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Old 06-06-2013, 06:36 PM   #1
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Penguin Dometic air conditioner shroud and pan

I wanted to document this for those of you that are like me. I was intimidated, since this was my first attempt at removing an air conditioner. I successfully did the repair without someone being there to help, but I did get some good advice from Overlander63 and Lewster. My AC has not leaked since August 2011.

A little history: When I bought my Safari late in 2010 and I had no leaks over the first winter. Next spring when I turned the AC on I noticed a drip or two of condensate, but did not think a lot about it since we have high humidity in NC. When we went up on the Blue Ridge in July I hit a low hanging branch. When it rained a few days into our trip, water came in pretty bad. I climbed up on top to see a hole in the AC shroud. When we came back I went by ODM and picked up a shroud, no problem I thought. Next time I turned on the AC water poured inside every time the unit cycled off. Terry told me my pan was shot, Lew confirmed. They were correct.

The pan had deteriorated over the years, and was pretty rotten. The place where the condensate line connects was cracked and had been caulked by a previous owner.(the drip) Terry told me the shock of hitting the branch probably had cracked the pan.

I took interior photos, but the lighting was bad. I deleted them. I will share what I kept.


This is what I did:
  1. Disconnected the trailer power cord, and turned off the main breaker for good measure.
  2. Removed the interior cover of the AC unit. Then removed the bolts that go through to tie down the AC unit. Then disconnected the condensate interior drain. Then disconnected both the power and thermostat wiring.
  3. Built scaffolds to access the roof. I own these, but you can rent them at your local tool rental for around $100 for a week. Or less for a day or two.
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Old 06-06-2013, 07:04 PM   #2
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After removing the shroud and setting it out of the way I had to cut through the two sided tape around the top of the plastic pan. Then tug and jerk pretty hard to get the AC unit loose. It was heavy but I picked the unit up and set it aside to get at the pan.
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There was a hole in the pan at the corner where plastic had shattered, as well as several cracks radiating out from the roof opening. The connector at the end trough that connects to the condensate line was cracked too.
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Whoever installed the pan did not scrimp on the caulking. Cut and pull, scrape, scrape. It took a couple hours to get all that mess off.

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Reinstalled in reverse order. Job complete.

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It took 5-6 hours to complete. Would definitely have been easier and faster with someone to help with scaffold building and the lifting, especially placing the AC unit back onto the new pan.

If I ever have to remove the pan again, I will use one of the new drip kits suggested by Lewster.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:48 PM   #3
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Good to know. I've had to fix several leaks on the drain line in the last year, looks like this is in my future.
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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Great post. Now I know what the Airstream pan actually looks like and how it drains. It has been discussed in so many other threads.
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Old 06-07-2013, 10:49 AM   #5
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So, just to confirm my understanding:

-the plastic pan sits directly on the roof and is sealed in place with caulking

-the air conditioner, without any foam gaskets, sits down in the pan, and the pan is sealed around the edges to the AC


Is there anything in the mounting system to account for the rounded shape of the Airstream roof?

Thanks!
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Old 06-07-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
-the plastic pan sits directly on the roof and is sealed in place with caulking
Yes

Quote:
-the air conditioner, without any foam gaskets, sits down in the pan, and the pan is sealed around the edges to the AC
No gasket, yes sits in pan, no it is not sealed in any way to AC.

Quote:
Is there anything in the mounting system to account for the rounded shape of the Airstream roof?
It is an Airstream factory part designed by Airstream for Airstreams, I'm not sure what a loose pan looks like though.
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Old 06-07-2013, 05:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
So, just to confirm my understanding:

-the plastic pan sits directly on the roof and is sealed in place with caulking
That is correct. My AC pan was sealed down with some type of adhesive caulk. I do not think it was Vulkem.

-the air conditioner, without any foam gaskets, sits down in the pan, and the pan is sealed around the edges to the AC
There was no thick foam gasket beneath the air conditioner. There was a foam tape, with adhesive on two sides, that ran the full perimeter of the plastic pan. I'm not sure that was the way it came from the factory. Any water, whether rain that seeped in or condensation would have been directed into the drain line that runs down through the wall. If you look at the picture in my original posts, you will also see some small weep holes drilled in the pan perimeter. I do not think those were there originally. I think someone tried to let water out.

Is there anything in the mounting system to account for the rounded shape of the Airstream roof?
Yes, that pan is flexible, and somewhat rounded on the bottom to fit the roof. The pan conforms to the roof and beds into the caulking, by the weight of the AC unit and tightening the bolts that hold it in place.

Thanks!
If I were going to repair my trailer's AC leak today, I would not use the Airstream pan. Dometic Penguin came out with new drip cup system that will work on Airstreams. The pan is no longer need. You can search on this forum for Lewster's post on this subject..
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:17 PM   #8
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When I finished fixing the leak and started putting the interior back together I tried cleaning the filters. The foam part of the filter was so rotten it came apart when I ran water over it. I thought *!?#!, another trip to ODM, 40+ miles each way.

Instead I went to the local hardware and got some foam filter material and a tube of adhesive caulk. I pulled all the foam off of the plastic frames of those old filters. I cut the new foam to size and adhered it to the old frames. I used aluminum foil to separate the stacked filters then put weight on top until they cured overnight. Next morning I trimmed the foam where it overhung the edges. Cost less than $5. Two years and they still look like new.

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Old 06-07-2013, 06:27 PM   #9
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This has been a valuable thread for me. I have a brand spanking new Dometic Penguin that I have been preparing to install, and i bought the factory drain pan months ago. I spent the extra bucks to get the low profile AC unit,and it sounds like it would be even more low profile with the absence of the foam pads it would normally sit on. I feel like I ought to go ahead with the plan, but I keep hearing the "if I had it to do over again, i'd use the drip cups" comment, which gives me pause for thought. I see that the drip pan approach has the advantage that the AC will sit at least an inch closer to the roof, but it sounds like the drip pans are prone to collecting water, getting stinky, and dripping into the interior when they plug up. Anyone else want to share an experience?
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Old 06-07-2013, 07:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belegedhel View Post
So, just to confirm my understanding:

-the air conditioner, without any foam gaskets, sits down in the pan, and the pan is sealed around the edges to the AC

I think I have misspoken regarding nothing being between the AC unit and the plastic pan. I looked at my Dometic owner's manual. It shows a 14" x 14" foam gasket (Dometic part # 3100247.000). After thinking about it (my memory is not what it used to be), I think I did install that gasket on top of the pan. I'll check my receipts in my files and let you know if I bought it.

Thanks!
Sorry for the confusion!
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Old 06-07-2013, 08:47 PM   #11
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I did purchase the gasket. Found the receipt.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:08 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by A W Warn View Post
I did purchase the gasket. Found the receipt.
I just replaced my AC with a Dometic Penguine, and the drip cups are the way to go. Looks fine!
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:19 AM   #13
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The unit actually sits closer to the roof with the Dometic drip cup system, as the gaskets are compressed to a total height of 1" for the final installation of the unit.

Once properly in place, there is nothing to crack and leak condensate into the trailer's interior, as the drain pan is apt to do.
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