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Thread: Factory Air Conditioning Kit Vs. Aftermarket Air Conditioning Kit.....

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    Default Factory Air Conditioning Kit Vs. Aftermarket Air Conditioning Kit.....

    I am sorry, I know I am adding yet another A/C thread. I did a search on the topic, but I need additional advice. I would like to add A/C to my 73 240Z. I am leaning more towards the "factory" kit because it is made for the car. Courtesey nissan no longer has the factory kits available. Has anyone had any experience with the classic or vintage air kits. I know I need to go with a modern Sanden type compressor. I have also read that the Honda blower motor is a good upgrade for increased air flow. Does anyone have any thoughts or guidence?

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    I'm not sure what you mean by a "factory" kit since there was never factory air for the 73. I'm not sure what you've read here, either, since there are threads that talk about what you're asking with regards to Vintage Air.

    As far as the Honda blower what questions do you have that haven't been answered in the long thread?
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    MSA sells the same kit that Courtesy sold. Their web site says the manufacturer is moving their plant and they hope to begin filling orders again in March 2011. Might be worth a call.
    Arne - Former owner, HLS30-37705, 7/71, 905 Red
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    Well, first of all, I put factory in quotes because I know 240Z's never came with factory air conditioning. 240's had a dealer add on air conditioning option and my car had this option at one time. Unfortunately, my AC has long since been removed. I know the dealer add on kit is rather feeble and is not nearly as effective as a modern unit. I feel like you are eluding that I shouldn't have written this thread because I should have found my information from the previous threads. I would just like to know which unit is better a dealer add on unit or an aftermarket unit. I am sure there will be many installation isuues with an aftermarket kit that I am trying to avoid. As far as the blower is concerned, some members say the Honda blower is better for air flow and other members say it is not. Again, I would just like some additional answers about the blower motor replacement. I am sorry if I sound trite, but I do not like to be chided for trying to gain information on a frequently discussed topic.

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    Thank you Arne for your reply. I will monitor MSA. I am sorry if I sounded like a jerk in my reply to stevej but I don't like treated like I am in idiot just because I bring up a well covered topic.

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    Well, something to consider is the fact that ALL A/C kits for 240Zs are aftermarket. The "dealer installed" kits were aftermarket, and not all dealers used the same kits. Some used ARA, some Frigiking, some....

    As a guess, the modern aftermarket kits (such as previously sold by MSA and Courtesy) are very similar to those used years ago by the dealers, with the obviously improved modern compressor. Other than that, much the same as what was originally installed in your car years ago. I would not expect the cooling to be much different than the '70s versions, although the rotary compressor will be smoother and perhaps have a bit less drag on the engine.

    Custom setups (such as Vintage Air) will be more work to install, and may require a custom heater box and controls, but are probably far more effective.
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    That's what I was thinking too Arne. I think I will go with the MSA kit for the ease of installation and the similarity to the 70's unit. The 240Z is fairly small, so the unit should cool decently. Hopefully the MSA unit will stand up to the brutal south GA summers which can tax even the most robust automotive AC systems.

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    Brad, feel free to remove the chip from your shoulder. You asked some vague questions that require some clarification to give meaningful answers.

    The key to your cooling will be how much air you can get through the evaporator and out through the registers. Carl Beck posted his experiences getting adequate A/C in Florida. Search the word evaporator. Also, I got a lot out of the book "How to Air Condition Your Car". If you want to read that book, buy a used copy. Amazon lists it for $50 new. It's not worth that much. There is another A/C book for hot rods listed for about $20. That would be much more reasonable.
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    Since you speak of 'brutal summers', I doubt that you'd really ever be happy with either the 70s aftermarket type of system or the MSA system, which is pretty much the same thing, as Arne pointed out. The drawback of those systems has to do with where the evaporator is mounted, in the passenger footwell. A system, like the Vintage Air system, is based on a center mounted evaporator like most factory installed systems and provide far more efficient cooling because of the shorter path of air travel. They don't have to pull the cooled air through the system to the center and then force it back through the vents.
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    FWIW, I installed an hvac system from Hot Rod Air: www.hotrodair.com. into my '73. I found them to be great to deal with and they were able to help me over a couple of rough spots. The kit came with a bracket that mounted the compressor on the driver's side of the engine. It was not a job for the mechanically inexperienced, but if you work on your own car it was fairly straight forward. The system works well here in Colorado. (This is where Darrel will chime in with "when are you going to finish the how-to write-up"). The old-style systems will NOT keep up with Georgia heat and humidity, so if you want to be cool you will have to go with either Vintage Air or Hot Rod Air. The install took me about a month of off-and-on work. It could be knocked out faster if you were to work on it full time. You will have to remove the seats, the console, the dash and the original heater assembly. The evaporator is approximately the same size as the original heater unit. Good luck.
    Cheers, Mike

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    Bulldog,

    Type in "Datsun vintage air" into yahoo and you'll get a write-up about installing a vintage air system into a 77 280Z. It's written by "Xenon"who contributes to this site and has a lot of helpful links.

