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Old 05-30-2014, 12:40 AM   #1
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A/C problems in the chassis on your FR3?

Is anyone having problems with the A/C unit in the chassis? I recall reading something from someone on the forums, but I'm not sure if it was about the coach or the chassis.

Since we had to take the RV to the Ford dealer for suspension issues last week, we also let them know that the chassis A/C did not seem to be cooling well. When we picked it up the service guy told us that he did not see any leaks, and charged the freon, and said if that did not fix the problem to bring it back in as sometimes the gaskets and seals dry out from sitting so long while the RV is being built.

This past weekend we took the FR3 to Prescott, AZ for the long weekend, and we needed to run the A/C while driving back to the Phoenix area (it was close to 100 degrees on Monday). It seemed to be cooling alright at first but then the air coming out was getting warmer and warmer (we bought a thermometer at O'Reilly to check it and it was about 65, while the A/C in our car was blowing lower than 50). So we took it back in to Ford Tuesday morning and left it there to check again.

Today we picked it up and were told that the A/C was modified and needed an additional 2 ounces of freon, as the hoses were made longer when they made the modifications, but that the best we can expect is for the unit to blow air only 30 degrees cooler than the ambient air. Since we plan to take the RV out for trips in weather than can exceed 110 degrees, that's not a very comforting bit of news.

He said to get greater cooling we would have to run the generator while on the road and crank up the A/C in the coach. While I agree that would work, that doesn't seem to answer the question as to why we can't get cooler air out of the truck A/C.

Has anyone else had the chance to really test the chassis A/C? Have you heard that it's reasonable to expect cooling of only 30 degrees?
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:13 AM   #2
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I'm afraid what the AC-Tech told you is correct. the typical temperature differential is 30 degrees from ambient. The chassis AC is really only only intended to keep the diver and front passenger comfortable. It is not designed to cool the entire RV. That is what the ceiling AC unit is for. Also keep in mind that the large windshield also contributes to your heat loss and the chassis AC unit is constantly struggling to compensate for that.
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Old 06-02-2014, 11:16 PM   #3
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Running the generator and the ac in the coach is considered to be normal.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:16 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by auntieshoes View Post

Has anyone else had the chance to really test the chassis A/C? Have you heard that it's reasonable to expect cooling of only 30 degrees?
Ive done a bunch of industrial HVAC and seen one or two car systems in my lifetime...

Yes, 30* delta is reasonable. Sometimes its more, sometimes its less, but that is the rule of thumb.

Something worth considering, the AC evaporator is sandwiched right between the transmission cooler and the radiator.

Ive run mine when it was 85* outside with just me in the RV, and it does a decent job of keeping me cool. If you dont want to run the generator, consider hanging a sheet off the bunk to contain the cool air and separate you from the house. Otherwise, plan on running the generator and AC.

Sidenote: Ford only supplies the AC compressor and evaporator. The drier, condenser, ducting, fans etc is supplied by Forest River. Youre lucky the Ford guys even looked at it, most of them wont because its not "their" system.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:41 AM   #5
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I brought my brand new FR3 over the Ford and found out the same thing about the AC. They added some Freon but since the air coming out of the Chassis AC kind of dissipates to the back, it feels that it isn't doing much. I assume that if one of us came up with a curtain of sorts to keep air coming from the dash in the driver area, we would feel a difference. Otherwise, I think running the generator with the rear AC is the way to go.
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Old 06-04-2014, 11:45 AM   #6
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I brought my brand new FR3 over the Ford and found out the same thing about the AC. They added some Freon but since the air coming out of the Chassis AC kind of dissipates to the back, it feels that it isn't doing much. I assume that if one of us came up with a curtain of sorts to keep air coming from the dash in the driver area, we would feel a difference. Otherwise, I think running the generator with the rear AC is the way to go.
We have a digital meat thermometer as well as one of the ones you get at the auto parts store for sticking down into the vents, so we can tell that the issue is the temperature of the air that coming in through the vents, not dissipation. However, it seems that we can't reasonably expect to get the air to come out any cooler, so we will have to find ways to work around the situation to be more comfortable. Ours is in the shop to get the slide out fixed, but once we get it back, I'm going to look into some sort of curtain to put behind us - perhaps a tension shower rod and curtain would do the trick.

Also, I have seen that the higher end units, like the Tiffin Phaeton, come with fans mounted on the ceiling over the driver and passenger seats, and those seem to move quite a bit of air, so I'm going to call the dealership to see what it would cost to have them installed in our FR3.

Thanks for all of the useful comments. Keep them coming.
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Old 07-02-2014, 01:48 PM   #7
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ac in fr3

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Originally Posted by scivilla View Post
Running the generator and the ac in the coach is considered to be normal.
I too live and travel in Arizona in the summer. We consider running the generator and the AC while driving in the summer normal and do it for 8 hours a day. There is a limit to how cool it can get things when the outside is 115 degrees with full solar load. We found that the Ford AC is also necessary on the hottest days and found it had to be set on max AC. But as we moved into Oklahoma and Nebraska with 90 degrees and 80% humidity, the Ford AC worked fine on regular AC with the knob turned to the blue side 3/4 of the way. We have had the generator and AC quit when things just got too hot one day in Arizona. That was when coach was a few days old. It may not happen now that we have 5000 miles on it. Am returning to Arizona end of August so we will find out...
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Old 07-14-2014, 07:00 PM   #8
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Lucky you are, my FR3 the AC dont work at all and I have only 1500 milles done.

Its supose to be the blender in the tubes Under the dash and my dealer does'nt have it in stock . Very funny for this time of the year.

Plus: my room slide out the gaer box is broken,

Plus : my back up camera does'nt work.

Bravo Forest River and their quality control and the dealer .
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Old 08-01-2014, 05:59 PM   #9
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Same here

My dash air does not blow cold, even when you have your hand up to it. Either those tubes are really long and/or not insulated. I always have to run the house air.
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Old 08-01-2014, 06:51 PM   #10
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One other trick in addition to the sheet is to leave the bunk down. It reduces the height of the space being ac'd with the sheet and should help keep it cool. Course when you standup you will duck....either voluntarily or involuntarily.
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