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General Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach that are not covered in other Mechanic's Corner categories (ex. refrigerators, water heaters, and compressors).

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  #1  
Old 06-02-2014
oldmansax oldmansax is offline
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Lightbulb Possible solution to Dash Air and lound generator problems

It appears that the dashboard (OTR) A/C has failed in lots of BBs. Also, it is expensive to fix & maintain.

Secondly, The OEM generators have been problematic in some cases and are LOUD, or at least louder than some of us would like.

I have been mulling over solutions to both of these problems ever since I bought my PT40. I have a background in the trucking industry and also in HVAC so I figured I should be able to figure out something! After discarding 20 or 30 hair brained schemes I finally thought of one that should work. Now all I need is time and money! Donations will be solicited later! JUST KIDDING!

ThermoKing & Black Diamond (just to name 2) both make APUs (Auxiliary Power Units) for heavy duty trucks. These units provide heat, AC and sometimes 110V power for drivers while stopped to reduce idle time on the truck engines.

Both of the aforementioned companies make a model that produces 5.7 to 6.5 KW of 110V electricity AND 20,000 to 22,000 BTU of cooling. Depending on the model, a unit may have a 2 or 3 cylinder diesel engine, be VERY quiet (20db in some cases) and burn as little as 1/4 gallon of fuel per hour.

The APU could be installed in the existing generator slide. It would be lighter, helping with the front axle weight problem on some coaches, quieter, smaller, and, for those of you with FCs, less deep. The slide would not hang down below the body as far.

The 20,000 BTU AC would be comparable with the OEM dash AC, and could be run anytime. The 5.7 KW generator will run any 2 OEM ACs.

For example, driving, the unit would run the dash AC and any 2 ACs. Parked, it would do the same, or run the dash AC while the generator capacity was used for making coffee, charging the batteries, heating water or whatever. The only things it won't do is run all three ACs at once, BUT you have the 20,000 BTU dash air to more than make up for that, and, it won't have much electricity left over to run a "buddy plug".

It would take a fair amount of work to mount and ventilate the APU, and to either modify the existing dash air evaporator or install the matching APU evaporator.

The cost of a new APU is about $9K but that is comparable to a new generator. I haven't looked into used ones.

I am volunteering my coach as a guinea pig to anyone who would like to buy and install the above described system. I will keep accurate notes and data to be posted to the board...........


TOM
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  #2  
Old 06-02-2014
bubblerboy64 bubblerboy64 is offline
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Might be a option IF your generator needed replaced in entirety.

Many of us seem to be pretty satisfied with the existing arrangements.

Cost vs benefit?
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  #3  
Old 06-02-2014
Tim876 Tim876 is offline
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I haven't done any research lately, but we have a thermoking unit on one of our trucks (they are all "big bunks" with large sleepers that are more like small rvs). All of our other trucks have "generators" (that produce 110 power and that is it). In my experience the thermoking, and other apu units like it, don't actually produce 110 power, they have large alternators that make 12v power and transfer that power to the batteries keeping them charged. These systems make use of large inverters to produce 110 power. This is kind of a neat idea in a semi truck as an inverter weighs much less than a generator head and can be more reliable/cheaper to fix. The other nice thing that you mentioned is that they provide air conditioning (have an ac compressor just like a car) and heat, usually out of a diesel burning source like a webasto. Here are the bad points, I don't know that they actually produce enough power to run rooftop ac units, and everyone we have ever had (including the "rigmaster" units) are built to auto start and stop. There is no way to "keep them running" when and where you want. This is actually kind of a neat feature as they run lower hours, but they also vibrate and have a warning signal when they start and stop. Not really a bad idea, just not sure they would be sufficient for these coaches.

Some of our other trucks have Onan "quiet diesel" generators, these are controlled manually or have an autostart feature based on battery voltage. They are REALLY quiet, and make loads of power (we have had models ranging from 7.5k to 20k). These units are self contained (don't share antifreeze with the coach) and pretty bulletproof. They are heavy though. YMMV.
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Old 06-02-2014
oldmansax oldmansax is offline
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John, if you do have generator problems, this solutions would fix BOTH the generator AND the dash air. In my case, the noise is the problem. I'll have to admit my old MCI spoiled me. We boondock almost exclusively and in places that do not tolerate noise well. I am always looking for quieter solutions.

Tim, here is a link to just one Rigmaster APU that has 20K cooling, 13K heating, 6KW generator and burns .25 GPH. I like it if it's true!

TOM
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Old 06-02-2014
konehd konehd is offline
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Ive seen some install an alternator on the genny to replace the idler pully.. Wonder if you could stick an AC compressor there instead...???

On my '93 the OTR AC works (just) OK, but it might help on the older ones.

/Joe
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Old 06-03-2014
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It certainly would save me from buying and re-plumbing 80' of refrigerant hose! I converted my old R-12 system to R-134, but the hose can not hold the new freon pressures. The evaporator was only around $300 or so for the roof, and the compressor was around $150 or so. The big bite for me was having to replace all of that hose and some components in the overhead. I finally just decided to run the genny and cruise-airs when I need to be cool. I've often thought about the APU solution or buying one of the rooftop units like you see on school and shuttle buses, but they seemed cost-prohibitive.
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Old 06-03-2014
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Shane, I bought a self contained Red Dot rooftop a/c unit for the 70 SP. It uses a Sanden compressor which is the only item that needs to be installed outside of the rooftop unit. I often wondered if the compressor could be mounted on a generator and run off of the belt. That being said I will run it off the engine and route the lines over the roof.
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Old 06-03-2014
oldmansax oldmansax is offline
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Here is the link to the Rigmaster APU that I neglected to put in the above post:

http://www.rigmasterpower.com/downlo...ator-Model.pdf

I should have proof read the post before I hit "post".

TOM
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Old 06-03-2014
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Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldmansax View Post
Here is the link to the Rigmaster APU that I neglected to put in the above post:

http://www.rigmasterpower.com/downlo...ator-Model.pdf

I should have proof read the post before I hit "post".

TOM
Saw/heard one of those units @ truck stop couple weeks back, was about as loud as my Perkins, maybe it was an anomaly but it looked new.
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  #10  
Old 06-03-2014
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I wouldn't be surprised that when they say "quiet" that would be "quiet" compared to a 600 hp CAT running. Not necessarily "quiet" compared to a good quality generator running.
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