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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am shopping around for an a/c kit(heat and defrost too), and am wondering what brand to buy. Seems like Vintage Air is most popular, but I have been looking at the Southern Rods kit. I think I am going to get the southern rods evaporator kit, as I already have a compressor, and mount, and my radiator and radiator support are not in the stock location. So my question is; how well does the southern rods kit work?
 

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I did purchase the Southern Rods a/c for my 55 sedan but I haven't installed it yet. I went with Southern Rods because I didn't have the the deluxe heater control that you need for Vintage Air. The Southern Rods come with a controller to mount in the dash.
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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I have Classic Auto Air in my 57 and it's working great. After reading the installation problems of Vintage Air in a recent thread, I'm glad I used Classic Auto Air. The evaporator slipped under the dash without any problems, and the slide controls easily attached to the original heater control. I understand that the Vintage heater control valve is either on or off, whereas the Classic heater control is completely adjustable from off to on and anyplace in between. It's real handy for warming the cold air just a little.
 

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I have a "southern Air" unit

in my 57, and found it installed great, trouble free.
but..... I mod everything, (hoses, mounts, etc)
still, I'd use one again, not having used a "Vintage Air"
I cannot comment on any difference.
 

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I like my VA GenIV system.
The servo control with no cables is a big plus IMO.

I didn't have any installation issues. However, I did a few modifications. There were a couple things in the wiring that I didn't like, so I changed things a little. I also trashed the cheapo side vents and put in original reproductions. I trashed the plastic plate they gave me for the firewall too and made my own out of a piece of aluminum.
 

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I've used both kits. Southern Rods A/C kit was used in my Anglia and it worked just as well as the VA A/C kit used in the '33 Vicky and the wifes '65 Mustang, I found it a bit easier to install in the Anglia than the VA in the Vicky. The '56 F-100 also has a Southern Rods A/C kit...needs a new condenser so don't know how well it works..
 

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For me its a no brainer to go with VA over Southern. I recently installed a VA Sure Fit Gen lV unit which allows you to use the original controls without the cables. That Southern funky looking control panel turns me off. Besides VA has for decades designed and manufactured A/C systems. Not to sure Southern's units are not made in China.
 

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I've installed a few kits from classic auto air on different cars. If I ever put air on my '56, that's who I'll buy from. You can get kits that mount where the factory stuff went or street rod kits that would fit under the dash, pre made a/c lines or you can make your own. Lots of combinations and control options. I like their stuff.

Trevor
 

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I suggest a kit where the hoses connect to the evaporator/heater unit on the engine side of the firewall, NOT under the dash. Old Air and Classic Auto Air come to mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did you ever purchase this kit? If you did was there any issues with the install?
I haven't been on this site lately or I would have replied sooner, I have been re-thinking using Southern air as my dad installed their kit in his 56 and is not impressed on how it works. The car does not stay cool after a short amount of time, and thd a/c is almost pointless on long drives.
I am back to looking at VA and classic auto air. My only problem is i have no old cables or control parts to use. I plan to buy a kit within the next month, so I'll report back with the final decision.
 

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I suggest a kit where the hoses connect to the evaporator/heater unit on the engine side of the firewall, NOT under the dash. Old Air and Classic Auto Air come to mind.
The VA unit hoses attach that way too.
What brands do not?
 

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Trifive Automotive Electrical Wiring Expert
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The VA unit hoses attach that way too.
What brands do not?
Classic Auto Air fittings go through the firewall and connect on the engine side, on the "Perfit Fit" system. You can get the same unit with under dash fittings to route the hoses under the fender.

I am back to looking at VA and classic auto air. My only problem is i have no old cables or control parts to use. I plan to buy a kit within the next month, so I'll report back with the final decision.
You can also get a plastic control panel that goes in place of the original panel, but I would find a used 57 delux control panel and use the slider switches. The only cables you need are for the original fresh air vents. See page 3 of the instructions. .... http://www.classicautoair.com/manuals/1-1037Manual.pdf Page 13 shows the hose connections.
 

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The VA unit hoses attach that way too.
What brands do not?
My car's V/A unit from 1999 runs the heater and refrigerant hoses through the firewall where they connect to the evaporator/heater core unit under the dash. It's just a real pain to make the connections. Same was true for the kit in my 69 pickup that I installed in 1998. If the new V/A kits run the evaporator hard lines into the engine compartment, that's a nice improvement.

My V/A installation:



Classic Auto Air; similar to Old Air:
 

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If the new V/A kits run the evaporator hard lines into the engine compartment, that's a nice improvement.
The GenIV units do. I didn't know the older units didn't.
Yes, I much prefer the new setup.

I've got the GenIV in my Bel Air and am putting one in my '57 pickup.
 

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I installed a Vintage Air system in my 46 pickup a few years ago, no 'kit' had to custom make brackets etc etc. Best thing about VA was their tech support people, very patient. Only huge negative was their dealer that sells on ebay (don't remember his name so this may not apply to ALL their ebay sellers) but this guy sat on my payment for months, had to complain to VA to get my system.
 

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Going to be installing my Southern Rods A/C-heat system I bought awhile back. I can say their installation instructions are horrible. Papers with photocopied pictures that you can't see. Went to their website and the instructions are just copies of what I already have. Glad I'm kinda mechanical and can decipher what is being done. Going to Vintage Air web and viewing their instructions has been helpful. The design of the unit under the dash is a bit different but they pretty much function the same. It does look like a good unit though. Assembled here in US with parts from here and a few offshore. I did buy this unit because I did not have a deluxe controller to modify. The SR unit has its own electric controller. The only knocking I can do on SR is the instructions. I'll keep you posted on how well it works. I did find a member here that has a SR unit in his 55 sedan and I'm going to his place to view it and take some pictures. I'm sure that will be helpful.
 
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