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Old 09-08-2014, 11:11 AM   #1
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Supplemental Roof Air Conditioners

We have a 2006 Winnebago Adventurer 38J, it has basement air that supposedly is working within specs but is insufficient to keep up with the hot days. I have researched this problem with the basement air and wanted to add a supplemental roof air since many people with basement air have found this to help. My problem is that when we took it to CW to get a roof top air installed where our Fantastic fan is located in the roof of the coach area, we were told that it was not possible to do that on this model. I realize the wiring would be difficult, but we have a breaker for a washer that I would like to take out. Has anyone ever had a supplemental roof air put on a 38J? Were there any special things that you needed to do to get it done? I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

Bill and Bonnie
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Old 09-08-2014, 11:25 AM   #2
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Adding a roof air as an adjuct to basement air
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Old 09-09-2014, 01:23 PM   #3
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thank you TurtleKent for the links. They help me understand what is involved in adding the roof AC, however, I was wondering if anyone had one installed by a service department are is it the type of thing only an owner can do?

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Old 09-09-2014, 10:20 PM   #4
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How many amps is your 38J? You will need a 50 amp coach to do this without having to manage the extra AC units electrical load for example shutting it off when using the microwave or coffee maker.

Personally the last time my Basement Air gave me trouble and that was many years ago I just used a roll-about 10,000 btu portable AC unit placed on the doghouse and ran the vent hose out the roll-up window in the drivers door.

I stored the unit in the hall closet while traveling. A filler panel with the hole for the vent made out of some thin plywood, painted white and then put in place by just rolling the window up to it is all the modification needed. I got it with a remote control from the open box/reduced price area at Home Depot for less than half price and it also fills in when I have an AC repair being done in the house.

I also have used it to help friends and relatives who have AC breakdowns and need cooling while waiting for parts to come in and now have two units that I picked up for about $100 each.

You want a slimline design that is only about a foot deep. Here is an example of what not to get since its almost 20" deep:


While this style is only 12.3 inches deep:
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:13 AM   #5
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our basement unit gave up so we decided to install a roof unit instead. I selected an Atwood unit with heat pump (not just a heated strip) and we love it. I disconnected the power from the basement air (has 2 feeds from the breaker box, one for each compressor) and fished the new 12/2 (w/ ground) wire up through the duct into the ceiling. I ran 2 wires to facilitate adding a second roof unit in the future if needed. Since you are not using the roof as a replacement you would need to make the wire run from the breaker box and add an additional 20 amp breaker.
The hardest part of the job was getting the a/c unit onto the roof. I called a buddy and he helped me carry it up. One of us climbing a ladder with the other was on the roof pulling on a rope tied to the unit.

Since it does not sound like you want to tackle the job, look for a mobile RV tech who is looking for work and see if he would do the job for you. Mine took me around 3 hours from start to finish, figure add an additional hour for the additional wiring in your application.

ps: while work camping a couple of years ago a unit pulled into our campground and he had an additional roof unit. For power he had mounted a 20 amp breaker inside the cover of the a/c and wired up a 30 amp plug to the unit. He then just plugged a 30 amp cord into the unit and let it hang down to the campground pedestal. He plugged the coach into the 50 amp and the a/c into the 30 amp. Easy solution but you would need a ladder each time you set up and tore down to travel.

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Old 09-10-2014, 04:18 PM   #6
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I had a roof-top AC added in place of the kitchen vent fan at the WBGO dealer in Buda, TX.-Crestview RV. They did a great job and ran a new 110V circuit up one of the bathroom walls and into the existing basement ac ceiling ductwork to get near the vent location. Yes, it is noisy because of no ducting, but at least we can now use the coach in hot weather. We actually prefer to run the front AC at night and keep the basement ac under our bed from disturbing our sleep. During daylight hours it takes all three compressors running to keep the coach cool.
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Old 09-10-2014, 07:33 PM   #7
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We also have had issues with extreme heat and not being able to keep the coach cool. Several things on our coach have been adjusted recently which have helped and you might want to check these also.

