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Old 05-21-2018, 02:57 PM   #1
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Input needed for repair of AC problem.

Greetings,

I have a 2011 Forest River Sierra Select (with a single 15k btu unit) that was purchased back in March when the weather was unusually cool for my area. Shortly after setting it up, I was assigned to a project three states away and had to leave. I figured that it might be hot when I returned so I set the AC to 75 degrees and left town.
I took my wife back this weekend as the project has been extended and she was sick of the motel room. When I unlocked the RV, the AC was running but the inside air temp was only 86 degrees. Thinking that the unit might have froze up, I shut it down and restarted it the next afternoon with the same result. Since I am a first time RV owner, and not sure if there are any nuances between RV units and residential units, I was reluctant to do much troubleshooting and I had to get back on the road to return to the project as well.

So far, this is what I can say: The fan comes on like it is supposed to followed by the compressor. Unfortunately, the air coming out is only a few degrees cooler than fan air. To me, it feels like a residential home unit that is low on refrigerant, but I am a "newbie" so I may be overlooking something else.
When we checked out the unit before purchasing, the air felt cool. That said, it was early March and cool outside, so the problem may have existed then.

I have a service man coming Friday, but my wife is nervous with repair work going on with me not being there. Is there any troubleshooting suggestions that she can have a neighbor (who is no AC expert) check or just advice regarding dealing with a service man when the only one there is female? I think that she is concerned that she will be taken advantage of.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but I wanted to be thorough (or at least try to be) and I thank you in advance for any thoughts.

Thanks again.

Thanks.
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Old 05-21-2018, 09:24 PM   #2
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Is there any place on the roof or if you take off the cover where you can see where it may have lost refrigerant? Look for an oily substance around the AC unit. Sounds like a loss of refrigerant. RV AC units are not high quality units and simply replacing it may be the cheapest route. Tell your wife to get an estimate on the repair and balance that against replacement cost. Replacing it yourself should not be too difficult.
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Old 05-21-2018, 10:04 PM   #3
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RV A/C Units 'recirculate' inside air.....no outside air involved


Discharge air should be roughly 18*F (20*F is IDEAL) colder then the Return Air (measure with a bulb thermometer in path of airflow)


So if inside temp of RV is 85*F....A/C discharge air temp should be 67*F provided the A/C Compressor is running and charged
As inside air cools down so will the discharge air temp



RV A/C Units are basically throw-a-way units.
No service ports....can be installed but the costs of parts/labor PLUS recharge will be close to cost of brand new unit




Are you sure the thermostat was set to COOL and that the compressor actually came on?
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Old 05-21-2018, 11:03 PM   #4
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Just a thought, my AC units were new but had sat a couple of years when I purchased my 1999 coach. What I experienced is a stuck switch on the unit, the newer units have them set at heat rather than cool as the default. Try moving your thermostat between cool and heat but quickly so you can hear them click but not long enough to engage the compressor. That "unsticks" mine and they are generally fine after that.
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Old 05-22-2018, 05:23 AM   #5
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Is the fan set to Auto on the thermostat? I if it is set to high or low and runs all the time the unit will not cool as well.
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Old 05-22-2018, 09:12 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I did not have time to pull the top cover, so I am unsure if there may be some type of dirt or obstruction issue.
I did try cycling the thermostat but that did not help. The fan is on auto.
I have read that some rv's have ammonia type units like some refrigerators use. I am not sure what type I have. I wont be home for about two more weeks. Trying to find a service guy has been difficult. Only two in this area of East Tn.
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Old 05-22-2018, 04:28 PM   #7
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Ammonia type units are NEVER used for RV air conditioning they do not have the BTU capacity.

THey are always a "Refrigerant" Like R-134 or something else if they are older.

Mine (dual 15,000 and both confirmed as working) do not keep me cool eitehr, 80's even when it's only 80 out not uncommon.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
Ammonia type units are NEVER used for RV air conditioning they do not have the BTU capacity.

THey are always a "Refrigerant" Like R-134 or something else if they are older.

Mine (dual 15,000 and both confirmed as working) do not keep me cool eitehr, 80's even when it's only 80 out not uncommon.
Thanks for the clarification on ammonia units. Just goes to show that all internet info isnt always reliable.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vetplus40 View Post
Thanks for the replies. I did not have time to pull the top cover, so I am unsure if there may be some type of dirt or obstruction issue.
I did try cycling the thermostat but that did not help. The fan is on auto.
I have read that some rv's have ammonia type units like some refrigerators use. I am not sure what type I have. I wont be home for about two more weeks. Trying to find a service guy has been difficult. Only two in this area of East Tn.
Did you hear the switch clicking when you switched back and forth? After sitting all winter at least one of mine will stick, sometimes requiring me to do this multiple times.
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Old 05-23-2018, 04:37 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by vetplus40 View Post
Thanks for the clarification on ammonia units. Just goes to show that all internet info isnt always reliable.

Ammonia IS used for the RV Fridge that may have been where the confusion came from.
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Old 05-24-2018, 11:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
Ammonia type units are NEVER used for RV air conditioning they do not have the BTU capacity.

THey are always a "Refrigerant" Like R-134 or something else if they are older.

Mine (dual 15,000 and both confirmed as working) do not keep me cool eitehr, 80's even when it's only 80 out not uncommon.



Totally UNCOMMON
Two 15K Units should be able to chill interior down to 72*F


Our one 15K can maintain 74*F interior temp when it's 100*F outside


Something is NOT right with your A/C Units
Leakage between discharge plenum and return side
Dirty EVAP Coil
Dirty Condenser Coil


Not much to an RV A/C Unit
Return air goes up into a sealed area where EVAP coil.
Flows thru EVAP coil and gets COLD then discharges into RV
Condenser coil removes heat from coolant


S/B 18*F difference between 'return' and discharge air temps


IF there is then you have a poorly insulated RV or high air leakage out of RV


80's when it is only 80's out is a problem
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Old 05-25-2018, 03:03 AM   #12
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UPDATE:

Had a service call made. The unit had no refrigerant in it. The service tech soldered in a valve and recharged it. He also did a leak check and couldn't find the leak, so he said that it must be very small. He also said that there was no way that the dealer could have checked the unit properly back in March. He does not believe that the unit would have lost all of its refrigerant in that short of a time frame.
He did say that if it got low again, that I should put some type of "stop leak" in the system, so I will have to do a little research on this product.

Thanks again for the responses.
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Old 05-25-2018, 03:26 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old-Biscuit View Post
Totally UNCOMMON
Two 15K Units should be able to chill interior down to 72*F


Our one 15K can maintain 74*F interior temp when it's 100*F outside


Something is NOT right with your A/C Units
Leakage between discharge plenum and return side
Dirty EVAP Coil
Dirty Condenser Coil


Not much to an RV A/C Unit
Return air goes up into a sealed area where EVAP coil.
Flows thru EVAP coil and gets COLD then discharges into RV
Condenser coil removes heat from coolant


S/B 18*F difference between 'return' and discharge air temps


IF there is then you have a poorly insulated RV or high air leakage out of RV


80's when it is only 80's out is a problem



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Old 05-25-2018, 05:17 AM   #14
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As has already been stated, any A/C unit that is functioning properly will show an 18-20 degree differential between inlet air and discharge air. If it's not doing that, there is something wrong with the unit. Whether or not it will actually cool a given space will depend on several things though. Is the space to be cooled leaking in warmer outside air....is the space just too much area for the capabilities of the size unit that is in place.....is there leakage between the inlet and discharge air, thus bypassing the evaporator coil? So NO, wa8yxm, your A/C units are not operating normally.....unless you have one of the things I described above.
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