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Reader Ride: Jim's 1965 Ford Mustang 289

Check out the wonderful story from Jim about his 1965 Ford Mustang 289!

1965 Mustang coupe. I am the third owner. I found this car as a barn find in Yucaipa California. It had been sitting since 1978 and was in need of restoration. The car was purchased new in San Bernardino, CA from Garner Ford. It was purchased from the original owner in 1978, blew a head gasket and got parked.

I bought the the car in 2009. All of the original factory equipment was still on the car. Original drive train and all parts were there. The license plate and frame are the original pieces. I have the original titles and registrations showing the history. I have several repair receipts from the original and second owners. There was no rust at all in the car. I completed the restoration in 2014. The car is equipped with the original A/C. Original color was Light Blue with blue interior. The car was completely disassembled for restoration.




What are Survivors?

Simply put, a survivor is a classic that has withstood the test of time. What does this mean, and more importantly how is that possible? To break it down further, survivors have maintained their originial features and many of their original parts. This includes its original finish, its original interior, its factory power train, and even some of its original equipment such as a spare tire or lug wrench.

Unsurprisingly, ideal survivors are the classics holed up in garages for decades that escaped wind, rain, sun, traffic, and ultimately left in almost perfect conditions. Realistically, survivors do require repairs. To maintain their identity as a survivor, any modifications cannot involve changing original features such as the finish. 

We recently had a customer that wanted work on one of these cars. He wanted us to rebuild his compressor, but not alter the exterior. In this case, we didn't bead-blast and repaint it. We just rebuilt it functionally. At Original Air, we can do this on a number of parts, but not necessarily all parts. Most parts that we can rebuild or recondition without altering the appearance are listed below:

  • Most valves such as VIR's, expansion valves (STV), hot-gas valves (HGV), accumulators and even some filler-driers (depending upon where they have to be cut open)
  • Most evaporators or evaporator units
  • Most condensers
  • Most heater controls
  • House repairs are typically much more difficult, but there are sometimes some options. 

Are you an owner of a survivor that needs a repair? Fill out our rebuild request form today!

How to Identify Long and Short Chevy Water Pumps

Some time ago, we had a client reach out to ask us how to identify a short or long water pump on their Chevy engine. Except for trucks and Corvettes, all models from 1955 through 1968 had short water pumps. They always had the compressor mounted on the passenger side of the engine while the alternator stood on the driver's side. Short water pumps measure from the front to the back where it mounts on the engine block to the pulley flange. They measure 5 5/8 inches for SB engines and 5 3/4 inches for BB engines. 

With the exception of the models mentioned above, long water pumps started in 1969 and ran on engines with standard v-belt drives into the 1980s when belt-drive systems became more complex. These longer engines always had the compressor mounted on the driver's side of the engine whereas the alternator sat on the passenger side. Long water pumps measure from where they attach to the engine block to the pulley flange. They measure 7 inches for SB engines and 7 1/4 inches for BB engines.

To determine if the pulleys remain on the car, check between the back of the pulley and the water pump. Except for incredibly small fingers, you should not be able to get in between the setup for short water pumps. Likewise, with the exception of incredibly thick fingers, they should fit in between a long water pump setup. 

Here are two additional helpful diagrams from our friends at Summit Racing Equipment to further help identify short and long water pumps: 

Firebird Conversion Project

A short while ago, we received an evaporator unit from a client. It's originally from a 1969 Firebird that we're going to convert into a 1970 Nova. You can see it's stuffed with a lot of debris so first we're going to do a little cleaning. On top of some mild maintenance, it clearly took some heavy fiberglass damage in transit, so we're going to have to also reporair the damage it received being shipped. 

Check out some before photos of the part, and stay tuned for this Firebird's conversion into a 1970 Nova evaporator unit!

Mecum Auctions

This past week, we checked out some of the amazing classics for sale at the Mecum Auctions in Kissimmee, Florida. We came across this 1967 Buick Riviera. She had a 430 CI V-8 engine along with a 4 barrel carburetor and automatic transmission. Her factory air-conditioning, clock, and gauges all remain intact. She also has soft ray tinted glass and clean, vinyl roofing that makes any other covertible pale in comparison. Take a peak at this beauty:

Although we'd prefer to drive countless miles through Kissimmee as opposed to walking, we've had a specacular time so far. Stay tuned for more!

Should You Tint Your Classic's Windows?

We’re based in the sunshine state, so our average climate doesn’t exactly help classic cars’ air conditions. Apart from performing routine maintenance on your classic’s AC, one preventative measure to keep it performing its best is tinting its windows.

