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8 & 10 cyl Bristol cars Type 407 onwards - restoration, repair, maintenance etc

603 A/C System

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Old 29-04-11, 09:37 AM
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Default 603 A/C System

Has anybody out there replaced the original A/c system with a more modern compressor/intercooler/dryer etc.
I note that Brigands and later seem to have a different compressor to mine which apprt from weighing a ton looks very crude.

Will
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Old 29-04-11, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by will7262 View Post
Has anybody out there replaced the original A/c system with a more modern compressor/intercooler/dryer etc.
I have, although my 411 didn't have any air to begin with.

My system came from Vintage Air in the US. Their products have moved on a bit in the last 10+ years but if you explore their site you will find they have a universal system for non specific cars Universal Applications.

We ran the gas pipes to the evaporator through the passenger side wing above the spare wheel.

I made the mistake of allowing someone to replace the Sanden compressor with an original Chrysler unit which the Brigand uses. I gather the Sanden unit is much more efficient.

I found that the original engine cooling system became very marginal after installing a condenser in front of the radiator. I would recommend fitting a higher performance radiator at the same time you install the A/C and fit a separate oil cooler.

If the 603 has the same fan set up as the 411 - two fans mounted in a cowl some distance from the radiator - I would suggest replacing this set up with fans mounted directly on onto the condenser. It could be worth buying the condenser locally so you can get one as large as possible to fit within the constraints of the engine bay. Ideally you should also fit a fan on the back of the radiator to pull air through.

The Vintage Air unit will replace the original Smiths heater box and you can do away with that awful "cassette" or "chip cutter" style evaporator slung under the dash because you can push the air through the original air vents. I am also in the process of integrating the A/C controls in the dash, because the original heater controls are now redundant.
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Old 29-04-11, 11:54 AM
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By the way, the evaporator installation process on the Bristol is nowhere near as intrusive as that described on the Vintage Air site, because the original heater box is on the engine side of the firewall.
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Old 29-04-11, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin H View Post
I have, although my 411 didn't have any air to begin with.

My system came from Vintage Air in the US. Their products have moved on a bit in the last 10+ years but if you explore their site you will find they have a universal system for non specific cars Universal Applications.

We ran the gas pipes to the evaporator through the passenger side wing above the spare wheel.

I made the mistake of allowing someone to replace the Sanden compressor with an original Chrysler unit which the Brigand uses. I gather the Sanden unit is much more efficient.

I found that the original engine cooling system became very marginal after installing a condenser in front of the radiator. I would recommend fitting a higher performance radiator at the same time you install the A/C and fit a separate oil cooler.

If the 603 has the same fan set up as the 411 - two fans mounted in a cowl some distance from the radiator - I would suggest replacing this set up with fans mounted directly on onto the condenser. It could be worth buying the condenser locally so you can get one as large as possible to fit within the constraints of the engine bay. Ideally you should also fit a fan on the back of the radiator to pull air through.

The Vintage Air unit will replace the original Smiths heater box and you can do away with that awful "cassette" or "chip cutter" style evaporator slung under the dash because you can push the air through the original air vents. I am also in the process of integrating the A/C controls in the dash, because the original heater controls are now redundant.
I prefer making upgrades that incorporate the original controls rather than making them redundant. It's worth the extra effort to upgrade and keep everything looking as standard IMCO. I even have the "chip cutter " air con working well, updated to modern gas.

Got to think of the next owner ! they may want an original car.
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Old 29-04-11, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by GREG View Post
I prefer making upgrades that incorporate the original controls rather than making them redundant. It's worth the extra effort to upgrade and keep everything looking as standard IMCO. I even have the "chip cutter " air con working well, updated to modern gas.

Got to think of the next owner ! they may want an original car.
Each to his own. My view is it's my car and I will do what I want with it.

Fortunately Bristol don't share your opinion either, otherwise the very much modernised S6 wouldn't exist.

As for the chip cutter A/C, it was a bolt on optional extra in the 603 and an ugly one at that. In fact when Bristol started using it all other manufacturers were moving to to integrated air con. The fact that it was still being used in the Blenheim is a disgrace. IMCO
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Old 29-04-11, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin H View Post
Each to his own. My view is it's my car and I will do what I want with it.

Fortunately Bristol don't share your opinion either, otherwise the very much modernised S6 wouldn't exist.

As for the chip cutter A/C, it was a bolt on optional extra in the 603 and an ugly one at that. In fact when Bristol started using it all other manufacturers were moving to to integrated air con. The fact that it was still being used in the Blenheim is a disgrace. IMCO
The S6 was classed as a different model to the Classic restorations offered, the S6 being built to Blenheim spec and Classic restorations upgraded if owners wanted but looking standard.

The so called " bolt on" was first fitted to a 409 I beleive and my 411 S4 has the same as the 603 ! They do not cut chips but every now and then a bit of stuff comes through the vents ! Nice and cold though.

I agree that air con is better coming through the main vents but why not go the extra mile and make it work with existing controls ?

I would be concerned about any car report that made a big thing of the climate control ! A warm vest or a window open sorts most issues.

I look at the car

I don't think Bristol cared about what other manufacturers were doing and they outlived most of them by concentrating on what mattered.

Didn't Kate look stunning in that dress ? :-)
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Old 29-04-11, 02:53 PM
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Default 603 A/c

Gentlemen
Many thanks for all the advice.
I think on balance I will keep the chip cutter for originality if at all possible but update everything else.
Will
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Old 29-04-11, 03:01 PM
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Default Kates Dress

Greg she looked stunning
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Old 29-04-11, 03:11 PM
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Default 603 Exhaust

Now who can supply the rest of the system?.
I assume I can get new support straps, which I had to cut, from Bristol
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Old 29-04-11, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by GREG View Post
The S6 was classed as a different model to the Classic restorations offered
You can "class" things however you want, but it's not really a new model in the real sense, because they make it from an original 411.

Quote:
I agree that air con is better coming through the main vents but why not go the extra mile and make it work with existing controls ?
As I said, that's what I am doing! Glad we agree
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Old 30-04-11, 09:29 PM
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replied to wrong thread - deleted

Last edited by Sam410; 30-04-11 at 09:36 PM. Reason: wrong thread!
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