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Old 03-16-2021, 07:40 PM   #1
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Default A/C replacement ?

The roof top A/C on our Ď07 x210 finally crapped out and needs to be replaced. I donít think that repair is an option but if so, Iíd consider it. Does anyone have experience having replacement done either by a RV center or a DIY project? Iíve done a small amount of research, mostly along the DIY lines. The camper is currently in a covered storage barn that I would have access to if the DIY option is relatively straightforward procedure. Would like to know issues that others have experienced with professional installs vs DIY projects. Camping season is nearly here in the upper Midwest and Iíd like to get this taken care of in the near future .
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Old 06-03-2021, 07:45 AM   #2
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Much to my surprise, I may have erred in my diagnosis of our rooftop A/C “finally crapping out “! I wasn’t too pleased with the thought of having to replace the A/C unit as I’m sure the cost of the new unit plus labor at the local RV center would approach, if not exceed $1000.
I’ll admit that I’ve been remiss in A/C maintenance over the years so before even calling the RV center for a diagnostic appointment, I decided to check things out on on my own.
Inside the camper, I removed the intake vent and checked the filter. I had done this much before and since the A/C hadn’t been used during the past two seasons, it was clean. What I hadn’t done before was clean the evaporator coils. It was hard to tell if there was any serious airflow blockage but I vacuumed what I could get at. Next, I went up top. I put plywood sheets down to distribute my weight. Once the shroud was off I could see that a cleaning might yield some benefit. I again vacuumed up a bunch of dust and debris and vac’d the condenser coils. I suspect some folks might suggest rinsing the condenser coils with water but I wasn’t prepared to do so at this time.
I put the shroud back on and cleared the roof. Back inside the camper, I switched the A/C on. The fan was moving air and I could hear the hum of the compressor. In a short while cool air coming out of the vents! Since I was supplying “shore power” via a long extension cord, I’m sure the unit wasn’t receiving proper voltage. I shut the A/C off being very pleased that it was working at all. Perhaps with full line voltage, performance may even be better!
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Old 06-03-2021, 10:31 AM   #3
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RipVan, do you think the compressor was slow to start? The reason I ask is that on our previous Thor trailer the capacitor went bad. The rooftop ACs are similar to a home AC and the motor is a capacitor run motor. I replaced the capacitor and the compressor once again started just as it should. In my case it was a dual capacitor, one section for the compressor and one for the fan. The fan side still appeared to run fine in my case. They are readily available on the Internet or at HVAC supply stores. Try to get the same exact value(s) of capacitance, a higher voltage if available and the highest temperature rating you can find. Known brands include Genteq, Dayton, etc. I think I found a Dayton in stock at Granger when mine failed.
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Old 06-04-2021, 07:53 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboFunFinder View Post
RipVan, do you think the compressor was slow to start? The reason I ask is that on our previous Thor trailer the capacitor went bad. The rooftop ACs are similar to a home AC and the motor is a capacitor run motor. I replaced the capacitor and the compressor once again started just as it should. In my case it was a dual capacitor, one section for the compressor and one for the fan. The fan side still appeared to run fine in my case. They are readily available on the Internet or at HVAC supply stores. Try to get the same exact value(s) of capacitance, a higher voltage if available and the highest temperature rating you can find. Known brands include Genteq, Dayton, etc. I think I found a Dayton in stock at Granger when mine failed.
I canít say, one way or another, if the ďstartĒ capacitor is functioning properly. The unit is producing cold air but Iím hesitant to run it for an extended period of time since Iím unsure of potential issues RE: significant voltage drop using a relatively long extension cord from the 20 amp outlet in my garage.
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Old 06-04-2021, 08:20 PM   #5
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My AC runs reliably when fed from a 20A circuit with a long HD extension cord (10-12AWG). You could measure the AC at an outlet in your trailer to see what the voltage is with the AC running. If it is under 100VAC I think it is far too low.

As a non-professional HVAC person I would guess that if your unit is properly cooling once it runs that it means that you probably have sufficient freon in the cooling system but you would only know if you or someone else measures the low and high pressures. You could also measure the inlet temperature to the AC and the outlet temperature to see how much it is actually cooling the air.

To clarify: The capacitor is for a capacitor-run motor NOT a capacitor-start motor. Since your AC unit appears to be 14 years old it seems possible that the capacitor might have failed, but I note that you live in a cooler climate. Here in SoCal they can go bad in 5-10 years depending upon usage (from my experience with trailers). In my home I have had to replace them at 3-5 year intervals and I have heard the same from neighbors. But again my data points are few and not statistically significant.

The capacitor is relatively inexpensive and I have found them easy to replace, but I have found access must be done from the top.
Good luck!
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimboFunFinder View Post
My AC runs reliably when fed from a 20A circuit with a long HD extension cord (10-12AWG). You could measure the AC at an outlet in your trailer to see what the voltage is with the AC running. If it is under 100VAC I think it is far too low.

As a non-professional HVAC person I would guess that if your unit is properly cooling once it runs that it means that you probably have sufficient freon in the cooling system but you would only know if you or someone else measures the low and high pressures. You could also measure the inlet temperature to the AC and the outlet temperature to see how much it is actually cooling the air.

To clarify: The capacitor is for a capacitor-run motor NOT a capacitor-start motor. Since your AC unit appears to be 14 years old it seems possible that the capacitor might have failed, but I note that you live in a cooler climate. Here in SoCal they can go bad in 5-10 years depending upon usage (from my experience with trailers). In my home I have had to replace them at 3-5 year intervals and I have heard the same from neighbors. But again my data points are few and not statistically significant.

The capacitor is relatively inexpensive and I have found them easy to replace, but I have found access must be done from the top.
Good luck!
Thanks JFF for the insight! Never thought to measure the voltage at the camper Iíll do that today!
While Iím sure that itís ďtechnicallyĒ possible to measure high side and low side pressures and even replace Freon, it would require the installation of connectors (like those on automotive A/C systems) which most certainly would need to be done by a HVAC professional!
Since our FF is ~14 years old, it wouldnít be unreasonable to suspect Freon loss. I donít know how often the previous owners used the A/C but I can count, on my hand, the number of times Iíve turned on the A/C in the 8 years weíve had it. Here in WI, Summer temps can approach triple digits but nighttime temps are generally significantly lower .
For now, since the unit is actually producing chilled air, Iím not going to replace anything. If failure occurs, Iíll consider replacing the capacitor. When I had the rooftop shroud off for basic cleaning, I didnít notice exactly where the access panel to the electrical components was but Iím sure that itís there!
Thanks again for your reply!
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Old 06-05-2021, 03:11 PM   #7
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Glad you got your A/C going without having to replace it.

We've used our A/C on near every outing during the summer months and some weekend haven't gone anywhere 'cause it was near 100 degrees ..... which we are at right now at this time and forecast is for 103.

I suppose could to to NORTH Dakota s I'm sure it's cooler up there.
LOL
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