This post is longish, but ends well.😍
Two of our most faithful readers fall asleep the moment I post about working on the BoggsMobile. (You know who you are😜) They have both admitted as much to me and I understand.
However, it may shock them and you, but I have some readers that ONLY come here for bus stuff.
1995 Prevost XL Vantare
Plus, it is amazing how often I search Mile Markers for an answer on when I did this or that or what it was exactly what the solution to the problem was. Mile Markers serves as a journal of sorts to us and is a tremendous memory aid!
I say that as an introduction to another very important BoggsMobile post. This one has been a long time coming and we are happy to report good news!
A Long But Cool Story!
Cool in the summer, warm in the winter. Those are two of the main goals when living in an RV.
We are reminded every summer of how quickly temperatures inside of a parked car can reach deadly levels. Each year families are destroyed by the accidental death of a child left inside a hot automobile. It is tragic and can happen so quickly.
Living inside an RV is similar, especially an RV with two big windows in the front and lots of windows down both sides. Wow, it gets hot quickly. That is why air conditioning is so important to the BoggsMobile inhabitants.
Our bus was originally equipped with three Cruise Airs when converted to a motorhome in 1995. Cruise Airs were designed and first used in yachts and are similar to small central AC on a house. They have an "outside" component and an inside component.
The BoggsMobile had two "outside" units behind the front bumper and the third one in a small compartment near the engine in the back. The A coils and fans are inside, one in front, the second about midway and the third in the back.
By the time we purchased the bus in 2008, the Cruise Airs were on their last legs. Plus, they drew their fresh air from underneath which was usually hot pavement about 8-10 inches below them. They never did keep us cool.
The one in the back failed in May of 2009 while we were in Phoenix. I had it looked at by an expert and the compressor was toast. The cost of the compressor was about equal to the cost of one roof AC so that started my thinking process.
After checking around several directions and after a few false starts, I was pointed toward Robert's Brothers Coach in the Nashville area. They quoted me an amazing price to install four roof ACs and in November 2009, we jumped on it.
They cut four holes in the roof, ran all of the 12 volt and 110 volt wires and installed four 13.5 Penguin low profile units by Dometic and two thermostats. We had enough cool air to keep us happy for many years. It was a wise decision and a job well done.
I had heat strips installed in all four units as well so that we could use them for heat too. The two front units operate from one thermostat in front and the two rear units operate from a second thermostat in the back. But each unit can be set individually to whatever settings and temperatures you like.
Even though we have four roof ACs, we never use all four at the same time. We have on a few occasions of high temps, high humidity and full sun with no shade used three ACs at a time, but only briefly. It is nice to have the added flexibility of four inits, but we use AC #2 and AC #3 the most by far.
Nearly five years after installation, in July 2014, we had a little trouble with AC #2. I had to remove the fan motor and have a broken bracket welded and I had to replace one of the fans on the motor. The fan had been dragging and rubbing because of the broken bracket. The weld and the fan held up well. You can read about that and see pictures HERE and HERE.
In the summer of 2018, AC #3 started locking up after it was in use for about 30 minutes. The fan worked, the heat worked, but the compressor was locking up. It was nearly nine years old and had been used thousands of hours without any problems, so it had earned its right to croak!
I believe we had Jeff Rowe replace AC #3 in November of 2018 while we were in Nigeria. It performed well until mid summer of 2021 when the fan motor began to show signs of going bad. Ugh! The worst part was there were no fans to be found. It seems they all had Covid or something.
At about the same time, AC #2 started locking up showing signs it was about to kick the bucket. We spent last summer without our two main air conditioners because we could not get the right units or parts.
We hoped to have them going by May of this year, before we headed to Arizona, but still no parts available.
We could not keep cool with what we had in 100+ degrees. As soon as we arrived in Phoenix, we purchased a Toshiba portable air conditioner. I think it saved our lives!
Since Phoenix is RV mecca for the southwest, I also started searching for a place that might be able to get parts. I was soon directed to State Trailer RV and Outdoor Supply. Talking to their parts wizard, he was sure he could get the right AC for replacing our AC #2 and he was sure he could get the correct fan motor for AC #3.
I was dubious to be sure, but he was confident. Plus, he was not charging me up front so I went to service to see if they could get the bus in and do the work.
The service department was scheduling work for the end of July, but with a little begging on my part and the hand of the Lord, they squeezed us in! Yay!
Very early one morning, we unhooked the BoggsMobile and drove it about nine miles to the service center.
About 10:15, they pulled the BoggsMobile into the bay.
In an hour or so the service technician came to talk to me. It turns out the AC that was ordered was not the correct one. Surprise, Surprise! After much back and forth between the parts guy and the service guy and questions for me, they came up with a plan. Here is the plan.
I would have to buy a new control box for the brand new AC. I would have to buy a new control box for the existing AC #1. And I would have to buy a new thermostat for the front two ACs, #1 and #2.
Clear as mud? The problem is that the new air conditioners do Not communicate with the original thermostat. They are the same brand, but not backward compatible.
It cost about a few hundred more in parts and a few hundred extra in labor, but after several days of running the new AC in 100+ degree heat, it is worth every penny. We now have cool air in the bus!
They also replaced the fan motor in AC #3 and had to replace the fan start capacitor too. I am happy to report that it is running and blowing cold too!
It cost way more than I wanted to pay, but it was worth every penny. We are so glad to have working ACs! Hallelujah!
AJ, the service guy at State Trailer RV was the brains behind the repair and he and his helper Justin did the work. I am thankful for both of them.
Here I am pulling back in before 4 that day.
I had them put the old AC #2 in the bay of the bus, so that I could save the shroud, the fan motor with fans and the circuit board before scrapping the unit. AC #1 and AC #4 have the same size fan motors and AC #4 still has the same type of circuit board. I will store them in the bus barn in case they are needed in the future.
I know I will need the shroud!
Sorry for the long story! Thank you for reading.