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Old 06-19-2009, 09:21 PM   #15
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Georgetown , Texas
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If the supply fan is not delivering the right volume of air the discharge temp could still be in the range you describe (46 to 49), and the AS would still be warm.

A dirty filter would certainly cause the supply air to be reduced, but I am sure you have already checked that, and besides the evaporator would ice up if the supply volume was severely reduced.

The condenser should generally feel hot to the touch not warm, low refrigerant is certainly a possibility.

I would call Dometic and describe the symptoms. The problem of course will be getting it to a place that has the techs to work on the unit.


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Old 06-20-2009, 04:32 AM   #16
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College Town USA , Virginia
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Kevin, One little thing that may help is to insulate the skylights above the shade. I read that you've closed the shade. I purchased some foil backed styrofoam commonly used in the construction industry as exterior sheathing on some homes. I cut pieces to fit and taped two back to back with foil duct tape, placed them in the skylight and pulled the shade over them. This helps in hot weather although I doubt it will be a final solution for you. Good luck and please keep us posted.

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Old 06-20-2009, 06:23 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by omnistream View Post
I am having the same issue with my 32 excella that has a penguin 13.5 a/c. I think I need to recharge the system.

Omnistream, I had thought the same thing. A friend who is well versed and licensed on ACs came out and read the intake and outflow temps. It was around 10-15 degrees. He removed the bottom AC cover and immediately found that the lower coils were completely clogged. We were also troubleshooting a water pan leak so we ended up removing the AC to clean the coils with the acids that he had. These cleared the gunk out such that you could actually see through the fins of the coils. It took several applications of the cleaning acid. It made a world of difference taking 17+ years of gunk off of the coils. We now have a differential of 30+ degrees. It is very cold air coming out. That said, it still isn't sufficient to cool the trailer down in the heat of a Texas summer day. I can also feel the heat through the top of my trailer.
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Old 06-23-2009, 08:06 AM   #18
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Americus , Georgia
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Originally Posted by omnistream View Post
I am having the same issue with my 32 excella that has a penguin 13.5 a/c. I think I need to recharge the system.

Please tell me where I can get instruction to recharge my duotherm penguin 13,500 btu unit. Does it have to have R-22 coolant? How do I install the valves to recharge or are there not couplings like in an automobile a/c system?
Bottom line though! (I realize I may be commiting blasphemy here) I don't think the Airstream is insulated well, PERIOD! I mean one inch of fiberglass batting has no functional R-factor. I can feel the heat just radiating through the wall! I have seriously considered trying to remove the cheap fiberglass and carefully filling the wall sections with injectable low-expansion foam. Anyone else feel the same? Have any experience in this regard? Airstream could make these things like ice chest if they chose too! I am quite disappointed in this aspect of the Airstream.

Kevin, I may be wrong but I would have to say that the temps you are experiencing are normal compared to the many Airstreams I have owned with Dometic and Coleman units they all suffered when ambient temps were above 95 deg.I also have 52 deg air from the a/c vent with interior trailer temps around 83 deg . A few years ago I looked at a brand new 30ft trailer in 100 deg temps with the a/c on and it was blowing 52 deg air with interior temps around 85 deg and so I figured that was normal for an Airstream.

Omnistream I would have to agree that the Airstreams suffer from insulation. When I contacted the factory they told me that they use a R14 fiberglass insulation but when is packed in between the walls so tightly it looses it efficiency and is actually around a R 7.

I have seen many SOB trailers parked next to me and I can hear their units compressor cycle on and off where mine would run all day in the real hot temps.

I have placed two different fans in front and back of my trailer to help circulate the air and it helps a little.
1991 Airstream Excella 1000 34ft (SOLD)
1994 Chevrolet Crew Cab dually 2WD 6.5td
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Old 06-28-2009, 09:08 AM   #19
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2008 27' International FB
Shoreacres , Texas
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I also have the 27 ft FB with the 15K unit. Last Week we were up at Inks Lake and during the hottest part of the 100 degree days, our inside got no hotter than 78-80 and we did not have any of the insulating panels up that you have. However, for some immediate relief for a full timer, I would suggest that you did what my neighbor across the street is doing. He lives full time in his 31 ft 5th wheel while he is re-building his house from Ike. He added a portable AC from Sam's and ducted the exhaust out of one of his slide outs,However, that still did not get his temps down! What did work was a $30.00 misting hose strung across the top of his trailer during the day creating an evaporative cooling effect on the top of the trailer. This alone dropped the inside temperature at least 10-15 degrees and he is no longer even trying to use the portable he bought. (and regrets cutting the hole!)
The misting hose is just 3/8" tubing with atomizing nozzles. I got one for my next trip to Lake Livingston next weekend. It is made by Mistymate. (
This does not answer whether or not there is a problem with your AC, but it will give you some immediate relief!

