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Adding A/C to a truck?


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#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted March 23 2006 - 12:57 PM

A local auto dealership is advertising a pickup truck at a very good price, but of course there is a catch - the truck does not have A/C installed in it.

A truck without A/C is pretty useless during the summer in Texas, which explains the dirt-cheap price ($8600 brand new).

The dealership had models with A/C installed but wanted $3K more for those. Other than the A/C, the engine / trim / options were identical.

The Kelley Blue Book shows that the going price for ordering this truck with A/C as an option adds about $750-$900 to the price.

I asked the sales guy, and he said that the dealer couldn't sell me an A/C upgrade, and that any after-market ugprade would void the warranty. He attributed the $3K price difference to "different incentives" being offered by the manufacturer.

Of course, I know better than to take a car salesman's words at face value, especially when it's a 25% difference in price.

So my question is: Is it possible to retrofit a truck with A/C after the purchase, and would this invalidate the factory warranty for the non-A/C portions of the truck?

It would be worth my while if I could do it for about $1K or so.

Is this a realistic possibility, or should I forget about this and move on?
Colin Dunn

#2 of 13 Guest_Eric Kahn_*

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Posted March 23 2006 - 02:23 PM

It is possible to add AC to a pickup truck, if you visit a tractor trailer dealer or call one, they can tell you where to go, but it will be about 1500 dollars

what kind of truck are they offering for that price?

#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted March 23 2006 - 02:33 PM

The truck in question is a Mazda B2300 - an entry-level 4cyl. light-duty pick-up.
Colin Dunn

#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted March 23 2006 - 03:43 PM

That's a Ford Ranger in disguise. Run, do not walk, Run away.
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#5 of 13 OFFLINE   Christ Reynolds

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Posted March 23 2006 - 06:38 PM

what's wrong with the ranger? my brother had a 2002 ranger, it seemed like a pretty solid small truck. he got sideswiped and it was totalled (guy ran a stop sign and hit him at 40 m/h) but he had no problems before he got hit.

CJ
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#6 of 13 OFFLINE   John Alvarez

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Posted March 23 2006 - 09:58 PM

Quote:
That's a Ford Ranger in disguise. Run, do not walk, Run away.

A friend of mine has an 92 model with over 200k miles and he drove it to Ohio last year. All he has done is regular maint. on it.

#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Mary M S

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Posted March 24 2006 - 04:48 AM

]Colin,

Do a search on Mazda-aftermarket-voids-warranty etc.
Generally, its a gray area, they cannot void your 'whole' warranty for adding an aftermarket part. They can try to say that the adding of the aftermarket part contributed to the failure of the factory warranted part you are trying to have repaired. BUT the two parts (aftermarket addon and broken warranty part) have to have a logical relation.
They cannot refuse to warranty unrelated items. but please check into this yourself, try calling Mazda Corp Retail div. to verify

Ck with a Mazda dealer in another state (a cold state) where cars shipped from factory are more often ordered without A/C standard. Ask how much for Dealer to add on air. ( sometimes calling the Service/Parts dept for these kind of questions is more productive).
If they answer in the affirmative, find out infor on part numbers ordered (or aftermarket shop they send it too).
Then call a different local dealership's Service dept.(not where the truck you wish to purchase is located and not a sister site) Confirm you can get it locally and price it again.

If it is within your price range then buy the truck, and drop off at the other dealer for the upgrade.

If you are mechanical; car restorers often add "Vintage Air" to old classics and it works very well.

Check with locations that do aftermarket to vehicles.
One in dallas WINSLOW'S AUTO GLASS & TINT, 214-321-6600 may do Air installs. I purchased a stripped basic truck from a dealer and had Winslows install electrical door locks and elec. windows aftermarket. If they do air, then others like them near you, will.

It does make me nervous on any Vehicle, which is under warrenty, to add parts which tie into the electrial harness, (including aftermarket stereos) unless a dealer service center installs it themself. (often the dealer subs these things out; for example when you add non-factory leather,"goodtime type van" conversions, etc. but the warrenty still ties back to dealership).

