Auto Air Conditioning

Classic Car & “Hot Rod” Air Conditioning:

     Most of us in our younger days never thought that we would give much if any consideration to putting air conditioning in our classic car or “Hot Rod”. There could have been many reasons for this including but not entirely limited to A) Takes too much horsepower B) Crowds the engine compartment C) Cost’s too much money D) A/C is for wimps. As we got older some or all of these non-A/C arguments faded away. Maybe having our wives or significant others complain that it’s too hot to take out “that old thing” or maybe we are tired of arriving at a midsummer car show drenched in sweat before we even get out of the car. For these reasons and more,  A/C in a classic car or hot rod is now considered almost a necessity more than a luxury option. Putting A/C in a vehicle that does not have it and never did can present some challenges while changing a factory A/C system to a newer, more efficient system is usually a bit easier.

     Cap-A-Radiator is a dealer for Vintage Air A/C systems. We can sell you parts and install them if you don’t want to or are unable to do so yourself. We can also service and repair your factory a/c system or upgrade parts of it to get your a/c working great again!

Things that should be done when installing a Vintage Air System:

-Seal and insulate cabin area (including cowl and above evaporator).

-Make sure cooling system and radiator is sufficient.

*Remember, without adequate airflow, a radiator is just a reservoir for hot water.  In general, coolant transfers heat to radiator tubes, tubes transfer heat to fins, and movement of air through the fins removes heat from the radiator.  You must allow air to pass efficiency through the radiator and out!

*Allow for air to escape from under hood.

Remember: Anti-freeze increases boiling point of water (now called anti-freeze/coolant) – proper mix (50% coolant to 50% water).  Corrosion inhibitors protect against scaling and mineral build-up that can reduce heat transfer.  Also, proper maintenance (flushing & changing coolant) will extend life of system.  Use distilled water or pre-mix anti-freeze.

-If using an engine driven fan shroud.  An unshrouded fan only moves air through the portion of the radiator equal to the surface of the fan.  A shroud also dramatically improves the efficiency of the fan.  An unshrouded fan moves about 50% the volume of a shrouded fan.

-An electric auxiliary pusher fan mounted to the grill side of the radiator will always improve the performance of an A/C system and keep the engine cooler.  It should be controlled by a pressure switch that turns it on only as needed.  It does not need to be on when the vehicle is in motion over about 20 mph.  We recommend installing a Trinary switch to protect the compressor from too high or low pressure and for engaging the electric fan as needed.  The auxiliary electric fan should be added whenever possible.  Or the primary electric fan should also be controlled by the Trinary switch as well as by engine coolant temperature.

A/C Terms:

Evacuate- Pull a vacuum on the system.  This removes air from the system.  Air has moisture and takes up space.   Putting refrigerant in to a system without pulling out the   air first will cause a high pressures and poor (if any) cooling.

Recharge-  Injecting refrigerant into a previously evacuated A/C system. Freon can be put into the high-pressure side as a liquid prior to starting the engine and engaging compressor.  After engine is running it must be put in thru the low-pressure side slowly.  Always measure how much you have put in.

Recover- Taking the refrigerant out of the system and putting it into a can for filtering and using over again.  It should not be discharged in to the atmosphere.

Main Components of your Air Conditioning System:

We want to put an end to your air conditioning problems. A basic knowledge of your car’s A/C system will help you understand what must be done, and why, to restore your sir condtioner to peak performance.

  1.  COMPRESSOR: Compresses the refrigerant from a low temperature, low pressure gas to a high temperature, high pressure gas. The compressor also pumps the freon through the system.

  2. CONDENSOR: Is actually a rediator in which the refrigerant condenses from a gas to a liquid form as it is cooled.

  3. ORFICE TUBE / EXPANSION VALVE: Regulates the liquid refrigerant going into the bottom of the evaporator. Actually acts as a restrictor to the flow of the liquid refrigerant.

  4. EVAPORATOR: This is where the refrigerant evaporates from a liquid form back into a gaseous form. As the refrigerant evaporates, it gets very cold and allows the cars interior to be cooled off.

  5. ACCUMULATOR / DRIER: An accumulator filters the refrigerant when it is in a gas state. A receiver drier filters the refrigerant when it is in a liquid state.

  6. REFRIGERANT: More commonly known as freon is the liquid which passes through all the other components in the A/C system.

  7. CHARGE PORT / SCHRADER VALVE: The valve where refrigerant is put into the system.

  8. COMPRESSOR CLUTCH: Engages and disengages the compressor.

  9. REFRIGERANT OIL: The system lubricant.

  10. HOSE ASSEMBLY: A combination of rubber and steel or aluminum pipes through which the freon passes between the other major components.

  11. CYCLING SWITCH: Regulates the operation of the compressor depending on system pressures or temperatures.

  12. CONTROL PANEL: Where you select the temperature, quantity, and location of air to come from the heater / air conditioning system.

We thank you for trusting us with your car.


994 Fulton Street (Route 109)

Farmingdale, NY 11735

Phone: (516) 293-9026

Contact Us

Address: 994 Fulton St. (Rt.109), Farmingdale NY 11735

Phone: (516) 293-9026