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1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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Joined:
2007/4/20 17:54
From Fresno CA
Posts: 15402
Have been debating what to do with a non functional factory AC unit that has not worked for years. Needed parts are NLA and even should I find some, retrofitting the unit with current refrigerant is also problematic.

Here is the start of an ongoing project to upgrade. Current plans are to keep as much of the look as possible by reusing or making new pieces for the case and outlets. I WILL NOT BE DESTROYING OR MODIFYING ANY OF THE ORIGINAL PIECES should the mood strike me, parts become available, or whatever reason it may be desired to revert to stock.

Here are a few pictures of the unit for those who may have never seen one. There is also a factory field install manual on site http://www.packardinfo.com/xoops/html/downloads/55-56ACInstall.pdf showing more details. Measurements are included and if anyone wants specific info, be glad to supply as long as it hasn't been put back in car and no longer accessible. Current plans are to remove the evaporator assy and install an ID-200 indash unit from Nostalgic Air http://www.nostalgicairparts.com/ This is a decent capacity unit configured in such a way that with a slight modification to either it or a new front piece for the factory case, it will fit inside.

I have not decided whether to do that or just install the indash unit only. As this is a work in progress, plans may change depending on mood and day of the week.

Attach file:



jpg  In Place.jpg (45.10 KB)
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jpg  Removed.jpg (61.48 KB)
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jpg  Rear of unit.jpg (26.49 KB)
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jpg  Front.jpg (21.64 KB)
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jpg  Front Top.jpg (11.89 KB)
209_4cb4a5e0eb9eb.jpg 640X148 px

jpg  Bottom_Heat open.jpg (21.04 KB)
209_4cb4a5ef896c3.jpg 640X248 px

jpg  Heat:Defrost.jpg (47.41 KB)
209_4cb4a5f9ef5be.jpg 597X640 px

jpg  NAP unit.jpg (25.92 KB)
209_4cb4a604ed2b7.jpg 640X273 px

jpg  AC Vents in progress.jpg (27.56 KB)
209_4cb4d505dfac3.jpg 640X340 px

Posted on: 2010/10/12 11:16
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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2007/1/10 19:12
From Deee-troit
Posts: 1138
Are you going with the Sanden compressor? I really wish Packard had used the GM/Harrison compressor.

Posted on: 2010/10/12 11:54
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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From Fresno CA
Posts: 15402
Yes, the Sanden. FLX7 (SD7H15) series with a single A1 belt groove which matches the original setup pretty well. The GM A6 would look more period correct but with the dual carb air cleaner, would be too long to fit the space.

Posted on: 2010/10/12 12:04
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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2008/8/23 21:43
From Minnesota
Posts: 1255
Thanks for starting this blog, HH. I'm pretty sure when I get ahold of the V8 Packard I want, it will be without factory air, and am curious how the factory ones are set up so I can retrofit with a fair amount of originality. Then again, who knows, I might find one with AC, in which case all the better to know how to do a slick upgrade, as I suspect yours will be.

BTW, any picks of the "before" look in the engine compartment and the dash would be handy if you have them. Meanwhile, just amazing to finally see the "guts" of one of these.

Posted on: 2010/10/12 20:44
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Guy

Not an Expert

Lking for a '55 or '56 Packard or Clipper Hardtop: "Decent Driver"
FOUND a '54 Clipper Deluxe 3-speed OD with PS, PB, 327 "Thunderbolt" 81K on the clock. Very decent driver.
Still wouldn't mind a 2-door '55 or '56, but it might be a few years.

We had a 2-tone blue '55 Clipper Custom with Torsion Level in in my family beginning in 1955 when it was new (two years before I was born). The car was the regular family driver until 1969. You might say I grew up in a Packard!
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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Posts: 1138
Howard, you really can't go wrong with the Sanden unit, they are the modern equivalent to the old GM/Harrison unit. Very robust. The old GM cars that used the Harrison compressor had great seals and fittings, after the redesign to the flatter, less cylindrical compressor they also took a lot of cost out of the manufacture of the hoses and fittings and the damn things wouldn't hold a charge for crap.

Posted on: 2010/10/13 6:22
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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Joined:
2006/5/15 20:07
From Irwin, Pa
Posts: 3484
When friend Chris installed air in his Caribbean, he mentioned it was a good time to put all new bulbs in the dash as it was a PITA to reach them with the plenum chamber in the way. Perhaps you could do the same

Posted on: 2010/10/13 6:29
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Packard 400 (Best Other)
Packard Caribbean
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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Joined:
2007/4/20 17:54
From Fresno CA
Posts: 15402
Thanks for the suggestion and friend Chris is right, it is a PITA--even more so when after not being under there for years, you find that you don't bend in all the places you used to and need to.

Posted on: 2010/10/13 7:05
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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Posts: 1138
Beinding oneself into the space under the IP isn't always the problem, getting out is!

Posted on: 2010/10/13 7:21
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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Joined:
2007/4/20 17:54
From Fresno CA
Posts: 15402
The first part of my project is essentially done. Originally, was going to use the NAP unit intact but decided against it because of the glove box clearance. Instead, the original style evaporator case was duplicated and NAP evaporator coil only was placed inside. That way I kept the original AC blower air setup intact instead of having to make an air duct over to the NAP unit and remove it's blower and then worry about heater stuff. Results are reasonably decent & fairly close to the original but I did make a couple of concessions so the repro won't fool anyone on close examination.

Internally, baffles were sized for the evaporator (smaller) and a thermostat was accommodated. Am now thinking of controlling that via cable in conjunction with the heat thermostat since they are complementary--one is off while other is active. May also revert back to my original dual purpose knob assy idea which I showed some preliminary prototypes of earlier. Back to the evaporator, not owning a large stamping press and dies, some parts were pieced instead of stamped out of one large sheet of metal. Being a lousy welder didn't help either so concessions made in that dept. Otherwise, I think looking at the exterior it is a decent copy. The photo shows the main pieces--my repro on the left, original on the right.

Next step is some air duct duplicating. The originals coming out of the box are a cardboard defroster and a foam rubberish material for cold air. Haven't decided what to use exactly for the defroster-- attempt cardboard or maybe fiberglass -- but the mold for the defroster duct is almost complete now so will try the first one in a few days. Also thinking about how to make molds for the foam rubber ducts. Pouring those using a foam urethane might get interesting. My plastic louvers are in the rethink state as well. Still not happy with the results on those and a different mold is being considered.

Awaiting the new carpet now so I can start putting the car back together.

Attach file:



jpg  55-6 Evaporators.jpg (33.97 KB)
209_4e11f0e2c459a.jpg 640X386 px

Posted on: 2011/7/4 10:05
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Howard
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Re: 1955-56 Factory Air Conditioning
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2009/1/7 19:30
From Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 1927
HH

I like your idea. I always thought the big problem with factory A/C was the blower motor being in the engine compartment, and trying to move air over that distance. I thought about installing some heater motors in the box to help move air in the passenger compartment.

Posted on: 2011/7/4 10:53
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