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Old 12-13-2015, 11:48 AM   #1
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Replace Norcold 1200LRIM in Dallas area

We are full timing in a 2002 Fleetwood Southwind 37U. our Norcold 1200LRIM fridge just quit cooling yesterday and after some reading, we have decided that repairing this fridge would be money better spent on replacing it with a household fridge for both better performance and safety. I am reasonably competent at DIY but don't really have time to tackle this quickly so we are looking for a place to have the job done in the Dallas/Fort Worth Texas area. Ideally, we would shop the fridge ourselves to catch any sales. Does anyone know of local places that handle this type of job and would be open to us providing the fridge?

Michael
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:02 AM   #2
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I'm still researching this and had a question:
I heard from a friend that one ting to look at in deciding between an RV fridge and a home fridge was tolerance to out of level. He said rv fridges were MORE tolerant. That was interesting because in my troubleshooting research it seemed that being even a bit out of level was an issue for RV fridges due to the non-compressor design of the cooling units. So, I'm looking for input on this question.

I see pretty much unanimous agreement that rv fridges should be pretty close to level before they are allowed to run for more than 30 minutes. The most precise direction I have found said that a small bubble level on the floor of the fridge or freezer should have at least half the bubble in the center circle side to side and front to back.

Is it true that home fridges which are using a compressor should also be kept very nearly level? is it dangerous to run a home fridge if it is out of level?

Thanks for any thoughts on this!
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:27 AM   #3
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The RV fridge manufacturers specify how level things need to be. I would reference the owner's manual, if there was a concern about level in the RV models. Whereas I used to see blocked coils due to crystalized anticorrosive routinely, I virtually never see it in recent models. Leakers? Yes, blocked coils, no.

I see much less problem in the field with household models and see no indication they are less tolerant than RV models for degree of level. If a residental model met my needs and I was aware of it's power requirements, I would choose residental over RV models dues to what, in my opinion, is greater reliability.

These comments are simply based on my experience as an RV technician.

Steve
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Old 12-25-2015, 11:28 AM   #4
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I wasn't going to comment because in your original post you laid out your plan. Now that you have opened up the possibility of a residential refer, I'll chip in.

1. If you choose to go with a replacement of the cooling unit I highly recommend the Amish Cooling Unit. In a previous coach we had that change at it worked better than the original unit. It also made me feel safer too.

2. When we got our current coach I knew the Norcold 1200 was my first upgrade and I haven't regretted it one second. In our coach the swap out wasn't too bad and both the old Norcold and the new Samsung went through the door but it was a tight squeeze. Since then the Samsung 197R has been replaced by another model so I don't know its measurements. Assuming its replacement is similar in size you might need to carefully measure the enclosure your Norcold is in. We had to raise the top of the enclosure a few inches and drop the base a couple. I have a furnace below the enclosure that limited the movement. Lowering it was important for my shorter wife.

One caution when measuring is to take into account any roof arch. The residential will be deeper than the Norcold so if there is a major arch from the center of the roof outward it could affect the fit of the residential refer in a way that might not appear obvious by simply looking at the refer's dimensions. Your ability to lower the platform will play a big part if that is an issue.

Aside from my recommendation about the Amish Cooling Unit, only you can determine which kind of refer is best for you. There are generally to camps on this issue. One are those that either believe in the need for the flexibility and hard core boon dockers and the other group are those that seldom boon dock.

Yes, there are lots of side themes such as solar power, generator use and performance expectations. Good luck with your choices.
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Old 12-25-2015, 08:27 PM   #5
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I have seen that there are the two camps. I completely understand that someone who boondocks would probably want the LP option. We would rarely boondock as that is not in my wife's dna

I certainly appreciate the note about the roof arch as that was not even in my thinking! The height issue for us is pretty forgiving. We expect to have to do some cabinet modification but our Norcold is installed on top of a drawer which is on top of the open space where the converter is installed. So we have a good 7 to 8 inches of space underneath the current opening to add height.
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Old 12-25-2015, 10:54 PM   #6
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You may find that the upgrade is not that difficult. I found a residential refrigerator that fit my opening. Lowes installed the new refrigerator in the opening. I installed an inverter later.
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Old 12-26-2015, 09:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikaho View Post
I have seen that there are the two camps. I completely understand that someone who boondocks would probably want the LP option. We would rarely boondock as that is not in my wife's dna ...
Personally we found the conversion added a tremendous amount of satisfaction to our FT life style. Its reliability, size and consistent performance compared to our experiences with RV refers is more than significant.

If you make that conversion consider the following:

1. Seal up the outside vents and roof vents...you won't need them and it will help keeping your coach warmer/cooler without all that air escaping. However, do NOT seal them in such a way that you can't remove those side vent covers. In our case the access panel is just at the right place to reach the refer's inspection cover where you can see the defrost tube and collection pan.

2. When you install the refer do so with that refer's inspection cover OFF. Depending on a lot of unknowns it is possible that some or all of the cover's screws may be not be accessible. In our case the top 2 were not accessible so we only secured it with the bottom 2. A friend told me about that tip.

3. Consider finding a way to extend the refer's defrost tube to drain through an outside vent or some other place. While I don't think it should be a problem, there are some that are concerned that the pan that holds water that drips out during defrost cycles could over flow. Again, when ever I've removed outside panel, I haven't seen any evidence to make me personally worry.
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