1991 Skamper A/C Install Questions..

Discussion in 'Heating / Cooling Systems' started by kb0nly, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    I recently purchased a 1991 Skamper 12ft pup, time to get off the ground and get in a bed, and with three kids and long trips it sure is nice to have something other than a tent!

    It didn't come with A/C but i bought a 13.5k BTU Carrier unit off eBay, good price and a respected seller. It's going to be here next week so i am getting ready for it's install. I'm a big DIY'er having remodeled and rewired most of my home so this seems simple but i have a few questions..

    First of all is the roof, i see mention of roof supports needed on some models, but i can't find any info on this Skamper online. Will i need to add some kind of roof supports? If so how about just fabricating some out of steel box tubing and fastening them to the roof sides, its looks like they usually just cross on either side of the A/C unit and get bolted to the roof sides with "L" brackets? I have a metal and welding shop nearby that could easily cut whatever i need for a few bucks plus the cost of the metal, which from previous projects i know won't be too much, maybe $20-$30 to make a set. I just don't know if it will be necessary. My oldest son was on the roof helping me clean it after we bought it, i would imagine if it could support him it could support the A/C.

    Next is wiring, just looking for advice on what everyone else did. I already added an outlet on its own dedicated breaker to one wall of the camper where there is a pocket sewn into the canvas for the 12v wiring to hide in up to the ceiling. I was planning on just running the A/C power cord up that pocket to hide it down the wall and then use some peel and stick wire covering across the roof to the unit. The only question i have is what did you, the ones that have done this, use for a power cord? I can't find anything heavier than a 14awg appliance extension cord at my local hardware and home stores. I would like to find a 12awg cord but i haven't found any yet. I think the 14awg would be "ok" for the short run, only about 6-7ft over and down to the outlet, but i like overkill if possible, hence why my whole house is wired in 12-3 and even 10-3 for some of the outlets in my hobby room.

    Last but not least.. Is a cover for the unit when not in use absolutely necessary? I get mixed answers on this. Some say to leave it open so it can breath, some say if you put a cover on it when not using the camper it will just trap moisture and cause more problems.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. turtle

    turtle New Member

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    I just installed the unit you probably bought. Carrier 13,500 also from ebay. My unit arrived in 2 days.

    I would make sure your roof has at least a support accross the center of the top. My unit sets just behind the center brace so the weight is distributed about half way between the rear of the unit and the center brace.

    I found a #12 25' extension cord at Home Depot. If you don't have them there I would search for a #12 cord as this is the required wiring for the unit regardless of the run length (never go smaller than the required size).

    I did run mine thru the brace of the ceiling and down thru the canvas. I also kept almost the entire length as if I am at a campsite with both 20 amp and 30 amp service I can plug the A/C into the seperate campground 20 amp circut and still have my 30 amp camper circuts free.

    I would not cover my unit because I keep it inside but if kept outside I may consider it.

    06 Fleetwood Graphite
    96 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Ron, Diane and the Lab mix, Cody

    Edited by - turtle on July 13 2007 14:04:36
     
  3. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    The seller is familyrvrepair on eBay, 100% positive feedback and quite a few of these units sold and for sale. I'm sure its the same unit as the one you bought.

    I would make sure there was a brace if a knew how to! I took the trim off the roof vent but my center of the ceiling is a 1/4" white paneling and it would require a LOT of dissasembly to see behind it, even then it appears to be glued to the foam insulation as well. So i don't know if there is any support in there or not!

    We have a Lowe's nearby, but a #12 cord is a bit cost prohibitive at nearly $40 to just chop one end off of. I will go check some electrical supply houses and see what they have for bulk 12awg cord that i could put an end on instead if i go that route.

    I was thinking since i have to keep mine outside that i might just get a tarp large enough to cover the whole camper including the air conditioner, seems like a better idea to me.
     
  4. turtle

    turtle New Member

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    Thats the unit I bought. Very positive with the whole tranaction.

    My brace is visible from the inside.

    I would brace inside just to be sure. If you can have some made it would be peace of mind.

    $40.00. OUCH. mine was $19.95 for 25'.

    I would probably cover if kept outside with some and allow airflow so moisture can't build up.

    06 Fleetwood Graphite
    96 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Ron, Diane and the Lab mix, Cody
     
  5. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    Yeah the cords i have been looking at here are mighty spendy if they are 12awg. I will keep shopping or watch for a sale though.

    I was looking at some 6061 structural aluminum channel for roof supports.

    How low below the ceiling does the inside kit hang? I can't find any dimensions on that part online. I'm thinking as long as the aluminum channel is less that that then i won't have to worry about hitting our heads on it too much.

    Plus i would want the aluminum low enough that it doesn't interfere with the vents on the unit.
     
  6. turtle

    turtle New Member

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    I can measure that for you tomorrow as I plan to pop it up and do clean up but I know it's not more than 3-4 inches. I know when I close my pup it comes right down to the top of the bed.

    06 Fleetwood Graphite
    96 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Ron, Diane and the Lab mix, Cody
     
  7. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    Ok, then some channel i have should work!