You have control over the tint’s shade and UV blockage. Not only that, but your options are almost limitless. You can save money and apply the tint yourself, or you can find a local shop to do it for you.

One issue people find with tinting a classic’s windows is that it’s essentially a modification. Some feel that any changes such as altering the factory glass take some of the originality out of the car. However, if done correctly, tinting is temporary and can be removed at any time.

If you’re still not on board, consider this: your classic’s AC is precious, especially if it’s original. Therefore, it needs any help it can get to stay functional. The biggest advantage with window tints is that the film can block anywhere from 35-65 % of heat from building up in the car. You can decrease both fuel consumption and AC wear, ultimately putting a lot less stress on it. Plus, installing window tints protects your investment, blocks up to 99% unhealthy UV rays that harm your skin and upholstery, and hinders windshield glare from sunlight and headlights. Classic car guru and enthusiast Andrew Golseth gives his views on tinting classic windows here.

We personally recommend ceramic window tint. It’s completely metal-free so in addition to 99% UV protection, glare control, and heat rejection, it won’t interfere with any of your electronics. Its nano-ceramic technology is also customizable; you have a range of different charcoal shades to choose from that pairs best with your classic.

Applying a tint specifically to the windshield is legal in most states, but we recommend you check out your local laws to be on the safe side.


3 Reasons to Upgrade to Parallel Flow A/C Condenser

Seeking better performance from your AC system? Consider changing from your traditional tube and fin condenser to a parallel flow condenser. Modern condensers are more efficient due to materials used and increased surface area.

ac condensor

A little history on the automotive air conditioner condenser. Copper was the preferred metal used with R12 to allow for efficient heat exchange as refrigerant flowed through the system. Condensers were designed as one continuous tube wrapping back and forth across a plane to allow for heat to radiate away from the system. Although more expensive, eventually aluminum began replacing copper as a more effective way to provide the necessary cooling. From the tubes being made of aluminum, to also the fins manufactured from aluminum, ac systems continue to evolve.

Today, manufacturers utilize parallel flow condensers with R134a. Using multiple tubes rather than just a traditional single tube, parallel flow condensers maximize contact with the refrigerant to increase the transfer of heat away from the system. This allows the automotive air conditioning system to run even more efficiently than the tube and fin setup.

In summary, here is why you should consider investing in a parallel flow condenser as an upgrade to your tube and fin setup:

  • There is more metal surface area available for the refrigerant to pass over leading to more efficient heat exchange.
  • Our Parallel flow condensers are built to be direct bolt-in replacements of the OE unit – no modification needed on your car.
  • Refrigerant utilized can be either R12 or R134a, and is ideal if you are considering upgrading to R134a.

Here at Original Air, we manufacture our own line of parallel condensers that are direct/exact fit for your original factory AC system.


VIR Eliminators and Extra Parts

Original Air’s VIR Eliminator kits are designed to replace all VIRs that GM manufactured. While the orientation of the evaporator tubing varies from car to car, the VIR Assemblies are all the same.

The tubing needs to be manipulated even when removing and reinstalling the stock VIR. The same is true when using our Eliminator kits.

Our customer who has a classic Chevrolet Nova needed the orifice block and associated lower evaporator tube to be moved toward the evaporator case so that there was clearance for the accumulator to sit vertically (critical to allow oil flow back to the compressor). He was hesitant to do so until we explained about removing/reinstalling the original VIR.

The tubing will move where you want it to, but remember to be gentle.

Not too long ago, we had a customer requesting an extra part for the upper fitting of the accumulator since his upper evaporator tube didn’t seem long enough.

Note that if your fitting is too short, it means one of two things:

  • Someone has modified it
  • The wrong evaporator is in the vehicle

All original VIR Equipped vehicles can utilize the Eliminator kit, as long as the rest of the system (evaporator, liquid hose, compressor suction hose) are in factory stock form.

73-76 GM A/C Valves-In-Received (VIR) - REBUILT

Where to Buy Muscle Cars Online

When shopping anywhere on the Internet, there are two rules. First, make sure the site you are purchasing from is secured. Second, if it feels like a scam, it most likely is. If it’s too good to be true, don’t trust it. With those rules in mind, the Internet has a wealth of knowledge and resources for finding every kind of muscle car you can imagine. There are three primary ways to safely purchase a muscle car the web, each with their own positives and negatives. Prioritize your needs for purchasing methods and what makes you feel most confident in purchasing from the Internet.

