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Opel Key Master
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some may already know I've been involved in building air conditioning kits for the Opel GT for some time now. We completely make the consoles now in house, with the rear deck riser and all. My first bolt-on attempt at doing one in a GT involved an expensive serpentine belt system with custom pulleys and custom brackets. It was too costly, and proved that it wasn't right for the market.

The following are hurdles that have to be overcome in my opinion to have an A/C system for the mass market.

1. Bolt on design with little to no modifications that require special tools.
2. Cannot have costly custom one off parts to add money to the product cost, like custom lower hose adapter.
3. Be affordable as an entire package.
4. Have easy to follow instructions and customer support.
5. Be able to work with a bone stock car or slightly modified car (Retain original air cleaner and what not.

So a redesign and re-engineering has lead to a new kit that fits very nicely in a stock GT with only minimum holes that need to be drilled to install. Will clear a group 26R battery to retain battery up front as designed without removing anything. Stock air cleaner can be used, the large 9" booster clears, use of original style fan and shroud as well.

I'm in the final stages of writing the installation manual, and Bill of Material for production. Each kit will be test fit to ensure that the engine parts will line up correctly before ever leaving to help speed up installation as well. The kit includes the center console (all new with controls and vents), the rear risers and shelf ledge, hoses pre-fabricated and crimped, drier, evaporator, condenser, compressor, bracket, pulleys, 7 blade fan with spacer, belts, and adapters. An experienced a/c installation shop could possibly have it running in one day. No hose adapter needed, no clearance issues, no removal of factory air cleaner bracket, no devaluing of the car due to hacking the engine bay for installation. Installation manual will provide exact size patterns, multiple pictures and information to ease in the job.

Kit cost $2550.00 for entire package, with a lead time of about 3-5 weeks on each kit. If I can get several pre-orders, this lead time will be possibly even quicker.

I will only sell the kit as whole, the parts and information is not for sale to do it yourself.

Contact me at [email protected] for more questions or to get a preorder setup.
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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7,508 Posts
As some may already know I've been involved in building air conditioning kits for the Opel GT for some time now. We completely make the consoles now in house, with the rear deck riser and all. My first bolt-on attempt at doing one in a GT involved an expensive serpentine belt system with custom pulleys and custom brackets. It was too costly, and proved that it wasn't right for the market.

The following are hurdles that have to be overcome in my opinion to have an A/C system for the mass market.

1. Bolt on design with little to no modifications that require special tools.
2. Cannot have costly custom one off parts to add money to the product cost, like custom lower hose adapter.
3. Be affordable as an entire package.
4. Have easy to follow instructions and customer support.
5. Be able to work with a bone stock car or slightly modified car (Retain original air cleaner and what not.

So a redesign and re-engineering has lead to a new kit that fits very nicely in a stock GT with only minimum holes that need to be drilled to install. Will clear a group 26R battery to retain battery up front as designed without removing anything. Stock air cleaner can be used, the large 9" booster clears, use of original style fan and shroud as well.

I'm in the final stages of writing the installation manual, and Bill of Material for production. Each kit will be test fit to ensure that the engine parts will line up correctly before ever leaving to help speed up installation as well. The kit includes the center console (all new with controls and vents), the rear risers and shelf ledge, hoses pre-fabricated and crimped, drier, evaporator, condenser, compressor, bracket, pulleys, 7 blade fan with spacer, belts, and adapters. An experienced a/c installation shop could possibly have it running in one day. No hose adapter needed, no clearance issues, no removal of factory air cleaner bracket, no devaluing of the car due to hacking the engine bay for installation. Installation manual will provide exact size patterns, multiple pictures and information to ease in the job.

Kit cost $2550.00 for entire package, with a lead time of about 3-5 weeks on each kit. If I can get several pre-orders, this lead time will be possibly even quicker.

I will only sell the kit as whole, the parts and information is not for sale to do it yourself.

Contact me at [email protected] for more questions or to get a preorder setup.
Great work !

