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Westfalia A/C vents & removing plenum
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gmoyle
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to stir up this issue, but the human body uses an evaporative cooling system as well, so the more air moving over the skin, the cooler we actually are. That's why a fan in a hot room makes you feel cooler. Just the moving air does help.

THAT SAID! My Vanagon A/C never cooled my van to my wife's satisfaction. Today we drove it across town with the new Suby SVX it and damn, what a difference. She was magically ok with the cost of the upgrade.

I was considering removing the vent unit after reading this entire thread last night but just got Stella back yesterday with the new engine. I see no reason to remove it now!
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Typhon2222
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gmoyle wrote:
Not to stir up this issue, but the human body uses an evaporative cooling system as well, so the more air moving over the skin, the cooler we actually are. That's why a fan in a hot room makes you feel cooler. Just the moving air does help.

THAT SAID! My Vanagon A/C never cooled my van to my wife's satisfaction. Today we drove it across town with the new Suby SVX it and damn, what a difference. She was magically ok with the cost of the upgrade.

I was considering removing the vent unit after reading this entire thread last night but just got Stella back yesterday with the new engine. I see no reason to remove it now!

Oooh, that's good to know. So a Suby-upgraded engine may help the A/C eh? <takes notes for future reference> Occurs to me, that jives with my parents' experience: they have an '85 Westy, and noticed a substantial improvement in the A/C performance when they recently swapped out the original 1.9l with one of the GoWesty rebuilds.

That said.... There's STILL reason to remove the plenum! More headroom over the rear seat. More available space in the 'spice rack' or whatever people call the long storage tray. And still a more efficient A/C: without the plenum, you can run it at lower power for the same cooling effect. You've got nothing to lose by getting rid of the plenum (except the plenum), but still have stuff to gain. Better cooling is only one among several benefits. Very Happy
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

campism wrote:
See the pic below for a fix I did on the broken plenum plastic mounting brackets...


Thanks; I'll certainly keep that fix in mind. But, despite the fact that I'll be storing the plenum, it's safe to say that the plenum is staying out of my van. Considering the van is mine till death do us part, it's basically a permanent plenumectomy. Very Happy

gmoyle wrote:
Not to stir up this issue, but the human body uses an evaporative cooling system as well, so the more air moving over the skin, the cooler we actually are. That's why a fan in a hot room makes you feel cooler. Just the moving air does help.


That's very true. That's why my house A/C is set to 87 (89-90 if I leave for a week or more) with floor and ceiling fans running. It's also why the plenum was removed; MUCH more air gets to the front of the van now.

Typhon2222 wrote:

That said.... There's STILL reason to remove the plenum! More headroom over the rear seat. More available space in the 'spice rack' or whatever people call the long storage tray. And still a more efficient A/C: without the plenum, you can run it at lower power for the same cooling effect. You've got nothing to lose by getting rid of the plenum (except the plenum), but still have stuff to gain. Better cooling is only one among several benefits. Very Happy


Sh*t, you're telling me!! I drove the van down to a fabric store (about 7 miles away) several days ago (first time driving the van since removal); partially on the freeway there, streets coming back. Ran the A/C at speed 3 all the way to the store. Coming back, I actually turned it down to speed 2 and was quite comfy... in Phoenix... with it over 100° out. To recap: Never did I turn the fan on to 4 that day, and I actually used speed 2... for the first time since buying the van!!! Shocked Dancing Very Happy Very Happy And I love the fact that I no longer bash my head against that thing; i.e. I can now sit straight up in the rear seat!

Anyway, I had a coupon for Harbor Freight; bought a cheap (and I mean cheap!) router and just finished the new vent grille yesterday. Most importantly, the airflow dropped by only 5 mph at the most at the vent. As soon as I get it repainted (long story Rolling Eyes ) and figure out the best way to mount it, I'll post up some photos. Cool
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vent grille/cover is now in place:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

(couldn't find an exact match, light or dark, for spray paint Confused )

...and, of course, so is the new rope light:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Airflow up front on speed 3 dropped by only 2 mph at the most; it is still quite windy up there. So, Typhon, if you'd like me to make you a grille, let me know.
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campism
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great job! Love the lights, too. Inspires me to make mine look a little more finished but first comes new exhaust to pass inspection. I hate it when things get bumped down the list.
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

campism wrote:
Great job! Love the lights, too. Inspires me to make mine look a little more finished but first comes new exhaust to pass inspection. I hate it when things get bumped down the list.


