Have any of you tried to update the cabin system to a complete new evaporator core /heater core box from VintageAir or any other manufacturer?  To me, it doesn't make sense to change over to R134 with a new compressor, etc.., and leave a 48 year old heater core and evaporator core and components in place. This is especially true when the interior is already apart for a complete restoration. All opinions are appreciated.

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91E54503-AE9A-443E-8CD4-9AE9CC0985E29157A49F-379C-4ECD-B13D-42EBE65A4027A3C3E9E0-84AB-4FB0-BA86-395DDEAF6807BF76A8FC-EE3D-4299-B70B-D8E7D153A930I and other owners have done what you are asking about. Trust me when I tell you that this is a huge, huge  project.

HUGE. 

I still do not know if it was worth the hundreds of hours I invested as 2511 will not return to the road until later this summer  

I had to design and build my own mounting brackets. I had to essentially remove the unit’s dash, defrost and floor outlets and design and build my own. I had to replace the right hand defrost duct outlet with one from the left-hand side, and devise my own method of sealing between the unit and the dashboard. I put my refrigerant lines in the rocker panel but if I had not done this, connecting lines running up the center tunnel would have been a plumbing challenge.

 

but because I was building my own outlets I was able to build them to allow for the addition of left-hand and right hand outboard vents. The controls for the unit are just three potentiometers that can be mounted in the location of your choice. No slider knobs to be seen.

this is one of those projects where you will essentially be on your own. If you are brave enough to attempt this you can seek out the advice and experience of myself and others, but ultimately you will be the fabricator and designer for everything you need to complete the project  

Larry 

P.S. - be prepared to take your dashboard in and out at least 100 times.

No, really.

 

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Last edited by lf-tp2511

Last year I updated to R134 when my stock system was leaking R12.  Replaced all hoses, fittings, compressor, receiver/drier, valves and larger condenser.  Only stock part left is the evaporator.  I'm not an AC expert, but I understand that an updated condenser makes a substantial difference in the system.  I'm pretty happy with the results.  Changing out the evaporator seemed to be a major undertaking for a marginal return on performance.

Wouldn't it be easier to upgrade/ replace the evaporator core? Obsolete Air sells a unit and there's an eBay seller CCS Autoparts that sells one as well.

1F6E72C4-ED2A-49FF-BDFE-ACA5BB90BD67Certainly. 

 The initial post was asking about aftermarket HVAC, and having recently done that I threw in my two cents.

Vital to this discussion is alternate approaches such as the one Dennis used and what Julian just now proposed. 

 I would not have gone to the effort required if I wasn’t already starting with a bare shell after the collision repairs were finished. 

 An aftermarket HVAC offers more flexibility in how it is controlled where as upgrades will retain the same basic control system. One thing easily done is upgrading to a more modern three speed motor and you can also find DC motor potentiometer controls available on eBay so your blower fan is fully variable 

Larry

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I have also done this conversion but I had an easier time than Larry. The most difficult part of this project is connecting the unit's outputs to your OEM vents. That is easier if you have a late dash because you can use duct tubing to connect the defrost vents. With an early dash, you need to fabricate some sort of plenum. I also used a Restomod Air system but the one I used was shorter and had horizontal outlets, as opposed to the one Larry used that had vertical outlets. For me, the biggest challenge was the precise horizontal location of the unit itself. Since I did my conversion, Restomod Air has come out with a smaller unit than the one I used, called the Cyclone. It would be easier to mount than mine as the horizontal location would not be as important. As Larry mentioned, be prepared to fabricate mounting brackets and lots more. In my case, that meant fabricating adapters to connect duct hose to the vents in the front of the dash. With a late dash, no adapters are necessary to connect the defrost vents although I did use a 90 degree fitting from an end vent, on the center vent. With an early dash, I wonder if it might be easier if you used aftermarket defrost vents, that are designed to connect to 2" duct tubing? That probably means reupholstering your dash but it might save lots of time.    

The best modification that I did was to move my air conditioning condenser to the front of the car. The car already had a rotary compressor and R134 expansion valve and hoses. The blower motor failed a few years ago and it was replaced with a three speed unit, but the original evaporator and heater core were left in place because they were not leaking and were working. The thin front mounted A/C condenser gets way more air flow than the factory rear mounted one and where I live in Arizona air conditioning is nice to have on a hot day. There is nothing wrong with changing all of the A/C cabin parts on a Pantera, but in my experience the best bang for your buck is going to be a front mounted condenser. If you have an engine that tends to run warm at low speed, then don't try this modification. If you do move your condenser to the front of the car, you will now have a nice place to install an oil cooler with its own fan. Again, don't do this modification without having an oil pump that can handle the extra length of the oil lines and the cooler flow resistance.

Lot's of great information here. The reason I like the complete replacement is two fold: It's cheaper than buying new parts to replace the originals so that you feel safe to get on a road trip ; It will be much more efficient and bring the system up to par with "newer" cars. The original system was really crappy, in my opinion. This is my second Pantera. Thanks for your input. On Sunday, May 31, 2020, 07:24:03 PM EDT, The De Tomaso Forums <alerts@crowdstack.com> wrote:

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I and other owners have done what you are asking about. Trust me when I tell you that this is a huge, huge  project.