Have you considered selling the kit without the GT specific pieces. That way a Manta or Kadett owner could use a Vintage Air inside unit and your Opel specific engine bits and parts.
 

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Opel Key Master
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5,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kadett would not be any problem, but would have to see if a Manta Lower hose will clear, I am sure it will, but GT seems to be the most requested from me, so just worked on it for now. The Kadett would be a bit less due to shorter hoses and plenty of room, but would have to look into the condenser.
 

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Can Opeler
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3,462 Posts
Wow it looks great! I see it is ARA design influenced. I love my ARA AC console, it is beautiful and a great armrest! People are going to love it.
 

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Super Moderator
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Keith, great design and build! Good job! :notworthy

Just curious, how much horsepower do you think this system will take away from the engine? For me, it wouldn't be much of an issue. I've heard some stories about the old AC units that when you were driving down the road and you turn the AC on, you better have your seat belts on or you may end up on the dash! :yup:
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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7,508 Posts
I now have a complete ARA system for a Kadett with the York compressor. But need all new soft parts and to rebuild the York compressor.

So I would be interested in a 134a engine side setup
 

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Can Opeler
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3,462 Posts
Keith, great design and build! Good job!


Just curious, how much horsepower do you think this system will take away from the engine? For me, it wouldn't be much of an issue. I've heard some stories about the old AC units that when you were driving down the road and you turn the AC on, you better have your seat belts on or you may end up on the dash!
My ARA AC system ate A LOT of horses. In my notes I have written "0-60 dropped from 11 seconds to 17.7 seconds. Top speed dropped to 88mph from 105!

Charles, please take pictures and notes of every part of the rebuild. I have a complete kit and a half for the GT. I'll need a new evaporator probably and definantly a condensor and dryer. What part numbers did you use for those?
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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7,508 Posts
My ARA AC system ate A LOT of horses. In my notes I have written "0-60 dropped from 11 seconds to 17.7 seconds. Top speed dropped to 88mph from 105!

Charles, please take pictures and notes of every part of the rebuild. I have a complete kit and a half for the GT. I'll need a new evaporator probably and definantly a condensor and dryer. What part numbers did you use for those?
No part numbers.. and the best to ask about GT lines is Keith. :)

My complete kit doesn't have the lines just an old evap that I won't use as it's old. I will do similar to Keith. Unless Keith comes up with the engine side for a Kadett then I will use his. Rather have new through out components than do it myself.
 

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Opeler
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Keith, great design and build! Good job! :notworthy

Just curious, how much horsepower do you think this system will take away from the engine? For me, it wouldn't be much of an issue. I've heard some stories about the old AC units that when you were driving down the road and you turn the AC on, you better have your seat belts on or you may end up on the dash! :yup:
You heard correctly! My ARA with the York compressor felt like the engine died when the compressor kicked on. In tight passing situations, I would have to shut the compressor off until I had completed the pass. In fact, some company made a vacuum switch that cut power to the clutch to accomplish the same thing. The ARA system worked much better when I replaced the York with a Sanden compressor.

In the early-mid 1950's when add-on AC systems (ARA et al) first started to appear, the manufacturers had to change the design to either beef up the compressor or soften the engagement of the magnetic clutch. It seems that when people would turn the compressor on at idle it was ok, but turning it on at highway rpm, it would sometimes shear the shaft on the compressor.

That said, Keith has done a good job in the implementation of his system. I like the location of his receiver-drier in a roomier area than the ARA design, and the routing of the hoses under the car, rather than inside.
 

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Keith, great design and build! Good job! :notworthy

Just curious, how much horsepower do you think this system will take away from the engine? For me, it wouldn't be much of an issue. I've heard some stories about the old AC units that when you were driving down the road and you turn the AC on, you better have your seat belts on or you may end up on the dash! :yup:
The original dealer add on package used the gm A6 compressor. We once figured it drained about one hp per pound of compressor. That compressor weighted in at about 32 pounds.
We did install that system on a Kadett with automatic transmission and the 1.1L engine. Customer brought it back because with the AC on, the car would not make it up his drive way, which was flat except for the street side hump.
 

