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Old 02-11-2013, 12:02 PM   #1
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2003 Alpine Coach dash heater core removal?

The heater core part of the Acme dash air conditioning / heater unit started leaking antifreeze recently while on the road. I've learned the tubing in my core is copper and can be repaired by a quality radiator shop once the core is removed. HOWEVER!!... the five screws/bolts that hold the unit to the exterior of the firewall must have nuts on the inside of the firewall that turn with these bolts. We've removed panels in the dash to find no access to get to these turning nuts. We've removed the fan motor and can see the top of the heater core. It appears the air conditioner refrigeration lines can stay attached once removal of the Acme is achieved. It also appears that its all about getting the five screw/bolts removed to be able to remove the Acme unit. I'm unsure of what surprises await me!!

Anyone dealt with this problem?? How did you get the Acme assembly off the firewall?? PLEASE advise!! Thanks!!
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:56 AM   #2
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rbguinn..... I am very interested in your discoveries on how to accomplish this task. I developed a leaking heater core late last spring and since the coach is in storage for the winter, I just bypassed the heater core as a temp repair. I had posted a request for knowledge about where to buy a replacement core last fall and nobody seems to know if or how we can order a new one. Looks like we will have to have the existing ones rebuilt.

Here is a link to my post from last fall.

Replacement Heater Core

Good luck and please report back on your progress with the screws/bolts.

Thanks,

jeff
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:08 AM   #3
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On our 2002 I replaced the heater core several years ago. The whole process was fairly easy. The hardest part was removing the temperature probe. The electrical control box for it is mounted on the very top of the cowling just out of sight, accessed from outside of the fire wall. This must be removed before the outside cowling can be removed.
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Old 02-13-2013, 10:18 AM   #4
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Refuse1

Once the heater core has been removed, the best radiator shop here in ELP will repair, test it, and gaurantee it for about $95. You can followup with Richard below and buy one from him he told me would fit for $185 plus shipping.
I will post what I learn for all Alpine Coach owners if I have that opportunity.

**** www.ACMEAIRPARTS.COM / http://soldbyrichard.com/ 913-515-1560, Kansas City, sells a heater core that reportedly fits the ACME #4105094 unit- Part #4560030 RV Heater Core ACME and SCS Friggette $185.50, Measures 1-7/8" x 6" x 16"; Called 1-17-13 & Richard indicated this is the correct part to for the model number of our heater core and all the lines in his core are copper with aluminum fins;
http://www.nwrvsupply.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=NWRV&Product_C ode=4105094ACME&Category_Code=127 or http://acmeairparts.com/ has a picture of the part number above.
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Old 02-13-2013, 11:02 AM   #5
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Gary Arnold,

Gary, thank you for the reply to our thread and good to hear from you.
How did you get the five bolts / threaded screws removed from the firewall that holds the ACME cowling onto the exterior of the firewall. Ours has nuts on the inside of the firewall that freely turn that are attached to these five bolts / threaded screws. I have found no access to get a wrench on any of these nuts that are attached to the five bolts / threaded screws? Until I can get these bolts removed, I can not start to deal with the temperature probe or the repair of our heater core. I am most interested in hearing back from you. At this point, you are my greatest hope to find a solution!!

I assume your 2002 heater/air conditioning unit is the same as our 2003- ACME #4105094 unit? Our unit has screws with the tips that face toward the front of the coach that appear to hold a cover onto the back side of the cowling. This cover is flush against the firewall. It appears the air conditioning evaporator with expansion valve & hoses attached plus the heater core will all come out together with the cover and cowling as one unit??
Thank you & looking forward to hearing from you,
J.R.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbguinn View Post
The heater core part of the Acme dash air conditioning / heater unit started leaking antifreeze recently while on the road. . .
HOWEVER!!... the five screws/bolts that hold the unit to the exterior of the firewall must have nuts on the inside of the firewall that turn with these bolts. We've removed panels in the dash to find no access to get to these turning nuts.
. . .
Please excuse me if you have already tried this.

I have encountered spinning nuts on a few occasions when working on other, not RV related, things. On those times I've placed a claw hammer (nail puller side) or small nail puller claw under the head of the bolt I was trying to remove. By pulling the bolt forward you are forcing the nut against the other side in the hope it will stop spinning. For those times you can't get a claw hammer in the space available, a nail puller might fit because it has a smaller head. It is also easier with a socket extension in order to get the ratchet handle out of the way.

For really really stubborn bolts I've used a 3' pry bar on some frame rail bolts of an old junker car. If brute force doesn't work, you aren't using enough!

Sometimes you have to start with a hefty screwdriver flat blade. While trying to unscrew the bolt; twist the screwdriver blade or pull back on the nail claw placing tension on the bolt as though you are trying to pull the bolt out of the hole. You will only be able to turn the bolt a partial turn before you have to reset the pry bar. So, it ends up being a long tedious job. But, it has worked several times for me.

