Chasing without air conditioning; how bad can it be?

As I was told by Amos and others, pretty bad. Miserable. I've only been able to chase a few minuscule storms, but to get to the point, not having air conditioning or the fan working led to extreme difficulty in chasing in conditions that changed abruptly.

Without the air working, the windows fog up horribly, and you have to wipe them off manually with something like a paper towel; or one time in my case, taking my shirt off to wipe the window*; distracting you from driving, the storm, and the safety of anyone or anything outside of the vehicle. It infuriated me, and I quickly developed a loathing for the moisture that would accumulate on the inside of the windshield during a chase due to the change in environment and having to keep the windows up when it was raining.

That was before my fan (for A/C, heat, or anything) was hooked up. I had disconnected it because I didn't need it in the summer, and so it was deactivated. I had also taken the A/C compressor out of my engine compartment a year or longer ago, as it was old, and wouldn't work anyway (well, it would work, but the rest of the system most likely didn't). No more juice in the A/C canister; it's an old truck. I still have the compressor, and hopefully I can get that fixed, working and implemented in the summer next year. Seems like I'll have to, to have any quality of enjoyment in chasing in hot, humid conditions.

After I got the fan hooked up again, it was of little help for a while. None of the controls worked to change to bi-level, vent, or other. Nothin' doin'; I was lucky to get some air up to the windshield and eventually it would help, but not very much.

I then finally figured out that the controls operated on vacuum pressure from the engine to switch controls, and once I hooked that up, I could control things again. That helped more. Now, tweaking the fan and wires today, I have more air blowing power, which is good.

Now, to cut through the blather; when you're on a chase and around a storm, perhaps in heavy rain and you have to keep the windows up, will regular air ventilation keep the windshield somewhat moisture free? I know it'd be most likely hot and uncomfortable, but I could deal with that. I'm no stranger to driving in unfavorable conditions in the vehicle, as I'm sure many of you aren't.

Any past experiences on this? Especially relating to cooling, vehicles and air problems such as the one I've described.

* Note: When I took my shirt off, I was stopped at a sign in a small town.
 
I've rarely run into the condensation problem while chasing here on the Plains....dewpoint depressions are usually too far apart for that to be a problem....that only happens when the air is saturated and/or I'm in heavy precipitation. Under those circumstances I actually use the defroster....A/C won't be effective when both the temp/dewpoint is in the mid 70s and actually makes the condensation problem worse.
 
I chased on April 18, 2002 with a friend, Mark Robinson. At that time, his car did not have a working air conditioner. Yes, it is very miserable while chasing without an air conditioner. It was HOT! I seriously thought we would fry under the sun. We had the windows down, but it was still pretty bad. What made it worse was that we forgot to bring our water bottles! WHEWEEEE! And what made it even worse, it was extremely capped and we busted :confused2:

http://free.angeltowns.com/laurawx/020418chase.html
 
Same here, I would have to run the defroster with the temp turned to the cool side.( not that there was cool air being made,no freon)
Also crack the back windows just enough to let some air in
 
A related story of fogging up.. I was playing around in a nighttime hailstorm in Denver over the summer. I had no air running and the windows up. The hail rolled in as I was driving east along C-470. All of a sudden, all my windows fogged up and in the blindness, I ended up driving my car straight into the median grass between the roads; fortunately I didn't panic and just steered myself back onto the road without any real incodent, quickly pulling off to allow the storm to pass and let the air defog my windshield so I could again see.

As for comfort, the only times I use the AC is usually when I'm in rainy situations, which I have found rare in the midchase (normally driving through gunk on the way in or out). Even during the heat of battle, I typically have windows down even with lighter precip falling. Since I rarely punch into heavy precip (rain concerns me more than smaller hail when it comes to down windows), I usually don't have the problem. In those rare instances where I need the air, I'm glad I have it, more for window defogging over anything else, as I'm typically more comfortable with the windows down anyway! 8)
 
Chasing without air-conditioning is all I know. I'm poor so I don't have amenities that some others might. To me, air-conditioning is a liability to chasing; wastes gas, robs power, and makes you so weak that when you do have to get out, you pass out. I've chased with individuals who HAD to have AC, and it's a real pain in the ass. I'd rather roll down the windows and chase an extra day each week than make the whole excursion an exercise in comfort. Even the few times I've had AC, I never use it.

