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Old 10-15-2015, 09:22 AM   #1
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2003 Winnebago Coleman Basement AC

I just bought a 2003 Winnebago Journey DL 34H. It has the Coleman Mach basement AC and heater system. I have some questions about the AC unit that I need help with. Please let me know if I should be posting this in another section of the forum.

Things I know:

1. 1st owner had the AC circuit board replaced in 2009.
2. 2nd owner had the thermostat replaced in 2013. Receipt for this work shows the AC system was checked out and says "AC Unit has full 30 amps". Not sure what this means but its what the receipt says.
3. I just bought the motorhome a couple weeks ago and AC doesn't blow cold at all. Left AC on for 4 hours cooled motorhome from 90F down to 86F.
4. Generator panel shows AC unit is pulling around 13 amps with AC on (everything else is off).
5. I pulled cover off ac unit and found 3 burnt wires. Repaired all 3 wires, now generator AC unit is pulling 21 to 24 amps with AC on (everything else is off).
6. AC unit is still struggling to cool of the motorhome. AC cooled motorhome from 99F down to 80F in 3hrs. For first 2 hours the AC system ran non stop getting it down to about 85F. Then for the next hour the AC system would cycle about every 5 to 10 minutes. The compressors would shut off but the fan would continue to blow, then the compressors would come back on for about 10 minutes then shut off. Is this normal? Or should the compressors and the AC unit continue to run until the motorhome is at 72F (where I had thermostat set).

Sorry for the long post.

Thanks for any help.

Roger
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:14 AM   #2
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My quick guess is it running OK. Going from 99 to 80 in 3 hours is not unreasonable. Getting down to 72 may not happen, depending on the outside temperature. You're pulling about the same amps as mine, when both compressors are running. There should be a residential - style furnace air filter located somewhere in the bedroom area. Mine is under the bed, but I have a gasser. A clogged air filter will inhibit air flow. Also check outside under the rear cap. Sometimes the air duct needs retaping.
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:19 AM   #3
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Roger, lots of posts as to the basement unit, and problems and troubleshooting, as well as a great post on how to remove the AC from your unit and do a couple of upgrades by a gentleman on here named Duner. (I hope). Search in the Winnebago owners section.
I can only give you advice relative to observations in my 2005 Winnie RV.
If you have found burnt wires, this is indicative of damage somewhere else. If they went to the capacitors, the caps may need to be replaced soon if they haven't already.
The original thermostat had an indicator for a freeze-up of the inside coil. When this would happen, the unit would shut down until it defrosted. The new replacements don't have an indicator, but the freeze-up protection remains. No easy way to see if this is your problem (can be done, just not easy). One of the main causes of this freeze-up is restricted air flow. Check you air filters, and replace every 30 days if you are a full timer. Since your RV is used, no telling what the condition is of the inside coil. When we pulled out the A/C from my unit, it was covered with a mat of lint that was like a sheet of parchment over the coil, severely restricting air flow and causing that freeze-up. Only way to get there is pull the unit from the RV.
When you are connected to a 30 amp park supply your amp meter on the energy center functions (or running off the gennie)
With the A/C set to off, and the fan on, low about 2 amps, high about 3 amps.
this is the inside fan current. The outside fan, which comes on when the compressors run, pulls about 3 amps. It has a high and low setting, automatically controlled by the system. The compressors each pull about 8 amps running, about 15 on start-up.
So a normal cycle cool on: inside fan 2 amps, outside fan 5 amps, 1st stage compressor starts, jump to 20 amps, drops back to 11/12 amps, little delay, outside fan off immediate start of 2nd stage, jump to about 26 amps drop back to 19 amps, restart of outside air fan, steady at 22/23 amps.
Measure the output air temperature. One stage running should give you about 10 degrees drop from the inside air, both stages a drop of about 20 degrees.
The body and slides of an RV are a big heat sink, it takes 3 or 4 hours to reach an equilibrium temperature in my coach after the cooler is turned on if it is a hot day, and then usually all I can get is about a 20 degree drop from the outside air temp. (Laughlin, NV in the month of August)

Hope this has been helpful. (HTH)

Jim
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:21 AM   #4
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4. Generator panel shows AC unit is pulling around 13 amps with AC on (everything else is off).

