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Old 08-12-2015, 07:59 PM   #1
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Hooray! I have AC again!

So today I installed a new Dometic Penguin II to replace the barely out of warranty one that failed on me. It was actually a pretty simple swap. Of course it helped a lot that I have a friend with a fork lift to get the old one down and the new one up. My son and I had no problem making the swap.

But......

It's a good thing I still had the installation manual that came in the big bag of Airstream stuff when I took delivery. There was no documentation in the box except for the warranty card.

And Lewster had warned me that Dometic would only send 3 bolts and that I would need 4. Wrong. I only needed 3 for my air distribution box, but the new AC came with exactly none.

I did add the second gasket as Dometic and Lewster recommended. I now have a quieter unit that puts out colder air than the old one ever did.

Thanks for the help Lew!!!

Oh and as Lewster also recommended I immediately signed up for the extra 3 years on the warranty.
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:04 PM   #2
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Was the original AC an older Penguin, or was it a Penguin II. What failed on the first one?
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:13 PM   #3
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It was a Penguin II. Loss of Refrigerant.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:30 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by daveswenson View Post
So today I installed a new Dometic Penguin II to replace the barely out of warranty one that failed on me. It was actually a pretty simple swap. Of course it helped a lot that I have a friend with a fork lift to get the old one down and the new one up. My son and I had no problem making the swap.

But......

It's a good thing I still had the installation manual that came in the big bag of Airstream stuff when I took delivery. There was no documentation in the box except for the warranty card.

And Lewster had warned me that Dometic would only send 3 bolts and that I would need 4. Wrong. I only needed 3 for my air distribution box, but the new AC came with exactly none.

I did add the second gasket as Dometic and Lewster recommended. I now have a quieter unit that puts out colder air than the old one ever did.

Thanks for the help Lew!!!

Oh and as Lewster also recommended I immediately signed up for the extra 3 years on the warranty.
Dave,

Glad that you got it done! BTW, While Dometic still ships only 3 bolts with new units (they actually are included with either a single zone thermostat kit OR with the lower air distribution box kit and NOT with the upper unit itself), I have found that the sealing gasket (or gaskets when you use the drain kit), especially when considering the curved Airstream roof, does not properly seal with only 3 bolts.

There are 2 more places for bolts located near the outer edge of the rear bracing bar in a direct line rearward from the forward 2 mounting bolts. I use 4 exclusively, even though Dometic only ships 3!

I have never had a call-back due to water leaks from a roof A/C.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:35 PM   #5
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Dave,

Glad that you got it done! BTW, While Dometic still ships only 3 bolts with new units (they actually are included with either a single zone thermostat kit OR with the lower air distribution box kit and NOT with the upper unit itself), I have found that the sealing gasket (or gaskets when you use the drain kit), especially when considering the curved Airstream roof, does not properly seal with only 3 bolts.

There are 2 more places for bolts located near the outer edge of the rear bracing bar in a direct line rearward from the forward 2 mounting bolts. I use 4 exclusively, even though Dometic only ships 3!

I have never had a call-back due to water leaks from a roof A/C.
Thanks Lew.
I guess I'll head to the hardware store and find another bolt.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:41 PM   #6
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Thanks Lew.
I guess I'll head to the hardware store and find another bolt.
They are 1/4-20. Dometic supplies them at 5" with 6" and 9" also available. I have some with me. Let me know if you can't find something suitable and I'll send you one!
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Old 08-13-2015, 08:41 AM   #7
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They are 1/4-20. Dometic supplies them at 5" with 6" and 9" also available. I have some with me. Let me know if you can't find something suitable and I'll send you one!
You're the best Lewster!!!
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Old 08-13-2015, 03:36 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveswenson View Post
So today I installed a new Dometic Penguin II to replace the barely out of warranty one that failed on me.
I'm having a problem with the Dometic unit on my 2011 Airstream, and I'm VERY upset about it. The unit was seldom used, and the local dealer wants $250 just to look at it.

The likely cause is refrigerant leak, and in case you didn't know, Dometic air conditioners are NON-REPAIRABLE, which seems crazy - I've had my cars recharged since the 1970's.

I've done some calling around, and have found an HVAC company in Wisconsin that will look at the unit for $150, and claims they can add a fitting to Dometic AC's to add refrigerant. The AS dealer wanted $1,500 price for a new unit (not including installation!), but this place can install a new one for $1,200.

The question is... Why would I want another Dometic if this one failed so soon and is technically non-repairable?

Is there a better option out there that is more reliable and repairable?

Glenn
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Old 08-13-2015, 03:38 PM   #9
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I got a weird feeling that the Penguins are going to wind up included in this recall. Seems like folks are coming out of the woodwork with "loss of coolant" issues.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:33 PM   #10
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Mission Accomplished. The fourth bolt has been added. I'm amazed at how quiet and how well this one works. Obviously my old one was bad from the beginning. I sure hope this one holds up. But I'm glad I have the extended warranty.
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Old 08-13-2015, 07:55 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Glenn T View Post
I'm having a problem with the Dometic unit on my 2011 Airstream, and I'm VERY upset about it. The unit was seldom used, and the local dealer wants $250 just to look at it.



The likely cause is refrigerant leak, and in case you didn't know, Dometic air conditioners are NON-REPAIRABLE, which seems crazy - I've had my cars recharged since the 1970's.



I've done some calling around, and have found an HVAC company in Wisconsin that will look at the unit for $150, and claims they can add a fitting to Dometic AC's to add refrigerant. The AS dealer wanted $1,500 price for a new unit (not including installation!), but this place can install a new one for $1,200.



