I was recently lucky to be invited to investigate a fault with RV(recreational vehicle aka motorhome) air conditioning system in Silverstone Circuit in Towcester, Northamptonshire, NN12. This particular vehicle was imported from the USA. It has three independent air conditioning systems:

  • first air conditioning system is intended for a driver and a passanger seat. It is is powered from the RV engine.
  • second air conditiong system is intended for a living area of the motorhome, system is installed on the roof of the vehicle and is powered from mains electrical supply
  • third air conditioning system is intended for a bedroom of the recreational vehicle and is also powered from mains electrical supply.

My job in this instance was to diagnose faults with air conditioning units serving the living room and bedroom of the RV. I made my way on the roof of the motorhome, removed plastic housing of the air con units and found that compressors were working on these air conditioning systems, but they were corroded and lost all of the protective enamel. Additionally, one of the air con systems had a gas leak and as the proverb goes: all good things come in three, the working gas in these air conditioning units was R22, which was banned from use and sale a long time ago and this gas works with the mineral compressor oil as opposed to synthetic compressor oil which is used with modern refrigerants.

I’m facing following problems:

  • gas leak, which I can repair
  • corroded compressors which I can replace to compressors designed to work with modern refrigerants
  • leftover mineral oli in the system that I need to purge before fitting new compressor
  • sizing the metering device, whitch is capillary line in this case, to mach the duty of the other components of the system
  • gassing system with modern refrigerant

The above is fairly complicated and experimental. As a standard, anything experimental is done by design engineers in the labs, usually with a good budget and an outlook of mending and replacing components of the system depending on the test run results. I obviously don’t have this opportunity. So how do I proceed considering I must provide my customer with a solution to fix air conditioning systems even if the job is not cost-effective?

I will now need to find a suitable refrigerant for the job, a compressor and size the capillary to the system. Then I need to add up the cost of components and labour required to make the changes in the air conditioning system of this RV. The second part of the job is to price my customer for a prefabricated, new air conditioning system and decommissioning of the old systems. It’s not going to be an easy task, but it will build my knowledge and experience on how to proceed with RV air conditioning problems like this in the future.

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