'69 280SE Air Conditioning Install - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-07-2011, 08:47 AM Thread Starter
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Date registered: Jan 2011
Vehicle: 1968 Mercedes Benz 280SE
Location: California
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'69 280SE Air Conditioning Install

I'm starting to look at my options in fitting an AC system to my European 280. In my research I've developed some assumptions based on the following options:

1) I can piece together one using the OEM US Spec parts for $$$$+ and pray for it to work in the end.

2) I can find a universal option via Vintage Air - Inventors of Performance Air Conditioning - www.vintageair.com and some how cram it into my car.

I'm leaning towards option 2 at this rate because I'm guessing a fully resto-AC System to match my car will in the end run close to $3,000.00 with all factory OE trims, brackets, controls, etc. and installed. I've seen pricing for universal units from Vintage Air start at around $900 and go up from there.

My question is this; has anyone ever done a Vintage Air system before on this chassis? There seems to be a lot of pre-sales work involved in order to determine what systems will fit or not and I'm wanting to save a little time in all that guess-work. Any help is appreciated - the hot CA summer is quickly approaching.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-11-2011, 01:30 PM
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Date registered: Oct 2006
Vehicle: 1965 220SE sedan (finnie) with 450SE conversion, 1964 220SE coupe project, 1966 300SE coupe
Location: Brisbane Australia
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I have put a V.A Gen II Compac in my '65 fintail. It has a slightly smaller trans tunnel than you, and my car is right hand drive. but it required major work to get it up out of the way and hidden. On a finnie, there is a big sheetmetal pressing spot welded in below the cowl (up behind the dash) that the heater motor bolted onto. It prevented me from getting the new combined heater/AC/defrost unit up high. So I drilled out a heap of spot welds and removed it (had no engine in at the time). Fairly major work. I will poke my head out under a W108 shell I have and have a look tomorrow to see how the 2 cars compare. However, I have 2 x W108 units as they are not that hard to come by in old parts cars. That would be a hell of a lot easier than going the custom route. The only difference between goign stock versus custom is the evaporator unit inside the car - either way, you will need to get the pulley for the motor, condenser, compressor, engine bracket, hoses, receiver/drier, relays etc. I think that stuff wil cost a lot more than the evaporator unit.

Good luck,
Drew in Oz
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 09:52 PM
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Date registered: Jul 2004
Vehicle: 1971 280SE 3.5 Coupe
Location: Nevada City, ca
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If you live in California there are Pick and Pulls everywhere. You should be able to find a 250SE or 280SE with AC you can source for your install. You can go on Pick and Pull's website and find what location(s) have your car. Don't know where you are but last time I checked there were several in Fairfield and one in Stockton(108's). I would go for the factory installaton if you can.

280SE 3.5 Coupe
Stick shift
3.27 Axle
5.6 Iron block build in progress

Last edited by 3.5 Tony; 03-12-2011 at 09:53 PM. Reason: Added info
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 03:04 PM
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Date registered: Oct 2006
Vehicle: 1965 220SE sedan (finnie) with 450SE conversion, 1964 220SE coupe project, 1966 300SE coupe
Location: Brisbane Australia
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Sorry for the delay, I finally got a chance to look at the 108 shell. There is about 190mm of gap from the top of the trans stunnel to the bottom of the sheetmetal where the factory heater bolts up. Vintage air do have mock up kits available in the states to see what works and what doesn't. But seriously, going factory under-dash A/C and keeping the standard heater would be so much easier. Working with the heater systems is a job best left to your enemies or masochists! It has been rumoured that the cars start construction with a heater hanging by a wire down the production line and then the rest of the car is assembled around it!
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