Install an air conditioner yourself - Escape Trailer Owners Community

Go Back   Escape Trailer Owners Community > Escape Tech > Modifications and Alterations
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-31-2015, 06:11 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
MyronL's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Edgewood, New Mexico
Trailer: 2013 Esc19/'14 Silvrado
Posts: 2,060
Install an air conditioner yourself

I just bought myself a Dometic 11,000 btu Penguin II. Installing one at home is a 2-man job.

In my old build list I had specified I only wanted the trailer wired a/c ready. My installation began by first removing the manual vent in the roof. If your build list does not include a/c Escape installs that roof vent as a place holder. Removing it does take time. There’s 32 screws. Screws are all heavily coated with a rubbery caulking. Use a razor knife to expose before you can unscrew them.

Then you have to pry off the vent. This is also tough because the flange is bedded in the same irascible caulking. Slipping a knife blade under this flange bonded to the roof was impossible. I finally resorted to softening the bond using heat. Took a chance, used my propane torch with great care, but still managed to singe some of the vent. A good heat gun is a wiser choice. Then the prying off continues with knife and with two flat pry bars. It was very stubborn work.


Caulk remnants sticking to the roof needed slicing away with a sharp knife and a good 1 inch putty knife. Must avoid gouging into the gel coat. That done, used Xylene and followed up with alcohol to clean up any remaining residue.


Dometic’s 11,000 btu Penguin II lists at 100 pounds. It is an unwieldy bear. The company says use a hoist to get it on the roof. Very good advice. Sliding the unit in place would cause damage to the neoprene gasket attached around the underside opening. But who’s got a hoist? At first I’m thinking no, no, two guys on a ladder could get it up there. I spent a few days pondering this, trying to visualize every move before tackling the job. The risk is damaging the awning on one side, or the fridge vent housing on the other. Ladders are frisky. The issue of damaging the neoprene gasket or the gel coat also looms large. I needed a better plan. I needed a hoist.


I have a small block and tackle. It could handle a hundred pounds. The question was, could I use the peak of my trailer canopy as a bridge? It just might be high enough. Plan became hoist up the unit then drive the trailer under it, and lower the unit down. I removed the plastic Dometic cover to avoid damaging it, and this also exposed a secure place for attaching lifting straps.


We slowly raised the air conditioner up as high as it would go. It twisted, it tilted off balance, but with small adjustments we got it to hang level. I backed up my 19. The unit cleared the trailer roof by a scant 2 inches. We were good to go.


Before lowering in place I laid down a heavy bead of caulk, filled in the 32 screw holes. I used Leak Stopper, a rubberized all purpose sealer. When we lowered the unit on the roof the sealer had the added benefit of allowing the heavy unit to slide and align in place easily.


Once the interior base pan was screwed up tightly into the roof unit, Romex connections made, cover snapped in place, I plugged into shore power, ready to turn knobs and fire it up. The big moment had arrived.


And….nothing happened. No fan came on, no compressor, no nothing. What?


Figured the factory installed Romex isn’t connected to a power source. But how do I find out where that Romex is routed? Where’s it end up? Big senior moment here. My wife snickered and left me to it. I heard that, I muttered. Finally realized the line must be routed into the WFCO Power Converter Distribution Center.

Removed the trim bezel and, neatly labeled with a magic marker, there it was, Romex to the a/c! But “a/c ready” don’t include the 20 amp breaker switch. Best next advice is pull one of the ones in there out and take it with you to your supplier to be certain you’re buying the right breaker.

That done, I was feeling very cool.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg AC01.jpg (112.8 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg AC02.jpg (57.1 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg AC03.jpg (68.0 KB, 46 views)
File Type: jpg AC04.jpg (113.3 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg AC05.jpg (55.9 KB, 46 views)
__________________

__________________
Myron
"A billion here, a billion there...add it all up and before you know it you're talking real money." Everett Dirkson
MyronL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2015, 06:26 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
rbryan4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Trailer: 2015 19 "Past Tents", 2015 F150 Ecoboost
Posts: 7,564
Great work Myron. No more redneck AC for you!
__________________

__________________
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy an RV. And that is pretty close."
rbryan4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2015, 06:40 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
MarksAlot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Clovis, California
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19
Posts: 328
Last thumbnail pic looks like a happy A/C unit.
__________________
Don't make excuses for failure, seek ways to succeed.

