Air Conditioning Comments

by John Anderson and Ken Hooper

As I was driving around earlier (116* today) I was wondering if any later model "loafs" ('72-'79) ever had Air Conditioners.

John Anderson writes:

Yes, 2 main models, the VW Cool installation or a DPD unit, the "COOL" installation was either ducts above drivers/passengers heads in regular van or under dash unit in Westy, the DPD is a nicer under dash unit with 2 blower fans. Condensors under center of bus on either and possible under front in front of axle as well. DPD condensor with nice louvered steel gaurd, VW usually plaster metal lath screen. Both typically have a couple of 12V fans on the main condensor, a good problem place to check if you get a whine when you turn it on or if inefective sitting still. Oh, some early Westy ('72 - '75) had a funky one that vented on top of the cabinets on the left side I'm not sure who made that one.

I have both under dash installations, the VW is pitifull, the DPD slightly better than pitiful, I have been informed the ceiling unit no better. Too much volume too little air moved even though they recycle, plus it kills engines. Frankly though I do admit the under dash units can keep the front passengers in a Westy almost comfortable on a 95F day. Both use archaic York compressors on brackets mounted to the left rear of the T4 near the oil filter, a pulley behind the fan pulley is the drive with an idler on the belt for tension, the belt is often a very odd long thin size, which I will measure and post some time. The VW bracket system is nicer and more easily adjustable. No installation I have ever seen has made a very good attempt at sealing the hole in the shroud cut for the compressor a critical error IMHO. I have seen maybe 8 vans with these installations and owned 3.

Anyone ever tried to retrofit one?

Here would be my rec, make sure engine is solid, find the DPD underdash unit andcondensors off a junkyard bus (not too tough actually) Call ICE systems (advertise in the mags for years) they want about $400 last I checked for a modern rotary Sankyo pump with mounts and maybe hose. Retrofit will not be too tough. They will likely want you to go 134A I would not reccomend it as marginal as the system is it needs the extra capacity of R12, even with the cost. And tint your windows and leave windows down when out of the car. In 100+F degree weather I really doubt any system is going to work.

Both use archaic York compressors on brackets mounted to the left rear...

Ken Hooper writes:

While I'm willing to grant that York compressors are not worth two dead flies at air conditioning, for lack of a contrary, those who go junking and find one should note that:

They are worth money to 4x4 types. The York compressor employs a peculiar design that enables it to double as an air compressor (this has to do with the way it is lubricated). Hardcore Jeep offroad folks desire these highly. They deflate and inflate tires routinely, and more importantly they go and buy expensive locking differentials that require an on-board compressor and tank to work. A welded tubular rear bumper constitutes a tank, but it requires a York to provide air pressure.

So don't throw them in the trash, trade them!

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