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Old 03-14-2004, 09:06 AM   #1
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1976 27' Overlander
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Lightbulb air conditioner

Does anyone out there know how to go about troubleshooting airconditioners? I have a 76 overlander, I know it has the orignal one in it. I bought this A/S last september,it had been parked for 17 years with no one using it and it was only used for 4500 mi. before that. I was hoping with such little use it would be something small that was causing the problem. When I turn it on the fan comes on but I don't hear the compressor and it does not get cold. I am 2 hrs away from it now but in a month I hope to start getting it ready for our first season. I can live without AC but... I hope it may just be corroded conections or something obvious, I just don't where to look,I removed the cover on top but didn't see any thing to mess with so I just closed it up. the thermostat seems to be ok, when I run it the fan kicks on and the heater will work.
Any thoughts?
Thanks Frank
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Old 03-14-2004, 09:15 AM   #2
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AC

Hey, I kinda have the same problem. I have a 75 OL with the original AC only my compressor comes on just not the fan. Maybe we could combine parts and share the AC Just kidding. Could be a bad relay or corroded connections. At least that is what I have been told on thid forum. They don't make Armstrongs anymore and parts are hard to come by. Granger sells fan motors and relays and such. If you have a charge in the system (meaning there is freon) that usually indicates that you don't have a leak. I'm gonna start working on mine soon I will let you know what I find. If I decide to scrap the unit I will probably put it up for sale for parts etc. Rob
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Old 03-14-2004, 09:41 AM   #3
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Rob,
That mite be an option My ac is also a armstrong unit and from what I gather these were real top of the line. How can I test if there is feron in it? I think thats out of my league for Fixen, I have the manuals for the unit but it dosn't tell you any easy thing to look for. I just hate to bring it to a trailer place and have them just say you need a new one without even looking at it!
Thanks, Frank
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Old 03-14-2004, 09:53 AM   #4
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Frank, Have it looked at by an AC specialist who can check the charge with the appropriate gauges. Shouldn't be to expensive. Usually around $50 for a once over. If there is a charge of freon, maybe they could charge it all the way for you. That would probably mean the problem is electrical. Maybe they could offer suggestions. Rob
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Old 03-14-2004, 10:16 AM   #5
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First make sure you have a 30 amp line running to your trailer. The compressor might not start up on a 15 amp line. Mine usually doesn't.

Just a thought.
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Old 03-14-2004, 11:04 AM   #6
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Tinman do you have a service manual?
I know that in the 74 manual there is a pretty good description of trouble shooting the Armstrong AC.
Unfortunenately I suspect that my Armstrong AC was an addition after the original purchase. So it may not be what is described in my manual.

If you do not maybe someone with a 76 manual can copy and mail or fax you that section.
Just ask.

I'll send you the 74 info if you cant find any 76.
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Old 03-14-2004, 11:58 AM   #7
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Tinman,

The Armstrong's are a different kind of system that most RV Ac's. It will be worth fixing vs. replacing. We have the OM 78 on our motorhome.

There are only a few things that can go wrong based on your description. 3
Loss of Freon. This can be checked and recharged by a residential heating/ AC guy. You will need to hunt for one willing to work on it. There should be service ports.

Bad Capacitor. If this was the case the blower motor may not start either. Rob, Pull your shroud and see if you can spin the fan. There are oil ports , your bearings may be seized, new motors are available.

Bad transformer. The Units that use a wall mounted thermostat have a step down transformer for the feed to the thermostat. The feed from the thermostat feeds a relay that energizes the compressor. Bad Transformer, no compressor. This transformer is under the shroud.

Be careful when you remove the shroud they are available as a replacement but are a bit spendy. If you are going under the shroud, oil all the oil fittings and clean out the accumulated debris. This would also be a good time to inspect the seal between the roof and the AC.
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Old 03-14-2004, 12:05 PM   #8
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Question

How do you remove the shroud (I know very carefully )? I have looked at it a couple of times but haven't quite figured it out. I have the original 1975 owners maintenance guide. Maybe I could mail it to anyone who needs it. I need the part numbers for the capacitors and relays (not the Armstrong numbers) that are cross referenced. Anyone have those? Rob
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Old 03-14-2004, 12:38 PM   #9
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Hello Airstream 75,

Is the maintenance guide you mention part of the Airstream Service Manual? or a separate piece of literature by Armstrong?
If so, how many pages and are any color? If it is seperate from the manual I am very interested in obtaining a copy. I will contact you. Thanks.
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Old 03-14-2004, 01:13 PM   #10
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Here is a picture of a shroud for a 74 Armstrong.

It was bought at Inland RV and appears it has already been painted by the new owner Chas. I think he said that it comes unpainted.

Notice the opening in the top. My 74 shroud does not have that opening..hence I assume mine is a later model.

Does your shroud have the hole in the top as in pic?
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Old 03-14-2004, 01:42 PM   #11
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shroud

No, mine does not have the top hole mine has a vent on both sides and has an opening in the rear. If you look at inlandrv mine is the 76-79 model. I PM'ed you by the way. Rob
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Old 03-14-2004, 01:56 PM   #12
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Brett
I removed the shroud last fall to have a look see,it took awhile to remove the 4 screws that held it down(rusted) but I got them out and the shroud came off ok,it does not have a opening in the top. When I ran the AC the fan went on all three speeds but I could not hear or feel the compressor. When I get Back to see the a/s (if it ever warms up here)I'll check that transformer (if I can find it)....I did not see much of anything to work on when I was up there but Ididn't know what I was looking for. I just saw the fan,compressor and the coils.
Thanks Frank
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Old 03-14-2004, 02:03 PM   #13
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Thumbs up

Hey Jaco,
That shroud looks great,even if I can't get my ac going I would like to get mine looking like that.
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Old 03-14-2004, 04:25 PM   #14
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I may be mistaken about this but I think that the replacement shrouds are fiberglass and the originals were ABS plastic. Seems like Inland Andy said something like that.

All of the shrouds he sells are listed and pictured on his Inland RV website. But I don't have his permish to post those pics here. Maybe he'll do so for us. I still hope to refurb my existing (76-79) shroud but it looks like it might crumble in my hands.

Not knowing how much life to expect from my Armstrong, I can't see spending 250 dollars for new shroud.

Mine appears to just be pookeyd to the roof. i.e. there does not seem to be any moulding or rail etc. at the roof where shroud sits down and mates to aluminum. Once I get it off I hope to find a data plate of some kind with a model number and hopefully a serial number of the AC.

Wonder if I will ever find a build date code legend to determine my year model?
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