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Old 03-24-2013, 12:18 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1979 31' Sovereign
Stephenville , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 30
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I'm new! Questions about climate control systems - 1979 31' Sovereign

I just picked up a 1979 Sovereign 31' and I plan on living in it for a few months. I am completely new to Airstreams and travel trailers in general so if it seems like I don't know what I'm talking about, it's because I don't.

So lets start off with a few dumb questions...

Can the A/C run off the batteries? I doubt it can, at least not for very long, but still curious.

I know the fridge can run off gas or electric, can the A/C do the same as well?

What kind of A/C does my trailer have?(Make, Model, BTU's, ect.)

If it turns out not to work(trailer has sat for about 6 years, but owner says it worked last time he used it) is it even possible to find parts for repair or should I just replace it?

I think it would be a good idea to replace it in the future anyhow,(more efficiency and what not) what would be a good unit to replace it with?

I know this thing has a gas furnace, what steps should I take to make sure this thing is still safe to use?

Also, this forum category lists some of you actually have wood burning stoves in your Airstreams?

I appreciate any and all input y'all have!

Thank you!

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Old 03-24-2013, 12:27 AM   #2
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
No, you cannot run the AC from the batteries ever.

The AC can only run on 120 volt power (house, campground, generator)

Most likely you have a 13,500 btuh AC unit. Hard to say what brand they were using then. With a 31' unit in Texas, if you replace it probably a 15,000 btuh unit would be better.

If it runs, use it until it quits, then replace it. The units generally available now are not much more efficient, although there are some better ones which use somewhat lower energy. There is a new low profile one just coming on the market now, which looks to be a good one. Check the archives for threads on AC units.

Your furnace is almost 35 years old now. For safety reasons I would just replace it. It is not uncommon to have rusted out combustion chambers and that series of furnaces made by Suburban had recall after recall, which often were not done, so the problems may remain.

And welcome to the Airstream madness.

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Old 03-24-2013, 05:35 AM   #3
Rivet Master
jdalrymple's Avatar
2009 27' FB Flying Cloud
1991 35' Airstream 350
Jay , Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,635
The systems on an rv are relatively simple, once one understands what the heck is going on.

Unless modified by some previous owner, most of the systems are run or controlled by 12 volts. The lights, exhaust fans, water pump, refrigerator, and furnace.

The refer uses 12 volts for the control board at all times, but can be switched(or will switch automatically) between propane or a 120 volt AC heating element for the heat source to pressurize the refrigerant.

The AC and microwave are 120 volts AC only, and will only function when the shore line is plugged in to a power source.

The furnace is totally 12 volts and burns propane for the heat source. The fan is a bit of a power hog, and will usually discharge a good pair of batteries overnight, if the weather is cold.

If the water hater is the original, it is most likely the same, controlled by a 12 volts but heats with propane. However, it uses very little battery.

Good Luck,

Jeff & Cindy
'09 27FB Flying Cloud
'91 350 LE MH
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