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Old 07-25-2018, 11:27 AM   #1
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Window A/C unit in the rear door

I'm sorry to report that my great idea of putting a home style window A/C unit in the rear door has been a failure. The first one I installed failed after one trip, so I bought a different brand and tried again. Last weekend, while at a motorcycle race, temps reached nearly 100degs, so I fired up my Honda gen and was looking forward to watching the races from the comfort of my (cool) van. No luck. It seems the second unit failed just as the first did, no doubt due to a few thousand miles of rough British Columbia gravel roads a couple weeks prior. The unit worked once during that trip but I never tried it again until last weekend. I refuse to give up though, as I'm in this project over $1000 so far (mostly the cost of the gen). I'm guessing all the vibration has cracked one of the copper refrigerant lines as the home units are normally stationary and not subject to much vibration. The last two units were hard mounted, perhaps some sort of shock mitigating method would help, or I imagine if I stayed on paved roads it would survive, but that's not going to happen. Any other ideas?
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Old 07-25-2018, 11:35 AM   #2
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If it’s a copper line that’s easily repaired.

Or, since you’re retired, you could just go someplace where it’s not 100.
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Old 07-25-2018, 12:05 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rallypanam View Post
If itís a copper line thatís easily repaired.

Or, since youíre retired, you could just go someplace where itís not 100.
Actually, repair is not so easy. Soldering a cracked line is easy, but then you have to solder in a new drier, evacuate the entire system with a vacuum pump, and recharge with refrigerant. Then it's likely to happen again. As far as I'm concerned, these are throw away units at less than $150 ea, but I'd hope they would at least last a season or two. As for staying where it's cooler, I couldn't agree more. The last two days were spent in the Columbia river gorge, where it was hell of hot, and I questioned my sanity for being there. Fortunately the stock A/C works great (after I clamped off the hose to the heater core) but I couldn't stop for more than 15 minutes before I had to start driving again to cool off. I think I'll stick to the coast until I figure this out.
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Old 07-25-2018, 01:46 PM   #4
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You have a GTRV, right? I forget, is your AC unit in the bottom part of the rear door like GTRV did with their OEM setup, or in the window (I think window IIRC). Seems to be a lot of GTRVs out there with the bottom-mounted AC units. I wonder if they fail as much? Most of them probably stay on paved roads, though :-)
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Old 07-25-2018, 01:54 PM   #5
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After considering and planning and thinking and planning and letting the dust gather on two small window units I have (and a Honda generator) I pretty much decided just to scrap the whole thing and now you've confirmed why. I was hesitant to cut a hole in a Transit rear door since they are harder to find than E-series, at least for now. My choice was to just idle the van. Mine is a passenger and has rear air and I have yet to do it over a full night but the plan, if I need to, is just to idle and let the rear air keep me cool. The Transit uses about .75 gal/hr., a bargain for a night of AC. It will be many years before the heat of idling kills any electronics under the hood and I likely won't keep the van that long.

Sorry to hear of your troubles though. I'd really like to see this work.

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Old 07-25-2018, 02:05 PM   #6
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I spent several nights on the road in the back of my 7.3l idling all night in the delicious cold air.
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Old 07-25-2018, 02:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
After considering and planning and thinking and planning and letting the dust gather on two small window units I have (and a Honda generator) I pretty much decided just to scrap the whole thing and now you've confirmed why. I'd really like to see this work.
GTRV installs units in the bottom of the door, but I put mine in place of the window so it would not get covered by anything on the bed. In addition, I didn't have to cut a hole in the door and can replace the window anytime I want. I have zero doubt that folks who stay on the pavement, or do light duty off roading will have a different outcome. I on the other hand tend to spend hours pounding down high speed washboard. I think it would work fine if you simply avoided rough roads or just slowed down. I say go for it...........
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Old 07-25-2018, 06:29 PM   #8
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How much extra space you have in your van? Do you have room for one of portable units like these?

There are a couple of threads about using portable AC units on the forum.
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ions-1330.html

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...t-10180-2.html
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Old 07-25-2018, 06:52 PM   #9
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Looks like the "Zero Breeze" finally made it to market...at 1100BTU, not sure how effective it would be to cool a van in the sun, but I read (someplace) since it works on 12volt you supposedly can plug it into a Cig lighter (Tap into the house battery). Spec's state it draws 12.5amps

https://www.amazon.com/Zero-Breeze-P.../dp/B07F74CJVM
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Old 07-25-2018, 07:12 PM   #10
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How much extra space you have in your van?

I wish I had some extra space, but I don't even have room for an adequate supply of beer.
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