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Old 11-12-2012, 07:23 AM   #1
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Basement a/c again

Back in August 2011 we discovered the duct from the Coleman Mach basement a/c was cracked behind the rear cap. After removing a panel in the engine compartment it was not bad to repair. We also pulled the unit out, cleaned it, lubed the blower wheel bearings, replaced the thermostat and while we were at it had a friend in HVAC top up the freon just in case. All was well until last week.

So here we are somewhere warm where we might need it and I hear a squealing coming from it that sure sounds like a bearing on the blower wheel. Darn (well that might not be what I said), so I unhook the duct and pull the thing out using the bench of the site picnic table to support it. Oil the bearing and run it for a while with no problem. After putting back the zillion screws in the top on the last one the wheel starts rubbing on the housing. It turns out if you have the top on not exactly right it will torque the entire thing so the blower housing is not square. After doing it all over I let it run for a couple of hours before pushing it back and reconnecting everything. Good to go! NOT.

The next day we run it and it is great. Then we notice it is blowing warm air. Out I go to discover now it appears the bearing or worse yet blower motor has seized. I ordered a bearing from Grainger in hopes that is all it is and figuring if I have to replace the motor the bearing gets replaced as does the blower wheel.

I am happy we can do this work ourselves but upset with myself for not replacing these parts while the MH was parked next to my garage and we did not need the a/c. By the time we get finished screwing around with the thing it will have been pretty much completely rebuilt.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:13 AM   #2
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No responses but I will update for anyone reading.

We got the new bearing from Grainger yesterday afternoon at our UPS mailbox. Not bad considering I ordered it Sunday and Monday was the Veterans holiday for many. Easy to install but no help. It looks like the blower motor is shot so today I will call RVP Products that now sells the Coleman type units to order a new one plus the upgrade plastic squirrel cage fan.

A big thanks to Duner here at irv2 for the nice write up on how to remove the unit and replace these parts. It is the third time we have dragged the thing out and I am hoping after the fourth it will be long enough until the next time we forget how.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:51 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HD4Mark View Post
No responses but I will update for anyone reading.

We got the new bearing from Grainger yesterday afternoon at our UPS mailbox. Not bad considering I ordered it Sunday and Monday was the Veterans holiday for many. Easy to install but no help. It looks like the blower motor is shot so today I will call RVP Products that now sells the Coleman type units to order a new one plus the upgrade plastic squirrel cage fan.

A big thanks to Duner here at irv2 for the nice write up on how to remove the unit and replace these parts. It is the third time we have dragged the thing out and I am hoping after the fourth it will be long enough until the next time we forget how.
Quite honestly, the basement air is why I will not seriously consider another Winnebago/Itasca product with it. Can't afford newer ones either.

I know many folks have had great service from their basement air but we have done everything reasonable for ours and it just doesn't hack it in super hot weather. Don't get me wrong, I understand our dark paint scheme and 3 slides out will make it work very hard but 85*-88* in the coach is not fun. When after all the work we have done we are told it is working at or better than specs...I think it is time to give up on that design.

For those that have gotten it to work to their desires I certainly don't suggest any changes. In concept it makes some sense.

I think the final piece of the equation for us is that it is under the bedroom and annoys my wife...I guess you know where that one goes. LOL
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:08 AM   #4
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Quite honestly, the basement air is why I will not seriously consider another Winnebago/Itasca product with it. Can't afford newer ones either.

I know many folks have had great service from their basement air but we have done everything reasonable for ours and it just doesn't hack it in super hot weather. Don't get me wrong, I understand our dark paint scheme and 3 slides out will make it work very hard but 85*-88* in the coach is not fun. When after all the work we have done we are told it is working at or better than specs...I think it is time to give up on that design.

For those that have gotten it to work to their desires I certainly don't suggest any changes. In concept it makes some sense.

I think the final piece of the equation for us is that it is under the bedroom and annoys my wife...I guess you know where that one goes. LOL
The biggest problem with ours wasn't the a/c but the duct going up behind the rear cap. It was split about 3" open at the widest and a foot long or so.

The original thermostat was also off about 5 deg. Still far from perfect but when working is good enough for locations we stay.

One other help was to stuff some insulation in the front cap over the tv and cabinets.

I also will keep away from basement a/c units in the future though.
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:45 AM   #5
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You said in your first post that to topped up the freon. My question is was it low on charge? Did you first evacuate the old charge and replace it with the proper amount?
Thanks for the info.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:13 PM   #6
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You said in your first post that to topped up the freon. My question is was it low on charge? Did you first evacuate the old charge and replace it with the proper amount?
Thanks for the info.
HVAC guy did all that stuff. I'm not sure if it needed it or not but the valves are installed now for future. The company's owner is a friend & neighbor and he gave me a good price.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:36 PM   #7
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OK, I was wondering. This off season I will be installing service valves, pulling and measuring the charge, then charging with the documented amount. Luckily I will be able to do this myself.

Thanks for your response.
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Old 11-16-2012, 10:51 PM   #8
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For those of us who don't have the ability to work on our own basement A/Cs I'm wondering how many refrain from using the electric heat pump side of the basement A/C to avoid unnecessary wear and tear on it when there are other sources of heat.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:03 AM   #9
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New blower motor and plastic squirrel cage fan are on the way. About $300 plus shipping. Not bad compared to a new unit. Arrival is scheduled for Tues. I will update this as to how it goes.
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Old 11-17-2012, 06:31 AM   #10
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Since we do not full time is ours we use the propane furnace. I personally do not like the blowing air when the heat function is used, not to mention heating from the top down is not the most efficient either.
But in regards to the wear and tear, I think it would be minimal if not beneficial to use the system outside the cooling season. Just the other day I turned ours on for a hour in the heat function.
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:02 AM   #11
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We got the new blower wheel and motor installed yesterday

It took the two of us about 5 hours with almost no swear words. We pulled the unit out almost completely and blocked it up with a 5 gallon bucket and some Lynx levelers. The back remained on the mount in the RV. About 90 screws to remove the the 4 bolts holding the blower housing in that are not so easy to get to. Marked all the electrical connections and pulled them. The housing is a tight fit to remove but it will come out. You do have to be careful not to bend too many fins on the condenser coil.

We bought the upgrade plastic blower wheel but the old metal one did not look cracked as many I have read about are. It was well worth the money though as it is so quiet I had to walk over near the a/c unit when I was outside to be able to hear if it was running. No problem hearing it before from 2 blocks away
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:33 PM   #12
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We use the basement heat pump in heat mode until it gets to cold, like below 45, then the furnace. Also use basement heat pump during the day if we are leaving the pups for a few hours, wife worries about propane furnace being on when we're not there. I don't think wear and tear is an issue, however if its to cold out it will ice up and that can't be good.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:13 PM   #13
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We use the basement heat pump in heat mode until it gets to cold, like below 45, then the furnace. Also use basement heat pump during the day if we are leaving the pups for a few hours, wife worries about propane furnace being on when we're not there. I don't think wear and tear is an issue, however if its to cold out it will ice up and that can't be good.
Hey John & Vicki, not to hijack my own thread but since you also have an 04 Vectra does your grab (assist) handle by the door light up? Ours does not and I am wondering if it should and is broken or never did.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:27 PM   #14
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We use the basement unit for heat during the day but not at night. The unit is somewhere near the foot of our bed and when/if it comes on in the middle of the night it wakes us up. (Oh man!!) so for sleeping we switch it to the propane heat mode.
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