Thanks! If you'd like me to make you a grille (or just the frame), just say the word. Wink

Also, I was in the process of stashing that plenum away and Idea . I removed the rubber trim from the back of it and stuffed it into the cabinet groove:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Doesn't look half bad. So, there's another inexpensive (free!) idea for filling the groove in with something that easily fits and matches. Cool
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Typhon2222
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kamzcab86 wrote:
Thanks; I'll certainly keep that fix in mind. But, despite the fact that I'll be storing the plenum, it's safe to say that the plenum is staying out of my van. Considering the van is mine till death do us part, it's basically a permanent plenumectomy. Very Happy
Hah! Plenumectomy indeed. Very Happy

Kam, the grille looks lovely! Yesh indeedy, I'd love one. I may spray paint it vibrant blue, since that's the color we've tried to use for other accents inside Basil. I'll send you a PM with details.

And kudos to you for using the rubber trim from the back of the plenum to stuff into the exposed slot! The rope lights are a sassy idea, but that gray rubber trim looks awesome. Applause

I threw the plenum away a year ago, so not an option for us. I may just paint the slot. Maybe blue too? -- who knows!

When will you start a new thread with your assembled document? Cool
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gmoyle
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 8:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are there any step by steps instructions for a Plenumectomy? I started digging in today during my lunch hour and it looks like you have to take half the van apart. Ended by giving up and pulling the top mattresses off and washing them.
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Typhon2222 wrote:

When will you start a new thread with your assembled document? Cool


When I return from San Diego. Wink

gmoyle wrote:
Are there any step by steps instructions for a Plenumectomy? I started digging in today during my lunch hour and it looks like you have to take half the van apart. Ended by giving up and pulling the top mattresses off and washing them.


It's not step-by-step and it's not 100% complete yet (just need to add the grille and groove filler tips), but this document tells you the basics of what you need to remove to get the plenum out: http://www.oldbluesblog.com/files/RemovingthePlenum.pdf . The Bentley Service Manual also tells you what you need to do. Well worth the trouble of taking it out!

Edit: PDF link updated (also, PDF is complete).
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Typhon2222
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gmoyle wrote:
Are there any step by steps instructions for a Plenumectomy? I started digging in today during my lunch hour and it looks like you have to take half the van apart. Ended by giving up and pulling the top mattresses off and washing them.

I'm inept mechanically, but I followed the Bentley (was the first time I had ever consulted it for ANYTHING) and it made the whole process clear.

Kam, I just looked over your document. Great stuff! Super-helpful. I wish I'd had your instructions along with the Bentley, especially the tip to "place a couple of boxes on top of the stove and rear table to support the assembly [the long "spice rack" tray] while you work; the light’s wires will prevent the assembly from dropping far enough for the whole assembly to rest on the stove."

I remember being shocked when I realized that those light wires running along/through the spice rack meant I couldn't rest it on the kitchen cabinet while working. I had to hold it up with one hand, while using the other hand to grab tin cans of food from the manhole cupboard and stacking them up to form two leaning towers of pisa on top of which I carefully balanced the dangling tray. Some boxes in advance would have made it a lot easier. Very Happy
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Typhon2222
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gmoyle wrote:
Are there any step by steps instructions for a Plenumectomy? I started digging in today during my lunch hour and it looks like you have to take half the van apart. Ended by giving up and pulling the top mattresses off and washing them.


Gmoyle, gotten around to a full Plenumectomy yet? You won't regret it! Very Happy
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gmoyle
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Typhon2222 wrote:

Gmoyle, gotten around to a full Plenumectomy yet? You won't regret it! Very Happy


Why yes I did. I found that one of my AC brackets was missing a bolt and the plenum was actually holding it up. Found a matching bolt, pulled out the speaker, stuck my hand in there and managed to get it mounted to the upper bunk. Sqeak free and windy up front now.

I would agree that the air does not feel as cold, but the breeze is oh so nice.

Now I just need to fix the Vanagon Hot Foot problem. When running the A/C and pulling up a hill, when that radiator fan kicks in, its like the heater is on full blast (even with the vents closed). The hot air at the feet and the A/C definitely have a battle at that point.

It's kinda funny. The engine is running hotter, so the radiator fan runs making the van hotter, so I crank up the ac... just a vicious circle.

BUT. I can say I threw away the old brittle and cracking plenum and I don't regret it!
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epaddler
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kamzcab86 wrote:
Typhon2222 wrote:

When will you start a new thread with your assembled document? Cool


When I return from San Diego. Wink

gmoyle wrote:
Are there any step by steps instructions for a Plenumectomy? I started digging in today during my lunch hour and it looks like you have to take half the van apart. Ended by giving up and pulling the top mattresses off and washing them.


