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FC (Forward Control Unique Issues) If you have a unique issue with your FC model coach and it can't be answered in one of the other forums here, then this is where you can list it.......List your FC Parts here too.

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Old 06-29-2010
Frank W. Frank W. is offline
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Default FC Dash AC rebuild notes

With summer here...I thought some might find this useful. An old post on WOO that I can't remember if I put over here.

Date: July 2005

Bus Type: BlueBird 1985 FC Wanderlodge

Project: Dash AC repair

Problem: I want dash AC! Working dash AC will do, in my opinion, all I need in moderate weather, where it is a waste to run the generator for just cooling the front of the bus off a little. I realize that in the hot summer I will still need the roof air(s) run by the generator to be effectively cool the front and/or all of the bus while on the road.

Second issue is the drivers’ side dash AC fan control switch got “hot to the touch” when turned on, that worried me and prevented use of the fan to aid de-fogging the windshield in winter.

Initial Inspection: This is what I found when I opened up the system:

• The dash switch and feed wire for the drivers’ side blower was visibly burned out.
• The evaporator blower motors (in the dash) and the condenser fans (on the roof) were found to be working when tested, but a little noisy.
• Both of the hoses to the roof top condenser had visible deterioration and one had a crack to the core of the hose. The interior hoses felt and looked fine.
• AC System had apparently no coolant present and would neither pump nor hold pressure/vacuum, the compressor clutch clicked and seemed to work, but compressor was not putting anything out as far as I could tell.
• The hoses I could get to, the expansion valve and the dryer all showed gross contamination, with crud and hard metal bits clearly evident coating interior walls/surfaces. The dryer inspection glass was cloudy, oil streaked and orange/red in overall color.
• All components appeared to be OEM and date to 1985, although new port fittings were found on the compressor head indicating a previous attempt to use a simple kit to convert to R-134a and recharge at some previous time.

Decision: I contacted BlueBird parts and was advised that BB offers no parts for the AC system. Based on my AC repair reading and other forum member’s comments and my goals, I made my repair choices. I decided that the bus system was worth at least one good effort to fix. Based on the time I was going to have to spend and my inspection findings, I chose to disassemble as much of the system as I could and flush it, convert to new 134a coolant, replace the roof top condenser to get greater heat exchange capacity and update the fan motors, and replace the compressor/clutch, expansion valve, and dryer. My thoughts were that this approach presented the best chance for a reasonable cost outcome that addresses the specific problems I faced and would upgrade the condenser/fan unit to allow the best chance of long term effective cooling with 134a.

Part One – Dash Fan Switch Repair & Adding a Solenoid to the Fan Circuit.

Removal of the screws securing the brown plastic upper dash panel around the perimeter frees the panel and it can be pulled forward easily. The switch and the first inch or so of supply wiring was “burnt black”. After replacement the drivers’ side fan worked fine. If all else fails, at least I can use the fan to move air and defog the windshield.

I received some sound advice from other forum members about adding a relay to the switch circuit and thus reducing the heavy fan loads from the driver’s side fan switch. It appears that this OEM switch is basically carrying a full capacity load when you are running full fan and the roof top condenser fan(s) are on. Additionally, the wiring to the condenser fans looks one gauge lighter than I would be comfortable with for anything I would wire, so I replaced it with a heavier gauge wire. The dash AC driver’s side switch now powers the rooftop condenser fan via a new relay protected by a new circuit breaker. Fan power is obtained from an existing heavy-duty load center located to the left and above the AC evaporator unit in the upper dash area, and is just switched via the relay with the OEM type switch.

Part Two – AC Components Removal

You can mark all these hoses/fittings with a pen marker or tape to keep them organized, same with wires and other parts. I use Dixie cups and mark what the bolts/nuts/parts go to (because I do some work today, and some work next week, this helps me keep parts organized and remember where they came from). A battery powered LCD type headlamp is very helpful when working in the overhead area…it is very tight up there and everything in there was painted flat black. Use two wrenches to remove any hose flare fittings…do not try just to force off with one wrench without backing up the other side to prevent damage from high torque loads to the fitting and the tube. Liquid Wrench will be needed for practically every nut and bolt.

