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Old 05-17-2015, 10:08 AM   #1
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Getting ready for a new AC install

OK, so I've decided to go ahead and replace my front AC unit. The ole Penguin Duo-Therm unit has become less then reliable. I ordered a new Dometic Brisk II 15,000 BTU unit as a replacement. Total shipped to my house was $629 which included the top unit and the inside control panel.

Any tips on doing the replacement? I figure the hardest part will be getting the new unit on the roof of my 92 36' Land yacht. I have a 30' ladder that I'll lean against the roof top and slide the entire box up the ladder unless anyone else has other ideas. I'll be doing the replacement alone so other helping hands will not be an option. The wife can help some but she's definitely not going up on the roof. She really hates ladders for that mater.
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:40 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by 92landyacht View Post
OK, so I've decided to go ahead and replace my front AC unit. The ole Penguin Duo-Therm unit has become less then reliable. I ordered a new Dometic Brisk II 15,000 BTU unit as a replacement. Total shipped to my house was $629 which included the top unit and the inside control panel.

Any tips on doing the replacement? I figure the hardest part will be getting the new unit on the roof of my 92 36' Land yacht. I have a 30' ladder that I'll lean against the roof top and slide the entire box up the ladder unless anyone else has other ideas. I'll be doing the replacement alone so other helping hands will not be an option. The wife can help some but she's definitely not going up on the roof. She really hates ladders for that mater.
I use a similar method of sliding the entire box up a ladder, and I install 20-30 A/C units a year.

Just be very sure that the bottom of your ladder is secure, as it will want to lift as you pull up on the box and come crashing inward toward the coach wall. Also, place padding on the inner ladder rails where they touch the sidewall. Other than that, I hope your arms and shoulders are in great shape!
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:51 AM   #3
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Those Guerrilla ladders are great for working on Airstreams...you can bend the top over and they have a nice wide base. I did mine with some help from my son, no problems.

I went with the low profile Dometic Penguin, and mr friend went with the Brisk. Every time he sees mine he says...man, mine looks ugly, wish I had gone Penguin!
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Old 05-17-2015, 11:54 AM   #4
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Did some research and decided on the Brisk Air II for a few of reasons.

First off: the Brisk is a bit less expensive compared to the Penguin by several hundred dollars.

Second: I've heard of some issues recently with more noise and vibration with strong harmonics coming from the newer Penguin II units v/s the Brisk Air II. Something to do with the additional stress that the new "Green" refrigerant puts on the unit. Changes include (plastic inner housing, different type compressor, different type refrigerant 410 vs 134a) The Brisk Air II was designed for this as the Penguin was more or less retrofitted for it.

Third: The weight difference. Although not drastic, it does reduce about 25lbs on the roof.

I went with the 15,000 BTU to help with the larger front cabin area. I don't believe that a 15,000 BTU Penguin unit was available in 1992 so the Penguin was only 13, 500 BTUs at the time.

I do wish the Brisk was lower profile, but I can live with that since my MH isn't what I'd call pristine. Just needed a good dependable unit for summer months.

The old Penguin kept freezing up or showing under power when run for long periods of time. Needed something that could run for days on end without problems. I've verified the power feed and it was always above 116V when the "Low Power" light came on. Also had issues with the auto fan speed control messing up and the heating element never would come on even though the element checked out OK.

The last issue was with parts. As I was looking at doing some repairs on my Penguin I found that some key components like the main board were no longer available and those that still carried them were pricing them quite high. The inside plastics were looking a little dingy as well.

Figured the new Brisk II would have a long time of parts availability and a two year warranty to boot.

Any other gotchyas in the installation process? Anything I should be getting in advance? If everything looks like it should I figure it'll take about an hour to an hour and a half to remove and install. Already have the inside control disconnected.

