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Author Topic: Continually Blowing my Top - A/C cover  (Read 2651 times)
plyonsMC9
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« on: July 15, 2014, 10:10:26 PM »

Greetings All,

So, over the past 4 - 5 years I've lost 4 front a/c covers.  For the first 5 years of the Penguin Duo-Therm 13.5 btu front a/c I had no problems. 

After the last loss in high winds we decided to replace the front a/c with a new low profile Coleman mach 8 15k btu a/c, thinking along the lines that with the lower profile and the fact that the shroud goes almost all the way down there will be less chance of having the wind rip off yet another, and maybe causing an accident.  The Penguin a/c has the shrouds which only seem to cover about 1/2 of the a/c unit. 

Haven't replaced it yet - is my logic totally bogus?  Everyone I talk with says that they haven't seen anything like this.  Just what I don't want to hear.

My plan is to replace the unit this Thursday.

What say my fellow bus folk?

Kind Regards, Phil
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Northern Arizona / 1983 - MC9
gumpy
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2014, 05:36:52 AM »

I say good luck. I have no experience with rooftop ac, but your logic seems sound to me.
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2014, 05:45:11 AM »

A company in Canada makes heavy duty shrouds for rooftop A/C units including the Dometic Penguin.  I paid just over $100 for one for a Penguin.

It turned out my Penguin A/C unit was junk so i still have the shroud never used I will sell cheap.  I'm not sure if it is in my bus, or if it is in my storage container.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2014, 06:00:12 AM »

The logic seems sound.  I don't know anything about rooftop AC units, but my family plays a game when we take long road trips of counting the shrouds we see along the side of the road.  It appears that those things blow off all the time.  Between here (East Texas) and Colorado, it's pretty ordinary to count 3-4 per drive.

Cheers, John
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luvrbus
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2014, 06:13:17 AM »

The front cover always blows off here in the AZ from the sun and wind,the new Penguins 11 units have a heavier cover about a 1/4 inch thick made of fiberglass they should hold up.

I installed one to replace the older Penguin we had, the older unit cooled a lot better than this new Penguin but I like the features of the inside cover better than the older Penguins  


good luck
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Dave5Cs
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2014, 06:31:30 AM »

Phil slow down. Take the screws out of the top and put them back in with 2" fender washers. Seems to hold them down pretty well.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2014, 06:40:27 AM »

I use 2 stainless straps 2 inches wide 1/8th thick from Ace across the top it seems to work
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« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2014, 07:17:55 AM »

I use 2 stainless straps 2 inches wide 1/8th thick from Ace across the top it seems to work

I read this and said "holy snappin', he could pick up the front of the bus with those straps"  "Nah, that's just dreamin..."  So I did the math.  2" by .125" is .25" cross section, ultimate tensile strength of 304 stainless is around 73Kpsi, so two straps is 36,500 lbs of load limit.  More than my bus weighs, let alone the front axle weight!   Grin  I suspect finding something to bolt the straps to would be the challenge...  The AC unit probably won't take the strain...   Shocked

Brian
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« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 07:28:32 AM »

Hi All, Ive always seen drying cracking, here in the south west as the reason for replacement, which were thicker and more reinforced, one of my trailers had an aluminum cover over the AC! Lvmci...
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« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2014, 07:29:07 AM »

I don't get into the math Brian just what works I just drill the holes to match the bolts on top of the AC I use S/S to prevent rust streaks running down on the side of the bus the 1/8th is not much thicker than the washers under the nuts and 1/8th inch won't rattle BTDT with the 1/16th steel straps, take 2 pieces 22 inches long for the Coleman a little less for a Penguin   
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 07:34:34 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2014, 07:51:08 AM »

I'm always in favor of doing what works!  My mind just asks me funny questions sometimes - "I wonder if you could pick up a bus by the rooftop AC cover?  Lets find out!"

Brian
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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2014, 12:28:42 PM »

LOL, this is one wild thread!!  Thanks for all the feedback.

I had moved to using fender washers.  Very interesting on how many folks spy these covers by the side of the road.  Hmm, more travel amusement - but kind of scary.  We were concerned about the cover flying off & causing an accident behind us.

