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Old 07-11-2014, 11:50 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

I bought a 94 Blue Bird 35' activity bus and it is in great condition, 77k, just a beautiful bus all around. I do seem to have an over abundance of A/C on it though. It has three rooftop a/c units and these are powered by a 16kw Honda genset, and everything here runs great. These are fully adequate for down here in Texas, (not to mention that each component is individually replaceable.)

I also have two on-road main-engine driven a/c units in the front and rear. One of the compressors has had the belt removed, and the other compressor's clutch does not kick on. I'm trying to decide whether it'd be worth the $ and effort to try to fix these systems, or to simply remove them. The big advantage of removing the condensors(or evaporators, can't remember which) which are mounted under the floor amidship would make finding room for the tanks and doing the layout far easier).

Now for the questions:
*Will adding some Freon to the a/c with the belt cause the clutch to kick on provided everything else works in that system?
*I've heard that when compressors go they tend to fragment and require the whole system to be cleaned out.
*I'm not going to driving the bus as much as full-timing in place except for the occasional short trip. Don't these road a/c units cost a fortune to fix, and given the amount of use they'd get would it be worth it?

Seems a bit like I've already made up my mind (sorta') but I'd love to get some feedback on this.

I'll work on posting some pics when I figure out how. Her name is Serenity, like the ship from the series Firefly, and she's a beauty!
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:01 AM   #2
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

At least find out first what it will cost to get the compressor replaced and the system recharged. Also ask find out if you can do a recharge yourself? The problem with the big OTR air units is that they often require the huge battery banks you see in the buses. With our Eagle, if we had left the extremely heavy OTR air in, we would have need to leave in all those huge batteries. Plus we had a use for the huge space it took up between the rear axles. Without the OTR air, we cranked the bus up with a single battery. So there is another expense that you will have to deal with later down the road. When you need to replace one battery, you replace all of them. And you have three rooftop A/Cs. You do know that RV's typically run their rooftop A/C units that are powered by their onboard generators while traveling down the road? It does not hurt the rooftop units at all, I've done it many times with the Class C. They do this because either the dash A/C doesn't cool enough or doesn't work at all (lack of use is not good for an A/C).

If you decide to get rid of the OTR units, you need to find out how much it will cost to cature the Freon (if you have any left in the system) and if you can scrap the units for all the copper in them. We didn't scrap ours personally (gave it to a friend in need) so I can't tell you how much copper is in them, I only know that it was a lot in the Eagle's OTR condensor. Our Eagle was a Belgium import. They built some nice A/C compressors in Belgium.
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:55 PM   #3
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
The problem with the big OTR air units is that they often require the huge battery banks you see in the buses. With our Eagle, if we had left the extremely heavy OTR air in, we would have need to leave in all those huge batteries.
My road a/c's are not unlike a car's and the compressors are not much bigger either. The bus is out at the farm so I'll have to take a look at where the recharge fittings are. It does not require any extra batteries, just the one 8D. I do know the practice of ruing the rooftops on the genset, though I wasn't entirely sure of the legality and I haven't put in a remote stop/start on the genset yet. I've got a can of 134A slated for my car that I may feed to that one system with the belt and see what happens. There are so many Freon lines that are VERY long and hidden that finding a leak would be cost prohibitive. I'll check it out next time I'm out there.
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:34 PM   #4
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

The OTR air conditioner on the Eagle 05 would have barely fit in the rear of my Jeep Grand Cherokee with the rear seat laid down. That is if we could have lifted it up into the Jeep. It was a tad large and heavy. I assumed a skoolie OTR was the same. Our bus does not have OTR A/C.
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Old 07-14-2014, 04:10 PM   #5
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

If you'll be plugged in to shore power most of the time you won't need the genny to run your roof units.

Your compressor may not be starting because of low refrigerant pressure or because of a bad dash switch. A set of AC gauges will tell you the system pressure and a voltmeter can test for voltage at the compressor pigtail. There's a low pressure cutout switch that cuts power to the compressor if refrigerant pressure drops too low.

To get an idea of how clean or dirty your system is, pull out the orifice tube which is typically found inside the entrance tube of the evaporator (cold side) coil (I'm assuming that the refrigerant has escaped or been sucked out already). A clean screen is good news but if the orifice tube screen has captured a lot of plastic bits the compressor may need to be replaced and the system flushed.

To check for leaks you attach a vacuum pump to the AC gauge set and let it run for a half hour or so then shut off the pump and let it sit for an hour or so. Any leakage will show on your gauges.
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Old 07-14-2014, 06:10 PM   #6
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

The idea of house units interests me far more than roof mounts. But in all practicality, house air is expensive to fix generally. You may add some freon and the clutch MAY kick in. In entertainer coaches we always had the generator running from the time we left, til the time we got home.

If I were in your shoes I would be yarding out all the house air and use the roof mounts.
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:29 PM   #7
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

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You may add some freon and the clutch MAY kick in.
If you can find the low pressure cutout switch check for power between the connector terminals and ground with the dash AC switch ON and the engine running. If there's power there jumper across the connector and take the switch out of the circuit. That MAY allow the compressor to run. If it doesn't run you probably have a bad compressor clutch.
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:25 PM   #8
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

Thanks everyone for your input. Keep the feedback coming. You're helping me make up my mind towards getting rid of the system, but I don't want to end up hearing some particularly sage advice AFTER I've taken the thing out!
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Old 07-14-2014, 10:32 PM   #9
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

Bring it to an auto AC place and see what they suggest. Ask them to give you an estimate on what it would cost to make operational and go from there.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:05 AM   #10
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Re: I need some thoughts on Air Conditioning

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
Bring it to an auto AC place and see what they suggest. Ask them to give you an estimate on what it would cost to make operational and go from there.
If you don't own the tools to do the job this is good advise.
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