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AC Kit for a 1980 VW Vanagon Camper
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kbajwa
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: AC Kit for a 1980 VW Vanagon Camper Reply with quote

I have a 1980 VW Vanagon Camper with only 10K miles on it. I had it in storage for the last 20 years (long story, so please do not ask why!). It has a 2000 Air Cooled Engine. Recently, I put a new engine and re-furbished this Camper.

I would like to add AC: (1) On the engine or (2) On roof.

I also want to look into a LOW Voltage AC unit for the roof. If the roof unit is installed, I can use 4-6 batteries and an external AC Power. Roof unit must be very light.

Any suggestions/recommendation. Please avoid suggesting NOT to do it because I do plan to do it. I understand that the engine does not have enough power to run AC but I plan to use AC only in emergencies or on open highway ON VERY HOT DAYS.
So positive suggestions ONLY.

Thanks.

Kirt
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bmwloco
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a Haier A/C from www.target.com for under $100 to use on our Westie. I got the "sock" attachment here on Samba. Works great.

You can get a discount coupon for Target at http://dealnews.com/coupons that cuts down on shipping and sometimes even cuts the price.

Hope that helps!
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kbajwa
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bmwloco wrote:
I bought a Haier A/C from www.target.com for under $100 to use on our Westie. I got the "sock" attachment here on Samba. Works great.

You can get a discount coupon for Target at http://dealnews.com/coupons that cuts down on shipping and sometimes even cuts the price.

Hope that helps!


Which unit did you buy? Target lists 2 units.

These unit seems to be made for a window in a house. How & where did you attach this unit on your vehicle?

What is a 'sock'? can you give some more info?
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riceye
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks kinda Rube Goldberg-ish, but probably gets the job done!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/A-C-Air-Conditioner...enameZWDVW

Regards,
Ric
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DeMinimis
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think he was referring to this deal: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=317678

Sort of looks like one of those inflatable romper room dealies for kids.
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flyingCoyote
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:28 am    Post subject: Re: AC Kit for a 1980 VW Vanagon Camper Reply with quote

I was recently thinking of a roof-top A/C, and I the smallest one I could find wanted something on the order of 12 amps @ 120v (and more at startup); more than our alternators can put out, plus inverters rob 10-15% of the juice.

It seemed pretty doable with a bigger alt and a battery bank, but the cost of all the equipment is stopping me. Looked to be a thousand-dollar job, with the actual a/c unit accounting for half of that.

Please keep us up to date on what you come up with!
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's what I made for Summer camping:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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

About $100.00 altogether, made it out of scrap wood and plexiglass
best thing is you can close the pop-top when it's real hot, to help cooling, and you can adjust the conrols inside. the AC I bought has a remote so we can contol it from the back.
You will not find a rooftop ac unit the is low power, plus if you have a westy I wouldn't trust the roof to hold it up.
When you rebuilt the engine did you put on the pully behind the fan to power the Compressior?
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kbajwa
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mightyart wrote:

When you rebuilt the engine did you put on the pully behind the fan to power the Compressior?


I think your setup will not work for me.

I did not build the engine so I have no idea if the pully behind the fan was installed.

I will keep all informed what I comeup with.
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I deleted flying coyotes post by accident...
here is what he said:
flyingCoyote wrote:
I was recently thinking of a roof-top A/C, and I the smallest one I could find wanted something on the order of 12 amps @ 120v (and more at startup); more than our alternators can put out, plus inverters rob 10-15% of the juice.

It seemed pretty doable with a bigger alt and a battery bank, but the cost of all the equipment is stopping me. Looked to be a thousand-dollar job, with the actual a/c unit accounting for half of that.

