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Old 08-31-2016, 03:49 PM   #1
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1963 26' Overlander
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Adding an Air Conditioner to a 1963 Overlander

I want to add a rooftop air conditioner to my 1963 Overlander, but I'm concerned about the weight. I'm planning on purchasing a low profile air conditioner like the Coleman Mach 8 and install it in the forward fan location. I understand that I will need to build a small frame between the interior and exterior skins to install the unit, but do I need to do anything else to support the weight of the entire unit?

The Mach 8 weights about 92 pounds and since the 63 Overlander didn't come with AC I wasn't sure if the structure (ribs) can hold the weight, especially when it's in tow (up and down movement). I have seen older AS with units on top, but I want to double-check before I install. I would hate to have the roof cave in.

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 10-25-2016, 12:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by kweinrich View Post
I want to add a rooftop air conditioner to my 1963 Overlander, but I'm concerned about the weight. I'm planning on purchasing a low profile air conditioner like the Coleman Mach 8 and install it in the forward fan location. I understand that I will need to build a small frame between the interior and exterior skins to install the unit, but do I need to do anything else to support the weight of the entire unit?

The Mach 8 weights about 92 pounds and since the 63 Overlander didn't come with AC I wasn't sure if the structure (ribs) can hold the weight, especially when it's in tow (up and down movement). I have seen older AS with units on top, but I want to double-check before I install. I would hate to have the roof cave in.

Thanks in advance for your input.
I'm still seeking some guidance on this, does anyone have any information that they can share?
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Old 10-25-2016, 12:41 PM   #3
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Weight won't be a problem if you add sufficient fore-aft supports between the ribs.
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Old 10-25-2016, 12:46 PM   #4
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Mark,
Thanks for the reply. When you mention the "fore-aft supports" are you referring to adding the wood or aluminum strips between the two skins that form the square hole (approx. 14.5") for the A/C unit? If that's the case do I need to secure that extra framing to the existing ribs?
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Old 10-25-2016, 01:43 PM   #5
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Yes, I would use 1 1/2" aluminum channel (available at HD or Lowes) to bridge the space between the ribs, on either side of the opening.

It's possible that the structural elements surrounding the existing opening provide enough support. I don't know because I cut a new 14 x 14 opening for my air conditioner. I didn't want to use the fan opening.

The framing around the hole needs to be strong enough to support the unit without oil canning when you tighten down the AC.
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Old 10-25-2016, 01:56 PM   #6
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Thanks again for the reply. I just want to make sure I don't collapse the roof, that would be bad. Since the inner skin is already in and attached, do I need to physically attach these additional supports to the existing rib with screws or can they just extend to the ribs without attaching them? I would of course attach the new the new supports to themselves to makeup the square opening.
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Old 10-25-2016, 02:06 PM   #7
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I would attach them. You may need to get creative by riveting a piece of angle to the ends of the channel, and then carefully driving a few screws through the angles into the ribs.

Depending on how centered the opening is between the ribs, you may need to use some electrical tape to hold the screws on the end of the screwdriver as you thread it between the skins.

Not hard if you attach the fore and aft supports between the ribs before you attach the short cross-over pieces to finish squaring up the opening.
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Old 10-25-2016, 02:07 PM   #8
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I posted some info during the rebuild of my '63

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f109...ml#post1288066
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Old 10-25-2016, 02:52 PM   #9
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Assuming you have ribs directly in front of and behind the vent opening, how far back is the next rib to the rear.
You definitely want some support for the rear of the unit.
The original install on my 79 didn't have support to the rear. Wasn't good on the roof after 30+ years.
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:01 PM   #10
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HiHoAgRV - Thanks for link... Did you have to modify or alter the A/C unit for the curved roof, interior or exterior?
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:08 PM   #11
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HiJoeSilver - That's a good point. I was so focused on the weight around the roof hole i didn't consider the weight near the back of the A/C unit. I attached a few photos that I took while it was apart. The photos are taken from the front facing the rear of the AS. I'll have to measure the distance to the next left to right rib when I get home. There is two ribs running front to back, do you think they would support the weight of the rear of the A/C unit?

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Old 10-25-2016, 03:32 PM   #12
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Karl,

I agree with the previous responders that your roof should handle the weight (I'm assuming the inner skins have been reattached - they are important in the roof strength). We recently installed a Coleman PowerSaver 13,500 BTU unit on our '68 Overlander. Our existing vents appear to have been in different locations than yours, so we had to cut a new opening. Since you live in the midwest (warm humid evenings) you may want to consider a larger cooling capacity for your 26 ft trailer. The Cub is a good unit according to "the Greatleys". They've posted here on their install, but they have a slightly smaller trailer. We picked the PowerSaver so we can run the 13.5 on our 2200 watt generator, so it's a high profile A/C (13 inches tall). If generator use is not a factor, Coleman also has low profile 13.5 and even a 15k (if I remember correctly). The weight increase is not significant.

There are some details here on our recent project, including cutting the A/C opening and installing the unit. http://www.airforums.com/forums/f394...er-155180.html I bought the wrong size aluminum support channel material, so I ended up using oak between the skins. It worked well and should outlast the AC unit. But, I agree 1.5 " aluminum is the better option.

There is also a drain cup system by Dometic that will work on the PowerSaver. I think the low profile units have a drain system option. If you didn't install a drain line (hose) and power cable for the AC while the inner skins were off, you can probably hide them in the overhead cabinets without much difficulty. (We did that, because we didn't remove the inner skins on this project.)

Good luck and keep us posted,

Roy and Marie
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Old 10-25-2016, 03:40 PM   #13
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Looking at the pictures I think you should be good to go. Looks like there's a rib about 18-24" to the rear. There will be a piece of gasket foam to go across the rear of the ac unit so it sits at same height as the gasket around the opening, if you put that near the rib it'll support the ac well. Due to the curved roof and gaskets the weight rests more along the centerline than the outer edges where the longitudinal supports are in the ceiling.

Mine had no rear support well past the rear of the ac unit, had to mfg some supports to add.
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Old 10-25-2016, 08:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
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HiHoAgRV - Thanks for link... Did you have to modify or alter the A/C unit for the curved roof, interior or exterior?

No modification required to fit the curve inside or out. I like the fact that the 15,000 with manual controls keeps the inside fan ON at all times. I hate waking up as a unit kicks on and off. On a high temp, humid, full sun day here in Mississippi it runs most of the time.

If I have the fan on low and create a lot of moisture from cooking, it will frost up. It's noticeable because the sound changes and airflow decreases. I flip it to fan-only for 2-3 minutes and it defrosts. Not particular to the Coleman, my Dometics and a pals Carrier all do the same thing. High fan has never frosted. I like the condensate pump, no worries if I park crooked and the drain line doesn't slope, it just pumps it out.
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