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Old 03-25-2014, 08:23 PM   #1
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1968 28' Ambassador
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1968 original Air Conditioner worth fixing?

In my 1968 Ambassador the original Air Conditioner will turn on but does not function. Can these be restored at a reasonable cost?
I'm thinking of getting a low profile 13,500 BTU unit installed in place of the non-working roof unit.
However, the rivets holding in the A/C unit are very difficult to drill out and sand down (from what I've been told), and also, I would need to cut a 14" X 14" hole in the ceiling to install a new A/C.
What is the best solution?
Is there an alternate solution?
Thanks! Jim
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:51 PM   #2
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Jim,

If you do a search you will find you can get all the parts for them to rebuild it. That's what I planning to do.

Enjoy,
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:00 PM   #3
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You will be WAY ahead by going with a new AC. By the way...make it a 15000 BTU. Installing the new is not as big a job as you made it sound.
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:10 AM   #4
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Jim,

I don't understand your assertion that you would need to cut a 14 x 14 hole in your roof. The original AC must have that same 14x14 hole, right?

I removed the original AC from the roof of my '73, and it was one of the easier repairs I've done. I would say the key to success is having a stable area to work. I converted the gantry frames I had used to pull my shell into scaffolding and created something of a wooden deck over the trailer. Lots of people just use a ladder leaned against the awning and a moving blanket on the roof--I was a little more cautious.

From that point, it was just a matter of removing the pop rivets that held the AC on and pulling it off. I found that instead of drilling out each rivet it was way more effective to put a metal cutting blade on my oscillating tool, get the blade in between the AC and the shell, and then just work my way around the perimeter, cutting off the rivets, and sawing through the thick layer of sealant at the same time.

And I would second getting the largest AC you can. They are a little pricier, but imagine your disappointment of going through the expense and effort to install a new unit, and then it doesn't cool adequately.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:16 AM   #5
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Jim is correct in that there are only a few small holes for that style of AC unit. You have a fan motor shaft, two freon tubes and a powerline. The "Bay Breeze " AC unit was more of a commercial 12k btu unit that on many trailers still runs and cools to this day.

You can find the fan motors for less than $100, the AC compressor for a few hundered as well. So for less tan about $500-$600 the unit can be rebuilt to last another 40 years.

The most expensive part will be a new cover if that needs to be replaced, it to can be found at InlandRV for around $300

Enjoy,
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:37 AM   #6
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New units are way more efficient than the 40+ year old ones.
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Old 03-26-2014, 10:57 AM   #7
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Ahab,

You are correct, the parts that you can purchase to rebuild the unit are much more efficient. Folks have found the compressors you can purchase to rebuild, you can actually go down to about a 11K btu and it cools just as well as the older 12k units.

Enjoy,
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Old 03-26-2014, 12:24 PM   #8
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Jim

As you can see there are a variety of opinions.

And as you have learned, replacement with a new unit is not straightforward. The compressor, fan motor, capacitors, and relay are the parts that fail on these, and new replacements are available for all these. No one has ever reported a refrigerant leak in the evaporator or condenser coils here on Airforums.

The main problem is finding someone to do the work. A few forum members who have refrigeration background have done it themselves, and some have found contractors to do it. Commercial refrigeration contractors, appliance repair techs, and air conditioning contractors typically have the skills and tools to do the job though some will refuse to work on RVs.

The older units, if repaired, work at least as well as the new ones.
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:46 PM   #9
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Lack of R-22 may spell death

I'm one of those Vintage types who has kept my Overlander's original, Bay Breeze air conditioner running through part change-outs. The unit was just checked out last week, and has been declared ready for 2014's warm weather.

If you are interested, six different repairs are detailed on my Overlander's website under "Interior..Appliances..Air Condtioner":

1967 Airstream Overlander

That said, the unit runs on Refrigerant-22 (R-22) which, by law, is no longer legally produced in the U.S. The substance will be gone once available stores are depleted. The refrigerant is currently selling for a platinum-coated price.

If the unit should spring a leak tomorrow, I am pondering my course of action.

Tom
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Old 03-26-2014, 07:42 PM   #10
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Tom,

Tell me it's not so! I did look on eBay, lots od R-22 or R-22a(which I'm not sure will work) 30lbs running $235.00. Do you remember how much it took to charge your system from scratch? Could you not swap out the compressor for a different Refrigerant type and keep rolling? Quick question, are the newer one also not using R-22? Based on the Dometic page, they are still using R-22 on many models.

Enjoy,
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Old 10-13-2014, 12:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimblacker View Post
In my 1968 Ambassador the original Air Conditioner will turn on but does not function. Can these be restored at a reasonable cost?
I'm thinking of getting a low profile 13,500 BTU unit installed in place of the non-working roof unit.
However, the rivets holding in the A/C unit are very difficult to drill out and sand down (from what I've been told), and also, I would need to cut a 14" X 14" hole in the ceiling to install a new A/C.
What is the best solution?
Is there an alternate solution?
Thanks! Jim
somewhat of a similar dilemma ... cost of new a/c shroud with shipping is about $500.00 !! holly smokes , what's that 50% of a brand new unit ? i live in coastal ca and will be mainly dry camping anyways ... & always cool at night time in the sierra's.
the a/c shroud is destroyed through old age, looks awful but must serve a purpose in helping with rain etc ?? my dilemma is why keep this old iunit working when i'll rarely use it ..? spend $500 on a new shroud or remove the entire unit and plate over possibly ? but then my resale value takes a hit probably ? most buyers would like an a/c i would imagine ? same for the old furnace, don't these things make quite a noise when fired up? for summer / fall camping in CA just need a radiant heater or small gas camping buddy take the chill out quick.. why drop money on a new furnace ?
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