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Old 06-17-2004, 07:22 AM   #1
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1968 17' Caravel
moorestown , New Jersey
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Question 67 caravelle a/c issues

this is my first summer in my 67 caravelle, and my solution to the heat was giong to be a 7,500 btu window unit, until I was informed by my campground that window units are not I have to figure out another way. i really didn't want to install a roof model, due to the fact that it looks huge on my 17' trailer,reluctance to cut up the roof, and the extreme cost. has anyone used the portable indoor type a/c, and or does anyone have any bright ideas?
thanks alot!

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Old 06-17-2004, 08:29 AM   #2
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A window unit also takes away from the Airstream design as well as possibly altering the weight and balance, in a negative way.

Your trailer was designed for a roof unit.


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Old 06-17-2004, 09:06 AM   #3
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I have seen installations where they used a window style unit, but built it into a wall or cabinet. The entire AC is inside the coach and venting the heat has to be engineered, but it can be done. The big drawback here is that you are going to use up a fair amount of storage or floor space in a tiny trailer.

I applaud you for not wanting to cut a hole in the roof, but that was how it was designed to be done .

If you are concerned about the overall look you could use a Polar Cub from Coleman. The trailer is small enough that the 8K BTU unit should cool it down some, just not make it a meat locker in late July.
Brett G
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1978 Argosy 28 foot Motorhome

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Old 06-17-2004, 02:53 PM   #4
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Here's my two cents worth

Just installed a “window” AC in my ‘67 Caravel. It’s a 45 lb, 5350 btu, 15 amp, 110v unit that all big box stores have some version of for under $100. The specs on the box say it will cool up to 150 sq. ft., more than adequate for my trailer. I did it for several reasons. Ignorance, cheapness, and, if given the option of taking the easy way or the hard way, for some reason I seem to be genetically programmed to take the latter, (possibly another reason I own a 35 year old Airstream instead of...well you know the story). Because the coach is only 17’ long I also felt a roof AC would detract from that clean, vintage roof line. (How’s that aesthetic statement for the designers and artists among us.) The Caravel has a perfect space for a small AC at the front. All I had to do was switch ply panels so the new one has a cut-out for the AC. I kept the original panel so if I decide to remove the unit I can always return the trailer back to original. I also made a hole for the air exchange/duct system under the goucho. The AC I bought sprays condensed moisture onto the warm exhaust coils where it evaporates, so no need to create a drain system. I went to my local ACE Hardware store for ducting and fabricated a hot air exhaust system. Hot air vents outside through the battery access door. I’m making a screened/louvered door which I’ll use to replace the original access door only when the AC is in use. Plugged it in, turned it on, hot air goes air happens inside. Seems to work fine but with current temps of 60° for daytime highs in my neighborhood it will be awhile before I find out how it cools on hot days. Future plans include wood doors inside to cover the white plastic front of the AC unit. That’s about all. For me the loss of space is not much of an issue nor is the added 45 lbs. Where I live AC isn’t needed much of the time anyway and unless the unit fails due to vibration I think it will be an ideal cooling solution. If it doesn’t work out I’ve only spent about $100. and part of a weekend. Been there and done that before. BTW special thanks to: 47WeeWind in a previous post for this alternative idea. A couple of photos follow.
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Old 06-26-2004, 09:52 AM   #5
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I was just pricing wall units at the big box stores and thinking of doing the same thing. I seem to recall someone on this forum saying they had a wall unit they just set up in the shower when they needed to use AC. I was thinking of doing that. This has only occured to me because we are going to the Rocky Mtn VAC rally in August, and continuing on to OK, and I've been told it's going to be VERY HOT. Likewise we would like to have AC available if we go to the international next year in MO. But most of the time we don't need it up here in the NW (99% of the time), so I don't want to install roof AC. I'd rather just have something I can throw in the back of the van and use if I need it. I also like the idea of only spending $100 since I'll only be needing it a few days a year.

Rick, I'll be interested in hearing how it works for you when it gets hot, and also seeing pictures of your replacement door with venting. Be sure to post pictures when you get it done.

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Old 07-01-2004, 09:21 AM   #6
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Thanks for your interest in my ac install. I would say venting is all important as you really need to get the hot air out of the trailer. My thought is that it takes some tools and experience with sheet metal to reasonably fabricate the duct work needed to vent. I'm not sure I would be up to creating a portable set up, although I'm sure it can be done. If portability is what you're looking for may I suggest you take a look at a portable ac I saw with what looks like a dryer vent hose to exhaust the hot air. I saw it at under appliances. It looks like it's more expensive than the little ones but less than a roof mount. Also, for my very unscientific testing it appears my 5000 btu unit cools about 10° per hour. Unfortunately I have only been able to test it for about an hour and a half on two different occasions, so don't know how cool I can get the trailer yet. I think parking in shade and using the ac will be a workable situation for me. Most of the time I'll be away from power anyway. It appears we have the same situation in both our locations.... the biggest problem is staying warm.
Good luck
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Old 07-01-2004, 10:50 AM   #7
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My Solution

Previous Thread: Click Here !!


I have used a portable for the past couple of years.

I made a cardboard template that replaces the screen in my back window. (Window cranked out) and the hot air is vented through there.

It has oscillating louvers that move the air left to right and fixed louvers that can shoot the air up or down. I supplement that with a clip on fan mounted toward the ceiling ... blowing downward. Condesate is drained through the shower drain.

This combination does a good job of reducing heat stratification
at the ceiling level ... but then again I dont sit at or near the ceiling ... I sit on the goucho's.

Granted I only have a 17 footer. The unit is a 9,000 BTU.
Total cost for a non profile ruining, not hauled around for 10 un-needed months of the year for not, solution ... $250.00

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Old 07-13-2004, 08:22 AM   #8
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1968 17' Caravel
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thanks everybody! we decided to go with a portable unit that can be placed anywhere, as long as there is a window to use the vent hose.we customized the back window with plexi to accomodate the hose, and it's all temporary. we only need to use the a/c in extreme heat, as the area we are in is wooded. but it really makes a difference on those humid n.j. july nights! when we are on the road, it can be moved to the tow vehicle to keep the weight down, and the caravel looks just like it should. 7,000 btu is plenty, and for 300$ we are all set. thanks again for all the ideas!

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