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1965 Impala SS 396 Convertible
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to install a retromod or OEM a/c unit in my heater-only Impala. The Classic Air kit looks pretty complete and doable for a DIY but I'm not sure as I cannot find step-by-step instructions anywhere, other than a few YouTube videos. Anybody have any experience doing this?
 

· Premium Member
1965 Impala SS 396 Convertible
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the heads up. The vintage Air system looks solid. Do you think that either is a real DIY, or should you farm it out to someone who knows what he is doing.? :)
 

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399 Posts
I've dealt with both companies and preferred the Vintage Air kit. Lots of room under the dash for the unit and cleans up the engine bay. Some of their included or base controls are kind of cheesy and I did buy an upgrade for that.

Also nice is you can buy an empty "test fit" case from them to check your install dimensions and return it for credit when you're done.
 

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4 Posts
I recommend Vintage Air. My 64 Impala SS had factory air and I purchased Vintage Air after looking around a year. They have great installation instructions for a DIY user. I had more problems removing the old A/C unit than installing the new Vintage Air.
 

· Premium Member
1965 Impala SS 396 Convertible
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the feedback. I watched the videos and the system looks good! Still not sure if I want to tackle it myself, but the main problem now is that the kit is on backorder for 3-4 months! :mad:
 

· Premium Member
1965 Impala SS 396 Convertible
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just an update for anyone interested. Got my Impala back with the new Vintage Air unit installed. Heat/AC works great, and install was straightforward but a lot of work. All looks good. Some info.
  1. We couldn't find the correct steel pulleys for my 396 so had to get some made from Billet Specialties. -- a little pricey but look very cool
  2. The new VA control unit looks almost identical to the stock unit but NO lights on it, so can't see it in the dark- would have been easy to stick an LED in there but they didn't.
  3. Blower works good but new system "whistles" at high speed, which is a little irritating, but I can live with it.
  4. Evap/Dryer unit went in great, but I noticed it does cut down air flow enough to make it run a little hotter. May need a bigger radiator come summer.
  5. Couldn't install the left side duct all the way over to the left since the convertible top button is there. I may try to move things around a bit to get it to look more symmetric.
  6. Overall cost was just under $5000 for all and had to wait about 4 months for parts to arrive.
Now just need to see how it works during the NC summer!
 

· Registered
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491 Posts
Just an update for anyone interested. Got my Impala back with the new Vintage Air unit installed. Heat/AC works great, and install was straightforward but a lot of work. All looks good. Some info.
  1. We couldn't find the correct steel pulleys for my 396 so had to get some made from Billet Specialties. -- a little pricey but look very cool
  2. The new VA control unit looks almost identical to the stock unit but NO lights on it, so can't see it in the dark- would have been easy to stick an LED in there but they didn't.
  3. Blower works good but new system "whistles" at high speed, which is a little irritating, but I can live with it.
  4. Evap/Dryer unit went in great, but I noticed it does cut down air flow enough to make it run a little hotter. May need a bigger radiator come summer.
  5. Couldn't install the left side duct all the way over to the left since the convertible top button is there. I may try to move things around a bit to get it to look more symmetric.
  6. Overall cost was just under $5000 for all and had to wait about 4 months for parts to arrive.
Now just need to see how it works during the NC summer!
2) easy fix, drill a hole, tap a led in it with wires
4) what kind of radiator fan do you have? what about electric?
 

· Premium Member
1965 Impala SS 396 Convertible
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
HI ! Thanks for the advice. I had thought of the "Drill and tap" but I think the letters are just screened printed onto the black plastic, so not sure if not sure that any light would show through? I 'll check with VA and see what they say. I have a stock steel/clutched fan. Electrics are an option but I was trying to avoid any additional amp draw-- I might need to upgrade my alternator then! :(
 

· Premium Member
1965 Impala SS 396 Convertible
Joined
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86 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I finally called Vintage Air because I couldn't believe they would make a control panel w/o lights. The tech guys said there is a tan wire that needs to be hooked up to the old dash light circuit, which my mechanic forgot to do. I located the wires and spliced them together -- voila! The panel lights up.!
 
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