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Old 03-02-2012, 07:07 PM   #1
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Need Info On Journey Air Conditioning Ductwork

I need advice and help from my Winnebago friends, Journey owners, and possibly owners of other models. I have a 2004, Winnebago Journey, 36 ft. Recently, while at a well known repair facility (which I won't name right now), I had some repair work done on a couple of faulty HWH jacks, and got further assistance with troublesome wiring problems involving my tow vehicle. I was satisfied with the services rendered. However, when I was presented with the billing statement, this facility and the service person who performed the repairs noted above, pointed out additional items, that in their opinion, needed immediate attention. There were about five items that I did not ask them to check. One of the items on their list involved lubrication of the jacks and slide out mechanisms. I am in agreement with this recommendation. A couple of the other items such as sealing along the roof cap and cleaning the heater tubes, I can do myself. However, one item really popped out at me and was emphasized by the service advisor regarded air conditioning ductwork. He said that Winnebagos (not current models but going back to 2004, maybe earlier, and coming forward (I don't recall the actual range that he mentioned), have issues with the rear ducted air conditioning systems. This problem is specifically the detereoration of ductwork going from the air conditioning unit and up the rear wall of the motorhome before moving across the interior ceiling. He said that the ductwork in the rear wall separates and has to be redone otherwise the airflow does not get into the coach. The repair involves removing the entire back wall unit, including wiring, lighting, and other related component parts off the rear wall in order to access the ductwork so that it can be repaired. He invited me to get onto his floor creeper and look up along the rear wall from under the MH to see this ductwork. I didn't do that at the repair facility, but I did crawl underneath with a flashlight when I got back to the campground and looked up at the ductwork. I couldn't see evidence of the detereroration that he was talking about. (The specified cost of this repair was quoted as $1500.00 and involved 13 hours of labor. If I followed through on all of the recommendations presented to me, I would pay $2,200.00 for all of services noted above. What struck me initially about these recommendations was the fact that outside of the HWH jack problems, I did not ask that any of these other items be checked out. Cynically, it seems that this outfit is trying to generate business and make work for themselves. Please understand that I fully appreciate good quality service recommendations and performance. I just have a negative gut reaction and misgivings about this especially with regard to the issue of faulty ductwork that is a really expensive item. So, I am asking, what is the experience out there of other Journey and Winnebago owners. Have others in this forum had this ductwork problem? And, should I go ahead and follow this service advisors recommendation. If the ductwork is falling apart, I will be sorely disappointed in Winnebago Industries. Surely a product that had an MSRP of over $160,000.00 at the time should have been more carefully crated and built. I must admit, over the past five years or so I have noticed a decline in the quality of Winnebago products. That is my humble opinion which many of you may not share. We can agree to disagree on this point. I would appreciate your feedback on the particular question of the air conditioning ductwork. (Actually, I guess it is the whole heat exhanger unit ductwork) Incidentally, I have owned 5 new Winnebago motorhomes over the years, so I am not a novice at this game.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:44 PM   #2
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First off I as well as others would appreciate the name of the facility. If for any reason you don't feel comfortable to do that here please do it a www.rvservicereviews.com.

That model and year has a notorious rep. when it comes to leaks especially on the end caps. It was a no brainer for them to recommend the sealing of the gutters and caps. Sometimes I take them up on it sometimes I don't. I could do it but some places have a rolling scaffold and can knock it out in an hour's labor. If you decide to have them do it get a hard quote.

Now for the a.c... Much has been written about this. There is a wye where the duct goes down each side of the roof. Get yourself a digital thermometer and shoot the outlets that are side by side and determine if there is any difference. There are other solutions discussed besides removing the end cap. Tape on a stick was one of the more creative that caught my eye.

