Teardrop Trailer Air Conditioning (A/C) Unit Installation

We recently received a request from a Twitter follower to provide installation details about our custom, home-built teardrop trailer’s air conditioning (A/C) unit  . . .


Do you have any write ups on how you vent/drain your A/C on your teardrop?

By now, you may have seen some photos of our teardrop trailer’s air conditioning (A/C) unit installation in the post entitled “Building Our Teardrop Trailer From Scratch: Learning by Doing“.  In the next set of paragraphs, I’ll give more details about those photos.

Teardrop Trailer Air Conditioning (A/C) Unit Installation

The over-simplified explanation of how to deal with venting and draining of a teardrop trailer’s air conditioning (A/C) unit goes a little something like this:
air flow zones for camper air conditioning unit, teardrop trailer air conditioning installation
Air-flow zones for teardrop trailer or camper air-conditioning unit.
  1. Divide air space outside of A/C unit into three distinct zones:
    • Zone 1 at front of A/C unit, where cabin air is pulled in through one set of A/C unit’s front-panel vents, and cooled air is pushed back out into cabin via another set of front-panel vents;
    • Zone 2 through mid-section of A/C unit, where outside air is pulled into the A/C unit’s mid-section vents;
    • Zone 3 at rear of A/C unit, where hot air from condenser coil is pushed out the back-end vents.
  2. Provide intake route for outside air to be pulled into Zone 2, where it will enter the A/C unit via the mid-section intake vents;.
  3. Provide exit route in Zone 3 for heated air at back end of A/C unit to be pushed outside of teardrop trailer (Note: we installed a partitioned roof vent to accommodate both Zone 2 ingress and Zone 3 egress).
  4. Provide a water collection space at back end of A/C unit in Zone 2 and Zone 3, where water from A/C unit’s internal, built-in drip pan (a result of front-end cooling-coil evaporation) can safely collect and exit the trailer when A/C unit is running;
  5. When installing a water-collection pan to accommodate run-off water through Zone 2 & Zone 3:
    • Make sure teardrop trailer is level;
    • Position and secure the water-collection pan at ample angle to allow A/C unit’s run-off water to safely and efficiently collect into one back corner of collection pan (in our case, the back-left corner);
    • Cut small hole at base of water-collection pan in separator wall between Zone 2 & Zone 3 to allow water to pass from Zone 3 into Zone 2. Punch hole at back of water-collection pan in Zone 2, where water can drain out through a drainage tube;
    • Install a leak-proof drainage tube long enough to run down through infrastructure of teardrop trailer until it reaches the outside of the teardrop trailer’s underbelly (Note: we punched a hole in left-rear of collection pan and soldered copper tubing that we then ran through an interior wall to the underside of the teardrop trailer). REMEMBER: GRAVITY IS YOUR FRIEND, so MAKE SURE the water’s EXIT ROUTE IS ALL DOWNHILL!  🙂
  6. When ready to install A/C unit, use weather-proof sealant tape between rear of A/C unit and any framed areas A/C unit will butt up against to ensure a watertight installation.

Now, for the expanded Photo Log of our Teardrop Trailer air conditioning unit installation . . .

With this being our first attempt at building a teardrop trailer from scratch, we attempted to capture as many photos of our trailer build as we could. We did so STRICTLY FOR OUR OWN INFORMATION. Beyond family and friends, we never thought in a million years we’d show them to anyone else. And yet, here we are!

(Recall, this wasn’t a kit build, but a wing-it-as-you-go home-built teardrop trailer. We wanted (and knew we would need!) plenty of step-by-step evidence in case something didn’t work well afterwards. We’ve been fortunate and INFINITELY GRATEFUL that most things have worked great from the start. )

All said and done, making the correct cuts and creating the correct angles for the aluminum shields and separators was perhaps the most trying part of the build. It helped TREMENDOUSLY to use cardboard and foam board stencils to attain the best configuration and thus have templates to use when cutting and shaping the aluminum.

