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Old 08-30-2021, 02:28 PM   #1
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Adding AC to bus question

Has anyone added an AC unit from a non bus donor vehicle? I can get the whole unit from the junk yard for about $200

I was thinking just for the front to take the edge off from the midwest humidity while driving. I have a half length bus so it is only about 20 feet inside. I could close off the back to reduce the volume that needed to be cooled. I was looking at AC units from conversion vans because the units seem to be in one basic package. Maybe something like a doge pickup as it had a separate "radiator" and fan . Or maybe from a ford power stroke since I have a T444E engine. I am not sure it the BTU would be enough. Any ideas or thoughts are welcome.

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Old 08-30-2021, 11:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorzie View Post
Has anyone added an AC unit from a non bus donor vehicle? I can get the whole unit from the junk yard for about $200

I was thinking just for the front to take the edge off from the midwest humidity while driving. I have a half length bus so it is only about 20 feet inside. I could close off the back to reduce the volume that needed to be cooled. I was looking at AC units from conversion vans because the units seem to be in one basic package. Maybe something like a doge pickup as it had a separate "radiator" and fan . Or maybe from a ford power stroke since I have a T444E engine. I am not sure it the BTU would be enough. Any ideas or thoughts are welcome.
My first suggestion is to search on this site's search field for "air conditioning". There's tons of threads about this that might answer your question.

I'm not close to knowing what I'm talking about on this subject, yet what I think I know may help. The T444E and the Ford 7.3 are essentially the same basic engine, so the AC compressor from a 7.3 may fit the T444E. If so, this would make your search for the compressor much easier.

I don't know the BTUs that the compressor would put out, but I know automobile/truck AC units put out a lot more than home units because they have to very quickly cool down very hot interiors that are not insulated and are filled with people. Point being, if you have good insulation in your bus, maybe curtains to keep the solar rays from heating the inside and good roof reflective cooling material, you might find your shorter bus stays relatively cool. Yet, I think your idea of dividing the bus interior to create a smaller space may still need to be done.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-31-2021, 04:03 PM   #3
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Thank you for your input. I am just looking now. When regular full size buses come with factory air are they always on the roof or do some come with dash/front units?

I did do some searching on the forum and did find this one from a few years ago.

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/i...ing-18375.html.

Yes since my engine is the same as a powerstroke that is why I was looking a them as a possibility. If I had to make an adapter plate that would not be an issue I have access to many metal working tools. My bus is insulated fairly well about 1.5 -2 inches of spray foam floor walls and ceiling minus of course the windows.

In the other forum post they mention Pro air LLC. I am not sure of the price yet but they seem to have some nice units that will install in the dash "easily". I would like to just have a dash unit.
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Old 08-31-2021, 07:23 PM   #4
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full Chassis busses sometimes had a dash air option. the IH 3800 did not.. the late model IC busses have a Dash air option.. the freightliner C2 busses offer it as well since those have essentially an FL box truck dashboard (complete with vents even in non AC models)


I used ProAir LLC equipment in my build in which I completely Gutted my driver heater / defrost box and rebuilt it with a Frigiking heat / cool unit to provide driver heat and Dash A/C up front.. its 20,000 BTU.. the unit gets Ice cold but on a hot day running it by itself results in little more than cold air blowing on my body.. the bus is definitely not cool.. it did better after I Dynamatted and rebuilt my floor where the chassis / body join and stopped off most of the heat from under the hood.. huge help..



I did go ahead and install a Mid ship 40k BTU system (rated at 50 but I adjusted the TxV a bit to balance front and mid unuts) and piggyback it off of the same compressor as the front.. Sanden SD7 Enhanced compressors have amazing abilities to move refrigerant.. (no knockoffs no china BS but only the real thing).. I run an ACT (proair) CS3 skirt mounted condenser with 3 SPAL fans to move the heat off.



and finally i added a 45k unit in the rear of the bus its a repurposed Carrier EM1 with a ProAir 3 fan condenser I had laying around, and a 2nd Sanden SD7 enhanced (I always keep a couple of those new in the box ready to go)..


Now its meat locker time baby!! the temp display on my driver unit was 68 the other day driving into the sun 330 PM.. 93 outside with dewpoint of 72.. my sunglasses fogged up immediately on exit of the bus when i parked..



now thats a 31 year old bus with only stock insulation.. High headroom with Tall non tinted windows.. probably the hardest thing to cool out there.. 7 window bus..


my little 6 window red bus.. it has a Trans/AIR from the factory rated at 50k BTU.. its got heavier factory insulation, low headroom, tinted windows.. and I stay sort of O--K-- in that bus on those real hot days, takes forever if the bus has sat in the sun all day.. so i'll be adding a small front system to it


bracketing up a compressor to a 444E is not the same as a ford 7.3, the belt system is different.. you need to either obtain a bracket set from a bus junkyard or purchase an aftermarket set.. from soneone like APair or bracketry systems, maybe red-dot. CHeapest is finding a 444E bus with A/C and robbing it for parts..



NEVER use a ford 7.3 A/C compressor.. those FS10 compressors ford used are royal POS's!!! ive cleaned up more than one ford after "black death".. seemed to happen in the vans with front / rear systems the most.. sometimes the older explorers too.. those were nippondenso compressors..
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Old 08-31-2021, 07:42 PM   #5
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this is the unit im considering for my red bus.. its a heat / cool unit takes place of stepwell heater and gives you ducted dash air


https://www.proairllc.com/id-23-in-dash-evaporator/
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Old 08-31-2021, 08:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorzie View Post
Thank you for your input. I am just looking now. When regular full size buses come with factory air are they always on the roof or do some come with dash/front units?
Never seen a school bus with roof AC.
Normally they are rather larger, 4'-5' long and hung on an upper wall or the rear upper wall. Most get rid of them due to their size and how much they end up in the way.
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Old 08-31-2021, 08:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Never seen a school bus with roof AC.
Normally they are rather larger, 4'-5' long and hung on an upper wall or the rear upper wall. Most get rid of them due to their size and how much they end up in the way.



roof air is common.. thermoking and carrier both have them.. pretty common on RE busses.. the condensers are on the roof and the evaps are right inside on the center ceiling
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Old 11-09-2021, 01:52 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
this is the unit im considering for my red bus.. its a heat / cool unit takes place of stepwell heater and gives you ducted dash air


https://www.proairllc.com/id-23-in-dash-evaporator/
The wife would love this one as it would blow right on her LOL. I am a bit more heat tolerant than she is but as I get older I don't want to be.
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