    I know it's it not for a 240Z but it may help you out.

    Dave Ruiz

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    Unfortunately, Hot Rod Air is out of business, so Vintage Air is a good choice for an aftermarket system that can handle the heat!
    January 1970 240Z
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    I have the old style with modern 134a compressor in my daily driven 240Z. It works fine in here on the Texas gulf coast. It's not as good as a modern luxury car but good enough that my G37 stays parked even in the hottest day of the year. It's in the mid 80's here today with high humidity and the system had no problem keeping the cabin nice and cool during a 10 minute wait at the drive through window at lunch today. I think the key is to make sure all the under dash duct work is air tight, install the Honda blower motor and keep heat out of the cabin with tint, sun shade, etc.
    Steve

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    Actually, the write up on the Vintage system into a '77 280Z was done by zKars on this very site. Credit where credit is due.
    Cheers, Mike

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    Look over at www.hybridz.org too. I installed a custom system using a Vintage Air Gen III, modified S30 fan housing, Honda fan motor, custom hoses, etc in my 71 240Z. It isn't perfect but it will hold it's own in the thick humid summer air of SE Virginia. It worked well for me at ZCON2010 last year in Nashville, Tenn. I would rate it a 7 or 8 on a 10 scale. I wouldn't drive my Z nearly as much in the summer without a/c. When ZCON2011 is done I plan to tear my car down for major paint work and will revisit the a/c plumbing inside to hopefully increase air flow/volume.

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    Here is a link to the pdf for the 77 280z install if you are interested.http://www.xenons30.com/files/Datsun...e_Air_1000.pdf

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    I installed a VintageAire AC in my '66 Mustang. It was a nice system overall. It was cold, and the controls were made to integrate seamlessly into the existing instrument panel. The only thing that betrayed the existence of a modern AC was the eyeball side vents under the dash near the doors. They looked as though they might have been original equipment, though. (Of course there were no factory AC systems in the early Mustangs.)

    Although the system was well conceived, implementation depends on the skill of the installer. For instance, my system came back with a freon line arched up high and rubbing the underside of the hood. The fitting was turned that way to avoid the power steering pump, which was rather admittedly a rather rare feature for the '65 and '66 (so most Mustangs would not have this fitment problem). A more conscientious installer would have re-made the freon line to fit. I also had a fuse block located forward of where the left eyeball vent was to go, and that got covered up. The slinky tube connecting it was also severely kinked around an OEM vent part. So the devil is sometimes in the details. Find a good installer, be picky, and/or do it yourself (if possible).

    FAIW, in hindsight I think I would have restored/rebuilt the OEM Ford Fairlane R12 AC system I had (the system dealers were installing in the Mustangs at the time). I was simply terrified R12 would cease to exist and thought it would be prudent to go 134a.
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

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    My 66 Mustang had that awful large box unit under the dash. (Mine also had power steering) It actually cooled better than the York system used in the 240Zs. I installed a Vintage Air system in my brother in law's custom 58 Chevy station wagon. It cools that big 'greenhouse on wheels' as well as any modern factory equipped car.
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    I had the dealer installed A/C system in my car, and swapped out the old York compressor for the new compressor that MSA sells. It is mounted on the lower drivers side of the engine compared to the upper passenger side of the York unit. Lines now run along the drivers side of the engine, over the transmission, and through the firewall. Also changed over to R134. I have an aux fan on the front of the AC condenser (the part in front of the radiator) that I can turn on when it gets hot to help airflow in traffic. I also have the Honda blower motor "upgrade".

    End result is that the AC works well here in GA (need to turn it off sometimes) except for the hottest days (95+) when it works ok. It is not the same as a modern AC, but I am happy with it. Install still looks like the dealer installed system from everywhere but under the hood. The Honda blower motor seems to work well, but it does seem that on high there is too much air for the ducting design as I don't notice a huge difference between med and high, just more noise.

    Hope this helps with your decision!
    Doug

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    I had the dealer installed A/C system in my car, and swapped out the old York compressor for the new compressor that MSA sells. It is mounted on the lower drivers side of the engine compared to the upper passenger side of the York unit. Lines now run along the drivers side of the engine, over the transmission, and through the firewall. Also changed over to R134. I have an aux fan on the front of the AC condenser (the part in front of the radiator) that I can turn on when it gets hot to help airflow in traffic. I also have the Honda blower motor "upgrade".

    End result is that the AC works well here in GA (need to turn it off sometimes) except for the hottest days (95+) when it works ok. It is not the same as a modern AC, but I am happy with it. Install still looks like the dealer installed system from everywhere but under the hood. The Honda blower motor seems to work well, but it does seem that on high there is too much air for the ducting design as I don't notice a huge difference between med and high, just more noise.

