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Old 04-07-2011, 08:19 PM   #1
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1991 34' Excella
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 99
Images: 19
Smile Rear A/C wiring in!

I attacked my project today and made some progress. The '34 is a hot tamale in the summer with the 13.5 BTU A/C. A second A/C is necessary to keep it comfortable since last summer we could not get it below 85F with the A/C running all day.

I started by doing lots of reading on how others have done it. The folks with the '70's trailers report that theirs are prewired and have a drain tube already installed. Airstream quit doing that sometime back so my '91 needed wiring. There are two camps, the converstion to 50A and then the other option to supplement the original 30A with a second 20A line for the rear A/C. I'm doing the latter.

The inside components that were removed were the bed frame (twin), the upper cabinet on the street side and the window screens from the rear and street side windows. All the rivet were drilled out with a 1/8 drill bit although there is a larger rivet (3/16) holding the upper cabinet framing in place. Once all the rivets are drilled, use a pin punch of appropriate size to push the rivets through so that the new rivets will be easy to insert fully.

The panels curve around the corner in the back but once remove will lie flat so their tricky to remove when the flex is released. To install the new wires (12 Gage) I got lucky when fishing the wire from the fuse box cabinet opening over to the predrilled hole in the frame and it went in without much fighting. The wire from the cabinet to the roof was more difficult. I couldn't get it to push through successfully so I removed the rivets from the rear inner cap so that I could see the wire inside the wall as I shot for the wall near the street side window and got it out there, then grabbing the loose end pulled it up to the top while slipping it inside the vertical frame rib until it was up to the top. Success. I'm going to do the opposite with the drain tube but bring it straight down the wall once it passes the last frame rib.

Remember, the inner cap was put in place before the side panels so there are rivets holding it that are covered by the side panel. Pull the panel away enough to get access to them or you will have to drill extra holes and that won't look so pretty.

Dometic Penguin 13.5 BTU will be installed with a drain pan that conforms to the roof line.

I'm not skilled in adding pics, go to my profile to see them. I spent alot of time adding them to this post and none of them are here???











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James B.
1991 34' excella 1000, bought 05/10, oak floors, granite countertops, Marble bathroom counter and floor, 2 A/C's, 2005 Hensley.
Tow With: 2006 Dodge 2500 Quad Longbox 2WD, 5.9 Cummins, Edge Insight CTS, Smarty Jr programmer, Bilstein Shocks, Ingalls balljoints.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:02 PM   #2
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1991 34' Excella
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 99
Images: 19
Talking

The stock electric vent was removed by center punching each rivet and drilling off the head. Then I was able to pry up on the vent frame and loosen it from the body. There were 4 steel screws from the top down that I couldn't see because of all the calking, these were troublesome but I used a chisel to remove their heads. Once the vent was removed, I used a dremel to cut off the remaining rivet above the body and then pushed the rivet to the inside to remove the old rivets. I didn't want them there in case they added a thickness that I didn't account for in the wood opening frame that was made. The stock vent has an opening of 12" on it's frame, but the hole was nearly the 14 1/4 inch that was required for the new A/C. All I had to do was square off the corners of the hole and adjust the size. The factory had the vent slightly off center to the street, only a 1/2 inch but it did matter since I was trying to center the hole according to my frame and it slowed down progress.

Take the penguin drip pan and match it to the bottom of the penguin unit. Remove whatever sponge pads are in the way cut off their height so they'll let the unit sit flat on the drip pan. I also made sure the opening of the drip pan would fit inside the seal opening on the unit, it did, but I had to cut and remove the seal on each side to allow the unit to slip over the water channel across the center. A piece of masking tape on each end showed me where center was so I could line it up when the unit was sitting on it up on the roof. There was a rivet fore and aft that were my center marks.

Once the hole was open, I used tin snips to cut the aluminum. Calked the top of the wood with Di-Cor sealant (recommended by PPL) installed my frame support with screws inside and out and, then also calked the drip pan. Notice that the water channel of the drip pan does not contact the trailer body, this opening was eventually sealed, other wise it would be open to the outside. I used aluminum tape to seal the wood frame and overlapped it to the inside surface to help seal it. With the hole ready, the next step was to drag the penguin up the 16 ft 2x4's with wife pushing from below. It was great, the boards bent a fair amount but it was fairly easy to get it up! Although she's scared of heights she also joined me on the roof to lift the penguin out of the box and position it over the drip pan. Viola, finished for the outside. You'll notice that there are 3 rows of rivets supporting that area, one to rear, one in center and one in front. I think that the unit will be supported adequately with the frame I made that extends to the longitudinal roof beams.

