Aftermarket HVAC

kennethneil81

New member
Nov 1, 2020
6
1
West Virginia
Hello everyone,

I am new here, and if you happen to read my profile, you find that I am in the ownership of my late grandparent's 1977 Chevrolet Caprice Classic 4-door sedan. My father and I have been working on the car off and on for a few years now. Earlier this year, we finally got around to pulling the original LM1 350 and TH200 from the car. To allow a little more room while removing the engine, my father and I decided to remove the stock HVAC from the firewall, and while doing so, we cracked the housing for the system...Oops! I know that there are no direct-fit aftermarket HVAC systems for this year model, but I was wondering if anyone on this forum has tried installing a universal aftermarket HVAC system in their GM B-bodies, and if so, what were your results?

I am currently looking at the following systems:

Classic Auto Air
- Custom Colder Universal Air Conditioning Unit: 24" Length x 8-3/4" Depth/Width x 10" Height/Tall
- Street Rod Cooler III Universal Air Conditioning Unit: 20-7/8" Length x 7-1/8" Depth/Width x 9-1/2" Height/Tall

Old Air Products
- Hurricane 1000 (Cable Operated) or 1100 (Electronic Operated): 11-1/2" Length x 8-1/2" Depth/Width x 8-1/2" Height/Tall

Vintage Air
- Gen II Super: 24" Length x 8-1/2" Depth/Width x 8-1/2" Height/Tall

I really do appreciate your feedback,

Kenny
 

Capricechris805

New member
Oct 27, 2020
9
3
I have not done this yet but I do plan to do it in near future. All I ever saw installed on overhauling is the vintage air kit. Not sure if anyone knows this but our 77-90 caprice use very similar dimension to the monte carlo.
 

kennethneil81

New member
Thread starter
Nov 1, 2020
6
1
West Virginia
I have not done this yet but I do plan to do it in near future. All I ever saw installed on overhauling is the vintage air kit. Not sure if anyone knows this but our 77-90 caprice use very similar dimension to the monte carlo.
Hello Capricechris805,

Thank for taking the time to post a comment to my question. I cannot speak for others on the forum, but I can definitely say that I did not know that the 77-90 Caprice shared similar dimensions to the Monte Carlo...learn something new every day, right? I will definitely take that into consideration.

Also, I have watched the TV shows like you mentioned, and you are right, you always see a Vintage Air system being installed.

With the factory HVAC unit removed, a large hole was left in the dash, so my father made a delete panel for me while I was working on preparing the engine bay for sanding and painting. Working with the dimensions I have listed in my first post for this topic, and removing the bottom cover of the dash and the glovebox from the dash, it looks like the Street Rod Cooler III Universal Air Conditioning Unit from Classic Auto Air is going to be the best option for my Caprice fitment wise. Also, to clean up the appearances in the engine bay, when I finally get around to installing an aftermarket HVAC system, I am planning to upgrade the stock v-belt accessory drive to the Holley mid-mount accessory drive for the Small Block Chevy motors.
 
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Capricechris805

New member
Oct 27, 2020
9
3
Awesome write up. That holley mid mount setup is super nice and I'm sure you will be very pleased. I'm using the holley sniper efi and I love it. Please update after u get the ac system installed and working I would like to see how it works out and how you conquer any hurdles if any. As I said I will be looking to add ac sometime this next year. Glad your not going with the march serpentine setup as there were a few hurdles I ran into when doing mine. It's one of those things that when I pay a good chunk of money for something I expect quality stuff that works the first time not something I have to fiddle with for 3 months to get right. Good luck and thanks again.
 

kennethneil81

New member
Thread starter
Nov 1, 2020
6
1
West Virginia
I have to admit that I am not very good a documenting my progress, but for something like this, I will do my best to document the progress. As for right now, I am still focusing on the powertrain of the car, which I hope to complete next year. Once that is finished, I will begin focusing on all of the safety aspects (brakes, electrical, suspension and steering), which I hope to begin late next year or in 2022. After that, I will finally get to the final stage, which will include: HVAC and some tasteful interior modifications that I will reserve from sharing at the moment, which will definitely be held up until at least 2023 or possibly 2024. That being said, it looks like you will have your HVAC in before I will :) Please share your progress as well.

I am sorry to hear about the hurdles of the March Serpentine. I have looked at their kits while troubleshooting this part of the project. I had my suspicions that there would be some issues with fitment and alignment in the car. I also would not be surprised if I have to make some minor modifications to the Holley system as well. It would be nice if everything would just fall into place...but sadly, it rarely does.
 

Shortfuse

Member
May 15, 2020
31
8
The easiest and cheapest serpintine belt sysytem for use on a small block chevy is one from the 4.3l v6 blazers or S10's just as a fyi. The one I am refering too are from the older TBI style motors.
 

kennethneil81

New member
Thread starter
Nov 1, 2020
6
1
West Virginia
Hello Shortfuse,

I thank you for your feedback, and I agree with you that there are cheaper alternatives, and I already have access to the serpentine system you mentioned, but it is still being used on the vehicle that it is attached to; and I doubt my father would be pleased with me if I "borrowed" the system for an extended period of time.
 

kennethneil81

New member
Thread starter
Nov 1, 2020
6
1
West Virginia

Capricechris805

New member
Oct 27, 2020
9
3
I did look into the serpentine for 4.3 and machine shop said the brackets can crack which is scary also it's important not to mix up the bolts. But yes your correct the factory did a good job.
 

Shortfuse

Member
May 15, 2020
31
8
They do not crack on their own thats total BS, now some people who do not know what they are doing will try and beat the steel altermator bushing back to install a new alt ,do not put oil on it first and hit it like a gorrilla in heat then you can break one . I I have been turning wrenches for 33 years and have never seen a broken set of those brackets that wasn't caused by a idiot with a hammer. You can even get compressor deletes for them if you don't need a/c. I see them on craigs list a lot and you can get them from u pull it junk yards.
Now if you want new and cheap good stuff I just swapped 2019 6.0 L96 motor and 6L90 trans into a 63 Caddy model 62 convertible and their stuff worked great. I even screwed up and lost a bolt and they sent me a whole new bolt package for free overnight shipping didn't charge me a dime. Great company look them up ICT Billet.
https://smile.amazon.com/stores/pag...272d-b0cf-4f07-8747-e18698a1b17b&ref_=ast_bln
 

Capricechris805

New member
Oct 27, 2020
9
3
Yes I agree have seen and head great stuff from ict billet. I totally agree that very little is hammer proof. Based on your words I would prolly go that route instead of march but already finally got mine working great. I do appreciate the knowledge and info you have shared thanks for your time.