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Old 07-27-2020, 10:15 PM   #1
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Question about A/C?

So we are starting to look for busses... Found a couple... mostly without AC, but I did find one with AC. We live in St Louis where it feels like 5000 degrees on some days.

Should I be looking for a bus to convert... that has AC with the bus? Or, can I run an added AC unit when we drive after the conversion?

Maybe a stupid question, but not sure if the AC already on the bus is a necessity?

Thanks for any insight!
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Old 07-27-2020, 10:46 PM   #2
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This gets asked all the time, my 25 foot short bus has 80,000 btu worth of AC for driving. School buses have lousy insulation, windows that do not seal well, and most have the engine in front to further heat the big metal box. Running a 15,000 BTU roof unit while driving pretty much will do nothing unless ir is right over your head and you put a partition right behind the drivers seat to isolate it. The average car AC system is over 15,000 BTU to keep a small 4 seat car cool. Buy the one with A.C. unless you are used to driving cars without it
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:17 AM   #3
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yep what kubla said.. if you want nice cool air on the road buy a bus with A/C and keep the A/C..


now that said if you are going for an all out conversion where you are going to remove the interior walls / panels, replace windows with RV windows, spray foam and insulate the floors as well, then you may ver ywell be able to remove one of the factory A/C systems and keep one.. many peoplke dont like them as they find the units obtrusive in their conversion plans..



you can also modify the A/C systems.. I built custom dashbaord A/C for one of my busses.., you can purchase A/C units that mount in the genberally useless bulkhead space above the windshield or buy a bus that has them like this..



plan on giving your bus A/C systems a bit of a once-over when you buy a buis with it.. they are often neglected.. ie dirty coils / low on freon etc..



the bus A/C units are purely for having A/C while you drive.. they wont operate while the engine is turned off..



regardless of aesthetiics A/C on the road is a must for me.. I often find myself in the south in summer or on the long hot freeways in july and refuse to be one of those guys driving down the road with a bandana around my forehead to keep the sweat out of my eyes..



-Christopher
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Old 07-28-2020, 09:00 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
yep what kubla said.. if you want nice cool air on the road buy a bus with A/C and keep the A/C..


now that said if you are going for an all out conversion where you are going to remove the interior walls / panels, replace windows with RV windows, spray foam and insulate the floors as well, then you may ver ywell be able to remove one of the factory A/C systems and keep one.. many peoplke dont like them as they find the units obtrusive in their conversion plans..



you can also modify the A/C systems.. I built custom dashbaord A/C for one of my busses.., you can purchase A/C units that mount in the genberally useless bulkhead space above the windshield or buy a bus that has them like this..
SNIP...


regardless of aesthetiics A/C on the road is a must for me.. I often find myself in the south in summer or on the long hot freeways in july and refuse to be one of those guys driving down the road with a bandana around my forehead to keep the sweat out of my eyes..



-Christopher
Are there any add-on systems that you'd recommend for a bus that came w/out a/c?
Is finding an oem setup the best way to go or is there a better more efficient way?
I'd probably partition the first ten feet or so for this -- I wouldn't try/need to cool the whole bus while driving...
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Old 07-28-2020, 02:55 PM   #5
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Like Christopher said, inspect any A/Csystem you buy. I have 2 very large A/C units. When I bought the bus 1 blew kinda cold and the other was blowing hot air. Had I been aware of the cost it fix them I might have tried to negotiate a lower price. Both of my compressors leaked. So two compressors $600 ea, 2 dryers $65ea , and quite a bit of freon plus labor cost me $2k. The good news is that they both blow 42 degree air.

Christopher, I kept my duct work as well. But it stops at the drivers seat belt, of course that behind me. Great idea about running a duct and installing a vent above to windshield! I could mount a muffin fan inline to make sure air moves to the new vents. The vents could also face down at the windshield. My residential A/c guy always faces the registers toward the windows to attack the heat where it comes from. Wow!

You can put me in the ďU want A/C ď column. OP, you answered your own question when you said itís 5000 degrees in St. Louis.

Peace
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by banman View Post
Are there any add-on systems that you'd recommend for a bus that came w/out a/c?
Is finding an oem setup the best way to go or is there a better more efficient way?
I'd probably partition the first ten feet or so for this -- I wouldn't try/need to cool the whole bus while driving...
Seems to me you should be able to find someone on the forum taking out their system, or find a junkyard bus with the a/c in it that would be a match for your bus. Might need to do some rebuilding, but at least it would give you all the right parts.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
Are there any add-on systems that you'd recommend for a bus that came w/out a/c?
Is finding an oem setup the best way to go or is there a better more efficient way?
I'd probably partition the first ten feet or so for this -- I wouldn't try/need to cool the whole bus while driving...

