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Thread: AC Installation cost

  1. #1
    Registered User lcord's Avatar
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    Default AC Installation cost

    Hello

    I own a 1972 240Z without air conditioning. The dealer installed AC was pulled out. I've been searching for someone to install one for me. I donít have the skill, space or tools to complete the task. I have my eye on the Gen II compac from Vintage Air. I currently live in Southern Cal and at some point will be moving to Texas. The quote I received from a shop in Santa Ana, CA called The Air Shop was about $3,200. That would include the Gen II, an electric fan and installation. Itís my understanding that this is very labor intensive. I just want to know if this is considered a reasonable cost or maybe they donít wonít to work on it and gave me a high quote to get me to go someplace else. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Larry

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    Registered User psdenno's Avatar
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    Might be a bit high. I had the unit that MSA sells installed with electric fan for about $1,600 a few years ago in SoCal. The unit you're looking at may be more expensive, but installation cost should be about the same for any unit.
    Dennis
    1971 240Z - Original Owner
    2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible

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    Z geek at large FastWoman's Avatar
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    I seem to recall the cost of a Vintage-Air system for my '66 Mustang being around $1600 back in the late 90's (installed). I know that would be more in today's dollars, but I don't know how much more.

    The system was very nice, but I think the professional installation was a bit ragged around the edges. The freon lines were pointed up into the hood (touching it), and the ducts to the side vents were installed over an accessory fuse block I installed. (The installer could have easily moved it, but he didn't.) If I had to do it over again, I'd install my own.

    Oh, and FAIW, your decision to install AC for Texas is spot-on. I can't imagine NOT having AC there. (I've lived all over the state.) I would also recommend you consider installing louvers over your hatch glass. It makes such a big difference not to have the sun beating down in your black-carpeted hatch! I wish I had done that when I owned my Z in Texas.
    Last edited by FastWoman; 08-04-2014 at 08:56 PM.
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

    2001 BMW Z3 Roadster 3.0i soft/hard top (sold)
    1966 Ford Mustang Coupe (sold)
    1978 Datsun 280Z (enjoying very much )

  4. #4
    Registered User lcord's Avatar
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    Thanks for your feedback. If anyone knows any other shop down here in SoCal that you can recommend let me know.

    Larry

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    Registered User Pop's Z's Avatar
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    FWIW, Probably the reason it's so expensive is that you have to remove the dash and seats making it labor-intensive. It is not a simple plug-n-play. About $1500 for the Vintage Air kit. V.A. doesn't make a kit specifically for our cars. The shop will have to make a compressor mount as V.A. doesn't supply one. I think the price is pretty fair considering it took me a week of work to put mine in, and I'm a pretty fair mechanic. The V.A. units are much more efficient than the old style A/C. I'm happy with my Hot Rod Air system (very similar to the V.A. unit), but unfortunately they are no longer in business.

    Cheers, Mike
    '73 240Z, 80,000 original miles, F54, N42 massaged and shaved (10.5-1 comp.), stage 2 cam, ZX ignition, Header, 2 1/2" exhaust w/ magnaflow muffler, 5 spd (Maxima), 4:11 R180 (200SX), 15" Rota RBs 205-60/15 Bridgestone Grid 109s, KYB struts, stock springs, rubber bushings, MSA sway bars and strut bars, HotRod Air hvac system, '90 300ZX seats, upgraded sound system, BRE-type spook and spoiler

  6. #6
    Registered User lcord's Avatar
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    Thanks Mike

    I appreciate the info. I'm feeling better about the cost considering all they would have to do.

    Thanks
    LC

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    Z geek at large FastWoman's Avatar
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    Just another option to investigate: You might be able to find all the used parts you need for an R12 installation. There's a possibility you might even be able to buy a remanufactured R12 compressor. The R12 freon is still available and is cheaper than it was, shortly after its manufacture was halted. You might even be able to do an R134a adaptation of a stock R12 system. The advantage to either of these approaches is that it can become a DIY project. If you go with R12, you'll of course need to have a certified/licensed shop evacuate and charge. I think you can handle the R134a yourself without any special certifications. I think $150 - $200 is all you'd require in special tooling -- a vacuum pump and a set of manifolds.
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

    2001 BMW Z3 Roadster 3.0i soft/hard top (sold)
    1966 Ford Mustang Coupe (sold)
    1978 Datsun 280Z (enjoying very much )

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    Registered User Kurbycar32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FastWoman View Post
    I think you can handle the R134a yourself without any special certifications.

