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Old 04-07-2008, 08:35 AM   #1
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1989 25' Excella
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Replace roof A/C with a window unit?

This might be crazy, but......

My wife and I hate using the A/C on our '89 Excella. It is noisy and makes us feel claustrophobic with all of the doors and windows closed. Also, we usually end up somewhere without electricity. But, once in a while we really need to keep a little cooler so do run the A/C.

Here is the thought. Remove the roof A/C and replace it with another fantastic fan. Buy a window unit and build some sort of adapter so that it can be easily installed in a "cosmetically appropriate" fashsion. Then, for the few times we need A/C we can pull the A/C from the truck, hang it on the window and keep cool. This also has the added advantages of lower wind resistance when towing, no ugly pod on top of my shiny polished trailer, and the possibility of running the A/C with my single Honda EU 2000 generator.

I think the alternative is to try and find a new roof A/C that is much quieter and has a lower profile. I am always perplexed by the problems that the A/C unit and the awning cuase to the "streamlining" of the Airstream.

I'm looking forward to other's thoughts.
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Old 04-07-2008, 09:01 AM   #2
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Well roof A/C units are not the most quiet things in the world. My SOB had ducted roof air which really made a big difference in sound levels and comfort. The newer Penguin units don't provide that much of a wind block and technically you could paint them to make a better color blend. I just replaced my shroud Saturday with one which is grey in color and without all the Airstream/Duo-Therm advertising on it. I think it looks a heck of a lot better.

Quite honestly putting one in the window means potentially pulling the screen and maybe some glass and getting the window frame to support the weight of the window unit. This could booger up the window frame if it weighs too much. The other issue is BTU's. Consider you would need to unit that does at least 12K BTU's (maybe bigger) to cool the whole trailer dependent on locale. Finally consider electric and what circuit that window unit would have to run on. You probably would need to run a new one to intercept the same breaker that your ceiling unit runs on.

All in all, I just don't see this as a positive move for you.

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Old 04-07-2008, 03:46 PM   #3
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Agreed. There are some other threads that discuss this.
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:40 PM   #4
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If you really, REALLY didn't want the roof unit, there are some split-type units out there that MAY work for you. The compressor and condenser are on the tongue, and the evaporator and interior fan are mounted inside.
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Old 04-07-2008, 04:49 PM   #5
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- I've seen photos of really slick little AC's put under cabinets in a couple of Globetrotters that hardcore vintage-heads fashioned to keep from ruining the purity of the roofline... but these were permanent installations.. a search should yield details

- I think maybe it was Fred Coldwell who also had a semi-removable little ac that he used at one particular rally, along with trim pieces to make it fit right...although I can't remember where I saw that exactly... maybe someone else can supply some info...

-down here in the jungle we take AC any way we can get it, hoss! roofline-shmoofline! ;-)
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Old 04-07-2008, 05:34 PM   #6
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Dometic makes a self-contained 7K BTU AC that may replace your central heat system. (11.75H x 10.25W x 19.25D and only 53#) Your generator should power this size AC without a problem. It has a heat strip available, but, it would make more sense for dry camping to add some type of gas radiant heater. It will not provide the same cooling capicity as your current 13.5BTU AC, but, it sounds like you are not spending much time in extreme heat. They have larger units available. Dometic Truck Products can give you more info.
This unit would be built into your existing space (in place of your furnace) and use your existing ductwork.
Best of luck, and let us know when you pitch the old roof AC!
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Old 04-07-2008, 06:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musketeer
This might be crazy, but......

My wife and I hate using the A/C on our '89 Excella. It is noisy and makes us feel claustrophobic with all of the doors and windows closed. Also, we usually end up somewhere without electricity. But, once in a while we really need to keep a little cooler so do run the A/C.

Here is the thought. Remove the roof A/C and replace it with another fantastic fan. Buy a window unit and build some sort of adapter so that it can be easily installed in a "cosmetically appropriate" fashsion. Then, for the few times we need A/C we can pull the A/C from the truck, hang it on the window and keep cool. This also has the added advantages of lower wind resistance when towing, no ugly pod on top of my shiny polished trailer, and the possibility of running the A/C with my single Honda EU 2000 generator.

