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Old 08-13-2020, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default Final conclusions on Roadtrek Proair undermount A/C?

We are considering buying a 2015 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL that happens to have a Proair undermount A/C. I've read as many threads and articles as I could find and have noticed that they are not discussed much anymore. The articles also don't seem to draw any conclusions. I'd be very interested in any of you experts weighing in on their effectiveness as roof-top alternatives, their pros and cons, their reliability, your personal experiences or your understanding of why they didn't catch on. Bottom line, we are wondering if an undermount A/C is a reason to avoid the purchase (note that the roof is completely covered with solar panels so a rooftop replacement unit would take some extra work). Thanks in advance for your insights.
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Old 08-13-2020, 05:43 PM   #2
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We are considering buying a 2015 Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL that happens to have a Proair undermount A/C. I've read as many threads and articles as I could find and have noticed that they are not discussed much anymore. The articles also don't seem to draw any conclusions. I'd be very interested in any of you experts weighing in on their effectiveness as roof-top alternatives, their pros and cons, their reliability, your personal experiences or your understanding of why they didn't catch on. Bottom line, we are wondering if an undermount A/C is a reason to avoid the purchase (note that the roof is completely covered with solar panels so a rooftop replacement unit would take some extra work). Thanks in advance for your insights.
This system was demonstrated to me by Roadtrek at a Socal RV show a few years ago. When operating, the noise level approached the noise level of a generator.

FWIW, Advanced RV advised their prospective customers against including this system. IIRC, they determined that the system filters clogged regularly reducing the system efficiency significantly.
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Old 08-13-2020, 11:37 PM   #3
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Mike Wendland, the RV Lifestyle guy or formerly the Roadtrek ambassador had one, the first one in a Roadtrek beta test van. Of course he probably had a non-disclosure agreement but I got the unsaid vibe from him it was not satisfactory as there was no followup glowing or otherwise. He had subsequent Roadtreks that didn't have it. I haven't heard of any glowing endorsement from anywhere and of course Roadtrek is defunct from that era and I doubt the new owners will pick it up or have anything to do with it. They are French, they probably don't know anything about RV air conditioning.

Split systems are viable but who knows how well Roadtrek designed and engineered it for a van. Their record would be, be on the leery side.
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Old 08-13-2020, 11:48 PM   #4
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FWIW, Advanced RV advised their prospective customers against including this system. IIRC, they determined that the system filters clogged regularly reducing the system efficiency significantly.
ARV has looked seriously into it and I got the same advice. They actually put one in Solar Womp, the Class B with 1200 watts of solar on the roof but it was mounted on the back door and not under the floor.

I designed for it but dropped the idea. Their Houghton rooftop air conditioner was better and I didn't need the roof for solar nor will I put a deck up there.
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Old 08-13-2020, 11:56 PM   #5
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Mike Wendland, the RV Lifestyle guy or formerly the Roadtrek ambassador had one, the first one in a Roadtrek beta test van. Of course he probably had a non-disclosure agreement but I got the unsaid vibe from him it was not satisfactory as there was no followup glowing or otherwise. He had subsequent Roadtreks that didn't have it. I haven't heard of any glowing endorsement from anywhere and of course Roadtrek is defunct from that era and I doubt the new owners will pick it up or have anything to do with it. They are French, they probably don't know anything about RV air conditioning.

Split systems are viable but who knows how well Roadtrek designed and engineered it for a van. Their record would be, be on the leery side.
I don't think that engineering was an issue because as I dimly recall it was already installed on ambulances without problems.

It was an expensive option in the whereabouts of $4500 with no credit for a roof top AC deletion. It also required the XL van option for another couple of grand.

There were a few pluses. It lowered the overall height of the van by a few inches. It permitted expanding the solar array to 600 watts. And it was a BTU brute that could approach meat locker cooling even in tropical conditions. It was pretty quiet in the interior although outside it produced a hell of a racket.
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:04 AM   #6
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Every upfitter-installed unit I have seen (including ARV's IIRC) has had the condenser mounted with the fan facing in the direction of travel. Seems obvious that this is wrong. If I ever do a split unit (and I might), I will mount the fan perpendicular to the long axis of the vehicle. Very likely this will dramatically reduce any dirt problems. If it still proves to be an issue, I will fabricate a shutter mechanism that will open automatically via a linear actuator when the unit is turned on.

IMO, a properly executed undermounted split unit has compelling advantages. It is also perfectly feasible -- the chassis A/C condenser provides an existence proof of this.
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Old 08-14-2020, 12:46 AM   #7
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Thanks all,

I’ve noticed the disconnect between “they have been used forever on other vehicles” and “I haven’t heard anything good about them on an RV.” I guess that is what brought me to asking the question. It seems they do fine with cooling and are better for inside noise but I’m concerned about reliability. All I’ve seen is a post about replacing a compressor 3 times. Any other insights?

Avanti – on the 2015 Adventurous the condenser is in the very rear of the van with the fans facing toward the back (pic attached, I hope). How much difference do you think that would make?

Cruising7388 – I’m not so worries about the price as it is “baked in” and it may even detract from the price. As to the external noise, is that mainly from the compressor?
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Old 08-14-2020, 01:17 AM   #8
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Cruising7388 – I’m not so worries about the price as it is “baked in” and it may even detract from the price. As to the external noise, is that mainly from the compressor?
Yes, from the compressor. I'm not prepared to say that the Pro-air compressor is any louder, per se, than a roof top unit. But the down lower source of the noise was, at the ear, more prominent and IMO would irritate a neighbor more than a roof top unit.

