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Old 05-13-2015, 04:13 PM   #1
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Location: Merritt Island, FL
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Residential refrigerator

I have been searching and reading threads on changing out my norcold 1200 for a residential refrigerator. Seems like there are many that will fit with some framing adjustments.
I have a 2001 diplomat 38A. My furnace is underneath the refrigerator.
My question is to all you with similar rigs, what is the easiest refrigerator to buy that will fit into the same spot as the norcold with little or no woodwork. There must be a similar size refrigerator out there that doesn't require a lot of work.

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Old 05-13-2015, 04:48 PM   #2
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Here's my before/after of replacing the 1200 with a Fisher & Paykel residential in my 2004 Diplomat. They basically had to lower bottom of the cabinet down almost on top of the furnace to make room for and support the fridge. They also modified the louvers that vent the front of the furnace. It was a tight, tight fit vertically, but enjoying it compared to the Norcold.


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Old 05-15-2015, 01:42 PM   #3
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Rick, I sent this to another forum member & I will send it to you. I used to have a lot of pictures that I had taken while I did the install. This fridge still works great! Good luck,

Fridge install in a 2001, Diplomat 40' PBD Floor Plan

I removed my Norcold 1200LRIM December 2009 and installed an Americana, Model # A3316ABSHRBB, Home Depot's house brand. These are mfd. by GE and it is 15.5 cubic foot, frost free, no ice maker. Whirlpool makes one that will fit but it is only about 9.5 cubic foot. I think Amana makes one also but you can only get it in white or off white. You can order the kit and install an
ice maker if you want but I did not want something else to winterize.

I removed the doors, door hinges, shelves, and all loose items out of the Norcold first. I then pulled off the plastic trim that covers the wood screws that that hold the old Norcold in place, these screws are thru the Norcold front flange. Monaco had also ran long wood screws down thru the plastic latch on the bottom of the fridge also. On the outside of the coach take the inspection door off and mine had 2 screws ran down thru the sheet metal that is attached to the back of the Norcold into the top off the furnace roof. You have to disconnect the waterline, propane gas line, the 120 VAC, 12 VDC wires and it is ready to pull out of the cabinet. I had my old Norcold out and laying face down on some cardboard in about an 2 hours. On mine I took the door off the furnace on the inside of the coach, capped the propane gas line, water line, and relocated the 120 electrical outlet. You may not have to do this last thing because I don't know if Monaco ever did the same thing twice. The 120 outlet is fed thru the inverter. I installed a 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter to run this new refrigerator but I have heard they will run on a MSW inverter but after this ordeal I was not going to take a chance. After cleaning all the old loose fiberglass and dirt out I cut 1/2” thick ridged foam insulation that is foil backed on one side and glued it to the cabinet walls for noise reduction and insulation. I installed this insulation with the foil side facing the new refrigerator.

I removed the rollers from the bottom and the adjusting legs from the front of the refrigerator. It is only about 61 inches tall after you remove these things. These refrigerators have the condenser on the bottom of the refrigerator with a fan that draws air across the condenser from front to rear and up the back of the refrigerator. I sealed the side door up after I had the refrigerator anchored and plugged in. I used a piece of the rigid foil backed foam with the foil facing out and then ran a bead of pure silicone seal around the insulation to hold it in place. I put a finer aluminum screen in the top vent above the refrigerator to keep gnats and small insects out. You could seal the top vent up also if you wanted but you would have to leave a gap on the top front of the refrigerator to allow for the air to move across the condenser. I did not want hot air coming back into the coach during the summer from the refrigerator when it is running. You can't seal off the bottom of the refrigerator for this reason also. If I were to do this install again I would leave a gap on the top and seal up all of these old vents. This is the best modification I have done to this Diplomat. You can put a gallon of milk in the door, the ice cream stays hard and it is frost free, and I don't have to worry about it catching on fire. I took the cooling unit off the back of the Norcold, removed the front door stop, and took it out the front door without taking the front windshield out or removing any chairs. I went to Lowe's and bought finished wood that matched real close the finished stain that my coach has. I also glued brown weather stripping to the trim pieces that fit up against the sides and top of the new fridge because I did not want any more squeaks or rattles that I already had. George
George, 2001 40' Diplomat PBD
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Old 05-16-2015, 06:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gorlininc View Post
I have been searching and reading threads on changing out my norcold 1200 for a residential refrigerator. Seems like there are many that will fit with some framing adjustments.
I have a 2001 diplomat 38A. My furnace is underneath the refrigerator.
My question is to all you with similar rigs, what is the easiest refrigerator to buy that will fit into the same spot as the norcold with little or no woodwork. There must be a similar size refrigerator out there that doesn't require a lot of work.