My plan is to remove the top unit intact so I can use it as a spare for the back unit. Maybe sell it to someone needing a replacement on Craig's List.
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Old 05-17-2015, 02:37 PM   #5
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I plan on renting scaffold from HD when I do mine, a few dollars insurance that I don't drop it. A couple boards over from the platform to the roof to slide the ac over.
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:25 PM   #6
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Out of curiosity, (hope you don't mind the side-track) anyone know what units Airstream is currently using on new models?
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:54 PM   #7
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Second: I've heard of some issues recently with more noise and vibration with strong harmonics coming from the newer Penguin II units v/s the Brisk Air II. Something to do with the additional stress that the new "Green" refrigerant puts on the unit. Changes include (plastic inner housing, different type compressor, different type refrigerant 410 vs 134a) The Brisk Air II was designed for this as the Penguin was more or less retrofitted for it.
This is true. I cannot find the post on RV forum but a gentleman posted all sorts of details on the Penguin versus the newer design taller Brisk. This is where I got the info about the Penguin units using solid grommets instead of the older soft grommets. Apparently the sound travels through making them louder 2010 and newer I believe. It was originally part of the retrofit for the new type compressor for meeting the new refrigerant rules from EPA. That said, I do believe the penguins look better although in my case I'm not sure the sleek look matters as I got an ultra breeze fan vent cover.
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Old 05-18-2015, 11:34 AM   #8
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Are you getting the AC with drip cups or using the old drain pan?
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Old 05-18-2015, 12:12 PM   #9
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I replaced one years ago on a MH by backing it underneath a friends tall porch and climbing down to the roof.
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:55 PM   #10
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I just had a new Dometic Penquin 1500 installed in my 94 Excella that replaced the original unit... but... as I am 65 years old... I just let the AS dealer there in Mesa AZ do it. They were not fast, but the cost of the unit and labor was reasonable and the replacement installation looks really good and pumps out the cold air just fine. My older AS only has one AC unit... which would not be enough here in the high heat of an Arizona climate which is why I seek out higher elevations or coastlines during the summer to beat the Arizona heat...
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Old 05-18-2015, 04:05 PM   #11
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Advice

Please do not take Lewster's statement lightly. This is not a push it up lightly with one hand type operation. I have done this and am in pretty decent condition - still do house construction- and it is a good workout, taking one up and the other down.
I suggest taking the old one off first. That way, you will know what tools exactly you will need for the installation, how the old one is sealed, and if you get too tired in the process then you wont have two up there having a dance with each other.
When you start your install take everything up before you start the event to save multiple up and down trips.
Enjoy your satisfaction of a job well done when finished.
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Old 05-18-2015, 04:13 PM   #12
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I just had a new Dometic Penquin 1500 installed in my 94 Excella that replaced the original unit... but... as I am 65 years old... I just let the AS dealer there in Mesa AZ do it. They were not fast, but the cost of the unit and labor was reasonable and the replacement installation looks really good and pumps out the cold air just fine. My older AS only has one AC unit... which would not be enough here in the high heat of an Arizona climate which is why I seek out higher elevations or coastlines during the summer to beat the Arizona heat...
SKP... have you had other work done by DesertAutoplex also? What is your opinion of their shop and their work?
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Old 05-18-2015, 04:34 PM   #13
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Are you getting the AC with drip cups or using the old drain pan?
New unit arrived today!

Not sure mine even had a drip pan. The condensation water just seemed to run off the roof. No mention of the need for a drip pan with the new unit. Says it has an 3" deep drain pan as one of the "features".
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Old 05-18-2015, 04:41 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by steelbird312 View Post
Please do not take Lewster's statement lightly. This is not a push it up lightly with one hand type operation. I have done this and am in pretty decent condition - still do house construction- and it is a good workout, taking one up and the other down.
I suggest taking the old one off first. That way, you will know what tools exactly you will need for the installation, how the old one is sealed, and if you get too tired in the process then you wont have two up there having a dance with each other.
When you start your install take everything up before you start the event to save multiple up and down trips.
Enjoy your satisfaction of a job well done when finished.
I was originally thinking of leaving the old unit up top till the new one was installed and running. That way if, for some reason, I have to reinstall the old one to seal the opening back up(new one not working) I didn't have to try to haul the old one back up. I may rethink this.

Looks like Wed or Thurs is the install day. Just depends on the weather forecast. I'll try to take pictures as I go.
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