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Old 07-14-2021, 02:59 PM   #1
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
Pala , California
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How Hard to Install An AC Unit?

Hi,

I've about given up on getting warranty work done on my 2019 FC Dometic AC 150000 BTU. No parts, extended repair schedule and warranty nonsense.

Seem like the cheapest fastest way to get AC will be to replace the entire unit!

The biggest challenge looks like getting the new one up on the roof! I've considered just parting out as well which would be maybe easier...maybe not...

Are there other drop in models I should consider or would the Penguin II I believe the the best option?

I understand the newer Dometic have a soft start built in....

Anyone attempted this and can give me an idea of how doable this is?


Thanks!

Trav
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Old 07-14-2021, 03:26 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TravisH View Post
Hi,

I've about given up on getting warranty work done on my 2019 FC Dometic AC 150000 BTU. No parts, extended repair schedule and warranty nonsense.

Seem like the cheapest fastest way to get AC will be to replace the entire unit!

The biggest challenge looks like getting the new one up on the roof! I've considered just parting out as well which would be maybe easier...maybe not...

Are there other drop in models I should consider or would the Penguin II I believe the the best option?

I understand the newer Dometic have a soft start built in....

Anyone attempted this and can give me an idea of how doable this is?


Thanks!

Trav
I've installed an A/C unit on a trailer that was prewired for A/C and found the process very easy. Obviously replacing with like kind is easy since you should find all the wiring is compatible with what runs do the existing unit.

The issue is getting the old unit lowered to the ground and the new one up on top. When I did this previously, it was on a Hi-Lo trailer that was in it's collapsed position. The unit weighed 80 lbs and my neighbor and I were able to lift it from the ground to the roof of the trailer easily by hand. Secondly the Hi-Lo had an aluminum cladded roof and there were no footing restrictions as to where we could stand.

Personally I wouldn't be trying that today since I don't have the equipment to handle the heavier weight of the Penguin nor the issue of the limited footing access to the roof. I've watched my dealer and the folks at Jackson Center do it and they use fork lift vehicles to do the heavy lifting.

Jack
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Old 07-14-2021, 03:44 PM   #3
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Hi

I've been through this with a couple of folks. Each time the "lift on / off the roof" part was the thing that moved it out of DIY territory. The combination of doing a waltz on the roof (to prevent damage by stepping in the wrong spot and a fairly heavy / bulky "gizmo" is not easy to deal with. Indeed, probably easier if you are still in your 20's

Brand wise, I'd go see what you actually can find / buy first. The same things that are making service and parts hard to get also are making shopping for something like this difficult.

Most of these RV A/C units are generic to a degree. You can fit this or that on this or that. It may require a plate between the two. You also likely will replace the thermostat if you go with another brand.

If Dometic is like the "other guys" (Coleman ...) the soft start is an optional item. You get it if you order it and pay (more) for it. Otherwise the unit does not come with it. ( Again, that's an if, I have dug into the other brands rather than Dometic).

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Old 07-14-2021, 03:56 PM   #4
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How Hard to Install An AC Unit?

The swap over is relatively easy. The logistics of getting the old unit off the roof and the new unit on is the challenge. I used a boom on the loader bucket of my tractor last time. Much easier on the back and much less risk of damaging the trailer.
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Old 07-14-2021, 04:21 PM   #5
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When I replaced my old unit a few years ago, I used rope, moving blankets, and an extension ladder. My old unit was worthless, so I just slid it on to a moving blanket to protect the trailer and then just pushed it over the side.

To get the new one up, (15K Dometic) I left it packed in the box and pushed it up the extension ladder onto some waiting moving blankets where I unpacked it and slid it into place using the moving blanket. The ropes were a backup if I needed help hoisting from the other side of the trailer.

Make sure you have a good helper and take the time to get comfortable moving around on your roof before you start. Good luck and I hope you find a safer and easier method.
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Old 07-14-2021, 06:33 PM   #6
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Check out this thread and the piece of equipment in post #9.

https://www.airforums.com/forums/f42...ml#post2498417

The 'duct lift' allows a single person to do the whole job. I used a moving blanket between the roof and a sheet of 3/8" plywood for a walkabout surface without damaging the painted finish or bending the aluminum.

I rented the lift from the equipment rental company co-located with Lowes nearby. The lift collapses and the parts are easily transported in a pickup and cost me ~$60 for the day.
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Old 07-14-2021, 08:18 PM   #7
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Good idea. The "duct lift" would be 60 bucks well spent.
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Old 07-14-2021, 08:28 PM   #8
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Renting a lift is the way to go. My house has a detached garage. I park up close to the edge of the roof and walk onto my Airstream from the garage roof when needed.
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Old 07-14-2021, 08:38 PM   #9
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As everyone has said, it's not necessarily hard, but the logistics and lifting can be a barrier.

I would highly recommend sourcing proper lift equipment. Personally, I would recommend a full powered scissor lift for a bit more money. For the amount of times you'll need to go up and down the curved roof, stability and safety of lift, and the potential ramifications to property or person, it's worth the extra money to do this safely if you want to do this yourself.

Here's how I did mine
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https://www.airforums.com/forums/f42...de-195288.html
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Old 07-16-2021, 06:49 PM   #10
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related question: as long as one is replacing their AC unit, are there smart thermostats that work with e.g. HomeAssistant that you could install with it?
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