Please keep us up to date on what you come up with!
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Alan Brase
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, here's "positive"!
I went to "Busses Nowhere Near the Arch" back in 2001 and noticed that several of the Texas guys had similar setups with the window air on the driver's door.
I had a 1978 non Westy that I put on dealer installed air clear back in the 1980's. It was the VPC overhead unit. a lot of work but it worked quite well.
This one used a Tecumseh compressor and the pulley underneath the blower fan. A bit of a PITA to set the belt tension, but at least it didn't take any noticable room from anything else.
Oh, yeah it DID hurt the performance, but if you ever needed WARP SPEED you could turn off the knob. A vacuum switch would be even better! A good engineering job might enable you to bolt on a Sanden or other rotary compressor which would not be such a big load.
So, here's my great idea (dream) for my 80 westy:
1. put on the factory 84-85 Behr front air setup. Yes, it extends rearward a little too far, but some have done a workaround for that.
2. Power it with the a compressor from the engine. (rotary, with some work)
3. Also power it with a 120volt compressor from shore power and power the inside evaporator /fan unit from the deep cycle battery at the same time. Whether to use the existing vehicle's condensor mounted on the radiator or use another one someplace, I've not decided. The vehicle one would have a 12 volt fan, so would have to get its power from the same place as the inside unit.
4. Originally, I was thinking about putting 2-way valves in place to isolate the compressors, but they probably have check valves, so heck, that might not even be necessary.
5. I have an uncle who is well up in his years, but is one of the most knowledgeable a/c guys in the region. He was a contractor for many years, then taught several years at the community college. So, theoretically, I could get some tech help from him.
Al
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Projects: 67 sunroof bug, 67 Porsche 912 Targa, 70 Westy
Dec 1955 Single Cab pickup WANT 15" BUS RIMS dated 8/55, thru 12/55
To New owners: 1969 doublecab, 1971 Dormobile
Vanagons:
80 P27 Westy JUL 1979, 3rd oldest known US
83 1.6TD Vanagon, 87 Wolfie Westy daily driver, swap meet home
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kbajwa
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 9:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

69doublecab wrote:
Well, here's "positive"!
So, here's my great idea (dream) for my 80 westy:
1. put on the factory 84-85 Behr front air setup. Yes, it extends rearward a little too far, but some have done a workaround for that.
2. Power it with the a compressor from the engine. (rotary, with some work)
3. Also power it with a 120volt compressor from shore power and power the inside evaporator /fan unit from the deep cycle battery at the same time. Whether to use the existing vehicle's condensor mounted on the radiator or use another one someplace, I've not decided. The vehicle one would have a 12 volt fan, so would have to get its power from the same place as the inside unit.
4. Originally, I was thinking about putting 2-way valves in place to isolate the compressors, but they probably have check valves, so heck, that might not even be necessary.
5. I have an uncle who is well up in his years, but is one of the most knowledgeable a/c guys in the region. He was a contractor for many years, then taught several years at the community college. So, theoretically, I could get some tech help from him.
Al


If one day you get it working, let me know. In the mean time I will talk to my machenic & see what he thinks.

Thanks again.
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singlewc
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kbajwa wrote:


Which unit did you buy? Target lists 2 units.

These unit seems to be made for a window in a house. How & where did you attach this unit on your vehicle?

?


I am an obsessive, compulsive person when it comes to power consumption in my home. Some stuff runs on batts, and I hate giving a nickel to the power company when I don't have to.

So, FWIW to anyone curious about AC power consumption, I broke down and bought a Haier unit from target so I can sleep at night. It is the 5200 BTU machine and using a watt meter, I can tell you that when its 90 degrees at bedtime, I turn it on, and it works hard at first, and finally gets the room cool about an hour or so later, cycles all night, and after running for about nine hours, it will have used between 2.25 and 3.0 KWs

It draws 4.2 amps with the compressor on, and I have never measured the surge, but its pretty hefty.

I only bring that up to ask you guys how you can run something like that off of batteries, for any useful length of time?

Given a 100 amp deep cycle, that is one hour run time to 50% capacity. True deep cycles let you go to 25%, but it takes a toll on the lifetime of the batt, so how many batteries are you lugging along with you? Smile

If you run the AC for four hours, that's 200 amps, (+/- efficiencies, etc) so how do you get em back up to snuff for the next day?

Just curious.
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kbajwa
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have no idea if there is an AC unit which will work of the batteries or not, but here is what I am thinking:

I like to find a LOW VOLTAGE AC unit. I plan to install 5-6 Marine batteries. These batteries will be charged: (1) by electric when I am in a campground where AC hookup is available, (2) by motor engine when it is running & (3) Solar Panel, which I will install on top of the camper.