    Hope this helps with your decision!
    Doug

    '73 240Z (HLS30-126840)(10/72) Yellow (64XXX original miles)
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    Sorry to dig up this old thread but I'm looking for information on my AC system. I have a 1970 JDM s30 which has an L20, and it has AC in it. Kats had mentioned in his Z432 thread that Fairlady Z's were available from the factory with A/C from 1969 (Japanese domestic cars, not 240z's) I'd like to know if anyone has any other data or information about these types of installs - were they factory or dealer installs, or perhaps the information is not really accurate after all, and this was a kit from the late 70's or 80's?

    Point being is that if it is true that the factory installed A/Cs, then it would follow that there is such an item as a Factory A/C kit for an s30, it was just not available when new in the 240Z, Z432, or 240ZG.

    This particular setup has a heater control panel with a different sticker on it, which has an extra setting for "cold" - for all I know it's just something that someone printed on their laser jet, but it looks real enough. I didn't get a look at the guts of the internals of this switch - car is being restored at the moment, but I'll try to get a few pictures before everything comes apart. Here is the link to Kat's post: http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/s...l=1#post338583

    Either way, it wasn't operating when I got the car, and I'd venture to say it doesn't work very well even when fully functional.

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    Former frequent poster sblake01's Avatar
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    If the evaporator is in the center of the dash rather than in the passenger footwell, its a factory installed system. I seem to recall Alan T. posting a scan of the factory system that we never got here in the U.S.
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    Found it!:

    Quote Originally Posted by HS30-H View Post
    As a matter of fact, the S30 was designed to incorporate an air conditioning system. The Factory was fitting a very comprehensive system right from the beginning of sales to the general public in late 1969.

    Of course this was on Japanese home-market models, and not the HLS30U.

    Whether it actually worked as well as some people would have liked is another ( different ) discussion.

    Another interesting discussion might be whether the original Factory air conditioning system was not offered on the HLS30U because it was designed for an RHD configuration, and only an RHD configuration - which would be interesting..........
    Quote Originally Posted by HS30-H View Post
    For reference purposes:

    Scan from the Nissan 'Service Shuho' booklet no.184 ( the first for the S30-series Z ) which introduced the new model series to the Japanese dealers. Dated November 1969:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    If this is the system you have, it might be worth restoring.
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    That looks to be similar- there may be some pieces missing. Car has a rotary compressor which led me to believe that it was at least a replacement, but this diagram also shows what appears to be a rotary setup. I was not aware of any company using rotary compressors in place of York compressors in 1970.

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    Here's a photo of the interior - on the control bezel, you can just make out the extra setting on the top lever for "cool", and the central lever is used for temperature control, ranging from "Heat" to "cool". The photo I have of the engine does not show the compressor.

    Apologies in advance for lack of clarity of the pictures - I bought the car sight unseen, and I did not bother to take extra pictures when I went to deliver it for restoration. I spent no time on the A/C - instead I was fawning over the condition of the series 1 dash and all the other lovely series 1 bits on the car.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    If it is a factory system, it would have likely used an early version of one of the swash plate type Hitachi compressors which would have been rotary rather than upright. Like I said, if the evaporator is mounted behind the center stack rather than in the passenger footwell, you have factory air, possibly the rarest of the 'series 1 bits' you speak of. If that is the case, it would work better than you think as far as cooling the car goes. Finding all of the parts for it could be a challenge.
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    Here's a few pictures of my installation on a 1970 Fairlady Z-L. This installation probably contains some Nissan parts, but may have been added at a later date. For example, the location of vacuum canister is under the passenger footwell in this installation, and not in the engine bay.

    I did not include pictures of the compressor, as it is clearly not a factory piece, with a home made mount. Center console has not yet been dismantled, so I will post a few more photos as things come apart.

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    More pics showing the guts of the temperature control system. Looks like there's 2 switches and a vacuum switch. I have no real idea what parts are original, and which are retrofitted. I can't seem to find any other pictures of the factory A/C controls on this site or elsewhere, so I've got nothing to compare it to.
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    Here is the evaporator and misc pictures. Lots of crazy stuff! I'm surprised it all fits under the console.
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    That is definitely a non North American market factory system. Like I said earlier, you'll probably have a difficult time sourcing parts for it.
    Last edited by sblake01; 09-24-2011 at 06:13 AM.
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    Just going based on the drawings in the service manual (and assuming that most of the other stuff is original) it looks like I might have everything except the F.I.C.D. and the original compressor/mount. Also I can't be sure that the crank pulley is the right piece. I can probably use some later Datsun parts for the compressor, but the F.I.C.D is probably unfindable. Thankfully that piece is probably not the most critical, and can be compensated for.

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