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Old 04-25-2012, 02:14 AM   #1
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Default Rear Window Air Conditioner



I'm going to go with a rear window Air Conditioner.......... Not elegant, but very practical.
I have solar panels on the roof that I don't want to move.



Plus 3 feet of the original metal van roof was left in place in the rear of my van and it is directly under where the roof air would go. That space is invaluable for storage.
I would have had to build a box between the original metal roof and the fiberglass roof and mount the interior part of the roof air under the metal roof. That would require various extension pieces etc. Move the solar panels. Basically, a tremendous amount of work.

I'll get it from Class B Van manufacturer Safari Condo. http://www.safaricondo.com/index_eng.php
Their solution is the best I've seen. http://www.safaricondo.com/acces/aireng.php







The cost won't be that much less than roof air when you factor in that I have to go to Quebec to pick it up as they don't ship it. The package includes the air conditioner.
5000 btu should be good enough for us. Summer in the Maritimes is pleasant. I won't be going to FL or AZ in the Summer.

I will try to run this on an inverter. Not on a regular basis but just to see if I can. I think it could work. The specs show 485 watts and 4.5 amps AC running. The real question will be can my setup handle the start-up surge.

Is there such a thing as a 120v capacitor that would help? Something like this maybe: http://www.hvacpartsoutlet.com/compress ... cspp5.aspx
Is there something like it that can be plugged into an outlet?
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:27 AM   #2
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

excellent solution,as i dont have roof air and only a 15 amp hookup.any idea what it cost?
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Old 04-29-2012, 01:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Yes - $695. includes the air conditioner. Not cheap but it is limited production.
It has stainless steel brackets for the inside and the upholstered piece you see. Outside cover is fiberglass.
It is designed to replace the rear window. You can switch back and forth between the window and the A/C depending on the season.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

I went ahead with this purchase and installed the air conditioner from Safari Condo in my GMC Savana van. The a/c unit kit seems well built. This a/c kit is made to replace the rear window. Take off the window and install the a/c then remove it and put the window back in when the a/c is not needed. I added 3 extra brackets when I installed it because it will be a permanent fixture in my van.





Cutting out the window sized hole in the rear door was not as hard as I though it would be. I wasted some time with hole saws, hacksaw and tin snips before putting a new fine tooth metal cutting blade in my cheap jigsaw and cutting the hole. It easy to do with the jigsaw. I protected the surrounding paint with a layer of green painters tape and a layer or tuck tape for extra protection on top of the green tape. The green tape peeled off easily when the cutting was done. Tuck tape adheres too well to use it alone for a job like this. You'd probably never get it off.

I cut the top edge first and the put some tape there so the panel couldn't fall out.





I smoothed the edges and painted them with some enamel paint and a small brush.



The weather strip molding filled that gap. A van rear door with a factory window would not have a gap as the inner and outer sheet metal would be joined.
I put a small pre-glued piece of trim molding on the metal first then applied weather strip glue and installed the large weather strip molding. The small trim filled the cavity in the large molding.





The a/c housing is "clamped" to the van with "L" shaped stainless steel brackets. The kit comes with 5 and I added 3 because I want this to be a permanent installation.



The kit came with interior trim.







I made a temporary cover to use in case I ever have to remove the air conditioner housing.





The air conditioner came pre-installed the fiberglass housing. It is a 5200 btu Fedders a/c and it comes with a remote control and has a timer etc.
5200 btu isn't enough cooling for Florida or Arizona in the summer but it should be adequate for what I need. The fiberglass housing is big enough to hold a larger a/c unit if ever needed.
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Old 07-20-2012, 04:23 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Looks good. How secure is it, in an anti-theft sense?
It might look very attractive to someone who doesn't have a/c, but does own a GM van, and a portable
drill, and some appropriate bits or sockets.
Sorry, "Devil's Advocate" question.
The power consumption numbers sound pretty reasonable. If we end up keeping the Roadtrek,
and my roof air ever goes, I might have to consider getting one of those.
Or, replacing the existing one with a smaller capacity unit like the one you have now.
I'm not sure 5,000 BTU wouldn't be enough for us. As you say, wouldn't expect it to work in
AZ in August, but for cooling down before bed, after dark, it might do the trick. I could run it
off the Onan, where you run yours off a combination of the coach batteries and the alternator.
I'd probably revisit adding a higher capacity inverter, and solar too, and the wish list keeps growing.......
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Old 07-20-2012, 05:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Re: Security - I think it is pretty good.
A determined person might be able to break the fiberglass with effort similar or greater than prying or breaking a window.
The A/C is screwed in well and it is also caulked. The open is fairly high up and the opening is too small for access.
Safari Condo had security in mind and used stainless steel stove bolts. There is no way to get a tool on them from the outside. I used the same bolts for my temporary cover.

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Old 07-20-2012, 06:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

I'd say so. I had to ask, because I couldn't quite see the bolt heads in the previous pics.
Well, that's it then?
Next project?
I'm still thinking we may get out east again this year, but the longer it takes us to get settled,
the more likely we are to wait until 2013.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Marko, that is a slick set-up. I'd think others who have bought a van without the air would find this a solution. The photos and stats about the battery drain will answer the mail for a person wondering if they could do this. Being able to remove and cover that void in short order is really a great feature. You even picked up so added storage on top of it, cool. Safe travels.
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Old 07-22-2012, 12:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Thanks Ron. I'll post more data re: outside and inside temperatures and how effective a 5200 btu a/c is (or isn't) after I use it while camping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
...............Next project?................
Maybe a small generator to run this if I need it for more than a few hours. A 28lb Yamaha EF1000iS 47dBA - 57 dBA might be the one. A company in Bangor converts them to run on propane which would be a good option for me with the diesel van. I'll make sure the A/C cools well enough before looking into the generator though.
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Is that this one? Central Maine Diesel?
I can't recall why I was searching for a triple fuel generator, but it would give you maximum flexibility in fuel choice. They can run on LNG, Propane, or gasoline. They also make diesel models, but probably not practical due to size and weight.
http://www.generatorsales.com/
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Old 07-22-2012, 01:15 AM   #11
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Yes, that's the company. Kinda pricey
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Old 07-22-2012, 02:04 AM   #12
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

