Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert (

Rodder May 5th, 08 12:34 AM

Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
I'm in the middle of installing a VA GEN4 kit into my non-AC '68 'vert. I'm taking a bunch of pics, and figured that some other people might find them useful as well as some of the problems I've run into. I'll add more as I get farther in the install.

The pics are at

Things I've learned so far:

- some threads make it sound like you can remove the old heater/fan cover without completely removing the fender if you pry out the inner fender with a 2x4. DON'T DO THIS--those instructions only apply to replacing the fan, not getting the box out. REMOVE THE FENDER OR YOU WILL BE *REPLACING* THE FENDER AFTER YOU KINK IT.

- VA's brackets seem to be pretty poorly painted and scratch easily. It'd probably be a good idea to strip and repaint them.

- VA uses a lot of cheap looking sheet metal screws. I substituted stainless machine screws where possible, and stainless sheet metal screws where it wasn't.

- When using a cheap Home Depot stainless sheetmetal screw into a new hole in mild steel sheetmetal, run a normal steel sheetmetal screw through the hole first to cut "threads" in the hole. The mild steel seems to be harder than the HD stainless screws.

- The VA center vent looks really cheesy. I bought a repro factory AC center vent and rigged the ducting.

- SoffSeal's replacement felts for the astrovent housing isn't even close to the correct size. It's about twice as thick as it should be, and way too wide as well. What I did was trim the rear piece to the correct width and glue it in. Then on the front, I only used 3 little strips of about 3/16 x 3/4 instead of running it all the way around. I'm not sure yet how well that's going to work, but it seems OK now.

- When marking holes under the dash or installing the defroster ducts, blue masking tape is your best friend! Tape the the template or duct in place while you mark/drill/screw.

- For retaining the vent wheel in the center vent, so far it looks like JB Welding some plugs behind the vent seems to be the way to go. I tried making some press-fit plugs, but they kept coming loose until I finally JB Welded them.

Rodder May 6th, 08 01:37 AM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
no, I hadn't thought much about the side-to-side redirection... I'll think about that.

Rodder May 6th, 08 11:45 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
Lessons learned today:

- the blower fresh air cap fits like a CAP, not a PLUG. The instructions have it pictured backwards, but they do show putting silicone on the proper side.

- before putting silicone on anything, test fit the part so that you are sure which way it installs.

- remove the kickpanel to get to the back side of the blower fresh air hole to hold the cross bar that the cap bolts to

- the instructions didn't say anything about trimming the firewall pad, but it sure looked like I need to so I did.

- Use two studs (or some long 1/4-20 bolts run all the down from the back/interior side) to help line up the firewall filler panel. This will keep you from getting silicone all over the place.

Tonight's pics are added to the gallery at

Rodder May 11th, 08 11:56 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
Slowly making progess. More things I've learned:

- For some reason VA insists that the astrovent blockoff plates are completely different for rigth and left sides. On my car, they should be identical. VA sent me another left-side blockoff plate, and it was the same as the one I had that didn't fit. I ended up modifying it and using one of the SoffSeal gaskets with it.

- Since VA has all of their instructions available as PDFs, I though it'd be nice to not cut the templates out of the instruction pack and instead print new ones and cut those out. DO NOT DO THIS! My printout got scaled to fit my printer's smaller margins, and all of the holes I drilled with those templates were in the wrong place. That worked OK for the defroster ducts, but screwed me on the evaporator and I had to redrill the holes.

- Either I have something routed really wrong, or VA didn't actually measure their vent hoses on a non-AC '68. The center, right vent, and right defrost hose have plenty of slack. The left and left defrost hoses are ridiculously tight.

- The left side CHQ repro astrovent fits pretty well, although I had to flatten the upper retainer clip. The right side CHQ astrovent seems to be about 3/16 or 1/4 shorter than it should be. Or my hole is WAY oversize. I didn't recheck the fit of my original right astrovent, but I don't remember a big gap. I also had to flatten both of the repro upper retainers--I think they were too short, but flattening works too.

- I was working by myself when I cut the vent hoses, so I stapled the hose to my workbench, pulled it to the total combined length of 92 inches next to a tape measure, and then marked the 40", 28", and 24" pieces with a paintpen.

