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Old 06-01-2011, 03:19 PM   #1
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Increase ac vent air flow by 75%

Well spent a hot 12 days in Tampa Florida at the Mac Dill Air Force base. Shade trees are very few to park in the shade. As I stated before we had to cover the windows up with large beach towels to try to keep the heat out. At night no problem. I had made the statement, that when I returned to my home in Jacksonville, I would some how correct the problem.

Well today, I think I have corrected the AC problem. First off, When I ordered the Rockwood 8285WS, I upgraded the ac to a 15K thinking it would be large enough. Rockwood/ Forest River needs to change the vent system by increasing the size for a larger volume of air flow.

First off I removed the bottom of the AC. Don't worry about the caulking that is around the AC cover ( the cover will fit back in the caulk when you finish) Make sure you turn the AC power off to the AC! As you can see by the pictures I have included, Forest River AC div/ Installers did not allow very much opening for the air flow. The styrofoam insulation as you can see allows about 5/8" for air flow. Even less for the hole cut through the aluminium framing.

I started by using my "JIG" saw with a metal cutting blade and by cutting
slots vertical about 1/2" to 5/8" high and a slot every 1/4' to 1/2 ". This allowed me to use a pair of pliers to bend and break off each piece. Make sure you leave at least 1/2 " on the top for support. The side pieces that you are cutting are used for "boxing" in the vent are air flow. You will be
enlarging the air flow hole in the aluminum by about 75%. Don't worry about how it looks when you are finished for it will be covered up by the bottom of the AC cover. Use a rough rasp file to taper or slope the styrofoam from the opening back into the vent by about 4". Do the top and bottom. This will actually enlarge the vent opening by 100% to allow the opening to form a type of "FUNNEL". Make sure you reach inside the vent to feel for any of the "BLACK" styrofoam that needs to be broken off.
The installer were pretty sloppy with the foam.

Now before you put the cover back on, remove the excess styrofoam at the "INTAKE". I removed about 25% of the foam to increase the intake air flow. I used a can of foam (insulation foam) from Lowe's to re caulk around the long bolts (they had to be removed along with the piece of insulation that separates the intake and output while on the openings) Make sure you re-caulk the square tubes that run front to rear that you removed the excess aluminum from (there will be leakage of air between the intake and output if you don't caulk the tubes).

You may have to reinstall the bottom cover with out the filter door for a air leak test, turn on AC to check for air leaks around the intake side from the output side. Make sure you do not over tighten the four long bolts on to the gasket between the AC and roof.

I was really surprised at the increase air flow that just by enlarging the openings. POOR DESIGN !!!!! I do believe my air flow was increased by
75% to 100%. After you do yours, you be the judge.

Before turning the AC on, us a vacuum with a long flat "snout" to remove the styrofoam you have filed or ground away from inside the vent opening.

First picture, before cuts on fridge side (door side)
Second picture is on opsite side.
Picture #4 is excess foam (by Installer)
#5 is how cuts are made to enlarge opening.
As you can see the AC vent duct is too small>
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Old 06-01-2011, 03:23 PM   #2
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More pictures for air flow

Continue of the MOD for increased air flow in the AC vent ducts.

First picture is removeal of excess aluminum.
Second picture is "SLOPING" of styrophone
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:45 AM   #3
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An update on the a/c vent ducts on the 8285ws

Yesterday I worked in the "ROCKY" 8285WS, cleaning & other small like to do jobs. The temperature here in my part of Florida was 91. Before starting
work, I turned my A/C on to a thermostat setting of 76. The temp inside of "ROCKY" was already at 89. I let the A/C run about 20 minutes on high before I went inside to work. By the time I started, the temperature had already dropped inside to 87. I worked about one hour, by the time lapse, the temperature had dropped to 78. I went inside my house to make a phone call & was inside for about 30-40 Min's. When I returned to the inside of "ROCKY" the A/C had turned off at the setting of 76.

I use the "HUNTER" digital thermostat for a precise reading of temp and control.

What a difference the A/C vent enlargement made to the volume of air flow. Even in the bedroom, there is plenty of cold air @ 49 measured at the vent with a digital thermometer.

The same reading was measured at the last two vents in the living room
in the 8285WS with an internal temp at 82.

The small openings shown in the pictures create a "AIR TURBLEANCE", restricting the air flow. Just by opening the vent the small amount shown
and sloping the styrofoam creates a faster cool down, recycling the air inside faster to keep the inside cool.