But as I always say, that's just me.
 
On October 24, 2001, I was chasing with Dan Dawson, Mike Kruze, and a tagalong in Dan's car. Supercells were racing through Illinois, but they unfortunately were in the process of lining out when we got to them. We ended up in a blinding rain and drove all the way back to Lafayette before we got out of it, or it outran us, rather.

Dan's windshield defoggers were malfunctioning. As the front seat occupants, he and I spent the entire two hour trip back to campus wiping down the windshield every 20 seconds, I with my hat and Dan with paper towels and his hand.

Talk about a fiasco.

Note: Another car in our group went south when we went north, and they ended up in an interesting situation, as they had little to no experience, whereas Dan had quite a bit...I was still relatively inexperienced at this point as well. They stopped on a gravel road just over the state line, opened the windows and looked up into a rotating wall cloud. As they slid back inside the car and drove off, corn stalks were being pulled up into the air around them, or so they say.
 
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My AC in my chase vehicle went out last summer. There were times this season I was wishing for AC. I don't like to run it for long however, just enough for me to cool down. I like the wind flowing around the car and the fresh air minus the cow sh*t smell in Nebraska. I chased all this year without it so I can suffer many more with out it. The way I look at it I could spend $200 + to get my AC fixed or save that $200 and chase three of four more chases next season. As long as everything else on the car is OK I’m good to go.

Mick
 
Studies have shown that driving with the windows down actually consumes more gas due to drag then when using the A/C. So if you are driving around the Plains with your windows down you are actually costing yourself chase days not making more. As for me, my first chasemobile had no A/C and my current one now does and I can safely say that I will never ever ever never ever have a car without A/C again. Of course a lot of that has to do with the fact that much of my chasing is done in the Summer months not just the Spring period. Fogging up cameras and camcorders can be a problem with using A/C. This can be solved quite simply buy rolling your windows down a minute or so ahead of time when you know you are going to stop to acclimate your equipment to the outside weather.
 
I'm spoiled. I want air conditioning. I love to sit outside and watch towers go up. And if it's not raining/hailing I will probably have the windows down while I'm in the area of a storm. But for the ride to the target and home...I want air :lol:
 
Originally posted by Steve Peterson
Studies have shown that driving with the windows down actually consumes more gas due to drag then when using the A/C. So if you are driving around the Plains with your windows down you are actually costing yourself chase days not making more.

I would love to read that for myself. Do you have and references to those studies. Logically that sounds reasonable because same goes for drive with your tale gate up on your pickup. I haven’t found that to be true with my car. I get 350 miles out of a tank of gas when I had AC running all the time. I get 425 miles out of a tank of gas if I do not run AC and with the windows rolled down (that’s when I didn’t have the gear on the top of the car of course).

Very interesting...

Mick
 
Plenty of references on Google. Here are a couple.

http://www.patgosscarworld.com/fueleconomy.htm
http://autorepair.about.com/cs/generalinfo...a/aa062300a.htm

"The use of air conditioning will cause a decrease in gas mileage but this may be the lesser of the evils. When you turn the a/c off and roll down the windows you will probably double your economy loss. This is because lowering a car's windows changes its aerodynamics. Modern cars are designed to move freely through the air. When you open a window the car no longer moves as freely causing the engine to work harder and consume more fuel. These same factors explain why add-on roof racks, luggage strapped to the roof or an open trunk lid will also cost you mileage."