- I ran my heater hoses through the fender because I'd seen others do and though it looked cool. I bought 14 feet of heater hose, and had about 2 feet left over. For fellow LSx guys, Napa stocks a plastic 3/4 to 5/8 adapter.

Rodder May 12th, 08 01:14 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
A few things I learned that I forgot about...

- The VA instructions say to remove the oranger heater blower wire where it goes through the firewall on the right side and plug the firewall. Those instructions apply to '67 I think--they definately don't apply to '68 which has the orange blower wire going through the main passthrough on the left side behind the fusebox. I'll wait until I have the new stuff wired before I decide what I'm going to due with that wire.

- Rather than cutting your astrovent elbows, you can get repro AC-car vent backpieces that serve the same function.

- The wrong left-side astrovent blockoff that VA keeps sending me looks like it's the same shape as a gasket I saw for a '69 left side astrovent.

Rodder May 12th, 08 02:34 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert

Originally Posted by MissionCritical (Post 994351)
is there anything else under my cowl area that needs to be blocked off, or does that only apply to non A/C cars ?

Not that I know of... but I haven't worked on an factory-AC '68 :).

One other thing you might think about is replacing the cowl with a solid one with no grill. Since you aren't pulling fresh air from it any more, all it's doing is letting leaves and water get into your rockers.

Rodder May 15th, 08 01:08 AM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
today's tips:

- clean your old heater control lens before applying the VA sticker over it. I used a glasses cleaning cloth. Don't use any cleaner that'll leave a residue.

- if you are careful, you can install the VA sticker without removing the knobs. The knobs on my new OER repro controls did not want to come off

Rodder Jun 1st, 08 10:54 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
I was finally in town for the weekend and got a little work done. I now have heat! Just need to install the compressor now.

- That blower seems to move a LOT of air--impressive!

- I mounted the circuit breaker to one of the filler panel bolts, and made a simple bracket to attach both of the relays to another filler panel bolt.

- I connected the purple wire on the VA harness (IGN) to the brown wire on the original AC switch connector.

- The center vent and right defrost duct hoses keep coming off every time working in the dash. I need to glue them in place i think. The surfaces are tapered, so a zip tie won't work.

- S&P's wide compressor bracket kit for the LS1 eliminates the stock spring loaded tension and uses a rod with two heim joints. I like having a spring loaded tensioner on a serpentine belt, so I dediced to use Kwikperf compressor brackets instead.

- I'm going to try to run the compressor control through the LS1 PCM, which will do cool stuff like control my fans and turn off the compressor at WOT or high RPM.

- more pics at

Rodder Jun 3rd, 08 03:05 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
Trying to figure out how I'm going to hook the LS1 AC Refrigerant Pressure Sensor into the system. The sensor screws on to a M10x1.25 male bung. Looks like I'll have to buy a bung and have it welded on to one of my fittings or lines.

Rodder Jun 9th, 08 02:28 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
It was too hot outside to do a whole lot of work, but I did finally get the compressor mounted. The kwikperf LS1 bracket kit looked like it was going to be a pain in the butt to bolt together with all of the spacers it uses, but it turned out to be really simple and straight forward, and didn't even require a 3rd hand.

Some tips for installing the kwikperf brackets:

- re-read the whole instruction sheet, both sides, right before you start

- remove the pulley from the LS1 tensioner before you remove the tensioner from the water pump

- when they say to leave all of the bolts loose until it is *all* bolted together, they mean it. If you tighethen any, you will be loosening them before the last bolt is in.

- double-check that you aren't forgetting a spacer before you screw in each bolt

- Use antisieze on the bolts that thread into the aluminum head and water pump

- Leave the new pulley off of the tensioner until after you have torqued the bottom tensioner bolt, otherwise you can't get a socket on the bottom bolt.

- If you mounted the LS1 PCM to the fender, it's probably not going fit with the compressor installed unless you move it farther back. And if you move it farther back, you'll probably need to move it down so that the hood henge doesn't hit it.

Rodder Jun 9th, 08 09:48 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert

Originally Posted by rsbecool (Post 1009836)
They have come a long way from where they first started.

They still have a long way to go though... but it's the price you pay for now to not have an evaporator box hanging off the firewall. I wish someone would step up and make a high-end retrofit system--something that fits right, with sturdy brackets, good paint, fresh air, etc...

