Dometic Penguin II Install Fail
NOTE: This describes a ducted AC install, not a non-ducted unit. Non-ducted units blow air straight down from the bottom of the AC itself. Ducted ACs blow the air through roof channels with ports that distribute the air along the channel.
When one of our two Dometic Penguin II ACs on our 2001 Newmar Mountain Aire gave up the ghost recently (see New AC, New Campsite), we had a local RV repair shop replace it. Before they started, I suggested they contact Newmar because I thought there was a special gasket that went between the Penguin II and the RV roof. There actually is a special gasket, but the repair shop didn’t get one.
Instead they used the gasket that came with my new Penguin II.
It didn’t work. Though our new Penguin II worked fine, after an all-night rain, water leaked into our RV from the AC. I had to punch holes in the AC ducts to let the water drain.
Long story short . . . I contacted Newmar support and ordered the Penguin II gasket kit (#017841) for about $120. The guys from the local RV repair shop came back, installed the Newmar gasket, and after testing with a water hose . . . no leaks.
Here’s what a successful gasket install looks like:
How to tell if you had the wrong gasket installed:
HERE’S WHAT I LEARNED:
(1) For a major repair, do your homework by researching the manufacturer, Google, and YouTube. You may end up knowing more than the repair shop — imagine that! In my case, I did.
(2) If possible, don’t let non-customer-service-centered techs work on your RV. I had two techs who were having none of my suggestions. For example, when I said “You have to set the AC DIP switches correctly”, they didn’t know what DIP switched were. Yeah, there’s probably nothing worse for RV repair shops than a know-it-all old fart telling them their business. However, I did know more and I was paying for it. So there. Nevertheless, don’t become a PITA.
(3) Don’t pay until you’re satisfied. I had paid the repair shop by check after they first installed the new AC. However, shortly after the installation, I discovered the leak and cancelled the check. I told them I wouldn’t pay until it was fixed.