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Old 10-25-2020, 07:29 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 12
1998 Thomas Vista front/dash AC/Heaters - pictures

Hello, My AC/Heater units next to the drivers seat and door do not work. I want to remove them and replace them with electric units. Does anyone know of good replacements?
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Old 10-25-2020, 07:39 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,144
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
electric? as in electric heat for driving? Brrrrr thats gionns be one freezing cold bus..



what doesnt work about your heaters? (those are not A/C, they are heat only from what i can see)..


factory Vista Dash air was an external unit that replaced the right side heater and had 2 vertical coils... that is a single horizontal heat-only coil
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Old 10-25-2020, 07:57 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 12
I thought they were only heat too. But the knob (in the second image) says "push for cool" "pull for heat"

I ran my bus for about 20 minutes and still no heat came out of those units. i could feel air moving out of them but not hot air.
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Old 10-25-2020, 08:01 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,144
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I see the 2 knobs on the dash.. those look like for usually ceiling A/C units.. were there ceiling units removed or still there? those in the pics only have one coil..



to get heat be sure the water valves under the hood and at the dash are open.



-Christopher
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Old 10-25-2020, 08:36 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 12
I did remove 2 a/c units. One in the front where the gaurds sit and on in the back where the prisoners sit.

Okay thank you! Ill look for the valves tomorrow. ive been working on the bus all weekend and cant say ive seen valves lablled for heat. What do they look like?
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:01 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,144
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Yeah that was your nice road A/C, put it back for A/C in the front once your conversion is done , you look like you’ll be insulating well so you likely won’t need the rear one.

The valves will be in the small 1 inch heater lines near the engine. They will look like a water faucet knob or a ball valve with a little red knob or a swing lever that goes 1/4 turn. There may be valves inside too. Almost looks like one in the driver heater picture.

If your system is series flow then you must loop the liens where the rear heater was, if it’s parallel flow (I believe thomas is) then you cap the lines for the rear heater .. I can’t tell from the pics what type of flow it is.
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:17 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
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im planning on puting in 1 or 2 ac/heater units on the roof in order to do away with the oiriginal ac units that did not match my floor plan.
The bus also had 2 heating units in the back. Right now i am trying to figure out if the heaters in the front (seen in the pictures) are connected to the lines for the 2 heaters in the back and the 2 ac units. If they are not, i am hoping to remove any lines, resivoirs, and/or compressors that are not nessary.

Do you know if the two systems are separate?
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:51 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,144
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
They are separate . The AC is aftermarket.. the heaters can be used up front without the A/C and the front heaters don’t require the rear heaters.

be sure to order a box of sweat rags to keep up front .. those camper units are great for being parked but aren’t much good on the road.. not with that doghouse and those big windows in a vista.. those original units are likely 45-50k BTU each...
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Old 10-25-2020, 09:57 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 12
Hhaha but the little fan... the little fan will keep me cool. jk Ive heard about the heat on the the road. trying to find the best solution without having that clunker of an ac unit. Thank you for your help cadillackid. maybe ill see you on the road!
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Old 10-26-2020, 08:49 AM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,144
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I still use my little fan even with A/C.. that "clunker" of an A/C unit can be repurposed, relocated, etc.. you cvan even use the rest of the system and replace the inside unit wit ha different evaporator.. ie how about an ice bulkhead mount unit.. or pull the right-side thomas heater out and install a heat / cool unit that can be dash A/C of 30,000+ BTU and ne right-side defrost / heat..



the only real way to cool a bus driving effectively is to use engine driven A/C..

ive been designing engine-driven A/C for years and mixing / matching components is something very much possible..


ive also sweat my ass off in busses that tried to cool while driving with camper A/C units and generators..



theres all kinds of various A/C options available.. I even retrofitted 1980's bluebird Defrost units with evaporators where you spun the round vents around toward you in summer for cooling and then spun em back around to the glass for winter heat..



my main point is dont destroy a system that is best at what it does.. its free A/C as the bus is already equipped with it.. the lines / compressor / wiring / condenser all re-usable with a different inside unit that isnt a Clunker..
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Old 10-26-2020, 09:10 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 12
I don't mean to offend. I really do want to reuse as much of the original system as I can. In my ignorance, I assumed that by taking out the original a/c units - I would have to start from scratch.

But you are saying that I can keep the lines, compressor, wiring and condenser - and replace the inside unit? I would love that! That would save a ton of work.

What smaller interior units do you recommend pairing with this system? I can send more pictures if you need.

ill be mounting one above the dash & one above emergency exit door.
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Old 10-26-2020, 09:21 AM   #12
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,144
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
you very much can re-use the existing components.. and if you are insulating well (im assuming since you did a full gut you will be either spray-foaming or using other higher R value insulation and nicer ceiling.. you can quite possibly only need one in the front for when you are driving and can save the rear space and complexity of maintaining 2 systems.



I either like custom dash setups.. or if you arent comfortable building your own HVAC , bulkhead units are my favorite as they used that pretty useless space above the windshield with much less protrusion into the living area..



I dont lnow what model condensers you have in that bus but something like this..


https://www.proairllc.com/ev-2-in-wall-evaporator/


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


those have the size drawings with them so you can measure..



-Christopher
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Old 10-26-2020, 10:10 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 12
Unfortunately my electrical control panel is in the bulkhead above the dash. I dont think I can move it to use one of the units from those links. Do you know of a lower profile unit - kind of similar to the new looking minisplit interior units?
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