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  • Apparatus A/C

    Anyone have experience with custom cab a/c?

    We are specifically interested in what we believe to be heavy duty a/c. I have seen some pictures of apparatus that appear to have some type of roof mounted r.v. or commercial a/c units.

    Miami-Dade, Phoenix...etc.. what have you guys found to work best in that nasty heat?

  • #2
    We have several of our FL-70 chassis with roof mounted Red Dot AC units. All have over 13 years of use without major problems.

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    • #3
      I'd look for the rating of the system. It should be in tons or BTU/hour. That will allow you to better compare one system to another.

      1 ton = 12,000 BTU/hour

      My present truck is a Pierce with a dual condensers mounted on top of the cab, and dual evaporators mounted in the ceiling. It works great. On these really hot humid days in NC, the runoff from the condensers is bordering on a stream, rather than a drip. I do not know the actual rating on the system. If it quits blowing cold air, I call the garage.

      I'm a big fan of having the condenser(s) mounted on top of the cab. It allows them to flow air naturally (hot air rises) and the hot condenser doesn't compete for cool air in the engine compartment.

      Ferrara and KME both offer systems that exceed 70,000 BTU/hour. That's 6-tons. My 1,400 sq-ft home only has a 2½ ton system.
      Last edited by txgp17; 07-14-2010, 03:28 PM.
      The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. --Norman Mattoon Thomas, 6 time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America

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      • #4
        Ferrara was the dealer who sold us our trucks. Red Dot is a good unit.

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        • #5
          Plano has RV style roof mounted a/c units in addition to the factory Spartan one.

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          • #6
            Our 2007 Toyne/Spartan has a factory (Spartan) system which has had no issues so far.

            Our '89 Quality/Duplex was ordered without air conditioning. At that time, A/C was thought to be a frivolous, unnecessary luxury. The first summer showed the error of our ways. We had Thermo-King in Philadelphia install a system for us before the next summer.

            I believe that it's components are Red Dot. The condenser is mounted under the cab. They tied into an under seat evaporator in the crew area that is part of the heater, then added another evaporator in the ceiling. Because of the configuration of the cab and complexity, the driver and officer have to do without.

            The system has worked well for now 20 years.

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            • #7
              You have to be careful on what A/C system is available, and what you, or your shop can work with.

              Most RV systems are sealed R22 systems. The whole assembly is roof mounted, and usually ran off of a generator (110v-120v). Usually your shop isn't equipped to do repairs on them, and must be sent out, or call a HVAC service center to make a house call.

              Most larger R134 systems have 2 condensers with a drier/receiver each mounted on the roof. This is the best set up to have. Problem is, your still using a belt driven compressor to run the A/C system. The other downside, is finding leaks in the system. Most builders wrap the lines with rubber or foam insulation. This sucks when your trying to find a leak.

              We've used in house built (builder) systems, and haven't had a huge problem with them. Our newer Spartans are nice with front and rear evaporators. They keep the cab nice and cool, if they can keep up with the heat and humidity.

              FM1
              I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

              Originally posted by EastKyFF
              "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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              • #8
                Thanks everyone for the quick replys. I never considered that our shop may not be equipped or certified to handle a commercial (rv?) system.

                We want to keep the engine cover clear of obstructions..etc. We saw a Ferrara with recessed or ducted vents in the cab walls. Does Kme still put their air conditioner on the cover?

                I wonder if the Plano units run their rv style off of the generator. Interesting concept.

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                • #9
                  I see that Sutphen has two AC units available - 65,000 BTU as the base system and 80,000 BTU as the upgrade. We have the 65,000 BTU and it is PLENTY. The controls are overhead, at the center of the cab, and the ducts/vents are all around the engine enclosure/dog house. These end up being great locations as they cool each passenger off and you can adjust the vents to point wherever you want. This is a roof top system and we really like how it works.

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                  • #10
                    Units that size would take a lot of electricity to run. Do they need a seperate generator?

                    Most houses dont have units that big

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                    • #11
                      Ours does not need a separate generator to run it - runs off the truck as normal. Just like a car.

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                      • #12
                        The roof-mounted AC units we have had on Spartan cab/chassis rigs have worked very well, you can almost hang meat in the cab. On the other hand, the Seagrave AC units have performed poorly, inadequate cooling and constantly leaking off the refrigerant.

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                        • #13
                          I am not sure how big the A/C unit is in our 09 KME ...............it does put out though.
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                          • #14
                            I wonder if the Plano units run their rv style off of the generator.
                            I think they do run off the genset.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LeadOff View Post
                              The roof-mounted AC units we have had on Spartan cab/chassis rigs have worked very well, you can almost hang meat in the cab. On the other hand, the Seagrave AC units have performed poorly, inadequate cooling and constantly leaking off the refrigerant.
                              I second this. HME's air conditioning seems to work really well also...
                              TruckCommittee.com

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