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  • May 27, 2022, 07:37:44 AM

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Author Topic: Adding AC - Is it worth it?  (Read 1411 times)

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Offline MIPS

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Adding AC - Is it worth it?
« on: July 18, 2020, 11:32:34 PM »
I've been scavenging parts from an 84 and an 87 Eagle and right now I'm in a good position to be able to cleanly salvage and remove the entire air conditioning system, save for four wires in the main harness. My eagle has no air conditioning from the dealer and while it makes it a bit more spacious under the hood the summer days are exceptionally brutal. Understanding I'll need to build a subharness for the thermostat, climate controls, pressure switch and the clutch as well as needing to pull the entire dash out to swap in the new air box and evaporator is it worth it? I do not have the tray package and so far I can't tell how the AC would work without it.

Offline Canoe

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Re: Adding AC - Is it worth it?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2020, 04:54:22 AM »
Yes. But a lot of work, time and elapsed time. You're likely hot right now.

A lot cheaper and a lot faster to implement, if less convient, is evaporative cooling.
  • The worst yesterday in Kamloops was recorded as 29 C (84.2 F) and 30 % RH. That's very decently in effective evap cooling range. (needs to be below 70 % RH to be worthwhile, and below 50 % is a lot more meaningful temperature drop)
  • The simplest form has kept me cool in Nevada's summer: a cotton cloth hanging in front of the centre floor vents outputs, kept damp/wet with a spray bottle full of potable water. (I also had a small somewhat larger than sandwich sized plastic container open to catch dripping water when I was too enthusiastic in wetting the cloth) Keep a rear window cracked open to let air out so the incoming air has it easy getting in. Try it! Easy test.
  • Or a plastic container can have water, evap media irrigated with a cheap VDC pump, and a computer fan that has reasonable static pressure (not just CFM) to draw hot dry air through the media. I have the parts, but haven't got around to it yet, as the hanging wet cloth is sufficient to take the edge off the interior temperature, so there's less motivation to get around to it.
  • Made with the Dura-Cool evap media, which is 95 % efficient, with sufficient dwell time through the pad, your 29 C (84.2 F) 30 % RH air would be cooled to 18.3 C (~65 F). This does not recirculate interior air to chill it, but takes fresh dry incoming outdoor air and chills that.
In the example layout, the view is from the top of a plastic bin. Run the evap media corner to corner for nearly the full height of the bin, with a piece of weather stripping on the underside of the lid where the media runs, to prevent air from avoiding the media pad. Water sits ~4" deep in the bottom of the bin, with the pump sitting in the water and filling a cheap vinyl tube with holes in it that runs across the top of the pad, secured with zip ties. The fan is mounted to the lid in one corner; put something like Al dryer hose to allow you to aim the output, or a 90 degree ABS fitting. The other corner of the lid has a hole for hot dry air to enter. Let it suck hot dry incoming air, or duct that into the hole. It could sit on the floor on the passenger side, or on the rear floor behind the driver, even getting hot dry outside air from a duct to the window.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2020, 06:18:11 AM by Canoe »

Offline MIPS

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Re: Adding AC - Is it worth it?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2020, 03:25:57 PM »
I should add possibly that I do travel a considerable amount so for puttering around town I'm okay with just leaving the fresh air vents open in this dry heat but summer trips to the coast or just across the border in general it can get pretty brutal by the middle of the afternoon. I'm mainly thinking about those trips.

That also being said, I noticed the new air box messes with how the fresh air vents work.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2020, 03:29:41 PM by MIPS »

Offline Canoe

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Re: Adding AC - Is it worth it?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2020, 04:51:38 PM »
Sounds like a real pain to convert to A/C, but if the components work it sure has the convience in comfort. In some heat, that's not comfort, but becomes a health issue. Perhaps you should consult with an A/C shop on the components, or if there's an easier way to add A/C.

If you know the temperature & relative humdity for where you're driving, check the chart to see what cooling is obtainable by evaporative cooling. And, test around town: hang the damp/wet cloth in front of the lower vent. A purpose built evap unit in a bin is the same, just higher efficiency and more output. I've got every part I need sitting in a bin, but that silly cloth does enough that I've not bothered with the build.

Offline vangremlin

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Re: Adding AC - Is it worth it?
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2020, 01:50:58 PM »
I would REALLY like it if one of my classic cars had A/C and have even assembled some of the parts to do the conversion on a couple of them but have never taken the plunge because of the anticipated problems.  I may try the low tech damp cloth method and see how it works, seems like it would have real potential here in Colorado!

Here is another option:

https://balmahome.com/product/portable-car-ac-system-portable-mini-air-conditioner/?gclid=CjwKCAjwgdX4BRB_EiwAg8O8HUAA3xQWH9m7Hui62GGcc4NRlKswVMsnmWMKMooNCYT3ZMIlj2ozCBoCFtAQAvD_BwE
« Last Edit: July 20, 2020, 01:54:18 PM by vangremlin »
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Offline MIPS

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Re: Adding AC - Is it worth it?
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2020, 07:58:25 PM »
Those are essentially swamp coolers. Add water, a medium is made wet and air is blown through. Air conditioning is and will always be a stretch of the name for those things. ;)

Offline Canoe

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Re: Adding AC - Is it worth it?
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2020, 08:14:59 PM »
...
Here is another option:
https://balmahome.com/product/portable-car-ac-system-portable-mini-air-conditioner/
Sorry, but that's just a low efficiency evap cooler. And with it using 150 ml in 4 to 6 hours, it's really low output too.
It just cycles the air inside the car. It will run until it's dry or until the interior air is 'full' of water vapour and no more evaporation can take place, so no more evap cooling. At that point, you need to let more hot & dry exterior air into the interior before it will produce cool air again. You can have hot & dry air coming in all the time, but then the incoming hot is fighting the evap cooled air. BUT, if you can aim its output at you, you have a turn-key 'solution'. A window cracked open a quarter-inch to half-inch or so is necessary to let the humid air out.

The above is why hanging a cloth over the incoming hot & dry air vents works. Instead of chilling interior air, it changes the incoming hot & dry air into cooler moister air. It always has a hot & dry source from the vent. You just have to keep it damp/wet...

Which is why the DIY bin evap cooler works best when it has the vehicle's incoming air ducted into the bin, so it too is converting the incoming hot & dry air. And if you do that, you don't need the $ for a computer fan with static pressure, as you're using the vehicle's fan to drive the incoming air. So a bin with lid, Dura-cool evap pad, cheap VDC pump, some small PVC to hang the evap pad on, some weather stripping to seal, power the pump from the cigarette lighter, something to duct the incoming air into the bin top. Would work a lot better than that unit, but likely cost around the same or $10 or $20 more, depending on how fancy you want to get.

To get an idea if evap cooling will benefit you, check your temperature & RH on the chart to see what temperature drop you can get.

There's different possibilities for a DIY evap bin, depending on if it's going to be a bin on the front passenger's floor, floor behind driver or behind front passenger, or sitting up on the rear seat folded down. There's also the possibility of a separate bin as a larger water reservoir. It cools more the larger the pad area is, and if the reservoir is insulated (so there's also cooling from the chilled water temperature). So a garage sale camping cooler is another good container to use.

Offline Canoe

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Re: Adding AC - Is it worth it?
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2020, 08:16:23 PM »
Those are essentially swamp coolers. Add water, a medium is made wet and air is blown through. Air conditioning is and will always be a stretch of the name for those things. ;)
yup
They get away with the advertising as it "conditions" the air...

 

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