Closet AC - Previous Mod Causing Sagging - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-30-2020, 08:33 AM   #1
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Name: Addie
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Closet AC - Previous Mod Causing Sagging

In need of some more advice! I searched and didn't quite find others with this issue.

Previous owner did a HACK job at installing an AC unit in the bottom of the Scamp 13 closet. They cut out a huge opening in the fiberglass closet, laid a couple 2x4s across the wheel well stuck the AC on top and it gets better... SPRAY FOAMED it into place! Then they "shored up" the sides by putting a small piece of 1x4 on the outside of the closet on either side and screwing it in 12+ times.

What we're left with is bowed out fiberglass cloest with tons of holes in it. How do I get the fiberglass to straighten up? I'm planning on building a 1x4 encasing for the AC unit with a drip pan but should I be running the 1x4s up to the top of the closet? Do I glue them to the side of the fiberglass closet?

Thanks so much for any advice/pictures!
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:44 AM   #2
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No advice but that is probably going to win the award for worst hack job
Good luck keep us posted
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Old 03-30-2020, 08:53 AM   #3
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This entire camper was full of failed hack jobs... let me tell you the surprise we found under the dinette. I pulled off this awful laminate and the floor was 1x6s, no plywood of any kind. We've never renovated anything before so this 1980s scamp is giving us a run for our money. So thankful for this forum!
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:29 AM   #4
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If it were me I'd probably come up with some type of method to jack up that area.
Then use a piece of 3/4 plywood as instead of 1x4 and glass it into the area and up the wall so the fenderwell is involved in holding up the
wall. Glassing it in will unify all panels. Then you cut the correct size hole.
Where are you getting the air from for the condenser? It needs outside air.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:39 AM   #5
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That's a great question! And unfortunately reminds me that we'll have to cut a new hole into the side of the scamp, above the bellyband. What size air vent do you think we will need? I was going to follow in the footsteps of this video but they don't detail what size vent they placed:
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:25 PM   #6
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I mouted mine in a different location but the 2 holes I made are about
2x4 inches and seem to supply enough air.
You could use the wheel well as air access then you would need to have a sealed door of some sort for traveling.
Knowledge from someone that has mounted one successfully in that location would be beneficial here.
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Old 03-30-2020, 03:12 PM   #7
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You need to be able to vent quite a bit of air to get the heat away from the AC. I've seen very large vents. I put in two 4" vents (mostly because my PO had already cut a pair of 4"-ish holes) like this:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073ZCHCCS/

Then put a 4" heat-activated fan behind one of them to push more air through. These fans are often sold to vent RV fridges. Boats use them too. The idea is that when it gets hot (like from the AC running) it kicks on and starts shoving some of that hot air out.

Appears to work, at least so far as I've been able to test it.

Most people just put a big vent on the side of the trailer though.
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Old 03-30-2020, 03:37 PM   #8
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Casita has installed many a/c's in their front closet in the past. You might want to go over to their forum and check out the many repairs done.
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Old 03-30-2020, 09:32 PM   #9
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Previous mod causing sagging? Which moderator caused this?


Oh, wait, not that kind of mod....
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Old 03-31-2020, 08:00 AM   #10
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Then put a 4" heat-activated fan behind one of them to push more air through. These fans are often sold to vent RV fridges. Boats use them too. The idea is that when it gets hot (like from the AC running) it kicks on and starts shoving some of that hot air out.
This is an interesting idea! So to make sure I understand, you mount it to the back of the AC, so it pushes the hot air out of my existing large vent?

I really like the two smaller circular vents, looks much better and more manageable than cutting another large opening!
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Old 04-11-2020, 10:41 AM   #11
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My concern would also be where the water generated by the air conditioner is going.
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Old 04-11-2020, 12:44 PM   #12
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I built a 5,000 btu window AC unit into an area below a twin bed in my van conversion and I'm very satisfied with it's operation. The album below may give you a few ideas in dealing with your situation. In my opinion forced air is the logical solution for condenser cooling.

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1Q...xGSEJJLVQ0ODNR
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Old 04-11-2020, 01:27 PM   #13
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My concern would also be where the water generated by the air conditioner is going.
It drips out through the wheel well via a tube!
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Old 04-11-2020, 02:10 PM   #14
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The temperature activated fan, as Baxter described is a good plan. But you could also do it in possibly a better way with a muffin fan mounted to a matching sized vent and wire it to the compressor so it runs whenever the AC is on. This way you don't wait for heat to build up, you begin venting when the AC goes on. The idea is to keep exchanging the air in the area behind the AC condenser, so that it can blow cool air over the coils as much as possible. An auxiliary fan allows a very small vent, as opposed to the huge opening you show. This might end up being two 4", or 6" round screened grills in the side of the trailer. BTW, when you bought the trailer, did you get the piece that was cut out?

It seems a shame to cut holes in the side, but most of us are used to a huge water heater vented cover in the sides of our trailers and hardly notice them. Most of us also have a heater combustion air and exhaust vent too.

