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Old 06-11-2004, 09:42 AM   #1
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Dash Air Conditioner-Not Cool

I posted a private message and 87MH suggested it should be posted here, not as a private message. Below is the communication to date. I will post my A/S Id number, also per suggestion, as soon as I can find it. Thanks for any and all help.
Rick

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Originally Posted by 87MH
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwteale
... I bought the a/s manual from Sec Services but apparently the p 30 chassis manual is where the info is for the dash a/c.

Do you know the location of the filler points or know someone who does??
Thanks in advance
Rick
Welcome to the Forums, Rick.

First - you should really post a question like this in the MH section of the Forums. - For two reasons -
1.) If you are having problems, it is likely that others will also.
2.) You will be able to get a response from bunches of people, not just me.

Having said that, here is what I know about it right now.

The AS manual is woefully inadequate, and so is the Chevy MH service manual. Ther are gaps between the two that you could drive your MH between.

Check your VIN number. Your '82 may well be built on an '81 chassis - the factory burchased bunches of the chassis at a time from Chevy, and just pulled them from the storage yard as they needed them. There may or may not be significant differences between the various years.

My AC has already been changed to R134 - if yours has not been, it will need to be. My low pressure fill in on the compresser, which is a real bugger to get to - the entire pully and belt section of the 345 is inaccessible.

Any place the chassis interacts with the living area (AC, lights, wiring, controls) it is a no man's land. No documentation, and PLENTY of variances amongst the Motor Homes I have inspected.

Also, let's face it, todays mechanics plain don't want to work on 20 plus year old vehicles.

You will probably find that there are a lot of deficiencies the PO ignored. Be prepared to continue to ignore them, do them yourself, or spend a BUNCH of money to pay someone else to fix them (ie - the AC).

I have several years of the Chevy Service Manual, and some of the info in each year's publication is relevant to the '87.

Please post your Airstream ID number (not the VIN) on the MH Serial Number thread.

Hope to hear from you soon!
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Old 06-11-2004, 10:16 AM   #2
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Couple of questions:

Did the air work and now it is not working?

Do you hear the AC clutch engage at all when you call for AC?

There is a common failure point on the AC systems that were used in may of our Motorhomes. The system was a modular one in many cases with a quick disconnect fittings at the compressor for the hoses. These fittings will leak at some point and the hoses will need to be replaced with custom ones. If the system is still pressurized (was working but now it is not) then all you would need is hoses, a VAC down and more freon.

I have had most of my AC replaced and it works well now, but it was a budget killing experience.
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Old 06-11-2004, 01:32 PM   #3
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Brett
The fan was blowing air but it was never cool. I just bought the coach and am working thru the problems one by one. When the a/c is on the clutch makes lots of noise. Because of the age of the coach I am thinking about replacing every thing and just start fresh. You said you had done a make over of yours. Should I just take this to the Chevy place and let them do it, or maybe to an a/c place. I would like to get something durable but know nothing about buying this type of equipt. Can I rebuild what I have or is there another alternative???
Rick
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Old 06-11-2004, 06:34 PM   #4
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Rick,

I would first take it to a trusted AC shop. If the compressor is making noise when you try for cold air that is good, maybe. The compressor will attempt to come on only if there is sufficient pressure in the system for it to engage. It could be as simple as need ing a charge, but I would not get my hopes up.

The system as a whole can be replaced, but it will not be cheap and you will need to find someone willing to do it.

The interior blower and controls are likely fine. You may need a compressor $300.00 Plus, a dryer $60-80 and expansion valve $$?? don't remember, and hoses (custom). The condensor ( by the radiator) is likley fine too, no need to replace something that is working.

The compressor is not available new, best thing going is a NAPA rebuilt with a 1 year warranty. The other items will need to be replaced to place the warranty in effect.

At a non dealer shop you need to budget a minimum of $750.00 for the work. Have them change you over to the new freon, R134. It works fine, and it will save you $$ ($5 per can vs $45 per can) in the long run since it is a less expensive refrigerant should the system need to be worked on again (it will ).

