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Hot Rods Mini Kooler AC Evaporator (Only 10.5" wide) from Southern Rods & Parts

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by waid786, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. waid786
    Joined: Sep 9, 2012
    Posts: 131

    waid786
    Member
    from Indiana

    I am looking to put in AC in my 38 Ford Pick and also my 64 Falcon. I ran in to this Mini Kooler AC Evaporator from Southern Rods & Parts for about $300 (no compressor). Its 3x more expensive than the typical eBay Universal one but I really like the size. The typical Universal evaporator on eBay runs less than $100 but are 15.5" wide and 13" deep.

    Any experience with this mini-Kooler ?

    z09000699MiniKooler2.jpg s-l1600.jpg Universal-A-C-Add-On-Under-Dash-Evaporator-Assembly-Unit-Air-Conditioner-Heater-24V-12V-Mini.jpg
     
  2. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 1,155

    TrailerTrashToo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Some of these look very small. A small case has a small evaporator, less air flow and less cooling.

    Last year I looked at Southern Air, a Google search brought up some negative reviews and I moved on - Do your own research before ordering...

    I bought a Speedway universal under dash unit.

    https://www.speedwaymotors.com/Speedway-Universal-Under-Dash-A-C-Cooling-Unit,50705.html

    I suggest reading the Q & A for more information - It will give you a better feel for what is involved.

    The Q & A states that is made by Victory Climate Systems. I did some research and found it was made in Texas (not one of the aftermarket car AC companies).

    2019 07 14 Evaporator - Final install.jpg
    This did an excellent job of cooling my right ear... I have since rotated the AC box toward the driver to get better cooling. I used it a lot on my trip to Lead Ain't Dead.

    CAD.jpg
    Cardboard Aided Design - Make a mock-up to do a test fit - Carefully figure out where the refrigerant hoses go. This was the largest underdash unit that would squeeze in. If possible, locate the AC box in the center - that way the driver gets more cool air.

    Russ
     
    scotty t and lothiandon1940 like this.
  3. miker98038
    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 771

    miker98038
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I’m not an engineer, let alone an HVAC guy. I’ve got a Classic Air unit in my bird, and a Vintage Air unit in a “slightly” OT car. I’ve learned a couple things. There’s never too much size and fan(s) on the condenser unit in front. There’s never too big an evaporator unit under the dash. No magic here. If it’s smaller than the Vintage Air unit, I’d be skeptical. Theirs just work. Period. My bird cockpit is probably smaller than the pu, and certainly smaller than the Falcon.
     
  4. As mentioned by TrailerTrashToo, do your research regarding Southern Air. I see that unit maybe being adequate in a very small, very well insulated vehicle.
     

  5. I've heard nothing but bad stories about Southern.

    Anything with Aliexpress on it. Good grief man, that's just asking for trouble/disappointment.
     
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  6. X2 what X38 said
     
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  7. Joe H
    Joined: Feb 10, 2008
    Posts: 1,190

    Joe H
    Member

    I run the Vintage Air Mini under dash unit in my '37 truck. It cools really well but freezes over on humid days. I have to stay on top of the temperature knob to control freeze up. I have been told since installing it, the small evaporators freeze quit easy, I suspect your super mini would be worse.
    I help a friend with '55 Chevy try to get his Southern Air unit to cool, we tried more and less freon, added bigger radiator fan, fan shroud, even added electric fan trying to get cold air. It works 1/2 as good as my mini Vintage Air!
     
  8. I have the V/A mini in my Deuce cabriolet. It works fine, but is larger than other small units.
    As noted above, you must be able to angle the cold air vents to you and your passenger's face and arms, or you will not feel cool.
    Also, doors, windows and other openings must be sealed to reduce hot air from entering at highway speeds.
     
  9. I have known Tom the owner of Southern Air for many years and since we were friends I purchased the biggest heat & air unit he offered for the Ranch Wagon, I wish I could say it performs great, it does not, I purchased a Vintage Air system for my old Deuce sedan and the heat and air work flawless,

    Don't dwell on the price buy the best product out there. HRP
     
  10. 41woodie
    Joined: Mar 3, 2004
    Posts: 1,097

    41woodie
    Member

    I've owned two cars with Southern Air in them. The woodie had one when I swapped for the car, I ended up removing it and throwing it in the trash. I drove the car for several years without air before installing a vintage air system that cools the car nicely. The other was in a 40 Ford pickup and it did a reasonable job with the small cab on the truck
     
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  11. SPEC
    Joined: Feb 1, 2021
    Posts: 540

    SPEC
    Member

    Southern Air units are junk!
     