First we made a cardboard mock-up of the air conditioner, flushed out some ideas, and committed to a channel through which we would run the copper tubing that would serve as an egress of the air conditioner’s run-off water:

 Next, we worked on fashioning a foam board mock-up of the external vent area to be used for BOTH Zone 2 air intake AND Zone 3 hot-air egress:

Then, we worked on framing the innards with aluminum sheeting and created a path for run-off water to exit the trailer :

Next, we commited to cutting and forming the air conditioning system’s outer roof shield, AND we commit to applying the full aluminum skin to our trailer:

Final stages included installation of air conditioner’s aluminum roof-top vent shield and placement of protective plastic grill to keep the critters out:

See? That wasn’t so bad!

Actually, it was a bit more complicated than we thought. As with anything, you learn a whole lot about something when you’re forced to. I know WAY more about air conditioning systems than I thought I ever needed to or wanted to, but I actually feel the better for it. You will too.  🙂

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. In the meantime, good luck to all of you out there bravely building your own teardrop trailers. We STILL look fondly at this teardrop trailer build as our favorite joint-project to date!


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Happy Mother’s Day, Mother Nature!

Thank you, Mother Nature, for some of the most amazing experiences in the last several years out here in the western United States!

Photos of Our Own Home-Built, Custom Teardrop Trailer

We built our teardrop trailer in 2011, from the tip of her trailer hitch to the top of her roof racks! She was inspired by the first teardrop trailer we ever saw–a used Camp-Inn brand trailer.

We built her (Building Our Teardrop Trailer From Scratch: Learning by Doing) before we saw all the amazing variations of teardrops there are nowadays . . . old and new. Still, we love her for the custom trailer she is and for the mere fact we never built such a thing before, but we embarked on the challenge anyway . . . together. We built her without plans. We built her with only a picture to go by. We built her loosely on what we saw, but specifically on what we wanted in her, from her.  And we couldn’t be happier!

We love her and hope you do too!

Our teardrop trailer

 

teardrop trailer, vintage, vintage-style, gathering, Perris, CA, Southern California, 2014
The galley of our home-built, vintage-style teardrop trailer
Foot-bed area of our home-built, custom teardrop trailer.
Foot-bed area of our home-built, custom teardrop trailer.
Headboard area of our home-built, custom teardrop trailer.
Headboard area of our home-built, custom teardrop trailer.

Galley Resized

 


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1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_2: Prepping Chassis and Engine

THE CHASSIS

So, as you might recall from our first post on this project (1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project), we acquired this lovely hunka junka 1989 Chevy S10 for it’s chassis . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chassis from 1989 Chevy S10

This is the same truck, stripped of the worst part of the truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . or so we thought.

Surprise!

And here was our first surprise . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Errrrr . . . those two big bars that look shifted to the right isn’t a trick of the camera. This baby withstood significant impact and the result was a seriously misaligned front end. Still, Mark decided he was willing to keep working with it.

There, that’s better . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Now for a bit of cleanup . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and a few restored parts (cleaned and painted) from a variety of trucks that have now been added to the mix . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and we have ourselves a half-decent looking, rolling chassis, ready for an engine .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

THE ENGINE

Seems we were destined to put this demolished 2004 Chevy Silverado Extended Cab to good re-use. We were happy to pull from it the LS 4.8 engine we would use for our vintage truck restoration project.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

The Silverado had seen better days, but her engine only had 112,000 miles on it. Plenty more to go, as far as we were concerned.

The engine looked a might frightful at first . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog . . . but not so bad after we stripped her of her wiring harness and computer, and gave her a good cleaning. Next, we used a forklift to lower the chassis over the engine (rather than trying to precariously dangle the engine over the chassis) . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

. . . and checked her for proper fit before we committed to the rest of the project.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

She now looks good to go.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck, engine, chassis, redesign, teardrop trailer blog

Next, we’ll install the truck bed, cab, engine, and transmission. And then we’ll trailer her back home where we can tackle the rest of the project in the comfort of our own garage.  Definitely something we’re looking forward to.

