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Old 07-03-2017, 03:52 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I need air conditioning.

Hello everyone,

I'm in the south, Raleigh, NC to be exact, and I was out driving my bus today. The high was 91, and I was dripping sweat. I have a Blue Bird bookmobile with an Onan generator and two RV roof top A/C units, but the generator uses a gallon of diesel per hour, so running the A/C's while driving is not practical. Has anyone installed a retrofit A/C unit that runs off of the engine, or is there some type of 12v A/C system that I could run independently of my generator? I have also considered installing "factory" A/C because my engine is a 5.9 Cummins diesel. Any input would be appreciated.

Feelin' the heat!
Thanks!

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Old 07-03-2017, 03:57 PM   #2
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My bus has dual air, engine driven with two separate automotive compressors. A bit of a pain to work on but I think it's a good system. If I had to guess I'd say that I use not much more fuel per hour idling the bus, but I do try not to actually do that. If you can consistently find shade, open all your windows, and run a few electric fans.. There's an upper temperature limit to that of course.
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:09 PM   #3
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My bus was getting a little warm driving - when I drive, it does get hot - Florida has been a little hot and humid - but with the vents open, windows down, and some 12v fans - it's not so bad. I added two fans to the front.

I have not figured out a good AC for when driving - but put in a portable LG 10,000 but AC unit for when parked - and a fantastic fan into the roof. It seems to help - but not much when sitting in direct sun. I a still playing with window curtains and reflectix window shades.

And I think I just need to keep drinking a lot of water.
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Old 07-03-2017, 05:18 PM   #4
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I did some low-tech reflectix panels for the windows, with velcro tape holding them up so I can put them up and take them down easy. It does a pretty damn good job, but the sun is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is turned into helium at a temperature of millions of degrees. In other words, park in the shade!

We got some cheap insulating and light blocking curtains to split the drivers area off from the "house". Also got a reflectix-stile windshield shade from Camping World. Every little bit helps.
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:32 PM   #5
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I may have an extra carrier ac unit available in a couple months when I get to taking it out. I've taken the inside unit out but still have the compressor and all the exterior stuff to remove. I have two and just plan on keeping the one up front near the driver/passengers. I'm not sure how hard it would be to install in another bus. I'm in southern Alabama.

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Old 07-03-2017, 09:31 PM   #6
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I was sweating like crazy till I put up thermal curtains, the difference is night and day. The windows absolutely suck and as soon as I raise my roof, I'm taking every single one out and putting on some galvanized steel sheets in their place, and spray foaming the crap out of this thing.
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Old 07-06-2017, 04:39 AM   #7
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Sweating in the Old Bus

Thanks for all of the input, guys. There doesn't seem to be a simple fix for this. Being that my bus is a bookmobile, I don't have an issue with windows, and it's impossible to stay in the shade while driving. Running vent fans when I drive might be the best idea I have heard. Even having all of my windows open, there is absolutely no air moving through the bus when I drive.

Thanks again.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:54 AM   #8
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I installed custom dashboard A/C in my carpenter bus last summer. I gutted the driver heater console and then installed a heat / cool unit in there and a separate little unit for the left defroster all back into the old heater box.. ducted to the dashboard and it keeps me nice n cool in the saddle... in that bus I also added a rear console unit and ducted the air to a couple seats back there.

I bought the pieces from ProAir LLC. I couldnt do an underdash unit in that bus because it has a doghouse.. if I had a flat nose bluebird or thomas that has all the dash vents already it wouldve been a lot easier..




you have 2 roof airs.. run the genny and run them.. and engine-driven A/C still uses some fuel.. it takes quite a bit of power to spin a large or dual A/C compressors to keep a big bus cool.. I dont know how much per hour on average the extra engine load is.. I do doubt its a gallon per hour..



theres small vents in the kick panel you cant see that I can open up for heat in winter on my feet.. theres 2 A/C vents under the driver window.. a round one to the right of the upper defroster that blows in my face.. theres a round on in the side of that heater box I can blow on my body.. plus all those vents can blow heat too for when its really cold.. or if its cold and raining out, I can run the A/C and heat at same time on that unit so it dehumidifies the air but is still warm... makes the defrogger's job super easy.




-Christopher
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I installed custom dashboard A/C in my carpenter bus last summer. I gutted the driver heater console and then installed a heat / cool unit in there and a separate little unit for the left defroster all back into the old heater box.. ducted to the dashboard and it keeps me nice n cool in the saddle... in that bus I also added a rear console unit and ducted the air to a couple seats back there.

I bought the pieces from ProAir LLC. I couldnt do an underdash unit in that bus because it has a doghouse.. if I had a flat nose bluebird or thomas that has all the dash vents already it wouldve been a lot easier..




you have 2 roof airs.. run the genny and run them.. and engine-driven A/C still uses some fuel.. it takes quite a bit of power to spin a large or dual A/C compressors to keep a big bus cool.. I dont know how much per hour on average the extra engine load is.. I do doubt its a gallon per hour..



theres small vents in the kick panel you cant see that I can open up for heat in winter on my feet.. theres 2 A/C vents under the driver window.. a round one to the right of the upper defroster that blows in my face.. theres a round on in the side of that heater box I can blow on my body.. plus all those vents can blow heat too for when its really cold.. or if its cold and raining out, I can run the A/C and heat at same time on that unit so it dehumidifies the air but is still warm... makes the defrogger's job super easy.




