to move the stock rear AC to the front, thus freeing up the overhead storage space in the back. I would spend up to $350 on a kit to do this.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm interested in option "A".
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Red Beard wrote:
I think it would be AWESOME to move the stock rear AC to the front, thus freeing up the overhead storage space in the back. I would spend up to $350 on a kit to do this.


Hi Redbeard:

There is no way I could meet that price point with an actual plug and play kit. Part of the reason is the front AC install does involve long hose runs and fittings I would supply and the barrier hose is not cheap. I would also want people to have a reliable, long-lasting system, meaning a focus on eliminating possible failure points. I think the aftermarket units are a good stop-gap, but the ducting is inadequate for really high air flow out of the vents, which is why I put a lot of effort into large, smooth ducting and a large evaporator fan on my prototype.

For those wanting to have both the factory rear AC and front AC, the layout would involve using a solenoid valve in the liquid line to control refrigerant flow to the existing rear evaporator, enabling it to be left switched off and/or set at a lower temperature setting when desired. The suction line would also have to be extended all the way to the front evaporator. The receiver/drier would be re-located near the condenser, and the front evaporator would use a CCOT system and an accumulator.

There would be two separate thermostats.The solenoid valve would be connected electrically to the factory thermostat for the rear evaporator instead of having the rear AC thermostat control the compressor function. Compressor on/off cycling would be controlled by the front evaporator thermostat. You could not run the rear evaporator unless the front AC evaporator was being used. This is the way most dual zone front/rear systems are set up, since there is always a driver in front, but not always rear passengers.

In testing on our trip to the Bay area in August, we encountered 95 degree ambient in a few spots with a bright sun adding to the mid-day heat load. By aiming the centre ducts rearward and having the front evaporator blower fan on highest speed (an admittedly loud setting), our ornery teenager in the back bench seat was comfortably cool. By this I intend to dissuade all who do not live in exceedingly hot areas to add rear AC unless they are really certain they need it.

Anyway, before we all get too carried away, I need to do a few calculations before getting even a rough sense of price IF I decided to create and offer such a kit.

Anyone with a non-AC or non-Syncro vanagon would also find that they have the smaller, weaker, rad fan and should upgrade to the larger version.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would be very interested in the A kit, very.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scubabrian wrote:
The Vintage Air Gen II will fit in place of the stock heater core/box and will provide heat and AC. Some have said that you must relocate your radio with this installation, however I found that not to be the case and that there is sufficient room for the radio installed in the stock location. You do need to install a duct in place of the ash tray with this set up. Works pretty well for me.


Could you share some pictures of this!

I would be in category C of howesights setup. But have also had thoughts about either the GenII or Gen IV from nostalgic air. One big hesitation has been relocation of the radio location.

Howesight, does your system still allow fresh air intake?
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 20, 2013 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Howesight, does your system still allow fresh air intake?"

Yes, but not through the evaporator - - through the factory air box.
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