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Old 09-05-2011, 06:30 AM   #1
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Samsung RF197 installed in 2006 Diplomat 40PDQ

If you are reading this on 09/05/2011, please wait until I finish all 10 posts before replying. Thanks.

The following 8 posts with links to photos describe our project to remove the Norcold 1200 from our 2006 Diplomat PDQ and install a Samsung RF197 residential refrigerator. The 9th post explains how we decided to secure the doors for travel. Although the Samsung RF197 is a counter depth unit, it is taller than many other models of residential refrigerators. Keep this in mind if you plan to undertake a similar project. I should point out that in 2006 Monaco increased the ceiling height of the Diplomat by 3 inches and if you have an earlier model there will be less room available from the floor to the ceiling. If you have a coach with a drawer underneath the refrigerator then the task will be simpler. Just remove the drawer. Many models, such as ours, have a furnace there.

Evaluate your particular application to make sure you have room and plan your dimensions carefully. If you decide to use a different model refrigerator, keep in mind the clearance required to open the doors. Our refrigerator is located in a narrow hallway and the French doors are a must have. In most cases you will be able to take the old Norcold out and the new Samsung in via the door. The doors will need to come off both units to use this path. If you have an older coach with a CRT television that protrudes further out into the coach, there may be interference from the TV cabinet going in through the door.

We wanted to use the Samsung RF197 because others have installed it in their coaches and gave good reports on service and operation on a modified sine wave inverter. Many only use the standard four six volt golf cart batteries that come in most coaches.
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:32 AM   #2
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Taking out the Norcold

To get the old Norcold out, first take off all the doors and hinges and remove the bins. Remove the black plastic buttons covering the screws on the black trim at the top and bottom. See photos. Remove all the screws.
Next go outside and disconnect all the wires, gas line, water line, and unplug the AC cords from the outlets. Be sure to locate and turn off the ice maker water supply before you start. Locate and remove the screws attaching the sheet metal bottom to the wood floor.

Construct a dolly that is the correct height to allow the lip at the bottom of the Norcold to slide out on the dolly top surface. From the outside vent push on the back of the Norcold to extend it about an inch into the motorhome. Back inside the coach slide the dolly under the lip and pull the Norcold out onto the dolly. After the Norcold is on the dolly carefully roll it out to where there is enough room to work. Slide the Norcold until the lip drops down on the front edge of the dolly.

At this point you will need help. Remove the passenger seat and hand rails. Unscrew the door retaining arm at the top of the door frame and move the door all the way open. Using a bungee cord secure the door to the coach mirror. It is not necessary to remove the cooling unit from the Norcold but does make the job of getting it out the door easier. Because I did not plan to use the Norcold or want to be a party to someone else’s motorhome fire, I took the cooling unit off. The cooling unit weighs about 70 pounds and it takes less effort to move the Norcold in two pieces.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184...kingOutNorcold
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:33 AM   #3
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Cabinet with Norcold removed

Once the Norcold is removed you will notice the insulation and luan baffles. You need to remove all the insulation and baffles to get more air space around the Samsung. The Samsung will be more efficient without the insulation as it will slow heat transfer out of the cabinet. Also, if you don’t remove the rear baffle you will not be able to get the Samsung back as far into the cabinet. Since we planned to work on the project over about a two week period we thought it best to close up the frig vent and roof vent now to keep the air conditioned air in and the bugs out. To plug the frig vent we used eternabond tape and plugged the vent at the top with a combination of the old insulation and luan board sealed with eternabond tape and held in place with a cross brace.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184...WithNorcoldOut
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:34 AM   #4
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Taking out the false floor

Now it is time to get the floor out so we can start to increase the height of the cabinet. We choose to lower the floor about 4 inches and open the top about 3 inches. You may wish to lower the floor less and open the top more. To get the floor out, first move the electrical outlets up out of the way and jack the front up using a bottle jack and section of 4 x 4. Once the staples are broken loose and there is enough space to get a wrecking bar in, the floor can be pried out. It helps to go around the edge with a box cutter to cut the black tar substance. Be very careful of the staples and don’t forget to disconnect the gas line and water line under the floor. Remove the Norcold 12 VDC fuse and cut the wire at the bottom of the floor. Tape it up and leave it just in case you wish to use it for another application. After you get the floor out remove the staples, water line, and gas line. To remove the cross brace above the furnace air intake chisel out some wood so the screws will back out.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184...ingOutTheFloor
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:35 AM   #5
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Lowering the floor

We stapled garage door weather stripping around the interior opening of the refrigerator vent to act as a stop and seal for a piece of insulation board. The insulation board is cut so that it will fit into the vent from the outside. A handle was constructed using foil tape. It was also necessary to use two sheets of cardboard between the insulation board and the vent door to get a tight fit. Two pieces of the insulation board were a bit tight. Don’t forget to seal up the gas connection no longer needed.

It was necessary to get the furnace duct hose out of the way so the section of carpet could be removed and the right side frame installed. Once the vent hose is detached from the round vent it can be pushed back inside the opening and twisted to remove from the furnace. We wanted the Samsung and the false floor secured to the motorhome floor with a strong sturdy frame rather than the flimsy cabinet walls. This required removing the section of carpet next to the furnace. Our coach had a wood shim under the right side cabinet wall that also had to be sawed and cut out. We constructed the right and left frame sections out of slotted angle and attached them to the motorhome sub-floor with SPAX lag bolts. As seen in the photos, the left hand frame had to be shorter to clear the gas pipe.

