Let's discuss adding A/C to my 1st gen V8 truck that never had it to begin with..


Bird76Mojo

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4WD
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4" Superlift
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33"
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Good enough
The Foxbody front accessory drive wouldn't have worked and let me keep power steering. Plus I already had a perfectly good Thunderbird setup on the truck, running and driving. Making a bracket for the compressor was the easiest part of the entire project.

I did mod the factory Ranger A/C-Heater plenum to fit around the valve cover. Cut and fiber-glassed. The strongest and cleanest way I've ever seen it done.

A Vintage Air system wouldn't work in this truck. I looked in to their systems as well as other brands. None would fit under the dash without cutting out a BUNCH of factory stuff behind the dash, and none of their A/C compressor brackets would work in my engine bay either. In fact, no one made an A/C compressor bracket that would work and let me keep power steering, or make me have to relocate the alternator. Not even any older Ford brackets..

This really was the easiest way to make it all work, and the most cost effective.
 


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bobbywalter

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1988
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FORD mostly
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4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
where to draw the line of hacking is really fun to gauge....the artificial limits we put on ourselves...when balanced against the real limits of time and money .....we get what we get...so the internet is nice to have.


is it a custom application or not? there is no federally legal way to put 8 holes into a 6 hole platform. so there is that limit.



The Foxbody front accessory drive wouldn't have worked and let me keep power steering. Plus I already had a perfectly good Thunderbird setup on the truck, running and driving. Making a bracket for the compressor was the easiest part of the entire project.

I did mod the factory Ranger A/C-Heater plenum to fit around the valve cover. Cut and fiber-glassed. The strongest and cleanest way I've ever seen it done.

A Vintage Air system wouldn't work in this truck. I looked in to their systems as well as other brands. None would fit under the dash without cutting out a BUNCH of factory stuff behind the dash, and none of their A/C compressor brackets would work in my engine bay either. In fact, no one made an A/C compressor bracket that would work and let me keep power steering, or make me have to relocate the alternator. Not even any older Ford brackets..

This really was the easiest way to make it all work, and the most cost effective.
fox wont fit? and keep power steering? hmmm...


perceptions are always interesting. i have been swapping v8's into rangers for 30 years. power steering and fox fead was the standard ... the ho bird, then sn, and finally the explorer brought out better options. none of these fit?



I have no room for an electric fan, and my mechanical fan is more than adequate so far. It cools the truck very well. With it now being closer to the radiator, it should be even more efficient than it was before. I run no shroud, and so far it hasn't been needed either.

As for the condenser, I didn't choose it for any other reason than it was the only one that would fit in the limited space I have inside my core support, in front of the radiator. Nothing on this truck is factory anymore, so it limits my choices in certain ways.



you say you have no room.....


Nothing on this truck is factory anymore, so it limits my choices in certain ways.


so close but so far. i see it as opening up and not limiting..

2wd low rider is a huge real limitation... but for cooling and hvac it isnt horrible.

4wd and body lift obviously make it cake.



i wonder though....(i know i am late to the hour just data creep)

you built a custom mount for your current compressor but would have been unable to mount a sanden from vintage air? using a vintage air style unit(speaking generically of course as there are several suppliers) what is under the dash in an 87 that is sacred and needs to be undisturbed since the aftermarket components are supplanting all of that crap anyway? what am i missing?


i dont do swaps much anymore since about 2005 when the youngest was born...but..over 300 hp
the factory core support gets murdered if i am to do a swap. right off the bat that gets understood.

you need put a real radiator in there and a real fan. a real fan is an electric one. but it will obviously take some modification to get it done.

once blacked out it will still look normal at first glance. especially a first gen with a stillen.


for a normalish firewall clearance 302/351 or 350 chevy swap you have at least 10 inches of real estate to work with for your cooling and ac on a gen 1 ranger out front.


you pulled this off with about half of that and a mechanical fan.. and all custom.


so seriously. i am impressed. one thing i prefer to be oem or engineered when possible is fead...
 

bobbywalter

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1988
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FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
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4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"




my favorite fead for 351 or 302.
 

Bird76Mojo

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4.0 - 5.0
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Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
4" Superlift
Tire Size
33"
My credo
Good enough
My engine/trans placement fore and aft dictated that I couldn't run Foxbody accessory drive parts because the power steering pump would've hit the steering gearbox. The 92 Thunderbird engine I used, the A/C compressor had to be removed because it hit the steering gearbox. I also cut half of the A/C compressor mounting bracket off for clearance. My engine is also very low in the chassis compared to some swaps I've seen. It places things very close to the steering gearbox.

I wanted to use the factory transmission crossmember with as little modification to it as possible. That also dictated engine/trans placement fore and aft.

Then there was the fact that I will NEVER butcher up a core support..