Compressor; You will need to open the front up radiator access to get at this, but only open (not remove) the interior doghouse lid. The single wire coming off the compressor is the power to the electric/magnetic clutch. Should have a “pull apart” to separate the wire. You can test this circuit with a meter on the bus/supply side of the wire, when AC switch is on and temp control set to high cool you should get power to this wire to activate the clutch.
NOTE: If in your specific case only the clutch is bad, you might be able to get it off without removing the entire compressor or opening up your system. The clutch is a separate part to the compressor. Slack the belt; remove the center bolt in the pulley, pull off and then remove the four bolts to the clutch fan to complete removal.

Four bolts on the compressor side mounting plate and one more bolt was found on the bottom front. All bolts on my bus are close to other items and here a ratcheting flat style wrench is ideal. The bottom bolt is a tight fit, and impinges on an engine radiator coolant fitting, but it did come out without removing the hose.
The AC coolant suction/discharge hoses are left on the 90-degree fittings; the hose fittings are held on to the compressor top plate by large ring nuts. Remove the ring nuts to remove the hoses from the compressor head.

Condenser; The rooftop shroud can stay on for removal. Roof unit is unbolted from the bus by removing the four outer mounting bolts on the L brackets. You can then tilt it up and back and remove coolant hoses and cut the two wires for the fans. One person can lift this entire unit off the bus with care, a helper makes it easier and safer.

Dryer; A cylinder about 3” x 7” with 2 hose fittings on the top, mounted to right of the evaporator/fan housing in the overhead dash area.

Evaporator/Blower Fan/Expansion Valve Housing: This part was a big pain. I removed the two coolant hoses on the right hand side and then the fun started.

You will find 8 phillips head sheet metal screws (read “feel” for the 3 on the back side) around the perimeter of the “AC box”, about 3” down from the top where the horizontal “seam” is. There is no room to work here. Try a stubby screwdriver and/or ratcheting screwdriver. The screws in the rear loosened up after dowsing with Liquid Wrench with a can with the small red tube sprayed from the front inside (I lifted up the front side and sprayed, then wiggled the unit up and down about 20 times). In removing the ducts I took the two metal hose adapter boxes off, rather than trying to remove the hose from the metal box. Just move the hoses and adapter box off to the sides. Once this is done, you can lift the top 1/3 of the unit off and then from the inside bottom unplug the wiring, slide the rubber grommet out, and push the wiring harness through the hole in the top. This upper AC box section holds the two blower fans. The fans seemed fine - I checked for binding and finding none, oiled them up with Teflon based lube.

Next you can undo the four bottom mounting screws which secure the lower section AC evaporator box to the drip pan and remove the bottom 2/3 of the AC unit. This lower AC housing has the evaporator and the expansion valve. The expansion valve is on the inner right side of the housing tucked down tight. Removing the perimeter screws and the endplate screws at the hose inlets will allow you to remove the entire evaporator assembly and then remove the expansion valve. Note that there is one screw that is near the screen inlet area on the end of the box where the inlet hoses/expansion valve is located that can interfere with the removal of the evaporator unit…back this screw out and removal is easier.

FYI: on re-assembly, I only used the two screws on the ends and two on the front to secure these two parts of the AC housing back together. I used duct tape to seal the seam and did not use the other screws. I see no functional reason to put them all back in.

Part Three – AC system cleaning, component replacement.

I cleaned up all the parts I was going to keep and flushed everything out with AC cleaner and compressed air.

Due to the time investment, age of components, and the level of contamination, I decided to replace the compressor/clutch, dryer, and expansion valve. The evaporator I heard could be flushed out, so I decided to go with it. I assumed finding another exact replacement that would fit into the space available in the AC housing would not be easy.

All the hoses inside the coach looked and felt real good and I did not wish to run new hoses up the walls or up the center of the windshield unless a later pressure test indicated I had to. The two rooftop condenser hoses were shot and will be replaced.

I replaced the roof condenser and fan unit as I wanted more cooling capability. I had heard from several forum sources that the OEM unit was too small to be effective with 134a coolant. The fan motors also seemed to be drawing a lot of amps and be very weathered and noisy, so I went with a new bolt on after-market condenser/fan unit instead of trying to just replace the condenser element alone.

