Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Yadkin valley, NC
Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie
I've done this on my '64 TBird non-AC car. I made several mistakes in the process but learned, and finally have a great system. This is a major change and several other components need to be upgraded. So plan ahead and budget.
For the evaporator, talk to the folks at Vintage Air and get a Gen IV kit. It has separate coils for heat and AC, and is microprocessor controlled so it dehumidifies the defroster cycle like a modern car. It's a little bit more than the cheap-o kits but well worth it. (I had one that sweated constantly, was noisy, and did not defrost worth beans.) This replaces your under dash plenum entirely. It does not take in fresh air (recirculating only) so you'll need to modify your cable operated fresh air venting.
VA Gen IV has electronic gizmos that convert your cable operated control pad to electronic signals that talk to the microprocessor. Easy as pie. If you don't see your application then call them- mine is from a 64 GTO.
For the compressor, any modern Sanden style will work. The trick is belting it to your existing set-up. I ended up using a March serpentine system. Their single belt system is $2000, their 2-belt is $800 but puts the outer belt closer to your radiator. These do not work with a mechanical cooling fan- so there's more money for an electric one. And the controller for the fan. These fans use a lot of electricity so you'll need to upgrade your alternator. My original was 40 amps, now it is 100. Then you'll need a small power panel with fuses and relays for the fan, then back-feed your OE panel with a fuse to protect that old wiring. The advantage of the March system is that it has an idler to put a large "wrap" around the alternator, so it doesn't squeal, as will happen if you put a 100 amp alternator on your stock V-belt system.
Your new coolant radiator will be mounted forward of your radiator in the OE position. Just make sure you have room in case you need to tilt the radiator for additional clearance if you did as I did and go with the two-belt drive system.
Lastly, is the hose routing. Fords of this era had a huge "breadbox" compressor mounted high on the driver's side and the hoses were always in the way. The March kit puts a little "peanut" compressor low on the passenger side- almost invisible. Then I routed the hoses on the outboard side of the frame then up to the firewall. I spent a little more and used a bulkhead fitting for all four houses instead of ugly grommets.
1964 Thunderbird 390 V8, AOD, F.A.S.T. EZ EFI 1.0, Victor intake, MSD Ignition.