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Old 04-21-2023, 11:29 PM   #1
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2002 Itasca Horizon - Mini Split AC/Heatpump Mod

The 2 ton basement AC unit on my MH didnt work when I bought it. I did a lot of hard labor work to find that the coil itself had a leak. I tried to braze and seal it up. Held vacuum but later sprung another leak in a different area. So Im DONE WITH IT. Instead of $4000 for a replacement that still runs R22, I decided to try to modify the coach to a twin Mini-Split system (two completely separate single zone systems). Im still in the process. Its a lot of work, but I have high hopes that this will work for us.

I will use this thread to post how the project unfolds with pictures. Please feel free to tell me your concerns and if you think this is a fool hearted plan or advice.
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Old 04-21-2023, 11:31 PM   #2
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Out with the old Coleman mach basement AC unit. I dont have pictures but I did end up cutting out the plastic ductwork behind it (between the AC and the engine bay). I needed some space for the mini split to exhaust into the engine bay.
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Old 04-21-2023, 11:36 PM   #3
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I had hoped to fit both outside units side by side in the bay. I would have had to cut some structure out of the back to fit it like that. I decided to try and squeeze them in like this. I have concerns that the exhausted heat will recirculate back into the other condenser. If this does indeed prove to be a problem, I'll block it off with some sheet metal so that cannot happen.

Last picture here is a view from the bottom looking up.
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Old 04-21-2023, 11:42 PM   #4
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Here is where I ended today. Tomorrow I'll pull a vacuum and then if all is good I will release the refrigerant throughout the system and turn it on. The weird picture is of all the wires and refrigerant lines up in the rear cap. More to follow.
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Old 04-21-2023, 11:50 PM   #5
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One reason I went with two separate independent systems is because the original basement unit had two 110v circuits (1 for each compressor). Each of these mini split systems will run off of their own circuit. Also, if there is a refrigerant leak or whatever, I'll still have one system helping to keep us cool. These outside units barely fit into the bay height wise. I feared a dual zone system wouldn't fit and I didnt want to cut and weld up a lower hanging bracket to accommodate a taller unit. I am terrified of ruining my engine ECU or something by welding on this rig. Thats all for now. Will report back tomorrow hopefully with some progress.
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Old 04-22-2023, 12:41 PM   #6
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Eagerly waiting for the next installments and pictures
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Old 04-23-2023, 12:31 AM   #7
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Eagerly waiting for the next installments and pictures
Got called into work today. No progress. But yea. I am using this thread to record the project.

Oh BTW, while I had the plastic duct cut away and free access to the engine from below, I went ahead and replaced the old rubber hi pressure oil line with the updated steel line. The rubber line was about to burst (a common caterpillar 3126e problem). I’ll put the video together and post it here.
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Old 04-23-2023, 09:15 PM   #8
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Old 04-23-2023, 10:27 PM   #9
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I hade the same model coach and the basement air was terrible. It was too small to cool the coach and loud. Unit under the bed made sleeping tuff.

Iím sure your your efforts will be greatly rewarded and I would be doing the same thing if I was in your shoes.
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Old 04-23-2023, 11:28 PM   #10
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Well done! I am thinking of adding mini splits as well.
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Old 04-23-2023, 11:30 PM   #11
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I hade the same model coach and the basement air was terrible. It was too small to cool the coach and loud. Unit under the bed made sleeping tuff.

Iím sure your your efforts will be greatly rewarded and I would be doing the same thing if I was in your shoes.
Yea it sucks. Inefficient and just sucked altogether.

Anyways, small amount of progress today. The rear system is mounted inside and refrigerant lines are hooked up. I apparently bought the wrong adapters to pull vacuum with my automotive gauge set so, ordered what I believe to be the right ones should be here tomorrow. Will finalize the rear wiring and let her rip tomorrow.
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Old 04-23-2023, 11:51 PM   #12
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In the meantime when I found out I fool heartedly ordered the wrong adapters, I began planning the front unit placement and plumbing. Where will it hang, how will I get the lines all the way from the back to the front, how will it get mounted, will the structure it hangs from be strong enough, where are the studs in the cabinet structure, will there still be enough room to run the curtain rail around it, where will I move my small fan and surround sound speaker thatís currently in the way, ect ect. Every problem has a solution which leads to another problem.

So, one of my main problems is the fact that I unknowingly bought it with a leaking roof up front in the area that I want to hang the air handler. I fixed these leaks a few years ago when I found them. But when taking the cabinets apart to find the studs and inspect the area, I found the water damage weakened the cabinet structure itself. So while Iíd love to rip out the rotten sections and do a full restore, I just donít have the time.

I found the metal studs in the wall and I will screw in a shelving ďL BracketĒ to lift and hold everything up back nicely. Will show pics of this tomorrow once that work is done. Shouldnít look too bad hopefully.

As for the placement, see pics below. In one pic I am holding up the unit. There will have to be 3Ē minimum between top of the unit and the cabinet. So it will hang a bit lower than the picture. So itís will practically be the passengers permanent sun visor. Drivers view is not affected. Also found the perfect drain location up front.

EDIT: idk why itís rotating the last pic. Itís the same as the other pictures. Sorry.
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Old 04-24-2023, 06:35 AM   #13
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Looking good. We started to change many MCC/control room to mini split. The cross flow fans on interior are extremely quiet. They dehumidify really well it usually feels cooler that it is. My one suggestion is use a shop vac to suck out the drain line while is running and dripping once in a while. So far in the different models the dip trays are not easily accessable to be cleaned out. The better you keep them flowing less gook will grow in tray. I actually made an air hose venturi to do the same thing.
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Old 04-24-2023, 10:16 PM   #14
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Looking good. We started to change many MCC/control room to mini split. The cross flow fans on interior are extremely quiet. They dehumidify really well it usually feels cooler that it is. My one suggestion is use a shop vac to suck out the drain line while is running and dripping once in a while. So far in the different models the dip trays are not easily accessable to be cleaned out. The better you keep them flowing less gook will grow in tray. I actually made an air hose venturi to do the same thing.
I have lived in many places in the world where mini-splits were the only A/C units that existed. The desert in the middle east for one, the drain lines clog a lot and end up with cold water dripping in your face in the middle of the night in your CHU. I've had to use compressed air and back blow the crud to open up the lines.
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