The question is... Why would I want another Dometic if this one failed so soon and is technically non-repairable?



Is there a better option out there that is more reliable and repairable?



Glenn

Glenn,

There are no valves to enable a tech to add refrigerant to your Dometic ( or any other RV air conditioner. Even if you find someone who will add valves ( there should always be TWO valves on any air conditioner), you still have to find and repair the original leak.

$150 is outrageous to test the amperage draw of the compressor to get the definitive answer to whether your unit has leaked refrigerant!! The test literarily takes 10 minutes.

And if these guys only want to add one valve to your system to 'give it a shot of Freon' as the saying goes.... I would RUN from the place as fast as possible.

I have seen many 'repair' jobs like yours that leak out again within two to three months.

A new unit with the extended warranty would be far more cost effective......... but it's your trailer and your dime.


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Old 08-13-2015, 08:50 PM   #12
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This is a really cool thread.......
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Old 08-17-2015, 02:00 PM   #13
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$150 is outrageous to test the amperage draw of the compressor to get the definitive answer to whether your unit has leaked refrigerant!! The test literarily takes 10 minutes.

And if these guys only want to add one valve to your system to 'give it a shot of Freon
$150 was the CHEAPEST rate I could find, the AS dealer here in Chicago wanted $250!

I've asked RV dealers about installing ANYTHING but a Dometic AC, but they don't think it's possible due to the Dometic furnace and Dometic thermostat.

In order to get a quality, repairable, dependable AC, I may need to replace my thermostat and furnace as well as the AC. After reading about Penguin II failures online, I'm extremely upset that AS chose Dometic as their supplier.

I should know by the end of the week if I can get around this problem - I'll keep you posted.

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Old 08-17-2015, 03:40 PM   #14
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$150 was the CHEAPEST rate I could find, the AS dealer here in Chicago wanted $250!



I've asked RV dealers about installing ANYTHING but a Dometic AC, but they don't think it's possible due to the Dometic furnace and Dometic thermostat.



In order to get a quality, repairable, dependable AC, I may need to replace my thermostat and furnace as well as the AC. After reading about Penguin II failures online, I'm extremely upset that AS chose Dometic as their supplier.



I should know by the end of the week if I can get around this problem - I'll keep you posted.



Glenn

Glenn,

Unfortunately, your search for a 'repairable' A/C unit for your trailer will be fruitless, as such a device does not exist. NONE of the present manufacturers make a unit with process valves for refrigerant or even have major parts like coils or compressors available.

You can switch to another another RV unit like RVP/ Coleman and rewire your trailer for their digital thermostat, but the STILL are not repairable.

And BTW, either a Dometic or RVP with digital thermostat can accommodate ANY RV furnace like Atwood or Suburban.


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Old 08-17-2015, 03:46 PM   #15
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I have a related, very basic question for Lew. I have seen pics of A/C units resting upside down for gasket and drip pan installation. I know some systems will not tolerate being upside down or on their side. Sears guy ruined a deep freeze that way. Had to return it for refrigerant lock up. Is it OK to turn an RV A/C unit upside down?
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:24 PM   #16
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I have a related, very basic question for Lew. I have seen pics of A/C units resting upside down for gasket and drip pan installation. I know some systems will not tolerate being upside down or on their side. Sears guy ruined a deep freeze that way. Had to return it for refrigerant lock up. Is it OK to turn an RV A/C unit upside down?
Rich,

When I install roof A/C units, especially on large flat roof trailers and MoHos, the A/C unit is brought to the roof in it's shipping box and more often than not, winds up in it's side or top........ especially for the installation of a Dometic drip kit.

The key to not damaging said unit is to place it in it's installation position and wait a minimum of 1 hour for all of the refrigerant to settle before energizing the A/C.

I have never had an issue with any new roof A/C by following this guide.
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:37 PM   #17
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What refrigerant, and oil is used in these? I am assuming 410A?

I would think that if you are doing it yourself to allow 12-24 hours in the correct position before energizing the AC.

BTW, same goes for any compressor appliance, such as dorm fridge, dehumidifier, freezer, or fridge.

And I would bet that the "sealed system" is by design to widen the distribution channel so that an EPA refrigerant license isn't required to install the units.
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Old 08-17-2015, 07:41 PM   #18
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Thanks, Lew. I don't need a new A/C (crossed legs and fingers) but I've been patching up my drip pan for a couple years. I got a feeling the drip kit and double gaskets are in my not too distant future.
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Old 08-17-2015, 10:54 PM   #19
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What refrigerant, and oil is used in these? I am assuming 410A?

I would think that if you are doing it yourself to allow 12-24 hours in the correct position before energizing the AC.

BTW, same goes for any compressor appliance, such as dorm fridge, dehumidifier, freezer, or fridge.

And I would bet that the "sealed system" is by design to widen the distribution channel so that an EPA refrigerant license isn't required to install the units.
PB,

I have an ARI (American Refrigeration Institute) unlimited refrigerant license that is EPA approved, which allows me to legally handle any refrigerant made. This includes purchase, handling, re-charging, recovery and recycling of all refrigerants.

A refrigerant license is not required when installing of handling the hermetically sealed systems of any RV type air conditioner or heat pump system, but IS required if you break into the system for any reason.

There is also a $10,000 federally mandated fine for knowingly or willfully releasing any refrigerant into the atmosphere. Both the Feds and State EPA groups are very strict on this issue!!
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