Van air con

Submitted: Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 11:49
ThreadID: 136950 Views:2688 Replies:3 FollowUps:9
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I'm looking at getting my caravan air conditioned. I've read too many complaints about roof rattlers so I'm looking at the under-bed variety. Our concern is the noise the thing would make whilst we're trying to sleep. Some people say they don't find it intrusive but I'm skeptical. So does anyone in Exploroz Land actually own one of these on-floor units - either under the bed or in a cupboard, and can you tell me the level of noise/vibration they make? So in a nutshell, are they intrusive?
Thank you, Deejay.
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Reply By: Notso - Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 13:52

Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 13:52
Well up till recently I would have agreed about the under bed unit, but now I must say the latest roof top units are very quiet. In particular the Ibis and I have the latest Dometic in my new motorhome and it is very quiet also.
AnswerID: 620019

Reply By: Batt's - Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 22:11

Saturday, Jul 07, 2018 at 22:11
Sorry can't help with that type we had a house type split system suited for a small bedroom fitted to our previous van it was great and quiet as. Our van was a 16'6" pop top we had the rear window removed fitted the head unit there and the compressor on the rear bumper bar of the van. It kept the van nice and cool with ease because it was a bit larger model than we needed so it didn't have to work as hard to keep it cool it was reverse cycle as well.
AnswerID: 620031

Follow Up By: Deejay - Sunday, Jul 08, 2018 at 07:54

Sunday, Jul 08, 2018 at 07:54
So Batts, just to be clear, you had the condensor and compressor mounted on your van's rear bumper bar, the evaporator mounted in the window frame above and short pipework running between the two?
Thanks, DJ.
FollowupID: 892360

Follow Up By: Batt's - Sunday, Jul 08, 2018 at 12:32

Sunday, Jul 08, 2018 at 12:32
Yes that's right the same way it is set up in a house with short pipe work between the 2. We had it done back in 2005 because we talked to other who had done the same thing to their vans they had no complaints and it was cheaper than a roof mount at the time. These days it would legally need a separate ON/OFF isolation switch outside next to the unit so it would add a bit to the cost of installation.

I bolted the compressor unit to the bumper after welding some C - Channel onto the bumper to mount it on and also put a ratchet strap over it for extra safety because the feet looked a bit light weight. It all worked well I travelled from Perth to Mackay via the top end done a few trips from Mackay to Brisvegas without any problems.
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Follow Up By: Deejay - Sunday, Jul 08, 2018 at 14:56

Sunday, Jul 08, 2018 at 14:56
Thanks Batt's.
I'm in a real quandary with this issue. A roof rattler is definitely out as I have read of so many dissatisfied owners on the internet. The under-bunk units also seem unreliable and prone to putting noise or vibration through the van. They're expensive also!
We were going to run with a window rattler fitted into a cupboard with the back flush with the outside wall of the van but it appears the sides of the thing need to be ventilated too so that means designing some sort of flu ducting to the floor or outside wall. Can be done but what if it doesn't work?
That leaves a split system which is heading the race. Trouble is, I'm not keen on putting any more weight (condensor etc) onto the draw bar.
FollowupID: 892368

Follow Up By: Batt's - Monday, Jul 09, 2018 at 15:48

Monday, Jul 09, 2018 at 15:48
Are you not able to mount an A/C at the rear of the van ? I had to relocate the two spare tyres that were mounted at the rear of the van to be able to fit the A/C. They fitted under our bed which was at the front of the van so it balanced out ok ended up with an 80kg tow ball weight when the van was loaded up.
FollowupID: 892376

Follow Up By: Deejay - Monday, Jul 09, 2018 at 17:14

Monday, Jul 09, 2018 at 17:14
Yes I can, and that's a possibility I'll look into. Thanks again. Dens
FollowupID: 892378

Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Wednesday, Jul 11, 2018 at 11:59

Wednesday, Jul 11, 2018 at 11:59
Hi Guys, just a general comment, I would have thought that a "house" type Air Conn, even a small one would be extremely heavy to be mounting on any of the extremities of a van. On the front would increase the Ball weight considerably. On the rear could decrease the ball weight tho the point that the van is dangerously underweight on the ball. Either end could lead to significant instability.

We have had an under-bed Air Conn unit on our last pop top camper. We found it not very efficient, and the unit itself & piping running through cupboards to various points in the van took up a lot of storage space.

We currently have a roof mounted unit on a full off road van. It is reverse cycle so does both heating & cooling. Yes there is some noise associated with it, but it is very efficient, much lighter than the under-bed & "house" type units, and you really do get used to the noise quite quickly. It is also mounted in the centre of the roof, so any weight associated with it is distributed over the axle.


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FollowupID: 892406

Follow Up By: Batt's - Friday, Jul 13, 2018 at 12:13

Friday, Jul 13, 2018 at 12:13
Macca you would have to check the specs for each brand form memory mine was around 30 -35 kg compressor unit plus around 10 kg indoor head unit. So there was no significant weight difference between it and the 2 spare wheels plus mounting brackets on the rear draw bar.

It would also pay to find out what the weight limit is for the van as well.
FollowupID: 892458

Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Friday, Jul 13, 2018 at 13:42

Friday, Jul 13, 2018 at 13:42
Hi Bratts, out of curiosity, what is the total weight of your van fully loaded? 80 Kg ball weight seems light for a van.


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Follow Up By: Batt's - Saturday, Jul 14, 2018 at 17:47

Saturday, Jul 14, 2018 at 17:47
Around 1,360kg from memory behind Disco TD5 and a couple of yrs later a GQ Patrol and no it's not light for tow ball weight. That's where people quite often go wrong their tow ball weight is to heavy and places to much weight on the tow vehicle. Any vans axels should be able to comfortably support it's own weight and you don't need 200 or 350 kg placed on the tow ball like some of these larger vans do.
That 80kg on the tow ball adds up to be more when you calculate what weight it actually places on the vehicles springs it's a matter of getting the balance correct and not having to rely on towing aids like WDHitches to compensate for a poor set up. I drove trucks for yrs so maybe had a head start over others who just hook up the van and drive off. The key to it is I took the time to get it set up correctly made sure both van and 4WD sat level when hitched together done a few runs around local areas short trips up and down the coast before I done a big trip where all ran smooth.
Had no problems at all with the van wobbling etc easily able to cruise along at HWY speeds and not being inconsiderate holding up lines of traffic because of a poor set up or using excessive fuel from thinking I need to tow a massive van behind me and most importantly I was towing well within my capabilities and the capabilities of my vehicle and van.
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Reply By: swampy - Sunday, Jul 08, 2018 at 07:55

Sunday, Jul 08, 2018 at 07:55
An integrated air con unit will find all the vibration/noise sources.
To consider a unit in the roof is the roof reinforced ?? Many van roofs are not strong enough .
AnswerID: 620032

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