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Old 05-18-2023, 06:23 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Gulfport, MS
Posts: 154
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird All American Re
Engine: Cat 3126
Mini split outside condenser placement

Has anybody with a rear engine bus mounted a minisplit outside unit inside the engine compartment? Looks to be plenty of room. I am putting the inside unit on the back wall of the bus and this would make installation a lot easier, otherwise it's a 30ft run towards the front of the bus to mount it under. Concerned about minisplit efficiency and operation as well as causing temperature issues with the engine. Any experience or thoughts?

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Old 05-18-2023, 09:38 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 1,478
Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
I have not, but the principle that condensor is operating under is temperature differential. If the engine compartment air temperature goes above 100 degrees, exchange efficiency drops (and the unit has to work harder).

And where does all that hot air from the condensor go? Circulation would be the other big concern.
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Old 05-18-2023, 11:17 AM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Gulfport, MS
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Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird All American Re
Engine: Cat 3126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
I have not, but the principle that condensor is operating under is temperature differential. If the engine compartment air temperature goes above 100 degrees, exchange efficiency drops (and the unit has to work harder).

And where does all that hot air from the condensor go? Circulation would be the other big concern.
Gotcha! Under the side skirt between storage area and front axle it is then!
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Old 05-18-2023, 05:50 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 1,478
Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
That's a common location. Ground clearance is a thing, but many folks put them under the bus and report no issues with road dust/dirt, etc.
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Old 05-25-2023, 03:33 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
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Year: 1993
Chassis: ThomasBuilt 30'
Engine: need someone to tell me
Rated Cap: me + 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
That's a common location. Ground clearance is a thing, but many folks put them under the bus and report no issues with road dust/dirt, etc.

mounting the condensers in the rear engine compartment would be like mounting them behind the radiator on a front engine vehicle, no cooling for the condenser.

My factory (Thomas Built) ac condensers are under the buses on the sides, with fans (in front of the rear axle). No clearance problems and are directly under the evaporators, so both evap and condenser have long lines to the compressor. You could just have both lines short if you mount the split components in similar locations. Seems you could have a bit more flexibility in mounting the evap than the factory systems. I think that the evap bulk and location, directly opposite each other and in the center of the bus is a big reason why so many people delete the factory ac.
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Old 05-25-2023, 07:09 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,166
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I see a lot of them mounted under the bus.. some people cut holes in the skirt of the bus so the fan has a path to blow the hot (or cold) air out.. a couple people I now put a 1/4 spaced screen (not a window screen.. the holes are 1/4 inch) over the back of the unit to keep large rocks from hitting the rear coils where theres usually not much of a grill.. I dont k now if its necessary..



a lot of factory bus A/C systems had the coils mounted under the bus (not always skirt). and they seem to last.. the biggest issues is really road salt destroys the aluminum fins and eventually the copper coils on the factory systems.. I ordered a new condensor just this week for a guy that wants his factory bus A/C to work again on a 2011 bus that lives here in ohio.. and the failure was the condenser is just ate up from the road salt..



I think most people in skoolies tend to stay away from salt for the most part so you should be good... at least I hope when its salt season you are travelling your bus to warmer nicer places...


-Christopher
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Old 05-26-2023, 01:23 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 1,054
Year: 1993
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Engine: need someone to tell me
Rated Cap: me + 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I see a lot of them mounted under the bus.. some people cut holes in the skirt of the bus so the fan has a path to blow the hot (or cold) air out.. a couple people I now put a 1/4 spaced screen (not a window screen.. the holes are 1/4 inch) over the back of the unit to keep large rocks from hitting the rear coils where theres usually not much of a grill.. I dont k now if its necessary..



a lot of factory bus A/C systems had the coils mounted under the bus (not always skirt). and they seem to last.. the biggest issues is really road salt destroys the aluminum fins and eventually the copper coils on the factory systems.. I ordered a new condensor just this week for a guy that wants his factory bus A/C to work again on a 2011 bus that lives here in ohio.. and the failure was the condenser is just ate up from the road salt..



I think most people in skoolies tend to stay away from salt for the most part so you should be good... at least I hope when its salt season you are travelling your bus to warmer nicer places...


-Christopher

You seem to be quite knowledgeable about bus a/c systems. Do you work on them as a side hustle?
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Old 05-26-2023, 08:58 AM   #8
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,166
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
ive been doing A/C in general since the 80's, I did HVAC and advanced commercial HVAC controls as a career in the 90s.. before I saw the light and found I could make real $$ doing networks, code, telecom, and servers..



heck I remember fixing the A/C as a teen in our church busses.. no one wanted to try.. I had a stack of library books and learned it..



nowadays i do more helping people with re-purposing bus A/C gear that skoolies seem to want to get rid of.. ive put a lot of systems back into use again..



theres also quite a few small guy school bus contractors that one anywhere from 1-5 busses they service districts with.. take a 2011 bus to thermoking and they will charge you many hundreds just to look at it and then several grand to replace a condensor.. the same part I can order new for a grand.. and the mechanically adept driver can help install it.. Im also a tool geek so ive got the leak detectors and high perf vacuum pump, tanks, recovery unit, gauges, the EPA certs to get the refrigerant..



he slides me a couple hundred plus materials costs.. he is good friends with the owner of one of my fav coffee shops. so magically my espresso shots ring up as '0'...


while my career is fun and I enjoy it.. A/C is really fun to me.. I love building it, programming it, designing it.. ironically i really dont like when people over-use it.. I hard;ly turn it on in my house till its sleepy time..



now I do run it in my busses.. all the time... even my old 1978 SUperior I added a driver unit on steroids...
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Old 05-26-2023, 01:56 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
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Year: 1993
Chassis: ThomasBuilt 30'
Engine: need someone to tell me
Rated Cap: me + 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post

while my career is fun and I enjoy it.. A/C is really fun to me.. I love building it, programming it, designing it.. ironically i really dont like when people over-use it.. I hard;ly turn it on in my house till its sleepy time..



now I do run it in my busses.. all the time... even my old 1978 SUperior I added a driver unit on steroids...

thanks for the answer. Which do you spend more time in ...your house or the buses?


also, do you have any adsorption system experience or refrigeration experience?
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Old 05-26-2023, 03:11 PM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 19,166
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
its a toss up sometimes whether I spend more time cruising my busses around or at the house.. lately at the house because work is wildly busy...



very little absorption system experience.. exposed to it but never got deep into it.. natural gas Home A/C systems were on their way out when I got into the business.. one factory we took care of had an ammonia system for their flash freeze but we only handled their trane chiller and space A/C...



refrigeration only in terms of grocery store walk in chiller / freezer mainly.. of course the usual unit beer coolers in bars / restaraunts.. (back then people could smoke in bars / restaraunts and it was always dirty coils)
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Old 07-05-2023, 11:00 AM   #11
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Following this thread, but want to add a question too. We've also got a rear engine - International RE 300. At the moment only installing 1 mini split at the front of the bus - will probably add another. To stick with the 16 foot lineset that came with the Pioneer mini split, we are thinking of putting the condenser on the front bumper of the bus (properly secured).

We'd like to be able to run the AC while driving. There is no other AC system in the cabin. Is this even possible? If so, should we turn the unit around so that the coils face out, vs. the fan side of the unit? Someone told me to do that because the wind generated by the bus moving would damage the fan.

TIA for any guidance. Not a lot out there about rear engine setups.
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