I think the alternative is to try and find a new roof A/C that is much quieter and has a lower profile. I am always perplexed by the problems that the A/C unit and the awning cuase to the "streamlining" of the Airstream.

I'm looking forward to other's thoughts.
A window AC, is exactly that. It's supposed to be mounted in a window opening, that does not travel down the road.

Certainly, window units were "not" made to take the punishments that highway travel imposes on equipment.

Andy
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:01 PM   #8
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Certainly, window units were "not" made to take the punishments that highway travel imposes on equipment.

Andy
This is the same reason we have absorption-type fridges, rather than household units, but that's a subject for another thread--or twenty.
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:10 PM   #9
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Contact forums member rideair. He has a setup for a front window AC unit that uses a piece of plexi and window clips. It looks good, and supposedly works like a charm,

Steve
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:30 PM   #10
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Oh, I'm not planning on going down the road with it in the window. If I did this the window A/C would be stashed in the truck. I was thinking maybe I would build an aluminum fixture that would be fitted temporaily to the window only if I need the cool. Last summer I used my A/C exactly once. Maybe I will just pull the roof A/C, get another fan and call it good enough. Here in Minnesota we have a great place to camp to beat the heat, the North Shore of Lake Superior. Last summer it was ninety when I left home and 54 when I pulled into Temperance River State Park four hours later!

Thanks, everyone for the advice!
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:48 PM   #11
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Check out this thread here.

Rideair's window AC unit

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Old 04-12-2008, 10:37 AM   #12
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I think a temporary slide in unit is a great idea. One possibility is to install a cargo hatch big enough for the unit. Then fabricate a frame inside it to mate up to the unit. The hatch door would serve as a rain guard. The little window units are insanely cheap now. You can buy one for $89.99. Roof units cost between $500 and $900. You could do the whole conversion for a 1/3 the cost of replacing the roof unit, and next time the unit fails, it's a $89.99 bill
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Old 04-12-2008, 12:03 PM   #13
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I have been thinking the same thing about not running the roof A/C when the Sovereign is parked down at the lake. Actually I was thinking about (now don't laugh) putting it outside the rear street-side storage area on a stand and ducting it under the twin bed into the bedroom. Granted cool air tends to hang low, but with a well placed fan I am thinking I might even get it to cool the front of the trailer relatively well. Of course I haven't worked out all of this yet. I've also thought about putting one in the front street-side window. I do want to point out that the street-side of the trailer cannot be seen from the road because I wouldn't want anyone to think I was trashing up my beautiful Airstream, or that an Airstream owner couldn't afford a roof A/C. LOL
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Old 04-25-2009, 05:43 AM   #14
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I have tried everything and I cannot find the model number on my Thermo pengwin RV AC. I need it to order a shroud. The hail damage it. I have gone on the top took off the shroud and no model number. Went inside and cannot find a model number to match the one's on stock. If you know the answer please email me at lvcantu@sbcglobal.net

Thanks
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Old 04-25-2009, 11:34 AM   #15
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Easy to install

For my 1966 22’ Safari, I use the setup below. Pretty simple, get a folding aluminum table from Wal-Mart/COSTCO, take out the two pins that hold the two pieces together, cut legs down to length needed, put a 90 degree clip on the end bottom of the piece that sits on the window to hold it in place, put the A/C unit on top, then put three pieces of Plexiglas around the A/C unit on the inside that can be held in place by screen clips, then take “pet screening” (the vinyl type from Lowes, doubled up) and make a cover that is held in place either by Velcro or the strong type paperclips that look like a “V”. Since a 6000/8000 BTU home unit only pulls about 640-860 watts you can use the standard wall socket (no breaker upgrade needed) to run the thing. I can pull it out of the car and install it in less that 10-15 minutes. You could run two of them(front/rear window) off a 2000 watt Honda genset, running it off of the propane in the trailer all weekend!!

