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Old 08-16-2014, 08:53 AM   #1
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2010 16' International
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2010 Bambi - remove AC, replace with skylight

2010 Bambi / International

I'd like to remove my heavy AC unit (with Penguin heat pump underneath), and replace it with a Fantastic Fan skylight.

Any words of caution before jumping into this project? I'm hoping to find the cutout for the AC isn't larger than the fan I plan to replace it with (Fantastic wants a 14 x 14 inch cutout)

Also - how do you actually get INTO this thing? Remove the top cover, or start at the heat pump, etc...? How is it secured?
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:22 AM   #2
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Make sure you put aluminum spacing/blocking and cover In/outside with proper aluminum sheet. Rivet and seal too. You could make it fit the fan before mounting to roof.

How do u plan to run 12vdc wire?
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Old 08-16-2014, 01:19 PM   #3
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Just my opinion, but this will most likely seriously affect the value of your Airstream. Also, while you may not need air conditioning in Maine, if you travel farther south during the summer, you may soon realize that the heat pump/air conditioner is actually a necessity, not just a convenience.

This message is sent from Phoenix, Arizona, where we average over 100 days of 100+ degree weather per year, of which over 30 days exceed 110. Our 19' Bambi has two FantasticFans, and we love them. However, they are useless in this heat.
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:33 AM   #4
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Is the aluminum blocking/spacing to prevent corrosion from two dissimilar metals in contact with each other?

Regarding the value, all my mods are done in such a way that I can put things back to stock if needed.

If I were spending much time down south, I'd think rethink this one, but that's not likely. Most of the duty for this 16' will be trips to a site in southern Maine, and a few occasional local overnights elsewhere in New England.

Removing the top-mounted 100 lbs. was also influenced by the fact that the tow rig is not overly powerful and has a short wheel base.

I got everything removed; the job wasn't as bad as I feared. The hardest part was removing the silicon sealer and the adhesive between the AC unit and the roof. I put a 16 x 16 inch plexiglass sheet on top using temporary silicon adhesive. The light coming into the mid/rear section now is beautiful. The roof looks cleaner and I gained a little clearance up top.

I don't want to muck with routing 12 VDC to the area so I'll go with a manual vent window instead. Already have the fan up front.

Thanks for your comments.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:52 AM   #5
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BIG MISTAKE! But, it is yours do do with as you please.
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Old 08-17-2014, 06:45 PM   #6
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BIG MISTAKE! But, it is yours do do with as you please.
Exactly. Are you saving yours for the next guy?

With all due respect, please explain why you are so upset at my choice while I'm so pleased.
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Old 08-17-2014, 07:52 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by amm3824 View Post
2010 Bambi / International

I'd like to remove my heavy AC unit (with Penguin heat pump underneath), and replace it with a Fantastic Fan skylight.

Any words of caution before jumping into this project? I'm hoping to find the cutout for the AC isn't larger than the fan I plan to replace it with (Fantastic wants a 14 x 14 inch cutout)

Also - how do you actually get INTO this thing? Remove the top cover, or start at the heat pump, etc...? How is it secured?
Your 2010 Bambi probably has the Airstream proprietary drain pan set up, as they didn't start using the Dometic drain kit until late '11 or '12 model year. Knowing this, you will literally have to cut the pan from the roof once you remove the upper A/C unit, which is held on to the roof by 3 or 4 bolts 1/4-20 X 6" that are accessible once you remove the interior air distribution box. You will also probably find that the upper A/C unit has been double-stick taped to the top of the drain pan.

Once you remove the A/C unit, you can then proceed to cut the drain pan from the roof, as it is bonded to the top aluminum with liberal amounts of grey SikaFlex 221. There is no solvent for this, but a heat gun might help to soften it and ease it's removal. You then have to scrape the roof clean with a rigid plastic scraper to prepare it for the fan placement and installation. Revove as much of the sealant as you can mechanically and then go at it with acetone or MEK to get the residue off the roof.

The opening IS 14 X 14, so any commercially available RV roof fan (Fantastic Fan of Maxx Fan) will fit nicely. You will have the required 12VDC for the fan already at the roof opening.
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Old 08-18-2014, 06:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Your 2010 Bambi probably has the Airstream proprietary drain pan set up, as they didn't start using the Dometic drain kit until late '11 or '12 model year. Knowing this, you will literally have to cut the pan from the roof once you remove the upper A/C unit
Fortunately I didn't run into that - if that were the case it would have killed the deal, as I don't want to do anything that will be irreversible, if at all possible. The drain pan was attached to the AC unit and was not affixed to the roof, thankfully.

I cut into the gray silicon sealer and pulled it away with fingers and pliers; it was slow going as the material is spongy and slippery, but once I got hold of a good chunk, it pulled/pried out fairly easily.

I was happy to see a standard 14 x 14 opening, which I have temporarily closed with a 16 x 16 plexiglass sheet stuck to the outer surface of the roof with temporary silicon adhesive (which you supposedly peel away with ease when you're ready for the permanent fix).

I didn't see any 12 VDC wires, but there is 120 VAC. In the interest of keeping things clean and simple, I'll likely go with a manual vent, tucking the 4 foot length of 120 VAC wire (capped at ends) up inside the inside edge of the 14 x 14 cutout, and building a frame under the vent to clean up the inside and hide the AC wire.

The process of tuning this trailer to our own needs continues to be an enjoyable journey.

I appreciate your comments.
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