A/C for a 1966 Galaxie - Ford Muscle Forums : Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-10-2017, 07:54 PM Thread Starter
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A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

Anyone ever install an aftermarket (Vintage Air or other) A/C system in a 66 Galaxie that never had factory air?

What has been your experience? Anything you would do different?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 06:14 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

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Originally Posted by galaxiex View Post
Anyone ever install an aftermarket (Vintage Air or other) A/C system in a 66 Galaxie that never had factory air?

What has been your experience? Anything you would do different?

Thanks!
Didn't do it myself, but I have a vintage air kit in my 66'. Not really high power, it struggles to keep my black on black car cool at all on a hot day. Mine didn't have AC prior.
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1966 Ford Galaxie 500 -289
2005 Ford Expedition -5.4
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 08:32 AM
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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.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 08:33 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

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Didn't do it myself, but I have a vintage air kit in my 66'. Not really high power, it struggles to keep my black on black car cool at all on a hot day. Mine didn't have AC prior.
I have the same issue. If I had not insulated the roof, floor and especially the driveshaft tunnel the system would be worthless here in the Piedmont NC.

1964 Thunderbird 390 V8, AOD, F.A.S.T. EZ EFI 1.0, Victor intake, MSD Ignition.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 10:20 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

Man, some good info that you don't get from the advertising.

Putts drives a 1965 customized Galaxie. Rebuilt 390, 4100 electric choke on a Performer, MX, AC, PS, PB w Scarebird front discs on Cragar 17" S/S.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 10:21 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

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I have the same issue. If I had not insulated the roof, floor and especially the driveshaft tunnel the system would be worthless here in the Piedmont NC.
Piedmont? Where abouts?

I'm in Mebane, Got a guy in Burlington with a wagon, and a guy in Greensboro with a 66'.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 10:24 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

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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.

For mine I purchased the factory bracket off ebay and got a york to saden converter plate. Works great for me and was ~$60.

1966 Ford Galaxie 500 -289
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 10:59 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

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Piedmont? Where abouts?

I'm in Mebane, Got a guy in Burlington with a wagon, and a guy in Greensboro with a 66'.
Clemmons, near the Yadkin River.

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For mine I purchased the factory bracket off ebay and got a york to saden converter plate. Works great for me and was ~$60.
Mine is a non-AC car, so the power steering pumps sits there. In the factory AC set-up, the power steering rides below the breadbox and has a remote reservoir. I think the AC ar may have three belts as well, while mine only had two.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 11:15 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

Here's the March 2-belt system mocked up. The cooling fan is off a Lincoln Mark 8. Since then I've moved the radiator forward (ahead of the factory mount and tilted the top forward) and achieved about an inch clearance.

The power steering (From a Chevy ) is mounted on the driver's side, more-or-less in the factory non-AC position. Amazingly the factory hoses fit perfectly.

The alternator is high on the passenger side, again close to original position. But note the huge wrap on the pulley made by the idler. The AC pump sits below it.
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1964 Thunderbird 390 V8, AOD, F.A.S.T. EZ EFI 1.0, Victor intake, MSD Ignition.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 02:55 PM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

Mine's a 63, the wagon Ziggy mentioned above, but I am in the midst of a full custom install. I'm using a restomod air Haymaker II with bluetooth controls. Once I get it up and running we'll see how cool the big black beast gets. I haven't worked on it much lately...too darn hot.

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1963 Galaxie Country Sedan, 289/3 on the tree, Black
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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 03:02 PM
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Another line of thinking to consider is what you're going for. Do you want to stay period-correct, restomod or does any of that matter?

I wanted to stay period-correct. My car was outfitted with an underdash John Mitchell Mark IV "Escort" soon after the car rolled off the dealership lot. I rebuilt the box myself using a new evaporator, expansion, control switches & heater motor. Surprisingly, all the parts were available in one form or another.

I added a rebuilt York compressor, clutch, filter/drier (Old Air Products), Ford 7-blade fan, Ford condenser and original nylon-type AC lines. The system is set up for 134a and blows nice and cold. I'm very happy with the end result. It looks original. Again though, that's what I was going for.
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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-11-2017, 04:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

Wow! Great responses!

Thanks All!

I guess I should have put in my first post exactly what I am going for.
I've done a bit of research already, but I'm not sold on any one system yet.

I'm looking at the Vintage Air Gen 4 Magnum Universal system since this is a big car and they say that system will cool the biggest sedans and Wagons.
Heat shielding the interior will be done as well.

The issue I have with the Gen 4 is size. Trying to judge if it will fit under/behind the dash.
I know I can buy a mock-up empty box for sizing/fitting, but was hoping someone had already done an install and could advise.

Of course I have not yet ruled out any of the other systems yet, so the advice given on those systems is great!.

I have already removed the stock heater box and even filled the holes from that. Firewall is now flat.

If needed, I could fab a "kickout" into the engine compartment to make the Gen 4 system fit, but I'd rather not, hence considering other, smaller systems.

Car is restomod so changes are no problem. Aware of the condenser,compressor,belts, hoses and mounting issues. Those will come later.
For now I'm focusing on the inside part as the body is a bare shell, and starting the build with getting the interior sorted out.

Thoughts?
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-12-2017, 05:32 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

Measure, measure, then remeasure. I was able to fit the Gen IV box in my TBird (not a lot of room under there because of the console).

1964 Thunderbird 390 V8, AOD, F.A.S.T. EZ EFI 1.0, Victor intake, MSD Ignition.
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-12-2017, 05:57 AM
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

No clue what model system I have under my dash. I can try to snap a few pictures for you since it's the same car. I know its a vintage air system. Be prepared to lose your glove box.

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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-12-2017, 04:26 PM Thread Starter
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Re: A/C for a 1966 Galaxie

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Measure, measure, then remeasure. I was able to fit the Gen IV box in my TBird (not a lot of room under there because of the console).
Kinda figured that... mine has a console too. 500XL
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