how to remove a Coleman rv air conditioner
Removing a Coleman RV air conditioner from a roof top

RV Roof Repair Day 2: Removing Coleman RV Air Conditioner

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Welcome to my RV Renovation Series! I’ve just finished removing all the roof fixtures except one. I was putting this one off to last because it looked like a real pain in the ass. It wasn’t as bad as I feared, except for the fact that the roof top unit is super heavy! But don’t fear, you can do this. My RV air conditioner is a Coleman. (Coleman 7332 RV Air Conditioner). Your steps may be different if you have a Dometic Air Conditioner or a newer model of Coleman RV air conditioner. But I’m betting there are a lot of similarities, whether you’re removing a travel trailer air conditioner or a motorhome air conditioner! Let’s remove this RV AC unit!

camper AC roof top unit
Now the hardest part: removing the RV roof air conditioner!

How to Remove an RV Air Conditioner

In this post I cover how to:

To see all the tools I used today, check out part one of this post.

Remove the Roof Top Air Conditioner Cover

The first thing you’ll notice is four big Phillips head screws with black washers under them. These hold the cover in place over the rooftop AC unit. I removed those and the whole cover slid off in one piece.

removing screws from Coleman RV air conditioner
First remove the four screws that hold the cover on the air conditioner.
removing RV air conditioner cover
Shimmy the whole AC cover off in one piece.

Here’s a look at the inside of a Coleman RV air conditioner. (at least the roof top portion of the unit.)

interior of Coleman AC, not Dometic air conditioner
Close up of the Coleman 7332 RV Air Conditioner roof top unit..
be careful of fins in camper AC unit.
Be very careful to not damage the delicate fins on this end if you plan to reinstall it!
damaged RV air conditioner unit
It looks like there was previous damage to the front of the unit. Someone crashed into a a tree or a roof!

There are no more fasteners on the top so it’s time to head inside.

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Remove the Ceiling Assembly Cover

Here you’ll see two Phillips head screws on the ceiling assembly. I unscrewed those and realized the cover wouldn’t come off until I pulled the knobs off the adjustor dials. They just pull straight off. Once those are off I slid the cover over those shafts and removed the cover.

ceiling assembly of Coleman 7300 series Air Conditioner
The cover of the ceiling assembly for the Coleman RV Air Conditioner has two large Phillips head screws holding it in place.
Coleman RV air conditioner selector knob
Close-up of the selector switch on the Air Conditioner ceiling assembly.
removing cover from Coleman air conditioner
After removing the two Phillips head screws, I found the cover was still held in place by the control knobs. Simply pull them off! Then remove the cover.
control knobs for camper air conditioner
Control knobs removed from AC ceiling assembly.
ceiling assembly cover from RV roof air conditioner
Once the dials are off, the cover can be removed. This is what the inside looks like (note black filters).

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Disconnect Wiring to the Ceiling Assembly

HEADS UP! Always turn off power before messing with wiring inside a camper air conditioner! The first thing I did was switch off the main circuit breaker in my breaker box, even though my camper was unplugged! (Just in case someone plugs it in without me knowing!)

RV circuit breaker panel
Before disassembling AC, turn off the main power circuit breaker and unplug your camper!

Here’s what the ceiling assembly looks like from below after the cover has been removed. Next I need to remove any wiring that is connected to the two control boxes that the dials come out of.

ceiling assembly of camper air conditioner
Here’s a view of the rest of the ceiling assembly of the Coleman AC unit.

There is a small screw holding a little cover in place over each control box. Remove the screws and shimmy the cover off.

Coleman Mach AC control box
Unscrew the small screw on the front of the control box to remove the cover and expose the wiring.

HEADS UP! I didn’t actually need to remove the cover from this control box (it’s the thermostat box), but I opened it up anyway to be sure. I actually just had to unclip this wiring harness connector by pinching the tabs on the side and pulling back.

wiring harness to RV AC unit
The thermostat box has a wire harness connector running into the back.
Coleman AC thermostat control box
I removed the small Phillips screw from the cover and opened the thermostat box to see what was inside. Turns out I didn’t need to open it, just disconnect the wiring harness.

It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but this little wiring harness connector stumped me more than anything else in the project so far. I don’t do any automotive work so I haven’t messed with many wire harnesses. I pried with screwdrivers and tugged with pliers for a good three minutes. Finally I tried squeezing these tabs. Lo and behold, it released and I pulled it right out. Ugh.

how to unclip wire harness on Coleman RV AC
To remove wiring harness connector, squeeze the little clips and pull back.
wiring harness disconnected from Coleman AC unit
Here’s the wiring harness connector pulled apart from the thermostat control box.

Next I opened the other control box on the other side (the selector box) to disconnect the power supply wires. First I loosened the strain relief clamp at the back of the box and then pulled out the wire nut connections so I could access them.

Selector control box in Coleman RV air conditioner parts
Now remove the cover from the selector box (another small Phillips head screw).
Loosening wire strain relief in selector box
To disconnect the power supply, first loosen the strain-relief clamp at the back of the box.
exposing the power supply wiring in the RV rooftop AC
Pull out the wiring connections so you can work on them. Remove the electrical tape and unscrew the wire nuts.