To be fair, most "full size" school bus A/C systems are "add-on" to begin with. Typically the chassis comes with frame, engine, transmission, tires and brakes. The body company (Blue Bird, for example) adds on the bodywork from the windshield back, floor, seats, etc and this includes the A/C system. The chassis may or may not have had the compressor(s) installed from the frame manufacturer. If not, these are also added by the body manufacturer. This is why many full size buses don't have dash air.


Buses with "van style" front ends (cutaways) are another matter. They will often have the Ford or GM installed compressor(s) and ordered accordingly if secondary A/C is planned, which can either be tied into the original system (which of course was designed for it) or in some cases a second compressor mounted.
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Old 07-28-2020, 08:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
Are there any add-on systems that you'd recommend for a bus that came w/out a/c?
Is finding an oem setup the best way to go or is there a better more efficient way?
I'd probably partition the first ten feet or so for this -- I wouldn't try/need to cool the whole bus while driving...



buying new equipment is pricey.. to me the best way is to find an OEM system and harvest the condenser, evaporator, controol panel, A/C electrical panel. asnd esp the engine brackets and pulleys that pertain to the A/C.. I always use a new compressor and make new lines..



this past weekend I harvested as much as i could from a guy scrapping a carpenter.. and found that the A/C was already in disrepair.. one compressor was locked up solid, and one condenser was missing and had been for a long time.. being an ohio bus the remaining condenser was so rusted and corroded that it was no good.. it was easy to see where the pipes were ruined.. so definitely inspect what you harvest.. on this haul both indoor evaps were good so I snagged them ..



there are people pulling this stuff out all the time it seems .. even when it works.. those are the best when you can grab a system that you know worked before it came out..



my dash air in my DEV bus was new parts and is custom as I wanted vents i could blow on me vs just blow cool air into the bus;; dash air is rare on a school bus until you got to the newer stuff like the thomas C2 that uses the same dashboard as a box truck so it was made for it..
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Old 07-29-2020, 09:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
Seems to me you should be able to find someone on the forum taking out their system, or find a junkyard bus with the a/c in it that would be a match for your bus. Might need to do some rebuilding, but at least it would give you all the right parts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
To be fair, most "full size" school bus A/C systems are "add-on" to begin with. Typically the chassis comes with frame, engine, transmission, tires and brakes. The body company (Blue Bird, for example) adds on the bodywork from the windshield back, floor, seats, etc and this includes the A/C system. The chassis may or may not have had the compressor(s) installed from the frame manufacturer. If not, these are also added by the body manufacturer. This is why many full size buses don't have dash air.
SNIP....
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
buying new equipment is pricey.. to me the best way is to find an OEM system and harvest the condenser, evaporator, controol panel, A/C electrical panel. asnd esp the engine brackets and pulleys that pertain to the A/C.. I always use a new compressor and make new lines..



this past weekend I harvested as much as i could from a guy scrapping a carpenter.. and found that the A/C was already in disrepair.. one compressor was locked up solid, and one condenser was missing and had been for a long time.. being an ohio bus the remaining condenser was so rusted and corroded that it was no good.. it was easy to see where the pipes were ruined.. so definitely inspect what you harvest.. on this haul both indoor evaps were good so I snagged them ..



there are people pulling this stuff out all the time it seems .. even when it works.. those are the best when you can grab a system that you know worked before it came out..

SNIP....
Thanks Guyz!
I suspected as much but it's good to get confirmation before I go junkyard surfing...

So the compressors are going to be semi-standard then and it's the brackets that will be engine specific?
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Old 07-29-2020, 02:32 PM   #10
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I have to say, the front and rear AC in my bus run perfect and you can feel cool air throughout. That being said, I don’t feel it while the bus is off so I am considering a portable unit. Of course, I won’t be full time either.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:53 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by SmilinRhonda View Post
So we are starting to look for busses... Found a couple... mostly without AC, but I did find one with AC. We live in St Louis where it feels like 5000 degrees on some days.

Should I be looking for a bus to convert... that has AC with the bus? Or, can I run an added AC unit when we drive after the conversion?

Maybe a stupid question, but not sure if the AC already on the bus is a necessity?

Thanks for any insight!
I'm here in STL, too, and I wouldn't consider buying a bus that doesn't have a working factory A/C. If you're buying a van-chassis (short-bus) and traveling alone, you can probably get by with one that just has dash A/C, but if you're going for a big bus or plan to have more than you and a co-pilot, you're going to want another engine-driven A/C system for travel.

My 4-window shorty has dash A/C and a monster unit over the back door. It keeps the whole tube cold, even in our recent hotter-than-the-devils-backside weather. And that's before I've added insulation!

P.S. Go Cards!
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Old 08-06-2020, 10:39 AM   #12
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I agree with the rest, look for a rig with A/C! I built our schoolie as an Extended Weekender and have kept bus seating up front and the factory A/C. Modify any ductwork as needed for your build out. Household A/C works good when parked, many choices out there for this
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