T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:03 pm

The primary argument for R12A is mostly that the pressures and cooling capacity etc more or less match R12..
(That and ~zero ozone-killing and minimal global warming potential)

It probably would work great for an R12 conversion.

My only real concern is where to put the condenser--- The original setups on T3s put it by the transmission, which from an airflow standpoint is next door to hell. It does save a few feet of hose, but barrier hose costs less than locally bought EFI hose.

I have been considering going with two ~12x12s or such in the front fenders behinds the headlamps with a stealth air intake in the form of gap above/below early wrap-around front turn signals.
I have one very good quality 10" fan I scored awhile back.

There's almost enough room for a spare engine ahead of the beam with a short/wide condenser, but I'm not sure It would like the airflow and rocks etc down there. More worried about getting the hot air out w/o boiling fuel.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by helowrench » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:31 am

Pile, the Green Monster's coil was attached to the front beam, actually used spacers and the tunnel inspection hole as one mounting point.
I think an airdam setup, using "brake cooling holes" would be sweet.

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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by dcstinger » Thu Apr 03, 2014 6:32 pm

I'm not familiar enough with the T3 to offer any help. I have seen many types on beetles and have come up with 3 options for my beetle (that I have not seen). Maybe one of these will give you an idea. I have been working on my project for 2 years now as money is available and will probably be getting to the final accessories (including a/c) late next year (2015). So, for now, these ideas are only ideas as I don't know if I can actually make the parts fit the way I envision, but I do have a fair degree of certainty since I work with this stuff regularly.

Option 1- remove (or modify) the sheet metal from the bottom of the spare tire well and install the condenser in the spare tire well. Install "puller" (not sure why but pullers always seem to work a little better than pushers, even when the specs are identical) type axial fans to pull the air through the trunk compartment, through the condenser coil and eject the air toward the ground. Fitment of the condenser could be either horizontal or vertical depending on how the parts actually fit the given space. In either case, some sheet metal ducting will be required to make sure the coil is sealed into the compartment to prevent the hot discharge air from recirculating back into the trunk.

Option 2 - Mount the condenser coil in a horizontal position between the frame head and fuel tank. Mount 2 "puller" fans in a vertical position, at the outboard edge of the frame head near the bracket for the front brake hoses. 1 fan on each side. position each fan to eject the air (as much as possible) outward & down & to the rear of the front wheels to get the hot air out from under the car. Connect the airflow between the condenser coil and the fans with ductwork. Make sure the wall of the foot-well above the "napoleons hat" is either insulated or not part of the ductwork as it will be moving heated air and can then cause heat to transfer through the wall into the operator compartment.

Option 3 - might not be doable, wont know until I get the body back on the chassis this coming winter (2014-15), as I am unsure about the space available. The idea is to mount a condenser in a similar position to the dealer installed POS, on the front beam, behind the front apron. I just don't know if there is enough room for a modern multi-flow coil + fans.

Concerning the refrigerant: When the use of "alternative" refrigerants became popular during the phase-out of R-12, many companies that manufacture A/C components became so fed up with bogus warranty claims against their parts, they mandated that no warranties would be honored if any refrigerant other than R134a or R12 was used. The parts are designed for those refrigerants, not all of the other witches brew, miracle formulas & snake potions that became available. Vehicle OEM's spend millions of dollars in R&D to make sure their products will perform as good as possible under the widest variety of conditions as possible and they ALL say to use R134a ONLY. Its easy to get and cheap and the parts you will use are made to work specifically with it.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:13 pm

Leaning towards a setup like your version 2, esp if I go with the reversed 911/914 lower suspension setup. (Still debating if it's worth the effort, it handles as on rails now)

I'm almost certain to go with 134a simply due to availability, but R12A is hardly "witches brew"

R12A is actually a commonly used commercial refrigerant, simply not approved for auto AC due to safety concerns, not due to not being effective, that's not even in question.

