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andyherman 09-07-2019 12:59 PM

Is this the wrong air distribution box?
2 Attachment(s)
Just returned from Sutton RV after having my old AC replaced with a Penguin II 15K unit.
AC works fine but air distribution of the hot/cold air in the AS sucks.
First night the BR was warm and kitchen/lounge quite cool. The air distribution box installed doesn't look anything like units on new AS's I've seen.
Ones I've seen have louvers in the front & back & vanes to direct air flow, here's a link to that unit -

My new unit only has 1 opening with a flap on the front and the same arrangement on the back & no means of directing air flow other than changing opening size (see attached photos).

I have a feeling THIS IS NOT the correct air distribution box for the AS. This unit does a terrible job of distributing air in the AS.

In notes from the installation, there's a comment "had to cut ceiling panel so new AC ceiling assembly would fit", which really concerns me if this is the incorrect air distribution box as I believe it is.
Any thoughts would be appreciated?

lsbrodsky 09-07-2019 01:05 PM

My 2012 looks like the PantherRV link you provided.

AirstreamJim 09-07-2019 01:12 PM

When we had our AC replaced at the mothership in Jackson Center (upgraded to the 15K unit) they didn’t change the interior ADB; they told us the original 2007 ADB would be fine. But we wanted everything new, so they installed the new style ADB just like the one in that Panther RV link you posted. They didn’t have to make any changes to the ceiling panel, it just fit.

I can’t say yours is wrong, but it’s not what JC would have installed.


andyherman 09-07-2019 08:27 PM

What concerns me is the kitchen/lounge area gets freezing cold and the bedroom stays much, much warmer - to the point that in order to get the bedroom at a comfortable level, the kitchen/lounge is way too cold - and I REALLY like the cold.
That little opening on the rear of the ADB is is only 6" x 1" and is the only means of getting the cold air conditioned air to the front of the AS where the bedroom is.
I tried searching for the part # Sutton used but couldn't find anything on the Dometic site (not surprising as it's one of the worst sites to get any information from). I just found the unit I've got on the Camping World web site -

BTW, Sutton charged me $172.56 for this ADB versus the $90.52 price at Camping World.

overlander63 09-08-2019 04:24 AM

That air distribution box is similar to the one found in the Sport models.

GMFL 09-08-2019 07:29 AM

That Air distribution box is a genetic box. Not what is standard for the Penguin II AC units.

Sport 16 STL 09-08-2019 10:14 PM

The distribution unit looks the same as on our 13.5 penguin ac unit. We have a sport 16 and bedroom is cool and we adjust the vents to disperse air in preferred direction.

superChop 09-09-2019 09:04 AM

Andy - we feel your pain! We had the Penguin II installed in our renovated Overlander, and had the same air distribution problems. We had to shut the down, side and front or rear vents to get air flowing to front or rear, separately, but not simultaneously = only front or back not both and do not think about down or side vents!

Our long path to satisfaction.
First step was to contact Dometic Customer Service where they informed us that the system was designed that way. What a joke! I informed her that from a manufacturing perspective, if you had to close and open air vents many times throughout the day, the vent covers would be more robust, instead of the cheap plastic ones with little nubs that break frequently break off. Result - they sent us more vent covers. Pls note that we met other AS’ers with this lousy air distribution at ToP of GA AS Park. Plus, a friend is renovating an old school bus and has two of these units installed with the same air distribution problem!

Second and successful step. On our journey back to middle GA from LYH in Melbourne, we stopped by the Tampa RV show and visited the Dometic booth and told our story. They passed us to a veteran employee who retired and was working as a consultant at RV shows. He believed our story, sent us a new ADB and interior cover at no charge and air distribution problems have been resolved!! They even covered labor for installation of the equipment!

If an RV show is not scheduled near you in the near future, I would contact Dometic Customer Service and request a FACETIME conversation to show them your problem and demand a new ADB. Emphasize customer dissatisfaction and the promise of negative command media IF they do not resolve your air distribution problem.

andyherman 09-09-2019 12:10 PM

OK, this is now the FOURTH TIME - tried again and got another error - NOT LOGGED IN so the FIFTH time I've had to log in - again. Air Forums needs to FIX their site. I tried to post this response and got an error that I wasn't logged in (this after having to log in to reply in the first place). Then logged in again and tried to submit the message and got an error message that it couldn't be posted because I logged in again! Just tried to post again and got an error message that I'm NOT LOGGED IN - REALLY INFURIATING!!!GMFL, I was hoping you would comment as you had stated you did this upgrade. I was wondering if you had to cut the ceiling panel in the AS to fit the ADB you installed (that's my major concern with this unit - if they cut a hole that's larger than required for the "correct" ADB it's going to be a problem).
I can understand why the unit they installed in my AS might work in a 16 footer as there's much less interior volume to cool/heat and you don't have the doorway separating the BR from the rest of the AS.
SuperChop - Depending on any issues with the larger hole cut in the ceiling panel, I may just fork out the money and buy the "correct" unit and install it myself. It was a 500+ mile trip each way to Sutton and I really don't want to take the time or expense to make that trip again. I would want Sutton to refund the cost of the poor unit they installed.

dolson 09-09-2019 12:41 PM

Superchop: how is the new ADB better/different?

cliffcharb 09-09-2019 01:41 PM

As someone who just installed a new Penguin II we have the same air distribution box and just as unhappy as you. We contacted Dometic who informed us this is the only available box for non-ducted installations.
The issue is the fact that the air intake is now in the forward position, blocking the forward vent. We could not get our trailer under 85 degrees, forward of the AC, camping over the labor day weekend. We tested the output temperature at it was blowing 48 degrees, so the unit is operating properly. The 20 year old Duo-Therm had no issues keeping the trailer cool in all directions.
If there is indeed another box available I'd like that part number

pteck 09-11-2019 11:32 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I likewise have the same issue with my new Dometic Blizzard NXT that uses the same universal Dometic ADB. Reaching out to Dometic provided this non-answer:


The ADB boxes are designed to distribute 80% of the air flow to the back of the unit and 20% towards the front. The only way to make the air flow more evenly distrusted throughout the unit you would need to have a ducted system.
Personally, as an engineer, this is not so much design as a consequence of their cost savings to produce a cheaper universal ADB. Which is hugely disappointing as those of us with unducted trailers now have no suitable replacement per how the original ADBs were designed to distribute air. That is properly front and back.

