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Old 07-18-2016, 11:15 AM   #1
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Basement Air duct repair

As I searched for answers to our poor cooling from our basement air unit in our 2006 Adventurer 38J, I noted from other posts that leaks in the duct work are not uncommon. I held my hand under the back cap and global cooling was in full swing.

Lying under the back with a flashlight and peering up into the cool breeze, I was able to see that the vertical duct was split open for about 12" in an area that was approximately the level of the taillights.

Removing the taillight on the passenger side (two screws and a push pin) and then removing the taillight mounting bracket (3 screws) I could see the split on the far side of the duct, but couldn't reach it through the existing opening . Several posts suggested that the back cap should be removed to properly repair the issue. I considered the cost or possibly attempting to mentally enjoy 110 degree cabin heat, but then...maybe not.

I came up with a better idea. Using a roll of duct tape as a guide, I traced a semi-circle starting along the inside edge of the existing rectangular opening of the fiberglass AND between the two mounting holes for the taillight bracket. I then cut out the fiberglass with a Dremmel tool using a rotary spiral cutter. Easy peasy.

Note, there are metal plates embedded in the fiberglass for each screw hole. Stay approximately 1" away from the screw holes. If you do hit the thin plate, you can easily cut them off with a small Dremmel abrasive wheel. There is no harm done in any manner by cutting out this fiberglass!

I put a stone on the dremmel and rounded off the corners and smoothed up the edges to avoid contusions and lacerations to my arm. You may want a long sleeved shirt.

At this point, I could get my entire arm in the enlarged hole. I then wiped the surface of the duct down with a cleaning solution. Alcohol works good for the final wipe down. I used metal duct tape with peel off backing, cut to about about 8" pieces and went horizontally around the corner of the duct being certain to push it back firmly into place with the heal of my hand before wrapping the tape around the back side. This gives a tight seal.

I coated the entire length of the split and more, with the horizontal strips of tape making it much stronger than original. I then applied several vertical strips for extra strength.

I found some smaller leaks that I could reach from the bottom and also repaired those little devils. After this experience, I can't imagine that there are any coaches out there that are more than 5 or 6 years old that do not have some leaks in this poorly designed system.

Hope this helps others and that you can stay cool and save a bunch of $$$$.

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Old 07-18-2016, 11:37 AM   #2
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Great idea! Have had 2 mojo's with this system with no leaks so far.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:58 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnmike View Post
As I searched for answers to our poor cooling from our basement air unit in our 2006 Adventurer 38J, I noted from other posts that leaks in the duct work are not uncommon. I held my hand under the back cap and global cooling was in full swing.

Lying under the back with a flashlight and peering up into the cool breeze, I was able to see that the vertical duct was split open for about 12" in an area that was approximately the level of the taillights.

Removing the taillight on the passenger side (two screws and a push pin) and then removing the taillight mounting bracket (3 screws) I could see the split on the far side of the duct, but couldn't reach it through the existing opening . Several posts suggested that the back cap should be removed to properly repair the issue. I considered the cost or possibly attempting to mentally enjoy 110 degree cabin heat, but then...maybe not.

I came up with a better idea. Using a roll of duct tape as a guide, I traced a semi-circle starting along the inside edge of the existing rectangular opening of the fiberglass AND between the two mounting holes for the taillight bracket. I then cut out the fiberglass with a Dremmel tool using a rotary spiral cutter. Easy peasy.

Note, there are metal plates embedded in the fiberglass for each screw hole. Stay approximately 1" away from the screw holes. If you do hit the thin plate, you can easily cut them off with a small Dremmel abrasive wheel. There is no harm done in any manner by cutting out this fiberglass!

I put a stone on the dremmel and rounded off the corners and smoothed up the edges to avoid contusions and lacerations to my arm. You may want a long sleeved shirt.

At this point, I could get my entire arm in the enlarged hole. I then wiped the surface of the duct down with a cleaning solution. Alcohol works good for the final wipe down. I used metal duct tape with peel off backing, cut to about about 8" pieces and went horizontally around the corner of the duct being certain to push it back firmly into place with the heal of my hand before wrapping the tape around the back side. This gives a tight seal.

I coated the entire length of the split and more, with the horizontal strips of tape making it much stronger than original. I then applied several vertical strips for extra strength.

I found some smaller leaks that I could reach from the bottom and also repaired those little devils. After this experience, I can't imagine that there are any coaches out there that are more than 5 or 6 years old that do not have some leaks in this poorly designed system.

Hope this helps others and that you can stay cool and save a bunch of $$$$.

Well, if you posted an image, it didn't come through. Those duct systems do have a bit of a rep for leaking air. On our coach, an '04 Itasca Horizon, 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT, hasn't developed a leak as of yet, in just under 13 years. A couple of years ago, I did a slight boo-boo in backing up at our old home and ran into the corner of the eaves.

Well, down to the body shop it went. They tore off the whole back cap, which took them about 1/2 hour and, laid it on some work surfaces to do the repairs. While it was off, the service manager did a close inspection of my ducting system, especially since he had an ultra clear view of the entire rear duct. He stated there were no leaks at the time but, he had his crew do a tad bit of re-inforcing with regular metal duct tape. The pic below shows what your duct system "should" look like without the rear cap on .
Scott

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Old 07-19-2016, 11:37 AM   #4
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Thanks for posting the photo with the rear cap off. I didn't realize the ducking branched off inside of the cap. I have metal taped as far up as I could reach and the leak seems to be sealed. If it leaks in the future I'll remove the rear cap and do the job right.
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Old 07-19-2016, 01:47 PM   #5
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Very good Mountain Mike! Where there's a will, there's a way.