At one point in Florida the duct work between the coach and the back shell came apart blowing our cool conditioned air into this void. We were a long way from home and were not in a position to fix it so we had a dealer do it. They ended up taking the back cap off, reattaching the duct work, and then used spray on foam insulation to not only permanently encase the connection but add insulation to the duct. You can see where the duct comes from the heat pump up into the cap at the back of the coach. You mentioned your coach was within specs but you might want to shine a light up mid-way and really check that connection - it made a big difference for us. You could be getting the correct temperature differential just not the quantity of air you should.

Another issue we had with the heat pump was our thermostat started to become inconsistent when we put it in the ac position to the point where it sometimes would not come on. Although an easy enough fix again I had our rv service man we use at home replace it this spring. When I asked him to replace it I also mentioned that I didn't think the heat pump was cooling as well as it had been. In his diagnostic of the heat pump he noticed that the thermostat was not commanding the second compressor to start up. As you could imagine this made a difference.

Of course other things like changing the filter often also makes a difference as they get dirty quickly when being used all the time. We find ourselves changing it frequently when running the ac.
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:12 PM   #8
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I am planning on doing the same thing...add a roof air to the bathroom vent. I spoke with Camping World here in Indianapolis and they said they would install the a/c if I purchased from them and that it qualified for the current $59 installation.

I asked them about the removal of the current Fantastic Fan and the running of the wiring from the box. They said that that would be an hour or two at their current rate.

So in the end, it was the cost of the a/c + $59 + $250 (2 hours at $125 per hour) plus wiring and circuit breaker. I figure another $50 for those things. About $1100 after all was said and done.

I think I could do it with a helper, but basically it boils down to 'I don't want to'.

I plan on buying an a/c directly to save some money and use a very good local guy to install it. Will be significantly cheaper but without the guarantees that come with using a place like CW.
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Old 09-11-2014, 05:35 PM   #9
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You really might want to think about installing an additional AC in the main living room vent vs the bathroom. This is what a number of people have done when they wanted extra AC. I'd think even a low btu unit would easily overpower a small room like the bathroom.

On the flip side I've also used Camping Worlds cheap install. When it was still $39 they installed the tow bar to our Ford Excape.
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:02 PM   #10
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Bill & Bonnie,
You might want to call Winnebago Customer Service and ask them if there is any special issues with your particular model. They are good at pulling up the drawings & mods.

ua40j Jim,
If you use the bathroom vent for a/c, then don't you defeat the purpose of an exhaust fan for other necessary reasons? Is your goal to use the bathroom to keep it quieter in the living room? or some other reason?

Neilv,
I like your portable a/c solution. You would only have to tote it around during the hot months. At a 30 amp campsite you could run a heavy duty extension cord to the 15 amp socket in the pedestal (at least on the ones with separate breakers). You could use it in your stick house if it was needed. Where we live close to Pacific, we don't have a/c in our home and could use it for that one or two week heat wave. It's also the lowest cost solution and if it turns out to be too much hassle, sell it and get the added roof unit.

Happy trails,
Bill
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Old 09-11-2014, 09:42 PM   #11
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I actually have two bathroom vents. One in a separate commode area which just has a sink and the toilet behind a closed door. It is a standard vent (little fan, screams like crazy). It will continue to vent the commode area as well as the 'bathroom' area when the door is open.

I also have one in the main hall of the 'bathroom'. It's sits in the centerline of the coach and is a Fantastic Fan with thermostat control.

That 'bathroom' area is between the bedroom area and the living/kitchen area. It has our shower, second sink, first closet and drawer area. It can be closed off by two pocket doors and is actually a really large area.

The idea was to have one vent remaining to vent the bathroom area and have conditioned air for the bedroom first....and then supplemental conditioned air for the living/kitchen area. We're okay with heat and humidity when we're up and about, but hate sleeping when it's hot and humid

We are both 'white noise' sleepers, so the air conditioner being in that area shouldn't be a nuisance.

I do plan on being around one when it's running to see what the noise and air movement are really like before we actually pull the trigger on this. We're reluctant to use the kitchen vent because it's the farthest from the bedroom and is the only vent in the kitchen. And we like bacon....
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:11 PM   #12
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For the bacon and fish I picked up an electric buffet range at a yard sale for $1.50. Outside on a table I have all the ventilation of the great outdoors.

