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Old 02-24-2013, 12:09 PM   #1
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Making you dash air conditoner provide cooler air during hot weather

MAKING YOUR DASH AIR CONDITIONER PROVIDE COOLER AIR DURING HOT WEATHER: SPECIAL INFORMATION AND IDEA FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION-
I learned from radiator experts & fellow RVers that hot antifreeze flows through the heater core at all times including when the dash refrigerated air conditioner is in use. Not only does the dash refrigerated air conditioner work to remove heat from the inside of the coach during the heat of a summer, it is also removing the heat given off by the heater core. (This hot antifreeze flow is designed as an instant on in the event heat is need from the dash system). We bypassed the heater core with a 5/8” elbow while in the Valley of Texas this winter because of a leaking core and there was a need to run the dash refrigerated air conditioner because of a warm travel day as we departed the Valley. The air conditioner has never worked so well and learned what I had been told was correct!!

A secondary benefit is that if your heater core or heater control valve develops a leak, you have an immediate and easy temporary solution.

In the event of a leaking valve here is your source:
If the Heater Control Valve starts leaking this is a parts source that matches the original- Thermotion, LLC, 6520 Hopkins Road, Mentor, OH 44060, 440-639-8325, E-mail: sales@thermotion.com (send a picture of valve, numbers from the top (use a mirror & flashlight), & they will id it), http://www.thermotion.com/default.aspx

As an additional part of the scope of the leaking heat core repair I documented in another thread, I removed the two nuts holding the large clamps on the bottom-center of the firewall that secures the heater hoses to and from the engine plus other lines in place, cut the in and out heater hoses with a PVC ratcheted knife cutter, and then installed two ¾” brass and stainless steel ball cut off valves and used four brass ¾” to 5/8” reducers to hose connection ends as well as four stainless steel hose clamps. I found all these in home plumbing at Home Depot. Have your clamps and valves ready to install as you cut a heater hose from the engine compartment will allow siphoning. (Place a bowl under the hose cut location to catch antifreeze). Quickly slide a clamp onto the hose and immediately slide the end of one of the valves into the hose and have the handle turned to the off position. I cut short a piece of the cut hose leading to the heater control valve off, slid a clamp onto the hose, and slipped the other end of the valve into the hose, and then tightened both clamps. I repeated the process for the other valve. Placement of these valves so the handles will open and close is important. (See pictures with the valve on and then off)

I was advised by an expert radiator tech that he recommended installing two valves to also restrict the pressure and heat found in a back flow in the event of a leak. By doing this I can turn off the flow of hot antifreeze through the heater core in the summer to greatly improve the operation of the air conditioner, plus if there is a leak from the Heater Control Valve or heater core, controlling the loss of antifreeze becomes easy. (I understand leaking antifreeze from a Heater Control Valve located on the firewall directly above the generator can damage the Onan generator below it & know of one ACA member that paid $800 to repair their damaged generator because of the leaking valve!!) (See Pictures of my installation on the firewall & its location by the ACME unit just above the Onan generator)

FINAL THOUGHT
From an iRV2 post a motorhome owner wrote, “Hot air from the heater core with cold air from the evaporator makes for a hot wife (and husband).” The above idea has some merit, in my opinion, and is a good idea to consider as an update…. surely it will make you a hero when daily summer temperatures are hot while on a highway in route to a destination and your spouse is cool.
Safe Travels!

NOTE: I am having trouble attaching pictures to this post. Please check back
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:12 PM   #2
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See attached pictures for thread.

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Old 02-24-2013, 12:38 PM   #3
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This is a very good idea. All of my OTR trucks had shutoff valves in the heater hoses.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:58 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=rbguinn;1474985]MAKING YOUR DASH AIR CONDITIONER PROVIDE COOLER AIR DURING HOT WEATHER: SPECIAL INFORMATION AND IDEA FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION-
I learned from radiator experts & fellow RVers that hot antifreeze flows through the heater core at all times including when the dash refrigerated air conditioner is in use. Not only does the dash refrigerated air conditioner work to remove heat from the inside of the coach during the heat of a summer, it is also removing the heat given off by the heater core. (This hot antifreeze flow is designed as an instant on in the event heat is need from the dash system). We bypassed the heater core with a 5/8” elbow while in the Valley of Texas this winter because of a leaking core and there was a need to run the dash refrigerated air conditioner because of a warm travel day as we departed the Valley. The air conditioner has never worked so well and learned what I had been told was correct!!
[QUOTE]

This info is for those who have not done this mod, (it's to late for the OP)!

Rather than waste/spend time, (and $) to stop the WATER from flowing through the heater core..... simply turn the dash heater "air control" to "recirculate".
That results in the flowing air bypassing the hot heater core, which accomplishes the same thing as stopping the water flow......better cooling with the dash air.
It works on my coach.
BTW, that's how most car dash heater/air conditioners operate.
Mel
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:14 PM   #5
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Vacuum operated valve

I haven't seen anything comparable for a FL chassis but on our Ford F250 I was able to find a vacuum operated valve that automatically shut the heater core off when the AC is in the Extra Cooling mode. It involved tapping into an unused position of the vacuum controller and running a tube into the engine compartment. Made a huge difference in cooling and the window defroster still works normally.

The part itself was from a 1999 ranger pick up.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:07 PM   #6
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Mel Stuplich, it your version is correct the rerouting of antifrieeze through our Thermotion heater valve which we thought was happening in a 200 mile leg on our recent trip lost 2 gallons of antifreeze out the leaking heater core. We never turned on our dash air conditioning / heater system and by design the our valve was rerouting antifreeze back to the engine.... some but not all the hot antifreeze.