HUGE. 

I still do not know if it was worth the hundreds of hours I invested as 2511 will not return to the road until later this summer  

I had to design and build my own mounting brackets. I had to essentially remove the unit’s dash, defrost and floor outlets and design and build my own. I had to replace the right hand defrost duct outlet with one from the left-hand side, and devise my own method of sealing between the unit and the dashboard. I put my refrigerant lines in the rocker panel but if I had not done this, connecting lines running up the center tunnel would have been a plumbing challenge.

 

but because I was building my own outlets I was able to build them to allow for the addition of left-hand and right hand outboard vents. The controls for the unit are just three potentiometers that can be mounted in the location of your choice. No slider knobs to be seen.

this is one of those projects where you will essentially be on your own. If you are brave enough to attempt this you can seek out the advice and experience of myself and others, but ultimately you will be the fabricator and designer for everything you need to complete the project  

Larry 

 
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Not only is the evaporator risky, but the heater core is VERY subject to failure at this age of it's life. Then you have the hot water control valve, and the temperature control switch, the fan motor, and the expansion valve. All of these would be a nightmare to replace. I agree with your opinion on the condenser assembly needing to be replaced. It's a lot of work and money, but here where I live, you'd better have a good HVAC system if you are going to enjoy your drive in the summer.
Thanks for your response. On Sunday, May 31, 2020, 09:07:46 PM EDT, The De Tomaso Forums <alerts@crowdstack.com> wrote:

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Last year I updated to R134 when my stock system was leaking R12.  Replaced all hoses, fittings, compressor, receiver/drier, valves and larger condenser.  Only stock part left is the evaporator.  I'm not an AC expert, but I understand that an updated condenser makes a substantial difference in the system.  I'm pretty happy with the results.  Changing out the evaporator seemed to be a major undertaking for a marginal return on performance.
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I need to look at the RESTOMOD website to check out their units. I am not familiar with them. I appreciate your comments and suggestions. I'm sure I'm in for some major obstacles, but I'm used to that. Usually, the results are worth it. On Monday, June 1, 2020, 12:45:34 AM EDT, The De Tomaso Forums <alerts@crowdstack.com> wrote:

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I have also done this conversion but I had an easier time than Larry. The most difficult part of this project is connecting the unit's outputs to your OEM vents. That is easier if you have a late dash because you can use duct tubing to connect the defrost vents. With an early dash, you need to fabricate some sort of plenum. I also used a Restomod Air system but the one I used was shorter and had horizontal outlets, as opposed to the one Larry used that had vertical outlets. For me, the biggest challenge was the precise horizontal location of the unit itself. Since I did my conversion, Restomod Air has come out with a smaller unit than the one I used, called the Cyclone. It would be easier to mount than mine as the horizontal location would not be as important. As Larry mentioned, be prepared to fabricate mounting brackets and lots more. In my case, that meant fabricating adapters to connect duct hose to the vents in the front of the dash. With a late dash, no adapters are necessary to connect the defrost vents although I did use a 90 degree fitting from an end vent, on the center vent. With an early dash, I wonder if it might be easier if you used aftermarket defrost vents, that are designed to connect to 2" duct tubing? That probably means reupholstering your dash but it might save lots of time.    
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Again, Thank You! On Sunday, May 31, 2020, 11:52:58 PM EDT, The De Tomaso Forums <alerts@crowdstack.com> wrote:

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Certainly. 

 The initial post was asking about aftermarket HVAC, and having recently done that I threw in my two cents.

Vital to this discussion is alternate approaches such as the one Dennis used and what Julian just now proposed. 

 I would not have gone to the effort required if I wasn’t already starting with a bare shell after the collision repairs were finished. 

 An aftermarket HVAC offers more flexibility in how it is controlled where as upgrades will retain the same basic control system. One thing easily done is upgrading to a more modern three speed motor and you can also find DC motor potentiometer controls available on eBay so your blower fan is fully variable 

Larry
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In my case, a front mounted condenser is not an option. I'm like you, AC is a must here in the South. Thanks for taking the time to reply. On Monday, June 1, 2020, 09:06:14 AM EDT, The De Tomaso Forums <alerts@crowdstack.com> wrote:

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The best modification that I did was to move my air conditioning condenser to the front of the car. The car already had a rotary compressor and R134 expansion valve and hoses. The blower motor failed a few years ago and it was replaced with a three speed unit, but the original evaporator and heater core were left in place because they were not leaking and were working. The thin front mounted A/C condenser gets way more air flow than the factory rear mounted one and where I live in Arizona air conditioning is nice to have on a hot day. There is nothing wrong with changing all of the A/C cabin parts on a Pantera, but in my experience the best bang for your buck is going to be a front mounted condenser. If you have an engine that tends to run warm at low speed, then don't try this modification. If you do move your condenser to the front of the car, you will now have a nice place to install an oil cooler with its own fan. Again, don't do this modification without having an oil pump that can handle the extra length of the oil lines and the cooler flow resistance.
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