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Old 05-29-2009, 07:03 AM   #1
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Danhard A/C

We will soon be placing our order for a new SMB at SMB North

Having owned on older SMB we pretty much know what we want but we have questions about the Danhard A/C system. What has been the experience of those who have one or what is the word out there? We had the old Starcool system with which we were not that impressed. It was noisy and didn't cool all that well in really hot weather.

We are getting the PH top so it seems that it has to be the Danhard or nothing.
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Old 05-29-2009, 04:27 PM   #2
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Re: Danhard A/C

My van was built by SMB Huntington and has the DANHARD a/c. I love it. It's cold enough to test your frosticles. (I'm sorry that was really bad.) And, when that things cranking the windows in the penthouse even bulge slightly. It ain't wimpy. So I think you'll be plenty cool. Plus, I love that it can run for about an hour on my 2 batteries. (that's not practical for camping, but it's nice if you stop to run in a store and want to leave your dogs in the van. Keep in mind I have a chilly dog alarm so that if it does run out of batteries the van's a/c will start and I will be paged.)

Now, the noise is a bit loud. It doesn't bother me for sleeping, actually helps for that. but, in campground, it almost sounds like you're running a small generator (that might be exaggerating a bit.) I have no idea how loud the Starcool is to run, never heard one.)

I was concerned that if I was on a long day's drive that I'd be troubled by not being able to run it non stop (since it needs to shut off after awhile.) But, that has not been a problem since it cools things down great at the start and the Ford a/c is actually pretty darn strong on my van.)

So, my 2 cents (or this post is long enough to be a nickel) is that it's a nice system.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:24 PM   #3
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Re: Danhard A/C

I agree it is a nice system.

Our 2008 was built with a Danhard as well. Living in Texas we used our AC plenty.

It will run on battery alone, and that is nice, but it will also run on a Honda 2k generator power sharing with house batteries. ...and it can run indefintely that way....
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:11 AM   #4
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Re: Danhard A/C

I also thought about the Danhard, but I only wanted something that cools the back seat down for the kids while we are driving. So we ordered the unlisted '12 Volt Rear AC', which was less than half the price of the Danhard. This is just a rear blower that is plumbed onto the normal engine driven compressor-- it only works when the engine is on. It's very cold, it cools the back of the van down faster than the front AC cools down the two front seats.
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Old 06-03-2009, 01:37 AM   #5
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Re: Danhard A/C

Msponer,
Great information, would you have pictures of the "12v rear AC"?
Is it a Ford factory add on?
Controled from the front or back?
Thanks

Andrew
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:18 AM   #6
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Re: Danhard A/C

Last summer on a cross country trip to DC for 4th of July, we used our Danhard while driving, instead of using the factory van AC.

We did this to increase fuel economy by not having the belt-driven compressor running.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:12 AM   #7
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Re: Danhard A/C

Hi,
Here are photos of the 12 volt AC. The folks in Austin installed it when they built the van for us. It did not come with the blank van from Ford. I think Paul told me this is a factory option in other Ford vehicles, so they used those parts. My in-laws had a Suburban with a rear AC blower, so maybe that is where these come from.


The only control is a fan speed knob (the funky looking round one underneath the factory front knob)


The outlets are the same style as the Danhard.


The blower is a ~12x8x8" black box under the rear seat, to port of the water tank.

It blows cold for a few minutes after the engine turns off, but that's it-- then it's just a fan. It's very cold when the engine is idling, just like the front AC. I'm happy with it, since it was substantially less than the Danhard and we have not yet missed the ability to run the AC without running the engine.

We wanted a rear AC because of an experience I had when renting a camper van in Australia. It just had a front AC, and the cold air never reached the folks in back, no matter how much the people up front froze with the AC on high.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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Re: Danhard A/C

Thank you Msponer for the pictures and detail.
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Old 06-03-2009, 11:27 AM   #9
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Re: Danhard A/C

Greg,
I suspect that running the Danhard instead of the factory AC does not improve fuel economy. The Danhard is still drawing power from your alternator to run. You may just be moving the load from one pulley to another.

On my small (75hp) sailboat diesel engine, the 125 amp alternator was a larger fraction of the total output of the engine and the RPM would drop, and sometimes the belt would slip, when the alternator regulator ramped up the alternator output.

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Old 06-03-2009, 01:09 PM   #10
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Re: Danhard A/C

My van has the factory rear AC. Fuel economy is not impacted unless the frant and rear blowers are on high. That sucker draws a lot of power (plus more air through the vents means continuous duty for the compressor vs its normal intermittent duty with vents on low). But it also cools the rear of the van to 32 degrees if the front is blocked off and its on high. It'll actually put frost on anything placed near the vents.
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