Sometimes you will find it is an impossible retro-engineering situation very cost prohibitive because a complete whole-car wiring harness would have to be installed to add capiblity for something new. Or. a new (whats that round thingy Posted Image with track grooves for belts?- has to be added for a xtra track for compressor belt) In many situations, - it can be just extension smaller tie-in harness, or a kit (all parts needed)which can be ordered.
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#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Steve Ridges

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Posted March 24 2006 - 08:13 AM

I can see where adding an aftermaret a/c system could cause problems with warranty but if you take it to another Mazda dealer and have them install the factory a/c system you should have a full factory warranty on everything. My sister did this with a Hyundai Accent a couple of years ago. If I recall, the cost was right around $1000 to add a/c.

#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Colin Dunn

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Posted March 24 2006 - 11:07 AM

Looks like I need to call a few places around town (or a dealer out of town) to see if they think it's possible to add after-market air.

The dealer said if they could add air they would, and sell at full price, rather than pushing these A/C-less trucks at a discount. But then again, why would a dealer in TX even accept stock from a manufacturer that won't sell in the local market? That's why I think they were playing a bait-and-switch game to get me to pay $3K more for a $750 option.

As for the truck being a clone of a Ford Ranger: I knew that from a little Web searching. I didn't find any consensus on whether it is a reliable or unreliable truck. I know that it is a small and low-powered truck, so it wouldn't surprise me if hard-core truck enthusiasts think it's not such a great product.

I wasn't looking for a V8-powered behemoth to pull boats or trailers around, but rather a small and fuel-efficient truck that can bring stuff home from stores on occasion.
Colin Dunn

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Henry Gale

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Posted March 24 2006 - 11:12 AM

Colin,
I friend of mine had A/C added to a small truck in Central Texas a few years ago so I asked him about the job.....

"Wow, I had to consult the wayback machine for that one. It was a GMC S-15, and [local mechanic] did the job. When he was done it was essentially a factory-like job -- added the compressor under the hood, put a new control panel in the dash, new belt to accommodate the new compressor. It worked as long as I had it, which I'd guess was 5 years or more, probably ran for 100,000 miles. No problems, I think it cost me about a grand."

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But there ain't nothin sweeter 
Than riden' the rails."
-Tom Waits-

#11 of 13 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted March 24 2006 - 02:27 PM

What's the price difference in msrp, not Kelly BB? Sounds to me like they're discounting the non-AC truck a lot more than they are the AC-equipped model. 8699 is a very lowball price and they may be using this as a loss leader.

IF the 8699 truck is on the lot, it's not bait and switch.
Bait and switch is when they advertise something they do not have on hand at a ridiculously low price then try to upsell you a more expensive model they do have. In this case they're advertising an undesirable model at a ridiculously low price to increase foot traffic at the dealership. You seem to be expecting them to give you the same discount on the desirable model as they're giving on the non-AC model, which may not be realistic. They're selling the non-AC truck at a loss, which they can afford to do because they won't be selling many of them. If they give the same discount on trucks that will sell, taking the same loss, they'll soon be out of business.
As long as the advertised truck is actually readily available for sale they're not doing anything illegal or even unethical

Chances are they will sell the non-AC truck, either to some guy who owns a business like an exterminator's or pool maintenance outfit who isn't going to be driving it himself or some fool who'll put an aftermarket AC unit on it and overheat the sucker because it doesn't have the cooling system upgrades the factory adds along with factory air-more radiator capacity and/or upgraded cooling fan, idle-up provision in the engine management system to overcome the extra drag of the compressor along with different timing curve and fuel trim for when the AC is in operation.

