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Old 08-24-2014, 06:22 PM   #1
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Replace A/C in '72 Ambassador

I've got an old Summer A/C that has stopped blowing. This is probably some cheapo replacement by the PO? Seems a waste to try to do anything with it, as it didn't work all that well, and was a bit like standing behind a 747, noise-wise.

I think that I let the "magic smoke" out, as I smelled a burning odor before it went full-on Tango Uniform.

So I have my eyes on one of those 15K Duotherm Brisk Air IIs. I'm in S. Florida, and temps in my Airstream are hovering about 107F.

Has anyone done this transplant? Difficult or no?

Thanks!
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:40 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SuzyHomemakr View Post
I've got an old Summer A/C that has stopped blowing. This is probably some cheapo replacement by the PO? Seems a waste to try to do anything with it, as it didn't work all that well, and was a bit like standing behind a 747, noise-wise.

I think that I let the "magic smoke" out, as I smelled a burning odor before it went full-on Tango Uniform.

So I have my eyes on one of those 15K Duotherm Brisk Air IIs. I'm in S. Florida, and temps in my Airstream are hovering about 107F.

Has anyone done this transplant? Difficult or no?

Thanks!
What brand AC do you have now, Is it on the roof? You should not have a problem installing a Dometic Brisk II or the low profile Dometic Penguin, as long as you proper power at the 14" roof top opening. If you have an internal condensate drain kine you can probably add the Drip Cup drain system and use the existing drain line. Maybe Lewster will see this thread and give you the full details.
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:44 AM   #3
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The A/C is an Armstrong Bay Breeze TR21-12, up on the roof. It was factory installed, so I'm guessing that it uses the internal drain lines. Think I'd still need that drain cup assembly?
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Old 08-25-2014, 07:50 AM   #4
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I would fix the Armstrong. There isn't a new RV AC made today that is built with very much quality or durability. Find a competent commercial refrigeration shop/mechanic and have them work their magic on it.
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Old 08-25-2014, 09:42 AM   #5
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The Armstrong is also a pain to remove. I think it is actually riveted to the shell. I think it may also require you to install a vent hole up there. I think there might be just enough of a hole for the air to pass through. Fixing it might be less trouble than installing a new one. Considering where you live, painting the roof white would save you a lot and lower the temps inside the trailer. I hear the low profile units are loud and it might be worth a trip to a local RV yard and listen to one installed on a trailer. Personally I like AC noise accept when trying to watch the TV.

Perry
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Old 08-26-2014, 06:25 AM   #6
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The new one can't be any louder than the existing. I just can't see putting any money into a 42-year-old air conditioner. The inside part is due for replacement, too, as it rattles constantly. So I put in an order for the Duotherm Brisk Air II, with the heating strip. Supposed to be here tomorrow!

What's the best paint for the roof? Maybe I'll scour the forums and see what my fellow enthusiasts have to say...

So, what's the best way to get up there to work? I've got various ladders available, maybe build a ramp to slide it in with 2X4s?
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:20 AM   #7
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Good luck.
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Old 08-26-2014, 07:40 AM   #8
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Any small extension ladder will work or one of those folding types work fine and you can take it with you. You can stand on the roof but try to stay on a rib or use something like a shelf board to distribute the weight. Best to leave the AC in the cardboard box then push it up a ladder with some help. If yours installs like mine you open the box flip the unit upside down and apply the gasket and drain cups then flip it right side up and bolt her down. If yours uses the same base pan as my non-low profile unit, the drain kit only catches about 80% of the condensate. There is a hole or two in the pan that needs to be taped from the outside so it won't bypass the drain cups like on mine. Also a good idea to remove the shroud and insulate all the cold side lines with rubber so they don't sweat. Also the same drain passage in the pan that leads to the cup will also keep the cup from seating properly so I would grind a notch in the cup so it fits better. The drain cups are a piss poor design but it can be improved upon. You will also find another piss poor lack of feature is the heat strip is not thermostatically controlled. Dometic I hope you read these posts. I used a base board heater thermostat to solve this but there are dual mode thermostats out there. The heater strip will drive you out of there on a FL winter with it on full.

This thread should help on the roof coating. This thread is worth reading for anyone restoring a trailer.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f185...-50967-53.html

Here is a thread on the heater strip issue.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f427...eat-96754.html

Also you will find that the thermostat starts cycling below 80 F and the AC won't work at all below 70F. This is a pain because in humid environments like the SE you don't get enough humidity control. I have not had a chance to operate on the thermostat but I hope there is a way to adjust this. Worst case is I will put a switch in there so the compressor stays on 100% of the time. It helps to put the sensor lead outside the shroud so it does not get recycled cool air. Unless you get crazy on designing baffles some of the cool side air will end up in the intake and screw up the thermostat even more.