Intermission

To this point; the dash switch replacement and getting everything else “opened up, taken off, and cleaned and getting parts in hand” took around 6-7 combined hours of labor spread over two weekends.

The only real pains have been working inside the upper dash on the evaporator and figuring out there was a bottom bolt on the AC compressor.

My Results

The new condenser required new hose fittings and hoses. I had these done as a custom job by a local A/C shop, as the hoses needed to go from the OEM flair type roof fittings to the new condenser “o-ring” type fittings. The “footprint” of my new roof top condenser is a bit smaller than the OEM unit, so new mounting holes were required. No real problems encountered for this change, there was plenty of open area within the upper dash roof area for the new mounting feet and bolts, but be careful, as hoses/wires do run just under the roof – particularly for the front right mounting hole. For the specific unit I used, the rearward mounting “feet” have two possible positions. I moved the mounting feet to the forward most slots, and with this avoided a conflict with a roof reinforcement beam that runs under the bus roof skin.

I had some left over aluminum seam sealer tape from a roof vent repair and just used this over a small bead of caulking for sealing the old holes. I painted this tape with cream paint that matches my base color and this blends in the tape-patched areas very nicely. If this repair is ever noticed, I’ll tell them these are inspection holes!

I evacuated the system and finding it “tight” charged the system up. I bought an AC gauge kit from Harbor Freight on sale to do this charge up. On testing the fan blowers all run, no new or old wiring is getting hot, and I have nice cold air shooting out from the vents!!!! I do not have a thermometer, but the system blows cold air.

Final Observations - opinions voiced here:

I wanted to do the whole job…I learned a little and cussed a bit too. If this project holds up over time, and blows cold air, then that’s great! Time will tell on this aspect. If it does not, I’ll likely have an AC shop look it over and tweak my work or anything I missed or messed up.

I think the basic concept of my repair approach gave me the best chance of a good outcome, which is to replace all the OEM items which were easy to obtain, get a bigger condenser for 134a, and convert to 134a. There is in my mind no reason not to have working dash AC on the FC. The compressor type used in the FC is regarded as a rock solid unit; our 3208’s can more than handle the system load (once fan relay is put in); all the major components are grouped together (unlike some of the pushers where there are long hose runs).

For anyone who does not want to do “the whole thing”, I would suggest perhaps doing all the basic component replacements, and then let an AC shop do the final system flush, evacuation, refrigerant charge and testing. With a good shop working with you, you could get a fair overall project price by buying the main parts from a discount source, and just have the AC shop do the real technical final work. This approach would save a ton of direct labor costs and parts markups and you would know the hidden workmanship would be top notch (because you did it).

An update – October 2006: I am finishing up the 2006 season and so it has been two summers from my rebuild of the FC dash AC system. I have had two “hot” summer vacations in the interim (one to Texas and one to South Dakota) in August. The AC system is working fine and I have no complaints. The limits of the system give you a comfortable driving area in moderate/hot/sunny weather. This “comfort area” goes just past the front seats…I find it very nice to cool off when starting out after the outside work of getting set to go (hoses and cables in, jacks up and checked, the walk around, etc.).

Information References:

All these were good internet information and/or parts sources:

http://www.ackits.com/

http://www.coldacparts.com/index.htm

http://www.truckair.com/ (great parts catalogue)

http://www.kysorhvac.com/ (great parts catalogue)

Parts References:

Dash fan switch: NAPA Auto Parts; #HC313 (3 speed/off)

Roof Condenser/Fan Unit: Thermo-King; Red Dot; Model #R6160

Compressor Clutch: Truck Air Parts; # 02-3004 (6 ¾ pulley diameter, ½ inch belt, 3 3/16 “C” measurement).

Compressor: Truck Air Parts; York/CCI with Rotolock head; Model R210-L; Left-hand suction; TAP # 30-3004. Came with oil for 134a coolant.

Dryer: Truck Air Parts; TAP #07-3006A (cross ref to: Kysor #402352)

Expansion Valve: Truck Air Parts; TAP #12-3013A (cross ref to: TruckPride #1610.

Hope you find this file helpful. I know this is a long posting, but I wanted to be detailed for those who like me, are starting from a zero base when working on an AC system and need a basic reference point as to what is involved.

