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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, folks -

I don't really even know how to formulate what I want to ask, so I'll just type a minute here.

I have a '56 210 4 door Townsman wagon, Power Pack & Powerglide. Just got it recently.

With the car came a complete Harrison A/C system, removed from the car and in boxes, including everything right down to the old hoses and ducts. The only thing still installed in place is the double belt pulleys on the engine - everything else is in the boxes.

In the 1956 Owners Manual, pages 30 and 31, it talks about 2 different A/C systems that were available: the Frigidaire system, which is more of a "factory air" type of set-up, and this Harrison system, which is more in the direction of a "dealer installed" A/C system - but both are in the Owners Manual. I also bought a Harrison magazine advertisement from a 1956 magazine, which shows this system. My components exactly match the Owners Manual and the old ad.

I have lots of other things to work on first, but eventually I want to restore this system and get it on the car.

Trouble is, I can't figure out where some components go! Owners Manual and Shop Manual and Assembly Manual have no illustrations at all of this system. The compressor, condenser, etc are obvious. But the big box - the "air handler" I'll call it (and it's big) - appears to mount on the passenger side firewall. But that's where the battery is...right in the way.

Does anybody have familiarity with this system? Or better yet, any photos of such a system installed in the car????
 

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What you describe sounds like the evaporator and is usually placed inside the car under the dash. Some early ACs mounted it in the trunk, but I believe that was only in the 40's.
Jim
 

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That's where it goes on a factory/dealer install, the battery box is mounted in basically the same position as a fifty seven... I would have to believe that battery box is unique to the '55 & '56 A/C set ups. You will need to move the battery box for an original install.Do a search on the internet and you should find some pic's of original '56's with the factory/dealer A/C. good luck
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thank you all, especially acardon (I'm "a car Don," too) - that link to the second booklet you posted is exactly the instructions for installing the exact system I have! Perfect.

Now I see that the evaporator is mounted on the inner fender. That's what had me baffled - the poor illustrations I had found so far made it look like it was somehow on the firewall about where the battery is (I was seeing the existing heater). Every component illustrated in this booklet matches exactly what I have.

Looks pretty challenging - but this A/C system was previously in the car, and the modifications (holes, etc) are already there. I'll get back to you in about a year if all goes well, and tell you how I made out! Ha!
 

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If you have the parts re install them, just wondering why they were removed & not refitted in the first place, great looking car :tu
 

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Nice looking wagon. I am glad you are restoring the dealer installed AC. I also have a copy of those instructions. Good luck, post more pix as you go along, it will help the next guy that is restoring an AC system like yours.
 

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Thank you all, especially acardon (I'm "a car Don," too) - that link to the second booklet you posted is exactly the instructions for installing the exact system I have! Perfect.

Now I see that the evaporator is mounted on the inner fender. That's what had me baffled - the poor illustrations I had found so far made it look like it was somehow on the firewall about where the battery is (I was seeing the existing heater). Every component illustrated in this booklet matches exactly what I have.

Looks pretty challenging - but this A/C system was previously in the car, and the modifications (holes, etc) are already there. I'll get back to you in about a year if all goes well, and tell you how I made out! Ha!
That is really awsome. You will probably have to change the oil in the compressor to use R134a I just installed an early aftermarket (sears type) AC in my 55 wagon. Im at the point of of evacuating and charging the system.
 

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My hardtop was a factory a/c car and all that was left was the dash vents and controls.Some one had put a reg heater box in it witch was fine.I decided to put vintage air on (utilizing the original vents), so whenI started installing the evaporator unit under the dash I noticed that the firewall was different haveing a much larger hole for the original evaporator/heater to go through.Upon further investigation could see where someone had grafter the passenger half of the firewall on the engine side to accommodate the the original style heater,thus filling in the larger hole.I would have never seen it if I hadn't been under the dash.Did not cause any problems but I assume a factory a/c car has a different firewall to allow for the evaporator/heater to come through the firewall.Who ever made the changes had also moved the battery to the firewall location.Dont know if this means anything but thought I would share it.Good luck with your install,that is a nice looking 56.
 

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I'm with Angs.....I wondewr why. :anim_25:
:gba:
bowtie-trifive
Usually they sprang a leak, lost charge and the owner didn't know how to fix it. The other common problem was compressor failure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah, I think it's reasonable to guess that it stopped cooling, and they simply decided to get all that extra hardware in the engine bay out of the way. Thank God they saved it for me. I have complete records on the car from the day it was new, every significant maintenance activity that was done, along with date and mileage (even a few polaroid photos through the years, including when it was 6 days old). A/C was removed in 1973, but they didn't record why it was removed. Car went into storage in 1975, briefly back on the road in 1992 to 1994, but only accumulated about 300 miles in those 3 years, then back into the barn until this Spring. Now has 69,300 miles.

The body is outstanding, no rust except for one small spot in the spare tire well. And the original interior is without tears or rips anywhere, although the rear seat floor mat is extremely brittle. Touch it, it cracks. Seats and door panels are great and pliable, though.

But I have bigger fish to fry before I get to the A/C - doing brakes right now, and the engine is going to have to come out. Compression readings all over the map, from 60 to 105, and blowing steam out the road draft tube, etc, etc. Amazingly, it runs quite well though. But this will be a great chance to clean up everything under the hood, fix 500 small things, new gaskets and seals, etc, etc, and get it nice and clean and tidy under the hood (which it is not currently!).

When I have a nice fresh engine and everything pretty again, THEN I will get this A/C re-installed and working. Gasmanscotty, this Harrison system uses the standard factory firewall etc, and just drills some extra hols for the install. All the components are under the hood, except the outlet air vents and a 3 knob control under the dash.
 

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Yeah, I think it's reasonable to guess that it stopped cooling, and they simply decided to get all that extra hardware in the engine bay out of the way. Thank God they saved it for me. I have complete records on the car from the day it was new, every significant maintenance activity that was done, along with date and mileage (even a few polaroid photos through the years, including when it was 6 days old). A/C was removed in 1973, but they didn't record why it was removed. Car went into storage in 1975, briefly back on the road in 1992 to 1994, but only accumulated about 300 miles in those 3 years, then back into the barn until this Spring. Now has 69,300 miles.

The body is outstanding, no rust except for one small spot in the spare tire well. And the original interior is without tears or rips anywhere, although the rear seat floor mat is extremely brittle. Touch it, it cracks. Seats and door panels are great and pliable, though.

But I have bigger fish to fry before I get to the A/C - doing brakes right now, and the engine is going to have to come out. Compression readings all over the map, from 60 to 105, and blowing steam out the road draft tube, etc, etc. Amazingly, it runs quite well though. But this will be a great chance to clean up everything under the hood, fix 500 small things, new gaskets and seals, etc, etc, and get it nice and clean and tidy under the hood (which it is not currently!).

When I have a nice fresh engine and everything pretty again, THEN I will get this A/C re-installed and working. Gasmanscotty, this Harrison system uses the standard factory firewall etc, and just drills some extra hols for the install. All the components are under the hood, except the outlet air vents and a 3 knob control under the dash.
I am so tickled for you, What a find. I had a 56 two-ten up until we had the house fire in 09 Sold it to a fellow in Finland. (my favorite year)
 
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