Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/23/20 3:27 p.m.

I've finally made a decision on the Samurai. It's been languishing in the driveway for a couple of years now and it's time to fix all the little annoying things about it so I will use it more. 

One of those things is the lack of A/C. It was originally a AC car, but that system and most of the parts that go with it were long gone when I bought it. Finding the brackets, lines and such has proved a futile search so I'm looking at aftermarket systems. Vintage Air has a system that is about the same size as the stock system and it will give me heat, A/C and defrost. 

Anyone used their stuff. I know it's kind of the only game in town but before I drop $900 on parts I'd like some other people's opinions. 

The system I'm looking at is a Gen II Mini Builders kit. 



JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
5/23/20 3:30 p.m.

I think tim has their stuff in the Edsel. I'll ping him and tell him to check the board.

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/23/20 3:33 p.m.

They are ok. My only real complaints are that theres no fresh air source/recirculate option,  and the electronics for the blend and mode doors can be flaky. 

Also look at classic auto air, old air products,  and universal underdash parts. May be something in their lines that fits better 

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/23/20 3:33 p.m.

Yes. My experience is 50s era cars and 60s era trucks. Vintage Air is the Cadillac of systems. If I needed it and they sold it, I'd hit the button without hesitation.

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/23/20 3:47 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) :

I've looked at most everyone, I'm not finding many systems that are small enough to fit under the dash and have defrost. The Samurai frequently needs defrost. 

Cotton PowerDork
5/23/20 4:20 p.m.

I have it on my 75 k10. Works great,  no complaints.

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/23/20 4:23 p.m.

I installed their system in the FJ40. 

Works excellent, the only minor problem is that no matter how much I tried to level the unit, it doesn't evacuate condensation properly and when on full blast you will get a mist from all teh condensation. 

I think its mostly due to the FJ40 limited space and how the box is designed. 

I would buy it again. 

Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/23/20 4:29 p.m.

I talked casually with Jack Chisenhall at a car show some years ago. He started out retrofitting AC into off highway construction equipment used in extreme climates. That, coupled with the fact that they're based in San Antonio Texas, should assure you that they know how to make an AC system.

Old Air is very local to me. Maybe ten minute drive from where I currently sit. The owner is a nice guy and I have talked with him many times over the years. That said, I'm a Vintage Air man. There's plenty of local car guys around here (including a guy I work with) that have used Old Air. I haven't ever heard enough positive reviews on them to win me over. It's a shame too because they are at every local show and event and it would be easy. 

Yes, my experience is biased heavily towards the AC function of these systems. My climate is mostly all AC. Heat is just a casual need most times. I don't know how well VA stands up to the competition when it comes to heater performance. It's certainly good enough to please any Texan.

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/23/20 5:40 p.m.

I went against Vintage Air in my '61 C10 because Canadian Winter, and I don't believe blocking off fresh air is wise for good heat in winter.  All the other "retro" AC units also block off the fresh air.

I ended up piecing together everything I needed (except a pump - I already have that) to do an under-dash AC unit (thus keeping my fresh-air heater), for $405 Canadian, shipped.  That'd be about $300 US or less.

Having said that, it's all currently in boxes, so I can't speak to whether it's good, bad, or ugly.

AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter)
AnthonyGS (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/23/20 7:34 p.m.

I have a friend that used it im a 71 Mustang that he built for the HR Power Tour.  He really liked it.  

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
5/23/20 7:35 p.m.
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) said:

. The Samurai frequently needs defrost. 

If this is the case, make sure whatever you buy has the ability to draw fresh outside air.  Recirculating your moist breath is a very big problem.

Mr_Asa Dork
5/23/20 7:45 p.m.

I've known several people that have bought them for classic Mustangs.  Nothing bad that I've heard from them

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/23/20 7:54 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

I can attest to the fact that they work well in hot climates. Down here in muggy south Florida it had no problems cooling down the FJ with the canvas top! Not sure it was good enough for the rear seats, but the front was fine. 

MrChaos SuperDork
5/23/20 8:01 p.m.
Streetwiseguy said:
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) said:

. The Samurai frequently needs defrost. 

If this is the case, make sure whatever you buy has the ability to draw fresh outside air.  Recirculating your moist breath is a very big problem.

I mean the stock samurau heater isnt good, I would say only slightly better than a classic air cooled beetle.

Fladiver64 (Forum Supporter)
Fladiver64 (Forum Supporter) Reader
5/23/20 8:12 p.m.

I have one in my 34 roadster, was able to make it fit under the dash. No defrost on mine but the rest of it was a fairly easy install.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/23/20 9:00 p.m.

I have personally never bought one, but I have worked with them before (custom and hot rod shops).  So I've installed several, but never really used them other than charging them and feeling cold air.

They are a top notch company with a crapload of technical information.  They sell very high quality parts for very high quality dollars.

If I were personally putting A/C in a Samurai, I'd cobble it together.  Heck, that's what I'm doing with the 67 LeMans.  I already have the compressor (a Sanden 709 I snagged at Summit in the clearance section).  The rest I'll piece together with physics 'n maths.

You can save a ton of money doing it yourself, and if you do it right, you'll have a great system.  I would consider buying some Suzuki-specific parts from Vintage.  I will likely be buying their blend box/evaporator for under the dash simply because that is a ton of work out of the way without tyring to engineer it myself, but compressor, hoses, condenser, drier, accessory bracket for the compressor, I'll do that all myself.

Do you still have the evaporator inside? Seems like you could build out from the stock stuff. Under the dash stuff is the hard stuff.

Still, a sanitary Vintage Air system would be really nice. 

Dr. Hess (Forum Supporter)
Dr. Hess (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/24/20 7:57 a.m.

I have never heard anyone complain about the Vintage Air stuff.  It is used in Europas, so that should tell you how small you can get.  I know a guy that replaced all the AC stuff in his SBC swapped Jag XJS with it and he says it works great. 

Toyman01 (Forum Supporter)
Toyman01 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/24/20 9:18 a.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) (Forum Supporter) :

The evap and air box are still in place. The coil has been open to the elements and Samurai has been swimming enough that it is going to be full of water and mud. It will have to be replaced. The box is also 32 year old Japanese plastic. I can see getting the system back together and having a blend door snap. Rather than cobbling together a system and ending up with a system that is subpar, I'm inclined to spend the money on a decent setup to start with. Do it right, do it once. Vintage Air's compressor and line kits aren't much more expensive than buying rebuilt Suzuki parts, many of which, like the lines, aren't available anyway. 


Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/24/20 12:00 p.m.

If the cost is the same, I'd do the Vintage kit.  Their kits are top quality.


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