There are several dedicated BB forum members who really take the time to explain things and help others and post some really good information for all of us.…these great folks inspired me to try this project. This is sort of my payback to this select group and my “thank you” to them.
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85FC33
Woodbridge, VA.

Coach photos & comments: http://www.wanderlodgeownersgroup.co...php?albumid=79
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  #2  
Old 07-29-2010
Frank W. Frank W. is offline
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When I redid my FC I was not able to find an authoritative source as to the quantity of 134a for the conversion - and in any event I had changed the condenser system to a larger Red-Dot unit so OEM figures would likely not have been accurate.

I used a dual gauge set and after evacuating the new system filled when running to about 35# low/260-275# high side and such figures are a range to meet, not an exact goal. I would not go over 275#. I would proffer that filling "to pressure" can be as valid as filling "by volume".

As an update...I topped off the system last month before going down to Key Largo & Hilton Head to bring the pressures & cooling back up (took 1.5 12oz. cans). Other than this re-charge I have had no issues with my updated system for several years. Cools nicely-with the understanding that it cools only the first 3 or so feet of the cab - driver/front pass only. It is a nice to have treat...but the limitations do exist. If we need to cool the full coach on the road - it's genny time (and most people don't run the genny enough IMO - causing premature problems).
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2013
sc3283 sc3283 is offline
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Gents....great write up!
I have a 96 Monaco with pretty decent dash air. I feel it can be better though.
Ive added another condenser to drop the 400 psi hi side pressure now running normal...this alone, along with proper charge makes the AC cool fine to 90 degree outside temps...but that is it's breaking point. I feel that.........

1. The compressor is a measly 150cc/9cu in rotary type and it is too small

2. The compressor speed is low too...as built stock it has a 1.6 to 1 ratio..I'd like to see a 2 to 1 ratio

A couple of questions....
1. your York compressors....are they 10 cu in or bigger?
2. Any idea as to what speed ratio your compressors are running as compared to crankshaft speed?

thank you!
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Old 05-25-2013
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
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Brandt,first of all,welcome to the ZOO!
Now,lets talk about adding a condenser.

Did you add a 2nd one,or did you just replace the old one with a new bigger one?

Somethine i did years ago on a volvo semi tractor was to add a 2nd condenser.
My buddy Rodneys truck just would at cool at idle,running down the road it was fine.
Truckers sleep in their trucks and in the south they need air,and lots of it!

WE tried all kinds of things,and we ended up getting another condenser and stacking it in front of the old one,some creative hoses were made up and it worked out great.
It didn't cost a lot of money either..
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Old 05-25-2013
sc3283 sc3283 is offline
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Randy, I added another condenser...2 condensers on vehicle now

original condenser was a copper round tube type located in the radiator, CAC, ATF cooler stack, located on the LR side.

The hydraulic run stock cooling fan does not increase in RPM when AC is "on"

Now I have mid 200s on high side after my condenser addition.

Prior to any mods, we were sweating at night with outside temps of 88 degrees...Now we are comfortable @ 90 outside temps with bright sun....So I have increased the cooling....BUT feel there is MORE to be had.

With compressor size being SO much smaller than a York or Tecumseh or an A6..and the distance needed to push refrigerant...I feel compressor size of 9cu in as 1 negative.

I also feel that compressor running such a SLOW speed due to poor design of drive pulley ratios(as compared to an automobile) is a negative as well.

I was curious how the BB's are for compressor speed...and after doing MUCH reading here...I see I'm at least 1 cu in less than most for compressor displacement

thanks for your time and reply.

I added a new style parallel tube condenser up front with a high pressure activated shrouded and sealed cooling fan.

I do realize the dash AC will never cool the whole cabin....but do feel with 6 dash vents blowing directly on us, that we can be cool even in the heat of the day
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Old 05-25-2013
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Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sc3283 View Post
Randy, I added another condenser...2 condensers on vehicle now

original condenser was a copper round tube type located in the radiator, CAC, ATF cooler stack, located on the LR side.

The hydraulic run stock cooling fan does not increase in RPM when AC is "on"

Now I have mid 200s on high side after my condenser addition.