Here is my favorite tool for this. This is ~1920 from my Grandfather's tool box. But they make modern equivalents.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:02 PM   #7
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Progess being make and sharing what is learned

Engineer Mike responded to an email I sent him. He suggested I measure from common points on the outside and inside of the firewall to find the nuts that needed to be removed. He also addressed the nylock type nuts used on bolts WRV used in their assemblies.

After a lengthy phone conversation with Gary Arnold today about his experience of removing the same ACME air conditioning / heater core unit in his 2002, I finally understood that WRV did set up the ACME unit to be removed for service. Engineer Mike's email made a lot more sense. I understand that the same ACME unit has been used on Alpine Coaches as late as 2006.

This post and subsequent posts will be updates for any Alpine Coach owners that has or will have the same heater core leak. I want to document what I have learned as I learn it to help anyone needing to make this repair now or in the future. (Refuse1, I suspect this information is what you need to repair your leaking coach heater core. Contact me directly if any of my explanations are not clear)!

WHAT I LEARNED TODAY THAT IS IMPORTANT: Removal of the 4 side bolts.... Step#1
1. The lower panels have to be removed on the passenger side on the inside of the coach.

2. Four long threaded bolts (that has a head a flat screw driver fits) are found going through the entire thickness of the firewall. All four of these round top bolt heads can easily be seen from the exterior firewall.

3. The top two side bolts are are longest and the nylock nuts used to hold them into the firewall are easiest to find starting with the one on the electrical panel about mid-windshield.

4. The removal needs two people. One person uses a screwdriver to turn the first bolt to identify the easiest to find bolt nut on the inside of the coach. It is located about 12" up from the carpet and about 18" from the center post of the windshield on the electrical panel. We used a small pair of needle nosed vise grips to hold the nut to remove the first bolt.

5. The second bolt aligns about 2" from the center post of the windshield and is under the dash above and to the rear of an electrical panel the same 12" above the carpet. Be ready to contort to hang onto the vise grips tightened onto the nut. Outside the other person turns the bolt until the nut comes off the bolt.

6. Bolt nuts #3 & #4 are directly below the first two and are below the carpet line. Be aware you will have to dig at some carpet to expose them. The one 18" from the center windshield post is easiest to remove. These two bolts are somewhat shorter than #1 & #2.

7. #4 is really hard to remove. The electrical box is in the way, the carpet is hard to negociate, the bolt with nut is somewhat against a vent looking assembly. I had to tape the adustment knob on the vise grip to prevent it losing its adjustment to tighten onto this nut as I negicated the electrical box to install the vise grips onto the nut. This one is the most difficult of the four bolts to remove. Be ready to contort!

8. Bolt #5 I have not removed on the very top of the cowling, is different from the first four bolts, had to use a camera to find out that it has a 1/4" bolt head that a socket will remove what I assume is a screw type thread from the firewall. I will need to remove the in and out 5/8"antifreeze hoses/hose clamps from the heater core & valve and the unit is ready to open and remove the heater core for repair.

Check back to this thread on iRV2 into next week to find out other things I have had the opportunity to learn and want to share with fellow Alpine Coach owners. I look forward to the unit being back together and returning our heater to operation. I've learned about an idea I want to share that will help the dash air conditioner work much better in hot weather that is simple, is not harmful, and I will be installing on our our coach. I will share that idea as well.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:25 AM   #8
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Great post. Hopefully you are taking pictures. I don't have a problem with mine leaking, but I assume some day it will; the coach is 12 years old.
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:50 AM   #9
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rb,

Thanks for the update. The info on the location of the bolts inside the coach is very much appreciated. As you progress, any pictures would be appreciated.

Jeff
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:56 PM   #10
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Rich & Cork, and Refuse1, Opening the ACME is definately a photo opportunity. Will do & will post the most important photos with written explanations!!

Hope to help take the mystery out of what's in the ACME box for those that are interested! Plan to get back on task on Sunday and hoping to get the heater core to my trusted radiator shop in ELP early in the week for repair. Check back later in the week for more detailed diy information & pictures!

Thank yous goes to Gary Arnold for getting me off to a good start by taking the mystery out of removing those bolts as well as your email information Engineer Mike.

Gary, I have a few validation questions I want to ask as my adventure progresses that deals with keeping my fat out of the fire!! Will call.
Thanks again!
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Old 02-17-2013, 03:14 PM   #11
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Update #2

REMOVAL OF THE ACME UNIT- #2 UPDATE
9. It was important the temperature control from the top to the cowling be removed for ACME removal. First, gently remove the temperature control capillary tube from the cowling by sliding it directly out of the cowling pulling it away from the front of the coach. Be careful not to break this line and loose the Freon charge inside this tiny tube… or you’ll be buying a new control if it is broken. (The tube is not connected to anything on the inside of the cowling and is positioned between the air conditioning evaporator and heater core. Its purpose is to turn the air conditioner compressor on and off to regulate the interior temperature of the air being circulated inside the coach when the refrigerated dash air conditioning is in use). The ACME control has two Phillips screws that hold the body high on the cowling. Remove one screw and loosen the other. The control slides out and set it aside. (See picture)

10. Next loosen the two hose clamps on the 5/8” in and out rubber antifreeze hoses connected to the heater core and remove the hoses from the copper tubes and folded the hosed out of the way towards the antifreeze controller on the center firewall away from the heater core.

