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Author Topic: Roof Air or Cruise Airs  (Read 4125 times)
H3-45
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« on: October 29, 2011, 10:03:45 AM »

Hello,

If building a new conversion which do you prefer, Roof Airs or Cruise Airs. I know they both have there good and bad points,Tell me your opinions.

Thank You
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Robert
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« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2011, 10:15:19 AM »

The differences are substantial and the choice depends on how you use them.

Cruise airs are expensive but quite robust. They are not throw away units. They require a good flow of cool air and if the flow of air to the condenser is compromised either by restrictions or because of very hot air radiating off a highway they are not going to function when you need them the most.

But for cooling when parked, drawing air from the shaded area beneath the coach in a campground they are excellent, quiet and reliable. If I did not have over the road air I would be reluctant to use Cruise Airs.

Roof airs are inexpensive and work better than Cruise Airs for cooling when the coach is in motion. They are not picking up hot air off the highway, but have plenty of air flow at ambient temperature. The downside is they can be noisy to the point where they interfere with conversation. But you can get a new one cheap almost anywhere and if they do have a problem that can be serviced there are techs in RV dealerships that know them.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.
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Jon Wehrenberg
Knoxville TN
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2011, 10:24:10 AM »

Jon,

Thanks for the reply, The conversion shop I am thinking about using wants to put 2 of each on . I lean toward Roof Airs As they are easy to replace if need be, and can be ducted thru out the coach. I had a eagle 20 years ago that had cruise airs and didn't really care for them,they took up bay space and most of the time the return air is not large enough for them to work right. I definitely dont want to mix them on the coach. One or the other,I just am not sure of which one.

Thank you,

Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2011, 10:47:47 AM »

I had Cruisair for 20 years the converters were the reason they never worked right no ac will work when installed in engine compartment lol all 3 of mine were in the spare tire compartment on my Eagle never gave a me minutes problem in the 115 degree Az heat give them clean fresh air they work.
 
Today if building a bus I would do it over again roof airs take to much away from the lines of a bus and roof air don't care much for tree limbs lol 

We have the Penguins on our motorhome to me they are quite but a old 2 speed Coleman will move more cold air on low than these things do high that  is my story and I am sticking too it

good luck
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« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2011, 10:52:51 AM »

 Wink
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Robert
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« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2011, 10:56:51 AM »

Thanks for the reply,that is what I am looking for is everyones experience with both systems.


Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2011, 11:00:42 AM »

As the regulars/ones that have been around awhile.   I'm using mini split on my new conversion. Not the first::: but they are very impressive in preformance.  Most converters are not familiar with them. Low power consumption. Inverter technology. I have them installed now.  Very impressed with both heat and cool in one unit.  Use search function at top to read some of discussion we have had and results.    Bob
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011, 11:06:36 AM »

Thanks for the reply Bob


Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2011, 01:53:35 PM »

When we first got ours before we fixed the OTR A/C we had a terrible day coming up I-65 on a 95 degree day.

Cruise airs that will freeze you out parked in any temps shut down.

Might as well have blown the motor cause the result was the same we stopped and got out.
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2011, 02:06:34 PM »

Joe,

As a personnel preference, I am leaning toward roof airs,Liberty wants to put 2 roof airs and 2 cruise airs on there conversion but I don't want to mix them. Just from my past experience with cruise airs I want to try roof airs {I Think}

Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2011, 02:18:21 PM »

Thats interesting never saw that in Liberty.

Vantare mixes. Did that for a long time too They run bedroom anf forward cruisair off inverter and use a large basement unit for midship.
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2011, 04:00:35 PM »

Robert,  I would strongly look at the basement solutions.   Either with what Bob has done with his mini-splits or cruiseairs.   Another option would be the Coleman basement heatpumps.   

It's been mentioned that the high roofline even without roof air becomes a catch all for trees and such.   I am redoing my basement A/C.   For a brief second I was going to go with slim line roof mounted heat pumps.   I bought them but never installed them after hearing them in person.
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« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2011, 04:39:06 PM »

I thought that is what the liberty salesman said,but after reading my spec. sheet it is 4 cruise airs or they will put 4 roof airs if I want. I guess the one that works the best is the one I am looking for. These will be going on a H3-45 which is tall already.


Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2011, 04:47:56 PM »

Robert, are you saying BEST as in money no object?  Basement A/C..   I'm thinking about adding a Sanyo 1 ton mini split heat pump with inverter.   I prefer the smooth roof line. 

In the end, do it with the way that you like.   
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« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2011, 05:00:55 PM »

Zeroclearance,

Thanks for the Help,Thanks to the lotto I have quite a bit of help LOL,This is something I plan on keeping so I would like to do it right. The more I think about Cruise airs,Liberty has been using them forever and is used to them and if I use roof airs it will be custom built which can be good and bad. Sorry to ramble but I am confused as what to do. I had a older eagle with cruise airs and they did not work well,maybe they have improved in the last 15 years.

Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #15 on: October 29, 2011, 05:42:20 PM »

Ace you have commissioned Liberty to build you a coach, wow and holy moly.

I do not know what the numbers are for how many are line or spec coaches verses how many get commissioned but I bet the percentage is low.


I would guess that this purchase would more closely resemble the commission of a nice yacht than the purchase of a ,motorhome.

Congratulations on your accomplishments I hope you live many years to enjoy it.
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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2011, 05:52:38 PM »

Joecamper,

we are in the process of commiting to the build as you,already know it is a big job building one even when someone else is doing the work. I never thoght there would be so many questions. with getting the shell and the custom build I bet it will take a year to get. I just hope to live thru it so I can enjoy it.I plan on fulltiming it for quite a while so maybe we will meet omewhere.


Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2011, 05:58:27 PM »

Robert..   Wow, Congrats on walking in and dropping the cash to build a new one.   I am sure not going to tell you what to do with your monies, but have you considered all the "deals" out the on low mileage one-owner coaches?

You could go thru and replace the toilets and carpet, beds and get a FULL service on the running gear and still have a few hundred thousand in the bank account.

Prevost is charging 20K to update the H345 headlamps and breastplate to the new 2010 look.   
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H3-45
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« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2011, 06:05:13 PM »

Zeroclearance

Yes I have looked at all the websites and shopped several dealers and just want to build something that is just for me if you know what I mean or at least have something built for me and me only. Thank you for all the answers I have a million questions,my salesman is number 1 on my speed dial.

Robert
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Robert
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« Reply #19 on: October 29, 2011, 07:15:05 PM »

  I have been talking to some AC guys about what I want to do. I want to keep the OTR air, but will likely never need its 14 tons of cooling capacity. The condensor if fine, those can never really be too big, but the evaporator can be downsized. Its interesting to note the compressor can actually drop out banks of cylinders as load is reduced, but it is such a huge compressor it will likely be replaced.

  The other side of it is the idea to tee in a 120 volt compressor, or possibly a 240 volt through a transformer, to cool when parked, all using the same original heating and cooling ventilation system.

  One big hog is the condensor fan, a 2 HP 24 volt motor that draws over 40 amps. But it too is designed for removing the heat load of 14 tons of cooling, I could likely get by with a 1/2 to 1 HP 120 volt motor. Then there is the 1 1/2 HP 24 volt blower fan motor, which could be downsized simularly. Right now, with the ducts out, if I flip on the blower its like a tornado blowing in there, and LOUD!

  The other idea would be to make it switch over into a heat pump.
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« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2011, 08:06:59 PM »

Hi Robert,

If you would like long term service and reliability, go with cruisairs and keep your OTR air system in your H3-45.

Liberty usually always has a good track record with their installs.

I dislike roof airs because of noise, short life span, always dripping water off the roof, and looks..

Good Luck with your conversion!
Nick-
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« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2011, 08:21:42 PM »

I've done many miles in an Eagle that had cruise air which never worked correctly.  It was great after it was changed to roof air.  I have a 4103 that has 3 roof air, which work fine.  A friend of mine got a 93 Prevost that came with 2 cruise air.  He added 2 roof air out of necessity to achieve decent cooling.   I would never use or advise cruise air.  Hope this helps.
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« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2011, 08:50:10 PM »

On my bus I have three Coleman 13.5 roof airs that have been 100% reliable.  Albeit-they only have a 2 spd fan and is noisier then I like-especially for night time sleeping.  But work great going down the road.

On my truck I'm doing a little bit of both.  I'm taking 15,000btu/hr roof top Penguins (15,000btu units are 13,500btu units with more powerful fans) and mounting them in the basement.  Penguins are the only roof top air that you can do this since the condenser fan is a squirrel cage blower that can be ducted (with modification).  I have yet to mount them, but have my 6" outlet and 8" return air through the floor already.  Will let you know how they work.  If my experiment with the Penguins don't work, might go with CruiseAirs-if they still make the air cooled condensers.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2011, 09:28:25 PM »

Good thread!

Mr. Bob sir: (Glines) I sent you a PM.
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« Reply #24 on: October 30, 2011, 06:09:13 AM »

I installed 2 roof airs and ducted them through the coach. Really worked well. The manufacturer has spec's for designing the ducts, you might want to look at if you are not an AC type.

 Then I sat there and listened to them for years. They are not horrible loud, but you definitely know they are there. I had set up the ducts so when in the bedroom the front AC was cooling it, so that helped.

