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Old 06-27-2016, 06:02 AM   #1
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Use some caution when recharging your dash AC

Just thought I'd pass along some info I have learned the hard way. I am on my 5th dash AC repair since delivery. Now, out of warranty on my own. I think it is finally fixed. I had a lot of leaks and bad parts.

The dash AC system in the Entegra is made by Evans TempCon and installed by Entegra. The compressor is made by Cummins. The refrigerant lines are installed by Spartan along the frame. In other words it is a system installed by committee. Evans TempCon has authorized repair centers. Not necessarily the place you bought your RV. Cummins won't touch your AC system. The system uses R134 refrigerant but in smaller quantities than you think. My system uses 2.5 lbs. Your system might use 2.5 or 3.5 lbs. If you call Evans TempCon they'll ask which type of condenser you have and that determines whether you charge to 3.5 or 2.5lbs. The problem is too much refrigerant is just as bad as too little. If the system is overcharged (it will easily hold 4 lbs) the system will cool and run then lock up and the condenser will stop when it senses too high pressure. If it was a Toyota or Ford it would have a big label under the dash saying "use 2.5 lbs of type R134..." , but Entegra doesn't do that. I'm installing my own.

I have had my system repaired 5 times at service centers Evans TempCon approved. Three times at a Spartan shop I do not recommend in Central FL (PM me if you want to know), twice at a Entegra dealer. I have had my system overcharged twice. It finally took LazyDays that services air conditioning every day in Florida to correct that.

The last thing is Entegra CS warned the repair shop NOT to use refrigerant out of those little cans like you buy at AutoZone because they contain oil. You system will get contaminated and stop if you add refrigerant with oil. Don't try the cheap man way of adding freon on your own. It will probably not work out for you.

Learn from my pain. Discuss with your repair guy to make darn certain (call Evans TempCon) to verify if your system uses 2.5lbs or 3.5 lbs. If the shop tells you your unit took 4 lbs, they definitely did it wrong.
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:22 AM   #2
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Excellent advise Dave, thank you!
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:58 AM   #3
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Thanks
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Old 06-27-2016, 08:06 AM   #4
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Good to know about the oil. Thanks.
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Old 06-27-2016, 08:58 AM   #5
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Nice post. In my experience these dash air systems just leak freon one way or another. I almost have gotten in the habit of every spring having it topped off as its a big difference in the air temp blowing out even with a small amount low .. I live in the desert where driving in 110 temps is common so keeping it at its Max is a must. I have not done the anthem yet and surprised in Entegra not stating
the proper amount of freon needed, All 3 of my past coached have.
Thanks for the enlightenment on this subject
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:06 AM   #6
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This is a good reminder for folks. Air conditioners can have as much as 400 lbs of pressure in them and should not be messed with by someone that has no idea what they are doing.
Let me add that all automotive ac systems have oil in them. It is necessary to the lubrication of the compressor. Adding oil, per se, does not hurt the system. Adding too much oil will eventually degrade the system's ability to cool by insulating the evaporator and I suppose waay too much oil could damage the compressor. So if you had a slow leak, then probably little oil was lost and there would be no need to add oil. However a catastrophic break or replacing a hose or component, oil is necessary.
The bigger danger in adding gas from the small cans is the varying ingredients that you will find in the cans. There is R134a plain, with stop leak, with dye, with oil,stop leak and dye! Then there's the Off brands of refrigerant the say boldly on the cans R134a and then in very small print "compatible" ! And these compatibles have their own variations! It's never a good Idea to use something that is compatible!
If you are not sure, let the pros do it. Large RV service shops, like Lazydays would probably be the best in general, because they are used to working on these cobbled together systems!
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:15 AM   #7
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Thanks Gary, I know you are more knowledgeable about AC than I ever will be.

I think Entegra CS warning about little cans was along what Gary said that the mixes in those cans vary a lot and professional repair guys use the big tanks with better Q.C.

As for leaking, when I owned my old Monaco I was told .1/lbs per year loss was considered "normal", and people in cooler climates tend to lose more per year because they use their systems less days/year and the various seals and o rings dry out.
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Old 06-28-2016, 08:32 AM   #8
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Using the small cans isn't bad if you use the basic R134a refrigerant. There is a slight bit of oil in them but any leakage also is generally accompanied by an oily film so everything remains in balance. But some cans come with a leak stop additive. I would stay away from them.

I did a tech article on my rvtechmag website about how to service dash air systems. If you don't know that actual pounds required, that's okay. Actually, the only time that is of value is if you vacuum the system and totally empty it. Adding 2.5 lbs. to a 2.5 lb. system that already contains 1 lb. will give you 3.5 lbs. so you can see how that won't work. A properly charged system will have a given pressure when the system is at rest. This pressure rises as the ambient temperature rises. If you read the temperature of the refrigerant and then refer to the pressure/temperature chart for R134a you'll see what the pressure should be. Just add enough refrigerant to reach that pressure. Obviously the system needs to be resting for a while so that the low side and high side equalize and that the system cools off.