So if you have big fancy lights, weather stations and antennas on your chasemobile you really burn the gas. I better go bondo all my hail dents out this winter to get maximum aerodynamics for next Spring. :lol:
 
I chased last spring without A/C. OMG! I was miserable. Shady spots are few and far between when waiting on the Dryline to light up. I also found that reporting back to the station is much easier and nicer with the windows up. I don't get all that good mileage as is (Ford Ranger with a 6 cyl) but it didn't make enough difference to really bother. I get about 300 miles per tank with or with out A/C. I'd rather travel in some confort than drive around being hot and sticky all the time. Of course I can shut it down if I like, especially around a storm, with a simple twist of a knob. I don't keep it so cold that I have fogging issues with windshields or camera gear.

Sorry Shane, I'm too old to do the Chase Commando thing. I live and worked at White Sands Missile Range years ago and didn't have A/C in the car. Went back a couple of years ago and blessed be the A/C! Anyway, I'm too excited once I'm on a good storm, the adrenaline rsh keeps me from passing out (that and a little help from my blood pressure meds :D )
 
I'm not a Commando, just doing the best I can with what I've had. To me, going without air-conditioning isn't uncomfortable, because I'm used to heat; I've worked predominantly outside my entire professional life. Heat is second nature to a person like myself. I prefer 70 degrees to 100 (of course), but dealing with extreme temps is just something I've gotten used to over the years.
 
My AC loves to stop working about 10 seconds after I stop moving. I thought I was going to die on the July 12 storm this year....literally. I was super hot(97/84 will do that). A semi blared it's horn right next to me as I was setting up off the road and my heart jumped. I had pain in my neck and head with this and it stuck with me until I got cooled back down. I don't think I'd chase without AC now! But I'll chow down this burger and fries and clog the ol vains up a bit more.
 
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Originally posted by Steve Peterson

So if you have big fancy lights, weather stations and antennas on your chasemobile you really burn the gas.

Oh you bet. I had a descent setup in 2003 before a tree limb hindered my anemometer. My gas efficiency was nothing short of crap. I was only getting about 325 miles per tank. That is very bad for my car. I have a 6-cylinder four-door cutlass supreme. I have never had a vehicle that got such good gas mileage. It takes about $27 to fill up and I am good for the next 400 + miles. Now I just have three antennas and one little amber light and it doesn’t seem to effect to much.

Thanks for the links Steve.

Mick
 
OK so SUV's are not economical anyway, our temps this side of the pond don't go to such extremes. But we get our fair share of rain.
However I personally hate air con. I find that it dries up my sinus and throat. I stick to the option open the windows and have the demister on if needed.
If I have the choice give me a motor with electric windows and no aircon.
 
Originally posted by Steve Peterson
\"The use of air conditioning will cause a decrease in gas mileage but this may be the lesser of the evils. When you turn the a/c off and roll down the windows you will probably double your economy loss.
A very recent "Mythbusters" episode reached the opposite conclusion: Driving with the AC on full-blast resulted in more fuel consumption than driving with the windows down. This was at 45mph in identical SUVs. Highway speeds and/or different vehicles may give a different result, of course.

Originally posted by Steve Peterson
I better go bondo all my hail dents out this winter to get maximum aerodynamics for next Spring. :lol:
You may not want to do that. Why do you think golf balls travel so far? :)
 
I have AC and on the really hot occasions have used it. The problem is that just running the fan is sometimes cooler because it blows harder, when I turn the air on a little bit of cold air trickles out. I have been known to drive with the windows down, which is all the same for has mileage since my car is about as aerodynamic as a jagged rock. I do remember one suprise storm here in Eastern SD which put up some severe well organized thundertorms. By the time I got home I felt flushed and had a nasty migraine, this even with plenty of water.
 
Originally posted by David Young

A very recent \"Mythbusters\" episode reached the opposite conclusion: Driving with the AC on full-blast resulted in more fuel consumption than driving with the windows down. This was at 45mph in identical SUVs. Highway speeds and/or different vehicles may give a different result, of course.

