I love this thread. Thanks for bumping it back up with your excellent new mod, Nick.
Those of who use our Airstreams a lot have likely been there... someplace where it's hot as heck and there's no adequate electrical service. During our travels, many times we are invited, or deviate from the course, to visit friends and relatives who don't understand the importance of 30 amps. Since it happens often, I decided to develop Plan B - a window air conditioner for the rear escape window. I did this without drilling a single hole, or doing any modifications to the Bambi.
- I bought a 8,000 BTU window unit from a thrift shop for $40 (nearly new, with all packaging, paperwork and remote control
, etc.) The rear window/escape hatch of the Bambi isn't intended to be used as a window, so it has no screen. There is, however, a nice 1/4" groove/slot along the inside edge of the frame.
- I then took a sheet of 3/16" plastic and cut it out so it fit perfectly inside of this slot. I did this by taping a sheet of wrapping paper on the window frame, and tracing it. Then I transferred it to the sheet of plastic.
- I cut out an opening in the plastic sheet for the AC unit (12" x 18", if I recall) I used an adhesive foam gasket (weather stripping) to make a tight seal around the AC unit.
- There is also a nice slot, approx. an inch and a half wide, on the inside of the window frame. I fashioned two pieces of wood (braces) to fit at the top and bottom of the opening to be used as support for the AC. I cut notches in the bottom brace to allow for the two window latches.
- To support the braces, I cut down the legs of a shelving unit that had adjustable feet on the bottom. This allowed adjustment of the supports so they would fit snugly between the braces for vertical support. (I hope the pictures help clarify this somewhat inadequate explanation)
- The AC slides in the opening from inside the Airstream. I can set it up, start to finish, in under 10 minutes.
: If we end up someplace without 30 amp, the unit only draws about 7 amps on full blast. Or, if there's no electric at all, I can easily run the AC from the Honda EU2000i generator. I have done trial runs on some hot days, and the 8,000 BTU window unit cools as effectively as the 13,500 BTU heat pump on the roof, and is much
quieter. It takes up about the same space and weight as the generator. I left it in during a torrential rain storm, and no leaks. There is a tiny hole in the outside groove that allows any water that may accumulate to drain.
What is not shown is that I put a Velcro strip around the inside of the AC opening in the plastic sheet, on which I mounted a screen if cross ventilation is needed when the AC isn't installed.
Including the AC, the whole thing cost about $55.
1. Shows the wooden braces and vertical supports.
2. Shows the plastic shroud inserted in the opening.
3. The unit from the outside. The pole supporting the window was temporary. I let the window rest on the top of the AC on a foam block. That way, it shields the unit and opening from weather.
4. A shot from the inside while operating.. Yep, those are flamingos on the pillow cases.