Has anyone every purchased and installed an aluminum oem type condenser from Classic Condenser Specialists of Anaheim California? They are selling a direct replacement condenser for a Pantera, but I can only find their company listed on e-Bay.
Original Post
I purchased one but have not installed it. I have decided to use a parallel flow type, but have not installed it either (ran out of time before Reno).

The 4 row (stock is 3 row) from CCS is supposed to be a drop-in replacement When used with a higher flow fan, it should help.

The parallel flow condenser is the better way to go, but it is not a drop-in replacement. It is more efficient and saves weight. Larry (LF - TP 2511) posted his installation of the parallel flow condenser.

http://pantera.infopop.cc/eve/...0077274/m/8000098494

John
On a similar note, CCS also offers a replacement evaporator (under the dash).

It has fewer heater coils and thus more freon coils. Should thus cool better.

And after buying this upgraded unit from one of our vendors, and then seeing the CCS unit in eBay, I can assure you the CCS unit is the exact same unit I bought from the vendor.

With the exception that the price is $100 less from CCS.

Now before someone chimes in with the support our vendors rap, I usually agree with that philosophy. But I assume CCS is making a profit with their pricing, which means the vendor is REALLY making a profit.

Especially when you consider the vendor is most likely not paying the CCS retail price when he stocks it on to his shelf.

At some point a profit margin becomes greed.

At somewhere around that point, my loyalty to supporting the vendors grows a bit thin.

Too late for me, but I feel the rest of you should be aware of what I now, belatedly, know.

Larry

http://tinyurl.com/CCSevaporator
Larry,

Did you have a working stock AC system before you upgraded the condenser/fan? I am just curious on how much it improved your AC cooling. Also I looked up the condenser/fan setup on Vintage Air and there is a note that says it is not recommended as a primary condenser. Now that you have had yours working for a while do you consider this upgrade to be a huge improvement over the stock AC system?

I am just trying to make the final decision on which way to go, stock or this one.

Thanks,
Chris
Hi Chris,

quote:
Did you have a working stock AC system before you upgraded the condenser/fan?

Yes, it worked, but not as cold as I would like. It came with a Sanden conversion but still used R-12 and was stock otherwise. I want the vents blowing ice cubes that need to be tempered with an open window. Big Grin

quote:
not recommended as a primary condenser

I recently noted that, too. I do not recall that note being there when I made the purchase. If you think of using this unit, I'd call them and ask just why that statement is there. Remember, our cabin area is very small.

quote:
do you consider this upgrade to be a huge improvement over the stock AC system


Certainly no worse. Better, maybe.

BUT, and a big but, charging this system is a pain.

I can find no one that can provide a factory fill amount for a Pantera system using the original R-12, or obviously, for an R-134a conversion. Now, I could hunt down a good tech that fully knows systems and can just fill with trial and error and watching the gauges, but I enjoy a challenge and have been trying to do that myself. I've been able to pull a vacuum and fill using 14 ounce cans, but that method leaves a bit of precision on the table as to just how much freon I'm actually charging with (hose loss, partial can use, etc).

A while ago I obtained an R-12 Robinair recover/recycle/recharge AC machine, and just last week finally scored a virgin NOS tank of R-12 from a Craig's list sale.

Hopefully, between the Harry Homeowner and Honey Do list chores, I intend to use the new R-12 to fill the machine's tank and then start dialing in my proper charge. With the machine I can set a charge at 3 pounds, 3 ounces (or whatever) and it will automatically fill to that level. I can do some trial drives to judge performance and if lacking, pull it all down again, and try three ounces more, or three ounces more - precision I have not been able to obtain using the small cans.

And of course, I do have the upgraded evaporator sitting on my shelf that needs to be put in, and that will again require recalibrating the fill - assuming I get to the current system this season. Frowner

And if with everything installed and I still can't dial it all in, then I'll toss in the towel and seek professional help; but you know how we are letting grease monkeys near our cars.

So the final verdict on my system is still down the road a bit.

For you to consider now, I offer these thoughts:

Steve Wilkinson swears by the upgraded evaporator.

The firm that sells it (for less than the vendors) also has an upgraded condenser.

R-12 is a better refrigerant than r-134a. There is nothing illegal about continuing to use R-12. The only thing illegal is to manufacture or import it. There are firms that reclaim (probably from wrecking yards) and reprocess R-12 and sell those 30 pound tanks for about $400.

Most large towns still have a shop that will do R-12 systems. Try truck repair shops if none of the auto dealers still service R-12.

NOS 12 or 14 ounce cans sell on eBay for $20-$35 a piece. Same for Craig's list. I bought the 30 pound NOS, sealed tank for $300.

Stock system uses flare fittings. And has 35 year old hose. New 'barrier' hoses with o-ring fittings would be a worthwhile upgrade for a complete overhaul project.

A front mounted condenser does have some advantages. I did not go that route because I have pusher Meriah fans that leave no room for front mounting.

