MALIBU Looking for vintage air

Jstackin82

n00b
Jul 24, 2021
1
1
Hey I have a 1981 Malibu that I am building with a LS 26.0 motor looking for help figuring out how do I use a vintage air conditioner unit or something similar that’ll work with a shaved firewall
 
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Peter Gray

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Feb 21, 2018
15
13
British Columbia
Hey I have a 1981 Malibu that I am building with a LS 26.0 motor looking for help figuring out how do I use a vintage air conditioner unit or something similar that’ll work with a shaved firewall
I have not found an after market source for an AC Heater unit. As you may already read there is some outfit in Phoenix that claims to fit their unit into any g body. Their price of $2 grand US or more and that is enough to cause one to seek out a more reasonable solution. Our local Vintage Air dealer has a selection of dummy/mock-up units that they rent out.
I am planning to pull the dash out for crack repairs/re-skin and at that time I will rent one of the dummy units. The only way I think a person could make it work is to fabricate a custom enclosure to replace the GM heater box.
 
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69hurstolds

Geezer
Supporting Member
Jan 2, 2006
5,621
113
No solutions to offer here, but the situation has started to come full circle. I've always felt that casually discarding the bulky, and admittedly, stupid-looking HVAC systems in the G-bodies was going to come back and bite people in the a*s. It's fine if making a race car, or stashing the unit in the garage loft for future use, but I've seen so much of the delete plates with these LS swaps that there will be a reckoning. Sure, you can probably replace it, but it's not going to be cheap, as pointed out. There are kits out there to upgrade the a/c, but first you'll need a functioning HVAC system. Like it or not, GM spent a ton of money researching and configuring a massive system that fit and worked...mostly.

It's akin to those people buying 68/69 H/O's and 70-72 W-30s of yesteryear...what? Flat aluminum stock intakes and q-jets with a stupid flapper air cleaner? Too restrictive for the track. Yank and toss. High rise intake and a holley is all you need. But later, when people want to restore them, it's way more expensive to replace the tossed parts. So many 69 H/O's out there without their original air cleaners...
 
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Tony1968

Royal Smart Person
Jul 1, 2018
1,445
113
NW Indiana
Custom setup using restomod air
 

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Peter Gray

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Feb 21, 2018
15
13
British Columbia
My Malibu was order from GM Oshawa with the C60 delete, I recently resealed the heater internal flaps. Now the dash vents flow properly. The majority of the muscle cars I have owned in my lifetime did not have factory air.Back then that feature was considered a horsepower robbing device plus the system added weight to the vehicle. I’m much older now and I certainly can understand why AC would be a great option. So, I just learn to live with the lack of AC in the Malibu and came to the realization that vintage of vehicle will never be as quiet and comfortable as my 2008 HHR LT. The LS swap into the Malibu is what change it from boring to exciting beyond belief.
 
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Tony1968

Royal Smart Person
Jul 1, 2018
1,445
113
NW Indiana
My Malibu was order from GM Oshawa with the C60 delete, I recently resealed the heater internal flaps. Now the dash vents flow properly. The majority of the muscle cars I have owned in my lifetime did not have factory air.Back then that feature was considered a horsepower robbing device plus the system added weight to the vehicle. I’m much older now and I certainly can understand why AC would be a great option. So, I just learn to live with the lack of AC in the Malibu and came to the realization that vintage of vehicle will never be as quiet and comfortable as my 2008 HHR LT. The LS swap into the Malibu is what change it from boring to exciting beyond belief.
Understood. I am a guy who would sweat in Siberia so AC is a must for me. Chevelles I've had in the past had no AC and I'd have to drive around with a towel draped around my neck. Real cool 😎 NOT
 
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melloelky

Comic Book Super Hero
Oct 22, 2017
3,151
113
mass
Understood. I am a guy who would sweat in Siberia so AC is a must for me. Chevelles I've had in the past had no AC and I'd have to drive around with a towel draped around my neck. Real cool 😎 NOT
we learned something new today kids,Tony's a hot guy..
;)
 
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jlcustomz

G-Body Guru
Nov 22, 2011
953
93
Did a vintage air compac unit back in approx 2007. Lots of fabwork. Did a steel firewall box shaped similar to Tony's.
Under the dash I used leftover early mopar kit vintage air defrost ducts. Used round billet specialties vents. Fabbed box brackets. Ran air & heater hoses through a slot with custom done rubber grommets rather than buying bulkhead connector & having more connectors. Fit condenser into factory mounts with custom brackets.
Worked pretty good, though I wish I'd tried to fit a larger unit. Only bad thing in out Fla damp winters , windows immediately fog with heat only, need to run ac with it.,

Had a slow leak show up year before last which now a can will only hold a charge to run for a few hours. Borrowed a leak detector to test when I get time, hoping will be as simple as dried up o-rings in under hood area or damaged condenser, would hate to pull dash.
 
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eazyb

Not-quite-so-new-guy
Aug 4, 2015
6
3
Hey I have a 1981 Malibu that I am building with a LS 26.0 motor looking for help figuring out how do I use a vintage air conditioner unit or something similar that’ll work with a shaved firewall
I put the Gen 2 Mini under my dash, fits good. 86 Monte
 
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81cutlass

Comic Book Super Hero
Feb 16, 2009
3,524
113
Western MN
Arizona GN lists a plate that replaces the stock air box and mounts a Vintage Air unit to it. They list it for sale for $200 but won't actually sell it.

Tony's setup is what you need to do, fab your own. Nobody makes one that is actually obtainable.
 
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