The Mach 8 uses a different bolt pattern, one in the front of the A/C, 4 on top.  Don't see any bolts/screws on the sides.  Colman use what look to be fender washers.  One other idea I had heard of was to reinforce the screw holes with fiberglass (cloth?) and epoxy, then drill through it.  Though, if too much reinforcement, airlifting the bus may be an issue?  Maybe I just won't use the stainless steel straps to avoid that concern.  Seriously, the strap sounds like a good idea. 

I've attached the coleman mach  8 view, vs. our current penguin shroud view.

Kind Regards, Phil

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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2014, 12:52:11 PM »

Personally, I would try one of the heavier duty ICON replacement shrouds before buying a whole new rooftop unit.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2014, 12:57:22 PM »

I doubt you find that model of Penguin unless it is old stock the newer ones have a different setup for a cowling
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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2014, 01:07:41 PM »

Thanks Brian - the front unit after 10 years seems to have developed a couple of issues, and I'm tired of fighting it.  The train of a/c cover replacements is the last straw.  Want to get slightly higher btu cooling up front & better cover layout.

However, we do have 2 other a/c units, penguin, etc.  

Is this the company you refer to, ICON:  
http://www.icondirect.com/

Other 2 unit covers showing age now and it seems that if I have the correct web site, the prices are lower for a better cover.  Correct?  I would like to fix them before they fly away

Unless my 10 yr old models aren't covered by ICON (no pun intended).

Kind Regards, Phil


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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2014, 02:29:36 PM »

Yes, that is the website.  They have better quality covers for just about every major brand of rooftop except the full height Carrier.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2014, 03:19:31 PM »

Great information - thanks !!

Kind Regards, Phil
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« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2014, 07:11:00 AM »

Phil -  we have had a Mach 8 up front on our bus for a year now.  About 8k miles on it and the cover is still solidly on there.

I like the fender washer idea and maybe use bolts with locknuts instead of the screws.

Also - if you take it down to about 75mph instead of 90 it might help keep the pressure down a bit on the AC shroud.  Wink

-Sean

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« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2014, 10:21:44 AM »

This is an area that a little preventive maintenance could be of use.  When I coat the roof, I always coat the cowlings also.  UV can just disintegrate fiberglass.  Actually though, it has been a heck of a long time since I recoated the roof or even took a good look at what's going on up there. I better put that on the list.

As mention, fender washers or the more heavy duty alternative suggested would be good too, especially if you see any signs of deterioration. 
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plyonsMC9
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« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2014, 05:51:11 PM »

OK.  This is a very funny group.   Grin

Can't even IMAGINE our MC9 careening through 106+ degree desert at 95+ MPH.  My stars, the engine would get so hot that the misters would melt and you could cook eggs on the front windshield.  If the bus would stay in one piece.   Shocked

Seriously though.  Thank you for the posts.  Smiley  

Lin, great idea on preventative maintenance, and checking out the covers.  Looking for signs of aging.  

Interestingly, the owner of the company that he (guy installing our new Coleman a/c) used to work for - several years up in the Prescott Valley, AZ area, built metal a/c covers due to this very problem.  Fabricated to look like the originals but of course, different material.  They have since gone out of business and as Brian pointed out, we now have ICON as a resource for heavy duty covers.  Really this whole problem area surprises me in that this is such an issue.  I'm learning a lot!

So far, LOVE the Mach 8 - Sean, good to hear positive feedback from you on it.  Its only been out for about a year so you were a very early adopter!     Encouraging news for sure.  Compared to our 10 yr old duo therms,  I almost can't tell when the compressor on the Mach 8 comes on.  Veerrryy smoooooth.  No hesitation from the generator w/ the Mach 8 compressor either.  Even w/ higher BTU. (15k vs. 13.5).

As it is new, I'll try to post again after a few more months on what we think of it.  

Kind Regards, Phil
« Last Edit: July 22, 2014, 10:32:02 AM by plyons » Logged

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« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2014, 07:01:29 PM »

Just glue an aluminium angle to the roof each side of the shroud using Sikaflex or similar and then run as many holddown straps over the top as you think necessary. Sikaflex works for sticking solar panel brackets to the roof without using rivets or screws so provided you clean both surfaces properly they will stay stuck.
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