Mine pulls about 13 amps when only one compressor is running.


5. I pulled cover off ac unit and found 3 burnt wires. Repaired all 3 wires, now generator AC unit is pulling 21 to 24 amps with AC on (everything else is off).

Mine pulls about 22-24when both compressors are running.


6. AC unit is still struggling to cool of the motorhome. AC cooled motorhome from 99F down to 80F in 3hrs. For first 2 hours the AC system ran non stop getting it down to about 85F. Then for the next hour the AC system would cycle about every 5 to 10 minutes. The compressors would shut off but the fan would continue to blow, then the compressors would come back on for about 10 minutes then shut off. Is this normal? Or should the compressors and the AC unit continue to run until the motorhome is at 72F (where I had thermostat set).


If the AC cooled it from 99 to 80 in 3 hours that's probably pretty good. Mine is not good at dropping inside temperature. Mine when it has cooled the room will cycle the compressors every few minutes but the fan does not continue to run unless I move the fan selector to on (which I do when running the AC)


Have you checked the air filter? Also one thing you can do to determine that the unit is putting out cold air is to measure the temperature at the return vent then measure the temperature at a ceiling vent. The temp will (should) be about 20 degrees cooler than the return vent if it is operating correctly. On some RV's the ducting has separated behind the rear cap. Look up the inside of the rear cap with the unit running to try to notice if the duct has separated.
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:53 AM   #5
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Great help guys.


I do have a new air filter. Unfortunately there was no filter in place when I got it. So, that probably means there is plenty of lent/dust/trash, etc on the evaporator coil.


I checked the duct work around the AC unit. Its taped up pretty good. No visible leaks or missing tape or insulation.


The capacitors all look pretty old so I suspect they are original to the motorhome. I have tons or receipts from the 2 previous owners and don't see anything about replacing them.


Definitely will pull the unit out and check the evaporator and condenser. With no air filter installed that could definitely be problem. And if there is limited air flow across the evaporator it could definitely be freezing up.


Looks like I have some work to do. Will try and get to it this weekend and report back.


I will also look at the posts by "Duner".


What a great forum, thank you all for the help!


Roger
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Old 10-15-2015, 06:47 PM   #6
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Get yourself a digital infra red thermometer, like the type sold @ Harbor Freight and check the temp. of air at return and at the first outlet vent. If it is a 20* delta then it is working as it should. I wouldn't be surprised. Then go about looking for "heat sinks" in the motor home and maybe get some portable fans to mix the air. Mine are shower stall. If I don't put up the piece of silver insulation I made for it. Then windshield and front end cap. M.C.D. shade closed and a fan blowing that air back toward rear of coach. Then windows and vents. Muffins in vents and window shades closed. I also place a fan to blow cold air back from inlet as it is still cold at that location. These are a few suggestions that work for me.

Remember it is easier to keep a motor home cool then it is to cool it down.
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Old 10-15-2015, 07:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaverickBBD View Post
Remember it is easier to keep a motor home cool then it is to cool it down.
This. Physics 101.

Remember, if your coach is at 99F for quite a while, that means that EVERYTHING in it is also at 99F. Cooling down the air temp is easy, but every item in it (sofa, chairs, lamps cabinets, dishes, towels, carpet, tiles, walls, on-and-on) are having to be cooled down too. That's a lot of BTUs. It will take a while to get the physical items cooled down to the point they are not re-heating the air.
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Old 10-17-2015, 07:56 AM   #8
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Could you post a photo of the burnt wires. Where the burnt wires going to the starter or capisitor? I had burnt wires, so wouldn't cool but ran as if cooling; replaced starter and capacitor and all is good.
Colman Mach has very good wiring diagrams and items to check for your problem.
Be careful of handling capisitor, should be discharged prior to handling, can give you quite a jolt..
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:32 PM   #9
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All good advice. The filter should be the least restrictive one possible. The cheap angel hair ones are best, just replace them often. Look up the back of the coach between the rear cap and the actual box to see if the duct work has separated going up the back to the overhead ducts. It's probably not but worth a check.