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  12. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 1,006

    SS327

    Biggest problem with the Southern air units is too small of a condenser.
     
    gimpyshotrods likes this.
  13. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 1,155

    TrailerTrashToo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Examples to give you the a feel for the trade-offs. A list of aftermarket AC units that I personally installed and drove for a few years.

    1. Old Air Products - firewall mount heat/defrost/AC (maybe 15-18 years ago) in a 1971 IH 3/4 ton pickup - Behind dash unit, used existing vent holes in the dash and existing defrost ducts. Produced lots of cool, we towed a small 5th wheel trailer from AZ to WA (with points in-between). Was prone to freezing up in humid weather - just dial it back from "MAX COOL". Status: Still working when the truck got totaled - Yes, I would but another one.

    2. Arizona Mobile Air - Under dash AC only (maybe 12-14 years ago) in a 1971 IH Scout II - No longer listed on their web site. Worked "OK", not going turn an uninsulated cab into an "icebox". - Status: Still working when sold.

    3. Vintage Air - Under dash heat/defrost/AC (installed 9 years ago) in a 1986 Ford F150- AC is adequate (I have congestive heart failure - AC is not an "option..."), we once drove through El Centro, CA with 118 Degrees showing on the tine/temp signs. Heat is marginal - mostly due to the Cummins 4bt diesel engine running cool (over cooled -below the 180 degree thermostat setting). Defrost sucks, the one-small-box-does-everything design does not route much air to the defrosters (have a roll of paper towels at hand). Purchase was dictated by a tight budget 9 years ago. It I had a do-over, I would install a Vintage Air firewall mount unit - the largest that I could cram in the hole. No problems, I have 37 states on this unit. Status: Still working when I had it out on the interstate yesterday.

    HPIM5001.JPG

    Vintage air heat/defrost/AC - Mounted to the passenger side to clear the 5-speed shift lever.

    4. Speedway underdash AC only (1 year ago). More, with picture, in Post #2 above. AC is adequate - Again, mounted to the passenger side to clear the 4-speed shift lever. I had to twist this box toward the driver to get adequate cooling in my face. A ground up custom installation, Goggle searches do not find another example of a Volvo PV544 with AC installed. Months of "experimentation / screwing-around" getting the cooling system to tolerate sitting in traffic. Small improvements were made 2 or 3 degrees at a time. It worked fine on my round trip to Lead Ain't Dead. Status: Works OK, IF AND ONLY IF, the ambient temperatures do not go above 100 degrees. For summer trips to the "Valley of the Living Inferno" (Tucson and Phoenix, AZ), I drive something else. Side note: Low pressure fuel systems (think carburetors) using oxygenated fuels have vapor locking problems at these temperatures.

    SUMMARY
    : You need a total system design. As stated by others above, a small evaporator does not cool much air (i.e. A "chilling wind" vs a "coolish fart". The condenser needs to be big enough for the evaporator/compressor combination - and electric fans on the condensor so it all works while stuck in traffic. Also mentioned by others above, sealing all the holes, cracks, doors, windows etc. Heat (and sound) insulation is great for long interstate trips. If your credit card can stand the "heat", over-design might pay off in 100+ degree weather. Living in Indiana, you have some "wiggle room" to use a smaller capacity AC system. Just don't go with the tiny units direct ordered from overseas.

    Russ
     
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  14. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,259

    jimmy six
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Tried to install a Vintage Air unit, their best one, could not fit with out chopping up the stock radio. I also could have never removed the radio once it was in. The smaller unit may have fit.