I was going to mention that episode but didn't because they really didn't do it comparing what we are doing on the highways. At least I don't drive 45 mph on my chases, hehe. I didn't think they came up with opposite results if my memory serves me right, although I could be wrong on this. I thought that they came to the conclusion that it was almost the exact same either way and the best result they got was driving without A/C or the windows down at the same time. Now if you do that to save 1 mpg, you are hardcore. I could also reason that SUV's aren't going to differ as much as cars since most aren't that aerodynamic to begin with.

Originally posted by Steve Peterson+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Steve Peterson)</div>
I better go bondo all my hail dents out this winter to get maximum aerodynamics for next Spring. :lol:[/b]
<!--QuoteBegin-David Young



You may not want to do that. Why do you think golf balls travel so far? :)

Actually I don't think the physics is quite the same on that. I think the fact that the ball is spinning has something to do with the use of the dimples. Maybe a physics expert could answer this for us? If that is the case I guess it would be more effecient when the tornado picks up and flings my car, LOL. Yea, not going to hope for that anytime soon.
 
Originally posted by Steve Peterson+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Steve Peterson)</div>
I didn't think they came up with opposite results if my memory serves me right, although I could be wrong on this. I thought that they came to the conclusion that it was almost the exact same either way and the best result they got was driving without A/C or the windows down at the same time.[/b]
The only reason I remember this clearly is that I saw a repeat broadcast of the episode on...Sunday night, I think. Might've been Saturday. Anyway, their computer model predicted that driving with the A/C on would give better mileage, but when they actually tested it (2 identical SUVs, 5 gallons of gas in each, on a closed track at 45mph), the vehicle with the windows down went 15 miles farther before running out of gas. Take that extra 3mpg and multiply it by a full tank of gas, and it's fairly significant. (They initially wanted to test at higher speeds and with a full gas tank in each vehicle, but track officials said no.) And yeah, driving with the windows up and no A/C would definitely give the best fuel economy, although it might kill you in the process!

<!--QuoteBegin-Steve Peterson

Actually I don't think the physics is quite the same on that. I think the fact that the ball is spinning has something to do with the use of the dimples. Maybe a physics expert could answer this for us?
I'm no expert, but here's how I understand it: As a golf ball flies through the air, the dimples serve to keep the air flowing around the ball closer to its surface for a longer period of time, resulting in a weaker partial vacuum behind the ball. The weaker vacuum means less drag for the ball to overcome, and the ball flies farther. Putting backspin on the ball will induce a lifting effect as well, resulting in even greater distance. That's the quick-and-dirty. If you want more detail, look here.

All of that, of course, is on the scale of a golf ball. Whether hail dents have a noticeable effect on a vehicle, I have no idea, but I doubt it.
 
No air conditioning

I haven't air conditioning on "the cruiser," my 1993 Dodge Intrepid that can easily be mistaken as a copper, especially when I chasing... That was bad when I had to drive cross country from Portland, OR to Norman for school, a total of 3 times. When you're going 90 through Wyoming, it's kinda hard to hear anything when the windows are rolled down and the wind is roaring in your ears, the radio is cranked up, and the truck horns are blaring at me. I consider this a minor problem when I'm chasing though because the heat or fan can blow away foggy windows.

WHAT'S WORSE? NO WINDSIELD WIPERS!!! Yeah, my motor broke so I chased with a healthy dose of Rain-X for about 6 months before I could shell out the $300 for new equipment. It was quite a hamper when I was dealing with horizontal rain on May 4, 2003 in SE Kansas. I ended up pulling over and letting the core dump on me so I didn't get to see my 2nd tornado of the day after Girard.

We're all fixed up now, but the problem is it's Mid-November...I got a fever...and the only cure is more tornadoes.
 
Hail dents on horizontal surfaces might act like miniture versions of the spoilers seen on race cars, and would help with traction. The effect would be a result of the diameter and depth of the dent plus the speed of the car. Most times that would be too small to render any benefit.

If you find yourself having to drive with out AC and need some way to prevent or clear the fog on your windshield, you could get a fan that plugs in the cigarrette light outlet, and postion the fan to blow on the glass.
 
I've always found the "defrost" feature to be helpful in removing window fog :wink:
 
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