The radiator repair experts I have communicated with about antifreeze continuing to flow through a heater core even when a percentage of antifreeze may be routed back to the engine are folks I beleive is correct plus 2 gallons of lost antifreeze in 200 miles is proof enough for me.

If your heater control valve leaks antifreeze while on the road, you will need a temporary solution. I suggest buying an elbow with barbs with that will match the size heater hoses your motorhome uses up to your valve. Disconnect the inlet and return lines connected to your valve and install the elbow to stop lose of antifreeze. If your valve stops the flow of antifreeze 100% through your heater core by rerouting back to the engine, count your lucky stars that you have a special valve in your coach that many of us don't enjoy.
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:17 PM   #7
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Nice write up rb. I think you have a great idea here. Simple, positive solution that will absolutely eliminate hot coolant from circulating thru the heater core. I'm thinking that just one valve will also prevent coolant from circulating although it won't completely isolate the core in the event of the core failure.

In any case, great idea.

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Old 02-25-2013, 09:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbguinn View Post
Mel Stuplich, it your version is correct the rerouting of antifrieeze through our Thermotion heater valve which we thought was happening in a 200 mile leg on our recent trip lost 2 gallons of antifreeze out the leaking heater core. We never turned on our dash air conditioning / heater system and by design the our valve was rerouting antifreeze back to the engine.... some but not all the hot antifreeze.

The radiator repair experts I have communicated with about antifreeze continuing to flow through a heater core even when a percentage of antifreeze may be routed back to the engine are folks I beleive is correct plus 2 gallons of lost antifreeze in 200 miles is proof enough for me.

If your heater control valve leaks antifreeze while on the road, you will need a temporary solution. I suggest buying an elbow with barbs with that will match the size heater hoses your motorhome uses up to your valve. Disconnect the inlet and return lines connected to your valve and install the elbow to stop lose of antifreeze. If your valve stops the flow of antifreeze 100% through your heater core by rerouting back to the engine, count your lucky stars that you have a special valve in your coach that many of us don't enjoy.
I don't have a "special valve".
I was pointing out the fact that most dash controls, when set to "recirculate", cause the AIR, (not the engine heated water), to bypass the heater core.

If a heater core develops a leak, your "elbow" suggestion is great.

However, IMO, cutting heater hoses and adding shutoffs to stop a leak that may NEVER happen, is necessary....(it's like applying a bandage were you MIGHT get a cut).
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:22 AM   #9
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Mel, the recirculating door controls the source of the intake air, inside vs. outside. It does not route air within the heater. None I've worked on has anyway? In the max/recirculating mode that air will still run through the heater core and evaporator, just as it would normally.

Regarding the manual (ball) valves, they should work as advertised above, but if your stock heater valve is working as it should, I'm pretty sure that does shut down the hot water flow through the heater core? The problem with the heater valves is there's nothing to tell you if it's working properly when you're trying to get the A/C working. The only way I know of is to feel the inlet and outlet hoses (under the hood), to see if just one is hot with the heater control turned to "cold"?

That said, if the heater core develops a leak, the control valve isn't capable of stopping the flow of water. It can only control if the water is circulating or not? In the case of a leak, the non-pressurized side of the heater core is quite content to let unpressurized water flow backwards, to flood your carpet for you. -Al
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:25 AM   #10
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Huh. Looks nice. But I'd add that in my diesel pusher, there are already shut off valves on the engine. On the top (access under the master bed) and underneath (accessed by crawling under the rig). Might be less of a hassle with the shutoffs right under the hood but for something you need to do only twice a year, not that bad to just use the shut off valves already there.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:32 AM   #11
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For BEST safety in regards to coolant leak and the heater system, the shut off valves that have been discussed above should be installed in the engine bay. This way it eliminates all coolant plumbing from engine forward that can develop leaks.

Using the recirc option alters air flow, it doesn't stop coolant as suggested above
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:11 PM   #12
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Mel, the recirculating door controls the source of the intake air, inside vs. outside. It does not route air within the heater. None I've worked on has anyway? In the max/recirculating mode that air will still run through the heater core and evaporator, just as it would normally.

Regarding the manual (ball) valves, they should work as advertised above, but if your stock heater valve is working as it should, I'm pretty sure that does shut down the hot water flow through the heater core? The problem with the heater valves is there's nothing to tell you if it's working properly when you're trying to get the A/C working. The only way I know of is to feel the inlet and outlet hoses (under the hood), to see if just one is hot with the heater control turned to "cold"?

That said, if the heater core develops a leak, the control valve isn't capable of stopping the flow of water. It can only control if the water is circulating or not? In the case of a leak, the non-pressurized side of the heater core is quite content to let unpressurized water flow backwards, to flood your carpet for you. -Al
My original dash heater control water shutoff was a cable operated single valve in the hot water hose.
When that valve developed a leak, I replaced it with an H valve to which both the in and out hoses connect.
When it's open, heated water flows through the core.
When it's closed, water is not allowed to the core, but does flow TO the valve and is rerouted BACK TO the engine, (as with your temporary elbow in place).

BTW, I found that the cable from the rotating dash Heat/Cold control knob to the valve, didn't pull/push the cable enough to fully open/close the valve.
I disconnected the original cable at the valve and added a push/pull, (choke type), cable and knob through/to the dash, which opperates the valve fully.
Before the new cable I had to mechanically adjust the throw of the cable, at the valve, for heated or air conditioned air, as the outside temp required, (at least each autumn and spring).
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:15 PM   #13
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That looks a lot like the only temp. control I had in my old Austin Healy.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:32 PM   #14
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That looks a lot like the only temp. control I had in my old Austin Healy.
O M G!!

Thanks for THAT memory!!

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