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Old 03-25-2016, 11:26 AM   #1
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silvia1963's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 5
New AC installation help!

Hey y'all! We have a 1963 Overlander and are wanting to install a new AC unit before the Georgia heat hits us this summer! If anyone has any advice from AC installations you've done on your trailer it would be greatly appreciated! The first thing I want to know is what the best brand/model is to get. I've done a little research and a lot of people seem to recommend a Penguin II? While we obviously want to get the best price possible, we're willing to splurge a little to get something that will give us the best air flow! We will also probably do the installation ourselves, so if anyone has a recommended model that was easy to install that would be great also.

Our Overlander didn't originally have a unit in it, so when we renovated last year, we bought a portable AC unit that plugs in to an outlet (and hooks up to vent holes on the back side of the trailer). So that time around we didn't have to deal with installing a unit on the roof. There is however a skylight in the roof that we were hoping we could use to install the new unit. The hole is about 13.5” x 20” (13.5” measuring from the inside of the trim around it- I think it might be more like 14” if measuring from the roof). I attached a few pictures of it.

Eventually we’d love to install solar panels on the roof as well… I know this is a whole other project and expense that will probably be something we’ll have to further look into down the road, but if anyone happens to know of any affordable solar systems that could be installed with the AC unit, let me know! Just want to gather as much info and do as much research as possible before we make a decision! If we found a solar system that we could afford, it might be worth it to install that at the same time as the AC unit!

Again, any and all insight or comments on the subject would be awesome! Thanks!!

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Old 03-26-2016, 06:11 AM   #2
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1974 27' Overlander
Baltimore , Maryland
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 894
Hi silvia. Penguin is the model shopping with new Airstreams. Coleman is also an option. I installed a Coleman Mach 8 Cub, but that choice was mostly driven by its low power requirements. I haven't used it enough to give any recommendation. Your choice is going to be dictated more by how you plan to use your Airstream than anything else. How much cooling are you going to need? Are you always going to have 30 amp shore power, or are you running a generator?

You're going to need to patch the roof to get the hole down to 14" square. You'll probably need to build out a frame around the new hole for support. You'll need to have some method of dealing with the curved roof meeting a flat AC -- there are a few ways to do that depending on the model of AC you choose. I don't know if your model Airstream had AC as a factory option, but if it did then it would most likely already have the electric and drain run inside the wall. Of not, then you'll have to pull the interior skins to install them.

If you have the skins off and want to install solar at a later date, you can install a combiner box on the roof and run the wires through the wall to the location of your planned solar charger. AM Solar has a nice combiner box that I used for this purpose. The cost for setting this up would be pretty minimal, and it would make a later solar installation much easier.
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