Some of the 2015 CS production delivered with AGM batteries and an Onan generator. Others delivered with lithium batteries and an underhood second alternator. What is your battery profile?
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Old 08-14-2020, 01:30 AM   #9
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[QUOTE=Some of the 2015 CS production delivered with AGM batteries and an Onan generator. Others delivered with lithium batteries and an underhood second alternator. What is your battery profile?[/QUOTE]

Thanks, This one comes with 10 AGMs for 1000Ah with 600W solar and an underhood generator. It was used as a Roadtrek RV show vehicle, which I guess is another issue I could use input on when considering this purchase. Thoughts?
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Old 08-14-2020, 02:06 AM   #10
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Thanks, This one comes with 10 AGMs for 1000Ah with 600W solar and an underhood generator. It was used as a Roadtrek RV show vehicle, which I guess is another issue I could use input on when considering this purchase. Thoughts?
There should be a 2kw/3kw inverter in the mix. This is a fairly unique setup, indeed perhaps a one-off for a show. The AC undoubtedly powers up on shore power but it may or may not fire up from the inverter when boondocking. I think Pro-air currently provides this AC to run from 12V but not in CY2015.

The usual AGM setup provided 8 AGMs. 10 AGMs add about 600 lbs to the vehicle which which eats into cargo capacity. Is it accounted for on the GWV label? Assuming they are the originals, the batteries are 6 years old and their condition should be determined, If they are sulfated or have a history of deep discharge, they may be at the end of their useful life. Replacement with Concord Lifelines would run about $3000 plus a slug of labor unless they are located where they can be easily replaced.

BTW. depending on the date of production, the coach chassis may be 2015 or 2014. Not sure,but I think the 2015 chassis incorporated additional driver safety features.
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Old 08-14-2020, 02:22 AM   #11
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Thanks Cruising, the GVW sticker says that cargo should not exceed 2911, not sure what other Adventurouses have as limits - any ideas? I am having the batteries checked and realize that it will be a major cost, though I hadn't estimated quite that much.... it is a 2015 Sprinter and does have the safety features, Thanks again for taking the time to respond and I'd appreciate any other thoughts on the undermount A/C, the demo history, or anything else...
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Old 08-20-2020, 04:32 PM   #12
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I've had some good success with my unit on a Roadtrek 210 Popular. Frees up some interior space, gives me the chill I am looking for and most importantly seems quite efficient considering I run it off 12V. I enjoy being able to run the air conditioning unit off my EcoTrek modules without any issues. Equally good when plugged in.
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Old 08-20-2020, 06:03 PM   #13
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Thanks LimboMan - I've gotten several good reports from owners now and it looks like I'll find out for myself soon as I hope to get the van next week.
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Old 08-20-2020, 06:48 PM   #14
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Thanks LimboMan - I've gotten several good reports from owners now and it looks like I'll find out for myself soon as I hope to get the van next week.
I'm sure it runs on shore power but have you confirmed that without shore power that the Pro-Air is wired to operate from the inverter?
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Old 08-20-2020, 08:14 PM   #15
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The ProAir units run on DC and this one performs well so no worries about the inverter. I hadn't thought about confirming that it will run on shore power but now I will. Thanks.
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Old 08-20-2020, 08:29 PM   #16
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The ProAir units run on DC and this one performs well so no worries about the inverter. I hadn't thought about confirming that it will run on shore power but now I will. Thanks.
No doubt it runs on shore power. The question is whether this particular coach was set up for Pro-Air operation on shore power only or whether it will also operate from the inverter when mobile. I think the current production runs on 12VDC which would not involve imverter operation but IIRC the early units installed on circa 2014-2015 Roadtreks used a 120VAC compressor. Since this coach was built for show purposes, just be sure that the Pro-Air in this unit runs when off the grid.
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Old 08-20-2020, 11:42 PM   #17
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No doubt it runs on shore power. The question is whether this particular coach was set up for Pro-Air operation on shore power only or whether it will also operate from the inverter when mobile. I think the current production runs on 12VDC which would not involve imverter operation but IIRC the early units installed on circa 2014-2015 Roadtreks used a 120VAC compressor. Since this coach was built for show purposes, just be sure that the Pro-Air in this unit runs when off the grid.
This one is a 12VDC unit and ran for 8 hours on battery "boondocking" in dealer parking lot - which impressed me. I will check to make sure it runs on AC as well, just in case.
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Old 08-20-2020, 11:56 PM   #18
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This one is a 12VDC unit and ran for 8 hours on battery "boondocking" in dealer parking lot - which impressed me. I will check to make sure it runs on AC as well, just in case.
It's nice to see someone thoroughly do their homework before jumping in.
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Old 08-21-2020, 12:18 AM   #19
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Haha, I'm not a jumper, I'm a slider. Thanks for your help.
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Old 08-21-2020, 12:48 AM   #20
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Re: shore power -> https://www.classbforum.com/forums/f...-3-a-9768.html

Edit: - Oops, I see you've already mentioned seeing that topic.

I know the topic is about the ProAir but 10 AGM's could end up being a 700lb $3K to $4K headache every few years. I guess it all depends on usage, the level of monitoring and the specifics of the charging setup in that particular rig. Some of the 8 AGM rigs had problems but you've probably read through those topics.

When that level of battery capacity is needed then lithium is better suited for the task. The issue with the AGM's will be getting them all back to fully charged often. Lithium batteries don't have that requirement.
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