A Farborware Tubo Oven (yardsale for $12) works great outside too.
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Old 09-12-2014, 07:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by graciebb View Post
thank you TurtleKent for the links. They help me understand what is involved in adding the roof AC, however, I was wondering if anyone had one installed by a service department are is it the type of thing only an owner can do?

Graciebb
I actually cut thru the roof in the kitchen rather than giving up a Fantastic fan. It worked quite nicely and could run both rooftop and basement airs at the same time. I preferred the rooftop air while sleeping, as it was much quieter than the basement air under the bed. I obtained engineering drawings from Winnie... they use steel T-beams across the coach roof about every 2 feet, so just avoid one of those... they can be located from above with a stud finder. Center the cutout so you avoid the a/c ductwork and the wire chase. I boxed the cutout with 2x4 trimmed to fit, and glide them in place. The a/c comes with two metal frames which fit into and sandwich the roof opening(14x14, same as fan opening), hence the need of the 2x4s to prevent crushing of the roof. Otherwise I followed John's format. If you are handy it's definitely a d-i-y job. The hardest part is getting the a/c onto the roof. The ceiling vinyl defect seen in pic #2 is from removing and relocating the ceiling fluorescent... the defect was completely covered by the plastic a/c trim louvers. Good luck.
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Old 09-12-2014, 12:29 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by TurtleKent View Post
I actually cut thru the roof in the kitchen rather than giving up a Fantastic fan. It worked quite nicely and could run both rooftop and basement airs at the same time. I preferred the rooftop air while sleeping, as it was much quieter than the basement air under the bed. I obtained engineering drawings from Winnie... they use steel T-beams across the coach roof about every 2 feet, so just avoid one of those... they can be located from above with a stud finder. Center the cutout so you avoid the a/c ductwork and the wire chase. I boxed the cutout with 2x4 trimmed to fit, and glide them in place. The a/c comes with two metal frames which fit into and sandwich the roof opening(14x14, same as fan opening), hence the need of the 2x4s to prevent crushing of the roof. Otherwise I followed John's format. If you are handy it's definitely a d-i-y job. The hardest part is getting the a/c onto the roof. The ceiling vinyl defect seen in pic #2 is from removing and relocating the ceiling fluorescent... the defect was completely covered by the plastic a/c trim louvers. Good luck.
Looks like you did an EXCELLENT job, KENT I agree with your comment about sleeping with the roof-top in lieu of the basement.

In the roof-top picture showing the hole you cut, what is the small black tube on the left?

Also, what brand of a/c did you buy?
THANKS, Ed
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:20 PM   #15
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I installed a roof air on mine. I used the galley vent which is close to the wall electricity control panel. I used a dowel rod to make a hole through the ceiling insulation over to the area above the control panel. Taped a string to the dowel rod after the hole was made, pushed the string through, tied/taped the string to romex wire and pulled it back out. Then ran wires down to the basement across to the basement power cord area. I put a male plug on the end of the romex wire. Then I added a breaker to the breaker panel at the foot of the bed in my RV, ran wires to the basement compartment and installed a female plug fitting. I plug the AC into that fitting. oth the basement and roof work on 50 amp hook up or when running the generator. If I'm in an area with 30 amp power I have the option of unpluging the roof top air wire and connecting to a heavy duty extension cord. If I had it to do over I'd make a new opening for the roof top AC. I miss not having the fan in the galley to exit hot air and cooking fumes.
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Old 09-13-2014, 12:01 AM   #16
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Looks like you did an EXCELLENT job, KENT I agree with your comment about sleeping with the roof-top in lieu of the basement.

In the roof-top picture showing the hole you cut, what is the small black tube on the left?

Also, what brand of a/c did you buy?
THANKS, Ed
Condensate drain. I ran a new garden hose thru the a/c ductwork then down thru the power wall.

I used a hot knife to cut thru the foam inside the roof. Excellent for the job.

http://www.harborfreight.com/catalog...lt?q=hot+knife
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Old 09-13-2014, 06:17 AM   #17
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Condensate drain. I ran a new garden hose thru the a/c ductwork then down thru the power wall.

I used a hot knife to cut thru the foam inside the roof. Excellent for the job.

Search results for: 'hot knife'
WOW. That must have been a lot of work
I can't help but wonder, after all this good work, why you traded coaches?
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