Prior to any mods, we were sweating at night with outside temps of 88 degrees...Now we are comfortable @ 90 outside temps with bright sun....So I have increased the cooling....BUT feel there is MORE to be had.

With compressor size being SO much smaller than a York or Tecumseh or an A6..and the distance needed to push refrigerant...I feel compressor size of 9cu in as 1 negative.

I also feel that compressor running such a SLOW speed due to poor design of drive pulley ratios(as compared to an automobile) is a negative as well.

I was curious how the BB's are for compressor speed...and after doing MUCH reading here...I see I'm at least 1 cu in less than most for compressor displacement

thanks for your time and reply.

I added a new style parallel tube condenser up front with a high pressure activated shrouded and sealed cooling fan.

I do realize the dash AC will never cool the whole cabin....but do feel with 6 dash vents blowing directly on us, that we can be cool even in the heat of the day
Very good.
So,you have a condenser in the front and one in the back?
The truck we did we stacked them in the front,there was no room anywhere else.
It worked great.
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Old 05-25-2013
sc3283 sc3283 is offline
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Yes,
original is in the left rear side

new is in RF behind the right headlights.
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Old 06-05-2013
sc3283 sc3283 is offline
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OK, I have ice COLD dash AC now with a 37 degree vent temp and 33 degree evap.

Replaced 9 cu in comp with 10 cu in Seltec (direct bolt on)
Relocated stock located rec/drier to up front just before exp valve(was back above the trans)
Replaced the exp valve with a 2 ton version with a 5 degree super heat
Flushed both condensers, evap and hoses
Relocated/re-secured high press hose away from heater hose
Gave it a 3 hr evac and a charge.
Upon getting it cooling, I didn't not like the 10 degree variance of vent temp once the thermostatic cap tube switch shut the compressor off. I have a dual adjustable T stat coming for it, so I can "tune" the T stat's "off" period to my likings. I don't care if the clutch "clicks" on and off...It is 36 feet behind me...but personally I like hearing it, so I know it is engaging.
System is just simply spectacular in performance now.

Prior to doing any of the above, the evap would never cool down enough to cycle the exp valve nor did it cool enough the make the cap tube T stat shut the compressor off.

While doing the above changes/repairs....I discovered the idiots @ Monaco did a wonderful job of fastening the high press hose that is out from cond, to drier, to exp valve. The hose was wire tied and clamped directly to the constant flow supply heater hose from the engine to the front mounted heater control valve. It sure makes NO sense to run freon through a condenser to cool it to about ambient air temp, then warm it back up by securing it to the hose heater hose!!

R12 was easier to work with and more forgiving to design flaws, but R134a can and will do a great job of cooling IF and key is IF everything is addressed and made proper. Now by proper I mean proper in the theory and science of refrigeration, not as to how the vehicle was assembled.

Let me add this as well (may help someone else in the future)...expansion valves are NOT 1 size fits all with just differences on cap tube lengths or fitting type. They are sold by size of their internals. I used a 2 ton version. Now the next part is trickier as most sellers do not give or even recognize this info.....the "super heat" value of the expansion valve...Super heat is simply the variance of inlet(past the exp valve) and outlet temps of the evap core...the higher the super heat value of the exp valve, the greater temperature difference there will be between "in" and "out" temps. I found 4 Seasons does give these specs.

I realize it will not cool the whole interior....but us in the front seats can now be comfortable
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Last edited by sc3283; 06-05-2013 at 02:24 AM.
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  #9  
Old 11-25-2013
cemjam cemjam is offline
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Default Dash panel layout for an FC.

I have a 1982 FCSB. I would like to update my dash panel. Can anyone tell me what is needed and what is not. I would like to put the RPM, and MPH in the center like normal, but I was wondering about other items being controlled on the lower left or right of the panel. I think it would look cool to have a light blue back ground. As I am told the sky is the limit. Any input would be greatly appreciated thanks.
Sorry John I was trying to make a new thread.
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Old 05-02-2019
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shaaksma shaaksma is offline
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Default Refriderant

Our system has already been updated. It's not blowing cold, would like to buy a can of refrigerant from auto parts store. Is this the port the can connects to? I think there is a port in the overhead bin as well.
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