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Street Race Truck More... The Toolbox

Installing Automotive A/C Vents - 1967 Chevelle

7/23/2020

The Surefit System is designed to be a retrofit to equip your car with A/C, which is a beautiful thing. It would also make me crazy to try and install this on a finished vehicle. Part of it is sheer clumsiness on my part. “Cut two 3” holes in a finished dash panel for vents” yeah, I’ll just fire up the D/A and mix some paint right now, cause I’m gonna gouge the crap out of that when I slip with the saw.

Fortunately, my dash was already in pretty sad shape. It needed paint no matter how you slice it. That’s when I decided I was smarter than Vintage Air again. The vents they supply with this kit are nice. There are two 3” diameter round ones that go in the outer, lower corners and one wide rectangular one for the center of the dash. Only, I didn’t like the way the lower, round ones looked in other cars I saw them in. The extreme angle of the dash face made them point down too much. It looked like it might be difficult to direct air where you wanted it and have the vents look good.

That was when I discovered that Vintage Air also offered a complete kit that incorporates factory style “Astro vents” These bigger, more deeply set ball vents would help add a layer of authenticity to the addition of A/C to this car.

I think the vents were just re-packaged OER parts. The most important parts of this little add-on kit are the paper templates. I made a few copies of each one to ensure a mistake or two on the cutting and application. I cut them out and applied a light coat of Super77 adhesive to the dash side. I let the glue dry completely and then stuck the templates down. This works pretty well since the surface is both concave and bends down under the face. It would’ve been difficult to tape it in place securely.

After I had them both stuck down I sprayed a coat of contrasting paint to show the area to be removed. I drilled the holes as indicated and then drilled a 3/8” hole close to the edge of the knockout. An air body saw made quick work of the cutting and was fairly easy to control. I did make a couple of mistakes but nothing bigger than the small flange on the bezel. I repeated the process, following V/A directions for the center vent in the dash.

After I got the holes all cut out and the new “knee-knocker” tach mounted, I stripped all the parts off the dash panel and sent it in to be dry stripped and powder coated semi-flat black.

With the way I’m doing the gauges and other underdash components in the Chevelle, I should be able to assemble the whole dash panel, fasten the lower row of bolts loosely. At that point all the connections can be made. Most of which now just plug in. Then the panel can rock the rest of the way up into place and bolt up tight. That’s the plan anyway.

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