Rear a/c

Denny crain

New member
I’ve been reading on this forum for over a year. I finally am close to buying my sprinter . Its going to be a daily driver, but also a weekend camper. I have 2 kids, and want the passenger van with windows. I really want rear AC as I live in Colorado but will travel to Florida during the summers. I feel like rear air is a must but am afraid I will not be able to stand up in van after the conversion. Does anyone have a conversion with rear air? Would you order it if you were ordering a new van?
 

Ianmoore

Member
Denny,

I am on my second Sprinter. I had my first since 2007. Both are passenger vans, 170, high roof. I am converting my older model and am removing the rear AC. I just couldn't come up with a way to keep it, and still have room for solar, as well as needed ventilation. It is a bit of a feat to get it out, but i think it is better for the needs in a conversion

Best
Ian
 
From my memory of taking mine out, the important components that took up head-room were in the very back of my T1N. The more forward portions were all ducting that could either be eliminated or re-made along the sides of the van, leaving a channel down the middle with headroom. I chose to delete AC to make space both inside and out, but I would not if I planned to be in Florida during summer.
 

TamagoVan

2016 144 High Roof
My partner is 6' 1" and he couldn't stand upright with the interior rear AC ducting in our high roof 2016, and that was before we added insulation to the floor. For us it had to come out, even before the considerations for the rooftop real estate we wanted for vents and solar.

There are aftermarket AC units you can add that take up a lot less space on the roof and can be ducted differently.
 

HarryN

Active member
IMHO, It is unrealistic to be in FL in the summer without air conditioning.

More or less you get into a decision making mode:
- How much insulation do I REALLY need in the floor (making it thicker vs more or less leaving it at the factory thickness)
- Can I change the layout to accommodate

In most van brands, I hit my head going into the center of the back door. (5-11) Just barely scrape under the sprinter.

One possible option is to build up your conversion so that one side is mostly aisle, and the other side is build out. That way you aren't constantly going down the middle of it.
 

InterBlog

Member
... I just couldn't come up with a way to keep [the rear a/c], and still have room for solar, as well as needed ventilation. ...
Several of us have vaulted our panels over the top of our rear a/c units. My husband and I added 300 watts, although we have room to add two more panels if we ever need them.

A few folks have covered their entire roofs with vaulted solar panels. Not only does it give room for everything underneath, but it serves as a de facto "tropical roof" of the style that is often done in places like Africa and the Australian outback, where they install a false roof with an air gap underneath to cut down on heat gain.

The 11,000 BTU Dometic a/c is tucked under the panels, and the Fantastic vent is directly in front of the array:



Somebody else's rig, slightly larger vaulted array, with vent fan further forward than in our model:

 

InterBlog

Member
I’ve been reading on this forum for over a year. I finally am close to buying my sprinter . Its going to be a daily driver, but also a weekend camper. I have 2 kids, and want the passenger van with windows. I really want rear AC as I live in Colorado but will travel to Florida during the summers. I feel like rear air is a must but am afraid I will not be able to stand up in van after the conversion. Does anyone have a conversion with rear air? Would you order it if you were ordering a new van?
General comments -

(1) I am not able to visualize the build that you are considering. "Passenger van with windows...daily driver... weekend camper". You might get more targeted responses if you provide more design details on how those features would all work together. How many windows? Where? Seats distributed among camper van infrastructure where and how?

(2) DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the heat burden that you are going to have in Florida. I predict that standing up (height clearance) will be the least of your worries. You may have to stoop a little bit as you pass under your roof a/c unit, yes. The alternative would be baking to death. On an average summer day in Houston, the interior of my Sprinter can easily reach 107 degrees even when I have all of my window reflectors in place, and my vent fan running. This is not a matter of comfort - it's a question of personal safety.

I live in southeast coastal Texas, which is comparable to Florida (actually worse, and plus you would have to drive through Texas and every other Gulf Coast state to get back and forth). There is NO WAY I would purchase a spec van build if your description = my target usage - I would either have it built, or I'd build it myself, paying extra attention to the issue of insulation:

(a) Search for Hein's products and the numerous threads herein on maximizing van insulation.