    Went with the Old Air Product’s Hurricane with electronic controls. They work different than VA in the way the fan works. Fits without any changes other than 1/2 glove box is gone. VA engine brackets for the Ford Y-Block are far superior to me because the compressor is out of the way. Will freeze me out on medium fan. VA had better heater floor vents. The OAP has 1 for the passenger. Defrost vents can be blended for heat or AC which a great feature. I made the panel and used VA and OAP vents. C78C37D5-60AE-4E21-A1E2-F665EB3707C4.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2021
  15. Ziggster
    Joined: Aug 27, 2018
    Posts: 1,046

    Ziggster
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I used to be the bus HVAC product development manager (PEng) at Mobile Climate Control out of Toronto over twenty years ago. That style of blower/ evap unit, but larger (I think it had to be at least 15”wide) with our “515” blower (I think our most powerful version was rated around 300 CFM) was capable of keeping logging and construction cabs cool in the worst conditions. However, if that unit is only 10.5” wide, I can almost guarantee, like others have already stated, that it will be insufficient to adequately cool down anything but the smallest interiors. Of course, there are a lot of varibles in coil design including refrigerant circuit layout, number of circuts, fin type, fin material and fin spacing (assuming it is of a copper tube design). I would guess that particular evap coil cannot be rated more than 10,000 - 12,000 Btu/hr whereas typical automotive AC systens are rated between 20,000 - 30,000 Btu/hr. Also, keep in mind ALL manufactures will “overate” their coil/ system performances, and almost always you will never achieve their perf rating. It is all marketing BS and it became an issue for us when we started marketing our bus HVAC units. We actually stuck to our actual tested perf numbers whereas there was pressure from some sales staff to up the numbers to make ours look better than the competitors.
    Additionally, all components within an AC system must function together and must be properly matched which is not easy to do especially for “novices”. Mismatching any one of necessary components (compressor, TXV, condenser, evaporator) will lead to less than optimum performance. Even for us at the time, we didn’t have any software that would simulate the components as a “system” (we had coil development software) which led to lots of trial and error testing either in the field or in our climate chamber or third party ones. Even varying the refrigerant charge a couple of ounces could affect performance.
    Don’t really know anything about the companies mentioned, but my advice would be to go with something that is proven based on those that have installed it, and also try to buy the components as a “system” from a reputable vendor vs piece-mealing one together yourself.
     
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  16. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 1,155

    TrailerTrashToo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    My Hurricane unit was still working after the crash. The compressor ended up in the Scout. Firewall mount unit sat a storage unit for over 10 years.

    I tried to install the Hurricane in my Volvo, but the configuration of the refrigerant and coolant lines did not work out. I gave it to my AC guy and he installed it in a pickup truck - still working as far as I know.

    Russ
     
  17. mopar362000
    Joined: Feb 14, 2008
    Posts: 100

    mopar362000
    Member

    when dealing with southern rod expect to be lied to.Jimmie
     
  18. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 31,069

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    If you already have a heater the little Old Air hang under the middle of the dash units aren't bad looking and most likely would keep you cooler than you wanted to be. Ford Falcon 1964 Products (oldairproducts.com) One would look right at home in the Falcon if there was room for it.
     
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  19. waid786
    Joined: Sep 9, 2012
    Posts: 131

    waid786
    Member
    from Indiana

    I was at National Street Rod Association in Louisville, KY this past weekend and I saw the Little Kooler from Southern and no way is worth $300 and explosed brushed motor!
     
  20. waid786
    Joined: Sep 9, 2012
    Posts: 131

    waid786
    Member
    from Indiana

    I am looking for Underdash unit only and Vintage Air and Classic Auto Air and others are all out of stock and will be couple of months before they get them back in. I am going on Hot Rod Power Tour the week of 23th in my 64 Falcon and the only one I can find in stock with reasonable quality is the Speedway Unit which is about 1/2 the cost of Vintage Air and about the same size.

    2021-08-10_16-40-42.png
    2021-08-10_16-41-31.png
     
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  21. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 1,155

    TrailerTrashToo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Mine is still working. The cold air blowing in your face is critical to your comfort.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  22. TrailerTrashToo
    Joined: Jun 20, 2018
    Posts: 1,155

    TrailerTrashToo
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    In other words, it is a little unit and does not blow a lot of air - Locate the unit as close to the driver as possible. Centered on the dash would give both the driver and passenger some cool air.
     
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  23. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 20,279

    gimpyshotrods
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I have the full-size Vintage Air Gen IV evaporator under the dashboard of my 1960 Falcon.

    As far as I know, it is the biggest thing Vintage Air makes.

    I had to take about 1" out of the deepest section of the glove box.
    PXL_20210717_212621671.jpg
     
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