A/C for 69 VW Bug


#1

I’m wondering if it is possible to have air conditioning installed in a 69 Bug. I don’t know if the little car has enough electrical power to support it. Any insight on this issue?


#2

roll the windows down.


#3

Yes, A/C units were available for the older Beetles and electrical power is not an issue. However, engine power is an issue because a 69 model will have an approx. 50+ HP engine (if everything is right) and the compressor will drag the engine down a bit. It may be even more sluggish topping those hills!

There are 2 drawbacks to this system but they’re not really deal killers. One is that the compressor makes it more difficult to change the spark plugs on the drivers side of the engine and two is that the A/C condenser is mounted horizontally under the front of the car with an electric fan.
This mounting can lead to debris hitting the condenser or failure of the cooling fan due to dirt/water, etc. This is not a real chronic problem; just letting you know that it can occur.

The good point is that the A/C system itself is easy to service and comparatively cheap to maintain. Hope that helps.


#4

Dude! Thanks a bunch! You’ve been very helpful, and I wasn’t expecting such a quick post. Thanks again!


#5

A/C was a reasonable proposition on the later fuel-injected 1600 motors, but your carbed 1500 really wasn’t designed for it. If you’re in a climate where you really need A/C, the extra load on the engine will likely lead to overheating issues.


#6
A/C was available, but few, like me, bothered to buy it. It also was not very reliable. I did not get A/C until my 1976 diesel Rabbit.

#7

Is it possible? Sure.

Is it a good idea? Probably not.

A VW bug of that era took approximately 20-21 seconds to go from zero-60 when it was new. Factor in some compression loss over the years, and your '69 bug has probably lost a few seconds in its ability to accelerate to highway speeds. If you add the load of an A/C compressor to that little engine, your ability to accelerate on a highway on-ramp will be extremely compromised–to the point of being a safety hazard.

By comparison, most low-priced 2008 cars can accelerate to 60 mph within approximately 8.5 to 12 seconds, depending on the make of car. A car that undoubtedly takes at least 24 seconds to reach 60 mph is just not a good match for the other vehicles on the highway nowadays, and as a result, I don’t think that an A/C equipped VW bug (with its very poor occupant protection) is a good idea.