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Old 12-29-2022, 09:34 PM   #1
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Refrigerator Replacement Brand?

I am in the process of removing the Norcold 1200 refrigerator out of my 2005 HR AMBASSADOR for a residential refrigerator. What brand of refrigerator would be the most reliable to replace it? What size would best fit? Any other tips or considerations? Thank you.
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Old 12-29-2022, 09:51 PM   #2
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Last Christmas I replaced mine with a Fisher & Paykel fridge. I needed a couple extra inches in height - but it was less than the Samsung models.
It was a little less wide- just made a trim piece for the side. For my rig height was super important- my furnace was under the fridge, had to move it down. I didn’t have any extra inches.

The Fisher & Paykel’s are on the expensive side - but it was the best fit. I ordered it a Best Buy.

I love all the extra room in the fridge.

To keep it closed while traveling we installed some 1” Bimini top straps (from Amazon) next to the fridge and then some nylon straps keep it closed.
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Old 12-29-2022, 09:52 PM   #3
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Not sure about your space dimensions, but I am happy with our Samsung, draws about 800 watts, we use a 1 Kw inverter. Not using the ice maker, but when we load up it gets cold really fast. Double refrig doors, bottom drawer freezer, digital read out.
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Old 12-30-2022, 03:03 AM   #4
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I am going to go the other route for you. Two years ago I needed to make the same decision as you are now. The residential frigs. all sounded nice, my problem was that workworking is not my best trait. I soon realized that after cutting and modifying the opening for the frig it jus would not look like it belonged.

So I went the JC Refrigeration for the answer. I was able to remove all of the old cooling stuff from the Norcold and replace with a 110v compressor cooling unit. Its a very easy job and great customer service from the JC folks. Since installing the 110unit its just like a residential one but I did not have to do the woodwork to make it look good.
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Old 12-30-2022, 06:07 AM   #5
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Samsung RF18 is a popular choice because the dimensions are almost identical. I chose a GE GWE19jslss it also has the same dimensions. Just search for counter depth refrigerators.
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Old 12-30-2022, 07:00 AM   #6
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Lowes web site is great for finding actual detailed dimensions.

I wondered about the modified sine wave inverter powering electronics in some of the newer residential refrigerators. So I went with a basic 20.1 cf Frigidaire top freezer model.
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Old 12-30-2022, 07:23 AM   #7
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I guess it depends how much work you want to do and if you are capable.

You could go with a small residential two door that would fit into the opening without much modification. You would end up with about the same volume as the Norcold.
But a lot of people go with a larger French Door model. There are several to choose from but it will require modifying the opening. Do you have a furnace under your Fridge, if so this could limit how much you can lower the shelf the Norcold is sitting on. You still might be able to get a larger fridge to fit but it would take a LOT of work.

I installed a Samsung RF18 and it was a pretty big job, I have a furnace under the fridge and I had to get all the height I could to get it to fix. Had to drop the furnace as much as possible and put a "shelf" ~1/2" above the furnace. I have a Suburban furnace which has zero clearance specs, some furnaces require space for cooling. Here is a link to what I did
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Old 12-30-2022, 09:45 AM   #8
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Samsung RF18 has the right width and depth. You have to drop the floor to get some height.

The "woodworking" is just basic carpentry.

The hardest part is getting the old one out the door and the new one in the door.

A lot of people like the JC or Amish retrofit direction. I see it as putting expensive lipstick on an ugly pig.
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Old 12-30-2022, 11:15 AM   #9
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Another Fisher and Paykell here.

In our rig, depth was critical because our refer sits next to the already narrow doorway to the bathroom/bedroom. We looked at the Samsung rf18 and there's no way it would have fit depth wise or height wise. For many other rigs depth isn't as critical. Here's a link to the thread where I replied with a description and photos of my install. You'll see why depth with handles was critical:

A few things to consider:

If considering this as a dyi, how handy are you?
Are you physically fit enough to wrestle with a couple of refrigerators in a confined space, through a narrow entry door and down steep steps?
What's under your existing refrigerator?
Will you be dry camping? If so, what's your battery situation?

Getting the old Norcold out, and the new one in, can be a challenge. If either won't fit through the door, a window or the windshield must be removed.

I was able to get the Norcold out the door AFTER stripping the cabinet of the doors and cooling unit. Still needed to remove the passenger seat. Had 1/4" of clearance to spare at the door opening. Phew! I removed the Norcold while my wife was at work and didn't tell her for a while that I got it stuck part way out the door. Fortunately there was no way I was going to still be there trapped inside the rig when she got home. Pride is a very strong motivator. I DID think my way out instead of resorting to brute force. When she got home and asked how it went I said: "Fine, no problems."

I lowered my refrigerator platform for convenience because my wife is fairly short and would have had difficulty reaching things at the back of the top shelf.

The F&P refrigerator is an inverter style cooling unit which means it's a DC compressor so it ran fine with my modified sine wave inverter. I did eventually swap the inverter out for a pure sine wave inverter though. Depending on how your refer outlet is wired, it either may or may not have power when running on the inverter. Mine did not. Luckily there was an outlet in the main compartment right under the refer that did, so that where I plugged in the new one.

Note, you'll need to plug the refer propane line before installing the new one, and if it has an ice maker, you'll need to plumb in water. Mine doesn't.

When doing preinstall measurement be sure to include the corner to corner measurement of the refrigerator box and compare it to your ceiling height. Remember, after getting the new refrigerator in the door you need to stand it up so this measurement is important.

Make sure your house batteries can run it overnight if you plan to dry camp.

There were several 2 door refrigerators that would have fit without any cabinet modifications. I insisted on a French door style because when the slide is in we wouldn't have been able to fully open a two door without hitting the opposing cabinet/counter.

We are very happy with our upgrade, especially my wife who was worried about propane refrigerator fires. The extra room is wonderful. My only complaint about the F&P unit is the crisper bins sit in a full width pull out drawer. This mean both doors must be opened to access either crisper bins.
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Old 12-30-2022, 06:53 PM   #10
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Do not install a Samsung. They may make good phones and TV,s but all of the appliances suck. Lawsuits over the fridges abound.
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Old 12-30-2022, 07:13 PM   #11
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Wherever you buy, make sure that you check out the return policy beforehand. Lowes and Home Depot for example, only give you 48 hours to initiate a return on major appliances.
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Old 12-31-2022, 03:05 PM   #12
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x3 on the Samsung RF18. for slide out freezer (French) door, you will need a 10lb (+) latch so it does not open on sharp corners, when there is significant weight in it. Topp doors can be secured with a velcro strap.

Lowes occasionally has good sales and if military, you also get 10% off that deal.
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Old 01-04-2023, 11:59 AM   #13
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I installed the French door Fisher Paykel in 2018 and we love it. I had the furnace underneath and wanted to keep it so I just lowered the Fridge platform. Almost a perfect fit. Sorry the one picture is sideways but this is the method we use for securing the doors for travel.
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Old 01-04-2023, 12:36 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by bentjm View Post
The "woodworking" is just basic carpentry.
Framing is basic carpentry. I can frame a house with a chainsaw.

Trimwork and finish carpentry is craftsmanship. When I attempt it, it looks like I'm still using that chainsaw.

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