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Old 09-13-2016, 11:11 PM   #1
foxfire42
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Default Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

I'm new to the V8 flathead world with a recent purchase of a 1953 Mercury. Is there any way of converting an A/C unit of later Ford vintage and convert it to 6V operation? The only two electrical components (I think) are the compressor and the blower in the underdash evaporator. So far I've only found 12V kits. Is there a 6V compressor made and can a blower be converted to 6V?

I put an A/C in my Model A but I converted the A to 12V for the A/C. I prefer to keep my Merc stock and figured it would be tough to change to 12V unlike an A which is a much simpler task.

I've seen those 6V to 12V converters but I'm told they don't supply enough amps to run the blower.

Also is a dual belt pully available for a 53 Flathead to run a compressor?

Any suggestion greatly appreciated.

Barb Birt
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Old 09-13-2016, 11:20 PM   #2
Jason in TX
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

I know of no 6V AC units, even back to the early 50s packards or Cadillacs.

You need 12V to keep the clutch plate engaged on the compressor, 12 V to run the evaporator fan, and 12V to run the condenser fan. Relays are a huge help.
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

This is an interesting question. I have no firsthand knowledge, but it intrigued me.

These guys say that have it:
http://www.retroair.com/prewarcarac192050s.html

I also read that York made a 6V clutch for their compressors and I read than you can buy a 6V clutch for a Frigidare A-6. But-I could not find anybody selling either one.

Also there were early systems with no clutch, compressor ran all the time. The system diverted refrigerant when not needed.

To accomplish it, the blower fan inside the vehicle could probably be found in 6V (or rewired by a good motor shop) so I don't see that as an issue. With an engine fan and shroud you shouldn't need a condenser fan. But all of this will probably be a big amp draw. I read one guy with a VW that said he had to choose between a/c or headlights, that both at the same time ran the battery down.

Looks like most just convert to 12V.
Good luck.
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

Perhaps you could hide a 12V battery in the trunk and run your 12V AC with that. You could then just recharge the 12V battery after use. For long trips, carry a 12V booster pack with you.
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Old 09-14-2016, 01:22 PM   #5
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

I'm gonna stick my neck way out here and just assume that Lincolns went to 6v later than 1953, like the Fords did in '56. If so, I know that 1953 Lincolns came factory-equipped with A/C. I'd recommend possibly snooping-around some early Lincoln sites to find out if my supposition holds water, and if so, to possibly find 6v Lincoln blower motors and compressor parts. You may also look into early ('53-ish) Caddy stuff. And don't overlook eBay using "6v" in your search header. DD
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Old 09-14-2016, 02:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

The reference in post #3 states "For optimum Performance, the car should be 12 Volt but can work on 6 Volt". I would also think the total amperage draw could be an issue.
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Old 09-14-2016, 10:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

Some of the air compressors on 6V cars you had to install a bolt in the pulley to lock it during the summer and remove the bolt in the winter!
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:20 PM   #8
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

Thanks for all the useful input. I'll start my research in earnest. Although my Merc is a WA vehicle and a convertible I'm going to bring it to AZ for the winter. Top up with A/C when 90* and hotter then top down when possible.

A/C for me is a must and one of those window hanger swamp coolers just doesn't do the job in AZ heat.

I looked at a picture of my engine compartment and it looks like i has two belts so a longer belt and proper compressor alignment should make for an easier install that I first thought.

Barb Birt
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Old 09-15-2016, 01:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

Also remember that when installing aftermarket A/C, Insulation of the passenger compartment is key to creating a colder, more comfortable A/C experience.

The A/C unit is usually drawing air from the area around your feet, close to the firewall. If it is grabbing 100 degree air, it passes over the cold coils and becomes 75-80 degree air. Then that 75-80 degree air passes over the 40 degree coils again, and becomes 65-70 degree air.

Without insulation, if you are continuously feeding the A/C unit very hot air, you may be dissapointed with the results and think it's the system not working properly, when it could be simple thermodynamics.
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Old 09-15-2016, 02:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

Interesting discussion at: http://forums.aaca.org/topic/99180-a...6-volt-system/
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Old 09-15-2016, 05:41 PM   #11
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

The early 50s 6-volt system would not put out enough amperage (about 35-amps) to be reliable with an AC system installation. I've heard of folks modifying a later 12-volt generator to work in the OEM cradle or you can just use an alternator. At least with an alternator, you can get some decent amperage output. Even with a large generator, it would only be near 50-amps. That would likely be enough to work reliably though. Most cars in the 60s were around 45-amps and quite a few were air conditioned. .
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Old 09-15-2016, 06:39 PM   #12
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

Quote:
Originally Posted by 39topless View Post
Perhaps you could hide a 12V battery in the trunk and run your 12V AC with that...
That's what I did with a '54 Ford back in the early '60s. Bought the A/C kit at Sears.
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Old 09-16-2016, 07:39 AM   #13
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

Quote:
Originally Posted by foxfire42 View Post
Thanks for all the useful input. I'll start my research in earnest. Although my Merc is a WA vehicle and a convertible I'm going to bring it to AZ for the winter. Top up with A/C when 90* and hotter then top down when possible.

A/C for me is a must and one of those window hanger swamp coolers just doesn't do the job in AZ heat.

I looked at a picture of my engine compartment and it looks like i has two belts so a longer belt and proper compressor alignment should make for an easier install that I first thought.

Barb Birt
Yes you have two belts, but, big but, they only share the crank pulley. And the belt sheeves are different diameter. So nor easy. Do you need twin belts to run an AC compressor? I have no idea. If this is the case, your gonna have to get a bottom pulley made with the two extra belt sheeves.
Another thing, if you need to go for 12 volt, it ain't that big a job. Bulbs, voltage reducers on the sensitive stuff, generator swap (easy to do with the 8BA generator system) and regulator or alternator, coil. It's that kinda job. Lots of info on here for this.
Martin.
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:25 AM   #14
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Default Re: Question on installing A/C in a 1953 Merc

A Sanden type compressor will function OK with only the one belt. I've seen folks run off one of the water pumps but a lot of them use that billet monster set up that run the compressor & gen/alt on top together.
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