Like you, I went thru the tail light hole with metal tape a few times but could never get it to hold because of limited access. In my case the the long straight section had slid down when I had the a/c unit removed in 2008. So I ended up with a large leak all the way around the connection to the big Y junction.

So last summer I decided the only way to fix short of pulling the rear cap was to go thru the back wall from the inside. In my 2004 Chieftain, I have a full wardrobe closet in the back so any access hole cutout would not be seen.

I cut a 14" x 20" next to the duct and right under the metal strap that goes across the back for structural support. I used a box cutter to go thru the 1" thick laminated stryofoam. The repair job was very easy to remove the old tape, clean, and add lots of new metal tape. To reseal the cutout back in place, I applied metal tape on the cutout piece all around the edge. From the inside I carefully angled the piece thru the hole in the wall as to not disturb the exposed metal tape. I use two small eye screws to act as handles to grip the cutout and get it in place. Then I went outside and with a long handled window squeegee, pressed the metal tape to seal the outside wall. Additionally I added a larger piece of luan to cover and seal the inside.

Here's what it looked like in the process:
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtnmike View Post
As I searched for answers to our poor cooling from our basement air unit in our 2006 Adventurer 38J, I noted from other posts that leaks in the duct work are not uncommon. I held my hand under the back cap and global cooling was in full swing.

Lying under the back with a flashlight and peering up into the cool breeze, I was able to see that the vertical duct was split open for about 12" in an area that was approximately the level of the taillights.

Removing the taillight on the passenger side (two screws and a push pin) and then removing the taillight mounting bracket (3 screws) I could see the split on the far side of the duct, but couldn't reach it through the existing opening . Several posts suggested that the back cap should be removed to properly repair the issue. I considered the cost or possibly attempting to mentally enjoy 110 degree cabin heat, but then...maybe not.

I came up with a better idea. Using a roll of duct tape as a guide, I traced a semi-circle starting along the inside edge of the existing rectangular opening of the fiberglass AND between the two mounting holes for the taillight bracket. I then cut out the fiberglass with a Dremmel tool using a rotary spiral cutter. Easy peasy.

Note, there are metal plates embedded in the fiberglass for each screw hole. Stay approximately 1" away from the screw holes. If you do hit the thin plate, you can easily cut them off with a small Dremmel abrasive wheel. There is no harm done in any manner by cutting out this fiberglass!

I put a stone on the dremmel and rounded off the corners and smoothed up the edges to avoid contusions and lacerations to my arm. You may want a long sleeved shirt.

At this point, I could get my entire arm in the enlarged hole. I then wiped the surface of the duct down with a cleaning solution. Alcohol works good for the final wipe down. I used metal duct tape with peel off backing, cut to about about 8" pieces and went horizontally around the corner of the duct being certain to push it back firmly into place with the heal of my hand before wrapping the tape around the back side. This gives a tight seal.

I coated the entire length of the split and more, with the horizontal strips of tape making it much stronger than original. I then applied several vertical strips for extra strength.

I found some smaller leaks that I could reach from the bottom and also repaired those little devils. After this experience, I can't imagine that there are any coaches out there that are more than 5 or 6 years old that do not have some leaks in this poorly designed system.

Hope this helps others and that you can stay cool and save a bunch of $$$$.

Two years ago I did almost the same thing ! It really helped keeping it cool inside. I just checked my repairs and the tape is still holding . Don't skimp on the quality of tape, I tried regular duct tape , and a year later I got to do it again !
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Old 07-19-2016, 03:55 PM   #7
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I think for those with rear closets, and, that cannot be reached from below or the taillight, that your fix is a great idea. Thanks for adding the picture.
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:30 AM   #8
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On my 02 Journey their is a sheet metal panel that holds the rear engine access door bumper on the passenger side. If memory serves me their are 6 sheet metal screws to remove that panel. I was able to fasten a flat paint pad to a stick. Using the pad I cleaned and then applied silver duck metal tape to the duct to cover the void and add support.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-07-2016, 06:45 PM   #9
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I was sitting in Vegas for 10 days and the basement air was not keeping up with the 110+ temps during the day. Never had that problem, so was all set to search out an ac tech and have it checked. We left and spent 10 days at our son's house in Visalia, CA. Same issue, only the temps were a few degrees cooler.

I remembered my ole buddy, mtnmike, who told me he had a duct issue. So, I too, crawled under with a flashlight and could see a gaping vertical slit in the rectangle vertical duct. It seems to be one piece of material that is bent into a rectangle and taped on the adjoining vertical edges.

I have the Journey, and unlike the Adventurers, the diesels have a vertical removable sheet metal panel on the right side of the the radiator which gives access to the duct and an arms reach up to the "Y". I was able to pull the two sides back together and use a high quality aluminum tape to reseal it. I also found a small leak where the vertical duct from the ac unit attaches to the "Y". I could not adequately get either arm up in there to place the tape on securely. I did like mtnmike, and removed the top tail light(the red one) and cut an arms width access hole in the fiberglass and was able to reach in there with my right arm.

The ac works fine now that 100% of the cold air is getting to the ceiling registers.

FYI, the "Y" as pictured in FIREUP's post seems to be much more durable and insulated than the vertical duct that runs from the ac unit up to the "Y".
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