Bottom line, the AC truck at 3k more is still under $12k which is about as cheap as you're going to find a new Air Conditionned truck of any make or model.
Steve S.
I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   Mary M S

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Posted March 24 2006 - 05:57 PM

Re: Steve R’s & Henry’s post: Many people go these routes ….and to good success.
I searched a bit and cannot confirm if there is a radiator difference between the 2300 w /without air.
An OEM parts company (collision repair shop) could confirm this for you, because if factory air changes the size, they will need to know for a replacement order whether the Vin shows the air option. If they don’t ask for that spec…it the same radiator slapped in all of Mazda’s 4-cyl regardless of options. As for: idle-up provision in the engine management system to overcome the extra drag of the compressor along with different timing curve and fuel trim for when the AC is in operation, all these things would be checked during add-on setup by a reputable mechanic. In the smaller trucks if you plan to own it till you drive it in the ground …a VERY good investment is replacing the radiator after about 4-6 years. It’s a weak point in the whole chain as it starts to degrade especially on light 4-cyl/6-cyl’s.

I found this on the 2005 4-cyl Mazda truck:
“Date Investigation Opened: December 5, 2005 Date Investigation Closed: Open
Summary:
THE SUBJECT VEHICLES SHARE THE SAME VEHICLE PLATFORM. FORD MOTOR COMPANY HAS ISSUED A TECHNICAL SERVICE BULLETIN (TSB #05-6-19) TO ADDRESS A CONCERN OF CHAFING OF THE WIRING HARNESS FOR THE CENTER HIGH MOUNTED STOP LIGHT. MAZDA INC. HAS ISSUED SERVICE BULLETIN # 09-008/05 TO ADDRESS THIS SAME CONCERN. THE CHAFING MAY CAUSE A SHORT CIRCUIT THAT BLOWS THE FUSE SUPPLYING ELECTRICAL CURRENT TO ALL BRAKE LIGHTS. WHEN THIS HAPPENS, THE BRAKE LIGHTS MAY FAIL TO ILLUMINATE”

..you should always go here and pull up the make/current year /prior year of the model car you are thinking of purchasing. Be sure and check all 4 categories for your model: Complaints/Defect Investigations/Safety Recalls and Service Bulletins. The NHTS is a must do resource to let any car shopper know what they are likely buying into.

If Colin does his research and finds out that any of the other local dealer will sell the option to add air then it is highly unethical for this salesperson to disavow to Colin ..that it can be done,,,just to steer him to the 3K higher unit. I consider these kinds of tactics - a great waste of my time, when the INTENT is not to sell that loss leader today but leave it sitting for months as “bait” just to generate foot traffic.

My ONLY decent …car-buying experience was checking out a loss leader. It was a base 1500 Chevy PU with air. They TOLD me it was “White” over the phone…but when I got there it just looked so much like that exterminators truck Steve S. was talking about, I couldn’t stand it. (I laughed and told the salesman I’d have to work for the Electric Co to own it Posted Image. The only other option I really wanted on my ‘basic’ truck were power locks/windows. That feature was bundled in a pkg. adding 7K! As we are milling around the same-optioned trucks as my “WHITE” looked completely different in ANY other color, but (of course) in colors MSRP was between 3-4K? higher.
I turned to the salesman and said I will buy one right now if you sell me a Silver Pewter for the "White" price. He said lets go see: (I'm thinking this won't go well). SM okayed it… finance did not pull any funny business. SOLD!

…I have never had it go so smoothly.

You've been dreaming. Dreaming of Sea Captain who haunted this house.

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Steve Schaffer

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Posted March 26 2006 - 01:50 PM

I've also had good luck in the past with loss leaders or advertised specials. Usually this is at the end of the model year or shortly into the new model year with a previous year's model.

Once got a nice deal on an 01 Sentra SE in October of 2000 this way, turned out the dealership had been sold and was going to the new owner a couple of days after I bought the car, so they were clearing out inventory.

I really hate the mfg's policy of bundling options so you're forced to buy a lot of stuff you don't want in order to get one fairly basic item. The Prius includes a rear vision camera on all but the lowest option pack, so in order to get side and curtain airbags, for example, you have to get a rear vision system that shows a fisheye view of what's behind the rear bumper on the standard equipment lcd dash screen whenever you shift into reverse. The new FJ Cruiser we got at the dealership where I work bundled cruise control with a Sonar rear obstruction warning system. The latter may be a necessity on this beast as outward vision is severely impaired in almost every direction--pretty dumb on a vehicle with offroad pretensions.
Steve S.
I prefer not to push the subwoofers until they're properly run in.