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NevaH 03-04-2012 08:17 PM

Air Conditioner replacement advice
I have purchased a Dometic unit to replace the old original Armstrong on my 1970 Soverign. I was reading the forum and am now concerned about the evaporation unit and the man power needed for installation. Do these units have a built in method for getting rid of the water? Looking at the underside of the old unit, it appears to have a drain line, but I don't know yet if that is just the construction of the old unit, or if that line actually leads to some magical hookup in this beast-of-a-camper that drains off the water in some unseen way. Also, I will have two big strong guys, one strong skinny daughter and me (let's not discuss me...:p) to lift off the old unit and lift on the new unit. Do I need to rent a bucket, or can it be done without a bucket if you have big, strong guys to do the lifting?:innocent:

Melody Ranch 03-04-2012 10:00 PM

You live very close to Caswells RV. You can get a pretty good deal on an AC there. You can unfasten the AC very easily. Two big guys can lift the AC out of position....However, now comes the problem area.....getting it off the roof without getting you or the Airstream hurt. If you can rig a hoist to an overhang and pull out from under it is the safest. Build up a sturdy wood ramp, like with a 2 x12 and then slide it off the roof is a way too. The drain you mentioned is the condensation drain....but you can do better when you upgrade,

AIR-Quarius 03-05-2012 05:03 AM

NevaH is the Armstrong still working? If so I would be interested in it, as the Armstrong in this one fried last year. Robin is right - there is a rubber tube line that usually runs off the right side of your house and hangs out below the wheel well for drainage.
Summer time is right around the corner! I myself would use the slide option to getting the AC unit off the top. Good luck Bill

NevaH 03-05-2012 08:40 AM

Yes, it still kicks on and sounds like it is running. I have a friend that works on refrigeration units and he checked it out and said it was out of freon (or whatever it is called :)) and that the compressor wasn't circulating. I have bought the new unit and that old one comes off today. I am in Springfield MO. You can e-mail me at if you want to work out a way to get the old one.

RVGuyRaleigh 03-10-2012 08:45 PM

A.C Replacement
Has anyone had any experience wih the newer coleman top mounted fan 15k units? I am interested to know the noise factor inside.

Here is the link

Coleman Air Conditioner on Sale - PPL Motor Homes

perryg114 03-11-2012 04:21 AM

As far as I know, Dometic is the only one who makes a unit that has an Airstream kit to do the drain. I think Airstream makes a universal pan that will work with different units. From what I am told the there, is a second gasket on the Dometic that raises the unit up enough for a drain assembly to fit under the unit.


RVGuyRaleigh 03-23-2012 07:54 PM

There is a way to do it with the new Colemans I just found out. (I had really bad luck with Dometic and wanted the new Coleman this time with the top mounted fan). I will post more when I have further information, but my vintage AS repair guy spoke with Coleman and they have it worked out. More to come.

perryg114 03-24-2012 02:17 PM

What were your problems with the Dometic?


RVGuyRaleigh 03-25-2012 02:56 PM

I had a Motorhome with 2 Dometic Penguin's. Junk! Capacitors went out 2 times. Units went bad twice as well. In just over 3 years replaced both units, fortunately under warranty. High noise levels as well. The new Coleman with the 17" top mounted fan is supposed to be quieter, more efficient, pull more hot air out of the unit and cool better. We'll see, but if you think about it, look at your a/c at home outside. Where is the fan? Top mounted, right? No squirrel wheel, so hopefully this will be better.

RVGuyRaleigh 04-18-2012 08:06 PM

Just had the Coleman 15k unit installed on the Airstream. Top mounted fac so no squirrel cage. Works great. I have come to accet all a/c's make about the same amount of noise. BUT....Coleman does make a pump system to push the condensation through the drain tube. Works better than gravity like Dometic. (I am NOT a fan of dometic....replaced too many of them)

So if you must replace...Coleman IS an alternative to Dometic and in my opinion, a much better choice.