Take the reputation of the facility into consideration along with your best judgement as to does it really need to be done. Sometimes the adage of if it ain't broke don't fix it is particularly true when it comes to these rolling money pits.

good luck.
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mycoolbeans View Post
................One of the items on their list involved lubrication of the jacks You stated that you have HWH jacks....they're hydraulic so not sure what they are planning on lubricating. and slide out mechanisms I would check with Winebago Customer Service regarding lubing slides.. I am in agreement with this recommendation.
...........The repair involves removing the entire back wall unit, including wiring, lighting, and other related component parts off the rear wall in order to access the ductwork so that it can be repaired. Typically the problem is that the vertical ductwork separates and needs to resealed. There are threads on this forum regarding methods to get this done....some offer a suggestion to do this without removing the rear cap (not the rear wall)
I couldn't see evidence of the detereroration that he was talking about. Run the A/C and with it running and cooling you can feel cool air "falling" alongside the vertical duct.......if you have a duct that needs resealing.
What struck me initially about these recommendations was the fact that outside of the HWH jack problems, I did not ask that any of these other items be checked out. Did they charge you to check your coach over?Cynically, it seems that this outfit is trying to generate business and make work for themselves. Of course they are......that is a part of good service. Look at it another way........if they had not checked it over and it fell apart while you were on the way home how would you feel then?the issue of faulty ductwork that is a really expensive item. So, I am asking, what is the experience out there of other Journey and Winnebago owners. Have others in this forum had this ductwork problem? yes, many have. And, should I go ahead and follow this service advisors recommendation. See my suggestion to verify tat you have the issue in your coach.
If the ductwork is falling apart, I will be sorely disappointed in Winnebago Industries. I and I'm sure others share your disappointment.
(Actually, I guess it is the whole heat exhanger You don't have a "heat exchanger".... you have an air conditioner with compressors and refrigerant....just like a home system.unit ductwork) Incidentally, I have owned 5 new Winnebago motorhomes over the years, so I am not a novice at this game.
Hope this helps you with your concerns
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:38 AM   #4
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The duct problem is more of a separation issue than a deterioration issue. The straight piece of ductwork that connects the lower elbow to the upper Y is a flat piece of ductboard that has been folded into the rectangular shaped duct. The one seam that is sealed can separate. Mainly due to the fact that there are only 2 cross straps attaching it to the back wall.

You should be able to visually see any separation with a strong light.

I was able to repair mine, removing the taillight assy helped. But it a very tight fit. It has been holding up since June 2010.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:06 AM   #5
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Maverick BBD, KIX, Dancing Campers: Thank you all for your thoughtful replies. In my more irrational moments with these problems, I was either ready to finally abandon any further motorhome ventures the whole way to getting rid of the present unit and buying a new one. As I said, IRRATIONAL MOMENTS. After reading the thoughtful comments of the three of you, I calmed down quite a bit. As to the facility, I am at Lazy Days RV Center and Service in Seffner, Florida. As many of you know, this is a very large facility. They have a huge, huge, service area, and they do service and sell many vehicles. I have heard complaints over the years, but these have to do primarily from those who purchased an RV unit at Lazy Days. I do not have any complaints about service they have performed for me, outside of the fact that none of it is inexpensive. I will probably go ahead with their recommendations concerning sealing the roof caps and the ductwork issues. As for lubricating the slide out mechanisms and jacks, I may not be stating the issue properly. The service rep said that the jacks and slide out components are very, very, dry. By that, I assumed he meant that they had to be lubricated, but it may be some other type of service. I will follow up on the suggestion and check with Winnebago and I will also check with HWH. I am deeply appreciative of your prompt replies to my inquiry and questions. This is precisely what makes IRV2 such an incredibly valuable resource. I am going to get back reading and reviewing the forums on a regular basis. Thank you again for your kindness and advice.
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Old 03-03-2012, 12:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mycoolbeans View Post
However, one item really popped out at me and was emphasized by the service advisor regarded air conditioning ductwork. He said that Winnebagos (not current models but going back to 2004, maybe earlier, and coming forward (I don't recall the actual range that he mentioned), have issues with the rear ducted air conditioning systems. This problem is specifically the detereoration of ductwork going from the air conditioning unit and up the rear wall of the motorhome before moving across the interior ceiling. He said that the ductwork in the rear wall separates and has to be redone otherwise the airflow does not get into the coach. The repair involves removing the entire back wall unit, including wiring, lighting, and other related component parts off the rear wall in order to access the ductwork so that it can be repaired. He invited me to get onto his floor creeper and look up along the rear wall from under the MH to see this ductwork. I didn't do that at the repair facility, but I did crawl underneath with a flashlight when I got back to the campground and looked up at the ductwork. I couldn't see evidence of the detereroration that he was talking about. (The specified cost of this repair was quoted as $1500.00 and involved 13 hours of labor.
We had this same problem in our 2004 Vectra. We were told the unit needed to be recharged. We did that. Then when it still wasn't cooling the living area we were told the TrueAir wasn't reading the temperature accurately. We replaced that and it still wasn't cool enough inside.

