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Old 01-28-2020, 10:41 AM   #1
poolplayer1
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Default 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Does anyone here have a vintage air ac unit installed in their 55 and can help with my question.I want to order and install one of those units before summer gets here, where we get 110 to 115 degree weather. One question is? Will I have to get a bigger radiator? I have the origional size in there right now.I am using the oem radiator fan right now but I hear that I will need an electric fan,eighter a Push or Pull fan type. Other than that,I think I can just read the instructions that come with the unit. Thank you for your help.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:12 AM   #2
Dobie Gillis
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

If your rad is in good nick it will probably work. An electric fan is a must for condenser performance at low speeds, such as stop & go driving. Shrouded puller type fans are preferred as they pull air through pretty much all of the condenser and radiator. I believe the fan will come with the kit.
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Old 01-28-2020, 11:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Is this a universal unit? I ask because I have a 56 that I am looking to install air shortly and do not see on their site of one made for that year other then a pickup.
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Old 01-28-2020, 06:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Radiator should be okay as far as capacity, but it wouldn't hurt to swap the original 3-blade fan with a '57 or later 4-blade fan.
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Old 01-28-2020, 07:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

If it's not converted to 12-volt, it will likely need to be. I would look for an old Ford under dash unit and update that to work. At least it would look somewhat like it belonged there. A Sandin compressor, universal fit condenser, and a decent drier unit. Vintage air doesn't seem to have a lot of stuff to fit Fords unless it's a pickup. There under dash units don't look too bad but I like the old original under dash set ups that FoMoCo used better.

It sounds like Arizona or the California Desert for those temps. If you drive in traffic a lot as slow speeds, you may need an electric fan with a temperature control. It doesn't matter which side it's on as long as it fits. One more reason for 12-volt high capacity charging system. A 35 amp generator sure won't cut it. A 50 amp or better alternator would be just the ticket.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 01-28-2020 at 07:34 PM.
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Old 01-28-2020, 08:00 PM   #6
Dobie Gillis
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Classic Air lists kits for '55 &'56 cars as well as pickups.

https://www.classicautoair.com/crown...oning_ford_ac/
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Old 01-29-2020, 09:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

My 55 292 has their compressor with an old under dash unit. My radiator is the original size with a new core and a 160 thermostat. Rolling down the road in at or over 100 degrees, it runs close to 160 using a SW mechanical gauge. With the air on, about 175. My issue is sitting in traffic. It will creep to 190 and probably above, then I shut it off and roll the windows down. I've not run it to the point where it overheats. I am running a electric fan in front of the condenser and the largest 6 blade flex fan I could fit. I'm pretty happy with this as you can only ask so much out of a system like this
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:04 AM   #8
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Post Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LD-Ordie View Post

My issue is sitting in traffic. It will creep to 190 and probably above, then I shut it off and roll the windows down. I've not run it to the point where it overheats. I am running a electric fan in front of the condenser and the largest 6 blade flex fan I could fit. I'm pretty happy with this as you can only ask so much out of a system like this
IMO -

If you run an electric fan(s), a pusher will disrupt/block airflow through the RAD and COND. You need a puller dual fan assy w/shroud, one fan for normal driving (w/ thermo) and the 2nd fan cut on w/ AC activation.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

What he said X2 ^^. You should also seal any holes in the radiator core support to force more air flow through the condenser and radiator.
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Old 01-29-2020, 01:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

I've got a classic air in my 12v 55 Thunderbird. Rotowrench is right about the power requirements. You just don't add a bigger alternator, you've also got to increase the wire size from it to the battery (I'm ignoring a generator set up, the regulator, etc. I wouldn't use the existing 6 volt wiring, while the size might be ok, the condition of the insulation probably isn't). The classic air instructions are lacking in a couple area, and there's some wiring check out you need to check on the bench. Or you get to take it out to fix it, at least in a bird. The water control valve is also a problem, despite being installed properly.

I'm runnning a BeCool aluminum radiator with a large electric fan and close tight shroud. Cooling at 90+ in Seattle is ok, but the condenser fan is marginal at that point.

I've got an OT 67 with a vintage air unit. It works probably as well as the oem units did, uses all the factory controls and layout. It has a larger BeCool radiator laid out as Kultulz suggest. Two big horizontal fans, one comes on with the a/c, the other on engine temp (or both staggered on temp if the a/c is off. But it's an integrated computer controlled system on a later model EFI engine. Stuff just not available for Fords unless you build your own.

I always found the factory heat and defrosters fine in the bird, and sometimes I wish I hadn't replaced them. In a full size car I'd use an add on under dash unit way before I used an integrated one. Not knocking either manufacturer. The bird is tight on underdash space and legroom and after sitting a a friends 57 bird (with the under dash) I made my own choice.

If I'd had the ability, I'd have built some kind of an underdash "waterfall/console/ whatever" and used individual parts to complete the system. But there's some pretty period correct underdash units out there.

Here's the VAir one. Kind of hard to find on their main site.

https://www.vintageair.com/universit...ersal-systems/

This is how my center vents ended up on the bird, custom cast panel from Ace in NZ.
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Old 01-29-2020, 02:54 PM   #11
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Post Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rotorwrench View Post

If it's not converted to 12-volt, it will likely need to be.

One more reason for 12-volt high capacity charging system. A 35 amp generator sure won't cut it. A 50 amp or better alternator would be just the ticket.
Correct. If you go to dualing fans, a sound system and an electronic ignition system, you are going to have to up-power.

!!! IMO ONLY !!! -

A 1G ALT upgrade appears its being correct and is easier to hide.

