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Frigette AC

57Tbird on Tue August 09, 2011 1:36 AM User is offlineView users profile

Year: 57
Make: Ford
Model: Thunderbird
Engine Size: 312
Country of Origin: United States

I just bought a 57 Tbird and in the trunk is a Frigette underdash AC, 6 blade fan, 3 hoses, and a new dryer. I have a condenser from a 68 Vette, and a reman compressor of unknown application. Where can I find a wiring diagram for the Frigette? How do I wire up the switch for the compressor clutch? The Frigette has only one wire going to it. I assume that is a power wire. How is the clutch activated? How do I identify the model of this unit (no ID or Model tag)? is it feasible to hook up this system? I would like to use it if at all possible. The Frigette has four directional air adjustments on the front with two switches below. It has two blowers. I can take and post a picture if that would help. Will I have to replace the expansion valve for one that works with 134A? I know squat about AC's.


mk378 on Tue August 09, 2011 9:41 AM User is offline

Control of the compressor on old TXV systems is either by cycling on evaporator temperature (there will be some sort of thermostat in the evaporator assembly), or the compressor would run continuously whenever the evaporator fan is on, cooling would be limited mechanically with a suction throttling device. It appears that you don't have such a valve in your assorted parts, and they are hard to buy. So you should plan on using temperature control. Or if you don't require authenticity, fit a GM V7 compressor. This is a powerful unit which has variable displacement so it can be wired to run continuously. They're very popular on antique / hot rod projects.

Old TXV is compatible with R-134a. Don't use the NOS drier, it's likely to be saturated with water already and also incompatible with R-134a. Tube and fin condensers have poor performance with R-134a, fit a modern parallel flow unit instead.

57Tbird on Tue August 09, 2011 7:37 PM User is offlineView users profile

Thanks for the info. A bunch. If I went to a junk yard, would any late model condenser work? How do I recognize a parallel flow condenser?


bohica2xo on Wed August 10, 2011 12:35 AM User is offline

The junkyard may be fine to wander through, measuring condensors & gathering ideas. Once you know what condensor will fit - buy a new part.

Parallel flow condensors show up in late model cars. Pre 1994 cars will have tube & fin or perhaps a serpentine condensor. GM used a half step between a true parallel flow & the T&F, commonly called a "piccolo" or "6mm" condensor.

This is a good comparison of the T&F / Serpentine / Parallel flow condensors. The 6mm is not pictured:

THIS is an example of a 6mm condensor.

The Serpentine, PF & 6mm condensors are very difficult to flush without special equipment. A junkyard part could be full of system destroying debris. We consider the late model condensor to be the primary filter in the system. If a compressor grenades, they go straight into the trash.


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~ Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi, An Autobiography, M. K. Gandhi, page 446.

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