A proper r-134a conversion requires much more than draining oil, changing charging fittings and adding 134. You will find folks who say it really is that simple and it worked for them. To them I can only say, good for you - you got lucky.

And one other thing, if you are not a glutton for punishment and your check book allows for it, letting a known, trusted shop figure this out for you would sure be a less-frustrating affair for you than the road I have taken. Wink

Larry
quote:
Originally posted by Puma:
Has anyone purchased one of these yet? I would really like to find out what they think.

Thanks.


I purchased and installed one of their condensers last year. It is a quality unit and fits just like the old unit did.

This year's Reno trip was much hotter than last year's and on the way back when it was about 107 degrees in Las Vegas, the air conditioning was just not putting out very much cool air. This is not a problem with the condenser manufacturer, but more of a condenser location issue. I will be installing a front mounted condenser at some time in the future.
JFFR,

Are you using the stock condenser fan or an aftermarket fan with greater CFM?


Coming home through the Owens Valley, it was over 100 deg outside air temp. My wife had to turn the air vent away from her as the air coming from it was too cold (it doesn't take much for her to get cold, though).

I still have all of the original design components. The only things that have ever been replaced are the compressor (currently using a York), one hose, and the drier. I was planning on replacing everything in the system except the evap before the Reno trip, but I ran out of time. Now I'm afraid to touch the system!! I think I might wait until something dies in the system before I make any changes. I will be using R12 whenever I install all of the new components.

John
quote:
Originally posted by jb1490:
JFFR,

Are you using the stock condenser fan or an aftermarket fan with greater CFM?


Coming home through the Owens Valley, it was over 100 deg outside air temp. My wife had to turn the air vent away from her as the air coming from it was too cold (it doesn't take much for her to get cold, though).

I still have all of the original design components. The only things that have ever been replaced are the compressor (currently using a York), one hose, and the drier. I was planning on replacing everything in the system except the evap before the Reno trip, but I ran out of time. Now I'm afraid to touch the system!! I think I might wait until something dies in the system before I make any changes. I will be using R12 whenever I install all of the new components.

John


I have an aftermarket condenser fan and a Sanden rotary compressor with a R134 expansion valve. I just used a drop in R12/R134 replacement refrigerant (Redtek R12A, which is as good or better than R12. I am still playing with the system a little bit, but pulling hot air from under the car through the condenser doesn't make sense. As if recall many years ago, the system did work quite well with the old York compressor and R12.

The new engine project will be taking all of the money this year, but if there is anything left, the condenser will be going up front where it belongs after that project is completed.
I was wondering if someone would bring up the replacements.

First off, yes, replacing the expansion valve to a 134a piece when changing from R12 is a good move many overlook.

While the Redtek r12a may be better than 134a, I do doubt it is better than genuine R12. It is a blend using propane, and thus has some drawbacks - read on.

Using any blend replacement for R12, or 134a, has some serious repercussions. First off many of the blends are a propane blend - yup, the same stuff you use for your barbecue. As such, they are illegal for use in motor vehicles.

Second, blends are an AC garage's nightmare. They will contaminate their tanks. Most good AC shops now test all cars, especially old ones like ours, for signs of blend use. If they find it, be prepared to have them either refuse to service your system or charge you mucho bucks.

Next, many of the blends are sold as a DIY kit. They often include a can of sealer. Sealer in an AC system is much like sealer in a coolant system. Yup, it may very well fill the leak, but it then goes on to fill other small places you don't want filled. Again, sealer in an AC shop's equipment is the kiss of death to their units. BIG bucks to clean and repair. About the only time to use a sealer is a last ditch effort to keep things going for another season or two - knowing you are doing a full replacement upgrade when the money finally arrives.

An AC outfit in Arizona sponsors a very good online forum which is much like ours. It has a search feature, also. I've learned a lot from my time spent there:

http://tinyurl.com/ACkitsFORUM

Finally, I know it is common thought that moving the condenser up front is the thing to do. And it surely can not hurt. But we all know many Panteras with it still in the rear, even with fully stock systems, that manage to cool quite nicely.

Like me, JFFR says he is still playing with the system (welcome, fellow glutton for punishment- Wink) and thus his low system performance may or may not be due to the rear-mount condenser. He too is suffering with solving proper fill amounts for a modified system, with the added issue of using a blend.

As I wrote in an earlier post....

letting a known, trusted shop figure this out for you would sure be a less-frustrating affair for you than the road I have taken.

Larry
quote:
Originally posted by LF - TP 2511:
I was wondering if someone would bring up the replacements.

First off, yes, replacing the expansion valve to a 134a piece when changing from R12 is a good move many overlook.

While the Redtek r12a may be better than 134a, I do doubt it is better than genuine R12. It is a blend using propane, and thus has some drawbacks - read on.

Using any blend replacement for R12, or 134a, has some serious repercussions. First off many of the blends are a propane blend - yup, the same stuff you use for your barbecue. As such, they are illegal for use in motor vehicles.

Second, blends are an AC garage's nightmare. They will contaminate their tanks. Most good AC shops now test all cars, especially old ones like ours, for signs of blend use. If they find it, be prepared to have them either refuse to service your system or charge you mucho bucks.

