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Old 09-09-2005, 11:53 PM   #1
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Argosy Dash Air Conditioning

I have been struggling trying to sort out the Dash AC in my 1975 Argosy 26. I have replaced the compressor (twice). Replaced the hoses also. I have worked thru all the vacuum lines and trap doors in the plenum chamber and have pretty good airflow and all doors working. It still doesn't blow cold. It starts to cool down and then warms up. I suspect I need to get inside the box that contains the evaporator and the heater element ( I do have the heater working now). Is there any easy way to get at that box? Has anyone else had this experience? Do you know of any good AC shop in the SF bay area that could help ( I have now tried several) Any and all suggestions appreciated.
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Old 09-10-2005, 06:09 AM   #2
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Wardman,
First of all...welcome to the forum. Sounds like your heater is getting hot and heating up the cold air in the box. Many of our heaters get hot even when "off" on the dash control as the flow control valve is not a bypass valve and hot water leaks past it.

There are a few solutions:

1. Disconnect it for now and see if your AC is blowing cold. You can do this by removing the heater hoses from the heater at the firewall and connecting them to each other using a repair tube.

2. Install a bypass heater control valve which doesn't just close, but rather it diverts the coolant to the return line. This method retains flow control from the heater level on the dash.

3. Install ball valves on the firewall so you have a tight mechanical shutoff for the heater. This ensures complete shutoff but you loose control of the heater from within the cabin.

Let us know how you make out.
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Old 09-10-2005, 07:43 PM   #3
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MY first reaction is to check your POA (and then) your expansion valve(s) for proper operation - good luck!
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Old 09-11-2005, 09:31 PM   #4
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I had read about the heater problem on this site and already installed a mechanical valve. Just to be sure I clamped off the heater hoses and tried again. It is not warming up as quickly now, but the AC doesn't seem to blow cold at all. I am going to check the freon to be sure that the system hasn't leaked. at this stage I am afraid I have a slow leak somewhere. In the meantime 2 questions for The Ganzman, What is POA and do you know where the expansion valve is? Thanks for your help
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Old 09-12-2005, 07:12 AM   #5
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Cooling fans

Are your cooling fans blowing on the coils?Are your Vacuum lines in tact and opening / closing the diverter door properly?

I had the same problem, my problem was cooling fans were not engaging. There is a "trinary - switch" that tells the cooling fans to engage that can be suspect. ( Ihave not been able to find a replcement).

I wired a new relay into the system, now the cooling fans blow antime the AC compressor is engaged. WORKS GREAT!
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:01 AM   #6
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Ken, I checked all the vacuum lines and doors that they operate and with the exception of the defroster door, they all seem to be working, and yes the fans are working as well. To get as much flow thru the dash vents as possible I blocked off the defroster outlets from the air plenum for the time being. I worry about the amount of air that is running over the evaporator though, since the airflow out the vents is fairly weak ( at least compared to a typical car dash ac). But again, not sure how to get into the box where the evaporator lives to check for blockage.
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:36 AM   #7
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Mechanical Door actuator

On my unit, there is a ( I forget the name of it the cable)"choke" type steel cable that opens and closes a valve that is inside of the "box". Is your cable intact and is it working"

I think I have a picture but it is not the best of pictures. You can see the actuator the "cable" attaches to.
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Old 09-13-2005, 07:56 AM   #8
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It sounds like you have the same early Argosy A/C box that's in my '74. Does it have two blowers mounted on the top?

Mine was a disaster. These things weren't built too well to begin with, and, over time, most of the internal parts had stopped working. The previous owner had bypassed the blowers with an external one and had done some serious jury rigging.

I had to disassemble my A/C box, free up several air flap hinges, and replace all of the vacuum motors. Unfortunately, you'll likely never find the original style motors, so you may have to get creative like I did and adapt some other vacuum motors. If it comes to that, I'll be glad to give you the part numbers of the motors I found. They're all Motorcraft parts, since the original control system was Ford; the dash controls in mine are from a Mustang!

The early units didn't use a POA valve. The expansion valve is on the side of the A/C box right where the hoses attach. If you do have to remove the box, it comes out through the bottom once you've undone hoses and a handful of screws. Get help - it's pretty heavy and awkward to handle. I'd suggest that you get your heater core checked while this jewel is out, too!

Otherwise, make sure that you don't have any major air leaks around the A/C distribution duct. On mine, that's an ABS piece that screws onto the dash. They tend to warp over time, and a fairly small crack can lose you lots of cool air.

The good news is that, once I redid everything, my dash air works really well. It's not as cold as a new car because the evaporator is so big, but it moves a huge quantity of pretty cool air. It's more than adequate for hot weather travel.