Note that R12A is standard automotive AC factory load in several Asian markets.
(they lack the deep fear of lawyers US companies have)
Last edited by Piledriver on Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Steve Arndt » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:17 pm

We roll with gas heaters already, no big deal :)

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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:22 pm

Steve Arndt wrote:We roll with gas heaters already, no big deal :)

Yes, ~1.5 pounds of recirculating propane in an AC unit is illegal/unsafe, but it's perfectly OK to burn it in a heater while carrying around a 20 lb or even larger bottle. (Think RV)

It does boggle the mind.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Bobsnotch » Sat Nov 01, 2014 5:31 pm

dcstinger wrote:I
Option 3 - might not be doable, wont know until I get the body back on the chassis this coming winter (2014-15), as I am unsure about the space available. The idea is to mount a condenser in a similar position to the dealer installed POS, on the front beam, behind the front apron. I just don't know if there is enough room for a modern multi-flow coil + fans.
That space between the front beam and the spare tire well, was used on some type 3 applications. In fact my old 70 Squareback had the condensor located there when I got it (everything else had been removed except the hoses). This might be the way to go for your application Pile, but you'd have to figure out what sizes you can get away with.

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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Sat Nov 01, 2014 8:01 pm

I have actually decided on a 11x14 4 pass mounted in the fender behind/under the headlight, with a ~rectangular cutout hidden behind the bumper.
Will work fine with the Maradyne fan I have, and will be plenty according to my supplier, will just have to make up some ducting. (fit verified, just need to get a round tuit.

I'll need to make up a "fender liner" of sorts to keep the water/mud/rocks off it while letting air get out, but that should be relatively straightforward.

The inbound plasma cutter will hopefully make cutting ~random shapes in sheetmetal a bit easier.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Tue Jul 07, 2015 9:34 pm

Actually have some time off, and getting the AC fully installed next week with any luck.

While ordering the balance of the remaining parts, I have stumbled upon either an alarmingly widespread pricing discrepancy ...or the actual wholesale cost of bulk AC hose. (the latter looking highly likely)

The magic part numbers are 55012, 55010, 55008 and 55006. (for #12,10,8, and 6 size AC bulk hose, 30' lengths.)
The brands are Four Seasons or Murray Climate Control (Both brands of Standard Motor Products).

Keywords: bulk AC hose

Depending on where you buy this its either $2-4 a foot (from AC resellers) or ~59-79 cents a foot/30 foot rolls, or ~59 cents for 100 foot rolls (varies some on size, but not much) EDIT: or even MUCH less...

You can get a "5 pound" box of #55006 bulk barrier hose Four Seasons for $12 on Amazon, or pay $133 (same MFR/part number, also on Amazon) from an AC parts specialist.
Your call.

One guy I'm working with tried to talk me out of it since "murray hasn't made hose in years"
Technically correct: Murray makes hose clamps and related products exclusively these days.

The Murray Climate Control brand was sold off to SMP...

I just ordered 60 feet of #10 from OReillys,(commercial desk only, mind you) $54 incl. shipping, would have bought it from Amazon (with free shipping) had I done this research earlier.

EDIT:
I'll be cancelling that as I just ordered 30 feet each of bulk Four Seasons barrier hose in #10, #8, and #6 for $40 (total) w/free shipping from Amazon.
(all from same auto wholesaler)

I also need to re-AC-ify the Porsche and redo the Vanagons plumbing, so I'll use all of it.

I should start installing custom auto AC setups for a living with that sort of profit margin.

Will follow up if this pans out.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:03 pm

Follow up on the "Murray/Four Seasons" bulk AC hose.
The guy guessed right, Murray "doesn't make it" anymore.
Goodyear or Continental does.

Got my first 60' of #10 already (It showed up before I could cancel...ordered yesterday :lol: )

Continental (or Goodyear, both make it) Galaxy 4826, made in the USA. .69/foot from OReillys Auto Parts.
Decent hose, not absolute top of the line but likely what most AC shops merrily use and sell for $3 or more a foot.