Perry
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:01 AM   #9
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The Armstrong is a good unit, but the question is it worth fixing? A good AC repair man can tell you. If so, they will not be able to find exact parts, but can find ones that are close that will work.
Mine was way shot. It it is a two piece Armstrong unit, then there is only a few small holes through the roof and ceiling that the lines and blower motor shaft go through. To upgrade to a modern unit like a Dometic you have to cut a 14x14 hole in the roof and ceiling, and reinforce the hole with wood or metal. It can be a more difficult process. Its worth the time to pull down the ceiling a bit, and run stringers in between the ribs.
Now if the unit already uses a 14x14 hole, it will be much easier. There is some good threads on the forums about how to do it.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:07 AM   #10
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The roof mounted units are LOUD on what is basically a big tin can, so if you havent already considered a split system I would at least do some research into that. There is a thread on here that discusses pros and cons and cost IIRC. Considering all the work you are doing to customize this rig, I'd look at loosing the rooftop ac.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:19 AM   #11
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Here is right about this. If the one you have now does not install in a vent hole you have some fun in store. I have seen the hole cut out and people use wood but Airstream used aluminum channel to surround the vents. It may have been a single piece extrusion. I would recommend against wood because you live in FL and wood rots so fast down there you can actually see it. Treated wood is corrosive so you don't want that. Mahogany might be ok but not cheap. I expect you can box it in with aluminum.

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The Armstrong is a good unit, but the question is it worth fixing? A good AC repair man can tell you. If so, they will not be able to find exact parts, but can find ones that are close that will work.
Mine was way shot. It it is a two piece Armstrong unit, then there is only a few small holes through the roof and ceiling that the lines and blower motor shaft go through. To upgrade to a modern unit like a Dometic you have to cut a 14x14 hole in the roof and ceiling, and reinforce the hole with wood or metal. It can be a more difficult process. Its worth the time to pull down the ceiling a bit, and run stringers in between the ribs.
Now if the unit already uses a 14x14 hole, it will be much easier. There is some good threads on the forums about how to do it.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:52 AM   #12
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I went with PT 2x4 wrapped in rubber roof flashing, but if was to do it again I would box it in with aluminum. A two part AC unit might be easer to install, lower profile, but I'm not sure about the cost.


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Old 08-26-2014, 10:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuzyHomemakr View Post
I've got an old Summer A/C that has stopped blowing. This is probably some cheapo replacement by the PO? Seems a waste to try to do anything with it, as it didn't work all that well, and was a bit like standing behind a 747, noise-wise.

I think that I let the "magic smoke" out, as I smelled a burning odor before it went full-on Tango Uniform.

So I have my eyes on one of those 15K Duotherm Brisk Air IIs. I'm in S. Florida, and temps in my Airstream are hovering about 107F.

Has anyone done this transplant? Difficult or no?

Thanks!
If you decide to change to the low profile, here is a picture that can be a help. You will have to use wood to firm up the inside and outside skin. And you can see how you will need to cut it to allow for the drain line and power. This AC was a Coleman so yours will look a little different. Airstream makes a Drain Pan that you can only get from an Airstream dealer. The part number is 961270 If you have a dealer close to you that will be the way to go, to save on freight. If not Out-of-Doors Mart MORE Airstream Parts on-line than anyone!!! And we accept PayPal. and Inland RV Center - The Nations Leading Expert in Airstream Innovations stock them.
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Old 08-27-2014, 08:15 AM   #14
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Wow! Thanks for all the good info. There's already a 14 X 14 hole in the roof for the existing unit. I like the idea about using aluminum channel, the space is 2", so that should be easy to do.

I'll eyeball the pan attachment, when it shows up, and see if it has been improved or still needs improving.

I wound up renting a 10' folding ladder from Home Depot, and clamping on a 2X8 that I could shinny across on. The detachment part of the job actually went fairly easily yesterday. After fortifying myself with a few stiff ones (espressos, that is) I went at it with the knife attachment on my multi-tool. The various strata of old caulking peeled up like a big, gross zipper! This exposed dozens of screws, which all came out easily. So it's loose in its hole right now, waiting for parts to arrive. I think I'll rent two ladders next time, with more boards to slide the unit across so that helper and I can lower it to the ground safely.
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