Good luck,
Dave
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Old 10-18-2015, 01:35 AM   #10
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roger3
:welcome:

if the relay jumper wire was burned, the relay is toast and must be replaced to get both Ac systems working properly.
you likely need at least 1 new starting capacitor if the top looks black or brown.
the #1 system must be working properly before the #2 system will start.
operating the Ac on low voltage, 105v, is a common cause of burned relays and starting caps.
be thankful for these devices, otherwise you would be replacing one or both expensive freon compressors.
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Old 10-18-2015, 05:42 PM   #11
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Here's the link to my website where you can download the removal procedure and recommended parts to replace/upgrade. In 2013 I added info I got from iRV2 members that have Winnie diesel pushers since those are a little different than the gasers.
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&p...zBiZTYxYzU5ZWQ

Regarding leaks in the rear duct work, I'm not sure a visual will find some of the leaks up higher. Recommend a IR temp meter with laser pointer to find cold spots inside the rear cap. A Harbor Freight $35 ir meter works just fine for this app.

Also as other posters replied, running low voltage on 30 amp circuits is a killer on the starting components and the compressors run hotter shorting their life. I've used a Hughes Autoformer since day 1 on my 12 yr old coach (and that includes 5.5 yrs of fulltiming) and I still have all the original starting caps, relays and compressors. ---knock on wood!

Good luck,
Bill
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Petesflhtk View Post
Could you post a photo of the burnt wires. Where the burnt wires going to the starter or capisitor? I had burnt wires, so wouldn't cool but ran as if cooling; replaced starter and capacitor and all is good.
Colman Mach has very good wiring diagrams and items to check for your problem.
Be careful of handling capisitor, should be discharged prior to handling, can give you quite a jolt..
Pete,

Here's a photo with red arrows near each wire I had to repair. I also replaced both run capacitors yesterday.



Thanks

Roger
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DAN L View Post
roger3
:welcome:

if the relay jumper wire was burned, the relay is toast and must be replaced to get both Ac systems working properly.
you likely need at least 1 new starting capacitor if the top looks black or brown.
the #1 system must be working properly before the #2 system will start.
operating the Ac on low voltage, 105v, is a common cause of burned relays and starting caps.
be thankful for these devices, otherwise you would be replacing one or both expensive freon compressors.
Dan,

Not sure which relay jumper wire you are talking about. Can you see it in the photo? Let me know if its one of those?

Thanks
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Old 10-21-2015, 06:56 AM   #14
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General update:

I checked the ductwork again and it really looks to be in good shape as far up as I can see. I have a thermal scan gun I will use to check it for cold spots, hot spots etc.

Yesterday I changed the run capacitors. Started AC system using generator power. It was 86F inside the motorhome when I started it. AC unit ran with both compressors for 2 hours solid, no cycling. Difference between return air near filter, and air exiting ceiling vents was 17F. Temperature in motorhome got down to 74F then AC system started cycling. 2nd compressor would cut off and 1st compressor and fans continued to blow but only with about 10F temperature difference between return air filter and ceiling vents. Every 10 minutes or so the second compressor would kick on, run about 10 minutes then turn off so only 1 compressor was running. I let the unit continue to run like this for another hour, temperature in motorhome would not get below 73F. It was 70F outside and dark.

Since this a heat pump, is this the best the unit can do when inside and outside temperature are close?

Do you guys think this is the best this unit will do?

I started to pull the AC unit out of the motorhome to remove the top cover and check to see how dirty the evaporator coil and condenser might be. A few of the screws on the duct were corroded so badly I couldn't get them out. I'll have to wait for a Saturday with nothing going on to do this job. I believe it will be a full day to get the unit out.


Thanks


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