Air Conditioning installation - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-01-2013, 01:27 PM   #1
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Air Conditioning installation

I have several threads going with specific questions. This concerns the installation of a top mounted AC. When I bought this 86 Casita someone put the AC in the top back window using a standard Carrier window AC.
I have removed the window and hope to replace it with a new one. My question is that I can tell from pulling out the old wall carpet that the top flexes and bows when applying downward pull. I don't feel the current top,as is, would handle the weight of an external unit. I am not sure how the newer Casitas (or others) support an AC. In my mind I am trying to envision a way to beef up the top. I am down to bare FG now and it is thin. I don't think adding spring steel straps across the top like a convertible bow would work as I would need a tension that produces a greater force upwards to counter-balance the weight of the AC pressing down. I also need to be able to conceal it using the thinner headliner material and reflectix as opposed to what you all call "rat-fur". Also I am trying to totally avoid any external rivets except where absolutely essential and minimally on the top if I can. I know there will be a few for the shower divider but I am hoping to hang cleats everywhere else?????
Again I appreciate any suggestions, comments, pictures of what others have done or links etc.
Thanks
Mike
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:28 AM   #2
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Things were different back then...

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Originally Posted by GMike A View Post
When I bought this 86 Casita someone put the AC in the top back window using a standard Carrier window AC.
In 1986 that someone was the factory!
Roof mounted air conditioners only appeared after the 17' Casitas had been around awhile. Here is a historic perspective from 6 years ago:

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There are some advantages that my '89 Casita has over the newer ones...
I think they changed the air conditioner to the bottom of the closet in 1990. I have a rear window unit and it came from the factory that way (I replaced mine a couple of years ago). Once I got over the "ugly" factor, I realized the functionality of it was way above the closet mount. Besides, if it were so ugly, why am I still, after five years of ownership, getting comments like "that is the cutest trailer I have ever seen."?
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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If I had one strip down like you. I would consider using 2" flat stock glued and fiberglass in. Which will carry the load to the side walls. Along with the existing supports used at the cabinet ends. They will leave a slight print when covered.
Same as a bricked home with arched windows.
If you already have a 14" ceiling vent? There's your hole.
If your not in the pan handle you won't have a snow load.
Treat yourself to a lighter weight ac unit, 9000 btu with heater and quick start cap.
Backup heater and 2000 watt gen set friendly.
Just what I would do.
Easy, cheap, simple!
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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Unhappy Lighter? Its not!

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Treat yourself to a lighter weight ac unit, 9000 btu with heater and quick start cap.
Backup heater and 2000 watt gen set friendly.
I installed a "smaller" 9200 BTU roof air conditioner mentioned in my post: Cool!

It weighs 120 pounds. The window A/C it replaced weighs 40 pounds.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:11 PM   #5
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Wow that is interesting. I took the window out intact with the AC still shoe-horned into it. I supposed I could leave it in there and put it back together that way. I learned something there. I cut the plug off while taking it out and the water drip line ran down a 1/2 inch pipe on the inside of the camper- weird but essential I guess. I like the idea of the heater/AC combo and will think about that. There was no mention of the AC in the original manual so thought it was odd. Appreciate that tid-bit very much. Thanks for responding to both of you so far.

I notice yours is a Fiberstream and mine is a Casita but probably the technology was the same back then. I swear I had a stick camper in the 70s that had a roof top AC. Regardless I saw your picture of yours out the side window. I would like to recover the use of a full back window. I didnt realize how much those roof units weighed. Wow. Will have to do some more homework now and check my piggy bank.
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:14 PM   #6
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Question and excuse my ignorance but flat stock what? Sheet metal, Spring steel, Wood or something else? Not familiar with what it might be. Also have not checked into the weight of an overhead AC. On some sights that advertise equipment it seems like they used to put PDF manuals so you could get installation and op instructions to see if it would fill your bill but its harder to find manuals now.
thanks in advance
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:22 PM   #7
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Question and excuse my ignorance but flat stock what? Sheet metal, Spring steel, Wood or something else? Not familiar with what it might be. ......
I'd use something that wouldn't rust. My first choice would be aluminum. If you have a little room, something that has a little section will add a lot of strength.

I have a place that recycles metal near me and I buy metal cheaply there, but you can buy this at the big box stores, though at a premium. Also look locally for metal suppliers that supply to fabrication shops and industry.
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