Online Car Auctions

There are lots and lots of car auction sites out there. Some big, some small, with varying degree of price, quality, and location. Some of the most well-known and well -respected auction houses are Mecum, Barrett-Jackson, and ClassicCars.com. Each of these sites list some of the most sought after cars in the world and they are some of the most trusted auction houses in the business.

We prefer to use eBay Motors. It offers a certain level of security and buying options. eBay can be a slippery slope and people have been known to fall for scammers, but we refer you back to rule number 2: if it feels like a scam, it most likely is. When spending any large amount of money, be sure to contact the seller and develop a rapport with them as best you can before you purchase anything and do your best to see the car before purchasing. If you haven’t purchased from eBay before, here is a useful resource with some simple steps on how to go about doing so.

Online Classifieds

The classifieds are a dodgy group of websites, so the rules apply here heavily. Do not mistake them for dealers. These are websites that advertise independent sellers. There are many out there that have not been updated for years, so I would stick with the first page of Google when searching for these sites. Here is a little list of some of the best classifieds out there (in no particular order). Again, be always wary of scams, no matter the site.

  • Craigslist – We know, we know, this might be an obvious choice, but it is one of the best resources from gauging local prices in the area, and it deserves a mention. Craigslist offers anything and everything so be prepared to spend some time searching here to find what you are looking for. Again, be careful of scams.
  • Forums – Find yourself a model specific forum (http://www.chevelles.com/forums/) and delve into the classifieds section (http://www.chevelles.com/classifieds/) if the forum has one. Forums are great for information on any muscle car you can think of, so use them wisely.
  • Autotempest One of the most top rated sites that encompasses almost every major listing site out there.  It sorts by distance according to zip, make and model. It is honestly one of, if not the best way to search classifieds. http://www.autotempest.com/
  • Carsonline.com - One of the most muscle car -specific sites available.  While this site is straight out of the 90s, it provides you information to outside listings that you may not be able to find your own search.

Online Muscle Car Dealers

These dealers tend to be higher priced but carry a lot of rare and beautiful cars, so they’re at least a useful source to look at some great cars. Like a lot of auction sites, they can be small and regionally located. We always recommend going with the larger sites if you’re going to buy just for safety’s sake, but as with any online purchase, always assume a certain amount of risk.

If you do shop online dealers, do your best to see the car before you buy. This is an investment, not an Amazon purchase. Listed below are some of our favorite dealers.

 The Internet has completely changed the way we purchase everything, so always be careful. Finding the best deal online takes time and energy, so be meticulous and most importantly, have fun. We wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t fun.

Is R134a Right for my Muscle Car?

If the air conditioning system in your car is not running properly for one reason or another, you are probably looking into fixing it or getting it replaced. However, if your vehicle was made before 1995, like many muscle cars, it most likely contains R12 coolant and you might consider converting to R134a. The debate between R12 and R134a is a complicated one, so we've answered five main questions you might have when approaching this problem. 

  1. First off, what’s the difference between R12 and R134a? R12 and R134a are refrigerants used in car air conditioning systems. R12 was the first to be used and R134a is, for the most part, used today since R12 was banned. The main difference between the two is that R12 is compatible with mineral oil whereas R134a is compatible with synthetic oil. 

  1. Why was the manufacturing of R12 banned? R12 contains CFCs, like hairspray once did, that are potentially damaging to the ozone layer. It was banned because of this potential environmental risk and replaced by R134a because R134a, using synthetic oil over mineral oil, does not have the negative environmental impact that R12 does. 

  1. Why should I make the switch from R12 to R134a? The manufacturing ban on R12 makes it difficult to find at most auto stores now. If you can find R12, it has been shipped from overseas and is probably pretty pricey. It has largely been replaced by R134a, which is a cheaper and more convenient option, as well as the one that is better for the environment. 

  1. How do I convert an R12 air conditioning system to an R134a system? There are conversion kits that can help as well as conversion calculators online to aid in the conversion, but the process easy to follow with simple instructions here.

  1. I've found R12 is more effective in my car than R134a. Should I still convert to R134a, or should I keep R12? If you truly are adamant about R12, there are plenty of R12 substitutes that are better for the environment than R12. They are also more readily available than R12, which would be the hassle of using R12 since it is very difficult to find. 

All in all, R134a is preferable to R12 because it is readily available and self-manageable on top of being better for the environment. Hopefully these answers will help you understand the differences between R12 and R134a and guide you in fixing your car air conditioning system.