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Old 07-07-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
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Question New to RV ownershp

I am considering the purchase of a 1995 Coachmen Santara and have the first of what will probably be a bunch of basic questions.

There are two roof air conditioners and I've been told both will operate at the same time when the RV is plugged into an outside power source but that when running off the generator, only one AC unit is supposed to run at a time.

Is that correct of am I being told a Salesman Story


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Old 07-07-2009, 05:09 PM   #2
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Welcome to a great site, and a great and fun activity, hobby, whatever . . all you need now is a new salesman, or at least someone who you can verify really knows what they are talking about.

My current coach, as well as the previous ones, and my son's, all run BOTH a/c units off the generator; when going down the road, for instance, you can cool the whole coach. Campground 30 amp 120vac supply just won't do it, so your rig is wired to not let it happen (I am certainly no expert, this is just what I'm told.) You should have a switch somewhere (mine is in an overhead cupboard) that requires you choose which unit to run when in a park.

That salesman makes me nervous, I would make sure they demonstrate that both units work properly, just as you should do with all other appliances and component systems.

Best of luck, and welcome aboard. And if someone else can shed more light, please do so.

P.S. I wrote that thinking you had said 1990, now I see it's a 1995, so I don't know if you have 50 amp service - if so, we really need someone else to chime in here.

Ken & Carolee, 1994 36' Pace Arrow/Ford 7.5L, Mobil 1 full syn & Banks Pack. Towing a 1999 Saturn SL2 with Roadmaster Sterling All-Terrain & Brake Buddy.
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:28 PM   #3
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If you have a 6.5KW generator it would run both A/C units. If you have high efficiency A/C units and an energy management system, you may be able to run both units on 30 amps. Is the coach a 30 amp (3 prongs) or a 50 amp (4 prongs) on the power cord?

Some have a switch located in a cabinet that is usually marked Front-Both-Rear (on a 30 amp coach).

If the coach is 30' or longer, I think it needs 2 units to keep it cool in the summer. Just have the dealer (if it is at a dealer) demonstrate the A/C.

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Old 07-07-2009, 10:42 PM   #4
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Thanks Guys

I'll be looking at the 35' Coachmen again tomorrow but I don't expect much help from the salesman. This is a used CAR lot that took this RV as a trade and those salesmen who speak passable English know little or nothing about motorhomes... that's why I've joined this forum.

There are several flaws in the unit, but the prices is REALLY low so I can afford to do some repairs. I am concerned about the AC units though and as I recall there IS a switch that lets me select front or rear AC unit, (but not both) when I'm running on the generator. It may well be that the unit is engineered that way but if it is supposed to be able to run both on the generator, I'd like to know that before I buy the vehicle. I don't know the amperage of the generator but I'll check.

On another matter, the awning has been removed from the unit and the salesman says he has the framework but the fabric is no good. Is replacement fabric readily available and is it difficult to remount the framework? Once mounted, how does it work? Is it a crank mechanism that rolls the fabric out and back?

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Old 07-08-2009, 08:55 PM   #5
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Most rigs like this one will run both a/c's on the generator but only one on shore power. That's what the front/rear switch is for - you can choose which one runs when only 30A is available.

On generator, one a/c runs per standard coach power (just as if you had 30A shore power) and the other is powered direct off the generator without going through the rest of the coach power system.
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:23 PM   #6
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Also, check to see if the thermostat will have lights that indicate ON/SHED, this is a control system that will allow (1) unit to run, then when the compressor cycles off, then the other unit will run the compressor until the sensors reach temperature. Got this style in our 34V Fleetwood Bounder. Just to let you know, there are folks out there that are there to help you when considering a purchase like this, they are educated in walking through RV's, when some of us really don't know what we're getting into . Good Luck and Welcome.
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Old 07-17-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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Thank you all for your advice. I'll be looking into all my electrical matters this weekend.

It looks like joining this group was a Very Good Idea

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Old 07-17-2009, 12:24 PM   #8
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Welcome Fatbear5 to irv2.
Here are some PDI LISTS that you can use to check out what ever MH you look at.
Yes you can get new fabric for your awning as long as the metal awning parts are functional should be no problem.
Enjoy the forums and do post often.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:06 PM   #9
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A motorhome is a very complicated thing. It has everything in your home, plus all that is a truck. My advice to you would be to take the motorhome to a real RV mechanic/shop and pay the $200 or whatever to have someone go through it. If the sales lot does not agree, I would walk and find another one. Make sure the propane is turned on and the refrigerator is cooling so that can be verified. There are too many good deals out there right now that you should be able to get for a reasonable price and not have to do anything but put gas (or diesel) in to it.

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or a couple of different trailers
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air?, new member, truth?, two units

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