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Old 06-22-2017, 03:18 PM   #1
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Salt Lake area AC repair?

I took our 2001 E350 in to Little Garage in Salt Lake in April to have the AC worked on, explaining that the cab and interior Starcool AC were somehow integrated. The fans were working at the time but the cab AC would only blow cool air when we were not accelerating or putting the engine (V8 5.4) under any load. This garage "fixed" it (including new Freon and did not detect a leak). I was foolish and did not test it immediately, and in fact it got sort of cold for a while and I did not try to use it until 2 weeks ago. When I turned it while driving it only blew warm air whether the rear AC was also on or not. The rear AC did not work with the engine off but plugged into 110 shore power. The guys at the garage said it sounded like a Freon leak. When I took it in they said for $190 they could refill the Freon and add a lot more dye to detect a leak, but if the leak was not under the hood (but was part of the rear conversion), they could not work on that. Since it seemed foolish to spend $200 for someone to tell you something's broke but they won't fix it, we took the rig home to figure out Plan B.

I have been online trying to find an RV place in Salt Lake that can/will repair this thing and it is turning out to be hard to find a garage to do the work or one that doesn't have a crap reputation and bad reviews. I have brought this rig to Clay's RV (they installed a new Emerson digital rear thermostat that does not seem to function properly now either), and am not impressed with their service).

Anybody in the SLC vicinity have any suggestions for help on this?

Thanks!
Scott
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:19 PM   #2
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My buddy works on my rig all the time. Can't guarantee he can fix yours but it's worth a shot. He'll come to you.

https://franchiauto.com/
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Old 06-22-2017, 05:26 PM   #3
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Ask them how may pounds or ounces of Freon they put in. Many times they evacuate the system and don't note what they pulled out. The true number is 4.5 lbs or 72 oz. Don't tell them, make them tell you what they put in. If they read what Ford specs, it's wrong and will act like the system is low. Also it could be a check valve not working. Find a business that deals with big rigs. Those shops work a lot with aftermarket systems. I just blew my compressor but it went from blowing cold air to warm but it smelled like I burned the clutch. If you google Starcool it will take you to several posts here on the subject. Good Luck...it's hot out
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Old 07-05-2017, 05:46 PM   #4
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Never got a call back from frenchi'. I re-visited the shop who previously didn't detect any Freon leaks (but put in a new vacuum reservoir, fan kept going off) and made sure he put in the specified amount for this conversion, which I believe he did, daveb. But I still do not know where the Freon leaked out, if indeed that is still the case. I have tried running the rear system in all configurations of switches turned on or off per other posts. So after calling a bunch of shops in Salt Lake I finally am going to roll the dice with AAA Speedometer and Auto Services and hope they can fix this. It is currently 104F outside and I'm running out of options. I have learned that the AC systems in here a more complicated than I'd have guessed.
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Old 07-23-2017, 11:33 AM   #5
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Hi. I've got a 99 E350 that had a blown compressor in the cab a/c. I used Mike Palmer Automotive. Vanessa there is awesome at following up with Sportsmobile. They are working on a short in my starcool ac which is how I came across your post. LMk if you want to get together sometime and share van stories.

Terri
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:18 PM   #6
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Hi Terri,
Thanks for the word on Palmer. Please let me know how it works out with them.

So let me tell you about my experience at AAA. The guy did not listen to my instructions and did not allow me to explain to him about the fact that the front and rear AC are tied together. The upshot was that he ended up filling it with Freon and the front AC worked. Then he called me and told me the rear Starcool AC fan must be broken. I told him he had to hit that switch behind the drivers seat and explained a bit about the system, and what do you know, it worked. But by that time he'd already moved the van out of the garage and so never did a leak check in the back like I'd asked him to in the first place. So I am done with AAA. Interestingly, the AC functions fine now both front and back. It has been 2 weeks and we've been out with her for a long trip in extreme heat and it works fine- for now. I am waiting and watching to see if the freon leaks again. The first outfit that worked on the AC was Little Garage who refused to do a leak check on the rear system which was what led me to search for a local alternative. If your guy at Palmer worked out I'd love to hear about it.

For anyone who cares, I now drive with the rear Starcool fan wall switch set to low, the thermostat system fan set to cool with fan set to auto and the temp set to 70 degrees or whatever. When I use the AC I turn it on up front and all I have to do is flip the switch behind my left shoulder to activate the rear system. It is still not totally clear to me if I could run the front AC effectively without the rear Starcool on, but this system works so I'm not going to mess with it.

Are you actually in Alta, Terri? We've in Glendale off 1300W. Do you know electrical systems at all? We're trying to learn more about ours so we can switch out some lights to LEDs and see about getting a microwave onboard, etc. How long have you had your van? PM me if you'd like and yes, maybe we can meet sometime.
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Old 07-23-2017, 03:04 PM   #7
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On my van the thermostat has nothing to do with the 12v function of the Starcool. I have to keep the thermostat set to off rather than "COOL" unless I'm plugged into shore power. My inverter will try to power the shore power compressor if I turn the thermostat to on/cool and the temperature control setting below the air temp. In that case the compressor will pull more than what the inverter can put out and trip off. It's just the way mine is configured. Some Starcool setups don't have that huge 110vAC compressor though.

Glad you got it going.
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Old 09-05-2017, 02:02 PM   #8
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I am now more than a little pissed! After spending a few hundred bucks for crappy service that did not identify or fix the real issue, I am still driving in the heat. If the first outfit to look at this problem actually did check for Freon leaks in the front Ford end of the rig and found no leak there, then presumably it must be in the back SMB/Starcool end of things; they refused to look at the back end but were happy to charge me for a Freon refill. The second guy ignored or forgot that I wanted him to look at the Starcool end but did refill the Freon yet again, which was great until it also leaked out somewhere. Yesterday I had the pleasure of driving through bumper to bumper Labor Day gridlock for 2 hours in the heat. Not happy!

So I am asking again if anyone has any suggestions for someone in the Salt Lake area who might do this work and not rip me off. Altagoddess/Terri, how did Palmer work out for you? And do you know if he'd also look at the Starcool system? Or do I have to learn how to do all this myself?
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Old 09-05-2017, 06:14 PM   #9
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I have used Dwight's fleet and Auto repair for some diesel work and they seem to be pretty good and fair. Not sure if they could work on your starcool but it would be worth a call, I still need to get my a.c. fixed and my starcool running so I feel your pain. Alta view tires and service is close too my house and also seems to be very honest and they seem to have competent mechanics. I feel your pain it's hard finding and trusting someone to work on our rigs that doesn't rip you off. Please let us know how it goes if you find a fix.

Oh and switching lights to LED is simple usually, just find the bulbs you are looking for on Amazon in LED and pop them in, simple as that in most cases. If you want to change out any fluorescent type ones there are plenty of new lights pretty cheap that you can replace the whole unit with intead of just the bulb.
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