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Old 09-26-2017, 01:59 PM   #1
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Chime in on quality (or lack thereof) of RV appliances

Hi,

I am wondering if others have experienced what I have.

I am gutting a vintage RV, so I have the "luxury" of choosing every appliance and component that goes into the renovation. My hope when I got started was that I'd be able to choose high quality, state-of-the-art RV products for my project. (Note that I don't believe that good quality and super expensive need to be synonymous, but, price wasn't a main factor for me)

My issue is that with the very limited choices in manufactures of RV appliances, it seems that there has been a monopoly-effect. Thats is, with only a couple vendors on the market, the quality is generally really poor and the cost is high - because there is no competition.

Without specifically slamming any one vendor, when it came to the refrigerator, range and furnace choices, the lack of vendors meant that I often had to decide on the "best of the worst".

My general experience with the units I've purchased (but not yet installed) from Attwood, Dometic and Suburban is that they are built with cheap (thin) plastics, thin metal, flimsy construction, poor packaging, poor customer support (based on reviews) and poor price/quality ratio.

It's frustrating building custom cabinets and focusing on fine finish details then installing a rickety, thin, fragile range that seems like it will fall apart if I hit a speed bump too fast.

WDYT?
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Old 09-26-2017, 02:42 PM   #2
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

I think you're right. The quality of the appliances is not what it should be! Keep her between the ditches!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:06 PM   #3
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31-yrs of RV experience here and i agree with you in general. over our 31-yrs in 3-motorhomes we've had zero problems with the LP stoves and ovens or furnaces. if i were the OP i would seriously consider installing a residential style fridge, inverter and battery bank to support. we've had three norcold fridges in our two previous motorhomes and they were all trouble. poor cooling in hot weather, small capacity, etc. we now have a residential style fridge and are loving it.
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Old 09-26-2017, 04:17 PM   #4
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Since you are 'gutting', it opens up lots of options and possibilities for something unique and different. You don't necessarily have to use "RV" appliances. Check out Avanti Appliances.
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoneToTheDog View Post
Since you are 'gutting', it opens up lots of options and possibilities for something unique and different. You don't necessarily have to use "RV" appliances. Check out Avanti Appliances.
Indeed! I've felt limited by some constraints - e.g. size and power/fuel needs in my decisions.

Avanti does look compelling!
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Old 09-26-2017, 05:40 PM   #6
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I would lean towards more conventional appliances, larger selection, more venders. Maytag is putting out some good stuff. Google German water heaters, saw them at the show, that was like wow.

And don't forget Samsung, my Convection oven with cabinet fan just rocks. It may be $500 but it releases the least amount of heat in the cabinet in it's class. Just rock solid built.

If I were you I would get all your appliances before you build the cabinets.

Also check out Alde, Hydronic heat on propane, that is just the cats meow. (made in Sweden) Fill the system with antifreeze and you never have to touch it. Just turn it on, or off. No fans, no noise, quiet heat.

Also check out 'extend a stay" propane bottle add on's to not use up the main tank. A lot easier to fill 30's without moving the rig. Get a 24 gallon propane tank, not the 11 gallon.

Lastly swap out the 30 amp service for 50 amp service, always use as much campground electricity as possible. Don't be afraid of used market for staples like propane tanks, main panels, 50 amp cords. Coaches get crashed everyday.
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:13 PM   #7
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I'll agree with you that the so-called competitors in RV appliances are pretty much building the same so-so product. Further, those product designs haven't change materially in 20+ years, so there isn't a lot to choose just because you can get new stuff. There are a few modest improvements available here and there, though. Some examples include:
o Atwoods XT line of water heaters
o Dual stage furnaces (though this too is near 15 years old)
o More power efficient a/c or heat pumps units
o Energy efficient residential fridge instead of an RV absorption type (works for many uses)
o Variable speed water pumps
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Old 09-26-2017, 06:32 PM   #8
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RV appliances...quality

Consider checking appliances that work in boat applications.
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Old 09-26-2017, 08:56 PM   #9
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I don't have any input. Glad to see you are still chugging along on Flatnose Frank...assuming that is the project the appliances are for. You may have some luck locating some vintage refurbished appliances if you are trying to keep the look.

If it is for your Revcon 250, its an amazing rig. You should be proud. Please post a link to your flicker so everyone else can have a gander. I find the renovation fascinating, thank you for documenting it.
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Old 09-26-2017, 09:05 PM   #10
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FWIW It's the same for a S&B. There are a lot of brands but only a couple of factories that crank out the units. I used to know who did what when I was much younger. If anything there has been more consolidation to compete with the Koreans.
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Old 09-26-2017, 10:32 PM   #11
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What was interesting to me in trying to bring hydronic heat to the masses. Was the high end Hydronic coaches. That heater looks just like a miniaturized Bethlehem Dynatherm, Dynatherm jetted the flame on the outside of the vessel, bounced it off the outer plate then back through the center tubes.

The miniature does the same thing but, the difference is in the domestic coil. Dynatherm put the domestic coil inside the furnace. The mini wrapped the outside of the furnace.

The issue has always been mineral build up on the coil. The Dynatherm coil built up with minerals on the outside of the coil. The mini will build up minerals on the inside of the coil. They did not solve the problem, they just moved it.
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Old 09-26-2017, 11:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary RVRoamer View Post
I'll agree with you that the so-called competitors in RV appliances are pretty much building the same so-so product. Further, those product designs haven't change materially in 20+ years, so there isn't a lot to choose just because you can get new stuff. There are a few modest improvements available here and there, though. Some examples include:
o Atwoods XT line of water heaters------same old water heater since 2004 just uses a 160*F t-stat and a mixing valve which is prone to clogging up
o Dual stage furnaces (though this too is near 15 years old)
o More power efficient a/c or heat pumps units
o Energy efficient residential fridge instead of an RV absorption type (works for many uses)
o Variable speed water pumps------Shurflo disconnected the 'Extreme Series' (variable speed pumps) due to on-going issues
As mentioned ..... Avanti Appliances and Marine Appliances.
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Old 09-27-2017, 01:51 PM   #13
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Old Biscuit is right that the improvements I listed aren't exactly major breakthroughs. Incremental improvements at best. But they are examples of the [few] tech changes over the last 10-15 years.

By the way, Aquajet (Remco Pumps) makes an good variable speed water pump. Not exactly rocket science with modern electronics to help out. Kind of amazing that Sureflo could never get them to work well, though they struggled with them for several years. Indications are that Norcold is similarly challenged in the engineering department.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:14 AM   #14
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I doubt any competent mechanical engineer with some background in refrigeration could not do better. That leaves me thinking that Norcold engineering is controlled by the bean counters. We only use our RV's 2 weeks and a couple of weekends/year so what they build is good enough according to their model. They don't acknowledge full timers or the long trippers with a better double door. The litigation cost over it might change their minds. Might not too. Price point is a big deal for the big RV manufacturers who's target market fits the 2 weeks model.

I'm not sure the rest are improvements. Folks got used to some constant changing as the bugs were worked out of more efficient furnaces and safety devices like mixing valves. Once they got a good design I don't see why plugging in a lot of money just to say they changed something is all that beneficial to most of us. I also don't see adding electronics as always beneficial. That's with 50 years of experience alternating servicing and engineering work as an electronics technician.
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