RV AC Installation and Why You Should Use a Dealership

Peggy Sue before her update.

When we purchased our 2001 Jayco Qwest Popup Camper, we knew that we had purchased a project.  We had a long list of projects that would need to be tackled.  Nearly 1 year later, we are still doing some of the work.  With full-time jobs and a family, this work has to be planned out over time.  While we have done much of the work ourselves, some work is just handled by the RV professionals - a dealership.

Aberdeen RV in North Mississippi has been our "go to" for professional work.  There is a reason that they are professionals.  For starters, training, experience and the tools to do the job.  Some DIY work is good in theory but just not so much in practice.

Our niece and nephew have experienced the same with the renovation of 2 different Airstream campers.  I love the ambition of a self-done job.  However, it is important to recognize your limitations going into a job.

Peggy Sue came with an AC unit that was literally older than she was.  On a recent trip to the dealership to have the AC gasket replaced, it was discovered that the existing unit was rusted into place.  Bolt cutters would be required to remove the unit and it was on its last leg.  The gasket was causing a slow leak in our camper and needed to be repaired. 

The old AC on Peggy Sue with the damaged shroud.
We recently had Aberdeen RV to install our new Mach 10 AC with Heat Pump.  Even though we had watched videos and done our research, my husband and I were wary of doing this project ourselves.  With the rusted in bolts, this was just the starting point was an uncertain job. 

Mach 10 AC Unit

Dealerships charge an hourly rate for service.  $95 dollars an hour is the hourly rate at our local dealership.  I suppose this number might sound high.  With this rate, you are paying for the location/shop where the work is happening.  The staff is being paid.  And this fee pays for the training and certification to provide the service that you are receiving along with the tools that they are using.  Labor isn't cheap for all of these reasons.  I recognize this because I work in the technology field.

Mach 10 AC Ceiling Assembly

To have our AC installed, it took them 2 hours to do this job.  I can confidently say that this would have taken us much longer than this to do the job.  We would have also had to purchase tools to do the job.  The math doesn't work out.  It would have taken my husband and I both probably 3 or 4 hours to do this work.  Time is worth money.

You have to consider if you paid yourself to do the work.  What would you pay yourself?  Would you pay two persons $25 per hour to do this work?  And how much would the tools cost to do the job?  If this job took my husband and me 4 hours to do the job, this would have been $200 labor for our time at a rate of $25 per hour.  We don't own bolt cutters to remove the rusted in bolts from the old AC unit.  And, who knows what else we would have gotten into along the way.

Before you tackle a big project or installation, consider the basic math.  Think about the time and tools to do the job.  Sometimes the numbers won't work out.  For this project, it didn't.

There are many projects that we have done ourselves.  I have updated electrical ports, made curtains, cushions, repaired doors and so many more things.  But each job that we have done, we were able to do the job with the tools we had.

$200 later we have a brand new AC unit installed, and we are ready for our next camping adventure without a divorce on the horizon.  I am fully convinced that no home improvement show on television fully depicts the couple that is ready to kill each other before the work is done.  Big projects can be hard on the pocketbook and the relationship involved.

Coleman Mach 10 with a new shroud

Do the math and consider the costs before you take on that next big job.  It might be worth it to call the dealership.  I'll be fully reviewing the new Mach 10 AC Unit next month after our Thanksgiving weekend camping trip.  Be on the lookout for this review.  I can't wait to share it with you.

What projects have you tackled yourself?  I admire all of the DIY enthusiasts in the camping community.  I have precious little free time.  I'd rather use some of that time doing other things - like spending it with my family or crafting pretty glamping decor.  (At least I own it!)

Peggy Sue after her interior remodel!  With our new Mach 10 AC, we are ready for the 2018 camping year!