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View Full Version : Auxiliary Heat/Air Conditioning Opinions


carnut
09-01-2013, 05:48 PM
Newby here considering a standard roof 144" passenger van for personal use (handicap family member in power wheelchair). There are multiple rear heat options and high performance air conditioning. Unfortunately the MB site has an error and doesn't say what high performance AC includes. Heat III and high performance air conditioning together is very expensive - $6000. Heat is very hard on the handicap person so it should be able to cool the rear compartment to 72 degree in stop and go traffic with a full sun load in 90 degree weather. Due to cost, I would need to drive this year round as my primary vehicle. Are these auxiliary systems really needed for a personal van operating in northern Michigan where it gets both very cold and very hot? Or are they primarily for for bus/taxi type service? If the AC package includes the extra insulation are any of the heat options really needed?
There are no dealers within 150 mi so I can't just go try one out on a whim when it's really hot outsid. Need the opinions of users. There is a Benz dealer in town but they don't carry Sprinters.

mean_in_green
09-01-2013, 08:27 PM
The in dash air conditioning would really struggle to cool the whole van interior (it works ok cab side with a bulkhead fitted). Similarly with the heater.

I don't envy you fathoming the options - here in the UK they are not explained in enough detail either. Hopefully a Stateside member can break it down better?

My gut feeling: you would prefer auxiliary heating and cooling.

Walter Clark
09-02-2013, 01:19 PM
I do not have the requirement for that amount of heating and cooling behind the front seats so I didnt get any aux systems but I do sleep in my '12 144 High Roof Crew in Vermont at race weekends from May thru October and wanted better heat reflection/holding while parked so I removed the interior and insulated the inside of all exterior sheetmetal (except the floor), about 2 months after buying it a year ago last May. Before adding the insulation, the rear area of the van would never cool to a comfortable level on a hot day here in Mass. using the dash AC vents. After the work I can cool the entire van to comfortable levels from a sun heat-soaked start with the stock AC and the fan on high for about 10-15 minutes. Same in winter. I am not suggesting in your case that you should skip the aux heat/AC, especially if you end up with a dark color (mine is white) but I am suggesting adding a lightweight insulation is worth the time and trouble to reduce the demand on whatever you end up going with.

I used a product called EZ-Cool from http://www.lobucrod.com/. The work took me about 2 days including removing and reinstalling the interior.

carnut
09-12-2013, 03:40 AM
Thanks guys. Sounds like the heat package I should be absolute minimum for a window van. EZ-Cool sounds good Walter but I'm not sure I would have that much time. Already doing 50+ hour a week for the job and another 30 caregiving. Nice to know though in case I go used and can't be as choosy with options.