You may have noticed we’re pulling parts from a variety of vehicles for this project. Part of that is out of necessity. We were limited in our choice of chassis to match the 1950 Chevy 3100. Part of that is out of Mark’s desire for certain performance and reliability features. We will continue to walk that line and, in the meantime, have assembled a detailed spreadsheet, tracking where in the heck all the parts came from (especially VIN# of donor vehicles). Otherwise, fixing anything mechanical on this baby down the road (getting the right parts, in particular) would be a nightmare.

At the moment, our truck is in good company at the aircraft junkyard among several impressive rat rods (rusty on the outside, radically wicked power on the inside!).

Chassis Engine__IMG_1339

And by the time we’re done with our 1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restoration & Rebuild  project, we’ll have a hybrid truck that is retro and highly functional . . . a truck Dr. Frankenstein himself would be happy to ride in!

Stay tuned for updates!

Happy Restoring, Re-using, and Re-purposing to all you builders and restorers out there!


Related Articles in this 1950 Chevy Restore/Rebuild series:

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project


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1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore/Rebuild_1: Committing to the Project

As the old timers used to say,

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!”

Along with the resurgence of love for vintage teardrop trailers, vintage, full-sized camping trailers, and pimped-out vintage decor, there’s also a significant resurgence of interest in vintage vehicles. Most everyone who owns or will own a vintage camper eventually toys with the idea of pulling it with a similar-year vintage vehicle.  But most folks don’t necessarily want to put up with the slow-moving, old-time nature of a vintage vehicle.

In the spirit of preserving one of those beautiful babies a.k.a. the fabulous vintage vehicles of the 40s, 50s, and 60s that look stunning pulling vintage trailers, we set out to acquire ourselves a vintage truck by keeping the babythe beautiful body that we loved so much. And disposing of the bathwaterthe old, under-powered, under-performing engine and chassis of a vintage truck.

The baby in question for us is a 1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck. I’ve wanted to own one of these all my life. I mean way back, like when I was in a teenager, growing up in the 60s and 70s.

About a year ago, my interest was re-sparked, when I spotted this old beauty in a supermarket parking lot . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
The Chevy 3100 I saw that became the inspiration for our vintage truck hybrid rebuild.

That natural green hue. Those beautiful curves. It was love at first sight.

Mark took a picture of her, because I uttered the words, “Someday, I want a truck just like this!”

When we talked about the possibility of acquiring a truck like this, we realized we wanted something not only vintage, but practical, too. We wanted it to be powerful enough to pull a large camping trailer, if we wished. And strong and safe enough to use for long-distance driving or short hauls with a heavy payload in the truck bed.

In other words, we knew right away that we wanted a hybrid restoration/rebuild. So when we talked about “someday” making a truck like this a reality, we realized we’d have to wait for when we might also someday live on a big piece of property with a large garage and no HOV-community restrictions. In other words, someday wouldn’t be any day soon.

Then. An opportunity.

Mark knows the owner of an airplane junkyard who said he’d be willing to allow us space on his property to tackle a build project. The fella and his sons were deep into building rat rods–some nasty, some fancy, but mostly big ole rusted-out trucks, chopped up and stripped down, powered by over-the-top engines, just perfect for street racing and fun.

IMG_0546_resize

The offer was the answer to our prayers. Mark jumped right on it.

Within a week, we found a 1950 Chevy 3100 on a Texas-centric Craigslist ad. We live in Arizona, but soon found we had to extend our reach if we hoped to find the exact truck we wanted. For $575, we found someone to transport the slightly drive-able, but definitely not road-worthy truck.

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
The body of this 1950 Chevy 3100

After a massive amount of research, Mark found that if we wanted to preserve the vintage body, but beef up the underlying power and handling, then we needed a late 1980’s Chevy S10 chassis to match up with the Chevy 3100. One week later, we scored a 1989 Chevy S10 chassis on Craigslist from a local seller.