I did our change over to a Samsung RF197 in August of 2011. I did a detailed write up with lots of photos and posted it here. It may not help you much because our coach is a 2006 with the raised ceiling so there is room to install the somewhat tall Samsung over the Attwood furnace by lowering the frig floor to 1 inch above the furnace. Required clearance by Attwood. You have two major obstacles when converting to a residential, the ceiling height and the furnace under the frig. If you have the Suburban furnace you can lower the floor all the way down on top of the furnace. Suburban states zero clearance where as the Attwood requires 1 inch.

The Samsungs work great on the MSW inverter and use very little power. The down side is they are tall. The RF197 is no longer manufactured and has been replaced by the RF18. It is about 1 inch taller than the RF197 but there have been a number of successful conversions to the RF18 in motorhomes. Vanwill has a 2000 Dynasty with the Suburban furnace and installed the RF18 last December. Alliance Coach in Willwood does so many conversions that they keep a stock of new RF18's.

When choosing a frig you need to look long and hard at clearance for the doors to open, especially if you choose a frig with a single piece door as opposed to the French doors. Another reason the Samsung is popular is the French doors, freeze drawer on the bottom, and it is designed for counter installations.

Here is the link to my install just in case it sheds some light:

Here is one Diplomat Don did with a low ceiling and Attwood furnace below:

Good luck,

Bob and Pam
2006 Diplomat 40PDQ
2013 Silverado Z71 CrewCab
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:59 AM   #5
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Bob mentioned I had installed the Samsung RF18 in a 2000 Dynasty. The major issue always seems to be height, even with the previous 197 model.

Mine also had the Suburban furnace under the fridge. In my particular case (remember Monaco's are like snowflakes--no two alike) simply lowering the fridge to the top of the furnace would not have even come close to making it possible. Luckily, my furnace was mounted to 2x4's on edge, apparently to make it possible to run ducts UNDER the furnace. And the furnace is plainly marked to be a "zero clearance" appliance on the bottom and both sides. I removed the 2x4's, and relocated the exterior exhaust/intake for the furnace. I just used a piece of polished aluminum to cover the existing top hole and bored another below the existing lower hole. Even then, it was a "Whew! Barely made it!" I had to remove the oak trim above the fridge for a distance wide enough to allow the RF18's electronic control box to pass through.

It was quite a job but nothing that required any expert skills. I installed mine through a side window. I know a lot of folks wiggle it through the entrance door, but R&R a window is sooo fast and sooo easy. The first one I did, myself and another fellow just lifted it from the bed of a pickup truck.

A good bit of the work is moving the wiring, cables, and plumbing around to the sides/back of the opening and fastening it in place. The heavy cables fastened up in my roof vent are for future solar panels.

You will have to remove the existing floor under the fridge, of course. Bob told me a great idea about using a small hydraulic jack to push the existing floor up and break it loose--saved a LOT of time.

Sometime in the early 2000's (2004?) Monaco increased the ceiling height, making it much easier.

No matter the challenges, you will surely love the result!
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Van W 2000 Dynasty 36, pulling one Harley
Southeastern NC
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