The issue that is going to cause the most trouble is finding a shop willing to work on it. As Dennis mentioned the access is less than stellar .
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Old 06-12-2004, 08:28 AM   #5
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just rehabed my dash ac. sorenson compressor was $245.00 and new bracket was $150, repair to condenser was $35, dryer $18.00. freon 134 with pag oil mix was
$35 plus $5 for a can of 134 freon.
245+150+35+18+5 for a total of $453.
labor would have been another 250 to 500 . not cheap to work on dash ac
make sure your heater is turned off. if it is on you will never feel the ac when the motor gets up to normal temp.
if the clutch is not engaging check the lead to verify that you have 12 volts going to the clutch. if not look at the wires under the temp control are pluged in.
no 12 volts find 12v and plug it in and see if clutch comes on if so you have eliminated a lot of the system.
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Old 06-14-2004, 11:47 AM   #6
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Al/Sue?Brett
Thanks for the info. I did as suggested by Brett, I took the unit to the local shop. They verified that the high and low port pressures we equal which signified the need for a new compressor. I was told to get the evaporator and the switch/valve???? while I was shopping. Al/Sue, you mentioned a dryer and condensor, do I need those too?
I am a pretty good mechanic and can do the replacement work myself, if I know what to replace. Should I just replace everything that is connect either first or secondary to the compressor? Is the Sorenson pretty much "bulletproof"?
All I will need after the installation is the system evac and refill with 134?
Thanks in advance.
Rick
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Old 06-14-2004, 12:13 PM   #7
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what do you need??
a "compressor" if you buy a new compressor you do not have warranty coverage unless the dryer is replaced.
if you cant find a parts source to buy a compressor a Sorenson compressor cost retail $645. and that is the compressor that airstream used in most classic motor homes. you need to verify the brand ac compressor you have before buying (post a picture), a owner in Nashville had a gm a6 in his unit. they are half the price of Sorenson's. the other items that the repair shop noted i cant comment .the condenser is not normally replaced in a rehab. mine was damaged. and i had it repaired. when you replace the compressor verify if it has oil, if so what oil ?? oil is spefic for the different type freon. your unit had r-12 and when you change it over, if sorenson you must use pag oil . freon 134 and pag oil mix (2 oz) ,is available in the same can x3 from autozone. and others . do not use ester oil. that is what walmart has on the shelf. i had help from a friend who is a busy person he runs a ac shop. so I'm not an expert by no stretch of the grey cells.
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Old 06-14-2004, 12:17 PM   #8
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Okay. I will crawl under tonite after I get home from work and check everything out. Your info much appreciated.
Rick
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Old 06-14-2004, 12:29 PM   #9
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i don't think the shop check was all that good. all they verified was that you don't have any freon . not necessarily that you have a bad compressor. if the clutch kicks in .
if it was me i would put a 134 adapter on the low side and put three cans of 134 in the system. the front of the ac has a wire coming out of it and it is pluged into another wire if the clutch doesnt engage put a 12 volt wire to it . if it still doesnt engage then you do have a problem.
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Old 06-14-2004, 12:45 PM   #10
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The evaporator is in the heater box and probably going to be very hard to find, I know some member have had fun finding heater cores. How did they determine it was bad? If you are going to have to start from scratch Sanden compressors are about $250, use as large a parallel flow condensor as you can fit in front of the radiator, new receiver/dryer. Hoses can be made locally, doubtless it will be 134 and should be barrier hose.

Check out http://www.acsource.com/.

John
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Old 06-16-2004, 10:12 PM   #11
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As I continue to run this problem down and based on some of the info you folks have provided I had an interesting conversation with a Land Rover/SAAb mechanic who has quite a bit of a/c experience. His statement was that the compressor could really be any compressor as long as the bracket fit the engine and compressor and the belt lined up with the pulley. He said that the volume of freon in the compressor was actually minimal and to shop around and get the best price regardless of maker. Then make a bracket, match the condensor and have custome hoses made. The only warning he had was to write everything down so that service could be performed and info can be used in the future.
Basically, sounds reasonable to me, any disagreement?
As always
Thanks for the help
Rick
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Old 06-16-2004, 10:18 PM   #12
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IMHO Parts is parts

The issue is will you save enough on an "odd" compressor to justify making the bracket system to mount it? Or is this a way to get a newer high efficiency compressor mounted so you are not on a donor list next time?
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Old 06-16-2004, 10:31 PM   #13
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I'm reading this post with great interest as I'm missing my condensor. I have everything else but I'm sure it will be an archeaology project putting the dash air back together.

Please keep up the posts and your final solution.
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Old 06-16-2004, 10:31 PM   #14
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I don't like to do things twice or often. I want a "bulletproof" solution so I can get on to the next problem. Although money is not a real issue, I happen to be independently poor, I would like to get something good for a good price. I can fabricate any bracket that I need but I really don't know about a/c, in fact without a definition of the pieces in front of me, technically, the whole a/c thing just doesn't connect.
I have a great deal of faith in the forum, I am a member of several others, different venues. My current passion is the AS, I've wanted one for years and now have one. Many of the topics here generally cover gasoline engines, mine is diesel, but none the less I learn something every time I sign on.
Rick
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