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Old 02-14-2006, 09:36 AM   #1
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AC Wiring for 1964 Trade Wind

well, i pulled the old (non-working, leaking, and just butt-ugly) air conditioner out of our '64 trade wind this weekend. it was the original one to the trailer, that only has 2 holes to the outside, with half of the unit on the roof, and half of the unit in the trailer. my plan is to get a newer low-profile unit and install it in the vent just ahead of the original location. this will require drilling through one rib between the old AC and the middle vent.

our trailer had the nice tan vinyl "padded cell" roof, that i am replacing with new stuff, so once that's done, there will be no popping of interior rivets to get at the wires.

now the problem: the AC wires running to the old location are obviously not long enough, and since i know better than to make a junction box in the wall that i'll never be able to get to again (after the padded material is installed). therefore, i feel like i should run all new wires. my trailer has (2) 20 Amp circuits, and (1) 30 Amp circuit breaker in the rear. i assumed that the 30 was for the AC, but would REALLY benefit from a wiring diagram to see how (and where!) all these wires were originally run.

now for the million dollar question: should i plan on just cutting the wires that run through the wall on both ends, and run a new line from the rear to the AC location? OR, should i try to connect new wire to one end of the wire, and pull it through (assuming that's even a possibility). does anyone have experience with this?

i am in the middle of a complete restoration on our 18 footer. this tradewind is going to be our "camping camper"... NOT our project... not yet, anyway! so, a good, solid, and done right solution is what i'm looking for... preferably WITHOUT having to remove the cabinets. spring's right around the corner!

advice always appreciated! thanks!!

jordan
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:51 AM   #2
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Jordan,

I would recommend that you not try to pull new wire. The picture below illustrates why. This is the original 1959 wiring.

As for the wiring diagram, you will probably find that the 30a breaker is the 'main' breaker that feeds (backwards) from the power inlet cord, and the two 20 amp breakers are the two circuits that run to the A/C and 120v outlets.
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:00 AM   #3
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I second the recommendation, don't try to use the old one as a pull string, too many corners and bind points.

Since you will be cutting a 14X14 hole in the roof, go ahead and drill a hole in the rib that runs from front to back, and a corresponding hole in ceiling inside the roof locker next to the AC. Then you can run the wire in the back of the roof locker and to the power panel. I would disconnect and cut off the old wires so a future owner does not try to reuse them.
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
Jordan,

I would recommend that you not try to pull new wire. The picture below illustrates why. This is the original 1959 wiring.

As for the wiring diagram, you will probably find that the 30a breaker is the 'main' breaker that feeds (backwards) from the power inlet cord, and the two 20 amp breakers are the two circuits that run to the A/C and 120v outlets.

wow! so i guess i could put wirenuts in the wall, huh? i guess i could solder it and shrink wrap the ends to prevent future shorts.

that makes sense on the 30 amp breaker. we hooked up a continuity tester to the wire and an outlet. the 30 amp breaker had no effect, but the 20's did.

my friend's overlander has an aftermarket AC installed, and the power was fed off the outlet above the fridge. i'll try running it through the top rib first, but i guess piggybacking off a nearby outlet would be an acceptable second alternative, wouldn't you think?

jp
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewkid64
I second the recommendation, don't try to use the old one as a pull string, too many corners and bind points.

Since you will be cutting a 14X14 hole in the roof, go ahead and drill a hole in the rib that runs from front to back, and a corresponding hole in ceiling inside the roof locker next to the AC. Then you can run the wire in the back of the roof locker and to the power panel. I would disconnect and cut off the old wires so a future owner does not try to reuse them.

i'm not actually cutting any holes in the roof. my Trade Wind has 3 vents, in addition to the original AC mounting position. the middle vent is approx 2 feet ahead of the original AC location.

the options are just connnect the additional 2 +/- feet to the existing wire, or run new inside the cabinets. i think inside the cabinets would probably be an over-all safer option, as i am worried about the internal wiring in the walls, since it's 40 years old....

... however, what a nightmare to redo one day, should i ever redo the cabinets...

i guess i should plan on using some grommets in teh aluminum ribs as well, to prevent short circuits from road vibrations.

jp
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Old 02-14-2006, 10:16 AM   #6
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I think piggybacking would be ok. In fact, I believe some trailers were built with a selector switch so that you could power either the A/C, or the microwave, but not both at the same time.