Next, many of the blends are sold as a DIY kit. They often include a can of sealer. Sealer in an AC system is much like sealer in a coolant system. Yup, it may very well fill the leak, but it then goes on to fill other small places you don't want filled. Again, sealer in an AC shop's equipment is the kiss of death to their units. BIG bucks to clean and repair. About the only time to use a sealer is a last ditch effort to keep things going for another season or two - knowing you are doing a full replacement upgrade when the money finally arrives.

An AC outfit in Arizona sponsors a very good online forum which is much like ours. It has a search feature, also. I've learned a lot from my time spent there:

http://tinyurl.com/ACkitsFORUM

Finally, I know it is common thought that moving the condenser up front is the thing to do. And it surely can not hurt. But we all know many Panteras with it still in the rear, even with fully stock systems, that manage to cool quite nicely.

Like me, JFFR says he is still playing with the system (welcome, fellow glutton for punishment- Wink) and thus his low system performance may or may not be due to the rear-mount condenser. He too is suffering with solving proper fill amounts for a modified system, with the added issue of using a blend.

As I wrote in an earlier post....

letting a known, trusted shop figure this out for you would sure be a less-frustrating affair for you than the road I have taken.

Larry


For what it is worth, I have the Redtek product in a couple of my other older vehicles. It does as good or better job than the original R12 did. The temperature gauge in the outlet duct proves it. The Pantera didn't need any sealant added, because I replaced everything but the evp unit and the system doesn't leak. It didn't leak with R134 and not with the Redtek either.

Redtek says to keep the low side pressure below 25 psi, which I have managed to do. The A/C shop that I used to pull a vacuum on the system has a good machine and always did a good job when I was setting the car up with R134. The Redtek just hasn't done much better than the R134 in the Pantera, but I still go back to the condenser location on the car. I also installed a binary switch, which the system never had before this trip. I am not positive, however the switch may have been shutting the compressor off when the pressure got too high. Since I was on my way back from Reno, I didn't feel like taking the time to jumper the switch to find out if that is what the problem was. I also feel that switch may have been doing what it should have been, which was protecting the system from a potentially damaging high pressure.

I might work with the system a little bit this summer. Finding 100 degree days here in southeastern Arizona won't be a problem for the next few months.

Thanks for the link to the A/C forum. I might post something on there just to see what happens.
I installed a front mounted Condenser and am using R134A. The system is awesome. Completed the system in 2005 and it is still working today with no issues. It works so good I cannot just leave it on as it gets to cold.

I tried the R12 route and even the blend route but in the end the hassles were not worth it for me.

I like being able to service the system myself with 2 cans of 134A. Pennies compared to R12 and it is just a quick trip to the local auto parts store.
After reading though all of these posts I think I am just going to go with the front mounted condenser running R134a rather than looking for ways to upgrade the existing rear condenser. My AC system has not worked in over 15 years so it seems best to just replace almost everything and start new. I will be converting to a lay down radiator soon so I will just install it then.
Does everyone run a system pressure switch? Is it needed?
quote:
Originally posted by Z06 Pantera:
I installed a front mounted Condenser and am using R134A. The system is awesome. Completed the system in 2005 and it is still working today with no issues. It works so good I cannot just leave it on as it gets to cold.

I tried the R12 route and even the blend route but in the end the hassles were not worth it for me.

I like being able to service the system myself with 2 cans of 134A. Pennies compared to R12 and it is just a quick trip to the local auto parts store.


Where did you get the condensor?
Do you have a part #?

Ron
quote:
Originally posted by Puma:
After reading though all of these posts I think I am just going to go with the front mounted condenser running R134a rather than looking for ways to upgrade the existing rear condenser. My AC system has not worked in over 15 years so it seems best to just replace almost everything and start new. I will be converting to a lay down radiator soon so I will just install it then.
Does everyone run a system pressure switch? Is it needed?


I just installed a binary pressure switch on my system this year. It is easy to do and does give you both high pressure and low pressure protection. The low pressure protection was my concern because in the event of a leak, your compressor could keep running and be damaged. Your only protection without the switch in the system is yourself noticing that the duct temperatures are not cool.

I agree that R134 is easy to get and when I move the condenser to the front of the car I will be installing it instead of a blend. With the amount of hot air that flows under a Pantera, it is a wonder that the A/C does much of anything considering that is the source of air for the condenser.
quote:
Does everyone run a system pressure switch? Is it needed?

IMHO it is needed. Very good protection against damaging the compressor if the pressure goes to low due to a leak. It is also a very good protection against blowing off a hose due to an over pressure condition.

Scott
quote:
condenser/fan setup on Vintage Air and there is a note that says it is not recommended as a primary condenser

I called Vintage Air to get an answer.

They said that since it is listed as a remote condenser, some of the car guys install this condenser under the car where there is hot, minimal air flow (sound familiar?), but it is fine for the primary (only) condenser in the rear of the Pantera.

John
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