Bob's Studebaker Resource Website

Air conditioning a Studebaker Avanti R2
by Larry Drake

Installing Air conditioning in A R-2 Avanti


This is how I installed my air conditioning on an R2 Avanti. To start with you need to decide what unit you want. I found the unit offered by Vintage air fit the measurements under the dash best, and the were very helpful in answering all my questions.

You will need a custom made mounting kit for the compressor, under the hood, you can make it your self, or Meyers Studebaker, makes this kit complete, ask for Mike. If you want to make it yourself, write me and I will send you drawings. I used a 14/30 condenser. A universal Super condenser part #61200-vuz, a polished compressor, with rear discharge kit,parts #sd508,#s508P. To mount the condenser, you will have to fabricate two metal Z brackets, approximately 14" long, securing them with rubber grommets to your existing condenser frame in front of your radiator, this will need a little trimming to fit. I found the best route for the condenser hoses is, lower hose into the wheel well and up thru the flat area beside the super charger, the other thru the small area between the headlight and the radiator. I mounted the filter dryer on the fender, close to the super charger.

The next thing is to mount the compressor, remove the black overflow tank, save all parts you remove. Install the 90 degree thermostat housing furnished in the kit, at the same time remove the steel tube, with the heater hose attached, in place, install the bushing and 45 degree fitting furnished, this gets the heater hose low enough to go under, the newly installed compressor. The compressor is installed with the adapters furnished just a little to the passenger side of the newly installed thermostat housing and as low as possible" clearance from the hood is critical" Us the 90 degree bracket furnished or make your own. This bracket attaches to the front middle valley pan bolt, with a washer, the other end attaches to the bottom right compressor hole, rear. The top driver side, mounting holes get the steel tube spacer, and piece of flat bar, use the furnished nut bolt and washer here. The flat bar is installed to the rear, and terminates at the re-used bolt on the power steering pump. Between the top of the thermostat housing and the bottom of the compressor I installed a small piece of 1/4" rubber to keep the two from rubbing. A third backset is needed from the lower supercharger mount up to the front bottom mounting hole in the compressor.

You now need to determine how long the new adjusting bracket, between the compressor and the alternator needs to be. The alternator has two threaded bumps on top. One furthest away will have to be cut off and sanded, to keep clearance from the hood. You now need to determine what size of new motor mounts you will need. The existing mounts are to tall. The engine will need to be lowered, to keep clearance from hood. In addition you will have to check the clearance from the steering pivot arm and the bottom of the oil pan, minimum 1/4 inch. If you find the existing alternator is still to tall, you will have to buy a smaller diameter alternator, all Avanti's aren't the same clearance. A possible alternate idea is to make a offset bracket for the alternator to drop it down, a 1/2 inch. Two steel tubes welded together, will give you a pivot point. Next remove the old heater box under the dash. At the same time remove the blower motor.

With everything removed and all cables disconnected, you can now start measuring, for trimming the existing area, to make clearance for the new evaporator, I made cardboard templets, to accomplish this. Next remove the right side plastic louver and damper. I stuffed this cavity with foam, to keep out the engine heat and outside air. this also gives you the needed clearance for the new evaporator. Fabricate a plate to cover the opening left from the motor removal in the fire wall. This plate will need two holes drilled in it for the new hoses. the heater hoses can use the same old holes. Remember you will need extensive trimming for the evaporator to fit. When your done it will look like factory air. You will now need to measure your hoses cut them and have them crimped. I recommend highly you use RMACC hose company in Phoenix. 623-776-7710. They are experts and reasonable. Using the furnished new radiator cap adapter, and radiator hoses, install them just over top of the power steering reservoir, leave clearance to remove cap. I purchased 4 air conditioning grills, with my kit one round, two long skinny, one rectangle. I mounted the 2"X5" top center the plate where factory air was installed, with a horizontal control package just under this..The two long skinny ones, were located under the dash by glove Box and to the right of the steering column.

The last one round 2 1/2" I mounded in the face of the evaporator housing. One of the hardest things to do is route the new AC hoses thru the dash, but they will fit. After hooking up the hoses, checking for leaks. Install evacuation pump. finish all electrical wiring per drawings (call me for drawings). Add freon, and road test. Be sure to install grommets around All hoses and wires thru body to prevent cutting them. If you have any questions. You can reach me at 805-644-1240.