May 7th, 2003 : AC/Heat/Defrost Unit
In the process of doing my EZ-Wire Kit, before finishing the dash section, I installed my new Old Air Hurricane AC/Heat/Defrost unit.
Reading the instructions before doing the install really pays off -- I noticed the thermostat capillary sensor tube would've been impossible to install if I followed the instructions, because they had you installing the tube after the unit was installed and there is no way to get your hand in between the kickpanel and the unit, much less the tube, etc.!! So I removed the switch and the tube and did the install before taking the unit down to the truck.
I made a paper template of the firewall and the old heater hole ... then took the template to the evaporator unit and lined it up with the new unit's exiting pipes - making sure they would be centered in the hole ... then I marked my template where the new unit's mounting screws were, took the template back to the firewall and marked where I needed to drill holes for the mounting screws. This turned out to be a real timesaver, and a real help in getting the new unit's exiting pipes centered properly for the installation of the rubber grommet.
The mounting process went easier then I had anticipated ... thanks to that paper template!   I tightened up the mounting bolts and installed the rubber grommet and the expansion valve ... here's a shot from the interior :
Next, I put some masking tape on the top-side of the plenum (the plastic deal that mounts under the dash), so I could make marks where I wanted to drill holes for mounting ... clamped it to the dash-bottom and made my marks on the masking tape through existing holes that were in the bottom of the dash ... drilled holes in the plenum ... and then installed the duct hoses and wiring before permanently mounting the plenum to the underside of the dash. Note: I later decided to get rid of the plastic plenum and use '55 Chevy chrome knobs in my dash, instead -- [Click Here] to see.
Finally, I installed the heater hoses and valves ...
... the AC hoses had to be made before I could install them -- I took care of that after the EZ-Wire Kit was finished -- I had a new dryer installed, the system evacuated and charged, fired up the AC and she was cold as ice!
This install went really well! I'd certainly recommend this product to anyone wanting to do what I've done. My '54 Chevy pickup had heat and defrost before, but you couldn't switch between them or control the temperature ... it also had an old '70s air conditioner in it, but that was on its way out. Now I've got AC, heat, and defrost like never before ... I can control the temp, the balance of heat/defrost ... and I've got heat to the floor area, like I wanted.
Special thanks to my pals at Hotrodders.com for directing me to this unit, and for finding the best price for it at OldAirProducts.com
P.S. -- The final step in this install involved modifying a glovebox to fit with the Hurricane unit behind it. The left-half of the glovebox area only lost about two inches in depth, but the right-half lost about four inches due to the vent hoses and the Hurricane unit itself. I decided to buy a new glovebox and modify it to get as much space as possible and with the help of a good razorblade knife and some duck tape, it worked out pretty well.
I made depth measurements left, right and center of the space in the glovebox area, marked up the new glovebox, cut it to specs, used the remaining back piece to make the "new back," and whatever was left over to piece the rest together.
The only way to get it in was to remove the glovebox door and push it in past the front lips of the dash section, allow it to pop back open around the front lips and then pull it back towards the front of the dash. Lastly, I tightened the screws in the preset holes, installed a new glovebox light, wired it up and bingo - a new glovebox ... with light!
Finally, because I didn't like the messy look of the pieces I made to form the back wall of the box, I went to a local craft store and found a 12" x 18" piece of black Flex-Foam for a dollar. I made a template of the shape with aluminum foil, cut the Flex-Foam to fit and glued it in place with 3M Super 77 Multi-Purpose Adhesive - great stuff!