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Date:         Sun, 31 Dec 2006 09:02:50 -0800
Reply-To:     Blake Heinlein <blakeheinlein@GMAIL.COM>
Sender:       Vanagon Mailing List <>
From:         Blake Heinlein <blakeheinlein@GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: Aftermarket Air Conditioning
Comments: To: Warren Chapman <>
In-Reply-To:  <vanagon%2006123100524566@GERRY.VANAGON.COM>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed


This web site link is where I plan on documenting the A/C R&D project once I get equipment and start the work. Most likely my questions, concerns, and Vanagon specific part searches will be posted on the Vanagon List.

Currently Vintage Air has an in-dash unit called the Gen IV Magnum Universal. It includes the heater coil and the a/c evaporator in the same housing with the fan. Everything in the air handling box is controlled by servo motors and the control panel is wired to it electronically. No levers. The main difference up front is that there is no fresh air connection for this unit. Most modern cars have the ability to turn on and off the fresh air recirculation. This unit is designed for recirculating air only.

This worried me at first, then I started thinking about some of the advantages. If I can cover and insulate the ram air fresh air port on the front of the van I can greatly reduce the wind noise created by this specific feature. I also called V.A. and asked them how the unit worked in defrost mode. They said the air conditioner cycles on (removing humidity by condensing water on the evap coil) and the heater coil also heats the air. Unless I set up a bathtub in the back of the van, my guess is that after about 15 minutes of driving, the a/c will have condensed all the water out of that space and I wouldn't have to run it all the time.

Typical a/c systems always work more efficiently when the air is recycled inside the vehicle. So it looks like they addressed the fresh air issue and I'm willing to part with it so that I can significantly easy the installation process and hopefully reduce the highspeed wind noise.

My goal is also to have a very stock looking installation. This unit will be a no/go if it doesn't fit under the dashboard, but I'll have a lot of room because I'm removing the existing heater box. The control panel they offer has three nobs and will replace all the existing levers, the only disadvantage is that I think the. only color they have is chrome and brush aluminum, but I'll see if they have black.

The heater box shroud that you are referring to attaching the the heater box is also not much of a problem for me. A while back I built a console that goes around my automatic shifter and it conceals the entire shroud anyway. So if it goes away it wouldn't matter. Here are some pictures of the console.

My van is my second vehicle, so my goal is to get this installed by May so I have the summer to enjoy it. Once I start work the van will be driveway bound for 2-3 months. My wife, the wonderful Vanagon hobby enabler, has given me the green light to purchase the equipment. After many years of driving the van in CA summers on long road trips it didn't take much convincing.

Warren, Thanks for all the points you brought up. Keep bringing the questions because it helps me think of all the potential roadblocks before I get there.

Thanks, Blake Heinlein '84 Westy (2.1 wasserboxer conversion) no a/c, no p/s Sacramento, CA

On 12/30/06, Warren Chapman <> wrote: > > Blake, > > Where would you be documenting this blog ??? > > Six years ago I looked into Vintage Air units some...but I defaulted to a > Behr unit after the Suby conversion used up most of my "conversion" energy > at the time.... I figured that...with the Behr at least it was > "kit" > already designed for the job.. But the Behr unit was quite a job anyway. > > The V.A. units with all inclusive, heat, air, defrost in one unit is > defenitely enticing. Are you considering their "Supercooler" or a > different unit? > > Seems like a VA unit may mount to the Vanagon front box member that goes > across the front of the van with some not too difficult mounting > brackets.. > but will take a fair amount of creativivity...and perhaps some sheet metal > or other work out the fresh air ducting from the outside..... > and to have a sanitary, "stock looking" install when done. There will be > a > fair amount of issues.....not the least of which is what to cover it all > with once it's mounted in there. The stock plastic heatercover in front of > the gearshift is held in place by sliding into a couple of slots on the > sides the VW heating unit > > I've thought that perhaps it would be really helpful to have a parts van > around...or at least a front clip of one...that you can remove everything > out of the front and do all the work-up prior to tearing into your > personal > van. > > Lots of us will be following your R&D with keen interest. Keep us > informed. > > Warren C. > Moderator > SubaruVanagon Yahoo Group > 90 Syncro Westy w/Subaru 4 cyl and Behr front AC. >

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