Bob
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Old 09-18-2005, 09:42 AM   #9
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Updating Argosy Dash Air?

As a former street rodder, it occurs to me after reading of all the problems associated with the Argosy dash A/C, to just remove the entire assembly and start from scratch with a good aftermarket heat & A/C unit, perhaps from a vendor like "Vintage Air". From some of the $ amounts being spent to try and "band-aid" this system, one could buy an entire brand new system which would likely be more compact and efficient. Has anyone considered this option? The dash A/C on my '77 Argosy 20' is inoperative too; when I get 'round to it, I plan on exploring this possibility. . .
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Old 10-07-2005, 12:53 AM   #10
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Thanks for the input guys, I have been away on business travel for some time and have not been able to check back in my Argosy to see if it had any of the characteristics you mentioned. The AC does have the fans at the top of the unit. There are two and the motors protrude into the passengers compartment just in front of the passenger below the dash. Both fans seem to be working and blowing air thru the dash vents. I haven't found any cable that operates any valve except the one in the hot water system.
I have done some more experimentation and find that all the system will do now is blow warm air, in virtually any setting. I think there must be water trickling in to the heater core regardless of the heater valve setting. My next step is to disconnect the heater core lines and see if I can get ambient temp air to blow thru the vents. If so I will recheck the charge in the AC to see where it is. If I find it either has freon or I can find the leak and recharge it, then I will try to get the dash air working. If after the next round of trying I am still stymied, I may go the classic air route, which is what my AC shop recommened in the first place. Thanks for all the advice.
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Old 10-07-2005, 10:45 AM   #11
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Cool

Did you replace the receiver/ dryer ? There could be a
restriction in the system as well is it R-134a or R-12 it should have been converted to R134a refridgerant and it
won't be as good a R12 but it's better than nothing.

My 79 excella does ok on dash air but I never get cold
just don't sweat.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcneon View Post
It sounds like you have the same early Argosy A/C box that's in my '74. Does it have two blowers mounted on the top?

Mine was a disaster. These things weren't built too well to begin with, and, over time, most of the internal parts had stopped working. The previous owner had bypassed the blowers with an external one and had done some serious jury rigging.

I had to disassemble my A/C box, free up several air flap hinges, and replace all of the vacuum motors. Unfortunately, you'll likely never find the original style motors, so you may have to get creative like I did and adapt some other vacuum motors. If it comes to that, I'll be glad to give you the part numbers of the motors I found. They're all Motorcraft parts, since the original control system was Ford; the dash controls in mine are from a Mustang!
Bob, I know this is an old thread but I had been searching in vain for a replacement heater/ac dash control unit but had been searching for Chevy components. After reading your post I checked for Ford controls and there it was! Airstream used a 71-73 Mustang heater/ac control on the 74 Argosy motorhomes. I found one on ebay that solves my problem.

Thanks for taking the time to post this information. If you are still on the forum and read this I would like to know what vacuum motors you used as mine are all frozen in place.

Thanks again!

Brad
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:01 PM   #13
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Thanks for re-opening this, Brad. I never would have thought of it if I weren't killing time and you hadn't brought this thread back up so that it appears on the new threads list. But, having been around some 70's Fords myself and thinking of what the heater controls look like on my '74 Argosy moho, it makes sense. I guess Airstream went for whatever they could easily get their hands on when putting these things together. Although, right now it seems my control unit is the least of my worries. All things seem to slide and move as they should on mine. My issue is that the compressor itself (on the engine) is locked-up. My solution for this was to remove the drive belt and forget about it. So far, our MO rolling down the road is either to have windows open or to run the genny and the overhead A/C unit. Although, even with the overhead A/C unit going, it still gets pretty warm up front for the driver thanks to those big windows. There's been a number of times where my wife has moved from the passenger seat back into the main living space and said, "wow, it's a lot cooler back here." I'm not super-keen on dash air anyway, so we're looking into fantastic vent fans with rain covers so that we can roll down the road with the vent fans on to get heat out.
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:58 AM   #14
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Jason,

I definitely want my dash air to work. There is nothing I hate more than sweating while I'm driving

I enjoy taking long trips but not when I'm hot and miserable and like you said that front glass does allow the cockpit to get real warm real quick.

Sometime in the next few weeks I'm going to try and hit a junk yard or two to see if I can find a suitable substitute for the vacuum actuators. Unfortunately that is just half the battle. I will still need to remove the air plenum up under the dash to clean it out and fix all of the dampers, etc. Based on how the rest of the inside of the motorhome was when I got it I just know something will have been residing there

I'm going to install a Fantastic fan one of these days but the dash air will be fixed before that happens!

Brad
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