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Small Car AC -- should I?
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oceanair
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:29 pm    Post subject: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

Thinking about adding the AC and having it installed at their shop.

Does anyone have actual experience with it? I'm thinking we'll use the van more often if there is AC onboard. Our Van doesn't have any factory a/c.

Any thoughts or comments is appreciated!

Thanks -
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 12:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

I installed a Vintage Air system in our 82. Its a behind the dash unit that replaces the original fresh air heater box. Great addition. It will freeze you out on a rainy day or at night. In the bright sun during the heat of the day it makes the front seat occupants comfortable. But youd need a fan to cool back seat passengers. Well worth the money and effort for DIY

I think Small Car is doing something similar. It sounds like you want to pay to have it done. Small Car is probably one of the few places willing to even tackle it. So it should be fine.

If you Google Blake Heinline vanagon Ac install, he documented his DIY Vintage AC install. I used it as a reference and did it in stages over 6 months.
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 2:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

Small car uses Vintage Airs in dash unit but turns it into a Vanagon kit.

Dave
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jimf909 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:12 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

I don't have an answer on the specifics of the Small Car system but I can say that over the past week I've been enormously grateful for the factory a/c while driving though eastern Washington and Idaho with temps in the 80s to mid-90s.

I'm not sure if we'd drive the van less w/out a/c but we sure would be less comfortable and much more fatigued at the end of driving from Seattle to ID, i.e. I recommend a/c even in the PNW.

Enjoy.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

I have had my kit for over a year.

I want dual AC, front and back.

It is too much work.......

Maybe next Winter, just like I have said twice before.

It is a chore to install.

SmallCar is very proud of their work.

I really dislike the way the dash is done, so I want a more stock appearance.

Not with bolt heads sticking out of the dash

I also do not like the loss of the fresh air function.

All these things plus the fact that all new barrier hoses should be installed keep me from digging in.
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oceanair
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

I appreciate that -- but what other choices do I have?

The pic on their website are very low quality and it's hard to see any detail...

Thanks
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djkeev
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 4:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

Several have installed the factory system used from a (IMHO) short sighted owner who removed it.

Some have built their own in dash system fabbing vents and drip trays.

I started installing an in dash system using off the shelf parts but aborted the effort after discovering that my rebuilt rear factory unit literally froze us out if the unit!

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

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oceanair
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

Thanks for the tips and reviews -- appreciated!
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rmcd
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

Mechanical stuff is kind of easy dyi.
Fitting crap under the dash is kind of pia.
Wiring it properly to prevent rad fan Chernobyl...

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


A bridge too far for me.


I put in a cab curtain so I can keep the cool air up front. No way the ac does anything in the back.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.



Lots of info here. https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=591615


Lots of pictures here.

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_search.php?search_keywords=small+car+ac

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/album_search.php?search_keywords=Smallcar+ac
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

oceanair wrote:
Thanks for the tips and reviews -- appreciated!


Installing just the front right now to see how good it works.

Leaving the option open to make the rear work again.

The AC guy who is helping gave LOTS of helpful hints to make the rear work.

Too much for me to grasp completely.

So things are being plumbed so the rear can be hooked up later.

Requires a second condenser under the van too for that.

Plus some valving I do not quite understand.

Basically you can NOT expect the pump to run two systems at the same time.

I have to stick with a new R134 Subaru pump that just does not have enough CCs / revolution to handle it.

My goal is to have a heater that actually works rather than just being on a trickle all the time (Summer and Winter....ugh that's bad,) a fan that works and some kind of AC in the front. FOR NOW.

I HATE the rear AC blowing on the back of my neck.

We'll see......
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khughes
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
oceanair wrote:
Thanks for the tips and reviews -- appreciated!


Requires a second condenser under the van too for that.

Plus some valving I do not quite understand.

Basically you can NOT expect the pump to run two systems at the same time.

I HATE the rear AC blowing on the back of my neck.

We'll see......


Well, the condenser is the rate limiting component for sure. You can substitute a larger parallel flow condenser that is suitable for the larger, late model, evaporator (rear), but if you add another evaporator you definitely need more condenser capacity. If you HATE air blowing from behind, you don't really have much option but to install a front A/C unit and ditch the rear. Or, add the front A/C, and a bunch of other gear (hoses, condenser, fans, valves, etc.) to keep the rear as well as the front. Should be no problem with sizing a compressor to pump all the volume you need, in the same form factor you have now. That shouldn't be rate limiting.

