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Old 10-21-2020, 11:48 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Alabama
Posts: 26
Year: 1996
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466 P-Pump
Rated Cap: 34
Installing an engine powered front AC

I have a 1996 International 3800 conventional front engine BlueBird with a DT466 (Not an E) that I want to install AC to cool the front part of the bus for driver and front seat passenger(s). It has the old metal dash, with a heater on the left sidewall and also a stepwell heater.

I see Red Dot makes a line of inside units, and I also wonder if a front mounted condenser is the way to go-- or a skirt mounted with electric fans? I figure I can buy a junkyard compressor bracket, or maybe there are new brackets available for the Sanborn style compressor.

My bus is short-- 14.5 feet behind the drivers seat to the rear door. This might cool the whole shebang sufficient enough to make it tolerable.

Our trips are mostly in the summer, and I can't have fun if I am not cool! My dad used to say he would rather have a car that the air worked on even if it would not move. I'm about the same way. A long day in a hot bus is not what I want!

Has anyone done this?
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Old 10-22-2020, 01:32 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Yes, it *can* be done. For the details, you'll need to see if Cadillackid reads this thread as he is very vocal on A/C design.
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:11 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
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Yes Cadillackid needs to chime in on this.


In the mean time I would look in junkyards to a complete system from a truck or bus with the same engine and chassis. The parts may well need rebuilding but it gives a good start. If you use a front mounted condenser look at the radiator and see if there are any differences. After all you would be dumping heat from the condenser right in front of the radiator.
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:19 AM   #4
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Your best bet is to source the parts from a donor. Something that is a similar year and engine that already has ac. Reason being is that most of the parts you need will be there.

A big thing is that you'll be wanting to add dash air vents, which is something you can source from the donor truck too.

You can piece meal this stuff together and get something functional, it's just way easier to source a donor.
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:38 AM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Wake Forest NC
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Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Vista 3600
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 24000 lbs
I'm also getting ready to do this

using a sanden compressor

might mount the condensor under the bus as I have a vista and that **** split radiator. I also put a stand alone cooler for the A-2000 trans I installed

So far it doesn't look too bad. Plan was to cob some lines from a conversion van with rear air...

the rest is either orifice tube (easier) or a evap coil style... a reciever dryer and an evaporator


lucky us the T444E already has a mount/blank space for the compressor

But honestly, and we live in the south, even when it is "HOT" if we are on the motorway with windows down and the two fans in the window up front on it's not as bad as we thought it was gonna be.

we were ok.. not dying. Air con woulda been nice, but we didn't bake.

now city gridlock likely another story lol
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Old 10-22-2020, 12:22 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Alabama
Posts: 26
Year: 1996
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466 P-Pump
Rated Cap: 34
Sanden was what I meant. Sanborn was for Coffee.

There are a couple of companies that make new stuff to do this. I have yet to get anyone to talk to me. I figure they think I am crazy when they see the year model of the bus.
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Old 10-22-2020, 06:32 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,154
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
ha! i just saw this thread..



few things.


theres another thread where I suggested some equipment.. we should find it.. someone else was posting about dash A/C too.



1. you'll need more than the 9000 BTU a typical underdash car A/C outputs..

2. a radiator mounted condenser will help heat up your engine and wont have the capacity you need. . I suggest a skirt mount unit if you have the room.



3. the sanden SD7 enhanced line of compressors are what i use.. i dont mess with the chinese.. and I like the output curve the sanden produce..



4. proair LLC is who I have bought alot of my equipment from.. I worked with Jeff in sales.. if you want to build a system through them and cant get hold of anyone let me know I'll see if I can get a call in.


5. proair sells Good Year Galaxy 4890 reduced barrier Hose and Burgaclip fittings.. this hose is very easy to work with, bendable and durable.. the fittings only require a plier tool very similar to Pex fittings.. I own 2 of the tools so im happy to loan mine out to anyone who wants to use it.. if you can put pex together you can do your A/C lines..



compressor brackets..



