Sunday, December 3, 2023


For RVers, it’s not cool: Coleman a/c fails

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Imagine being on a long RV trip. Your travels will take you around the country, through all kinds of weather. In the midst of a heat spell, your RV air conditioner suddenly croaks – leaving you stranded with no way to chill out. That’s the case for one reader, Steve. His Coleman a/c failed – and he says he’s not alone.

Air conditioner drops dead

coleman a/c fail

Steve has a sleek Super-C motorhome. Up top, two a/c units keep the rig cooled off in hot weather. Back in June he was visiting family in San Diego, California, when the rear Airxcel Coleman-Mach 8 unit dropped dead. Fortuitously, Steve was visiting his son at the time, and the younger man is a refrigeration technician. When the cover was pulled off the unit, it didn’t take long for Steve’s son to find a pinhole-sized leak in a bend in the unit’s coolant return line. He welded the leak, solving one problem. But RV a/c units are typically “closed” systems, not allowing for a coolant “fill up.” That problem was resolved by adding a Schrader valve, vacuuming out the system, and refilling it with the appropriate coolant.

Happy ending to a Coleman a/c unit fail? For a few days, yes. In Kansas, things heated up when the errant air conditioner conked out again. Steve made his way home with just the one remaining operational air conditioner. “After returning home,” Steve writes, “I found the U-shaped bend had cracked wide open.” At the time of the failure, Steve hadn’t immediately noticed the problem, as he was operating on both a/c units. Because of that, “We didn’t notice the problem until it was too late and the compressor seized up due to a loss of lubrication.”

Others complain of same problem

Steve took to social media with his story. He tells us it wasn’t long before he heard from a lot of upset people. Upset RVers with Coleman a/c unit fails. Many reported that they, too, had a/c units with seized compressors, presumably from a loss of lubrication when a leak took away that necessary commodity that keeps things running smoothly. Reports say that Airxcel, the company that sells and warrants the a/c units, can’t fix a seized compressor. The result – you toss out the bad cooler and replace it with a new one.

Sounds simple, but the problem, says Steve, is that Airxcel is experiencing a shortage of the units, and dealers are suggesting months’ worth of waits for replacement units.

We’d like to hear from any of you who’ve had any Coleman a/c unit fails. Please drop us an email to Russ (at sign) We’ll keep on this story and see what, if anything, we can do to help.


How to diagnose your RV’s air conditioner health


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.



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Stephen (@guest_186718)
1 year ago

Forgot to mention in my prior coment, if Coleman would have put a $5 low pressure cut out swtch on the units, the compressor would not continue to run with no refrigerant & would not lock up.

Stephen (@guest_186715)
1 year ago

I have a 2018 Renegade that i bought brand new, with 2 Colemans on top. Front one lasted a little over a year. The second lasted 1 additional year. Both mine had the dreaded “CRACKED” suction line at the bottom of the u bend oil trap, just like the one pictured. I welded the second one and it lasted 1 weekend and cracked on the other side at the same location. I then fabricated & replaced the entire section with a new piece only to vacuum it out, recharge & reinstall it to find out the compressor had locked up. I then drove 16 hrs to the Renegade factory to purchase a replacement, of course at an inflated price. They are the only ones in the country who has them. Pitiful. 1/4 of a million dollar motor home & can’t keep air conditioners on it!!! PITIFUL!!!

Jennifer R Wahl (@guest_182360)
1 year ago

Coleman Mach15 Fan blades detached (exploded) severing tubes inside the coils. Unit is only 3 months old. No help from Airxcel as I’m a new full timer and need mobile service.

This is going to be interesting.

Bob Weinfurt (@guest_138600)
2 years ago

So many things are made poorly now a days.

Joseph Eafrati (@guest_138426)
2 years ago

We have a Winnebago Adventurer class A. We have been waiting since May for our two Coleman a/c’s to be replaced. Yes, both of our roof A/C/heat pumps went out on us. We are full time and it got, you guessed it, HOT. We were told it may take several more months before we see one. We reluctantly spent $300 on a portable a/c and placed it in between the driver’s seat and the passenger seat and vented it out the side window. It is working well enough for now but can’t wait for the new ones to come in. I was told they are sending them to factories for new ones and the hell with us and whoever else needs them. Just fed up with the Coleman factory.

Stefan trestyn (@guest_138293)
2 years ago

Waiting since February for a mach 8 or 10 replacement

Ed Weum (@guest_138267)
2 years ago

Our Mach 8 replaced an original Polar Cub that had lasted 5 years and was used on a regular basis during its life. The Mach 8 was used about 12 hours total over 2 years when we had discovered it had failed just after the warranty had expired. I don’t know what is wrong with it because it is so difficult to get an appt at a repair shop for diagnosis. We have given up and now have a boat anchor on top of our Casita. We try to avoid camping in hot places, which isn’t too hard given our access to the Pacific Coastline.

RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Ed Weum

Just what everyone needs, eh? A boat anchor on top of their Casita?! 😆 BTW – Thank you, and Colleen, for sharing your vintage postcards with us! We love them! Take care. 🙂 –Diane

David Binkley (@guest_138259)
2 years ago

This is exactly what happened to me. Mach 8 has about 40 hours of use. Died. Heat index of 108 degrees. Luckily I have two ACs and the other one held up, albeit under nice shade trees. Otherwise, would have been ugly.

After almost three months I just found out our replacement is on the way.

Just in time for winter.

2 years ago

The only good news right now is that Truma, Furrion and GE are all jumping into the RV AC business. Furthermore Lippert bought Furrion so I wonder if Airxcel’s grasp on the RV industry will loosen. It’s never good having just one company make things as is evidenced here.

I’m looking forward to getting something other than a lousy Coleman unit in my next RV.

Travis (@guest_241236)
5 months ago
Reply to  Tony

My rv hvac new coleman mach 8–13,500btu where the 120 volt wiring for the compressor is tie wrapped to the copper line it rubbed a hole in the wire insulation, lightly arched to the copper line- not enough to flip the breaker but enough to eat the copper line away, make a hole and loose all the refrigerant. Air excel would not do anything for me. It was labeled as ul listed and that wiring was not properly wrapped in conduit.

Ron Yanuszewski (@guest_137917)
2 years ago

2021 Coleman Mach 8 signature series, After barely using it for a few months it died the first day we really needed it, Compressor dead I assume from losing refrigerant.

Jim (@guest_137915)
2 years ago

I have lost 3 Coleman Mack 4800 low profile air conditioners in the last 3 months. All three came from Airxcel. Lucky for us we are under warranty and it is being taken care of by the manufacturer. Tired of hearing these same stories over & over. Everything was checked thoroughly circuit boards, wiring, etc…. Technicians basically said we got 3 bad air conditioners. Apparently there have been batches of bad A/C’s out there for the last 5 months. Oh, & what a shock they are Airxcel….

Mike A Schwab (@guest_137891)
2 years ago

Yes. Had one fail in about 201, replacement failed in June. Got a portable A/C sitting in the shower.

jim brewer (@guest_137882)
2 years ago

just replaced “2” Coleman ac units in June. Class A ,Had both units .1 a heat pump,checked & serviced in Dec’20. Fan mtr replaced rear unit .Camped in N-FL April ’21 LOL,both units crapped same time Checked elect connections,ok,,lost of refrigerant ? Temps in low 80′. 3months to replace with new ones.
“Cant be repaired,replace only,that smells to HH. what ever,like I say “cant afford it ,sell it.” LOL

K7FL (@guest_137865)
2 years ago

Live in Vegas. 3 Coleman heat pumps on our coach, but one with a bad compressor has been back ordered for 13 months! No delivery date in sight. Frustrating and hot!

David (@guest_137860)
2 years ago

I have a Coleman Mark 3 on a 2016 motor home in the Northeast that had a hole in the tube and is a closed loop system and could not be refilled. Definitely a cheaply made unit

LugNet (@guest_137836)
2 years ago

My 2019 Coleman Mach low profile still cools with no issues. The rear airflow damper, however, stopped staying in the closed position on the first day we used it.

Tommy Molnar (@guest_137766)
2 years ago

We have a Coleman Mach-something in our 2012 TT. So far, it’s been working fine. In fact, last year when we were stuck in Houston for 7½ months, the a/c ran 24/7 for several months. Never turned it off. NEVER! It’s not a low profile unit. It looks like all a/c units used to look like. I’m crossing my fingers on this one.

Chuck Baldwin (@guest_137757)
2 years ago

I am on my third Coleman mach 8 AC unit in rear of my coach. Last time it was an 8 week wait for a replacement. There is definitely a problem with the design and or fabrication of the unit.

Chris W. (@guest_137739)
2 years ago

Coleman low profile Mach failed less than a year old Sport Coach. Factory changed to GE according to my source and they have few in stock for replacement. However you must take your RV back to the factory. They will not send the replacement to a dealer. That may have come to be because of the extreme amount of pressure the owner put directly on the manufacture and dealer.

Tom Penn (@guest_137715)
2 years ago

FYI: Air conditioners don’t use coolant; they use refrigerant.

Pete Morris (@guest_137752)
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom Penn

What is the difference, Tom?

Mike A Schwab (@guest_137894)
2 years ago
Reply to  Pete Morris

Refrigerants undergo phase change (liquid / gas) to cool below environmental temperatures. Coolants carry heat to outside environmental temperatures.

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