11. Now remove the ¼” socket screw highest on the cowling. The ACME unit will now move away from the firewall. Position the bottom left of the unit just in front of the thick frame. One or both refrigeration hoses may be held secure on the firewall with plastic cable ties. Cut these to free these lines. Now position yourself on the driver’s side facing the side of the Onan generator and reach for the ACME unit while leaning on the generator. Gently pull the unit downward toward you at an angle being aware not to put the refrigeration lines with expansion valve in a bind that will damage them. The unit will come free and it will now be lying on the top of the generator. (See Picture)

12. There is a sheet metal cover on the rear of the ACME that is held in place by eight sheet metal screws that are secured by small rectangle pieces of metal visible from the front of the AMCE unit. This sheet metal cover must be removed from the back of the ACME. Gently peel back the rubber seal to expose each screw leaving the seal usable. Remove the screws from these front pieces of metal. Secure these screws and rectangular pieces of metal for reassembly. Removing the sheet metal back to fully expose the heater core (on top) and refrigerated evaporator. (See Picture)

13. To remove the heater core is simply pulling the far end of the core out of its position in the ACME cowling and then remove it free from the holes for the supply inlet-outlet tubes in the cowling. There is a plastic end that helps hold the core in place in the cowling and is easily removed. (See Picture)

14. The heater core has the appearance of a miniature radiator with tanks on each end…. just like a full size radiator found in the front of most cars. Copper tubes that the 5/8” rubber hoses fit are soldered into the tank on one end. (See Picture)

15. The next question on this repair that will need to be answered is…. order an aftermarket heater core that is one continuous piece of copper with aluminum fins (that may not be as efficient as the OEM but potentially more maintenance free) or have this heater core repaired?? Check back to this thread later in the week for the next update for the answer I have yet to determine.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:31 PM   #12
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rb,

Great update. Thanks for the pictures....that helps to understand what all is involved. Looking forward to finding out if the core is available "over the counter".

Keep up the good work.

Jeff
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Old 02-18-2013, 03:33 PM   #13
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Update #3- Repair or buy a new core?

UPDATE #3
REPAIRING THE HEATER CORE OR BUYING A NEW CORE
16. I took the OEM heater core to our trusted radiator shop this morning and they cleaned it, pressurized it, and put it under water. One of the thin radiator tubes in the middle of the core had bust and was the source of our leaking antifreeze. The tech said he could repair the leak by obstructing the flow in that tube and would be somewhat expensive plus I would be taking a chance on other future leaks if other tubes are in the same condition. To re-core the heater core with new 5-row coring to return it back to the original condition would be expensive. It was finally determined in our meeting that buying a core with a new design would be a good decision. This best radiator shop in Far West Texas is willing to inspect and test the new core to confirm it is a quality product for me to install to give trouble free service…. my goal for sure!

17. I called SPV Coach Company at 913-321-0203 and they had an aftermarket core for $140 plus $15 shipping. They have no website for me to learn about their core and none of my questions were being answered. I decided I should call Richard back also in Kansas City at 913-515-1560 to ask some more questions about the core he sells. If my memory serves me, he indicated he worked for ACME for many years and the heater core he was selling was the last one ACME developed & was installed in the latest ACME equipment plus those cores would most likely provide much longer service than ours. He indicated this core he sells was by far better than the core that was installed in our equipment. He indicated that the design was a more open fin built around copper tubes for better air flow and heat distribution. He indicated the core he sold was considered an ACME core. To see this core go to http://soldbyRichard.com, or www.ACMEAIRPPARTS.com

18. Our ACME unit is the ACME 4105094ACME, which was installed for many years in Alpine Coaches and the core part number is 4560030. The measurements of our OEM heater core in our 4105094ACME unit is 1 5/8”th X 6 1/8”w X 16 ¼l”. The core Richard sells has measurements of 1 7/8”th X 6”w X 16”l for $185 plus $15 to $19 shipping. Richard informed me his heater core will fit in our ACME equipment which I believe it will with little modifications if any. ACME went out of business in 2008. I made the decision to order Richard’s ACME core and should arrive late in the week or the beginning of next week. After a trip to our radiator shop for them to evaluate the new core, it’s ready for installation.

Check back next week for another update and hoping for no surprises!! I’m saving a great idea I’ve learned because of the heater core problem how to make a dash air conditioner provide much cooler air during hot weather and purchased the parts to make it happen this morning. I will have these parts installed as part of the scope of our heater core replacement and ACME unit re-installation. I will post a picture and explanations. Perhaps this should be a thread by itself for those that like to do worthy updates?
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Old 02-18-2013, 06:44 PM   #14
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I will be interested in your opinion about air flow into the coach after you install. I have never been really happy in cold weather with the heat and flow coming out of the dash heater.
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