I don't know what kind of switch was used.
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Old 02-14-2006, 03:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
I think piggybacking would be ok. In fact, I believe some trailers were built with a selector switch so that you could power either the A/C, or the microwave, but not both at the same time.

I don't know what kind of switch was used.
i think piggy backing would be a lot easier to do, so i wouldn't have to drill through the rib, and i have an outlet almost directly underneath the air conditioner location now. that's a little cleaner than running a line all the way back to the rear of the trailer. i should probably disconnect the original run from the source, and call it a day. we're not planning on a microwave, and the only other 110v necessity would be a blender for margaritas! of course, ask the misses and she'll say impractical junk like hair dryers, straighteners... etc....

another margarita, please! extra lime!

jp
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Old 02-14-2006, 03:33 PM   #8
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The only issue that I see with installing the AC in place of the vent is that on each Airstream there is a "right" place to install the AC. Moving it forward will effect the tongue weight, are you close to the max there, or is there some room to work with? Besides you will likely miss that vent when you are bondocking
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:00 PM   #9
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i think i'll be ok, i'm only moving the AC forward 18 inches. the trailer has 3 vents, so i should be ok there, too. when i get to that point with our 18 footer, though... i'll need to think of something. it's only got one vent right now. something tells me the trade wind might be making a vent donation to the 18 footer... what are big brothers for?

jp
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Old 02-14-2006, 04:59 PM   #10
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Lucky Guy

Hey JP,
I have the same year and model and just re-did the electrical. But I'd sure would have liked the middle vent instead of an AC unit in it's place. I think I'm missing something here, why move the AC unit? It looks nicely placed over the axil. Can't you put the new one where the old one was?

Also I'd be happy to share the dc and ac circuits as they are configured on my unit with you if you'd like to PM me for the info.

Ed
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Old 02-15-2006, 12:38 PM   #11
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the new AC units all fit in the 14X14 hole, and i wasn't too keen on cutting a 4th hole in the roof... that, and the nice vinyl ceiling looks so much better without an AC unit breaking the pattern. ha!

does your unit have the front skylight, or just the 14X14 vent?

jp
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Old 02-16-2006, 12:12 AM   #12
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Huh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by A-Merry-Can
the new AC units all fit in the 14X14 hole, and i wasn't too keen on cutting a 4th hole in the roof... that, and the nice vinyl ceiling looks so much better without an AC unit breaking the pattern. ha!

does your unit have the front skylight, or just the 14X14 vent?

jp
I thought you were going to replace the existing AC unit. I still don't get why you can't put the new one where the existing one is? Or are you eliminating the AC all together?

Yes, I've got the 14 x 26 opaque "skylight" vent in the front. Needs a new cover.
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Old 02-17-2006, 07:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wardinbb
I thought you were going to replace the existing AC unit. I still don't get why you can't put the new one where the existing one is? Or are you eliminating the AC all together?
the original AC unit in the trailer was rivetted to the roof, with the drip pan inside the trailer. the inside and outside unit were connected through 2 small holes, one for power and coolant, and one for a motor shaft. if i went ahead and put the new unit there, i'd have to cut out a 14X14 square, and box it in... not a tremendous job, i know, but since the trailer already had 3 vents, i'd just assume use the middle one. plus, the AC unit will be in teh main cabin, and not in the sleeping section. i figure when we camp with infants, they may want to go to bed early, and we'll pull the door shut. this'll keep the ac in teh main area.

my trailer had the large skylight vent in the front, but the PO patched it up and replaced it with a 14X14... at some point, i might put that back as it should be as well.

jp
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Old 02-17-2006, 08:10 AM   #14
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JP ~

I put a newer AC on my Trade Wind in the center 14 x 14 vent opening. My trailer never had an AC but did have an unused 30 amp breaker. I ran a feed wire up inside the streetside wardrobe closet and over into the cabinet above the galley in order to miss a rib. After removing the trim around the vent opening, I drilled a hole inside this galley cabiney and fished the feed wire through with the aid of a coat hanger fed through from the top. Definately use a grommet on the aluminum. Allow extra wire, there is plenty of room between the interior and exterior skins for an extra 12" or so. I allowed extra in case I ever need to change AC units and need the extra length of wire. Whole operation took about an hour. Piece of cake!!

Brad
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