    Even here in Kalifornia you can get R134a over the counter. Theres a core charge of I think $10 a can but anyone can purchase it. Also some parts stores will rent you an vacuum pump and some gauges
    Early 1974 260z
    https://sites.google.com/a/thecomputerrehab.com/260z/

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    Registered User lcord's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'll look into that. Good to know.

    LC

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    HLS30A 17574 djwarner's Avatar
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    Considering AC parts, compressor mount, building custom lines, electric fan and control, and labor, $3200 might not be that far out of line. I assume a warranty comes with it as well.

    As a CA car, I am assuming your air pump is still in place and the compressor will be installed above the alternator. Check to see if the harmonic balancer (pulley on the crankshaft) has an unused groove from the removed AC system.
    1971 240Z HLS30A 17574 L24-021025

  11. #11
    Registered User Hardway's Avatar
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    Could you buy a AC compressor bracket setup from a 280z? I notice the 2.4L in my 240z has threaded bosses on the driver side. I know some cars had air pumps so I assume this is where the bracket mounted but could a 280z compressor bracket mount there too?
    08/1970 240z Series-1 #8011 - Silver, black int., 2.4L I-6, 5spd, 90% restored.
    06/1973 VW Karmann Ghia - Black convertible, 4spd, 1600cc air-cooled engine.
    11/2013 Scion FR-S - Silver, 6spd, a car with the soul of a Z for the modern times.
    Restoration thread of my old '72 240z -> http://www.classiczcars.com/forums/o...1972-240z.html

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    Registered User Z fan's Avatar
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    A/C units on old cars are not an easy DIY and shops that do that type of work are not easy on the wallet.

  13. #13
    Registered User lcord's Avatar
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    My car doesn't have an air pump. I thought the compressor would be on the drivers side where the air pump would normally be.

    LC

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    HLS30A 17574 djwarner's Avatar
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    Hi LC,

    I mounted the compressor on my Series I in the air pump location. That mount bracket cost me north of $200.
    1971 240Z HLS30A 17574 L24-021025

  15. #15
    Registered User lcord's Avatar
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    Cool. No pun intended.

    LC

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    Registered User Scarab155's Avatar
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    I've got the dealer installed A/C from a 72 Z. Was going to put it in my car but changed my mind. Had it for quite a while but if your interested, PM me.

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    Most Vintage Air Dealers - are Custom Car / Hot Rod Shops. They install these systems all the time. I would recommend talking to them before you do anything.

    I installed a Vintage Air System in my 72 Z. Installed the Compressor with the 280Z Compressor mount. Installed the Evap. Unit in place of the original heater. Bolted the Condenser in place. Then had the local Hot Rod Shop make the necessary R134 lines between the components. They had the lines made up and everything hooked up in about 4 hours.

    The Vintage Air Gen II Super Cooler easily fit in place - once I took the original heater control levers and radio out - I could reach almost everything necessary thru there.

    Very unlike the original Dealer Installed Systems that sucked air though the heater system - the Vintage Air System blow air over the evaporator and puts out about 2 to 3 times the volume of cold air.

    However - none of the systems equal the A/C found in modern cars. On hot days - if you are going to drive for 15 minutes+ the Vintage Air system will cool the car - but the cold air circulation in the 240Z is very limited. The cold air comes out of the dash - and gets sucked back into the return right under the dash. That huge Greenhouse behind the seats - stays hot for a long time. The cold air only gets sucked back there slowly - as the fresh air vents let the hot air out.

    Plus the 240Z's leak air around the doors/windows, have a lot of glass area and poor heat insulationÖ So if the car sits outside in the Sun for more than an hour or two - it takes a longer trip to cool the car back down.

    I see today that Vintage Air actually sells "trunk mounted units". Putting the evaporator unit behind the seats and blowing cold air forward might actually cool the car faster.. That or use two evaporator units, one under the dash and another in the rear deck.

    In the end - I just bought a more modern sports car - to use in the Florida Summers. One with great A/C from the factory. I drive the 240Z the other 8 or 9 months of the year without A/C.


    FWIW,
    Carl B
    Last edited by Carl Beck; 08-06-2014 at 12:23 PM.

  18. #18
    Registered User lcord's Avatar
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    Hello Carl

    Thanks for the input. Really good feedback and information. I'll look at the trunk mounted units as well. I also have a 1995 300ZXTT with working AC, so I might end up doing what you do. In the hot summer months pull out the 300ZX and when the weather is nice I can drive the 240Z.

    LC

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