FORD did offer a 60A GEN upgrade. So it i possible to go that route if one wants a correct appearance/restoration. But then you are going to have a SANDEN AC COMP staring you in the face.

It all depends if you have/want a classic - restore - restomod - driver ....
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Old 01-29-2020, 03:31 PM   #12
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Here is the unit Miker refers to installed in my '55 Victoria. There is lots of glass in the car and on a 95 degree day in Mississippi it is marginal. I know the installation and charge has a lot to do with it. I set my car up and monitored the air temp as I slowly increased/decreased charge to maximize cooling. I don't see how it would cool a wagon.
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Old 01-29-2020, 07:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

If the two companies (Vintage & Classic) sell parts separately, a person may be able to buy bits from one or the other to put together a system. I noticed that Classic has brackets for the Y-block but they use the GM alternator. That is what most folks use for conversions anyway. Ford did make some 60 amp units but they likely still require a separate voltage regulator unless a person adapts for the modern stuff. Some of the later stuff is expensive though.

The late Robinson R44 Helicopters have optional air conditioning. They use the Sandin compressor and the smallest evaporator I've seen in a while. The condenser is built just like and small aircraft oil cooler. It's the simplest system I've seen yet but may not be all that adaptable to cars. A person would be surprised what they can find out there if they know where to look. Necessity is the mother of invention. If I lived in AZ, I would consider AC to be a necessity. It is here in TX for at least the hottest 3 months.
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Old 01-29-2020, 08:24 PM   #14
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

If you want to custom design something, you might also look at Old Air Products. They list more "component" stuff, including under dash a/c. They have a truck y block bracket requires GM alternator. Don't know if it fits a car.

I've got some CRS syndrome, but there is a guy in Texas I think, that builds a compressor bracket that fits the Tbirds and I believe mounts a generator. I just can't remember his name, but I was told the "big $" restoration shops use his parts when a bird customer wants a/c. Somebody here will remember what I can't.
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Old 01-29-2020, 08:49 PM   #15
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Thanks to all that replied with great idea's and opinions.Its all greatly apreciated.I have converted my wagon to a 12v system,with new alternator and regulator. The vintage air unit that I am interested in installing in my car is the Gen IV Magnum,Heat,Cool,and defrost. Its the 671400-VUZ. I talked to a vintage air dealer that sells alot and asked him if that unit would cool my wagon.He said this unit would be the best suitable for my needs.He said it goes under dash.The center piece louvers is a 4 vent type.Than there are the 2 sides,driver and passenger side that also goes under dash. He also said that if I don't mind cutting into the dash,he has the vents that will go in the dash.
So, I might get that one particular one. Still debating.
Right now,i have a new standard radiator and a oem 6 blade mechanical fan. I also have a shroud on it. Right now it runs at about 160% but of course,its not summer yet.
Are any of you familiar with this Gen IV unit? My engine is a 302.
PS, sorry I did not answer earlier,I had to help my son move into his new house.
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:31 PM   #16
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

The 302 should be easy to get brackets for. When you say OEM about the fan it doesn't sound right. OEM for a 302 small block or OEM for a 292 Y-block? The later fans with fan clutches may still work for the old Y-block radiator if that's what you have.

Hopefully someone else can help with the Vintage Air Magnum set up. I don't know much other than what is in the photos on their site. You will be beholding to them if you ever have problems with a heater core or the electronic parts.

Last edited by rotorwrench; 01-30-2020 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:36 AM   #17
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

One other thing, use a trinary switch. The two wires still watch the Freon level (too low the compressor never turns on), the third wire is head pressure. While running down the road there is no need to run the electric fan. The head pressure is hooked to a relay to turn the fan on when running the AC before engine temp would turn the fan on or in stop and go traffic. There is an outfit that sells an electric fan/shroud assembly (puller) that I have used. It keeps my street rod cool (195) even in the hot AL summer days. Copper core radiator/195 T-stat.


Forgot, Vintage will loan/sell you and empty case, the style you might want to purchase, that makes fitting and fabricating brackets so simple! Used one doing my Ranchero.
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Last edited by Ford blue blood; 01-31-2020 at 08:39 AM. Reason: added thought
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:59 AM   #18
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

Thanks to all again. very interesting suggestions. There is a dealer in phoenix that said I could borrow his Gen IV Magnum ( empty case) unit and check and see how it fits in the dash. He said one thing for sure is that I will have to use half of the glove box to fit that unit in. The rest just goes under the dash. He said there is a shop in phoenix that will install the complete system for me but will probably charge about $1000.00 .
I am going to see if I can do it myself and save some money.Usually,thats the general idea,to me anyway.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:00 AM   #19
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

If you have the shroud and set the blades proper distance and diameter along with sealing airflow to keep it from heading back to the front of the car, you should have no trouble cooling a 302. There is also pulley ratios to consider. Drove Lincoln Town car for years back and forth to southern Texas with 302 and Grand Marquis both 302's and cooled fine. Found out how important a shroud is with a 302 pickup and missing shroud.
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Old 01-31-2020, 11:19 AM   #20
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Default Re: 1955 Ford Ranch Wagon/ Vintage Air Question?

The 302 is a long engine but if it is already fit in there and the fit is good then half the battle is done. These companies don't always tell you how stuff is going to fit. The glove box interference is a good example. It's better to play it safe and borrow the case if you can. They are usually cheap but if it doesn't fit then borrowing one is the best bet. A person can get some chip board that is basically water resistant cardboard in order to rebuilt the glove box if that's the least of your fit problems.
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