 One day I am sitting there and it clicks, the light bulb comes on over my head and it's too late for me  Cry

 If I would have thought of it I would have ducted the intake air! The fan motor and the compressor are right there behind the filter, might as well be in the coach. Same principal as quieting a genset.

 Too soon old too late smart.                       JIm
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« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2011, 09:55:41 AM »

The main reason my roof tops are in the basement is my truck is at 13ft then goes to 13ft 6in.  No room on the roof. Hoping they too will be quiet since both the intake and supply are ducted.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2011, 02:37:43 PM »

Will the return duct be straight into the unit or have a turn or 2 in it?  JIm
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« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2011, 03:09:02 PM »

The 8" return will have a couple of turns in it.  Plus the 12"x12" filter grill will have one under the dinette and the other in the front at the base of the sofa end table.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #28 on: October 30, 2011, 04:23:34 PM »

Robert -

The BIGGEST problem I have read over the years with CruiseAires is insufficient air flow through the units and the associated ducting.

Like water in a pipe - the larger diameter the pipe, the more water it will flow.  Same with air flow thru an HVAC system.  Both IN and OUT.

When properly installed per the manufacturer's installation manual, they work really well.  If you don't follow DA BOOK, you're in trouble.

Lots of folk lately have gone to the mini-split systems.  No ducting issues, all you have to do is run freon lines to the evaporators.  Condensation is a concern, but not as big an obstacle as undersized air ducts.  Evaporators can be located wherever you want, "zoned" I think is the term used.  Condenser(s) and compressor(s) located downstairs, often in the old factory location. 

A suggestion:  Give the salesman five bucks and tell him to go get some coffee at Starbucks.  While he's doing that, talk to the Service Dept's manager.  Ask him what his experience has been between the CruiseAires and rooftop barnacles.  His viewpoint is going to be totally different than the guy selling the stuff, and probably worth a lot more than the cost of a Starbucks coffee.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

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« Reply #29 on: October 30, 2011, 04:43:57 PM »

Quote from: RJ
A suggestion:  Give the salesman five bucks and tell him to go get some coffee at Starbucks.  While he's doing that, talk to the Service Dept's manager.  Ask him what his experience has been between the CruiseAires and rooftop barnacles.  His viewpoint is going to be totally different than the guy selling the stuff, and probably worth a lot more than the cost of a Starbucks coffee.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

Wink


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« Reply #30 on: October 30, 2011, 04:50:22 PM »

or call Nick   Badame    he has fixed the factory problems.    Because he is in the business he can't solicit business here but I can tell you he knows his stuff.   Bob
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« Reply #31 on: October 31, 2011, 05:09:54 PM »

The new roofers are plenty quiet. Here is one on Craigslist:

New Carrier Roof Air - $820 (Alachua)
Date: 2011-10-18, 7:15AM EDT
Reply to: sale-2t4za-2655652015@craigslist.org
15K BTU HIGH CAPACITY HEAT PUMP-AC,SUPER LOW PROFILE CARRIER. $820 obo.
Carrier's most powerful and compact roof mount air conditioner/heat pump. This new design is very compact, energy efficient, aerodynamic and stylish looking . At only 7" tall you will barely see it on the roof. Complete with ceiling panel and remote control. New in box with warranty. (We purchased it new, and due to the nature of our bus's framing, it would not fit where we wanted it. We had to go with a basement unit instead.) This is one of the quietest roof airs I have ever heard. We are near Gainesville, Florida. Come take a look and make a reasonable offer. We can bench test it for you. Call 386 418-1251
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« Reply #32 on: October 31, 2011, 05:59:00 PM »

Roof airs will run the condensate all over the roof and down the side of the bus. You can wash your bus with soft water that way. Also as long is it is dripping you know it isn't frozen over. I have two roof airs installed by the PO because they wanted the bay space and had 2 of the 3 Cruise Airs removed. I like them OK and have done a treatment to make the air noise quieter. Now if I could get the compressor noise dealt with...another project.
Cruise Airs have refrigerant lines and condensate drains that get hidden under other stuff. I know Liberty has been converting for a long time and they do nice, quality work but everyone has a bad day. If the low side (suction) line insulation gets nicked or torn it can leak condensate behind that stuff and the rest of the story is messy.
Also condensate pan drain lines can come off and leak behind stuff that you don't find out about until it is too late. Drain pans and condensate drain lines need to be routinely checked and cleaned especially if you are full timing it, they will get dirty. They need to be accessable for cleaning and servicing along with the addition of a real air filter. If it was my project I'd request demonstration of the integrity of the refrigerant line insulation (digital photos).
Still have one Cruise Air left and like it as well. It is refrigerant leak free. It has good airflow and can operate it going down the highway. It was installed so that both the indoor and outdoor coils have good air flow and are serviceable. I'm going to be no help as to which is better.

Happy Trails
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