-Christopher
Thanks for the reply, Christopher. Your installation looks amazing. My bus is a flatnose Bluebird, but the engine is in the front, so it has a doghouse too. My plan is to remove the roof top A/C's and install a mini split in the back of the bus. It's 27' feet long, so I'm worried that it won't push the air all the way to the front, so I was wanting something small that would blow on my face. When I do have the roof top units and the fan going, it works pretty good.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:26 PM   #10
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by going minisplit you are going to likely cut your cooling capacity in half vs the 2 rooftop units.. they do make ductable minisplits. but they are more meant to be installed above a ceiling or below a floor.. (I built my own ductables for in my house but they take wuite a bit of space).. I cant remember what the dash looks like on a flat nose BB to think of what type of evaporator to mount.. but leveraging the existing dash vents if you have them would be a way.. (I did that on my first bus that i no longer have)
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
by going minisplit you are going to likely cut your cooling capacity in half vs the 2 rooftop units.. they do make ductable minisplits. but they are more meant to be installed above a ceiling or below a floor.. (I built my own ductables for in my house but they take wuite a bit of space).. I cant remember what the dash looks like on a flat nose BB to think of what type of evaporator to mount.. but leveraging the existing dash vents if you have them would be a way.. (I did that on my first bus that i no longer have)
-Christopher
Not sure I understand your reply. I am considering a pair of 12K Btu mini-splits instead of a pair of 12k Btu roof airs.

Looks to me like I will have the same cooling capacity.

Am I missing something??

Thanks
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:38 PM   #12
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oh i thought it was going from 2 roof uinits to 1 single minisplit in the baclk
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Old 07-07-2017, 06:16 PM   #13
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I believe that PNW Steve might have confused our threads. Yes, CadallicKid, we were talking about going from two roof units to one multi-split in the back. Adequate cooling is paramount to me,but I thought if the mini-split had enough BTU's, it wouldn't be a problem. Still, I would have to run my genny during transit. Signed, trying to not sweat while driving!
Thanks again!
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Old 08-25-2021, 08:29 PM   #14
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Dash A/C

I have a 2003 Bluebird FE with a 5.9 Cummins that had 2 Carrier A/C units that had been removed because they did not work. i'd like to add a dash A/C unit to keeps cool while driving, and we'll run a mini split off the generator when we are camping. Is there a recommendation as to what unit to get? We have 2 compressors mounted on the engine, just need the right evaporator to go in the dash. Thanks...
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Old 08-25-2021, 09:27 PM   #15
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I would put together one of the carrier Units and use that.. a single dash unit wont do much.. so I would mount one of the original units you took out above the windshield and one skirt mounted condenser back in.. im guessing the compressors are still mounted up and you can then just make new lines.


im running a 20,000 BTU Dashboard A/C on my DEV bus which is a conventional.. about all that does is blow cool air from the vents on me on a hot day like most of the country is having right now.. it does feel good to have 40 degree air blowing on me but the rest of the bus is Boining hot.. Until I turn on the 40,000 BTU Mid A/C and the 40,000 BTU rear.. if my bus were insulated i'd likely not need that rear unit but definitely would need the front and mid unit.. or one large carrier unit like im using in the rear.. the engine in the front and the large windshield creates a LOT of heat load on hot days.. esp on the highway where you have air leakage, air pressure either negative or positive on the bus, you are not in the shade while travelling.. always in the sun and if you are facing the summer sun your small A/C wont stand a chance..



the exception to the rule is a Van-based bus where there is typically better heat insulation and much smaller space to cool.. you can stay nice in the front seats..
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Old 08-25-2021, 11:54 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milesollie View Post
I have a 2003 Bluebird FE with a 5.9 Cummins that had 2 Carrier A/C units that had been removed because they did not work. i'd like to add a dash A/C unit to keeps cool while driving, and we'll run a mini split off the generator when we are camping. Is there a recommendation as to what unit to get? We have 2 compressors mounted on the engine, just need the right evaporator to go in the dash. Thanks...

I have three Carrier evaporators and three Carrier condensers out of my 1996 AmTran that haven't gone to the crap yard yet. They worked until I had the R134A removed. The evaps aren't suitable for dash air but our bus came with one just behind the entry door and it could freeze me out.
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Old 08-26-2021, 12:05 PM   #17
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Keep in mind that they make mini-splits with multiple inside units that run off one outdoor unit.
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Old 08-26-2021, 04:03 PM   #18
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Keep in mind that they make mini-splits with multiple inside units that run off one outdoor unit.

I haven't seen any that have multiple inside units that aren't 220/240. Are you aware of any that are 110/120? We're planning on two 9,000 BTU units, one front and one rear. Probably even if there is a 110 dual zone simply because of the distance between units and the redundancy that two units gives.
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