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Old 08-06-2004, 10:46 AM   #1
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Air Conditioner/Sprinkler Unit ??

We're back from 6K+ mile Odyssey through Canadian Rockies, Glacier Park and the EAA AirVenture Show at OShkosh, and need to make decision about original Coleman TX Air Conditioner... Trailer is '88 Excella 25, and A/C is original at age 15, with some tired sheet metal and plastic...

We thought it had small "quirk" whereby condensate leaked down onto floor as result of what P/O claimed was blocked drain tube.. An aluminum foil broiler pan on floor seemed a quick fix while we were on road. During last days at Oshkosh, we enjoyed several crashing and booming thunderstorms and rain showers, and discovered rain water also enjoyed an express ride through the unit to the floor, and we had to use broiler pan again...

I gather Dometic 15K btu unit is preferred replacement, and installation requires special roof pan/drain assembly, but also remeber thread of someone (Andy at Inland??) fabricating a special pan to adapt a Frigidaire A/C unit to trailer roof.

Question is: Could leakage of condensate and rainwater JUST be bad sealant around existing drain pan, or plugged drain line, or both? I've tried to have local dealer shop clear drain, and he indicated he'd done all he could do, and it "seemed OK"... As much as I enjoy working on trailer, I'm reluctant to do lot of climbing on top of it solo in side yard, so will probably find shop to do work, but am unsure what to ask for.. Local CampingWorld mega-shop happy to sell A/C, but shop manager reluctant to work on Airstreams due to "finicky owners" and problems getting jobs done in time allowed for std installation quotes...

John McG
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Old 08-06-2004, 10:53 AM   #2
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JBMcG

Your AC drain pan could be cracked, as well as the drain line being plugged.

Additionally, the drain hose is just slid over a fitting. If someone used air to blow it out, it could have popped off the fitting, which would allow the drain water to come into the trailer.

We modify a Carrier AC unit, so that it does not need a drain pan at all.

Andy
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Old 08-06-2004, 11:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBMcG
........ need to make decision about original Coleman TX Air Conditioner... Trailer is '88 Excella 25,

I gather Dometic 15K btu unit is preferred replacement, and installation requires special roof pan/drain assembly, but also remeber thread of someone (Andy at Inland??) fabricating a special pan to adapt a Frigidaire A/C unit to trailer roof.

Question is: Could leakage of condensate and rainwater JUST be bad sealant around existing drain pan, or plugged drain line, or both?

John:

I replaced the original (front) Coleman Mach III with a new 15K Coleman Mach last year. The new one fit in the original pan (barely), but I had to do some Southern Engineering to get it bolted down. (You can't make a penetration into the pan and expect it to be water tight.)

Another MH Forum member also had to replace his front AC, but had trouble reusing the original pan. The new 15K Coleman Mach is self-panned, with two outlets angled out the bottom toward the front of the unit. As a backup, in case my original pan did not work, I was going to attempt to route one or both of these outlets to the drain line. I did not take the next step - how to do it.......so I do not know if this is feasible or not.

On the replacement - I did the replacement myself, but had two things going for me.

1.) A pair of strong, light weight guys who lifted the old unit off and brought the new unit up, and,

2.) Enough Scaffolding left over from a previous life to facilitate access to the roof.

Once the AC unit is on the roof, it was easy enough to move around and position by myself - the unit weighs less than 100 lbs (IIRC).

I am certainly one of those "finicky owners" that the megla-mart tech refered to, and can appreciate the futility of the "slap and glue" trained techs wanting to both change the AC out in the allotted work time AND make me happy at the same time. -- It takes the time that it takes to do a good job.

Most techs are not used to working on anything less than 5 years old (barely out of warranty), and most AC work is done on SOB flat roofs - they always seem to have an excuse such as "the roof sags there and a seal is impossible -- the leak is not my problem".

Bottom line - either take the time to do it yourself, or be prepared to pay the labor cost for the time it takes to do a good job.

Just my opinion.

Good luck with the change out, whichever route you take.
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Old 08-09-2004, 11:32 PM   #4
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Closer to a decision..

OK, so it looks like we're getting closer to replacing the old A/C.. A couple of additional questions..

1. Does Carrier version with slinger system for condensate carry any risk of rain leaking through, or does original drain pan go away completely when new unit attached to roof? Is old Coleman TX cutout properly sized for Carrier? Does rain or excess end up going down sides of trailer?

2. Does Coleman Mach also have about same profile as older TX models, so hole in roof doesn't need to be "shrunk"? Any rain issues there?

3. Any thoughts from others on whether heat strips are worth it, or used so rarely that firing up propane heater is better answer, if just to keep it exercised from time to time?

John McG
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Old 08-10-2004, 06:53 AM   #5
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New Coleman Mach vs '87 Coleman Mach3

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBMcG
1. Does Carrier version.......
...Have no knowledge of Carriers'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBMcG
2. Does Coleman Mach also have about same profile as older TX models, so hole in roof doesn't need to be "shrunk"? Any rain issues there?
The new Mach is a couple of inches taller than the old unit. The roof penetration is identical, but the front hold down bolt locations are a bit different with the new unit as opposed to the orginal ('87) - therein lies the problem with utilizing the original pan. No rain issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBMcG
3. Any thoughts from others on whether heat strips are worth it,
I have heat strips in both of my overhead AC's, certainly, not much heat is thrown out, but, I would install them again (IIRC, they are about a $50 option). I find the heat strips useful for two reasons - one - in the morning the heatstrip is just enough to "take the edge" off of the chill, and two, if using the AC blower to circulate air, the heat strip will take the "perceived cooling" out of the discharge of the overhead blower.
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