We decided to install a Vintage Air A/C - heat unit. It went in pretty well (really tight but fits). The stuff in front (condenser, compressor etc.) go in w/ little problem. The real challenge is the under-dash unit. Here is what we found.
Photo 1 shows the engine side of the firewall w/ the unit piping sticking through. Key to lining up the unit is the screw in the mid-upper right of the photo. This screw goes through a factory hole in the firewall and into a nut on the VA box. Have a helper hold the unit inside and screws this 1/4" screw or bolt in and that aligns the box perfectly for all the other mounting operations.
In the inside, alignment is fixed by that screw. Photo 2 shows the resulting foot vents are offset a couple inches to the passenger side.
Photo 3 (shot through the radio speaker hole. Blurry 'cause it's hard to get a shot with the windshield in the way!) shows the location of the defroster vents in relation to a dash stiffening rod that Chevy installed. Tight but hosed go on pretty easily.
Key to being able to do this is have the radio, speaker, glove box all out. You will be working through all these holes.
Note the cardboard and felt @ the bottom of photo 1. These are the knockouts from the firewall pad but the hole is WAY too big. We will trim these to fit around the pipes that stick through the firewall and glue them back in place. Will put a plastic shield on this side of the firewall for waterproofness.
Also note we bent the water heater connections to aim more toward the passenger fender rather than straight ahead. They are very flexible being made of soft copper. This will allow the hoses to come in from the side rather than straight ahead so the factory heater cover can be put over the hole (see other posts in this series for a picture of what I mean).
Our car came with the typical old crusty rear view mirror with 3 or 4 layers of paint on the bracket and dull mirror case w/ mirror glass that had half the silver flaked off. Looked like a total loss. However when I priced a new set ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$), I suddenly got interested in trying to restore the old one.
Turns out the bracket is a nice pot metal casting. I spent about a minute on the wire wheel cleaning off the old paint and semi shining the metal, at least getting most of the gray oxidation off. then I went to my buffing wheel that had a sewn cotton wheel for white compound so I hit the bracket with that setup. The thing shined up as pretty as the after-market chrome ones! I'll shoot it w/ some catalyzed clear urethane when I finish stripping the anodize, smooth out the dents and polish my aluminum bright trim and paint it too.
the mirror body is stainless so it polished quickly on the cotton wheel to like new. I took the mirror to my local glass shop who replaced the glass for $20. It isn't 'Day/Night' glass but for a $20-spot who cares!!
Finally the bows need to be bent to shape and cut to length. I sketched the pattern on a piece of wood and bent the bows to match that shape. I was luck I had the rear bow from the factory. The two other bows go in the front of the cab and are a little longer than the rear one. I show a detailed dimension grid for an end (all measurements in inches), the height of the middle of the bow, and the lengths of each size rods (one short and two long). Length picture is in next slide.
The bows consist of three 3/16" dia rods that fit in the clips and one 3/32" wire that is held to the roof by bend tabs in a roof brace, no clips needed. see photo 1. the 3/16" rods fit snuggly in the clips I made for them. An Elky needs 6 clips total.
All bows are longer than the usual 48" cold rolled rods available at Home Depot so I lengthened them as shown in the second photo. I ground long matching tapers on each end of two rods then laid them on my welding bench and brazed them together and ground the joint round.