caravan air conditioners

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 13, 2008 at 23:48
ThreadID: 53460 Views:20155 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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I have a 16' Avan Erin pop top caravan and am thinking of fitting a reverse cycle air conditioner. Space is an issue, so a Heron on the wall could be a problem, have been told about a Dometic roof top mount made for pop tops, Model B1900S. Has anyone fitted one of these as an aftermarket accessory, and how effective are they ? Are they noisy, eg could you sleep with one on ? Also are they expensive to installl ? Hope someone can help.
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Reply By: Notso - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 08:41

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 08:41
I know of at least two vanners who have had them fitted and are very happy with them. They do add some weight to the pop top, about 20 kilos I think.

They are a little noisy but no worse in my experience than the Heron type which can sound like a plane taking off.

My roof top was factory fitted in a full van and is a Dometic and I find it Ok and have managed to sleep soundly during the day when I was working night shift for a couple of months during last summer.
AnswerID: 281507

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 09:00

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 09:00
I have friends that I camp with that have one and it works a treat with some noise however as it is constant and low it does not bother them, we just place the vans strategically so that they complement each other and their genny gets placed well away in it's own little tent with the exhaust facing away from camp. Honda 2kva with 100ft lead.
Like everything else there are those that like them and those that hate them. If you sleep soundly then the small amount of noise they make will not worry you.
They had to have the roof strengthened to take the extra weight and also have the gas struts either boosted or changed to help lift and hold the top up properly. In a 16ft van there would be no problem to cool the interior. You will also need at least a 2kva genny when remote camping. Just don't camp near me.LOL.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 281513

Follow Up By: AUNTY MART - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 11:29

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 11:29
Thanks, have you any idea how much it cost to have the roof strengthened & struts altered, was it much ? What size van is theirs ?
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Follow Up By: Member -Dodger - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 20:31

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 20:31
They did most of the work themselves cept for the 240v which a sparky friend did so the cost would not be applicable to your situation. However I would think that it could be all done for less than a grand plus the air con purchase price.
Sorry but that is about all I can tell you.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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Reply By: AUNTY MART - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 11:31

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 11:31
Thanks, I appreciate your prompt reply.
AnswerID: 281540

Reply By: Member - Geoff C (QLD) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 18:29

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 18:29
We had one fitted 3years ago. It was a lot better than not having one but was noisy and only dropped the temp by about 10 degrees. It cost about $2400 and include stronger gas shocks etc. I wanted to try it with the top down in the 40 degree heat but swmbo wouldn't be in it, would have to be better. We liked it but our new van has a wall mount and while it hasn't been tried in extreme heat yet it is quieter and cools it down quicker.
AnswerID: 281599

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff C (QLD) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 18:36

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 18:36
Should have added a friend fitted a commercial split system himself. Much much quieter and more effective. He only travels short distances and nver leaves the tar so I don't know how effective it would be on dirt roads etc.
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Reply By: didiaust - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 19:12

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 19:12
I know you asked about a specific type of AC but you may want options

We have a 16' poptop and we usually camp without power but for one week a year we make the trip to Tamworth.

We use a portable AC that sits perfectly on the seat at front/side of the van - we then take it out again.

It is 1 horse power and works like a dream

Iit cost around $400

If you want better details i can ask better half

AnswerID: 281610

Follow Up By: AUNTY MART - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 21:50

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 21:50
Thanks, would like to know a bit more about this, make & size etc if possible. I would really appreciate it. Thanks Aunty Mart
FollowupID: 546205

Reply By: Member - Julie P (VIC) - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 21:24

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 21:24
Don't know much about aircon in vans at all - but would like to ask your opinion on your Avan Erin - what do you tow it with, front side or back kitchen, single or double beds - where have you been with it? am looking at a van probably in the next 6 months - and really like the Avans we have seen.
Will be keeping the camper trailer though - some places we go you just wouldn't take a caravan -
hope you don't mind me asking
AnswerID: 281643

Follow Up By: AUNTY MART - Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 22:34

Tuesday, Jan 15, 2008 at 22:34
We are really happy with our van, it has front kitchen. Double bed, and centre lounge & dining. We tow with 2004 Nissan patrol 3 litre Turbo Diesel Wagon, Hubby says hardly feels it on the back as they are about the lightest vans on the market, We do a lot of bush camping & have turned the axle to the top of springs which has given us 100 cm more clearance, & sits good with 4wd, Feel happier knowing we have more room under it, as we often travel on dirt or gravel roads.We have been out bush for a week with no power, & the battery pack kept the lights & water pump going, don't know how much longer it would last without recharging, but are very happy. Have also been to lot of Parks as well, & Van is always admired by other travellers. The finish is really good, a lot of extras that other vans don't come with standard, eg innerspring mattress, battery pack, mirror doors on wardrobes to name off top of head.You have to pay extra for these. Certainly wouldn't sell your camper, would need if doing really rough road trips. but a van is much easier, pop the top & you're set. We have travelled quite a bit over the years , and have upgraded from camper trailer to Jayco outback hawk, but got sick of the amount of work setting up & chose a double bed, access from both sides, as also got sick of climbing over each other. We have discussed taking outback trips again, as most places are accessible if you travel carefully, but if really rough wouldn't take van, would leave at a park somewhere near & do trip with 4wd, maybe take tent for a couple of nights if too far to get back . We have been to a lot of rough places before, we don't need to go again, so wouldn't need an off road van, which are quite expensive, & really don't wish to get stuck in mud & creekbeds etc as we usually travel alone, so we chose the Avan for our needs.
Hope this has been helpful, if there is anything else you want to know, I don't mind if you ask. Cheers !
FollowupID: 546225

Reply By: awill4x4 - Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 23:58

Monday, Jan 14, 2008 at 23:58
Aunty Mart. Would you consider using a domestic split sytem? this question sometimes comes up the msn caravaners forum and it seems that using a domestic split system is cheaper and more efficient and quieter as well.
The forum is at caravaners forum
The latest specific post is at
domestic air con in vans
There are also some photo's of installs along with a brief description when you click on the photo's at.
air con installs
I'm not sure if you need to be a member of the msn forum to view the above links but there's a lot of good info on that forum as well.
Regards Andrew.
AnswerID: 281674

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