    Do you know if there is any dimensions of this unit available online for the inside kit? The main thing i am trying to do this weekend, before the unit gets here on Weds, is to fabricate these metal support pieces. I'm trying to figure out from looking at pictures of it online how far forward and how far back from the hole the inside unit will cover so i can place the support pieces on either side of it.

    The carrier manual on their website has really nice measurements of the outside unit itself, but it doesn't show much of the inside unit.

    Thanks!



    Edited by - kb0nly on July 14 2007 18:22:10
     
  8. turtle

    turtle New Member

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    Ok these are estimates but pretty close. I only poped up a small amount to day to shove some stuff in.
    The inside unit is a total of 25" in length. It sits 3" in front of the hole opening front edge and 8" back from the back of the opening and the unit hangs down less than 3". These measurements may be 1/4-1/2 " off but My brace bar is a good three inches from the lower unit ends. If I were doing it I would brace 2-3 more inches from the end of the front and back of the inside unit. Does all this make any sense?

    06 Fleetwood Graphite
    96 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Ron, Diane and the Lab mix, Cody
     
  9. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    Makes perfect sense! I appreciate the effort, i really do.

    I got some pieces made up, going to bring them to the welding shop tomorrow and have him put some finishing touches on them. Then i will clean and paint them and get them installed.

    Should get some pictures taken soon as i get them painted and mounted inside. I decided to go with some steel C-Channel that i had and fabricated them up yesterday.

    Looking at the tracking number the unit is on schedule and will be here Weds, knowing UPS in my area it should be Wed afternoon. Can't wait to get it all done!



    1991 Skamper 245C
    1997 Pontiac Trans Sport
    Dad
    Mom
    Three Kids!
     
  10. Yellowkayak

    Yellowkayak Popups.....when sleeping on the ground gets to you

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    KbOnly,

    Its not just the weight on the roof, its the bouncing up and down on the road that puts the stress on the roof with any kind of weight on it. Support bars are a must with an AC mounted on the roof. Your one step ahead of most of us in that you have a welding shop closeby that will help you on the support brackets. GO FOR IT!!! Please post pictures for other DIYers. Thanks!!!

    07 Chevy Trailblazer
    07 Chevy Crew Cab
    07 Fleetwood Niagara
    (2) Hobie Adventure Kayaks
    (1) Hobie Outback
    (1) Pungo 120
    (1) Pungo 100
     
  11. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    I got the supports made up yesterday, cleaned and painted, and i will install them later today and take some snap shots. I think they turned out pretty good, better than nothing right?!



    1991 Skamper 245C
    1997 Pontiac Trans Sport
    Dad
    Mom
    Three Kids!
     
  12. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    I got the braces mounted up a little while ago, still in the process of repainting everything around the vent hole, but its starting to look better now!

    I still need to replace the goofy light fixture the previous owner put in, it works good though so it can stay for now. It's on a dimmer switch down near the door and makes it nice for getting up in the middle of the night if you need to, don't have to blind everyone else!

    <img src="http://www.kb0nly.net/Files/017.jpg" border=0>

    <img src="http://www.kb0nly.net/Files/018.jpg" border=0>

    The metal cost me $6 for four lengths of 1/8" steel channel, couldn't find anything long enough to make it from one piece at the local scrap yard.

    Welding them up after i fabricated them cost $10.

    A can of paint and some other misc stuff around $5.



    1991 Skamper 245C
    1997 Pontiac Trans Sport
    Dad
    Mom
    Three Kids!

    Edited by - kb0nly on July 17 2007 17:46:23
     
  13. Yellowkayak

    Yellowkayak Popups.....when sleeping on the ground gets to you

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    kbOnly,

    Most excellent. I agree with the light. Find one that is more modern and low profile, but keep the dimmer switch...cool idea....makes for a romantic atmosphere with the little lady in the evening!!!!

    07 Chevy Trailblazer
    07 Chevy Crew Cab
    07 Fleetwood Niagara
    (2) Hobie Adventure Kayaks
    (1) Hobie Outback
    (1) Pungo 120
    (1) Pungo 100
     
  14. jpawlishn

    jpawlishn New Member

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    Actually I have that same light fixture on my back porch! Looks like the mod went wel!!

    Jen,Jim,Bryon
    Frackville, PA
    1994 Starcraft Starflyer
    1992 Pontiac Grand Prix
    <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_pu.gif border=0 align=middle> <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_camping.gif border=0 align=middle> <img src=../Images/icons/icon_smile_bbq.gif border=0 align=middle>
     
  15. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    The little lady gets taken over by the three little boys.. But the dimmer switch serves another purpose, a dim night light for checking on the baby at night as well!

    I plan on putting a different light fixture in when i get time, just too many other things going on right now.

    The installation of the ceiling braces went well, and installing the AC went good today despite the rain and a few delays.

    For anyone thinking of installing one of these Carrier AirV units here are some tips.

    1. The manual says if you have the low profile unit you need shorter 5 inch bolts for the front two holes if your ceiling is less than two inches thick. Mine is not the low profile unit but the standard one, however i still needed to shorten the front bolts a few inches otherwise they started to dig into the inside of the plastic hood on the unit. I cut the bolts supplied down to 5 inches and cleaned up the ends of the threads and they worked great. The bolts are SUPER LONG as supplied. You could install on a roof that is half a foot thick or slightly more without problems.

