Vintage Air Gen II Mini install in 1974 Spider - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Vintage Air Gen II Mini install in 1974 Spider

As part of my '74 Spider restoration I've decided to install a Vintage Air system that provides heat, air conditioning, and de-humidified defrost in place of the original heater box. I'm using the smallest full featured in-dash evaporator Vintage Air sells, the Gen II Mini. My goal was to make the install as unobtrusive as possible, and so far I'm really happy with how it's turning out.

To answer the obvious question: No, it's probably not worth the effort, especially in a Spider. But it will make the car more usable in the summer, and give me something unique to brag about if I can pull it off.

The parts list consists of:
VTA-66005-VUZ-A - Gen II Mini evaporator
VTA-382600-MBA - Slimline firewall bulkhead
VTA-11212-SUA - Replacement heater switch (this turned out really cool!)
VTA-49200-RHA - Cheapest Gen-II control panel - used for parts
El-cheapo eBay 12x16 parallel flow condenser and dryer
El-cheapo eBay Trinary safety switch
El-cheapo eBay (sensing a trend here?) Sanden style SD507 "shorty" A/C compressor
Alfa L-Jetronic style front cover, oil pan, compressor mount, and 2-piece front pulley
Assorted hose and fittings from my friendly neighborhood hydraulic hose specialist
DAYCO 87872 heater hose - has a funky U shape that worked perfectly to fit the electric heater valve inside the cabin
Assorted molded 90 degree heater hoses until I found something that fit

Probably a bunch of other crap I've forgotten about.

I'm at the point where all the fettling, fitting, and wiring is basically done, though I haven't fit the condenser or dropped in the motor yet. I'm about to re-install the dash so I took a few pics in case anyone is dumb enough to try and do the same thing.
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Jason Arrington
1989 Spider driver
1974 Spider restoration project
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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First set of pics - the mounted evaporator. I installed it as far to the left of the firewall as I could without fouling on the gas pedal. It's mounted using one bolt through the firewall and two straps, one attached to a piece of angle aluminum bolted to the stock heater box mounting studs and the other passing through the area where the wiper motor lives.

I wanted to make sure there was room under the evaporator box to install carpet / sound mat / etc. but that was probably a mistake, since it left barely enough room to run the air ducts. If I were to do it again I'd try and mount it a bit lower.
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 09:38 PM Thread Starter
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The Vintage Air heater valve is a pretty slick unit - it's electrically activated, no mechanical levers or vacuum attachments to deal with. I mounted it as far up as possible in the passenger footwell without getting in the way of the A/C hoses. I used one 90 degree heater hose to pass through the firewall and attach to the inlet of the heater valve, the aforementioned funky Toyota hose to go from the outlet back to the heater core, and a third (really long) 90 degree hose to pass from the heater core back to the front of the car. This will eventually hook up to the water pump.

The stock holes in the firewall for the heater hoses aren't anywhere near the right position for the Vintage Air box. I ended up cutting two new holes in a small indentation in the firewall that looks like it was made for the purpose.

For the A/C lines I used a bulkhead plate, installed as far up and to the right of the engine bay as possible. The bulkhead made it possible to install the evaporator with crimped A/C lines now and deal with the engine bay A/C lines later.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 09:59 PM Thread Starter
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OK, last post for tonight. This is where I really let my geek flag fly.

As I said, I wanted to make this as unobtrusive as possible, which meant not having a bunch of ugly aftermarket looking switches and knobs all over my nicely restored center console. The Gen II system has 4 different controls:

- Heat up / down (controls the electric heater valve)
- Cool up / down (thermostat to control the A/C compressor)
- Mode (Defrost, vent, bi-level, heat)
- Fan (Off, medium, low, high)

I'm more or less stuck with the A/C switch, since there's a metal tube attached that goes down inside the evaporator box to read the temperature. But for the other 3 I was able to adapt stock Alfa parts to the Vintage Air controls.

For the fan speed I used a 2 position Alfa fan switch and just skipped the "Medium" setting so it goes off / low / high. A few minutes with a multi-meter and the wiring was pretty self-explanatory.

For the mode switch I used a blank (no icon) Alfa 2-position rocker switch. The default (switch off) position on the Vintage Air switch is Bi-level, so that was pretty easy. I then wired "low" to "vent" and "high" to "defrost", then flipped the switch over so that "UP" is defrost, "MIDDLE" is vent, and "DOWN" is bi-level. I'm running the vent hoses to the stock fresh air vents on either side of the car, so if I want floor heat only I just have to close the levers on the stock fresh air vents.

The heater switch is where I got clever. I hacked up a stock Alfa lever assembly to directly control a Vintage Air slide heater switch. Pics are worth a thousand words on this one. At some point I'll fabricate a replacement heater plate, since there's now only one lever rather than two.

Tonight I tested out the wiring and confirmed that the fan and mode switches operate as expected. The heater switch is a bit harder to test but I could hear a click in the heater valve, so I think that's working as well.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-24-2016, 10:41 PM
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Very cool, nice work!

Ian Lomax - Current: 1973 Berlina, 1987 Milano Platinum "racecar"
Past: 71, 74 Spiders, 2x 74 Berlina, 74 GTV, 76 Alfetta GT, 88 Milano 3.0, 164LS
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-27-2016, 01:34 AM
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Very impressive and I agree - yours is a very clever modification for the heater lever. Can I ask a question, was it this Vintage Air lever that you used?

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Have you managed to get the condenser to fit yet, I would have though 12x16 was too large - I could only get 12x14 to fit in my GTV.

Nonetheless - you've done a really impressive job so far - I'll be watching this thread with interest.

