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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Installing Houghton 3800 15K RV Air Conditioner on 2016 Winnebago View

Last week, while we were camping, we were waiting for a delivery at our house. It finally came after getting accidentally rerouted over to the west side of the state...

We had ordered a new larger capacity roof air conditioner called the Houghton RP AC3800 DB KT SE from RecPro in Indiana. 


When we opened the box, we were dismayed to see that it was white. We had ordered black! So we contacted the factory and they immediately sent out a new black shroud to go over the air conditioner. Whew!!! At least we didn't have to send the entire thing back!!

There was slight damage to the white shroud, so they didn't even want it back. It won't hurt the usability of it. But they told us to toss it in the landfill! If anyone out there needs it, contact us and they can come and get it. The cost to ship it is crazy outrageous, we just checked on that for someone that lives far away. Local pick up only! 

The new shroud came in only a few days later. Boy they were fast! Kudos to Rec Pro for standing behind their service and their products. 

Here's the cost of our order for a ducted unit with heat pump, and a soft start device pre-installed:

Free shipping was appreciated!

As any good do-it-yourselfer does, Steve examined the entire air conditioner, and then read the instructions from cover to cover... (Plus he watched a few YouTubes).

As you may know, I am trying to build up a YouTube channel of just camping themed videos. It is not sponsored in any way. But here is the link to the entire video of installing the air conditioner. So if you don't want to continue reading further down,  or looking at the photos, just click on this link! Please like and subscribe too...

The first step was removing the old air conditioner. Steve removed the grid and brackets from the inside. Then of course he turned off the power, and disconnected all of the wires.

Excuse the borders on these photos, they are all screen grabs from the video. Because I did not take still shots at the same time It's the only way I can get photos of the process to post in the blog.

Next he needed to remove this large power control box from the old Coleman air conditioner. It's tucked way up inside with two wing nuts holding it to the edge of the mounting bracket. Really hard to see, had to do it by feel. 

The new air conditioner does not operate with the wall thermostat. Those wires are tucked up out of the way not to be used again. This new one operates with a remote control pointed directly at the unit in the ceiling! How cool is that?

Now we waited until a nice day where we could get our big strong neighbor guy to come over and give Steve a hand! Also we borrowed a very very sturdy extension ladder from our other neighbor. 

We saw this "ladder and rope method"  on another YouTube and figured it would work pretty good with two strong guys. 

It sure did, they slid the old one down very easily. The new one went up pretty good. The guys were very careful with the new unit and we had no damage whatsoever.

Adam **celebrates**!!!

They got the new unit laid into place after making sure the roof surface area of the old one was free and clear of any dirt or residue. It's really important to make sure everything is smooth and clear so the new one can make a direct contact and firm seal with the foam gasket. The foam gasket is already attached underneath the new air conditioner. So they set it into place, now all we had to do was the "inside connections".

These wonderful new connectors are called Wago. They are a push-in type of connector with little snapping levers. Strip the ends of your wires from the surrounding plastic, and twist them tight before inserting into the Wago. *CLICK* the little orange lever and they are done. Easy Peasy!

The ground wire is attached with a heavy duty wire nut, and then wrapped with black electrical tape for a secure ground.

That's it! Three wires to connect the power feed from the motorhome to the air conditioner itself.

Now the next step is correctly squishing down the air conditioner from one inch down to a half an inch on the foam gasket....

First we had to measure exactly the distance between the bottom surface of the air conditioner to the top surface of the ceiling itself. That is four and a half inches. Now if we squish it down a half an inch, that means it would be a 4-inch space. This number is very critical!

The reason it is critical, is because every rooftop is a different thickness on every RV. There is a center baffle piece that needs to be trimmed to that exact opening. This must be done before being folded into three different angles to go between the air conditioner itself and the bottom bracket and plenum. 

We measured carefully so there was only exactly 4 inches remaining of this center baffle.

The top ridge of this three angled baffle needs to fit securely against the underside of the AC unit. Otherwise the cool air will leak into other areas, and not into your ducts! 

Now pre-fit the bottom mounting bracket to the ceiling and the AC unit.... 

On some Winnebago Views, they said they had to cut quite a bit away from the corners from the existing 14" opening for the plastic bracket to fit. We found on our 2016 G Winnebago View that we only needed to trim two of the corners a tiny bit. An oscillating tool with a plunge cutter blade or a small jig saw would do the job.

Once the center baffle and bottom mounting bracket were fitted in place, a small wire connector needs to be snapped into a corresponding connector to attach the plenum which houses the thermostat and digital display. This is the only other wiring necessary. It is a simple plug and play.  But make sure the wire isn't caught up inside the open space, it needs to lay alongside the bracket edge on the right... It took a little bit of close examination to figure that out. 

Four long bolts are inserted through the bottom of the mounting bracket and attach onto the air conditioner on the roof itself. These need to be tightened down evenly, a little bit at a time all the way around. Reaching up inside, with a measuring device, we used a bent artist plaster knife with the 1/2-in distance drawn on it with a sharpie marker. It's hard to get up in there and see. But you have to squish that foam gasket down to only half an inch. Not tighter, not looser. When using a torque wrench it can come down to 7 NM.  
Excuse the screen shot.... 

Now the mounting bracket is screwed up into place, with a gasket thickness of only 1/2 inch.  We have replaced AC gaskets on both units of our last motorhome, so we knew this was a good thickness.  But if you want to use a torque wrench, please do so. 

The plenum cover is attached with four longer screws right to that black bracket. Screw them in carefully and don't over tighten. We see that it can flex the cover and perhaps cause some cracks?

Now the plenum sides are screwed in with the four small screws. These are wood screws and go directly into the ceiling material. 

Finally, the air filters can now slide into place on each side. The inside is now done!

Steve went outside and plugged r motorhome into the 30 amp dedicated RV power outlet on our garage. I was able to take the remote control, and turn on the unit. 


It's pretty cool how the numbers illuminate through the plastic plenum!

We found it was able to cool down the interior really fast. We can either close the ducts and just have it dump out of the two ends into the main living area. This is the fastest way to cool down the main space.

Then once a good temperature level is reached, the ducts can be opened, and the two end vents pieces closed off. There are two levers on the back side that slide inwards and outwards to switch the direction of the air flow--- whether you are using the ducts or the direct dump feature.

Now that the inside was complete there was one more thing to finish up on the outside.

Putting that new black shroud on over the unit.

It was not very easy, there are two little screws on each side underneath that are kind of difficult to reach. Steve had to actually lay down parallel with the unit on the roof to get to them. Once those are secure, there are four large bolts on the top that go down into the unit. They have four little plastic caps to snap on over them.


We are going to enjoy it so much. It is much quieter and blows more air through the ducts than our last unit did. We think it will be able to keep up with the high demand of having a dark roof and a dark upper area of the motorhome, especially up in the bunk and cab area that is all dark gray fiberglass.

It was so pleasant, we decided to take a nap right in the driveway all afternoon in the pleasant air conditioning.

1 comment:

  1. Most people don't realize what an extra couple thousand BTU can do when trying to cool an RV.
    Great job as always Steve.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.


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