Originally Posted by BusFiend
Thanks for this!
I hadn't really thought about road AC. Almost all the buses I've ever driven had that from the factory. Doh! But a skoolie may likely NOT have it. On my list of things to watch out for when purchasing.
I was thinking more of a cooling solution when parked as a home base for a while. If I have shore power, a heat pump/split may be an option. I'm certainly not installing chillers and exchangers in a skoolie!
Like others have mentioned Coach or engine driven A/C is expensive to install and maintain unless you know how to do it yourself.. Minisplits are a great solution if you have a bus which has enough "basement" area to mount the large outdoor unit and get good airflow..
I love coach / road A/C but installed a brand new system on my bus so I didnt have to deal with a worn out ill maintained solution.. as well as the road A/C on school busses does NOT favor the driver.. plus the indoor units typically get in the way of most conversions.. (dividing the bus into rooms will impede it)..
if I were making a camper and wanted road A/C I would do one of 2 things..
1. install a Dash air unit with a single fan remote condenser, and a small ducted evaporator and run some Vents to the driver compartment.. Much Less maintenance and likiliehood of failure down the road.. it Just cools the driver compartment...
2. if you want to use rooftop camper units... buy good quality units and make sure one of them is near the front of the bus and blows its cool air into the driver area.. run your generator on the road and your rooftop units and keep you and your bus cool... with this solution you have an "extra" rooftop unit for those really hot days when parked (since it is concentrated in the driver area you may never use it other than driving normaslly)... plus you dont have an engine-driven system to maintain...NOTE! dont buiy dometic!! they are JUNK.. I fix at least one or two of those darned things every year for my neighbors with camper trailers...
I LOVE minisplit units oither than for mobile use they are not designed... your mileage may vary and some use them successfully in a mobile environment but I imagine they arent run when driving.. compressors for mobile units are deisgned to be run while under high vibration and have anti gyroscopic properties on the rotating assembly.. ie heavier bearings and an oil sump not susceptible to "slosh".. I use 3 mini splits (Highly modified) in my house as stationary units.. ducted into my home;s ductwork and they cool / heat great and are VERY generator friendly as they dont start / stop with heavy current like standard A/C... on a bus the biggest hurdle is finding a place for the outdoor unit where you can work on it if it breaks and get good airflow.. Ive seen some installs on here where they did a nice job of tucking them up underneath the bus...
the advantage to them on the inside it they only require a small hole be cut into the bus for the indoor unit.. which keeps potential for water / air/ heat / cool leaks down... plus they are very quiet running.. (esp compared to window units or rooftop units)...
if I were building a full out camper of my bus I WOULD go the route of offgrid and install chillers and unit coils for heating / cooling... it makes the most sense to zone... for my purposes I didnt need that as my Bus spends more time on the road than it does parked.. (I use it as work-space and brainstorm space.. and still sleep in Hotels at night)..
alot depends on your skill level... if you know A/C and how to work with mobile A/C properly you can EASILY find Take-offs from this forum.. refurbish and then install in your bus... there are a lot of people here who buy busses that had Bus A/C and then throw away a lot of perfectly good parts or sell them cheap.. condenser fans are nothing special... the yare usually SPAL style radiator fans from cars..(Cheap and everywhere) the coils usually dont go bad they just get dirty.. a bottle of coil-bright and a hose and they are clean... compressors you always install brand new... Selttec / sanden compressors are everywhere.. as are the bracket kits to mount them... Burga-flex Lines and Clips allow ANYONE to make solid refrigerant line connections EASILY... they are the go-to for even Pro-shop installs these days... evaporators come in about every shape and size imaginable these days... and they all use the same size hose.. add your fittings and go... size your condenser and evaporator together (btu-wise).. use a TxV, and have a shop evacuate and charge your system (if you sont have the tools or knowledge).. and you have road A/C...