I was measuring a little earlier in the A/C swap and didn't think I could fit an electric fan, but after searching around a little more online, there are a couple units I could use, but I'm still limited on my choices as most are too thick to fit without hitting the water pump pulley.

I've got a damn nice radiator in the truck. A very nicely built aluminum unit that tucks up inside the core support to give more room for fans, etc. Has a 90 degree filler neck for clearance..

The Thunderbird HO and the SN95 FEAD is virtually identical.

No reason to spend that much for a Sanden or Vintage Air anything.. I did this swap as cheaply as possible. Less than $600 at my current estimate, not counting tools of course. I need to sit down one of these days and get a solid total on paper. But no way in hell was I gonna spend $250 on a Sanden compressor or $800 to $1400 for a Vintage Air system that I'd have to hack my underdash components apart to fit. Why redesign everything behind the dash just for A/C when you can easily use all of the factory Ranger parts? That just equals spending even more money.. Plus I could use factory Ranger dash controls, keep the dash totally stock, defrost, etc. It would have been stupid to take any other route.

The truck isn't lowered at all. Never bottoms out or has any clearance issues driving anywhere. It actually still hauls smaller loads quite well. I helped a buddy tear down his deck and he gave me all the treated lumber, and though it squatted the truck a good bit, and I was worried about the rear tires hitting the bedsides, it made the trip home at 60mph without any issues whatsoever.
 

Bird76Mojo

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Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 - 5.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
4" Superlift
Tire Size
33"
My credo
Good enough
You can see just how low my engine is in the chassis in this shot:




The Thunderbird dual sump oil pan probably has about 3/8" clearance to the crossmember.



GB :)
 

bobbywalter

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FORD mostly
Engine Size
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2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
i have cut many pans to go low as possible in strip applications along with the k member. definitely advantage to low cog.



i did not mean i thought your truck was lowered...just that lowered trucks are a bit more work in relatives compared to a 4x4..

the aftermarket units blow away the oem unit for cooling...after installing a few for others in various applications i come to think they are actually a good value for rods ect... but being a cheap fawk i wont buy one either. well maybe now that i am older.

hacking up the core support can easily make it much stronger and fit the best cooling system possible.

hack is not necessarily hack.... modified and strengthened with 100 percent improvement can be part of that process. the amount of deer i destroy can attest to that....


with a 302...its a bolt in....no custom parts at all if one chooses. using the factory trans member with an aod.

i would have taken the easy route for sure.
 

Bird76Mojo

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2001 & 1987
Make / Model
Ford
Engine Type
4.0 V6
Engine Size
4.0 - 5.0
Transmission
Manual
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
4" Superlift
Tire Size
33"
My credo
Good enough
with a 302...its a bolt in....no custom parts at all if one chooses. using the factory trans member with an aod.

i would have taken the easy route for sure.
I'd like to see a single build thread where a member puts in a 302 and it's all bolt-in. No custom parts or modifying existing parts. It ain't possible.

My cooling system is more than adequate. My radiator (without hacking the core support) is much larger than the factory radiator. Even idling with the A/C on high, it doesn't boil over. It just gets hot on the gauge, and I haven't even added a fan shroud yet.

Still, I'd never hack apart a core support in any build I ever do. It's just that. A hack. They never look nearly as good as the factory unit, and far as overall strength, that is up for debate on a case by case basis.
 

bobbywalter

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1988
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FORD mostly
Engine Size
BIGGER
Transmission
Automatic
2WD / 4WD
4WD
Total Lift
sawzall?
Tire Size
33-44
My credo
it is easier to fix and understand than "her"
even back in the day.....the picture i posted with comet or k manifolds would be all bolt in. even with mk mounts and aod.


my b2 can be all bolt on with the exception of just a 4 holes drilled. if you wanted to run a 5.0 and dana 44.

before the 5.0 explorer an exhaust system had to be custom of course.....not today.

literal bolt in.


its well over 30 years established most low power and 2wd swaps have no or few cooling issues even with stock 2.9 radiators. vehicles that get worked will generally have cooling issues. need to get up to 300 or so hp before complications start creeping in depending on climate.

lessons from eb applications with mid power 351 swaps pointed out the need for more area out front when the finest 800 dollar radiators cant do it due to flow area and closed compartment when being wheeled hard... of course the ranger has better flow area then the eb already and is pretty good with normal v8 power.. normal in this context being sub 250....





i dont see the beauty in that core support or it being hard to improve upon aesthetically. of course the beholders eye is the key to these things.















in any case...i am impressed with the challenges and solutions. not bagging on them.
 

Uncle Gump

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If nothing else... the education in research/development/fabrication/execution... well that's just priceless. For the guy that slept through A/C class... I believe he pretty much crushed it.

I think it turned out pretty clean... and best of all... it will give you NHO's on a hot muggy day.
 


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