Bracketry systems inc out of Texas has about every A/C bracket known to man.. they are also pretty pricey but a quality piece.



http://bracketrysystems.com/document...it-catalog.pdf


APair is cheaper on brackets if they have a piece for your engine..



https://www.apairinc.com/shopping/?ic=4608


I suggest a system in the 20,000 - 30,000 BTU range to do a nice job of cooling a "cab" if you want to cool a complete 1/2 bus (or a whole short bus) then you will want 40,000 - 50,000 btu. im running close to 70,000 (a 50k and a 20k) on one compressor in my DEV bus.. and im pushing it hard with that.. 50-60k per compressor is the more reasonable max.. I had to do some fancy footwork with adjusting the balance on my TxVs and use high performance refrigerant to make that 70k work..



this is *NOT* cheap unless you can source some of your parts used.. ie ceiling systems that other skoolies are taking out and throwing away.. I have repurposed a **LOT** of Air conditioning equipment as i hate to see it thrown away and I like helping people have A/C.. so if you find someone removing a system, grab it.. you can use parts from it..



just because ceiling evaporators are ugly hanging fro mthe ceiling with cracked plastic covers doesnt mean they need to stay that way.. you can mout the units into cabinetry, down low.. build custom ducting for them etc.. you just need to have plenty of airflow and allow for the water to drain and to be able to service it if you need to replace a relay, blower motor, etc.. they do wear out..



the reason I chose ProAir LLC equipment is that alot of it is open-frame meaning you can install it and duct it / buold enclosure for it how you like.. you arent limited in your install.. if you arent going to gut your driver heater box (which is what I did in my DEV bus because it was really unusable with rust, a leaking unobtainable heater core and 2 bad motors).. then locating an open frame unit to the right of the doghouse i nthe footwell is often a good place.. even in busses with a front co-pilot seat it usually sits back far enough fro mthe dash for you to install an open-frame evaporator..



many are heat / cool units.. you can hook up the heat or not.. they are coolant heat like a standard bus heater.. so if you use omne to gut your driver heater it works good.



https://www.proairllc.com/915-freeze...eat-cool-unit/


https://www.proairllc.com/921-heat-cool-unit/


A/C only..



https://www.proairllc.com/925-cool-only/




in wall bulkhead (mounts above the front or back windshield and could cool most of a well insulated bus or half of a stock bus..



https://www.proairllc.com/ev-1-in-wall-evaporator/






you can see there are lots of different setups..


they sell plenums that fit onto these units which will give you standard 2.5" or 3" duct nipples to attach to.. Proair sells ducting kits as do places like jegs and summit racing..


https://www.jegs.com/i/JEGS/555/70606/10002/-1









condensors can be mounted on the roof or under skirt..



an example of a rooftop unit..



I really like the ACT line of condensors.. they are quality kit..



https://www.proairllc.com/cr-2-roof-mounted-condenser/
it will do a solid 35k - 40k BTU of cooling so perfect for a single system


and a nice little skirt mounted unit.. pretty compact and will do in the 40k BTU range..


https://www.proairllc.com/cs-22-skirt-mounted-unit/






here are some brand new complete systems that are designed to operate as road A/C *AND* parked A/C....



https://www.proairllc.com/313-110-12v-w-106-condenser/




I can take some pics of my setups if you like. and if anyone is serious we can contact proair and have them put a system quote together..



you will have at least a couple grand in a nice good capacity setup..



if you simply want to blow some cool air around up front (i'll be adding one of these to my red bus as it has factory A/C but the unit is in the rear and I need just a little extra up front).. then you have options like this..



https://www.summitracing.com/parts/v...gaAjYvEALw_wcB


-Christopher
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Old 10-22-2020, 09:37 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Alabama
Posts: 26
Year: 1996
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466 P-Pump
Rated Cap: 34
Lot's of great info here. Thanks for all the ideas.

I think I want the skirt mounted condenser setup.

I am going to dis assemble the drivers heater set up and see just how much room I have there. I have a Hurri Heat stepwell heater unit which if removed would open up quite a bit of room as well. I want good heat as well as AC. Again, this bus is short. If I can cool the front 1/2 that would be great. Those ambulance models seem to have tremendous output. I want to stay with a single compressor along with a single evaporator to keep the AC loop as simple as possible.

I may install a roof RV unit for stationary use. Or use a window unit in the back.

Which Procool location did you work with?
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Old 10-23-2020, 03:03 AM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,630
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Christopher, any idea how much the 12VDC/110VAC unit you listed from ProAir costs? I did not see any pricing information and thought you might have talked with them about that unit.
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Old 10-23-2020, 08:11 AM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,154
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I dont know anything about the dual voltage system, its pretty new.. I really like the idea of it simply because it has a decently high capacity even on electric and you wouldnt need to complete systems. . im guessing its a few grand.



I can call and get pricing for it if you guys are interested.



when I bought my equipment Jeff took already packaged "kits" and then we changed a few pieces as the cost worked out better.. so one of my kits was actually a rear system made for a sprinter.. came with 25 lengths of hose and fittings, wiring harnesses, condensor, evaporator. . we simoply changed the part number for the evap to match what i wanted. what I ended up with was some extra stuff.. I had more wiring than id ever use.. however I saved all that wiring.. and for the last 4 years ive not bought a single roll of wire as ive been using the extra lengths of wires / harnesses that came in that kit for all kinds of things.. some of it I useds for my A/C install but like i had 25 feet of harness and only use maybe 7 or 8 feet.. so when it came time to repurpose some A/C for my DEV bus rear system, I had all the wiring and a good bit of Hose..



