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Old 07-28-2019, 06:49 AM   #1
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AC unit fell off our 2017 BC

We were just pulling in to our boondocking spot and discovered that the AC unit had fallen off and was now lying on the ground! Not the cover, the entire AC unit. Big hole in the roof. Got it inside the AS (not an easy feat), turned around and came home. Very disappointing. Windish got us in the next day. The 4 bolts had sheared off. I can't imaging the outcome if this had happened on the highway. Our daughter was in a car right behind us! Scary!!

Will keep the group posted on the outcome.
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Old 07-28-2019, 07:04 AM   #2
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Hi

Our next door neighbor had a similar experience on their 19'. It didn't come off, but it was darn close. Oddly enough they had just pulled into JC for service ....

Bob
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:57 AM   #3
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It is fixed

Just wanted to update everyone that we got a new AC Unit installed. Will at Windish in Lakewood,CO took really good care of us. To keep us going, they put a patch on the roof until the unit came in and could be installed. Will was great!
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Old 09-23-2019, 06:02 AM   #4
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How the bejeezers do four bolts shear off? How big, or small were the bolts?

That doesn't make sense that mere airflow forces would cause four bolts to shear off.

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Old 09-23-2019, 06:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by louisekuiper View Post
. . .
The 4 bolts had sheared off.
. . .


Did you see the actual bolts [and save them hopefully?], or are you relying on the dealer's version of what happened?

It is highly highly highly unlikely that the 4 bolts just sheared off in 4 identical fashions IMO. [unless a low-hanging tree limb etc. hit the A/C real hard, or something like that]

I would ask the dealer to give you the 4 bolts, and to put its explanation in writing. Ditto for Airstream sending you an email with its corporate statement on this.

There may be something rotten in Denmark IMO.

Thanks for the heads up and welcome to the forum!

Peter
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:31 AM   #6
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Yes, we have the bolts. We take the BC on back roads and assume it just couldn't handle the bouncing and vibration of the dirt roads. Not that we drive like maniacs or anything. The bolts sheared off in the thread area of the bolt. Seems like poor design - poor bolt choice for this application. The threads shouldn't be taking the force, the shank should.
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:37 AM   #7
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Thanks. Road action should not have affected the bolts IMO, although you raise some good points.

If all four bolts sheared off in the same fashion, that batch of bolts may have been bad from a manufacturing defect, or poor bolt/AC placement design IMO. When the A/C is placed on the roof, is there some kind of channel or perimeter guides to lock it in place, in order to absorb lateral forces from road action? The bolts should not be performing this mechanical function IMO -- only holding the A/C down. [as you seem to recognize re: the threads at least]

What will prevent this from happening again, according to your dealer?

As you said at first, very lucky that the A/C did not fly off and cause an accident or injury to your daughter, or other motorists.

Happy trails,

Peter
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:58 AM   #8
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My guess: The bolts were not torqued properly when the AC unit was installed originally.

If the bolts are loose, the weight of the AC moving forward and backward during braking and/or acceleration could easily shear those bolts. The bolts are small diameter and long, designed to be in tension, with not much strength in shear. The distance between the interior air box and the roof top unit is a couple inches, which would create a lot of leverage on those bolts if the AC moves. If the bolts were left loose the AC gasket would not resist and absorb the energy of horizontal force.
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:05 AM   #9
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Good guess Alan.

Peter
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Old 09-25-2019, 09:03 AM   #10
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Hi

Once one bolt goes, the load on the rest increases. By the time you get to the last bolt, there's no way it's going to handle the forces it's seeing.

Bob
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Old 09-26-2019, 08:55 PM   #11
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Was it “sheared” or “threads stripped”?

Our new Penguin has wrong diameter bolts and would loosen!!!

New bolts were colored blue and fit more snugly. They loosened up too.

Reinstalled with RED loctite. I think the problem is bad captive nuts which would probably require replacement of the AC. So, my solution... Nylock nuts as “backers” after torquing.
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