Just be sure you don't vent the warm exhaust into the trailer, or draw inside air to cool the condenser. Either one will defeat the function of the AC, either by heating the inside, or by causing a needed draft of air in from the outside.
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Old 04-11-2020, 02:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Acollot View Post
It drips out through the wheel well via a tube!
In my installation the AC does not have a dedicated condensate drain (mixes with air flow over condenser). I sloped the bottom surface toward the drain and fiberglassed all interior surfaces of the containment. I don't use it while driving as pitching of the vehicle could cause problems. My unit seems very quiet compared to roof top units I have owned.
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Old 04-14-2020, 10:13 AM   #16
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In my installation the AC does not have a dedicated condensate drain (mixes with air flow over condenser). I sloped the bottom surface toward the drain and fiberglassed all interior surfaces of the containment. I don't use it while driving as pitching of the vehicle could cause problems. My unit seems very quiet compared to roof top units I have owned.
So it seems like I could try and go one of two ways with pretty much the same components: drip pan, RV fridge fan, some insulation, and circular vent for cold air intake. In order to avoid placing the intake vent right above the hot air vent, I could use a periscoping dryer vent up the interior of the closet to be able to place the intake vent near the roof of the scamp. The downside to this is losing a good chunk of closet space.

Do you think option B (see photo), can work despite the very close (~6in) proximity of the intake and exhaust?

Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:23 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Acollot View Post
So it seems like I could try and go one of two ways with pretty much the same components: drip pan, RV fridge fan, some insulation, and circular vent for cold air intake. In order to avoid placing the intake vent right above the hot air vent, I could use a periscoping dryer vent up the interior of the closet to be able to place the intake vent near the roof of the scamp. The downside to this is losing a good chunk of closet space.

Do you think option B (see photo), can work despite the very close (~6in) proximity of the intake and exhaust?

Thanks!
Option B is the better choice. The warm air will not just go right back into the cold inlet, through side by side vents, in any way that is noticeable. For example, look at heater combustion vents. Right next to each other with no problem. Some of them are even concentric, and still work fine.

The important thing is to get adequate cool air circulation in the area of the condenser and condenser fan. If you can do this with a small muffin fan, of about 4"- 6", fine. That reduces the size of the holes and the fans don't use much power. You might even want two fans, one one each vent, depending on the size you pick, where one is blowing in and the other one out.

You might be able to also partition the interior space to direct the warm exhaust to the exterior vent. You either need an abundance of cool air in the vicinity of the condenser fan, that then gets exchanged with outside air, or a system of cold air ducting through the condenser from the outside and back to the outside. Either way, the addition of a high flow muffin fan is needed, unless you simply have a huge cutout such that the AC is working as though it is hanging out of a window.
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Old 04-17-2020, 06:34 PM   #18
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Option B is the better choice. The warm air will not just go right back into the cold inlet, through side by side vents, in any way that is noticeable. For example, look at heater combustion vents. Right next to each other with no problem. Some of them are even concentric, and still work fine.

The important thing is to get adequate cool air circulation in the area of the condenser and condenser fan. If you can do this with a small muffin fan, of about 4"- 6", fine. That reduces the size of the holes and the fans don't use much power. You might even want two fans, one one each vent, depending on the size you pick, where one is blowing in and the other one out.

You might be able to also partition the interior space to direct the warm exhaust to the exterior vent. You either need an abundance of cool air in the vicinity of the condenser fan, that then gets exchanged with outside air, or a system of cold air ducting through the condenser from the outside and back to the outside. Either way, the addition of a high flow muffin fan is needed, unless you simply have a huge cutout such that the AC is working as though it is hanging out of a window.
Acollot-
Hard for me to tell exactly what your design details would be. One concern is that the air coming off the condenser will be warm and warm air tends to rise. So it would seem better to have the exhaust above the intake if possible. And your internal passages should be ducted as then the forced air cooling will be far more effective. I used computer case fans extensively in my van build as they are inexpensive, durable, quiet, and can have significant cfm. Almost anything made specifically for an RV will often be overpriced and subpar in quality. Below is a link to the fan I used which was $13 (but who knows in the current environment).

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 04-17-2020, 08:34 PM   #19
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Acollot-
Hard for me to tell exactly what your design details would be. One concern is that the air coming off the condenser will be warm and warm air tends to rise. So it would seem better to have the exhaust above the intake if possible. And your internal passages should be ducted as then the forced air cooling will be far more effective. I used computer case fans extensively in my van build as they are inexpensive, durable, quiet, and can have significant cfm. Almost anything made specifically for an RV will often be overpriced and subpar in quality. Below is a link to the fan I used which was $13 (but who knows in the current environment).

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Plan "B" is simply more practical because it does not require an internal duct. And both new vents can probably be in the cut out area you now have, instead of making another hole up high. The warm exiting air will immediately mix with the surrounding air. Little, if any, will go right back into the cold inlet. And the differences in the two temps will be small if it is designed well. The greater efficiency will come from moving a larger amount of air at a lower differential temperature. Don't get stuck on the idea that all of the exhaust will immediately go into the intake. I used an example of how RV heaters have their combustion vents right next to their intake vents. If there was mixing there, the flame would go out. Mine is even a concentric vent, where the exhaust is a smaller tube, inside a larger tube and they exit one inside the other with no problem. It's easy to overthink this, but not necessary. The main thing is to not have the condenser heat just going around and around inside the area behind the AC. Keep that area cool, and run the muffin fans whenever the AC is on, instead of having a heat switch control them.
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Old 04-21-2020, 07:43 AM   #20
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Name: Addie
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Thank you all so much. This has been really helpful information. It's our first camper, our first renovation, and I have no real depth of experience in any of the components of the renovation! This forum is truly wonderful.
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