FWIW, Entegra doesn't set up the Evans-Tempcon dash air. They install the basic components and run the lines but the final tweaking, charging and testing of the system is done by a specialist sub-contractor. Their rep gets up very early and starts about 3-4 AM, before the main production staff arrives. They keep up with the latest developments in the HVAC field and do a good job.
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Old 07-01-2016, 03:41 PM   #9
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Thanks Dave, good info. Another thing to watch out for in regard to dash AC system integrity as I learned this past April, is condenser fan failure. On my '13 Aspire the condenser is located in the front right of the coach. The fan is fairly loud (outside) when running. It doesn't run continuously but comes on as needed, controlled (I think) by a thermostat. Mine seems to cycle on every minute or so when the system is calling for cool. If it fails there is no light or anything to tell you that it stopped working, but it can nevertheless precipitate other problems.

We have had several "no dash AC cool" issues too but eventually the source was found to be leaks at the fitting on the high pressure hose coming off the compressor (the crimp failed).

According to the A/C rep in Middlebury that Mark mentioned below (luckily I got to talk to him directly), if the fan fails on the condenser (and mine has twice) the system pressure increases (maybe because the compressor runs more?) and he says that is what kept blowing out the hose crimp.

The first time our condenser fan failed it was due to a bad bearing. The second time it was due to an intermittent electrical issue with the "ignition" fuse block in the front left side compartment.

Now I try and listen for the fan cycling whenever the A/C is on, especially when stopped or in slow moving traffic. It's difficult if not impossible to hear at highway speed though.

So be aware of that and if you have the AC on but haven't heard your condenser fan run for a while, best to shut down the AC or risk causing a potential leak.
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Old 07-21-2016, 07:09 PM   #10
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I just got my Aspire out of the A/C shop for the dash air. It has never cooled correct. I have tried to buy and read the gauges, add some coolant, and even found a loose connection on the compressor in the back last summer. $700 later, and my system had 3.5 lbs of coolant in it, and it calls for 2.5 - I know I overcharged the system, and the loose wire on the compressor in the back was probably the original problem.

The shop vacuumed down the system properly, and recharged with 2.5 lbs, and driving back to storage, today, the temp on the pavement was 108, and the dash air was rocking!
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Old 01-17-2018, 06:17 AM   #11
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Thanks all. I know this thread is a little old. I have a 2008 Newmar on the Spartan 400 chassis. Does anyone have any insights on this slightly older on e than what is posted here?

Thanks

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Old 01-18-2018, 06:30 AM   #12
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spartan AC service

I have had my dash AC repaired successfully at the Spartan factory service center in Charlotte. They had no qualms at all about working on the ac for me. Actually Andy is quite knowledgeable about the systems and charging them and is an excellent resource if you are at Spartan or near Charlotte.

One other important thing to remember is the system contains an accumulator that absorbs any moisture in the system and filters any debris in the system...at least all the debris ends up in there. It will plug with time and problems. Any time the system is opened up or a problem is corrected the accumulator should be replaced as a matter of fact. i just consider it normal maintenance now to be changed every 2 or 3 years or so. A plugging accumulator can mask or exacerbate other problems.
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Old 01-18-2018, 12:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgrennan3 View Post
Thanks all. I know this thread is a little old. I have a 2008 Newmar on the Spartan 400 chassis. Does anyone have any insights on this slightly older on e than what is posted here?

Thanks

Phil
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Unlike cars, air conditioning has changed little since they started installing ac in motorhomes. If you have a specific question, go ahead and ask it. There are a lot of knowledgeable people on the forum.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jestal View Post
I have had my dash AC repaired successfully at the Spartan factory service center in Charlotte. They had no qualms at all about working on the ac for me. Actually Andy is quite knowledgeable about the systems and charging them and is an excellent resource if you are at Spartan or near Charlotte.

One other important thing to remember is the system contains an accumulator that absorbs any moisture in the system and filters any debris in the system...at least all the debris ends up in there. It will plug with time and problems. Any time the system is opened up or a problem is corrected the accumulator should be replaced as a matter of fact. i just consider it normal maintenance now to be changed every 2 or 3 years or so. A plugging accumulator can mask or exacerbate other problems.
I agree 100%, well almost 100%! They are not called accumulators. They are driers or receiver-driers or receiver-filter driers. Accumulators are used in automotive air conditioners but are installed on the low side of the system and operate a little bit differently while essentially doing the same job. Driers are always on the high side, right after the condenser. Air conditioning terminology is usuallly very descriptive of what it does.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:22 PM   #14
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I had myt Evans TempCon dash AC unit serviced twice in 2 days. It appears that the first repair facility added freon to 4.5# under the mistaken belief that that was what was needed. However, the whole system failed, primarily due to the compressor failing within 5 hours of AC use.. The second repair shop was a Evens Certified shop in Southern California who recognized the problem. It took Spartan a day to figure out who was responsible for the failure (luckily, not me) and once theyt got the two shops together with themselves on the same page, then the repair was made by vacuuming the entire system and starting from scratch.

Gary
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