It's not step-by-step and it's not 100% complete yet (just need to add the grille and groove filler tips), but this document tells you the basics of what you need to remove to get the plenum out: http://www.oldbluesblog.com/files/RemovingthePlenum.pdf . The Bentley Service Manual also tells you what you need to do. Well worth the trouble of taking it out!


Kam, very nice job with the how-to document. Thanks for posting. One more project for this winter.
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. Thanks for the document. It was indeed helpful.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

gmoyle wrote:
I can say I threw away the old brittle and cracking plenum and I don't regret it!


Awesome. Glad it worked out for you. Razz
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bump.

I joined the club.

I had taken out the easy screws of the plenum a couple of weekends ago. Today I finally had time to drop the shelf and take the thing out.

Mine, like Kamz's, was surprisingly clean inside. No signs of any kind of foam or anything like that. Only a slight blackening, and the vinyl is a bit deformed in a couple of places, I guess from 23 years of having that thing screwed in there. Also, the plenum had these VW USA stickers on it--I guess the AC was at some point repaired or reconditioned by a dealer or something like that.

Next, I need to somehow reroute the speaker cable. There's no space behind the holes that I can see. I suppose I need to unscrew the AC cabinet a bit to make the cables fit in there somewhere.

Kamz, *thanks* at lot for that PDF! It did help, but most of all it made me see the process before hand, and decide to go for it. Even though my plenum was clean as it could be, without it there is a huge difference in the flow of air in the front.

How did you make that vent? That will be my next project after the speaker cables. I was thinking I could even make it a door of some kind--I use the AC seldom enough that I wouldn't mind opening it when needed.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

juanb wrote:
Kamz, *thanks* at lot for that PDF! It did help, but most of all it made me see the process before hand, and decide to go for it.


My pleasure! That new wind is grand, ain't it? Very Happy And, I just updated the PDF; forgot to add the rubber trim info.

juanb wrote:
How did you make that vent? That will be my next project after the speaker cables. I was thinking I could even make it a door of some kind--I use the AC seldom enough that I wouldn't mind opening it when needed.


Ack!! d'oh! Thank you for the reminder... I still need to finish Basil's vent grille! It's been half-finished for the last several months... Embarassed Embarassed

As for how I made it: I don't have any dimensions handy at the moment, but I made it out of leftover wood from an unrelated project. It's five pieces all glued together with the edges routed. It's mounted with removable 3M tape.

The speaker wires: Maybe I lucked out on this one, but I removed the speakers, pulled the wire loom through the holes, loosened the cabinet mounting bolts, and stuffed the loom into the gap between the cabinet and ceiling (the loom was thin enough to fit; apparently, some won't fit). If you look close in the photo below, you can actually kind of see of the black loom (it's the thin black line):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kamzcab86 wrote:

Ack!! d'oh! Thank you for the reminder... I still need to finish Basil's vent grille! It's been half-finished for the last several months... Embarassed Embarassed

As for how I made it: I don't have any dimensions handy at the moment, but I made it out of leftover wood from an unrelated project. It's five pieces all glued together with the edges routed. It's mounted with removable 3M tape.

The speaker wires: Maybe I lucked out on this one, but I removed the speakers, pulled the wire loom through the holes, loosened the cabinet mounting bolts, and stuffed the loom into the gap between the cabinet and ceiling (the loom was thin enough to fit; apparently, some won't fit). If you look close in the photo below, you can actually kind of see of the black loom (it's the thin black line):
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


That's good info, thanks again. I think my wires might be too thick to fit in there, I'll see what I can do. I guess I could always drill a couple of holes in the ceiling and have the cable go under the mattress... Ugh.

Have you thought about adapting the corner piece of the plenum, the one that goes against the closet, to cover for the closet gap? It seems like that would only require sawing off a little part of that piece and a few screws on the ceiling... I'll post here if I go ahead with that.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

juanb wrote:
Bump.
Kamz, *thanks* at lot for that PDF! It did help, but most of all it made me see the process before hand, and decide to go for it. Even though my plenum was clean as it could be, without it there is a huge difference in the flow of air in the front.


Yay!!! Glad it worked out so well for you. That's awesome.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

juanb wrote:
That's good info, thanks again. I think my wires might be too thick to fit in there, I'll see what I can do.
My wires are like yours apparently are: too thick to be squeezed where Kamz's are. So I just pulled them out of those little plastic faux-metal brackets that hold them (the brackets themselves easily come off with hand pressure), and routed the wires into the groove left in the face of the A/C cabinet. Then my wife painted the groove itself, and the wires sitting in them, with a gray paint to blend into the rest of the cabinet. If you don't want to have to drill more holes and route the wires up through the top, maybe that would work for you?

I'll try to post pics.
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