(b) Summer heat management in Sprinter vans has been discussed ad nauseam before, both here and on other forums. About two years ago I hatched this "declaring war on summer heat gain" thread on another forum (Airstream builds, but the thread was almost exclusively confined to Sprinters). You might want to glance over those 260+ replies to see if there are any ideas in there that would be of use to you in your application.

Meme'd van pic - someone had gotten understandably desperate and had wrapped their van 100% in solar reflecting sheets, and I thought it needed an embellishment:

 

Denny crain

New member
I want a passenger van which comes with windows all around. I will keep the first row of factory seats to keep everything legal and crash tested seats for my kids to ride in. I am building it myself (I am a carpenter and also build muscle cars) with a kitchen, bath, and beds, finished to be able to operate as a full time home. It will be very well insulated. I will not be in Florida much as most of my time will be camping in the Rockies but will travel to the Panahandle in the summers for a few weeks a year.
I have read about summer heat in Sprinters a lot. I am more worried with rear passengers while driving, not while camping. Most of the articles I read talk about heat while living in the van. I feel like rear air would make for a more comfortable ride while going down the road. I am wanting to use reclaimed lumber on ceiling and am a little worried with looks and head clearance when walking around with the factory rear air.
I found a van I with all the options I want and it has the factory air that I am looking at next week. Before I pull the trigger I just wanted a litttle feedback. Thanks for all the help
 

linnmagic

New member
My partner is 6' 1" and he couldn't stand upright with the interior rear AC ducting in our high roof 2016, and that was before we added insulation to the floor. For us it had to come out, even before the considerations for the rooftop real estate we wanted for vents and solar.

There are aftermarket AC units you can add that take up a lot less space on the roof and can be ducted differently.


Hi, I also have 2016 high roof with rear AC, How hard or easy to take it out? Thanks.
 

ptheland

2013 144" low top Passgr
Hi, I also have 2016 high roof with rear AC, How hard or easy to take it out? Thanks.
Not too hard at all.

1. Hit up a local air conditioning place to have them remove the refrigerant.
2. Take it all apart. Taking things apart is easy. Putting them back together is the hard part. :rad:

More seriously, once the refrigerant is out of the system, you start with the grey covers on the interior. There are a few videos on YouTube showing the process. The front and rear covers slide forward and aft. The wider center piece has a couple of screws in it. Then there are some screws holding in the black pieces that remain.

If you like the rear AC but don't like the loss of head room, this is the place to stop and consider the possibility of making your own air distribution system. That could be anything from some kind of a grill to deflect air, to a thin and wide box to move the air to different places around the van. If that's a no-go, continue on.

Then it's up to the roof. The grey covers come off first. Those screws are obvious. The front cover has a form-fitting styrofoam insert under it. It takes a bit of careful lifting to get it off. Then start disconnecting everything you see. Again, YouTube is your friend.

The last bit is to remove screws from the inside that hold the black plastic piece to the roof, and release the gasket infamous for its propensity to leak in the rain or car wash. You're left with a hole ready for a vent installation or a patch.
 

flyag1

Member
If you want it get the rear air and mod it just a little. You will experience ZERO penally for height restrictions.

Here is the secret, drop all the plastic away from the headliner. You can through all that stuff in the corner, lights, vents. You leave the headliner up.

You will need to fill a couple holes in the headliner, simple go to the MD shop and get a couple plastic plugs like used on the rear section of the headliner where it attaches above rear doors.

Now cut the almost all the black plastic off the bottom of the air unit. It was only there to direct air. Pay close attention and you will see a rubber hose coming off the rear of the AC, this is your condensation drain. *****don't cut anything above or near that drain****

There is a resister that needs to be relocated, it's mounted in the center of the black plastic AC housing and the wires run towards the port side. It has silver probes and is about 2 inches sq.

Now plug the whole however you wish. What I did was cut a piece of 1/4 ply a couple inches oversize and covered it with headliner material. I attached the front about 1/2 below the headliner so air could still flow.
 
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flyag1

Member
If the photo attached? Note the flat section in the center of housing. You can cut everything from the line down. So if you wanted to just seal the hole and leave the AC mounted you can simply use something very thin to seal her up.
 

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