Good luck,

Johnny and Connie Hill
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Old 06-28-2009, 11:03 AM   #20
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Austin , Texas
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It's HOT in Austin!

Hey folks - this is 105-108 daily high temps (with high relative humidity) and it it HOT here in central Texas. When a native Texan says it's hot that's probably a quantum step above what most people think is hot.

My 13.5k Penguin is working properly and my 34' Excella is getting up to around 90 during the hottest part of the day (no shade), and down to the high 60's setpoint overnight when the outside air temp may drop to 75.

I may go buy some Reflectix insulation to block some of the heat entry from windows and the FF's but the heat gain through the walls is incredible. You can put your hand on the interior walls and feel the heat that is being radiated through them, so I think your a/c is doing the best that it can under these circumstances.

Keep lots of ice handy and drink iced tea (the house wine of the south), wear light and skimpy clothes, and stay in the shade.
"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:35 AM   #21
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Thumbs up Foam Insulation

I just have to agree. I think foam would be a much better choice.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:46 AM   #22
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I have a similar problem with the AC in my classic. I talked with my AC expert he advised me "do not" break the lines and add any fittings.
Under normal conditions a sealed system does not leak and the freon does not deterioate. He did suggest checking the inside vents to ensure they are clear of any obstructions such as insulation and trim material, then remove the cover on the roof and using a cleaner like Spray Nine, 409 or a "coil cleaner" and spray the coils, then rinse with a garden hose. He indicated dirt will build up on the coils, you can not see it but it does restrict the cooling ability.


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Old 07-06-2009, 11:06 AM   #23
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Austin , Texas
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We camped at Lake Georgetown the past 4 days and had similar problems with our 25' Classic and Dometic Penguin 15K A/C. We were in a partial shaded site keeping the night shades drawn and with the awning out. The breaker for the A/C tripped 2 times and had to be reset. At first I thought this happened because of the fan setting was on low. It did help by setting the fan to high and setting the thermostat up around 77 so the unit would cycle (when set at 77 the temp was around 79 - 80, maybe not calibrated correctly). After using the high fan setting, we were able to keep the temp no higher than 80 during the 100+ outside temperature. I was wondering if low freon could be causing the A/C to draw too much current which was making the breaker trip. Does anyone have an idea about this.

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Old 07-06-2009, 11:39 AM   #24
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I would more suspect low current at the campsite during peak demand. My 08 28' with the 15,000 heat pump had no problems two weeks ago during temps approaching 100 here in florida. My wife was actually very cold and had to wear a hooded sweatshirt in the trailer. I keep the temp at 68 and fan on high to keep my two snow dogs cool.
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Old 07-06-2009, 11:42 AM   #25
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Austin , Texas
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Immediately after the breaker tripped, I went out and checked the voltage at the power post I was plugged into and it was reading 125V, so I think low voltage was not the problem.

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Old 07-07-2009, 09:35 PM   #26
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1978 31' Excella 500
Edmond , Oklahoma
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Super Hot Walls!

It got up to 105 today and I am in full sun and my Penguin 13.5 unit is killing me. Literally. The walls were 93 degrees and radiating heat like and oven. I thought these things were insulated better. I am in for a long summer since temps are going to be this way for the next couple of weeks at least. Oklahoma Summers are hot! I need two units, and I only have a 31 footer. I am not going to damage my original interior trying to reinsulate. I wish I was a heat and air guy!
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Old 07-08-2009, 09:55 PM   #27
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Same temps here in Austin, Okie... We just changed out our Dometic 13.5 for a Carrier 15, low profile. Made a significant difference. Back in the clover...

Anybody want to buy a used Dometic 13.5 A/C with heat strip? Needs a circuit board but other than that, works great for under 100 degree temps...
Bill & Kim
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Chevy Silverado * 2500HD Duramax * LTZ
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The trouble with trouble is it always starts out as fun...
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:21 PM   #28
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1978 31' Excella 500
Edmond , Oklahoma
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15K A/C Needed

It looks like I too have a 13.5K Dometic Penguin for sale with a heat strip. It works great in 100 degree heat, but only at night.

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