I have heard that there are LOW Voltage AC units available even though I have not found one yet. TOP AC unit is only to cool the VW camper at night.

I am also looking for an on-engine AC kit. If one becomes available and it works well, then I might drop the top AC unit altogether.

You guys are great help. I am sure with all the brain out there, a solution can be found.
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No such thing as a low voltage Air conditioner, just takes to much jucie to run a compressior, they are also heavy your westy Fiberglass top will not hold up to the weight, and it would render it useless.

If you live in a hot part of the country there should be specific shops that only repair Car A/C systems. A good one should be able to fabricate a system with a modern low hp compressor, this is the best way to go.
The drawback is cost.
There is no AC kit available for Vanagons, there was rumor of one but I've heard different stuff about it.
Most of the parts for the system that were put on these thing at the dealership are no good, They were aftermarket parts and not made as well as OEM, 25 years has not been good to them. A small amount of the parts from the orginal system could be used, and may have to be used if you have one cobbled together for your van.

Here is the conclusion I came to:
Roof top AC no way, with the way the van is, only logical way to run it would be to add a gas powered generator, I guess on a trailer.
An efficiant low hp system, made for the modern freon could be added to the engine no problem, but you'll pay for it, also only works when the van is running, no good for camping.
Every spring/summer when it gets hot the A/C debate starts up again, summers half over, nows the time to make sure your heater works, come about October, the how do I get heat debate will start, and heat on an aircooled is quirky.
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kbajwa
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="mightyart"]
If you live in a hot part of the country there should be specific shops that only repair Car A/C systems. quote]

New Mexico. I plan to use the Vanagon for camping in the Rockies & AZ. Any good place in Albuquerque to have the AC installed?
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Alan Brase
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 7:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mightyart wrote:
No such thing as a low voltage Air conditioner, just takes to much jucie to run a compressior, they are also heavy your westy Fiberglass top will not hold up to the weight, and it would render it useless.

If you live in a hot part of the country there should be specific shops that only repair Car A/C systems. A good one should be able to fabricate a system with a modern low hp compressor, this is the best way to go.
The drawback is cost.
There is no AC kit available for Vanagons, there was rumor of one but I've heard different stuff about it.
Most of the parts for the system that were put on these thing at the dealership are no good, They were aftermarket parts and not made as well as OEM, 25 years has not been good to them. A small amount of the parts from the orginal system could be used, and may have to be used if you have one cobbled together for your van.

Here is the conclusion I came to:
Roof top AC no way, with the way the van is, only logical way to run it would be to add a gas powered generator, I guess on a trailer.
An efficiant low hp system, made for the modern freon could be added to the engine no problem, but you'll pay for it, also only works when the van is running, no good for camping.
Every spring/summer when it gets hot the A/C debate starts up again, summers half over, nows the time to make sure your heater works, come about October, the how do I get heat debate will start, and heat on an aircooled is quirky.

Yup, pretty much what I was aiming for. Gotta find a newer compressor and drive than the Tecumseh.
But I think the 1983-85 inside unit that puts the evap just behind the driver would be a good compromise. It DOES make it hard to get from the front seats to the back (gotta duck) and it is slightly too long to the rear, so ya gotta make some mods to the poptop latch. But it IS BEHR, OEM German quality.
Frank Grunthamer (spelling?) did this mod and has a site up someplace.
My additional compressor idea was planned for SHORE POWER (120 volt)!!
There is absolutlely no way you could store enough power to make cooling practical with batteries.
I think if you are going to camp in other than Canada, Maine, or the mountains in the summer, you're just going to have to get a big motor home (and listen to a generator all night), or get an attitude adjustment.
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Al Brase
Projects: 67 sunroof bug, 67 Porsche 912 Targa, 70 Westy
Dec 1955 Single Cab pickup WANT 15" BUS RIMS dated 8/55, thru 12/55
To New owners: 1969 doublecab, 1971 Dormobile
Vanagons:
80 P27 Westy JUL 1979, 3rd oldest known US
83 1.6TD Vanagon, 87 Wolfie Westy daily driver, swap meet home
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