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Old 07-17-2019, 10:49 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Texas
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Default Older Roadtreks and ACs

Hello all! I've got an older 1996 Roadtrek Popular 190 with a replacement window unit AC. Its an older 6400 BTU unit but cold air does come out of it. I took it up to Lake Havasu City, AZ last weekend, where it was a toasty 110 degrees and lo and behold - my AC wasn't quite up to the task. Since then I've been poking around AC options and it appears the only thing bigger that would fit is an 8000 BTU LG unit #LW8016ER. This seems to be a popular swap for us older Roadtrekers, but as I've been thinking about it I had a few questions.

1. Can anyone that has made this swap attest to how quickly it cools, and in what kinds of environments? Namely if you've taken it to the desert how cool did you get your interior? From 100+ to the low 80's? 70's? 60's?

2. I'm also curious if the issue with my current AC was due to the inability to properly transfer heat outside the van. Namely, if there were a fan pumping heat away from the back of the AC unit out the rear vents in the fiberglass top - would that have made a difference?

Here are some relevant links:


Current AC:

Thanks all!


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Old 07-18-2019, 03:04 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 267

Your question is a good one. We have owned several Bs over the years and I have to tell you that a 1996 RT 190P on a Dodge was the most enjoyable, memorable rig we ever owned. Congratulations.

My view is the more BTUs the better.

The problem is basic. You live in Texas. I live in Oklahoma. Yesterday in OKC it was a rather typical late July day with a heat index above 100. One of the few miseries of a Class B for me is that on a really hot summer day these things are mostly impossible to keep cool if camped in the sun. Over the decades, I have tried a lot of options to mitigate the problem but the summary is that a van conversion just gets hot inside when you are parked in the sun. I have made insulated inserts for the windows. I have hung mylar blankets on the outside to try to reflect the heat. You and I live in the land of sun and heat.

Interestingly, the dash AC in our 96 Dodge would keep the coach comfortable going down the road on a really hot day but the RT AC just didn't keep up. Yes, a bigger AC unit will help but a fact of life IMO is a B is just hot if you can't get under shade when camped in July/August.

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Old 07-18-2019, 06:58 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Texas
Posts: 4

Thanks DoneWorking, perhaps I'm expecting too much from a big metal box parked in the desert sun to be cooled efficiency . For some reason the side vents on the AC units came to mind though, and I think the added 4" on the larger AC might put the side vents beyond the cabinetry and allow better airflow. At the very least the added length puts the rear condenser closer to the vents on the back of the roof, and that should let it breather better.

I'm still curious to hear from anyone that has installed the LG unit #LW8016ER though. Anyone done this swap?

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Old 07-25-2019, 08:16 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Illinois
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Default Facebook Group

If you are on Facebook, there is a group you can join of older Roadtrek owners. It's called '74-'04 Roadtrek Owners - Vintage and Classic Years. Several of the group members have installed the LG A/C as a replacement for the old Fedders unit. There is a lot of information available. Other maintenance topics are discussed as well.
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Old 07-25-2019, 09:27 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1
Default A/C Woes

This is in response to your second question:

We have a 2000 Roadtrek Popular 200. The original A/C had been replaced with a small window unit (around 5400 btu) by the previous owner. However, due to the extended length of empty space from the back of the A/C to the air grill located at the top back of the Roadtrek, the A/C exhausted hot air was preventing the cooler outside air from reaching the intake vents on the side of the A/C. As a result, the air blowing from the A/C inside the coach was not cool enough.

The problem was resolved by fabricating sheet metal into two sidewall vents to contain the exhausted hot air and carry it to the air grill where it flows out the back. The sidewalls had an L-shaped bend on the bottom to glue/screw to the floor of the space and extended to the roof-top cover, the front end is attached to the back corners of the A/C and extend out to the air grill.

This fix results in three channels extending to the air grill: the two outside channels allow cooler outside air to enter the side vents of the A/C, while the center channel carries the exhausted hot air from the A/C to the outside.
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