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Old 04-14-2021, 06:57 AM   #1
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2008 19' Bambi
Austin , Texas
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AC not working after recent Guest

Pulled my 2008 19' Airstream out of storage where it has been all winter and my AC would not turn on in Cool mode or Fan only mode, nuthing no sounds no nothin. So I check all fuse's, and pulled the inside cover down. Checked for 120V going to unit and it was present. So time to pull out ladder and check up stairs. I found there had been a recent guest living under the shroud and eating all kinds of things. Wires and plastic dividers. Question is this unit salvageable? This is a Dometic Penquin Heat pump/AC 13,500BTU
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:04 AM   #2
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Looks like time to vacuum out the mess and splice/replace any damaged wires. Hopefully that'll get it going.
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:06 AM   #3
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

If this were my dilemma, I believe that I would just go ahead and replace the unit with a brand new one. I don't think that I would want to spend a lot of time and money to repair a unit that is thirteen years old. I am assuming that this is the original a/c unit.

Brian
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:21 AM   #4
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Bingo!
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:39 AM   #5
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What is the best practice for preventing this from happening?
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:46 AM   #6
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Following this thread.. I see lots of folks stating they have had critters.. aside from sealing up every possible hole they can crawl into, I believe there are a variety of solutions available. I kept the mice out of my porch roof by jamming steel wool into the crack they were entering from and that seemed to work. But there has to be other ways.. I'm definately interested in hearing what others have to say about keeping the critters out
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:58 AM   #7
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On the AC, get a new one and have it professionally installed.

On preventing future visitors, critters have to get from the ground into the trailer somehow. Make that hard...and eliminate ones which do get inside:

* Kill all weeds and undergrowth.
* Trim away any overhanging branches (squirrels, mice, etc) are quite amazing base jumpers)
* Put a rodent trap next to tongue jack and wheels. And place safety chains and light plug up on the tongue (the chains are a perfect ladder for inquisitive mice)
* Check belly pan of Airstream and close all gaps.
* And while in storage place rodent trap inside on floor too (avoid using poisons inside trailer because many melt in heat).
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:58 AM   #8
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The slots on the sides of the AC base are open holes for birds and other critters to enter and build a nest. I noticed a bird going in and out of mine and upon removing the upper shroud found it was building a nest. I installed 1/4" chicken wire strips along the open spaces and have had no intruders since. Seems like an obvious addition that Dometic and others should have included.
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:06 AM   #9
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Hi

I'd replace it. Even if it can be patched together, it will never be quite clear what all the damage is. Having an A/C that isn't "trustworthy" would not be an option for me.

Critters are one reason we store our trailer indoors. That reduces (but does not eliminate) them getting access to here or there. I try to put a few bait packets around the wheels and the jack. (if I remember ....)

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Old 04-14-2021, 10:13 AM   #10
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Replace

From the looks of it, I would resign myself to a replacement. And perhaps think about if upgrading to a 15kbtu unit would make sense, especially in your area where temps and humidity get very very high. I stayed at Pecan Grove RV park a few times in my '63, and the ac seemed like it wanted to be a water pump.
I do cover-off ac service as part of my yearly inspections, and have occasionally found evidence of rodents and birds in my units and clients units. Difficult to prevent, because if your preventative measures include filtering thats too fine, then it will clog up really quick and render your ac useless. Chicken wire or swamp cooler filter material is about as small as I would recommend. Swamp cooler mesh lets a lot of air through, but won't allow for rodents to enter you would have to replace it periodically. In any case, best practice is to check often once you get a new air conditioner.
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:26 AM   #11
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Well, before I shelled out some big bucks for a new a/c, Id be doing some quality weatherproof splices. Tedious work but a dozen splices and a few feet of wire versus new (not to mention installation).

Not to mention that RV appliances are in pretty short supply right now there are some production lines sitting idle waiting for parts.

Yes, it is an older unit but, personally, I dont think newer means better manufacturers keep using the cheapest materials available and never hesitate to lower quality in exchange for greater profit.
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:49 AM   #12
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As long as the unit is sound, the repair is not terribly difficult. Ive had to do it twice to my 2007 Safari. I now have what I think will be a permanent solution and I will try to post pictures if i can figure out how to post them.
As for the repair, all the wires are color coded and can be spliced fairly easily , although it will be time consuming. I found that the eaten plastic partitions and styrofoam did not adversely affect function unless extreme.
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Old 04-14-2021, 11:58 AM   #13
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Awkirch, you are a genius. I have some extra bee mesh and now have a weekend project!
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Old 04-14-2021, 12:03 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awkirch View Post
. . .
. . . I now have what I think will be a permanent solution . . .
. . .
That looks like standard 1/2" hardware cloth available in most hardware stores . . . is that the right spec?

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Old 04-14-2021, 01:44 PM   #15
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Yep, bought it at Home Depot, but it’s 1/4” . You want the smallest opening size you can get
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Old 04-14-2021, 01:46 PM   #16
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Also, I used stainless steel fender washers and stainless sheet metal screws
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Old 04-14-2021, 01:48 PM   #17
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Oh, and stainless steel zip ties where I couldn’t get a screw to work
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Old 04-14-2021, 02:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awkirch View Post
Yep, bought it at Home Depot, but it’s 1/4” . You want the smallest opening size you can get
Thanks for this confirmation, and the other details. Hardware cloth is great stuff!
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Old 04-14-2021, 07:57 PM   #19
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I keep this unit parked at our Lake Lot and there is a tree close by, so the tree rats jumped from the tree to the roof I suspect. I Keep hearing that the new AC units are being made in China and are not lasting as long as the older units. I called my Insurance company USAA and they said my Comprehensive insurance will cover the damages. So I am going to file the claim and see where that leads.
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:03 PM   #20
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Lorena , Texas
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Been there

I found the night before a one week trip that a squirrel had been living in mine. It had literally eaten every wire in two. Most of the wires had long sections missing. Between colors, sizes and routing I was able to splice it back together in about four hours using what I had available. I then added a galvanized wire (again its what I had) down the middle of the openings to make it too small for squirrels to get in.

When I got home I trimmed the tree branch that had served as a squirrel highway. If Id thought of it Id have added the hardware cloth to block entry through the openings. Darn good idea there.
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