I suspect that the previous generation Penguin ADBs that have balanced front to back air distribution control can be retrofitted with minimal effort. Those of you with Penguins 2s, perhaps would have them even drop right in.

Attachment 351926

I'd encourage everyone to continue to contact Dometic for a solution as it can't only be the Airstream community dealing with this poor design issue.

superChop - Can you please share what ADB was used for your fix? Is it the one pictured here in my post?

pteck 09-11-2019 11:51 AM

1 Attachment(s)
In lieu of an effective ADB...

I've setup a fan to take the cold airflow off the side vent to send to the front. This works well as it gives the cold air enough airspeed to actually get to and cool the front bedroom of my 27FB.

Attachment 351932

The fan installs via suction cup to the aluminum roof and hold firmly. Powered by 12V.

AirstreamJim 09-11-2019 11:54 AM

The ADB pictured in your post is the one used in trailers that have no separate thermostat to control the AC; the AC controls are integral to that ADB.

My “newer” ADB looks much like that picture except that it doesn’t have the knobs to control the AC.

I recently bought a replacement because mine broke while I was removing it to clean inside and look for a condensation leak. Here’s the link to the ADB I bought, including pictures:

This is the same as the one Jackson Center installed two years ago and it fits my Penguin 2 15K BTU AC/Heat Pump and works well. I can direct cooling wherever I need it, front or back of the trailer.

My only complaint with any of these ADBs is that they are made to fit snug against a flat ceiling, not the curved Airstream ceiling. As a result, there are gaps between the ADB and the ceiling, and the attachment points are stressed when you tighten the attaching screws.


Crackerman 09-11-2019 09:17 PM

If you still have the original square clunky airbox that came with your original penguin, it works fine on the new penguin 11. It moves air around the trailer much better than any of the other dometic offerings. Yeah, it's clunky and off white, but performance is everything.

Those new airboxes are terrible. They dont even work well in a 19 ft Globetrotter.

superChop 09-11-2019 11:35 PM

Peck - the duo therm unit that has been included as a picture in this thread is the one that Dometic sent us. Dometic authorized service center installed it in Macon, GA. Results have been like “night” and “day”! We are able to easily manage flow from front to back, with none of the nonsense about an 80/20 distribution ratio.

I wonder if any Dometic AC designer has spent any time in a trailer of any type? There are regular situations where someone needs AC in both the front and rear of the trailer. One that comes to mind is when our grandkids are sleeping in back and we are watching a show in front. Not sure why any AS would have the original ADB Penguin II installed in non-ducted trailers? My 1989 Excella OEM AC has better ADB than the Penguin II (before we switched!

dsatwork 09-18-2019 12:54 PM

In our 27FB with the original Dometic™ (Duo-Therm) Air Distribution Ceiling Assembly Kit that allows downward flow of the air, we use Dyson fan to move the air to the front bedroom compartment. We live fulltime in our AS and in this permanent location we face east, so the early morning sun starts heating the bedroom compartment up, very early in the morning. Without the dyson fans, there wouldn't be enough airflow from it's single forward facing air vent to keep the front bedroom cool.

But as an FYI, during our first summer last year, where our 15K AC couldn't keep up at all, was another problem related to the housing. I found it because I was trying to solve the plugged drain tube issue, which required me to remove the the air distribution cover. What I found was the air boot that directs the air from the blower to the vents was not attached properly and there was a 2" gap allow cold air to escape into the skin of the of the airstream. Once that was fixed and we added the dyson fans, we can completely control the temperature in both the front and back of the the AS. We have also been very comfortable this summer, even on the hottest triple digit days.

Cobalt 09-20-2019 05:24 PM

I’ve had unbelievably great service from Dometic, not for an ADB, for one of a dozen items made by them in my AS. Just relay the problem and work with them through resolving it by trying everything they suggest to fix. Their Customer Service has never disappointed me, as they can establish existing part is not working they will get you a replacement, I’m sure.

pteck 09-22-2019 09:47 PM


Originally Posted by Cobalt (Post 2290873)
I’ve had unbelievably great service from Dometic, not for an ADB, for one of a dozen items made by them in my AS. Just relay the problem and work with them through resolving it by trying everything they suggest to fix. Their Customer Service has never disappointed me, as they can establish existing part is not working they will get you a replacement, I’m sure.

Unfortunately, I've done that and they offered nothing more than to say that the new ADB is designed to work as such. With no further recourse or support.

The new ADB design is very much in contrast to the original designs that distribute flow forward or backwards evenly. It is completely biased one way due to it's design, and is not something that is defective.

andyherman 09-24-2019 04:46 PM

Just tried calling Dometic Customer Service. Went through the initial voice prompts then selected the prompt for AC's, rang through and got a recording that they are closed and was immediately disconnected with no further information (e.g., hours of operation, call back between x and x, etc.). Not a word on their "Contact Us" url concerning hours of operation.
Looking through Yelp reviews, not encouraging -

It appears CS operates from 8:30 AM (presumably Eastern time) until 12:30 then from 1:30 until ???? who knows

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