When we finally decided to put the unit back together, my DH asked if I could help get it back in the RV. We still had the air on in the RV, and he was underneath buttoning everything back up, and I was trying to help from the engine compartment and kept feeling cold air next to me. (This was on the passenger side of engine compartment) I asked him to come back and check it. When we both decided something wasn't right with freezing cold air blowing back there, we started to take the metal plate that covered the duct work (heat shield maybe?) off and sure enough the whole corner of the duct had blown apart.

Our fix was to clean the grime off on the outside of the duct, put enough aluminum tape on the cleaned area of the duct to prevent it from blowing apart again. We then wrapped aluminum bubble wrap around the duct and reinforced it with large tie wraps. It was a tight area to work in but between the two of us we were able to get it wrapped and secured. He also replaced the foam gasket around the the cold air return and the cold air duct that feeds the Coach.

Be careful not to snag the wiring when you wrap the duct. You can see better with a flashlight looking up from the underside of the RV to make sure it's clear. I don't think we took the tail light off, just the metal panel covering the duct (tons of screws, and had to drop the panel above that also).

All said and done about $25-30 worth of materials. Lots of swearing and standing on our heads but definitely worth it. It took around 3 hours but way better than paying $1,500.00 to someone else. We are in the FL Keys and the air is working great this year. Temps in the mid-high 80's outside and air is having no problem keeping the temp around 73.

Good luck if you decide to do it yourself. Well worth it
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:01 PM   #7
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Just a brief comment on lubrication of the slides.

While at the HWH factory last summer to have the bedroom cylinder replaced they made it very clear to me to clean my slide rails of any lubricant and to NOT LUBRICATE them as any lubricant will pick up dust and cause problems with the slide. Keep them clean was their recommendation.

Suggest you contact HWH if you are thinking about lubricating the slide rails.

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Old 03-04-2012, 11:00 AM   #8
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Gary: Thanks for your reply

Gary:

I am not sure that I correctly stated what the technician mentioned. I do have a brief written statement that says the jacks and slide components are very dry (I am not sure how to interpret that and perhaps I misstated the lubrication point). I've attended a number of HWH seminars at FMCA rallies and I know that they do not recommend lubricants. I will be back at Lazy Days on Monday and will seek clarification with the technician. Also, I am going to follow up with HWH and get their comments. I appreciate very much you giving me the heads up on the lubricant issue and advice you received from HWH.

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:03 PM   #9
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I suspect that the problem with your AC/Heat pump duct is that it has opened up at a seam. It is a fairly common problem with the basement air instillations. If you crawl under the back of the coach and shine a flashlight there you may see that the duct has opened up. If you can reach it you should be able to make repairs yourself. The picture I uploaded is where mine opened up. I could not reach it. Fortunately I have a warranty on the coach and the dealer took care of it for my expense of $100 (my deductible). The dealer did the work for around $1100. They had to remove the back cap to make repairs. Some have removed the rear mid tail light and been able to reach it that way. If you do have the opened seam in your duct and you want to fix it yourself I think there is something in the forum library on how to proceed. If you cant find the blog on it let me know and Ill give you a few pointers.

Good luck.
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