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Old 02-13-2016, 09:11 AM   #1
cwf
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Removing stuck AC from roof

Vision this...
Your AC condensate pan is cracked. A "previous" owner repaired or had the pan "sealed" over the cracks... Quite a nice job.. Well hidden and lasted the 3 years we travelled with it.

Now it is time.. All mounting hardware removed... Push up from inside.. The AC moves,, but not much... And roof moves, too! Hmmmm

Cut away all sealant ,can move it a bit more... Hmmm

It ain't coming loose!! Now what??

More removal of sealant and plastic pan.. Moves a bit more.. So I wedge a tapered shim as I lift.. Still can't break the seal.

Out with the "destruction bar" and with that leverage GENTLY PRY BETWEEN a RIB and the AC base...at FRONT of AC. Toward cub side... Gently apply continuous pressure then, as you increase pressure watch for metal distortion....

On mine, the sealant starts to separate!!! Yay!! I slowly work toward center front following the rib...

Can't lift any higher by hand.. So block it up.. And leave as I go away for a couple hours... On return there is no additional movement.. Hmmm

Remove shims and blocking... And puzzle.. How do I separate /lift this beast?
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:13 AM   #2
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:16 AM   #3
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A little at a time...
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:28 AM   #4
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I had a stubborn vent like that . I used small floor jack and a 2x4 inside the trailer to gently apply enough pressure to persuade it out .
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:41 AM   #5
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There is a rubber gasket on the bottom of the unit. It has sealed it self to the outer skin over time, or some well meaning installer Vulkemed it to the roof when they installed it.
Try sliding a long thin knife blade between the unit and the skin. Try not to laugh, The "amazing Ginsu" has worked well for me. Cut all the way around between the unit and the skin, prying as you go will help. Once it it free you can remove it. Be careful it is heavy and awkward.
Hope that works for you.

-Dennis
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Old 02-13-2016, 10:55 AM   #6
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Channing, I'd try this:
1. Raise the AC up a bit or at least apply pressure from the bottom.
2. Heat a corner of the drip pan with a blow drier to see if the sealant will start to let go a little.
3. Have a box cutter with a new blade and try cutting the sealant with multiple shallow incisions to try to separate the pan from the skin of the trailer. I'm sure that you can get it separated all the way around, but it may take forever (or at least seem that way).
4. Clean off the old sealant with something like Imperial Cleanwood or MEK or Acetone or whatever you can get that will work. These solvents will soften and erode your clear coat in that area, but you will be resealing it again when you put the new pan on.

I wish you well on this repair!

Steve
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Old 02-13-2016, 05:44 PM   #7
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I used a multi-tool to cut through the seal, then to remove most of the excess.
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:15 PM   #8
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post how many bolts you removed. there may be one 'hidden'.
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Old 02-13-2016, 07:46 PM   #9
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One person on the roof, one person on the inside, an piano wire in between the two
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Old 02-13-2016, 09:48 PM   #10
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Thanks all!

We had 2 forward bolts and one rear.... so we remove the bolts, cut away a lot of 'sealant'...on the inside opening of the roof... We couldn't understand why the AC unit would not lift clear of the pan... apparently it had been secured with several doses of sealant... they must have been paying bonuses for using this stuff by the bucket load!

So, with me inside and my strong eldest son on roof, we couldn't budge the unit... this is where I employed the bottle jack...starting in one corner, then lifting slowly.. it peeled away from the pan...

Did I mention we cut a lot of sealant? Really...

Now, to pull the pan, we carefully chiseled between the aluminum roof and the pan. Once in a while we would poke thru the pan.. never the aluminum.. When we got a separation with the chisel, we used locking titanium bladed knives to filet the sealant from the roof and pan... wherever we could get to it...

The pan relented in pieces.. about 3 hours... then we cleaned the roof of the major globs of sealant... next we used a brass wire brush in a drill to clean the spot where the new gasket would ride.

I didn't think to check beforehand to align the bolt holes in the bottom of the AC to the lower, inside mount bracket which rides against the ceiling... So, I 'eyeballed' the bolt locations and drilled the mount... I LUCKED OUT!!! that allowed me to secure the AC to the roof...

Next is to get the drain lines connected... that's for tomorrow...

Bottom line.. This 'monster project', really is a monster... but, with the help of those here... we succeeded...

Lessons:
- try piano wire (but I don't know what gauge or sourcing location) to separate the roof and pan from sealant..
- try 'dental floss' wrapped around dowels or big washers so you can hold on and saw with it.. replace when it breaks...
- Be careful with knives and the sharp areas on the aluminum (we did not lose any blood on this project... a FIRST in a long time..
- Don't let your better half clean the AS BEFORE you do this job... especially on Valentines Weekend....
- Buy stock in Vulkem!!!!

Happy Valentines day!!!
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Old 02-14-2016, 07:16 AM   #11
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CFW,
Great info, please continue with the installation of the new system. This same chore is in my future.
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Old 02-14-2016, 09:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cwf View Post
snip>>> This 'monster project', really is a monster... <<< snip
That's what I thought the first time I changed out a roof top unit. The next one took half the time. Still not a piece of cake, but easier since I new what to expect.

The first time I did it to replace a cracked pan. If I had it to do over again, I would not use the drain pan.
The second time I used the drain cups instead of the drain pan. That makes it a lot easier if ever there is a need to remove the roof top unit again.
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Old 02-14-2016, 12:17 PM   #13
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Not recommended way but worked. Prev owner of my 90 32Excella used 2 tubes of vulkem to fix drain pan and stick it and the ac back to roof. Tried all the above with no luck. Took an old machete ground the end to achisel end like a wood chisel so I could keep the bevel down and the blade would climb away from the roof. 2 hrs later it was off with minor damage to top.used 3\16 thick aluminum to cut a square cut t overlap 4 in and with opening to match
Good layer of vulkem between plate and trailor riveted yielded a nice clean smooth surface for my new 15000 domestic. Been on a year now and no !eaks.
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Old 02-14-2016, 01:46 PM   #14
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I think you were the inheritor of someone's "by golly, this thing is NOT going to leak" projects. Wow, what a chore!

I wonder what past experience he or she had that made them think that was a good idea?
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