Now just to finish the inside, the rivets are a ivory color, not white so I'm going to paint them after I assemble everything by holding a paper with a hole in it over the rivet and then spraying it. The wiring on the inside is ready to complete and the 12 Guage wiring will junction to a flexible 3 ft cord which will go to the access door where the main cable is stored. From there I can plug it into an extension cord then to shore power.

see my username for pics of process.

Good Luck with your project.
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James B.
1991 34' excella 1000, bought 05/10, oak floors, granite countertops, Marble bathroom counter and floor, 2 A/C's, 2005 Hensley.
Tow With: 2006 Dodge 2500 Quad Longbox 2WD, 5.9 Cummins, Edge Insight CTS, Smarty Jr programmer, Bilstein Shocks, Ingalls balljoints.
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:19 PM   #3
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1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
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I'll admit it, I'm jealous. I could use a second AC, but it's not happening anytime soon.

Very nice Airstream, too!
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:57 PM   #4
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1985 31' Excella
Fresno , Texas
Join Date: Apr 2011
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James I am only about ten miles from you. If you need any help let me know. I just started working on some bad flooring Thursday and off to DFW Friday. I just got back
Wes
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:01 AM   #5
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1991 34' Excella
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: May 2010
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The A/C is working great, it's going to be 99F in San Antonio and with the two A/C's there is no problem keeping up to the heat.

A side effect probably from hard mounting the penguin to the drip pan and having to remove the foam pads from the bottom of the A/C is that there is noticeable vibration throughout the trailer when the rear unit compressor kicks in and throughout the whole time the compressor runs. Installation instructions were to remove the foam, and to get it to fit in the drip pan, you really do need the foam pads removed. I don't know if I could go and lift it and put in some insulating foam to get rid of the vibration??? I expect that the largest contact area that is transmitting the vibration is the square hole in the roof hard connection to the frame of the roof opening to the longitudinal ribs of the body. My center A/C is mounted without a drip pan and rests directly on the dense foam right on the outer skin. It doesn't send vibrations!

If my decision is to sit in the heat or put up with the vibration, I'll put up with the vibration!
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1991 34' excella 1000, bought 05/10, oak floors, granite countertops, Marble bathroom counter and floor, 2 A/C's, 2005 Hensley.
Tow With: 2006 Dodge 2500 Quad Longbox 2WD, 5.9 Cummins, Edge Insight CTS, Smarty Jr programmer, Bilstein Shocks, Ingalls balljoints.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:21 PM   #6
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1991 34' Excella
Salem , Virginia
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Thanks for posting this information. We just purchased a 91 Excella 1000 34' back in May and have discovered that a second A\C would be a nice upgrade. We're hoping to do it this fall.
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:41 PM   #7
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Two Harbors , Minnesota
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Any idea what year 34' does or does not have the pre-wiring? I "assume" that at some date they began "again" including pre-wire for the second AC unit?

Thanks...Tom R

P.S. Currently, I am looking at a '97 Limited/Classic 34'...Tom R
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:25 PM   #8
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1996 36' Clipper Bus
Tub City , British Columbia
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Did you prewire for the solar panels?

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f313...ml#post1021953

Dave
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:29 AM   #9
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1991 34' Excella
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 99
Images: 19
I don't know if there was a time when the rear vent area came pre-wired and included a drain hose. Airstream Inc might be able to tell you? The newer trailers that come with a different size vent like the "fantastic vent" would make the swap easy.

The solar panels are a great idea and mounting them on top of the A/C is smart so you don't have to punch holes in your roof. We don't do any dry camping so I don't need them but my brother in Saskatchewan could use something like that on his '77 Argosy 28.

Another point to mention is that air flow inside the trailer is sort of split from front to back by the long narrow hall way. During the day the rear A/C compressor runs at about a 1/3 cycle (turns on for 1 min and off for 2 min) and the front A/C runs all of the time. The interior temp is comfortable but running just one of the A/C at night leaves the other quadrant of the trailer too warm to sleep. We use a fan to help move the air back and forth down the hall way. The Penguin A/C is loud having it directly over your bed and probably running just the Brisk Air in the main area would be acceptable at night.
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1991 34' excella 1000, bought 05/10, oak floors, granite countertops, Marble bathroom counter and floor, 2 A/C's, 2005 Hensley.
Tow With: 2006 Dodge 2500 Quad Longbox 2WD, 5.9 Cummins, Edge Insight CTS, Smarty Jr programmer, Bilstein Shocks, Ingalls balljoints.
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