Mark
Blizzy and Dakota (Da Boyz)
MarksAlot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2015, 06:47 PM   #4
Commercial Member
 
tractors1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21 - "Felicity"
Posts: 2,323
Very resourceful; where this is a will there is always a way. I built two sawhorses on my bathtub surround and used 2 boat winches to lower a 400 lb cast iron tub into the hole. I love it when a plan comes together.......
__________________
Charlie Y

Need custom storage to your design? Don't drill holes!
www.RVWidgetWorks.com
tractors1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2015, 07:42 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Trailer: 1979 Boler B1700
Posts: 9,035
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
The company says use a hoist to get it on the roof.
...
I have a small block and tackle. It could handle a hundred pounds. The question was, could I use the peak of my trailer canopy as a bridge? It just might be high enough. Plan became hoist up the unit then drive the trailer under it, and lower the unit down. I removed the plastic Dometic cover to avoid damaging it, and this also exposed a secure place for attaching lifting straps.
In a similar approach to swap engines, I hung a chain hoist from a 4"x4" post laid across the opening of an attic access hatch in my garage, spreading the load across four roof trusses. The method is the same: lift engine, roll car under it, lower engine into car. Of course, to use this for a trailer one would need a tall garage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
It twisted, it tilted off balance, but with small adjustments we got it to hang level.
The engine hoisting job has the same challenge. The solution, which could be used for an air conditioner hanging from a hoist, is an engine leveller - just turn the screw to change the tilt.
Brian B-P is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2015, 10:36 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Durango, Colorado
Trailer: 2016 - 21'
Posts: 7
AC Install = Better to get factory unit

I am finalizing my build sheet and this is one item I am wondering about. Presently we have AC ready.
We generally camp in remote areas, where we cannot use ac.
After your install, do you think having the unit installed originally is the best for future use, when needed.
Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you.
bhonisch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2015, 10:51 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Los Osos, California
Trailer: 2014 21 2013 Yukon
Posts: 2,416
Most will tell you to, as most get it. We didn't and still no regrets as camping in an RV park is a one-off, and don't get me started on the a-hole camp host at Finley Point SP at Flathead Lake who thought we didn't want to pay for electric(non-e were deleted by him) because we had CA plates and figured we voted for Obama, thus expected things for free No joke.

Seriously- the best advice IMO is build it for your use, not potential resale later. The upside for anyone later(for anyone who wants it) is that it will be new then with warranty.
Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2015, 10:55 PM   #8
Commercial Member
 
tractors1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Hillsboro, Oregon
Trailer: 2014 Escape 21 - "Felicity"
Posts: 2,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by bhonisch View Post
I am finalizing my build sheet and this is one item I am wondering about. Presently we have AC ready.
We generally camp in remote areas, where we cannot use ac.
After your install, do you think having the unit installed originally is the best for future use, when needed.
Any thoughts are appreciated. Thank you.
Questions: Will the cost of an AC unit decrease in price over the years? Will labor become increasingly cheaper? Will you have the time and resources to install it yourself should you choose to? If there is a problem with the installation of unit, will you want to deal with that? If all the answers are yes, just hold off...............I didn't and I'm in the Pacific NW where we rarely use AC.
__________________
Charlie Y

Need custom storage to your design? Don't drill holes!
www.RVWidgetWorks.com
tractors1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2015, 10:55 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: North Van., British Columbia
Trailer: 2014 Escape 19
Posts: 3,282
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post

This is also tough because the flange is bedded in the same irascible caulking. Slipping a knife blade under this flange bonded to the roof was impossible.
"irascible" I'm not sure that was the word I was using when I was removing the fridge vent from the roof. Seemed like pretty good stuff though.

Good job, glad it went well.

Ron
Ron in BC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2015, 10:57 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Los Osos, California
Trailer: 2014 21 2013 Yukon
Posts: 2,416
Pretty friggin' warm there now Charlie. What about seals going bad due to non-use?
__________________

Rossue is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off






» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:47 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.