aftermarket a/c heat system choice?

Started by rivstg1, May 22, 2022, 01:05:38 PM

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If I don't have the factory heater restored, has anyone had any experience or info on the  best choice for modern heat/air on 50's Cadillacs? I called one company a while back to inquire about rebuilding factory pieces and he recommended going modern as the cost would be about the same but with superior performance and less weight/complexity.  Now, if my car was a rare Cadillac, I'd only go with original, but mine is just a standard sedan deville and am considering going modern.   

Any pertinent thoughts on this approach vs factory etc?

1957 Sedan Deville, Tahoe Blue


The original 1950 heat system was pretty extreme to include under seat heater. (I thought this post was about a 1950 Cadillac and later read your other post about 1957)

If I were faced with your problem I might find a NEW 'modern' heater core that would fit into the available space and might go with a modern 'manual'  water control valve or fit a cable version.

If your  6 volt 1950 converted to 12 volt you could add a vintage air (AC) that has both heat and AC incorporated. I added this to a 1957 and utilized original dash controls because it originally had AC. They offer Plastic manifolds that fit under dash with discharge vents. Or you could fit (cut)  into the dash discharge vents. Depends on your level of fabrication and cost.

I felt the AC (Vintage air) was too small a capacity (BTU) to cool that size cabin and if I did that again I might consider a dual AC adding a 2nd evaporator in the rear under package shelf but....  I am in an EXTREME desert heat climate.

James Landi

I recall reading somewhere decades ago, that when GM was experimenting with a/c on Cadillacs many decades ago, the engineering goal was to have the car cooled in 90 seconds.... so a combination of blower capacity and raw btu power were the orders of the day.  In my '56 SDV, (short deck), the lage evaporator in the trunk, coupled with the two large capacity blowers and four ceiling mounted chrome plated vents did the TRICK.  I communited 90 miles a day in that car for five years, and in hot weather, the side windows would cloud up, and I needed to drape a towel on my shoulder as condensate from the vent over my head would drip on me!

Aside from a discussion of cooling cabin capacity, I would also seriously consider engine cooling....I hate watching the heat gauge in my older Cadillacs move toward hot in stalled summer traffic, and electric cooling fans don't over come the challenges of somewhat compromised or, dare I say, under engineered cooling systems.  I've thought about adding additonal "finned cooling coils"--- but the challenge is where to hang them.           James