A section of angle was cut to fit between the two frames at the rear. Part of the angle needed to be trimmed on the bottom to clear the top of the furnace. Flat head bolts were used to attach each end to the frames and screws attached the back to the wall. Before installing the front section of angle a brace was constructed for added support. We choose to re-use the old floor and attached it to the metal frame using carriage bolts. It is necessary to remove one of the old floor position wood supports from the side wall to get the floor in. It can be easily knocked off with a hammer. If you look in the photo showing the carpenters square you can see where the old support was removed.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184...weringTheFloor
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:36 AM   #6
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Opening the top of the cabinet

We covered the top section of cabinet with masking tape and marked it where the cut would be. A hole was drilled to insert the saber saw. Be sure to remove the four screws from the back before sawing. After the cut was made we covered the edge with black plastic edging sized to fit the inch material.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184.../OpeningTheTop
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:38 AM   #7
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Samsung photos

Here are a few Samsung photos. We should have taken more but did not. We ran the unit for about four days to make sure it was working and then stripped it down. One surprise is that when you take the doors off you also remove the electronic display at the top. The section at the top front that protrudes above the rest of the top is not only the hinges but the display. When you open the doors and look up you see the readouts that show the freezer and refrigerator temps. It appears that they are inside the refrigerator but in fact are not.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184.../SamsungPhotos
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:39 AM   #8
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Installing Samsung

After the Samsung is moved into the motorhome, you must first put the shelves and bins in and re-install the doors. This must be done before the Samsung is set up on the dolly. After it is on the dolly there is not enough clearance at the top to work.

Measure how far you want the Samsung to go into the cabinet and install L brackets to serve as stops. We also added shims under the rear wheels to square the Samsung in the cabinet. The dolly used to remove the Norcold must be lowered to the new floor height for the Samsung. Create custom mounts to secure the front of the Samsung to the leveling brackets. We used 10 inch mending bars and inch plywood. This is where we goofed and would suggest using inch plywood instead. The space between the mending bar and the leveling bracket can be filled with washers. The rear of the Samsung is slightly lower than the front and drags on the mounts when sliding in and out. Before installing the mounts the Samsung rolled in and out with ease but was a bear afterwards. We first rolled the Samsung in and attached the mounts to the leveling brackets. From the bottom two screws were inserted to hold the mounts in place while the Samsung is rolled back out. With the Samsung out the mounts are fastened from the top and the refrigerator pushed back in.

Using SPAX Lag bolts, secure the rear of the Samsung through existing holes. This must be done outside through the vent. As a side note, you may be wondering why we installed both the inverter and non-inverter AC outlets accessible from the vent. The thought was, if the inverter fails, we could switch over to the non-inverter outlet until the inverter is repaired.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184...tallingSamsung
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:40 AM   #9
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Reducing air intake height

Reducing the height of the furnace air intake grill is not as difficult as you might think. It turns out that Monaco did not use any glue to hold the grill together. Before you begin, make sure you take measurements and mark where cuts are needed. The frame and the louvers will not be cut at the same location as the frame is higher than the louvers. The louvers are fastened at each end with a small brad nail. On the two louvers that needed to be removed, we were able to dig out the nails with a pair of side cutters. Cutting the grill down would have been easier if we had a table saw but we made do with what we had. We also did not have a router bit of the correct shape to dress up the frame after we cut it. Since that cut was at the bottom and facing the floor it does not show. Note the last photo in this section. If you have a keen eye you will also notice in the next to last photo that we have the louvers upside down. We had to go back and turn them over. If you are looking down at the louvers you should not be able to see inside the furnace cavity.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184...irIntakeHeight
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:41 AM   #10
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Travel straps

We purchased the sliding door locks that Monaco uses on residential refrigerator installations and had them on hand before starting this project. When it came time to install them we did not like the way they worked on the Samsung or that we would need to drill holes in the refrigerator. We came up with an alternate method of securing the French doors and the freezer drawer for travel. The photos tell most of the story but some explanation may help. We knew we wanted straps but were not sure where to find what we had in mind. A trip to the boating section of Bass Pro Shop turned out to be fruitful. The mooring fender lock kit should be self-explanatory and provides a means of removing the straps when the motorhome is parked. We purchased two inexpensive Mae West life jackets and removed the black straps with quick disconnect fasteners. The straps are continuous and need to be cut. Take care not to just cut them in half and assure that the buckles are centered between the side of the Samsung and the door handles. We have a friend who does interiors for custom cars and had him sew the eyes at each end. The fender locks did not come with screws but a trip by ACE Hardware provided stainless flat head Phillips screws.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1028184...8/TravelStraps

Thanks for letting me get this all posted. Finished now.
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:51 AM   #11
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BRAVO!!!!! You did an excellent job of exlaining the installation. Makes me want to get started on my installation. I know now, that when my "NotCold" refer finally quits, I will follow your lead. Thank you!
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:07 AM   #12
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Bob this is awesome from what I see. I ahve to work today (I have a part-time job at ACE Hardware) but for sure I will be reading and LQQKING tonight. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this for us........... LeeB
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:43 AM   #13
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Bob,
Great post. I especially like the mooring fender locks idea. We were wondering what to use to keep the doors closed and they look like they not only will keep the doors closed but also provide one more safeguard to keep the fridge in place. Once parked with the straps removed the locks must be hardly noticeable.

Had to laugh at the photo of all of the Samsung parts piled up on the bed. Looked very familiar.

It sure will be nice to have a fridge we can actually depend on to keep food cold. Not to mention much larger and a real ice maker.

Nice job
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Old 09-05-2011, 02:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeB View Post
Bob this is awesome from what I see. I ahve to work today (I have a part-time job at ACE Hardware) but for sure I will be reading and LQQKING tonight. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this for us........... LeeB
Thanks Lee. ACE is the Place! We go there all the time.

Bob
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