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Old 06-24-2022, 11:24 AM   #1
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Mach 8 AC failure. Murphy still following me around...

o we had to be in Phoenix AZ for a few weeks to take care of some medical stuff. Just before arrival, the squirrel cage on the front AC blew up. This is the second failure as the mid AC blower wheel failed and was replaced about 2 years ago. We were inside when that one blew, so I immediately turned it off and later replaced the blower fan when I could get one.

This time we were gone for a few hours shopping and in 114 degree heat leaving at least 2 AC units on and the generator auto start enabled is SOP when leaving the rig. Upon return we heard an unfamiliar "rumble" when we walked in. I figured it was coming from the AC and turned it off. I went up to verify my suspicions, and sure enough the squirrel cage was in pieces, totally broke apart. Not one piece remained together. It took a couple of weeks to get another blower wheel delivered, and I put it in easily. When the AC was turned back on the new fan blew hard, but no cool air.

Hoping it was just a start solenoid or pressure switch I switched the solenoids from the middle AC that was working to the front AC. Still no luck. Time to call the repair guy. A mobile tech came out to the campground and found in minutes that the compressor had no Freon in it. Apparently when the fan blew, it ran so long with an unbalanced shaft that the seal eventually failed and leaked out the Freon.

Mach 8 units are about impossible to find (especially in AZ in the summer) and according to the tech the particular type of Freon that they use is no longer sold in this country after Jan 1 of this year. Not that they would attempt a recharge, blown compressors pretty much make the unit a worthless brick. The Mach 10 is the direct replacement unit for the Mach 8, and the repair shop was able to locate one within driving distance.

So I paid about $1400 for the new unit, and with labor and materials the total replacement came out to about $2150. But, it was replaced at my site in about a 5 hour period from the time the tech arrived until they left at the end of the day. The configuration of the Mach 10 looks way different from the Mach 8, and so far the unit cools great, is a bit quieter than the 8 and draws an amp or 2 less when running.

Trying to cool the rig without a front AC was problematic, as the front end with all of the glazing is the hardest part to keep cool, and we had separate sun screens in the front windows to block the sun. I had briefly considered just swapping the middle and front AC units if we couldn't find a replacement. But if another AC failure occurred, that would leave one AC in the Phoenix heat and the RV would be unlivable. The swap still would have cost me over $500 in labor, so that option was seriously taken.

I did save the squirrel cage from the failed AC since we still have two Mach 8 units remaining. If I can just avoid running into "Murphy" for awhile.
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Old 06-24-2022, 12:31 PM   #2
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Short answer - you need to find someone who knows how to work on A/C units.

There is no interconnection between the blower fan and refrigeration system in a rooftop A/C unit. Period. So no “seal” to “blow” and leak out all the Freon.
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Old 06-24-2022, 04:45 PM   #3
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I get it. The short reality is that I didn't get up on the roof to monitor, but the compressor had no refrigerant to cool, so it was going to be replaced. There comes a time when the repair simply needs to be done, quickly. It was either that or divorce.......
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Old 06-24-2022, 05:08 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear of your problem. I tend to agree with Mr Mark though. Unless the broken fan damaged the coil and caused a leak there is no way that should have leaked. There is no seal. It is a welded system. I suspect that with the fan not pulling air across the condenser coil the compressor overheated and tripped out on the internal thermostat. In that temperature it would take many hours to cool enough to restart. Just my thought.
Glad you got it fixed and no divorce.

Good write up.
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Old 06-24-2022, 10:13 PM   #5
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It sat for about 4 days between the new fan being installed and the test by the tech. It never would kick in the compressor. It leaked out somehow, somewhere. Stuff happens, especially when you own an RV.
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Old 06-25-2022, 03:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
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It sat for about 4 days between the new fan being installed and the test by the tech. It never would kick in the compressor. It leaked out somehow, somewhere. Stuff happens, especially when you own an RV.
Did he find the leak, or just replace the compressor and call it fixed?

When A/C compressors loose refrigerant they don’t overheat because they’re not doing any work.

If he didn’t find and fix the leak, he didn’t do you any favors - and he or someone else will be back.

Was this an all of the sudden failure, or did the units cooling ability slowly decrease over time?
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Old 06-25-2022, 06:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
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It sat for about 4 days between the new fan being installed and the test by the tech. It never would kick in the compressor. It leaked out somehow, somewhere. Stuff happens, especially when you own an RV.
All too true.
Relax and enjoy the cool air.
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Old 06-25-2022, 01:59 PM   #8
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All too true.
Relax and enjoy the cool air.
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Old 06-25-2022, 02:02 PM   #9
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Sudden failure. We left and it was blowing strong and cold. Hours later, just rumbling and nothing. Amp draw was about 3 amps on high cool. I had did some trouble shooting with known working parts, no change. Time to call the guy.
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Old 06-25-2022, 02:55 PM   #10
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You may have had a compressor failure, but it didn’t lose refrigerant and ruin the compressor - unless the the hermetic seal where the electrical connections connect to the compressor blew out. And when that happens, it does make a mess! I’ve only seen it happen once in over 40+ years of doing A/C service.

And rereading your original post, that very well be what happened.
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Old 06-25-2022, 04:08 PM   #11
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You may be correct Mark. At 108 degrees the DW refused to let me stand up on the roof to observe (probably not a bad idea). I just had the tech save the new squirrel cage for me while I hung out inside.
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