Expect same or equivalent in the 90' I bought off Amazon for 43 cents/foot (w/free shipping)

I suspect Standard Motor Parts//Four Seasons gets a pretty decent deal on hose if they can resell it for that.
Buying many ~kilometers at a time probably helps.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Steve Arndt » Thu Jul 09, 2015 7:47 am

What type of ends do you plan to install on the hose?

My dad has a giant bench mounted crimping machine to install AC hose ends. Haven't used the thing in about 15 years...

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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Thu Jul 09, 2015 1:04 pm

Barrier hose has a low permeability polymer lining that barbed hose fittings will cut, must be used with "bead lock" fittings.

You can buy weld on ends to retrofit older systems, but the total cost if you roll your own "kit" and can do the required minor fabrication is pretty small.

A good 4 pass parallel flow condenser costs ~$55-65 shipped.
An under dash evap/blower/tstat setup costs $100-$150, I've had mine installed for ages blowing the hot air from the gas heater around in the winter.

I went with used low mile compressors out of a junkyard, and make my own bracket etc, so the total cost has been a fraction of what off the shelf kits cost. (The Jetta and the Cabby both got "new to them" compressors, plenty of ice cold air)

You can get a receiver dryer, trinary pressure switch, and plenty of fittings to lay out a custom system in straight/45 and 90 including the test ports for ~$60-ish these days.

On front engined vehicles the cost of the hose is a very minor consideration.

On a rear-engined vehicle install, the hose works out to be the second largest cost after a new compressor, and can still cost more than a reman compressor if you pay the going rate of $3-$4 a foot, good hose for 44 cents a foot changes the economics greatly.

You can actually get ~toolless beadlock fittings for repairs/DIY but they are ~5x as expensive and look ~kind of suspicious to me. (intended for repairing a damaged expensive OEM line in a vehicle, without removing it)

I have the square, "the pile" 914 and a Vanagon that all need complete new systems or major rework so I went ahead and tooled up (over time, sniping good stuff when it popped up cheap).

Over a few years of "collecting" I ended up with the proper hydraulic crimpers and all the die, good Inficon refrigerant leak tester, very nice almost new $2600 Welch vacuum pump I fixed in 10 minutes ($65 shipped, some idiot ran it sucking on the world and it locked up, zero cost fix), and a couple excellent refrigerant recovery systems I rebuilt (easy/cheap to rebuild).

I picked up a nice set of thermocouple vacuum gauges at a hamfest cheap, and bought up some excellent large bore JB Zeppelin AC test gauges for a great price on sale, as well as a pair of refrigerant scales, one for $9 that only needed new batteries and a $5 seal kit for the auto cut-off refrigerant metering valve.

I picked up one of the recovery systems, an Inficon refrigerant scale, leak tester, and a recovery bottle (empty as desired) and 3 sensor temp gauge as a package for $100 from a local AC pro that had recently retired.(The oiless recovery system didn't suck, $35 pump rebuild kit w/all new seals, valves and ball bearings fixed that)

I should probably do something as I have all the tools to build/service AC systems.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:03 pm

Gettin after it last few weeks, finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel... Or at least cools.

12x14 parallel flow condenser and maradyne 10K3 fan (reversable) under R front fender, work in progress.
Air intake is at very high pressure area behind (fatchick) front bumper, should keep out most of the bugz/rocks at speed.
will be getting a front fender liner of some sort probably donated by a junker, leaving bottom area for hot air outlet.

It is fully sealed to the fender and innner body. Still need to fab a small air box on back so fan can suck on whole condenser.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Piledriver » Sun Aug 09, 2015 11:09 pm

Continued:
Hope to have the rest of the hose clamped into place, crimped and under vacuum tomorrow.
(too hot to get much more done today)

The pics are out of intended order but the comments are with the proper pictures.
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Re: T3--Under dash aftermarket AC unit review//install

Post by Steve Arndt » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:53 am

I'm still not clear on how you put the end fittings on your barrier hose. Did it take special crimp tools?

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