You can't take it with you.
Live a little.
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Old 07-22-2012, 03:04 AM   #13
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

That's what I keep telling her.......
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:04 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Marko, thanks for this info. I'm a newby to the forum and to conversion vans. I travel for a living and just get tired of paying out the nose for hotel rooms just to lay down a few hours.
I think Safari Condo is missing the boat by not selling these in the states. I have a friend that lives in Calgary and will be vacationing in Qc. in Sept. He is going to pick one up for me. Then he will ship it from New York. Thanks again.
Johnny Cox
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

I think somewhere in this thread marko mentioned it was a limited production unit.
You might want to find out how much lead time Safari Condo needs to have one ready for you
or your friend to pick up.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:54 PM   #16
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Mike is right - it took a while for mine to be available for pick up. Contact them now for September if you haven't already. These units are only made to fit GMC Savana or Chevy Express vans. There was a new unit in stock when I picked mine up.

I just got back from a trip and it was nice to have. Yesterday, it took a few hours to get the temperature down at the front of the van from 84F to 73F but I was grateful to have it after a day on the beach. I left it running after lunch and we came back to a very liveable temperature while it was still hot outside. The rear of the van (dinette / bed) cools down in 10 to 15 minutes. I'd need a fan to push the cold air up the aisle in my van as the opening from the back after the beds is only 1/4 the width of the van (approximately).

Anyone know a way to run the van dash air on 110 volt grid power?

Roof air is still the better choice if you need more cooling.
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:50 PM   #17
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo

Anyone know a way to run the van dash air on 110 volt grid power?

Roof air is still the better choice if you need more cooling.
You'd be better to bring a portable floor model with you, and stay at campgrounds with electrical
hookups, and plug in, as an alternative to roof air. You could run the drain hose into the toilet, or
maybe cut a small hole in the floor, and fit it with a removable plug when not used as a drain. If
my roof air ever failed, I could plug a portable floor model in and run my generator to power it, as
long as the draw didn't exceed the generator's capabilities. In fact, if I could find a small footprint
floor model, with a lower draw than my roof air, I could save power and use it instead. Just have
to figure out the footprint and how to store it when not in use.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:04 AM   #18
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

I see three or four problems with the portable air conditioners:

1. they throw off heat inside the van
2. they take up floor space and would need to be secured when driving
3. water drainage
4. venting to the outside

You don't have those problems with a window type or roof mounted air conditioner.
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:28 AM   #19
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

Quote:
I see three or four problems with the portable air conditioners:

1. they throw off heat inside the van
2. they take up floor space and would need to be secured when driving
3. water drainage
4. venting to the outside
1.) not sure what you mean. If the portable air conditioner has 2 hoses which are well insulated, the heat is thrown out of the van.
2.) this is a big one I agree with completely
3.) water is drained inside indeed. But, can the water be reused?
4.) see 1.) - best is to vent with dual hoses and they can indeed be quite bulky.

Just trying to see if there is any chance of portable air conditioner being useful for Class B vans. After all, if you are not on the road all the time, you can roll the air conditioner unit back into your home and use it there.
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Old 08-01-2012, 11:55 AM   #20
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Default Re: Rear Window Air Conditioner

You're right a two hose system with insulated hoses would deal with the heat from the unit better.
The exterior part of window air conditioner in my van gets quite warm when it is running. Because it is new to me (new toys!) I was checking it out and remember thinking that I would not want that heat inside the van. In the small area inside a van, noise from the unit might be a problem for some people.

Here's a post on RV.net that mentions some problems and there's a photo that shows how much space some units take up: http://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fu...7.cfm#26235857 Scroll down a bit to the paragraph about the portable air conditioner.

I don't have any experience with portable air conditioners at all. I searched the web for other campers comments about them because I hoped that I could use one as it seemed so much easier. Space was the biggest problem in my RV. Here's a very informative FAQ list about portable air conditioners for anyone not familiar with them: http://www.sylvane.com/learning-center/ ... c-faq.html

Some copied points about dual and single hose units:

Quote:
5. What are the differences between single hose and dual hose?

Single Hose - draws indoor air for both front cold air output as well as exhaust air (used to cool compressor).

PROS:
1) Fresh air is exchanged within the room.
2) Higher energy efficiency.

CONS:
1) Percentage of the air taken in is used to cool the condenser. As this air is exhaust out, it creates a negative air pressure. Air is continuously seeping in from adjacent rooms to replace the exhausted air.
2) Slower initial cool down.

Dual Hose - draws indoor air for front cold air output and draws outdoor air for exhaust air (used to cool compressor).

PROS:
1) If outside temperature is lower than indoor temperature, compressor can be cooled down faster and produce colder front air output.
2) No negative pressure created within the room
3) Initial cool down of room is quicker than single hose.

CONS:
1) Same air circulating within the room, which will decrease in oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide.
2) If outside temperature is high (>90??F) or when humidity is high (>80%), compressor cannot be cooled and results is increased temperature of front air output. In such cases, the second hose should not used to prevent the compressor from overheating.
3) Uses two internal fans and consumes more energy due to added hose.
Maybe someone on the forum uses one in a van and will comment here.
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