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Electrically operated HVAC upgrade?

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Stock 280z setups use a vacuum system powered by manifold vacuum to operate various the water cocks and FICD. On a turbo system, without the vacuum accessories like the tank and VCM, using the heater is theoretically difficult, plus the control panel looks out of place in the surprisingly modern interior of the s30.


So why not swap out all the vacuum actuation, and the mechanical linkage, and install the modern HVAC controls from a newer vehicle? Has anyone done this? My overall dream is to make my s30 a formidable GT even by modern standards, and it's coming along well.


If nobody has tried this, I may need a few pointers as to vehicles with relatively standalone HVAC controllers. A 2000s Mustang comes to mind. The more I can shrink the size the better the end result.

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Vintage Air units are electronically controlled. All flaps are servo actuated and the HVAC unit itself is quite compact and fits in the dash quite nicely. My only problem with the VA unit I installed is that I don't really care for the appearance of the switches to control it. All the options seem to be made more for the muscle car crowd. The systems are not cheap, but if all you need is the underdash parts, then kits can be had for around $500.


It seems we have similar goals for our cars. I too am trying to build a comfortable, fast sports car that is thoroughly modern on the inside yet retains the classic appeal of the S30. A modern HVAC system was a requirement for the car since I live in Texas.

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I would stick with the old school setup . I have changed more elect. actuators and control heads than vac. actuators and mech. linkages in over 15 yrs. in the business . I might have replaced 5 or 6 vac. actuators compare to hundreds of elect. actuators and control heads . IMO , stay with OE . Less things to go wrong and easy to diag.

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