HEADS UP! Again, be safe when working with electrical components. After removing the wire nuts (don’t touch the exposed wires yet) I always test the wires to make sure there is no live electricity. I use a simple circuit tester that lights up when current is present. First I test it in a live outlet to make sure it’s working, then I touch the probes to the wires. If it doesn’t light up, then I’m good to go. Yes I already switched off the main breaker but this is a good habit to get into!

testing for current with current tester
After unscrewing the wire nuts it’s always a good habit to check that there is no current with a current tester. Be safe!

I untwisted the hot (black) wire and the neutral (white) wire and then had to loosen the green screw that holds down the bare copper ground wire. Once all the wires were free I pulled the whole cable out through the strain relief clamp and out of the box. I usually screw the wire nuts back onto the ends of the exposed supply wires in case anyone turns the power back on later.

remove green grounding screw
Once you’re sure there is no current, pull the twisted supply wires apart, then loosen this little green screw to remove the ground wire.
wiring unhooked from travel trailer AC unit
Once all wires are disconnected, I always place the wire nuts back on the supply lines in case someone turns on the power!

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Remove the Ceiling Assembly

Now it’s time to unbolt the ceiling assembly from the roof top unit. Find the right size socket in a socket wrench set and start cranking.

HEADS UP! Before removing the bolts it’s good to take note of how far the bolts stick out and the tension on the screws between the bolt head and the ceiling assembly. If you’re going to be re-installing this air conditioner after the roof repair, make sure you get it about the same!

removing ceiling unit of camper air conditioner
Ready to remove the ceiling assembly! There are four large hex head bolts holding it to the roof assembly. Find the right size socket and start ratcheting.
tensioning springs in rv rooftop air conditioner
Notice how much space the springs have, allowing the whole assembly some flex. Aim for this when re-assembling!

Wow, these bolts are long! This takes a while so be patient. I removed three of the four bolts and then realized as I was removing the fourth that there was a metal flange holding a fabric skirt in place between the roof top unit and ceiling unit. So you should probably remove this first before starting on the bolts!

bolt removed from ceiling assembly or caravan AC unit
These bolts are huge!
flange holding fabric skirt in travel trailer roof top air conditioner
After removing three bolts I realized this metal flange was holding the ceiling assembly to a fabric skirt attached to the roof-top unit. Remove the three Phillips screws holding the metal flange in place.
removing metal flange in AC
Remove the metal flange and tuck the fabric skirt up into the roof top unit. Now carefully remove the last bolt and lower the ceiling assembly. It’s heavy!

After removing the metal flange and the final bolt I could lower the whole ceiling assembly. This is pretty awkward, trying to hold it up while unscrewing the last bolt so it might be nice to have a helper. But I managed it on my own. Here’s how the ceiling assembly looks after removal. I reattached the metal skirt flange, and the control box covers to keep everything together. Then I reattached the plastic cover and the control knobs so it would be a nice tidy package to move elsewhere.

ceiling assembly removed
The AC ceiling assembly removed.
AC control unit reassembled
I put the metal flange back on and the covers for the control boxes so I wouldn’t loose any parts.
AC ceiling assembly removed
Then I screwed the cover back on to the ceiling assembly and pushed the knobs back to keep everything together.

With the ceiling assembly removed, here’s how the air conditioner roof opening looks from beneath. I noticed some old smaller gauge wires sticking out of a hole on the side that had just been clipped off. Maybe they went to a previous ceiling fixture?

hole for roof top AC unit
Here’s the view from underneath after the ceiling assembly is removed. I don’t know what those two little orphaned wires are coming out from the right. Maybe there was something else in this opening originally?

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Remove the Roof Top AC Unit

Back up on top of the roof, it’s time to pry up the entire AC roof top unit. This has a lot of butyl tape, putty, adhesive foam, and who knows what bonding it to the roof rubber so pull hard. (A pry bar might have been useful.) Eventually it popped free. This thing is HEAVY!

Removing the roof top air conditioner unit
Now the entire roof top assembly should pry up with a good deal of force. There will be a lot of adhesive and or putty/butyl tape holding it down. This thing is really heavy!
foam spacer under motorhome air conditioning
Notice there is a a foam spacer under the back end of the roof top unit. (In case you are re-installing it.)

HEADS UP! This is the scary part. Getting it off the roof. The roof top unit of the AC weighs a LOT. Probably 80 pounds or more. Get a helper for this job! I didn’t have one handy so I shimmied it to my ten foot step ladder and slid it down the ladder as I walked down backwards below it. That was nerve-wracking. I managed to do it without crushing myself. I suggest you find a better technique.

lowering motorhome air conditioner
Be very careful getting this sucker down. It weighs a lot! (maybe 80 pounds or more?) I dragged it to my ladder and slid it down above me while walking down backwards. It was scary!

Here’s the hole in the ceiling after the air conditioner has been completely removed from the camper. Whew! Now to clean up the roof.

Here’s the AC opening from the inside after all has been removed.

I pulled up the rest of the rubber roofing layer and that was that. All the gunk came up with it.

Here’s the Air Conditioner opening on the roof before clean up. Pull up the rest of the rubber and sealant.
All cleaned up and all openings covered! That’s the end of day 2!

So that’s the end of Day 2! All the roof top fixtures have been removed. Next I’ll be removing all the trim molding from the edges of the roof. Head on over!

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these settings are in the widgets slide-in menu!

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