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Old 02-05-2003, 09:05 PM   #1
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Question A/C Install for 1955 Overlander

First time poster

I'm the proud owner of a 1955 Overlander. We live in NC so summer camping has proven quite steamy. Last summer I made the purchase of a Duo-Therm - Low Profile AC Unit. The days flew by and the AC unit still sits. I'm looking for pointers for my installation. I have a local person I know in my area that installs AC units on newer RV's yet prior to digging into this I want to make sure I do it right.
My plan is to install the unit over the kitchen area of the Overlander. I'm betting there is someone on here that can give me all sorts of advice.
Will I need to add support to the roof?
Any advice on wiring?
Thanks in advance for your help.

Tim
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Old 02-05-2003, 09:56 PM   #2
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A/C Install for 1955 Overlander

Greetings Tim!

Welcome to the froum. I agree with you that air conditioning is a near necessity during the summer anywhere humidity is a problem. While my experience is with a more recent Overlander ('64), I can offer some insight from discussions with friends who own earlier Airstreams.

1. It is my understanding that Airstream didn't begin automatically reinforcing the roof structure for Air Conditioning until 1961 or thereabouts.

2. You will need to verify that you have a 20 AMP available circuit in your electric box. I would almost suspect that you may find the need for a revision to your electrical service if that hasn't already been done. Realistically, 30 AMP incoming service seems to be the bare minimum for the installation of a new air coniditioner.

3. You will need to decide whether you want to route the condesate via one of the special Airstream drip pans that may be available for your Air Conditioner - - if not, the condesate will run along the roof and down the side of the coach - - this is the arrangment that I have with my Overlander (probably not the best on a polished coach, but I hadn't planned on polishing when the new air conditioner was installed).

4. I know that friends with a '60 Overlander found that additional bracing was required prior to the installation of an air conditioner. The electic wiring was fished between the ceiling panels into one of the roof lockers where the romex was directed to the rear electrical service panel. Their mounting location is very similar to that in my '64 coach - - almost flush with the doorway between the center bedroom and kitchen area.

I don't know if Airstream had suggested installation position for air conditioners in the '50s - - by the '60s, there were factory guidelines for air conditioner location.

Hopefully someone with a coach closer in age to yours will respond with more precise information about actual location and needed bracing.

Good luck with your project!

Kevin
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Old 02-05-2003, 10:58 PM   #3
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Interesting thread, hope others chime in because an A/C is also needed during summers where there isn't humidity too. During spring and fall as well. I have a used Coleman sitting on saw horses in the garage until I feel I'm equipped with the right info and enough gumption to get started. Putting wood floors in the house for the next few months during the weekends, then plan on getting A/C installed.

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Old 02-06-2003, 09:50 AM   #4
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Better Mouse Trap...

While camping in Indiana last July 4th (and frying our butts off in 99deg. 100% humidity heat with no A/C, I might add) one of our neighbors had a pop-up, the part to covet, was the A/C humming from the side wall of the box. This was a new model and my better half wondered if it might be feasible to rig something like that up on an older coach vs. tearing out the ceiling and everything. Install it under a bunk and vent it thru the floor? Kinda wild thinking, but any thoughts on that?
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:54 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the info thus far. Sounds like I may have quite the project ahead of me.

I was kind of thinking that reinforcing the roof may be a necessity.

I'm positive I will need to upgrade the electical as well. The AC unit requires at least a 20 amp service. I suppose 30 amp service would be the way to go for future additions to our Airstream.

Jabba, I'll keep you posted if I hear anything that might be of help to you and your '55

Thanks again,

Tim
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Old 02-06-2003, 10:57 AM   #6
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AC

TrailManor installs standard household air conditioners in the cabinets of all their smaller models. They place the ACs in a plastic drip pan and vent through the side of the trailer.

I think instake air could come from underneath the trailer, but you would probably need a vent in the trailer side such as TrailManor uses to get the hot air out. A refrigerator vent such I have in the side of my International would probably do the trick. In the TrailManors, the addition of a muffin fan to increase airflow greatly improved the cooling ability of the AC.

Thge photo shows my refrigerator vents. They are aluminum and wouldn't look out of place on an older A/S.
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:10 AM   #7
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Here's a picture of our Overlander. Sorry it's such a tiny one. More pics to come.

Tim
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Old 02-06-2003, 11:16 AM   #8
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Pahaska,

Thanks for the photo, I may start looking into that option, look where I could do it without too much rework.

Tinovations,

That looks like a nice unit! Please post some more pictures!
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:31 AM   #9
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Looking for help with AC install for 1955 Overlander

Good morning...

Thought I would check one more time to see if there is someone out there that has installed airconditioning into their vintage Airstream.

Everything is pretty much original on our '55 Overlander. The electrical is for sure what she left the factory with.

I'm prepared to update the electrical to 20 or 30 amp service as well as reinforce the ceiling panels if needed. As I have mentioned I want to do this right.

Maybe there's even someone from my area that would be willing to help out a fellow Airstreamer. We live in the Raleigh, NC area.

Looking forward to your help.

Tim
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Old 02-07-2003, 12:38 PM   #10
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Help

This forum - Dealer Resource - is not the best to get data on A/C's. I would suggest you go to interior forum and go to the refer - A/C section.

Brad - I would be willing to help you install your A/C. I live at 44th Street and Thomas. PM me.

I have replaced the A/C unit in my Overlander. The old one was a Duo-Therm. (And I still have it for parts if anyone has a need) And the new one is a Duo-Therm, low profile, used unit.

My trailer did not have A/C originally. A PO installed the old unit many years back.

My experience is outlived in the interior forum in the A/C section.

Sorry I do not know how to create a link.

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Old 02-24-2003, 12:18 AM   #11
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Greetings Tim,
Likewise, I added air to my 56 Overlander. By placing the unit over the middle vent, after removing the fan and taping off the electrical wires, I found that the seam of the outer shell and the vent were close together. There where two ribs about 20" apart and this I felt was enough strenght for the unit. This might be also true in yours. Instead of removing the rivits and lip in the opening 14 x14, I had to cut the corners and fold down enough metal approx. 1", so that it would not ride to high and this also cured any leaking that might have occurred from new rivits. It also strenghen it somewhat. After changing over the screw in type fuses to a breaker panel box with a seprate breaker for the Air...the hardest part was drilling a hole from the opening over to the overhead cabinet...and fishing the wire about 16"...1hr. later!! All wiring leds to rear through the cabinet as high as I could make it so its out of sight. Iv'e taken my unit over 4000 miles with no problems.
I did this job by myself...although a little help in putting the unit on top would have been nice but wasn't available.
Hope this helps.
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