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Old 01-13-2013, 10:25 PM   #1
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Tow Vehicle Cap

We are contemplating purchasing a truck for a tow vehicle to replace the E-350 van we have always used. We have dogs and we would like to carry them crated in the bed under a cap. We are looking at crew cab trucks and we are wondering if one of the high capacity RV roof fans will pull enough cold air through a boot between the truck cab window and the truck cap window, to keep them comfortable on hot days. We will insulate the bed floor and the truck cap. Has anyone ever tried this.

Another idea would be to install a Coleman Polar Cub AC unit in the cap, an after market 350 amp alternator under the hood. We would then use it to power a 3000 watt inverter to drive the ac unit. This should handle the AC unit that requires 1450 watts on high. I don't know the AC start up load, but it does have a soft start circuit comprised of two serious capacitors.

Has anyone tried this?

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Old 01-14-2013, 01:31 AM   #2
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You might try finding a good auto ac shop and have them install a second evaporator in the cap aria for the dogs. Your truck ac compressor has more than enough capacity to run two evaporators as you motor down the freeway. May warm just a bit at idle though.

Dave and Laura & two cats
02 Discovery with Accord toad
retired auto rv tech and teacher, wife rt nurse
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:05 AM   #3
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Install the rear AC unit from a van into the bed of the pickup. That shouldn't be hard for a good AC shop. Locate a salvage yard donor van that has rear AC, and buy the used rear AC unit. They've been available for a long time. I had a 1977 Econoline van with rear AC. Then you wouldn't need an inverter, but you might need a bigger or second altenator to produce enough juice to power the 12-volt fan in that second AC unit.

If you order the second altenator as a factory option in your new truck, it would not cost much extra. And you wouldn't need to worry about correctly wiring and fusing and resisting an aftermarket altenator. For example, Ford F-250 and F-350 SRW diesel pickups have an option for dual altenators that put out a total of 357 amps (4,284 watts).
Grumpy ole man with over 50 years towing experience. Now my heaviest trailer is a 7,000-pound enclosed cargo trailer, RV is a 5,600 pound Skyline Nomad Joey 196S, and my tow vehicle is a 2012 F-150 3.5L EcoBoost SuperCrew.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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I traveled extensively with two long haired solid black Belgian sheepdogs in the bed of my truck and never had a problem. I used a fiberglass cap as it provides a good deal of insulation. I put black removable curtains on the insides to block sun coming in through the windows. I had a sliding windows I could open at the sides and also at the front of the cap. I also mounted a roof vent in the top of the cap.

A dog out during the day that is in the shade is not going to have the problems of a dog in the sun or a dog in a hot house. A SUV for example is a great hot house with all the window area and the worst possible vehicle for transporting dogs.

Dogs also need water to have the best chance of keeping their body temp down and I used a large ceramic bowl that I could put an inch of water into and not worry about it sloshing around while driving. The truck had a very thick RubberMaid bed mat that was 1/2" thick and provided a non-skid surface for the bowl and for the dog's feet.

If I lived in Dallas or Phoenix are other super hot area I would have put a collar between the rear window of the cab and the front window of the cap so I could use the truck's AC unit to move cooling air to the back of the truck for the dogs. These collars are available as a truck camper accessory and not difficult to find.

I carried around extra water to refill the ceramic bowl (straight 4" sides and large enough to hold a gallon of water without spilling), and to pour over the dogs at rest/pit stops. Dogs cannot sweat so the water dousing was a way to do so artificially.

Shade, airflow, and water are the most key ingredients to keeping your dogs happy and healthy.
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