Well, after several months of involving ourselves in other projects, we finally got the necessary brackets for modifying the old flathead's hardware to accept an air conditioning compressor. We wanted to do all the hardware modifications while the bare chassis was accessible, since doing so after the body is in place makes things much harder.
To install them we had to empty the cooling system, because the twin radiator hoses had to be relocated. Before that, however, we decided to powder coat the new bracketry that was provided by the vintage A/C supplier.
This was accomplished easily by cleaning the new brackets with mineral spirits and then coating them with black powder. After 25 minutes in the oven we had three, beautifully-coated mounting brackets.
The brackets came from the complete air conditioning conversion kit that we obtained from Hot Rod and Custom Supply from Cape Coral, FL. It was ordered with all the parts we'd need for mounting the various parts and running lines, plus an offset thermostat housing and new belt (at least we thought so at the time).
The air conditioning kit included everything, including the Hurricane evaporator, and all its components, all the required hoses, clamps, belts and off-set water necks, etc. Shown here are the under-the-hood components.
Once we had removed the top radiator hoses (two on flathead V8s) we removed the alternator and bracket. We then bolted the new base bracket to the spot where the alternator's mount originally was. Next came the A/C compressor's base plate, which we mounted with its four bolts, leaving everything loose enough to move around later.
The decision to air condition the truck came relatively late in the game. We had the alternator in place and the thermostat housings were bolted on which enabled us to do our engine test earlier. But the air conditioning required new alternator brackets and offset thermostat housings. When removing the existing water hoses, we wrapped the engine with rags to collect any water that was held in the hoses by the closed thermostats.
Once the compressor was mounted, we could re-mount the alternator. We found that there was a little "slop" between its mounting ears on the new base plate — roughly one millimeter. We decided to make a shim to take up the gap rather than tighten the bolt to pull the ears together. Doing so could potentially break an ear or keep the alternator from aligning perfectly with the water pump pulleys.
Mounting the alternator/compressor bracket and the compressor was a simple bolt-on process.
Making the shim required grinding down a suitable washer to the proper thickness, a task that took way too many attempts before getting the right dimension. We then placed the shim between the front ear and the alternator body, and then we tightened the mounting bolt and nut.
There was a small plate that had to be installed between the compressor and the alternator's adjusting bolt mounting tab. This plate holds the two components at a fixed distance, while belt tension is accomplished by sliding the entire assembly up and down on the intake manifold.
We found that the plate didn't line up (fore and aft) when the pulleys on the two components were aligned together and with the water pump pulleys. Therefore, we got a longer bolt to fit the alternator and placed a nut on it to act as a spacer to keep the plate aligned.
Installing the fan belt. The circle shows the nut that we used as a spacer to keep everything properly aligned.
After the main components were aligned we made sure all the mounting hardware was tight. Satisfied with that part of the task, we turned our attention to re-routing the top hoses and installation of the new belt.