My next project is to use a white plastic rain gutter downspout 90 elbow
trimmed to fit inside the vents to "SMOOTHE" the air flow going into the bedroom and living room. This should create a better airflow, even creating a better cooling system for recycling the air.

To test the project of increasing the air flow, take a small cardboard box, cut a small square hole in the bottom of about 3/4" X 5". Have someone drive your TV down the road at about 25-30 MPH with you holding the small box outside the window. Feel the sir flow. Now take a small funnel or piece of cardboard shaped like a funnel with a opening of about the size mentioned above for the box. Now test the airflow. Makes sense by increasing the opening from the fan box in the A/C to the vents just by a small amount by "smoothing" the air flow.

I am so pleased with my project of increasing the cooling efficiency of the A/C that today I will do a IGGY by getting into the pool with a cold.

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Old 06-03-2011, 08:48 AM   #4
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Excellent post Sid. Well thought out and nice photos.

Initially I thought it would be better to have drilled holes in the aluminum beam instead of cutting it away, but there would be no way to taper the plenum behind the beam (no access) if you had done it that way.

Enjoy that beer; you earned it.
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:06 AM   #5
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We just got our new Lacrosse 301RLS last weekend. I have not camped in it yet. Our first trip is next weekend. Has anyone removed the A/C cover in a Lacrosse to see if it has a similar ductwork arrangement? I have the upgraded 15K A/C, and I must say, I expected better airflow from it. With the heatwave we are experiencing in GA, this may be my first mod. I am a little leary of removing material from the aluminum overhead structure. The window tint for the shower skylight would also help. Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2011, 01:18 PM   #6
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Increase your airflow from a/c

Herk, the aluminum I cut away is from two pieces that run front to rear to form a "BOX" or "OPENING" just for the A/C air box. They are not weight supporting beams. There is a "main" cross piece just front/under of the A/C and a cross piece just aft/ under the A/C. As far as I can tell they are welded in place just to form the "AIR BOX" opening.

I did remove more of the styrofoam in the top of the opening than is shown in the pictures. I used a rotary rasp in my drill along with a rough rasp file.

I was so hot, wet with sweat (actually soaked with sweat) that I failed to
make a picture of the finished removal of the styrofoam.

The opening went from about 3/4"-1" to a good 2" in the styrofoam at the opening, tapering into the A/C vent about 4"-5" or more.

I tried to find a metal "nibbler" tool to use, but had no luck. I know they are made for I have one somewhere between my two homes which are 100 miles apart. I used the next best tool by cutting slots and wire-pliers
to bending and breaking the aluminum away.
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Old 06-04-2011, 06:51 AM   #7
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Thanks for the update Sid.
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Old 06-05-2011, 12:46 AM   #8
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Went after this mod tonight. Actually used a Dremel to cut the aluminum. I used a rasp file to take out the styrofoam. While shining a flashlight in the "duct" towards the front and rear, I realized that the aluminum beams that run across the roof to support the AC have the same type cutouts to allow air to flow front to back of the camper. These don't look very large either. Thinking I've wasted my time, but once I get everything vacuumed out and the bottom cover reinstalled, I'll let you know. If I can stand the 98 degrees we're expecting tomorrow, I hope to also install a Maxxair II over our vent that has the exhaust fan.
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Old 06-05-2011, 02:01 AM   #9
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Thank you for the pictures!
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:47 AM   #10
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Flagang5 let me know?

Please let me know you results from your mod? Before your RV gets too hot in the morning, go ahead and turn the ac on. I was using window cover we had made also. Takes a while for the A/C to cool down inside the RV from all the heat, such as sofa, recliners, mattress ETC. Make sure you use a film or remove the skylight in the shower and place a white paper or towel over the flat panel, reinstall with four screws to test reducing the skylight heat. As I said before, I used "GILA" platinum film on the skylight from Lowe's.

As I stated before, we purchased a white Upholstery fabric from Joann's fabric that is vinyl on one side and FUZZY on the other side to make covers for the windows (the day/night shades just don't cut it keeping the heat out) We use the shades and the fabric to reduce the heat. The fabric will let light through. Normal price is $9.50 per yard, right now it is on sale for 40% off. If you use the fabric, place the fuzzy outside, it acts as a insulator.

Good luck
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