    2. The air vent between the top and bottom unit do not line up like i figured they would, this is why they use the flexible foam duct that you install, i assume. They are off alignment by about 2 inches and there is nothing you can do about it. It's hard getting the wrinkles out and you have to do some cutting to make the length of it fit, but take your time and its not too terrible.

    3. Buy a real connector to clamp the power cord in place, i had some box connectors left over from another electrical project in the house so i used one of those. The plastic piece my unit came with doesn't fit round cord, nor does it fit the large flat 12awg cord that i used. It would fit a 14awg or smaller but that's too small for running the unit anyway!

    With all that said here is some installation pictures!

    Here is the front of the unit, you can see the cord goes into the front of the unit, this was the easiest way to get that big cord in there without having to cut up the roof, i just made a small notch the size of the cord so the cover can just slide over it without causing any problems. It doesn't cause any airflow problems because the cord goes through the return air area of the cover. The cord is a snug fit in the notch i made as well.

    <img src="http://www.kb0nly.net/Files/ac1.jpg" border=0>

    Here is the back side of the unit.

    <img src="http://www.kb0nly.net/Files/ac2.jpg" border=0>

    The only minor problem i discovered is when i went to collapse the unit to check a few things on the roof. The camper will not collapse without the AC being a TIGHT fit against the boards across the front of the beds. The boards across the front end of the beds are mainly decorative and only held on with five screws, i could have just removed them and left them off but i decided to modify them instead since they cover the end of the plywood and make and edge that keeps the mattress's from sliding off the end.

    <img src="http://www.kb0nly.net/Files/bed.jpg" border=0>

    I cut an area out of the middle of each bed end trim board, now the AC unit just rests against the mattress which compresses just a bit and cushions the AC unit. I will just get some new plastic trim to put around the cut out piece this weekend when i get to Lowe's and its all good! On another note, having that piece notched out makes it more comfortable sitting on the edge of the bed while getting in or out, now i don't have that board across the back of my legs.



    1991 Skamper 245C
    1997 Pontiac Trans Sport
    Dad
    Mom
    Three Kids!

    Edited by - kb0nly on July 19 2007 01:28:49
     
  16. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    Almost forgot to mention the results! Today was about 78 degrees, not super hot, but the humidity was 100% and you just melted into your shoes being outside. This was a really good test for the unit because it was humid and rainy, any leaks would show up quickly, and i did retighten the mounting bolts slightly to stop what i thought was a small leak on one corner. The next downpour told me i got that problem solved!

    After about 45 minutes i ran back out and checked it, i had 68 degrees and 65% humidity! And it felt downright cold and comfy in there. I have to figure out about where the comfort spot for me on the thermostat is but it will definitely get COLD in there! The next few days will bring 90's back to the forecast and i will see how it does then. I stepped out of the camper and ended up with fogged over glasses.. lol

    This was in direct sunlight part of the day so it worked great! Well worth the investment to get a good nights sleep in a hot campground.


    1991 Skamper 245C
    1997 Pontiac Trans Sport
    Dad
    Mom
    Three Kids!

    Edited by - kb0nly on July 19 2007 01:38:38
     
  17. Indy-Sedona

    Indy-Sedona 2001 Sedona

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    KB, You did a fine job on the install! Looks like the ac was always there. I like your roof braces. What did you fabricate them from? I would like to make a pair to go from the cross member braces on each side of the ac unit just for added support.

    Dennis in Indy
     
  18. turtle

    turtle New Member

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    Very nice job. I also use a #12 cord with mine. and down to the plug. Haven't had the chance to test mine yet except for a few minutes after install. Please let me know how it does with higher temps.

    06 Fleetwood Graphite
    96 Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Ron, Diane and the Lab mix, Cody
     
  19. kb0nly

    kb0nly New Member

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    I made them from some U shaped steel channel that i found at a local metal scrapyard, not sure what they actually came off of, but they were the right size and strength for the job! I found them in 4ft lengths so i need to have two welded together to get the 6' 4" that i needed to span the ceiling. However rather than a plain old butt joint for the weld i cut them so they overlapped. Each end got cut down the middle for about 3" and then the opposite halves were removed to make a half lap joint. Once welded up its just as strong as the rest of it!

    I have just over 80 degrees today, and the digital thermometer i left in the camper was showing 87 and boy was it stuffy, humid that is, inside there. I flipped the AC onto high cool and came back in a half hour, i had 72 degrees and about 10% decrease in humidity.. Not bad at all!

    This is with the camper in the open and strong sun, so it hold its own so far! I will find out better next week, the last weekend of this month will be our first outing with it, and we are expecting hot temps with little shade.



    1991 Skamper 245C
    1997 Pontiac Trans Sport
    Dad
    Mom
    Three Kids!
     
  20. mstbone67a

    mstbone67a New Member

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    nice install. So when you installed the support bars you didnt screw or bolt all the way through th roof did you?
     

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