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Old 07-22-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
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When to replace the frig?

My frig in my 1991 Itasca is not working on gas nor electricity. Are they worth fixing? I here the cooling unit is $600 plus labor and a new one is $1100.

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Old 07-22-2012, 02:32 PM   #2
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A lot depends on the make and model of your fridge and how much space you have available. Some are going to residential models. As long as they are energy efficient (star) models their inverters seem to be able to handle it. Others, like myself went with an Amish cooling unit. Basically double the cooling tower elements. Call RV Refrigerator Warehouse and they might be able to give you some guidance.

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Old 07-22-2012, 02:38 PM   #3
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I think that a 21 year old fridge owes you nothing and if you replace the cooling unit all the rest will still be 21 years old. My vote ( with your money ) would be a new one.

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Old 07-22-2012, 03:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Waggy View Post
My frig in my 1991 Itasca is not working on gas nor electricity. Are they worth fixing? I here the cooling unit is $600 plus labor and a new one is $1100.
I had a 1984 and it only required cleaning at the burner and away it went. The electrical may only be a fuse or breaker as well. On my old unit I had a number of things not working well until I changed out the fuses and breakers.
It may be worth an hours labor for someone to confirm.

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Old 07-22-2012, 03:49 PM   #5
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When our Norcold unit failed (ammonia leak) I went with the Amish cooling unit. Fairly easy to do and cheaper than a new unit. But our "box" was only 10 years old and still in good shape.
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Old 07-22-2012, 05:17 PM   #6
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I wouldn't give up yet - your problem may be relatively simple, e.g. lack of 12v power to the fridge circuit board. Or maybe t needs a replacement circuit board - much cheaper than a new fridge.

But if you decide to replace it, you have the choice of a new absorption fridge or residential (compressor) type.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:35 PM   #7
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My Norcold died before the six year mark (ammonia leak). I replaced it with a Whirlpool residential. The residential has twice the capacity and actually keeps the stuff in the refrigerator side cold, and the stuff in the freezer, including ice cream, frozen. We do not boondock so I really don't need the ability to run it on propane. The cost installed was the same or less than a new Norcold installed.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:09 AM   #8
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I would be among those that suggest you have it checked out before giving up hope on it. The only time I turn my back on them is if I smell ammonia. Even then, I would likely just install a replacement cooling unit. The refer would have to be in pretty sad shape for me to commit to replacing the whole thing...
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:34 AM   #9
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I just went thru this on my 91 sportcoach. Call

RV Cooling Unit Warehouse LLC Home Page

They will help you run it thru some tests to help find whats wrong.
I had to replace the coil ($400.00 rebuilt one.) I did the work myself. Worked for me, I wanted it to work as it is supposed to. They have all the other parts you may need also.
Good Luck.
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:21 AM   #10
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The replacement Amish coil(new) with shipping for my 12 cu ft Dometic is $1,115.
I can get a Frigidire 14.8 cu ft residential one that will fit the hole for $530.

Guess what I will get, when my 14 year old refrigerator quits.
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Old 07-23-2012, 06:16 PM   #11
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Last week when we were up north, my wife kept smelling ammonia. We had just gotten another recall on the fridge. It said to shut of the fridge and go to a dealer. (yea, right). We started doing research on the web, and found that we could replace it with an electric one. No ammonia, no fire threats. And it gets real cold. We had a 4-door 1200 Norcold. I replaced it with a Kenmore, from Sears. 21.7 sf. Side by side. Ice, water in the door for $769.00 on sale. took some modification, but came out great.
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:08 PM   #12
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Was in a park a couple weeks ago and a neighbors '88 refer went out. He replaced it with a home model for $350. A little small, and he's aware that it's not the kind or age of RV that would be worth the investment of bigger and more batteries for an inverter, but he's happy with that. Went in slick and fit perfect. Hardly any mods were needed other then straps to keep it from falling.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:05 PM   #13
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Two thoughts:

If you replace the cooling unit with one of the Amish cooling units odds are very high you will get more than 20 more years of service out of it. And that is your LOWEST COST option short term..

HOWEVER: since this puppy is over 20 years old.. I'm not sure how well insulated it is, I do knwo that the newer ones (This is compared to 50 years ago) tend to be better insulated, there have been improvements in the technology, But just when those changes were made.. I do not know.

So long term.. A new fridge may be the better deal.. Alas, I simply do not know.
Home is where I park it!
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:41 AM   #14
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This is my third RV. My previous one an 02 Discovery, fridge went out in '05. I replaced it with a Norcold. It never kept things cold. This rig is a '04 Allegro bus. So, at least the fridge lasted 8 years. Checking around, we've found most people are replacing their fridges with electric ones. Too many recalls, fire hazards, and unreliability. Norcold doesn't make a good product any more. Even a lot of the new rigs coming out now are going electric. Norcold is putting them selves out of business.

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