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The Mailbag

By Bill Phillips

     At different times during the conversion process while working on a particular phase, we need feed back from those who have already experienced what we are about to accomplish. We send out a request for help to the group.

     Bill, is always there to share his vast knowledge and experience and let us know how he accomplished the task at hand. He always includes me in the email and says to use the information to share with others as I see fit. Not wanting to lose Bill's thoughts and ideas on a Bulletin Board, I have started this page for everyone to reference and gain insight in how Bill tackled these projects.

Thank you Bill for taking the time and always helping all of us.

Tom Hall
Coach Conversion Central

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Hi Charlene:

My installation is typical of an entertainer coach. I have a thing about grills and screens, whereby I prefer the smooth look, however sometimes you have to give a little or do a lot of work to get what you want!

The center bay is the service bay. Air is drawn up from under the coach through a hole for both the generator and central air. Exhausting the heat from both the generator and air is through the bay doors (both) sides. This is where the ugly screen comes in. My son Mark and I are working on some more pleasing looking panels for Eagle to exhaust heat in the service bay and motor compartment. Our generator is 220-240 V only! all 110-115 V is taken from 3 inverters. One 2500W and two 500W. Unless someone has a better Idea I can’t see how you can run a dual voltage generator and be electrically load balanced. Anytime you take a 110-115 leg off it you have unbalanced the load, now what RPM/load is the generator supposed to run at? I hope that this helps you to formulate your decision!

Hi Gary:

Over 13,500 BTU normally is cut off for 110-115 V. These large basement units in the entertainer coaches are usually running while waiting for the Gig to finish, so the coach will be comfortable. Running the big diesel is not practical from the noise level standpoint alone. Also most of these coaches have bus air when en-route and the generator and basement air are then shut down! Until I make the final interior gutting and re-do, I must work with what I have in order to use the coach while continuously upgrading.

Joe Steinmetz inquired regarding air for the driver. Used in the entertainment business you can see from above this not a problem. However, a motor home with bus air in my opinion is too costly. Therefore something else is needed. If we look at the manufactured motor homes we see a dash air on most for the front with the roof tops as the main coach cooling appliances’s.

For Joe and others who want a bay unit or unit’s, I think we need the same concept. The Eagle has a relatively small storage bay on the drivers side under the electrical compartment which is used for break down and emergency things such as flares and triangles. I looked at my coach this evening, and can’t see why a 5000 BTU or so unit would not fit comfortably in there! The face plate could be fitted with panning and take off’s for 4" flexible hose, then routed throughout the forward area. Heat exhausting could be directed downward. The big unit is always available if it get’s severally hot. I hope that I did not make this more confusing!

Help!!! We have an 8 cubic foot, gas/electric, Dometic refer in our RV that is not operating as it should be. It gurgles and sounds like it is running but it does not get cold. We have been trying to find someone that knows something about RV fridges but so far have come up with nothing. We would like to know where to find a repair person and/or a place to find another one. We live in Wash. state so the closer the better but at this point we’re open to almost anything. Your suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Pete and Betty


Hi Betty:

Some may differ, but let me give you the crash course on RV refrigeration as I understand it. The good news is that from your description of the problem you can correct it yourself!

Domestic refrigerators use Refrigerant 12, however some changes may be in the works. RV refrigerators use a mixture of gas’s, in a precise ratio to one another. Also RV refrigerant is under higher pressure. A give away to this is the heavy steel you can see in your RV external(rear coils).

One of the Most obvious gas’s used in the RV unit is Ammonia! If you did not smell ammonia, that indicates there is no leak in your coils. If there was a leak in the coils very few agencies actually repair them. On the other hand, with most RV refrigerators you can replace them yourself as a complete set not needing to be charged with gas. It’s not the easiest job in the world, but you can do it for around $300-$400 parts cost.

There are two common causes of RV refrigerators loosing their efficiency:

1. The gas’s become non uniform in mix and are scattered throughout the coil system or hung up in pockets. The gurgling sound may be an indicator of this. Remove the refrigerator and "burp" it! This is done by turning it upside down and let set for a period of time. I would let it set over night. Next upright the refrigerator, let it stand for hr. or so then start it on 110V. Give enough time for it to cool, if it feels cool after 45 min. or so, let it run over night with water in the ice cube trays. If you have ice the next day, reinstall it, it’s fixed. If not "burp" it again. It may take 3-4 tries, but after all, the work of getting it out has been done.

2. Some refrigerators which have been performing as expected regularly, will start to lose their cooling capacity usually in their 2nd. or 3rd. day of continuous operation. This is caused by heat building up in the flue area. The air is not circulating fast enough to remove the heat. The heat in the condenser coils is not removed therefore the gas goes around through the system again. Because no additional heat could be extracted from the inside of the refrigerator, the interior cabinet started loosing temperature. This is the point at which you noticed the problem.

Inspect for a bird’s nest or possible restriction. An auxiliary fan (thermostaticly controlled would be best) to remove the heat from the flue should correct the deficiency.

Good luck with the fix!

Yours in Bussing:

Bill Phillips NY



Bill Phillips NY