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alan814 07-07-2012 10:41 AM

Has anyone changed out the AS roof a/c unit? My question is, do you have to replace with the same, or, can another brand (from another brand of trailer) be used? The one on our 1972 doesn't seem to work and I definitely want a/c available when using the camper. The previous owner said it would blow air, but never blew cold - perhaps it just needs to be charged??? Any info guidence would be appreciated. :bb:

vswingfield 07-07-2012 12:31 PM

The older Armstrong AC units are considered to be well worth the effort to repair by many. I'm not sure that is what you have, but here is a discussion by someone else who had one on a 1972:

They did decide to replace with a newer unit in the end. If you go that route, the things to look for are:

  1. A drain pan that fits Airstream and connects to the existing drain hose
  2. A nonducted type AC, since your trailer doesn't have the ducts built-in that some new Airstreams have
  3. What size? I would think that a 27 is getting on the margin for moving up from a 13,500 Btu to a 15,000 Btu if you go anywhere it gets hot. Especially in the sun.

Other than that, all current ACs are standard RV units.

My advice would be to get someone to look at the original Armstrong, if that is what you have. If that doesn't work out, then you can look at replacements.

Good luck, and keep us updated on your project. :)

inTransit 07-07-2012 12:50 PM

The fact it blows warm is a good start. Mine did the same, I bought a new compressor just in case and had my home hvac guy look at it. It just needed a freon charge. It's been cooling ever since.

I had an airstream tech quote me a new one in and with install was in the neighborhood of $1000. For a 40 year old trailer I didn't want to make a huge investment for the swap.

tesstoaster 07-08-2012 12:41 AM

I went around and around on this very issue. In my case the Armstrong was working, actually working well. But since I am in the renovation mode of a '72 Tradewind, I thought it was time to retire the Armstrong. But then the cost and installation of a new unit caused me to hit the pause button. A new unit only has a two year warranty. After that you are on your own. The kicker is that the new ones are considered disposable if the compressor goes out and my understanding is that they can't be repaired.

I decided to replace the compressor fan motor, the compressor/fan motor/blower motor run capacitor and the compressor start capacitor. Replacing the capacitors are quite easy. The compressor motor replacement is a bit complicated. It may be difficult to find an exact replacement. I found a great replacement that was very reasonable in cost and I will share with the group once I receive it and it meets my expectation.

I also coated the compressor with POR15 because the one thing you don't want to happen is for your compressor to go out on an old Armstrong. Then it probably will be time for a new A/C

With that said, HVAC experts have said, unlike auto A/Cs, the hermetic compressors that are used in rooftop units rarely lose their refrigerant and are actually pretty robust. It is more likely that your start compressor has failed. I would start there. In my case, it was working but in bad shape. I am not sure I am going to replace the relay, but that is available too for about $20-40.

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