I redesigned and rebuilt my rear air and I'm pretty happy with the performance. In Phoenix AZ. Still comes from behind, but...
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:54 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

khughes wrote:
Should be no problem with sizing a compressor to pump all the volume you need, in the same form factor you have now. That shouldn't be rate limiting.


NO pump that I, or two other AC guys with many many decades of experience, could find that would even come close to fitting the Subaru bracket.

We have a small pile of brackets too.

Please find me a pump with larger displacement that even sortof kinda fits.

As it is, the chosen pump needed a tad machining to fit well.

Any Subaru from 1994 on please.
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khughes
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

r39o wrote:
khughes wrote:
Should be no problem with sizing a compressor to pump all the volume you need, in the same form factor you have now. That shouldn't be rate limiting.


NO pump that I, or two other AC guys with many many decades of experience, could find that would even come close to fitting the Subaru bracket.


Same form factor" doesn't mean direct bolt-on replacement. Since you're talking about redesigning the whole A/C system I assumed that you wouldn't balk at fab'ing up brackets if needed. I have no knowledge about anything Subaru, but whatever form factor is in there (e.g. upright piston, rotary, etc.) you should be able to find one that can be adapted, with bracket mods/builds and adapting of fittings.

I would call Arizona Mobile Air, or AAPAK in Phoenix and tell them what you're trying to do, and see if they can help you out. There are no stock brackets at all for a lot of things they've put A/Cs in.
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MarkWard
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:58 am    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

Most factory dual Ac systems Ive come across use the same compressor for single systems. If I were adding a second evaporator, Id try my stock compressor before going to the trouble of shoehorning in a larger compressor.
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khughes
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

MarkWard wrote:
Most factory dual Ac systems Ive come across use the same compressor for single systems. If I were adding a second evaporator, Id try my stock compressor before going to the trouble of shoehorning in a larger compressor.


True, but going with a variable displacement compressor like a Sanden SD7V16 will give you a big displacement (>160 cc / 10 ci) when you need it, and reduce to under 10cc / 0.8 ci when you don't. They have their issues, but...
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r39o
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

khughes wrote:
Same form factor" doesn't mean direct bolt-on replacement.


Since you bring up form factor,

Quote:
Form factor is an aspect of hardware design which defines and prescribes the size, shape, and other physical specifications of components


So ya I want something kinda close. Not to make a science project out of everything every time.

Yes a Sandan high displacement pump could possibly be adapted, But I will leave the new stock R134a pump in place for now and well see how it does.
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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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khughes
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

[quote="r39o"]
khughes wrote:
Same form factor" doesn't mean direct bolt-on replacement.


Since you bring up form factor,

Quote:
Form factor is an aspect of hardware design which defines and prescribes the size, shape, and other physical specifications of components


Well since you want to be pedantic, why leave out the very next sentence from your Wikipedia quote? "A form factor may represent a broad class of similarly sized components,or it may prescribe a specific standard"

Jeez dude, chill. Good luck, I'm done with it.
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r39o
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

Hee hee, those Sanden pumps are significantly longer, too.

Not the same size class.

To use one, would require elevating above the engine and seems like it would hit the lid.

I checked this today.

The Subaru AC pump is a tight fit.

Id love to, but no cigar.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 3:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

I've a Vintage Air unit that looks like the Small Car version. Was in the van when I bought it. Good air up front. The rear is connected as well using the original condenser with a separate fan control. I'll occasionally kick on the rear to bring the van down but usually just use the front. I do have a new compressor that definitely puts a load on the 2.1.
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khughes
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2020 10:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Small Car AC -- should I? Reply with quote

RobdogAles wrote:
I've a Vintage Air unit that looks like the Small Car version. Was in the van when I bought it. Good air up front. The rear is connected as well using the original condenser with a separate fan control. I'll occasionally kick on the rear to bring the van down but usually just use the front. I do have a new compressor that definitely puts a load on the 2.1.


Well, if you ever get the opportunity, or just get a wild hair, to walk down the system to see how it's assembled and controlled, please post the info here. My very modified rear air does a decent job, but having a split system would be very nice. Don't really want to go through the trial and error of system design/configuration at this point. Thx.
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