Truck A/C installed
Periodically I've seen threads about installing a Dometic tractor-trailer cab A/C in a vintage trailer. This is what we eventually decided on for our 62 Tradewind. We're finally ready to start camping in it, and I figured I'd put up a report.
Dometic makes this A/C for tractor-trailer cabs to allow drivers avoid idling their engines all night. They make both self-contained systems and two-piece units. People have proposed using a split system and mounting the compressor on the tongue. We chose the integrated system. We have a mid-twin bunkhouse layout, and the unit sits under the streetside bunk. It vents down through the belly pan. It has a total of three cold air outlets: one near the back of the bunk, one under the kitchen sink, and one forward toward the gaucho from underneath the range.
It has two disadvantages. First, it's expensive as heck. This is definitely an indulgence. Second, it's a bit more underpowered than traditional rooftop A/C's. This unit is 10K BTU. They make a bigger model, but it is substantially physically larger.
Today, in the low 90s, in full sun, with no awning, it really couldn't keep pace. Of course, we haven't had the interior panels off, so the insulation is pretty much nonexistent. I don't think a 15K rooftop unit would have held 75. Once the day became overcast, the unit kept up fine.
The main advantage is the ability to have (...some...) A/C while keeping a period look to the roofline.
One picture shows the vents in the belly. The grating is necessary to prevent visits from friendly rodents. The shielding keeps the warm exhaust from being sucked in to the outside air intake. The interior picture shows the unit sitting next to the fresh water tank. The cool air ducting is also visible. The inside air intake comes into the unit directly, via the black grille in the side of the bunk wall.
We'll see what we think once we've lived with it for a while.