Rodder Jun 14th, 08 05:29 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
Today I finally installed the glove box. It fit pretty poorly, although I was expecting that by now :). Here's my notes from that:

- the right defroster duct hose came off the every time I even thought about touching it. I ended up putting two screws through it to retain it.

- on the bottom piece, you need to drill a bunch of holes. First, you need to drill three 3/16 holes for the hinge screws. I put the bottom piece inside my old repop glove box to mark the hinge screw holes. - on the top piece, you need to enlarge the holes around the lip where it attaches to the bottom 3/16 for the screws to go through.

- temporarily assemble the top to the bottom outside of the car. Run screws into all of the holes to go ahead and cut threads now while you aren't laying on you back. Now notice that the front edges of the top piece are way too long compared to the bottom. Mark and trim the top piece to match the bottom. If you don't trim the top piece, you probably won't be able to install the side mounting screws into the bottom because there will be gap.

- you need to omit far right screw that attaches the top and bottom halves because it will scrape the support bar for the glove box door. I can't see any good solution for this other than omitting it.

- if you've been following my pictures you may have noticed that I use a lot of stainless trim screws that didn't come with the VA kit. I get these from Lowes. If you go to the specialty drawers, they have a variety of stainless screws in both flat and recessed heads, and even have stainless finish washers for use recessed heads on flat surfaces. They have "contractor packs" of these towards the back of the drawer with 20 or more pieces for a cheaper price. I keep a plastic organizer drawer full of #6 in a varitey of sizes and shapes along with flat and finish washers, and another drawer of #8.

Rodder Jun 29th, 08 07:48 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert

Originally Posted by Buzz0 (Post 1020137)
I'm just getting underway with my install and this helps a ton!
So what is the solution for the hole left behind in the dash board by the actuator rod for the Astro vent?

I haven't done anything with mine... I'll probably pop some plastic plugs in there.

Rodder Jul 2nd, 08 03:39 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert

Originally Posted by YTC (Post 1021811)
Thx a lot! I'd say this whole thread is of exceptional quality: clarity, details, pictures, etc. Kudos.

Just one more thing before I get busy with the VA kit that's currently sitting in my garage: how may hours should I expect to spend on the whole process?

Again, kudos !!

You're welcome!

I haven't tracked my time... but I started the install almost 3 months ago. A lot of that has been sitting around waiting for parts, or the weather being too hot to work on it for more than an hour or two. Hopefully the notes here will help things go MUCH faster :). Thinking about doing it all over again, it'd probably go something roughly like this:

Day 1 - Remove old heater and clean up areas it was hiding, repaint all VA bracketry

Day 2 - Install condensor, evaporator, ducting, and vents

Day 3 - Controls, wiring, compressor, and measure hoses

Day 4 - Install hoses, evacuate system

Day 5 - Check for leaks and charge the system

Rodder Jul 6th, 08 05:57 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert
It works! I have AC now! With 91F inlet temp, I'm seeing 50F vent temp--does that sound reasonable? I really don't feel like removing my top boot to put the top up to see how it works with recirculating air.

- I found a local shop to weld an M10 switch port on to one of my fittings so I can hook up the LS1 high side pressure switch for the PCM. I also had them crimp the hoses for me.

- If you don't have a big enough open end wrench but have a full set of AN wrenches, you can use one of the AN wrenches to tighten the suction hose fittings.

- Evacuate the system, then run the engine with the heater on until the whole system is hot, then evacuate again for 45 mintues.

- If you have a Craftsman drop-frame creeper, check where your wheels bolt to the frame--half of mine were about to fall off. To tighten mine, I used an allen wrench in the top and needle-nose vise grips on the bottom.

- The LS1 PCM will turn fans low/hi/off as needed based on the pressure switch with no other connections. It's still a good idea though to run the compressor control through the PCM so that it can turn off the compressor at high RPM or WOT.

- Pics are at

Rodder Jul 7th, 08 03:43 PM

Re: Vintage Air GEN4 install into a '68 non-AC 'vert

Originally Posted by captcanuck68 (Post 1024173)
I wonder if anyone has ever shared your findings with the company itself? They might listen.

Not that I'm aware of. I've been planning on dropping them an email once I'm finally done with the install.

I still have a little bit of wiring left to do. Right the compressor is being controlled directly by the VA computer, and I want to shove the LS1 PCM in the middle of that circuit so that it'll shut off the compressor at high RPM.

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