So, the body of this vintage Chevy 3100 pickup truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chevy 3100 pickup from Texas

PLUS the chassis of this [technically an antique, I suppose!] 1989 Chevy S10 pickup truck . . .

restore, rebuild, re-use, vintage Chevy 3100 truck
Chassis from 1989 Chevy S10

EQUALS the TRUCK OF MY DREAMS in the making.

The rest of the build is all magic a la Mr. Google and Mark.

“Mr. Google, let me introduce to you the relentless research skills, metal fabrication expertise,  and mechanical prowess of my partner, Mark.”  🙂

Granted, it’s an ambitious project. But Mark is just the guy to tackle it.

About one month into the project and Mark has scored the body, chassis, low-mile engine, and transmission, most of which are originals, except for the transmission, which has been rebuilt. He has cleaned up the old and made much of it look new again, or at least new’ish. And he is finessing the heck out of figuring out how to pull it all together.

I can hardly wait!

Stay tuned for updates!

Happy Restoring, Re-using, and Re-purposing to all you builders and restorers out there!


Related Articles in this 1950 Chevy Restore/Rebuild series:

1950 Chevy 3100 Vintage Truck Restore / Rebuild_2: Prepping Chassis and Engine


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Happy trails, y’all!

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Details, Details, Details: Adding a Side Grill to our Teardrop Trailer

This week, Mark added a side grill to our home-built, custom teardrop trailer, because, you know, he can! (I LOVE this man!)

When we initially designed our teardrop trailer, which really was a bit more like winging than designing (check out my blog post:  Building Our Teardrop Trailer From Scratch: Learning by Doing) we made note ahead of time of some key features we wanted to include.

One feature, right off the bat, was to install an extra deep stainless steel sink that could easily hold a large spaghetti pot.

Another was to install rails all around the rear of the trailer to accommodate table tops wherever we might need ’em. Our thought on this was to stay modular in our design, ready to accommodate future needs.

Well, this week, a need (really a “want”) arose when Mark decided he wanted to add an extra grill besides the neat slide-out, cast iron, double-burner grill we already enjoy.

Canyonlands National Park, Utah, The Mighty Five, Utah tourism, vintage teardrop trailer travels, U.S. road trip, Utah national parks, hiking, sightseeing, photography

As you may note in the picture above, besides the rear-right rail being used by our fold-out table, there’s also a rail on the right side panel of the trailer near the electric socket. We have the same exact two-rail configuration on the left side of our teardrop trailer as well.

So when Mark decided he wanted to make use of an old barbecue grill, we talked about a design for making it safe and stable so our 80-lb Lab/Shepherd couldn’t accidentally knock it over. All said and done, we came up with this:

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details

“Is that grill smoking,” you ask?

Why, “Yes, it is!”

How can one set up a grill and not fire it up?

Salmon burgers, here . . . we . . . come!

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details

teardrop trailer, vintage trailer, custom trailer, camping, tiny trailer, DIY, build details

We love our ever-morphing teardrop trailer! We especially love all her details, details, details!

Make sure to have fun with YOUR teardrop trailer! Even if you buy it new or already customized by a previous owner, make sure to add those details that make it your own!



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Lemmon Eye Candy: Sunset Photo Gallery, Mt. Lemmon, Tucson, AZ

Valentine’s Day 2016. Desert cactus. Snow skiing. Stunning sunset after hiking. Prepare yourself for eye candy a.k.a. a photo gallery of our day trip to Mt. Lemmon in Tucson, AZ.

We started with desert cactus at the base . . .

and wound up in snow at the peak . . .

followed by hiking and spectacular Lemmon candy at sunset . . .

and perhaps my favorite photo of the day . . .

LemmonMtn_DSC02028_UR‘Nuf said!



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Happy trails, y’all!

Hope your Valentine’s Day was just as special.

XOXO

Sue J signature

Life itself is the adventure! #nature #hiking #camping #travel #teardroptrailers #DIY #CoolStuff #CoolPeople #LifeBalance #StuffThatMatters