August 1, 2001

Coaches Comments #1

By: Rob Lowe

Coaches Comments #1 


A/C Power in the Front Passenger Area

Many Bounder owners have found that they require an A/C outlet in the right front passenger area of their coach. Many are using a computer based mapping program for trip planning and a GPS to track their position while driving. Both the computer and GPS require dependable power. Of course with modern low power inverters, one can connect a computer A/C adapter however with cell phones, brake system monitors, GPS and portable CD players all competing for that single power source something has to give. Our 2002 39Z had a 12-Volt power point and A/C outlet on the bottom of the overhead cabinet above and behind the passenger seat. Unfortunately the A/C outlet was not connected to the 2000-watt inverter included as standard equipment. Some prior year and some newer ones do have inverter powered A/C outlets in the front passenger kick-panel area. For those diesel Bounders that do not, this article will describe how I installed an A/C outlet in this area, and telephone jack for my modem in this area. For those with gas coaches, installing a handy AC power-point which is connected to your generator and shore power cord will allow you to use your computer in the front passenger seat area.

CAUTION: Working with both 120 Volt and 12-Volt wiring can be dangerous. Turn off all sources of power before proceeding. This article is not designed to teach you how to handle this electrical wiring. Have all A/C wiring done by a licensed electrician and if you do the work yourself have the work inspected by a licensed electrician.

I added an A/C receptacle and telephone jack on the right hand side lower kick-panel area and tied the power into the Inverter circuit (#10 on the Fleetwood Schematic). This is the same circuit that powers the A/C outlet in the front slide-out in the area of the dinette/kitchen table. The slide-out receives its 12 Volt and A/C power from flexible cables routed through the front slide rail that are connected inside the Bounder to junction boxes. The A/C junction box for my coach was on the floor under the cabinet where the dishwasher would be installed to the left of the sink. Access is gained by removing the drawers in this cabinet. On Bounders with a factory-installed inverter there are two junction boxes and one must determine which one supplies the A/C power from the inverter. The wiring may be marked with the circuit number (10) or one may need to use an A/C tester. With all A/C power disconnected, carefully remove the tape and Marr connectors from the wires and after someone turns on the power to the inverter, test the wiring connectors for power. Turn off the Inverter and remember to reinstall the Marr connectors and tape again after you have made your wiring connections. For those without an inverter there will be a single junction box. Connect the new wiring to this junction box. I ran the new wire and telephone cable following the existing wiring down into the storage compartment immediately under this area, using an existing grommet then through the sidewall of the compartment (again through an existing grommet). The wire followed the frame above the step and above the front suspension to the front bin. It was carefully routed up through the floor at the back of the front bin into the passenger area behind the kick-panel. I used 12/2 yellow jacketed cable (the same as the factory used) and covered the outside with plastic electric conduit that looks like the split plastic automotive loom but is larger, not split and designed for just this purpose.

The carpeted front kick panel is attached with two Phillips head screws on each end right beside the sidewall and centre drawer stack. They are hidden under the carpet and installed at a 45-degree angle to the front panel. You will need to remove the bookrack on the left side to access the screws on this end of the panel. You may find locating the screws difficult; with a little patience they will be located. There is a lot of space behind the kick-panel however one must be careful to locate the box and receptacle in an area that will not interfere with the heating and air conditioning equipment mounted in this area. I installed a telephone connection and ran the cable back to the cabinet in the kitchen area to be connected to the telephone wiring at a later date. All drilled holes were caulked to seal them and the wiring was secured with clamps and wire ties. Ensure that all wiring is well away from moving suspension components, and make sure that road debris can not damage the wiring. The location I suggested is quite protected and secure. The complete installation took me about six hours but with this information I would expect that you could complete this installation in about three hours.


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