Air Conditioning for Project Ramp Truck

Update by Tim Suddard to the Ford F-350 Ramp Truck project car
Jun 6, 2017

We used our Bad Dog Tools nibbler to cut into our dash to mount factory style air conditioning vents. The kit came with a pattern to make sure you cut the dash correctly.
How’s this for factory-looking vents? We were impressed with the how complete and inexpensive this air conditioning kit is.
The drier (lower right) and condenser were easy to install, while we had the engine out for rebuilding.
The only part of this air conditioning system that appears non-original is the small switch plate we mounted below our ash tray.

We are based in Florida, where it gets quite hot. That means that to get any real use out of our project ramp truck, we would need to install air conditioning.

By 1973, Ford had automotive air conditioning figured out pretty well, and there was an option for a fully integrated, in-dash air conditioning system—even in the F-Series Ford trucks like ours. Unfortunately, our truck was not so equipped.

Since Ford built nearly this exact same truck from 1973 all the way to 1979, our original plan was to just scout the local junkyards until we found a truck that we could take the air conditioning hardware out of. Despite having made millions, there are few left, even at specialty yards. We had little luck finding an F-Series truck from the 1970s, never mind one with air.

Thankfully, we found Nostalgic AC Parts nearby in Ocala, Florida. They offer a complete in-dash air conditioning kit for $999.99 that replicated the exact Ford dash vents that an truck would have. The only difference would be that the controls to turn it off would be under the dash, and not with the original heat controls in the dash. We could live with that.

This company also makes a kit (for a little more money) that replaces your truck’s factory heating system. Since our heater was working perfectly, and replacing it would also eliminate the wonderful fresh air vents these trucks came with, we decided to use the air conditioning-only system.

The kit came quickly and was complete, except for the bracket to mount the modern compressor. A light, modern compressor with R-134 refrigerant is much improved over the huge, old and marginally effective R-12 equipped Ford compressor.

Installation was straight forward, and the only other piece we had to source was a three-pulley crank damper. With three pulleys we could run both the power steering and the A/C compressor. We sourced this damper from CVF Racing.

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View comments on the GRM forums
Toyman01 MegaDork
6/6/17 3:19 p.m.

If I said, "Cool", would you hate me.

I'm going to need something like that for SanFord. Another update about how well it freezes you out of the cab would be nice. I have a few more cubic feet to cool down.

RossD UltimaDork
6/6/17 3:25 p.m.

A drill mounted nibbler?

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/6/17 8:14 p.m.

The AC is interesting but I want to know more about the tool in the photo!!!!!

Cactus Reader
6/6/17 8:23 p.m.

I want AC in my truck, too bad they don't have a kit for a 1990.

mazdeuce MegaDork
6/6/17 8:31 p.m.

I went searching for the International Harvester bolt in kits and didn't find them.
The do have a big truck kit that might just fit the bill. Thanks for the heads up.

Dusterbd13 UltimaDork
6/6/17 8:31 p.m.

In reply to Cactus:

Underdadh unit on ebay for 100 bucks. Works great in the elky.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/6/17 9:41 p.m.
Vigo UltimaDork
6/7/17 9:17 a.m.

Ive been looking at aftermarket evap/blower units to add AC to a couple of my cars which it was either not ordered with or stripped out of. Haven't found an aftermarket unit that fits my spaces close enough to justify it, but i'm just being picky about my spaces. I think in something like the cab of Mazdeuce's new truck that it would be pretty easy to find one that's a good fit.

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