RVGuyRaleigh 04-18-2012 08:07 PM

Meant to spell....."top mounted Fan"

cnsilver 04-25-2012 01:19 AM

RV Guy, who put your A/C in in? I am looking for a new one and someone to install it. We are in the Lake Lure area!! Thanks

RVGuyRaleigh 04-25-2012 06:44 AM

Just on the South Side of Raleigh, Capital City Customs. Dan Matthews is the owner. He does ALL my Airstream work, including the repolising I just had done, all new windows, other repairs and the new a/c. He is an Authorized Airstream Repair Facility. 919-772-3005. Tell him Neil referred you.

blickcd 04-25-2012 09:27 AM

Check out this thread and my post for removing the unit and getting a new one on the roof.

The unit I installed was a Carrier Air V heat pump, no longer available.


cnsilver 04-27-2012 11:18 AM

Do you think 2 able body people can install a Coleman 135000? Will it be a fit where the old Armstrong was? I don't know if we can afford someone to put it in especially if coming from Raleigh!!!

overlander64 04-27-2012 02:00 PM

Air Conditioner replacement advice
Greetings cnsilver!


Originally Posted by cnsilver (Post 1139410)
Do you think 2 able body people can install a Coleman 135000? Will it be a fit where the old Armstrong was? I don't know if we can afford someone to put it in especially if coming from Raleigh!!!

I don't know whether the mounting method changed between 1964 and 1970 for the Armstrong Air Conditioners, but if it didn't it is a little more complicated than just remove and replace. The Armstrong installed on my '64 Overlander had thee small, round holes through the roof rather than having been placed in a 14" x 14" square opening as would be the case with a modern RV air conditioner. What this meant was that when my dealer installed my new Coleman Air Conditioner, it was necessary to cut a 14" x 14" opening for the new air conditioner that encompassed the three round holes that the Armstrong utilized. Then it was necessary to brace the 14" x 14" opening with pressure treated lumber around its circumference. Then, all of the screw and rivet holes that the Armstrong drain pan attached to had to be cleaned and filled with Olympic Rivets to insure that there wouldn't be future leaks.

Once the Armstrong Air conditioner is removed and the opening as well as the roof have been prepared for the installation, it is a matter of your air conditioner selection in regard to what is next. If you wish to retain the condesate drain that flows from the roof opening through a hose in the wall that exits just ahead of the streetside wheels . . . you must select an air conditioner make and model that is compatible with the drain pan(s) available from the Airstream parts department. If you choose a new air conditioner with built-in drain system, you may be able to hook your existing hose into its drain fixture and be good to go . . . but it will take some investigation. My Coleman RV air conditioner did not have a drain kit nor was a drain pan available for it from Airstream . . . with this installation the condesate drains down the side of the coach . . . my Overlander has Polish and Plasticoat by P & S Trailer Service, and I haven't encountered any problems with the moisture draining over the side . . . but it has caused streaking of the paint on my Minuet . . . so the problems that such an arrangment might cause will vary according to coach.

If you haven't already made the final decision to go with a new air conditioner, you might try contacting a local Refrigeration Technician (not necessarily someone from an RV dealer) and have him/her take a look at your Armstrong. I can't tell you how many times that I wish that I had been told to do this as the Armstrong is very rebuildable and with proper attention from a refrigeration technician your Armstrong may live on for decades more. The Armstrong was built with commercial grade components and their are modern alternative replacements for virtually every component that will keep your Armstrong purring along happily. My Armstrong was so much quieter than any of the modern roof air conditioners that I have experienced, and I really like that it had a wall thermostat to control the temperature.

Good luck with your investigation!


P.S.: If you go through with replacing the Armstrong, I would suggest considering a 15,000 BTU unit if you anticipate any travel East of the Rocky Mountains . . . it takes the 15,000 BTU of my newer Coleman AC to keep my Overlander cool.

RVGuyRaleigh 05-10-2012 07:16 PM

Just a quick update on the Coleman versus the Dometic. The new Low Profile Mach 15000 Coleman with drain pump that DOES work with the tube drain system is great. Not really much difference in noise from Dometic, but used it last weekend in 85 degree heat. I could hang meat in there if I had wanted too. Now that's what I call a/c. haha. (I've had numerous Dometics and will never buy them again). Coleman is absolutely my a/c of choice!!!

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