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Old 03-17-2016, 06:14 PM   #1
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1990 Southwind Fridge Issue

We're going to look at a possible purchase of a 1990 Southwind 35' MH and the owner stated there's something wrong with the fridge. He says it sounds as though it's running but it's not cooling. Is it possible it's just low on freon or possibly something more expensive?

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Old 03-17-2016, 10:03 PM   #2
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A refrigerator in an RV is generally an absorption type. They have no compressor, a heat source, usually LP gas flame and/or 120 v heating element provides the energy needed to create cooling. They often have small 12 v fans to help circulate air, but no freon or a compressor like a home refrigerator. The nice thing about an absorption fridge needs very little electricity to run (except the 120 v element) and has no pumps or other noisy components except the fans which are often like computer cooling fans.

The RV Doctor: RV Absorption Refrigeration Basics

A heating element or control board don't cost too much, but a new cooling system costs $600-$1000 plus installation.

If the refrigerator is a home type with a compressor, if the 'freon' leaks the whole compressor, condenser and evaporator must be replaced, it's a sealed system and can't be re-charged. It's often cheaper to buy a new refrigerator.

I suggest you find out the make/model of refrigerator in the RV, then use Google to search out the replacement cost. It will provide good information when negotiating a price.


Bob & Donna
'98 Gulf Stream Sun Voyager DP being pushed by a '00 Beetle TDI
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Old 03-17-2016, 11:59 PM   #3
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It is expensive but 12v compressor units are out there. Either Vitrifrigo or Nova Kool. I went with a NovaKool 9000 which is a compressor unit. Cost was $1600 but it just a works as compared to normal RV fridges that are always a pain...

1996 Country Coach Intrigue 😜
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Old 03-19-2016, 09:08 AM   #4
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Thanks for the info. I'll check it out. We are 400 miles away from it so may take a little while.
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fridge, southwind

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