Last edited by WA-Alfa; 10-27-2016 at 01:39 AM.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-27-2016, 07:43 AM
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Love my Vintage Air System. It's in a GTV-6 and it fit quite well. The only thing I had to do was cut the corner out of my glove box. I got the dials center above the radio. You'll be happy!
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1972 Montreal (The Pumpkin)
1975 Alfetta Sedan
1975 Alfetta Coupe Race Car
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1984 GTV-6 Verde (GiGi)
1987 Milano (Da NEW Winta Beata)
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-27-2016, 11:03 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WA-Alfa View Post
Very impressive and I agree - yours is a very clever modification for the heater lever. Can I ask a question, was it this Vintage Air lever that you used?

Attachment 1127545

Have you managed to get the condenser to fit yet, I would have though 12x16 was too large - I could only get 12x14 to fit in my GTV.

Nonetheless - you've done a really impressive job so far - I'll be watching this thread with interest.
Yes, that's the one. Six bucks at Summit Racing in the US. With the design I've worked out you could feasibly get away with just the heater switch and an A/C thermostat, which I removed from the cheap-o control pod.

Full disclosure, I originally bought one of their cable converter units - 112002-SUA - but didn't realize those only work with the Gen IV Vintage Air evaporators. It did force me to come up with a bit more elegant solution, which I have to say I'm pretty pleased with.

The 12x16 is a bit tight but I think I'll be able to make it work. Hoping to get some garage time in the next few days to try and fit the hoses, dryer, and condenser.

-Jason

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-27-2016, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alfasrule View Post
Love my Vintage Air System. It's in a GTV-6 and it fit quite well. The only thing I had to do was cut the corner out of my glove box. I got the dials center above the radio. You'll be happy!
Looks like a clean install! Even in my limited testing it's obvious this puts out way more air than the stock Alfa heater box, so it should help in both hot and cold weather.

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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-27-2016, 02:55 PM
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It's been in the 30's here and I'd be FREEZING in a original system, as drafty as a GTV-6 is, very cozy with the VA system.The A/C works great COLD, don't use it too often.
If the Salt Monsters don't show up GiGi is on the road!! The Early Alfetta Dash is cool as well. Very unique car! That's why I bought it 8 years ago. Me daily driver!
Thanks Steve!!

It's a great addition since ALFA put there Air control systems as an after thought, and they all SUCK!

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AlfasRule!

1972 Montreal (The Pumpkin)
1975 Alfetta Sedan
1975 Alfetta Coupe Race Car
1982 Spider
1984 GTV-6
1984 GTV-6 Verde (GiGi)
1987 Milano (Da NEW Winta Beata)
1987 Milano Verde(Da kREDden Mobile)

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-29-2016, 06:19 PM
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Did you have issues with the scuttle drain fitting? I was looking at that for my GTV but the scuttle drain fitting would have to be removed or modified. I didn't want to cut into that area so went with their evaporator behind the glove box which I had to take some out of.

The passenger seat is 15 miles an hour faster than the drivers seat.

currently
74 GTV restored daily driver
71 Berlina in resto
the ones that got away:
1959 750 series Giulietta Spider Veloce
1962 Giulietta Spider normale
1965 Giulia Sprint normale
1972 GTV
1974 GTV
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-01-2016, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Did you have issues with the scuttle drain fitting? I was looking at that for my GTV but the scuttle drain fitting would have to be removed or modified. I didn't want to cut into that area so went with their evaporator behind the glove box which I had to take some out of.
No issues with the scuttle drain, though I did have to work around the drain with the heater / A/C hoses a bit.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-01-2016, 05:28 PM
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It's a trick system, I think you will like it. The first aircon I installed was with the rear evaporator and a small enough condenser that would fit without cutting anything. It worked ok but didn't get good cold on our 100 degree days until I put a larger condenser moved all the way to the right side of the radiator mounting. I had to cut part of the cold air scoop so the condenser would fit all the way to the right (passenger) side bulkhead. It worked so well on my Berlina I did my current GTV and although I hated to do it but the 15% larger condenser really makes a huge difference in the cooling.
Nice install, thanks for sharing!

The passenger seat is 15 miles an hour faster than the drivers seat.

currently
74 GTV restored daily driver
71 Berlina in resto
the ones that got away:
1959 750 series Giulietta Spider Veloce
1962 Giulietta Spider normale
1965 Giulia Sprint normale
1972 GTV
1974 GTV
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gigem75 View Post
The first aircon I installed was with the rear evaporator and a small enough condenser that would fit without cutting anything. . .I put a larger condenser moved all the way to the right side of the radiator mounting. . .I did my current GTV
Judging by the photos on your Trunk Air Con thread the original condenser size was 12x14. Am I correct in assuming that you increased the condenser size to a 12x16 in your Berlina and GTV?

My GTV has a 12x14 which works fine but I had wondered whether a 12x16 would be better.

Your thoughts and any photos of the GTV condenser install would definitely be welcome.

Last edited by WA-Alfa; 11-02-2016 at 07:26 AM.
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 11-02-2016, 05:14 PM
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That's correct both now have a 12x16 and the Berlina cools so much better but that is compared to the GTV with the rear evap and 12x14. I won't have any comparison when the newer GTV hits the road with the in dash and 12x16. The tech and I use the term loosely guy said the rear evap isn't quite as strong as the under/in dash units but given how much better the Berlina cools the much larger cabin I can't help but think the extra size of the condenser plays a large part.
I'll see if I have any photos.




The passenger seat is 15 miles an hour faster than the drivers seat.

currently
74 GTV restored daily driver
71 Berlina in resto
the ones that got away:
1959 750 series Giulietta Spider Veloce
1962 Giulietta Spider normale
1965 Giulia Sprint normale
1972 GTV
1974 GTV

Last edited by gigem75; 11-02-2016 at 05:25 PM.
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