Lawson's 818C

The Complete 818 Coupe Documentation

Air Conditioning

Installing Vintage Air AC and Heat in My 818

Being in Georgia, I knew early on I wanted AC. An enclosed cabin here with a mid-engine configuration would be miserable without it and I wanted to be able to actually drive the car on the street. Kit car or not, this thing would have AC.

  • I based my AC installation on a forum user, AZPete, who did a vintage air mini installation and write-up. Which I’ve saved here:
    • My install uses the newer Mini Gen II unit. The difference here is the servos are electronic rather than vacuum actuated. This is a good thing! This did not really cause significant installation differences.
    • You will need to order an H-tube from vintage air to serve as a coolant bypass when the heat is off. The Subaru engine is designed to have coolant running through the heater core lines at all times. AZPete did something different here for the old style heater servo. No need to do his setup the H-pipe is all you need.
  • Choose the vents, dials, etc. from Vintage Air as you like. Just keep in mind what you want your interior layout to be.
  • AZPete’s connector and hose length recommendations worked great for me! YMMV if you have different ideas for mounting or routing the lines.
  • Make sure to wire the trinary switch to the ECU A/C input and the compressor. This will kick on the compressor and tell the ECU the compressor is on (for idle-up) at the same time. iWire forgot to do this on my harness but it was an easy fix after talking to them.
  • I charged the system based on Vintage Air’s recommended amounts. The Vintage Air stuff also all comes pre-oiled. Make sure you keep the oil in your OEM Subaru compressor. I added a little bit because of the long lines and the fact that some may have dripped out of my compressor as well just to be safe.
  • After a (very nervous) trip to let a Goodyear service place work on my car, the AC charged and worked great! I have not had any issues thus far and it cools/heats the cabin really well. Defrost doesn’t work too well because it doesn’t suck in outside air but that’s minor.

Dash Vents and Controls

I bought my dash vents and dials from Vintage Air. The installation was pretty simple – just requiring some holes drilled and slots for the defrost vents. Vintage Air offers a lot of options for vents and dials to choose from. Generally they are fairly inexpensive.

The layout is also subjective but I like the way things look in my setup. The only thing to note is that if you want more than 3 forward air vents, you have to buy a y-adapter to split the Vintage Air Mini outputs. I wanted an even number so both passenger and driver have two vents and I could make the design symmetrical.


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