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Old 05-21-2020, 01:59 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas 4-Window
Chassis: 2003 Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 6
Where to mount mini-split outdoor unit?

I'm in the planning phase for HVAC in my 4-window Thomas (E350 chassis).
I'm leaning toward a 9000btu Pioneer 115v mini-split running on shore power/generator and looking for ideas on where to mount the outdoor unit (33" long, 23" tall, 14" wide). I'd like to avoid the roof as I don't want anything taller than the solar array (even on the edge of the bus, it would add at least another foot in overall height). Right now I'm looking at either mounting next to the back door on a bumper-mounted bracket or underneath the bus (drivers side, rear). Under the bus would mean recessing it 6 inches or so into a "tubbed" floor and making sure there is plenty of ventilation so the fan has sufficient draw. I like under the bus for protection, security, and aesthetic reasons. I like the bumper mount for simplicity. The roof would offer air flow (and reasonable security) at the expense of height. Any other mounting ideas? Any other options I should consider beyond the mini-split (need very efficient heat and A/C as I'd eventually like to build out solar/battery well enough to run it)?
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Old 05-22-2020, 10:24 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: White, Georgia
Posts: 48
Year: 2012
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: E450
Engine: V10
Rated Cap: 1 1/2 ton
Thumbs up My Vote For Mounting a Mini-Split

Hi. On my Freightliner I went with the popular add a platform to the back.
There are several reasons I decided to go this direction.
I plan on installing, and already bought, two mini-splits.
After the 4 foot add on is complete including lights I plan on mounting the outside units in parallel, towards the outsides with the air blowing out from the middle.
Another reason I like this is I hope to put a roof over this addition and make it into a little porch like I've seen others do. With a railing around the outside the units will have some protection as well as conceal them just a bit.
Someone pointed out the very end of my new addition might scrape the road when going up a steep place, like into an uphill driveway. I'm planning on addressing that with the wheels used to stop a fifth wheel from scraping.
A significant concern, and one I've spent minimal time on, is finding out where to get the plastic air conditioning tubing like the bus uses for the built in air conditioners instead of the copper tubing that came with the units.
After adding the handicap bathroom and shower I plan on the maiden voyage. This first run probably won't be for a too long time.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:08 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Location: Arizona
Posts: 14
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: GMC Savana 3500
Engine: 6.5 L 395 CID V8 Diesel
im mulling over a similar decision I bought a pioneer 12k btu 21.5 seer. I have a similar bus to yours just a five widow gmc chassis. my bus only has 18' of clearance from bottom of skirt to underside of floor idk how much you have but would seem like you would need a much larger recess into the floor to get it to fit let alone not hinder airflow. running a mini split off solar for extended periods is not a easy task and will require substantial funds and since your bus is so small pretty much your entire roof would need to be a solar panel . I had the day dream of being solar only but when I priced out the system required I would of spent over three times if not 4 times what I bought my bus for on a solar system
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Old 06-05-2020, 06:21 PM   #4
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Just south of Dallas.
Posts: 105
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 40' MVP-ER
Engine: Cat 3126
I mounted directly to the skirt. Awesome sauce!
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Old 06-06-2020, 12:26 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas 4-Window
Chassis: 2003 Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaymcquaid View Post
I mounted directly to the skirt. Awesome sauce!
Unfortunately, I only have 12" from cross member to bottom of skirt, and 28" from cross member to ground. If I run it longitudinally along the skirt, I'll have to recess it (like a wheel well) to keep it up and out of harms way.
I'm hoping to find another option.
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Old 06-28-2020, 09:06 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Posts: 369
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: CAT C7 300hp w/retarder
Rated Cap: 46 + 1 36,200 lbs
I have been thinking about this issue myself. I have a 39 foot long Thomas safety liner. My underfloor space is all taken up by 8’ of storage compartment and the condensers for the factory A/C. I am thinking of eliminating the back window and building a shelf outside and above the rear engine access door to mount the mini-split compressor/condenser units (there will be two).
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Old 07-01-2020, 02:05 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 244
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas EF
Engine: Cat 3126
I actually came here to pose the same question. We are torn between roof mounting between the rear top lights (easier), or mounting underneath into a toolbox style housing (harder).



I don't care for the idea of mounting it to a rear deck. It's not a good idea to add extra length to your bus as it may scrape or hit while starting up a hill.
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