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AFTERMARKET A/C SYSTEMS FOR 55 PACKARD
#1
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5540Packards
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Has anyone installed an aftermarket a/c system on their car? I own a 1955 400 hardtop and wondered about either a vintage air or a classic auto air system.

Posted on: 11/16 23:52
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Re: AFTERMARKET A/C SYSTEMS FOR 55 PACKARD
#2
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HH56
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There have been several who have added aftermarket AC but to the best of my knowledge there are no engine brackets similar to what was available at the time from Vintage or anyone else for the compressor. You will probably need to make your own or adapt one of the so called universal mounts from Vintage or Classic Air. You might find someone who would have one of the old ones out of a parts car. They do show up for sale from time to time but you would still need to modify it so a modern compressor could mount on the bracket.

For a proper install you will also need to source a drive pulley. Original AC pulleys are hard to find so some have bolted on a second power steering drive pulley. That is larger in diameter than the factory AC pulley but it will work with a Sanden type compressor. Others have used the same belt now driving the fan and generator but go longer to drive the compressor as well. It works but with long belts you need to watch out for long unsupported runs that could develop belt whip.

The AC radiator was thicker with an additional row in the core so depending on your climate you might need to have yours recored to the larger spec. The original 6 blade fans used on AC cars are hard to come by so some have added modern flex fans.

The glove box door folding down like it does needs some room to swing. For it to open completely any evaporator unit in the center needs to be small and sit rather low and far back. The trans hump kind of limits space available for low and far back. Because of the glove box there have been some who have installed a slimline unit with the evaporator core more over toward the passenger side. There are some of those type units that will accommodate a duct hose to supply an extra vent positioned on the drivers left side. Downside to that arrangement is it makes service for the stock radio power supply section difficult and the AC unit may need to drop down if there is a need to access the power supply.

A few years ago there was a repro pulley and even a bracket made by Jack Nordstrom of the Stude club for use on 56 Golden Hawks. Those models used the Packard engine and the pieces will fit and may still be available. The contact information is no longer on the Golden Hawk website where it resided for many years but perhaps someone in the Stude club would know the status. The pulley will work well but his bracket was rather strange looking because it was made for the Stude layout and fit under the low Golden Hawk hood. IMO, a simpler custom version more like those sold by Packards aftermarket suppliers at the time might be the better choice.

Posted on: 11/17 2:13
Howard
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Re: AFTERMARKET A/C SYSTEMS FOR 55 PACKARD
#3
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R H
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Gerry. Psw. Has the bracket. Maybe some other parts.

Posted on: 11/17 8:04
Riki
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Re: AFTERMARKET A/C SYSTEMS FOR 55 PACKARD
#4
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5540Packards
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When my engine was pulled by Ross Miller in Md a couple of years ago and detailed I had the 3 groove pulley (for cars with factory A/C) installed and I also have a 6 bladed fan that I purchased about a year ago. Ross told me he could make a bracket for the air compressor that would look factory when the time comes.

Posted on: 11/17 19:21
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Re: AFTERMARKET A/C SYSTEMS FOR 55 PACKARD
#5
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HH56
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With a pulley and somewhere to get a bracket you have the hard part covered. Just need to pick out an inside unit in a style you like keeping in mind how far the glovebox door drops down when fully open.

For the unit, if you are keeping the stock 55 positive ground, unless you change polarity I think you will need to stay away from the more deluxe units with electronic temp and speed control. I believe those all want negative ground.

On the radiator, about the best you can do is see how the 6 blade fan and your current radiator fares on a hot day and go from there.

Posted on: 11/17 20:40
Howard
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Re: AFTERMARKET A/C SYSTEMS FOR 55 PACKARD
#6
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Rscott77x
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6V cooling fans for radiators are also sourceable.

Posted on: 11/18 17:58
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Re: AFTERMARKET A/C SYSTEMS FOR 55 PACKARD
#7
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Rscott77x
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Ross is something else!! If he passes before me I may take a warm "roman bath" with a knife to leave earth at the same time as his vast knowledge will be on the other side!!

Posted on: 11/18 18:03
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