ProAir does a lot of OEM.. they had the contract for rear A/C for pretty much all of the Nissan NV's esp those sold as flower vans or mini reefers.. they do a bunch of Busses.. so they come up with "kits"..



its a way to get a better value..

-Christopher
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:26 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Alabama
Posts: 26
Year: 1996
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466 P-Pump
Rated Cap: 34
I am working on gathering information for the AC install.

APAirinc.com in Humboldt Iowa has a bracket for the DT466. So-- that problem can be solved.

I found a front Bulkhead mounted unit that has a duct made into it that blows on the driver-- made by what used to be ACC Climate Control, but is now Valeo, which may be a German company, but they have a distribution center in Elkhart, IN.

I have a call in to them to get info as to matching a skirt mounted Condenser (25062) with their Bulkhead evaporator (23120).

The you have to find a distributor who will sell to you.

Most of the info you see on the internet is from the manufacturer, so getting pricing on this stuff can take quite a bit of "legwork"....
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Old 10-30-2020, 03:58 PM   #12
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,154
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
interesting.. I thought ACC was bought by ProAir LLC out of elkhart.. or wait maybe that was ACT that proair owns.. (so many pf these companies have changed hands recently and have "letter" names.. ACC,MCC,ACT, IC-AIR ...I have only ever worked on one ACC system.. it seems like good kit.. those components look solid. valeo is a known player in this industry and has been for years.. they always competed with sanden on compressors..



the repair I made was unrelated to the ACC components other than 2 condenser fans had been bad. but we suspected chemical damage from the road as they looked really corroded.. that issue is easily solved my running SPAL fans(which the new ones may do).



I know Proair will sell to you if you choose ot get pricing from him on ACT components.. Jeff Bellamy is who I worked with.. he is out of their elkhart indiana center..



he may be able to put you together a modified package that will include everything (escept the engine bracket and compressor if you want to use a name brand like Valeo, sanden, selttec)..



who is the ACC distributor down south? Transartic?



looks like you are well along in building a system!!
Kudos to you!
-Christopher
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Old 11-09-2020, 05:54 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Alabama
Posts: 26
Year: 1996
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466 P-Pump
Rated Cap: 34
I called ProAir and spoke with a Mr. Percy, and the first question he asked me was whether I had a TM16 or a TM21 compressor? He said the TM16 could support a one fan condenser-- and a TM21 could support a two fan condenser.

What I had ordered from AP Air was a Sanden 7D7H15. So-- I go look at the spec sheets---

SelTec TM16 163cc displacement per revolution

SelTec TM21 215 cc displacement per revolution

Sanden 7D7H15 154cc displacement per revolution.

BUT-- the mount for my DT466 only supports an "ear mounted" compressor, and all of the larger compressors are pad mounted.

So-- how many BTU's can I expect to get out of my Sanden? I posed this question to ProAir, but no response yet.

The devil is always in the details....
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Old 11-09-2020, 06:20 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Alabama
Posts: 26
Year: 1996
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466 P-Pump
Rated Cap: 34
The fellow at AP Air suggested a roof mount unit---

Red Dot R-9777-1P. This is a roof mount all in one unit -- 7.9 inches tall, and is rated at 25,000 BTU cooling.

Would this cool the front half of a short bus?
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Old 11-09-2020, 06:55 PM   #15
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,154
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the spec sheet links didnt show up..



im using a Sanden SD7 Enhanced.. im running a CS3 3 fan condenser and 2 evaporators on it.. my suction pressure rides up a little at idle but normal driviing that compressor takes it in stride and feeds both evaporators the liquid they need..



rooftop units are nice from the standpoint of not taking up under-bus or interior side-ceiling space.. my 6 window short bus has a 45,000-50,000 BTU unit at the rear for the whole bus.. it takes a little while but cools the whole bus nicely after you drive awhile.. 25000 BTU up front would give you nice cooling up front.. like all busses you'll want to make sure your firewall and cowl / doghouse is sealed up.. and that your control for opening and closing the fresh air inlet is working.. ive had to go through sealing things up on both busses I drive regularaly as engine heat will negate a small A/C in a heartbeat.. a bigger A/C has less lilkiliehood of being negated with engine heat.. if your shortie is partitioned or its a shortened cab then 25k will do nicely
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