Author Topic: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?  (Read 4571 times)

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Offline 782:56gears

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Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« on: April 03, 2011, 01:54:29 PM »
I am considering this kit, but it is made for the '70-78 Camaro and will need some adjustements. They do offer a Pontiac kit for the engine compartment, but the items under the dash will require fabrication, though the evaporator/heater core is supposed to be bolt in using the same template as the chevy's. I"m undecided on whether to get lap coolers from an A/C car. I have obtained an A/C dash bezel for the center air hoses. A big difference is that the pontiacs had plastic molded ductwork instead of hoses.

Here is a link to the Pontiac compressor kit. I have seen their condenser offered for the T/A, but in a different kit.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1978-PONTIAC-TRANS-AM-A-C-Compressor-Upgrade-Kit-AC-78-/400137966342?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&hash=item5d2a14d306

I'm wondering if anyone else has tackled an A/C install with the Camaro kit? There are somethings you may not want to be the first kid on the block with.

Offline Gunner

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2011, 04:57:26 PM »
I've GOT one..............have yet to USE it................it was SUPPOSED to be installed in my car LAST JUNE...........but thats another story.

Gunner
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Offline 782:56gears

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2011, 10:50:59 PM »
Hmmmm......looks like I have to decide whether to be the guinea pig on this.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2011, 09:33:26 AM by 782:56gears »

Offline 782:56gears

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2011, 11:50:53 PM »
I"ve been looking into the kit further. The reason there is no "direct fit" is because of the molded plastic ductwork the firebirds have, instead of round hoses. Getting the round hose to adapt to the rectangular ductwork will be the hang-up in adapting the camaro kit to firebirds. The heater core/evaporator box is supposed to bolt right in.

Would anyone have suggestions on how to adapt a 2" round duct (it might be 2.5") to the molded ductwork of the firebirds? I would also want to use center vents and an A/C dash bezel.

If I can determine how to do this, I'll take the $1,300 plunge and be the guenea pig.

Offline Gunner

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2011, 09:40:51 AM »
Hey HEY HEY! There's only room for ONE guinea pig here ;D. That was what my body guy said. He'd have to fab crossovers from hoses to the fixtures behind the dash because of the plastic ductwork. The one thing that REALLY irked me is that that kit is ADVERTISED for Firebirds and Camaros as a bolt up fit. Also another thing is that the control cable runs will have to be worked on a little because the Firebird controls are all vacume, and the Camaro are cable controlled. The Vintage unit is cable controlled as well, so it might take a little fabbing to get it working right, but it is doable. Basicly you have to take the face plate off the dash control unit and mount it to the Vintage Air control head. Either that or look at some non stock weirdness sitting in your dash. One more thing I forgot to mention. There is a control knob with the unit that has to be mounted somewhere in the cab because it has a thermostat behind it. My body guy and I argued LONG and HARD about that one (I wanted to hide it inside the console bucket, or down by the accelerator pedal where nobody could see it), but it's going to end up, unfortunately, next to the rear window defog switch, because it has to be somewhere where the ambient temp is about normal. Not real wild about a non stock warble in my dash, but it is what it is. The missus will not get in that car without AC. :-\

Gunner
« Last Edit: April 10, 2011, 09:51:10 AM by Gunner »
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Offline eroc022

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2011, 10:27:53 AM »
got any pics of it gunner ? im about to do it to mine
Eroc
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Offline Gunner

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2011, 10:31:54 AM »
What kind of pics? Just of the system? Yeah I got a few of those. Installed? Not even close. Compresser and hoses were run but the underdash components never got installed. They're going to be moved over to the new car if/when it's being completed

Gunner
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Offline eroc022

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2011, 10:36:29 AM »
oh ok, thats what i was wondering was how the ducts match and everything....
Eroc
Fixing the car that Restore A Muscle Car jacked up....

Offline coreyvett

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2011, 06:40:37 PM »
Wouldnt it be easyer to round up parts from a A/C firebird an use that, or is there an advantage to the kits you are useing?
I have been looking into Vintage air kits for my 50 dodge. They are around $1000 and i believe they are based off of the old novas. Are the kits that you are useing more space friendly?
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Offline 782:56gears

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2011, 12:03:18 AM »
Here is a link to the molded ductwork that creates most of the problems with the Firebird A/C installation. It is the third diagram down, and within the most-excellent dash disassembly procedure provided by Hitman.

http://www.78ta.com/resto/rdash.php

This ductwork is for a factory A/C car and includes the lap coolers, which I dont presently have but could get from an A/C car. The problem is how to tie into the ductwork at the end vents and the center dash vents. With the new kit, the heater/evaporator wont link to the molded pieces, so one has to tie into the last piece at each vent (end, center, and lapcooler) or to the vents themselves. This is where creative fabrication skills are needed. I could disassemble the dash and send the end pieces to Classic (or Vintage) but then use of the car is lost after sending parts off, the dash is in pieces, and who knows when the adapted parts will return.

The only advertised direct-fit kits I've seen are for the 67-69 firebird. For 70-78 firebirds Classic offers all the parts under the hood with a Sanden compressor, but nothing under the dash. The 70-78 camaro kit can be adapted, but the issue with molded  hoses remains. Using the center vents from an A/C dash bezel is cleaner, but how to adapt to the large molded cover for the center vents remains.

This remains the hurdle for me. I hadn't heard about the ambient sensor, so that is new also.  The reason the aftermaket kit is atttractive is that the stock kit dominates the engine compartment and the firewall wold have to be cut, etc.

Offline Gunner

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2011, 07:41:59 AM »
Wouldnt it be easyer to round up parts from a A/C firebird an use that, or is there an advantage to the kits you are useing?
I have been looking into Vintage air kits for my 50 dodge. They are around $1000 and i believe they are based off of the old novas. Are the kits that you are useing more space friendly?

I don't beleive so in my case. The AC system in my car was in SUCH bad shape that it wasn't worth the effort to go round up functioning old parts, then cobble one together, THEN fight the vacume system, THEN get it converted to the new freon coolant from the old. Little did I know at the time that the "bolt up" vintage air AC wasn't exactly what it stated to be.

Gunner
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Offline golfswithglock

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2011, 01:22:56 PM »
I live in Florida, so needless to say, that lap vent is a must. I'm running the old style compressor converted to the new 134. I'll sacrifice a few extra HP for relief from this ungodly heat.
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Offline 782:56gears

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2011, 12:23:14 AM »
If interested, you can talk to Gary at Classic Auto Air. He's at extension 8029 in Texas. Tell him Burt sent you - he's a trans am guy and will help you through the process; when I called Vintage Air, they offered no support for the second Gen install and were actually discouraging about it - to me anyway.

Classic at least offers the underhood stuff as a direct bolt-in. Its the molded ductwork under the dash that makes it interesting. Maybe there can be more than one geunia pig at the same time. Maybe two minds can find a way to adapt the ductwork under the dash.

I"m still waiting on my chrome, rear entry compressor that was backordered, but shipped out today.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2011, 11:24:46 PM by 782:56gears »

Offline Steve9R

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2018, 04:39:02 PM »
I know this is a REALLY old thread, but has anyone actually installed one of these Classic Air Systems yet successfully?

Im going to undertake it as well.. started working out the brackets today for the new compressor.

Steve

Offline Aus78Formula

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Re: Anyone Done a Classic Auto Air A/C Kit on a '78 Trans Am?
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2018, 06:26:36 AM »
It is an old thread. In 2011, not that many had.