It’s easy to install and cheap!
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:42 PM   #16
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I realize it's an old thread, but I'm thinking about doing something similar, so thought I'd post...

We're getting ready to use the AS for the first time, even though it's far from finished. I ripped the ancient, rusty a/c off the roof last week, and riveted all the left-over screw holes tight this week. The main hole is currently covered with a sheet of aluminum sealed at the edges with HVAC foil tape until I decide what to do with the hole (dome skylight? roof sunbathing access? gunner's turret?).

I'm still not sure if we'll replace the roof unit, install a split, or just use nothing at all (we don't a/c much here in Colorado). However, I am thinking about a temporary "emergency a/c" option for now (and possibly the future) if we might need it.

Currently there is a gaping hole in the rear, street-side of the AS in the form of the original access panel for the water heater (which is currently not installed). I'm thinking a small window unit would fit in there nicely when we're parked behind our friend's house this July. The a/c would just sit on the floor with it's back side hanging out the hole venting heat and condensation.

Has anybody done anything like this?
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:12 PM   #17
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So sometimes you get lucky, and other times you get REALLY lucky.

I did a little research last night, and there's a unit made by Frigidaire that evidently misses the "Energy Star" seer rating by .1 points, so since it doesn't make the mark, it sells for WAY cheaper than Energy Star units (even though, for all intents and purposes it actually is Energy Star compliant). The unit is also only 15 amp (vs. 20), so it's not a lot of strain on a less than stellar electrical source. Several of the reviews I saw mention running the a/c easily with a Honda generator. Not only that, but the ratings on Amazon, Lowe's, etc. are almost all 4 or 5 stars.

It's $129 at Lowe's, so it was fairly painless to just go pick one up today. It's made for 150 sq. ft. rooms, which is about perfect for my 25' Airstream (now that I've installed all the polyisocyanurate rigid panel insulation and sealed everything up with foil tape).

But here's the kicker... the A/C is EXACTLY the same size as the hole that already exists in the side of my Airstream for the old water heater access. I mean, I doubt it would be any more perfect had I cut the hole to size just FOR the a/c. There's about 1/8" clearance on each side (or less), and a little less than an inch on top (which is actually great to let it tilt down a bit to allow condensation or rain water to run off the back instead of into the Airstream).

I plan on doing some bracing around the hole to make things a little more polished and solid, but even just setting the a/c in place without any preparation is pretty satisfactory! Score.



I'll obviously pull the unit in during travel, but once we get there it just slides into place and locks down with some clamps! Not a bad solution for "meanwhile" as we're finishing the restoration but still using the AS. I may even end up making this a more permanent solution if it turns out the unit works well in cooling the AS. I would probably create some kind of drawer-rail type system to make sliding the a/c in and out easier, and then just fabricate a hatch that can lock closed.

The size difference between the new window unit and the old rooftop unit in the photo above is pretty hilarious, especially if the little thing ends up working well.
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Old 06-06-2016, 08:31 PM   #18
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How much do you want for the Armstrong?


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Old 06-06-2016, 09:23 PM   #19
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How much do you want for the Armstrong?
Well... I can't imagine shipping it, so you'd have to drive up to Denver. I haven't started researching how they're priced, but I do know there is a loyal following and people are always looking for parts. PM me if you want to make an offer. I can also take a closer look at it to better figure out what kind of shape it's in (haven't really gone over it; fan spins, no obvious breakage, etc., but I haven't looked closer than that). There is no shroud, and the interior head unit was gone when I purchased the Airstream.
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Old 06-06-2016, 10:48 PM   #20
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Replace roof A/C with a window unit?

I don't care about the inside part, I want to build a spare unit to hold in reserve for when my unit breaks down.

My stock 72 unit is going strong right now, and I love it, but I spend my summers in Las Cruces, NM and even a few days will suck without a cooler...

I have people through Colorado from time to time. If you would be interested in selling for a fair price I am interested.


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