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Old 07-16-2008, 01:42 PM   #1
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This is the second time I have had a cooling unit go out on an RV. The first time (different trailer) I paid a guy to replace the cooling unit while I watched. He indicated it was not that complicated and that it can be done by anyone comfortable with tools and projects. I am thinking maybe I should replace the unit myself this time. Just looking for some encouragement.

Shopping around I can get a rebuilt unit with a 5 year warranty for $400.00 out the door-definately cheaper than the 600.00+ quote for installation of a rebuilt unit and significantly less than a grand + for a new refridgerator.

Several businesses on the web sell these units with instructions for the do-it-yourself replacement. So I am thinking it must be somewhat of a common repair. So my question is. Has anyone done this on their own before? It so, how big a project and anything in particular I should be paying attention to?

Thanks,

Michael
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:42 PM   #2
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This is the second time I have had a cooling unit go out on an RV. The first time (different trailer) I paid a guy to replace the cooling unit while I watched. He indicated it was not that complicated and that it can be done by anyone comfortable with tools and projects. I am thinking maybe I should replace the unit myself this time. Just looking for some encouragement.

Shopping around I can get a rebuilt unit with a 5 year warranty for $400.00 out the door-definately cheaper than the 600.00+ quote for installation of a rebuilt unit and significantly less than a grand + for a new refridgerator.

Several businesses on the web sell these units with instructions for the do-it-yourself replacement. So I am thinking it must be somewhat of a common repair. So my question is. Has anyone done this on their own before? It so, how big a project and anything in particular I should be paying attention to?

Thanks,

Michael
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:09 PM   #3
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My experience (with a Norcold N841) is pretty much close to yours except I assisted the tech in getting the cooling unit out and re-installing it. In my case, it was easy to remove because the dinette was across from the refrigerator and in the slide-out. Opening the slide gave us plenty of room to remove the cooling unit and replace it. Without a slide-out, the complexity of getting the cooling unit in/out will depend on what's across from the refrigerator. For my unit, you really needed two people because the cooling unit weighed about 70 pounds.

I would suggest searching the web for the service manual for your refrigerator. I found one for my Norcold and it explains step by step the procedure for changing the cooling unit.

Good Luck
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Old 07-16-2008, 08:52 PM   #4
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My Brother and I replaced mine. Took the doors off and then removed refridgerator.
I think you can do it but will need some help.

"Shopping around I can get a rebuilt unit with a 5 year warranty for $400.00 out the door-definately cheaper than the 600.00+ quote for installation of a rebuilt unit and significantly less than a grand + for a new refridgerator."

Where did you find the 5 year warranty? I paid $545 with a 2 year warranty. Shop wanted $1200 to replace my cool unit.

Tom
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Old 07-17-2008, 11:06 AM   #5
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Getting the refridgerator out should not be a problem. It is in a toyhauler and there are no obstructions.

I found several dealers online who typically want about 500.00 with shipping. A couple of these guys sell the same units on EBAY with free shipping for less money. I guess having your competitor displaying pricing on the same page encourages competitive pricing to maintain market share. The one with a 5 year warranty is here.

I think this is the one I will purchase.

Michael
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Old 07-18-2008, 08:15 AM   #6
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My GF's dad used to work for a propane company, and replaced one or two. From what he described, it can be more of a pain than you would think, and he feels it is one of those jobs he'd rather pay someone else to do.

I also got to chatting with the mobile RV guy who did the recall on mine, thinking that I could snag a rebuilt unit and install it myself if my cooling unit were to fail in the future...

He said he used to put in rebuilt units for people, but after a couple of years a few started coming back, so now he insists on doing new cooling units since they are like $200- $250 more and don't come back. New cooling unit and installation he said is typically around $950...
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:17 AM   #7
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I was told also they are considered hazardous material and need to be disposed of so they can not go out with the trash.

Paul
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Old 08-25-2008, 08:14 PM   #8
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Well I finally got the refrigerator fixed. It ended up being somewhat of an ordeal. I did purchase the cooling unit from a dealer on Ebay. They guy I bought it from was great to work with but I had all kinds of problems getting the unit. Took three separate shipments to actually get the unit to me (long story-won't waste your time). It took probably 5 - 6 hours to install over two days. Much of the time was trying to salvage the heating element that had pretty much fused itself to the original cooling unit which required careful extraction using a dremmel tool and then reworking the electrical wiring with suitable terminal connectors for the working wattage.

Like all projects-now that I know what I am doing I could do the job all over again in 2 hours-let's hope that I don't have to put the experience to any use in the too near future. I would not say it was an overwhelming project but something I would not encourage everyone to attempt unless they are somewhat comfortable with tools and get certain satisfaction from doing a project yourself. For many, the savings may not be worth the trouble of paying someone to fix it or even replacing the refrigerator with a new one in the first place. However, if there is any benefit to replacing this particular unit myself, the remanufacturing source claims that is unit is more efficient and therefore will cool better than the original OEM unit. This may be true as the freezer froze a cup full of water solid today with the trailer sitting in a garage and air temps well above 100 degrees (I live in Phoenix, AZ).

If you do attempt the project take pictures of all the wiring on the board and igniter assembly. Also it may be helpful to take pictures of the burner assembly as well as this will aid in the with reassembly process.

As far as the issue of the unit being something that cannot be disposed of. The old unit is a core that has value when returned with shipping is paid for by the remanufacturer so that is a non-issue.

mg
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