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Opel Key Master
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5,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Like the GT, the Kadett Air Conditioning system was designed by ARA, and by GM. I actually have most of an NOS kit for a Kadett even down to the compressor. It is a GM setup and it's mainly the engine parts, hose clamps and pulleys. It has the hangars for the evaporator, but I do not have the evaporator or the hoses. It was quite engineered to fit, as the GM setups I liked because of the brackets and pulleys seemed purposely made for the Opel, where ARA engine parts seemed a bit universal and crude.
 

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Opel Key Master
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Okay, back on track, when the Kadett kit comes I will post, but lets leave this thread to GT specific.

I had some inquiries on a couple of GT options.

Will this fit on Fuel injected engines? Such as a 2.4 with Injection?

No, its close, but due to plumbing of the thermostat housing and hoses, I'm affraid the A/C lines will interfere. Everything is close to working, but after comparing to a 2.4 injected car, I will say no.

I have a modified car, electric fan and such, will this work?

Yes as long as you are running a factory style alternator or GM 105 Amp it should convert the same. The compressor is mounted on passenger side so if there are mods that have something mounted on that side, then possibly not. Also the electric fan mounting may need to be changed. The condenser and battery fitment may require modifications that are not supplied with the kit. It will be up to the owner to change these.

This is a stock GT A/C kit. I am installing it onto a highly modified GT with Honda radiator and electric fan on engine side, Compufire ignition box mounted close to where the drier is mounted, but should all fit.
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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7,508 Posts
Will this fit on Fuel injected engines? Such as a 2.4 with Injection?

No, its close, but due to plumbing of the thermostat housing and hoses, I'm affraid the A/C lines will interfere. Everything is close to working, but after comparing to a 2.4 injected car, I will say no.
Point to mention.. You could NOT use the 2.4L ( or 2.0L Or 2.2L) water housing. The 1.9L housing and hoses will work with the other injections. You will need to drill and tap the current T'stat location for the computer temp sensor, and then drill a smaller hole and tap it for the regular temp sensor. As for the cold start injector sensor, you eliminate it and just put it on a switch ( IF you don't eliminate it all together anyway).

So.. there is a way to get this A/C on a GT with retrofitted EFI.
 

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UFOpel Investigator
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3,472 Posts
Good Job Keith; I hope you sell many. I may be interested in a Kadett system when I began restoration of my Caravan.
Ditto on the good job.
After doing my own custom a/c system on my Manta. The hours planning fabricating and building the system makes Keith's price a very good value Imo. Much of the cost will be recovered when selling most likely and the car will appeal to those of us who can't live without air conditioning.
 

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Opel Key Master
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5,200 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I think on the 2.4 it would be more involved because the head would need to be removed and the casting drilled so the coolant flow will pass correctly through the head like on a 1.9
 

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Opel Tinkerer and Rescuer
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I think on the 2.4 it would be more involved because the head would need to be removed and the casting drilled so the coolant flow will pass correctly through the head like on a 1.9
True hadn't thought of that. I was thinking 2.0L EFI and Head. As I was looking for alternatives as I had intakes but not the T-stat housings.

I was thinking they were similar except the intake locations.
 

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Opeler
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Nice work Keith. Anybody who installed or tried to install custom A/C knows that this is not for faint of heart. Providing bolt-on kit is great contribution and I hope that you will have satisfactory number of orders. You might even try to hook-up with European suppliers of Opel parts as there should be considerable interest there.
 

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Opel Key Master
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Recently we have been working hard on the new air conditioning kits. Two systems are shipping this week. Here are a few pics of the package you will receive. It will come with everything down to the hardware you will need to install the system in your GT. We have tooled up for the production of these kits, but with all orders will be a 4 week wait time once your order has been placed.
 

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A few months ago you mentioned that these would not work on a GT with 2.4 and EFI. Is this still the case?
 
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