Sportsmobile Heating & Cooling

Keeping Warm


“We have been so busy enjoying our Sportsmobile traveling from Brownsville, Texas to Fairbanks, Alaska -that we have neglected to say “Thank You” for your courteous treatment and splendid workmanship. Last Christmas Eve we were comfortable in it when the wind chill factor was 30 below zero. During the past nine months we have traveled over 22,000 miles. Thanks for a job well done.

Franklin & Joy Harpe

An Early Morning Chill Run your van’s engine, and the van’s heater will warm the Sportsmobile. At the same time, the van’s alternator will charge your batteries.

If You Have A 110V Hookup or Generator, or a diesel engine van with a Secondary Alternator, (See Systems > Electric, Propane, Water) a small portable electric heater will keep you quite comfortable. Ceramic models work best.

Propane Furnace (O) It’s compact and installs under a seat/bed or in the bottom of a cabinet. It’s very efficient and has been proven over the decades. A wall thermostat lights the furnace electronically. The furnace uses propane from the standard equipment propane tank. It’s vented to the outside. If your tank has a 7.9 gallon capacity, it will run the furnace around 57 hours.

Diesel Air Heater (O) uses diesel from the van’s fuel tank. Very fuel efficient.

Keeping Cool

Sportsmobiles Are Well Insulated Throughout. However, the van body is steel, so it tends to heat up when it’s hot. Here are some ways to help keep your Sportsmobile cool.

Attic Fan (O) We highly recommend this 12V fan. It’s a powerful 12″ 10-blade rotary fan that pulls fresh air through open windows. Very quiet, 3 speeds, pulls 3 amps on high with 920 CFM. Reversible. Made of tough Lexan. Deluxe model, shown right, includes a thermostat and rain sensor to close and reopen vent when it rains. Install front, center or rear on roof. Increases roof height 9″.

Windshield & Cab Doors Screen (O)
Blocks up to 70% of sun’s rays, solar heat gain. Also provides daytime privacy and cab door window ventilation. White, vinyl coated nylon, rolls up for storage.

screendoor Retractable Door Screen
Smoothly rolls open and closes. Enjoy the bug free breezes through the large vans sliding door. Right picture shows a fixed screen over a cabinet and a partial screen door.
screendoor21

Rear Door Screen (O) provides lots of bug-free ventilation. Zips open. It is necessary to remove the screen when you close the rear doors. A rear screen can also be made to fit a specific area as shown lower right.

Cab Door Screens (O), top right, permit partial opening of cab windows.

Artic Cab Window Panels now standard. This is the best way to insulate your cab windows and windshield to help keep the heat out in summer and inside in winter. The bubble foil is laminated and sewn to the fabric curtain. The panels “pop-in” to the side door windows and windshield. Roll up for storage.

Air Conditioners

Low profile for good looks, better height clearance and fuel economy.

Roof-Mount 110V Air Conditioner (0)

Sportsmobile uses the low-profile A/C with 13,500 BTU. It can be located front, center or rear of van. Increases roof height 11″. The A/C shroud is white or black. It can be painted to match van color (O). A/C design specs may vary.


The Internal Mount Danhard A/C (0) is popular for owners that have a Sportsmobile with the Penthouse expandable Top, because a roof mount A/C cannot be used, or the owner does not want to add height to the van with the roof mount.

When running A/C with pets in the van, we highly recommend the optional temperature paging system.

Running Your Air Conditioner — When Parked or Driving

Note: When estimating the running times it’s assumed your auxiliary batteries are fully charged and you have a 2000 watt inverter, now standard. There are variables • outside temperature, interior volume, parked in the shade, curtains closed, etc.

When Parked – Engine Off to Run A/C

For a Short Period of Time You can run the A/C max 1 hour, then you will need to turn off the A/C as your auxiliary batteries will be depleted. To recharge the batteries plug into a 110V hook-up for about 12 hours or drive your Sprinter for about 6 hours at 1,500+ RPMs (approximately 40 MPH). The vans starting battery is isolated.

When Parked – Engine On to Run A/C

For about 3 hours with the engine at normal idle. After about 3 hours you would need to turn the roof A/C off so that the auxiliary batteries can recharge. If you have high idle you can run longer. See above for recharging. The Sprinter van’s starting battery is isolated with Sportsmobile’s battery separator. Note: in some states it is illegal to leave your engine running in an unoccupied vehicle.


To run your A/C if your van has A Sprinter High Idle Option:
Note: Not available for Transport/ProMaster at this time.

  • Turn engine on.
  • Set emergency brake so that the high engine idle control will function.
  • Set idle control for maximum output of the 220 amp alternator and provide maximum charge for your auxiliary batteries and the van’s starting battery, recommend 1500 RPMs. When driving at highway speed, the RPMs will be about 2500. When driving around town, keep in mind that when driving slow or stopped for signal lights your RPMs will drop below 1500 and you will not be charging your batteries at full capacity.
  • Turn on Inverter and then roof top A/C. For a faster cool-down, also turn your cab A/C on.

You will also have enough amps to keep your batteries charged and run a 600 W microwave or a 1200 W microwave if you turn the A/C off. Plus other 110V appliances.

Fuel Consumption. The diesel engine will use about 1.25 gallons per hour idling at 1500 RPMs. The Sprinter’s fuel capacity is 26.5 gallons. Example: 10 gallons will run your roof A/C continually for about 8 hours. The Sprinter’s diesel engine is actually a little quieter than a diesel generator.

When Parked – Engine On to Run A/C

For Long Periods of Time

An Air Conditioner is by far the largest user of 110v power. If you want to run an A/C for long periods of time you will need one of the items below:

  • A 110V Hook Up at a camp site, park at home, etc.
  • A Generator, mounted inside or under the van.
  • A Second Alternator (Sec Alt) is available for diesel van engines.

For more information see Going All Electric.

When Driving

If you will only need to keep the Sprinter’s interior cool when driving you will not need the “high engine idle control.”

Your Sprinter’s cab A/C will keep the cab area cool. It will also keep the interior comfortable for most people, unless it’s quite hot. There are variables.


To use your roof or Danhard A/C, you will need the same options as above — except for the high engine idle control. We do recommend the Second Alternator. Not available all vans.

To run your roof A/C, simply turn your inverter and roof A/C on. Most customers say they usually run both their dash A/C and A/C for the first hour or so when driving. They then turn the roof-top A/C off, as the dash A/C will then usually keep the Sprinter’s interior cool.

When driving over 40 mph, your RPMs will be about 2500. The van’s 220 Amp Alternator will keep your auxiliary batteries charged. Your roof A/C will be running off the 110 volts supplied by the Inverter. Plus your can run a 600 watt microwave, computer, etc. If you will need more amps for a 1200 watt microwave, etc., you will need to run your A/C off.

When driving below 40 mph and/or stop-and-go driving, your alternator will not be fully charging your auxiliary batteries.