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Old 11-30-2011, 11:04 PM   #1
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New Refer vs. Repair

Well, it looks like Lucy's refrigerator has bitten the dust. We are camped in Lucy in Jacksonville, and have noticed a decreased cooling ability in her refrigerator for the last several days. This evening I detected slight ammonia smell inside Lucy.

I inspected the outside refrigerator compartment, and discovered some pooled green liquid on the floor of the compartment, and a fairly strong ammonia odor. There is not much doubt that the cooling unit is shot.

I did some research, and came up with some ballpark figures on replacing the cooling unit and getting a new refrigerator. Lucy's refrigerator is a Dometic RM-2662 (6.0 cubic feet/ two door).

A replacement cooling unit would cost $550 with shipping, plus 2.5 hours labor at $100/hr, equaling a total cost of $800.

A new refrigerator would cost $1,200 with shipping, plus about $200 to have installed, equaling a total cost of $1,400.

I have considered trying to do the labor myself, but am unsure if it is worth the grief. Even if I do this, I still have the dilemma of repair vs. replace.

Lucy is heavily used. We have camped in her 960+ nights and towed her 85,000+ miles since 2006.

The ammonia smell in Lucy has forced us to retreat to Ethel (our truck camper) for the night.

We would appreciate input from the group as to our best course of action.

Brian
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:31 AM   #2
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The same thing happened to the refer in our Caravel on the way to the WBCCI International in Burlington VT in 2003. No one had a new one in stock that would fit, but I was able to get a new cooling unit and had it installed by a fellow in Burlington who came to the rally to do the job. The refer was in good shape, that is, no cracks in the plastic parts etc. It has worked great ever since.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:34 AM   #3
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Many years ago I replace the unit in my freg. At that time the unit cost $135.00. Now they are quite a bit more expensive but I think it is still an idea worth considering. It is an easy job if you are handy and not on the road as I was for the second one.

The smell is the give away that the unit has gone.
Considering the history of fires I would stop using now.
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Old 12-01-2011, 06:43 AM   #4
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It is obvious from your posts and activity here on the forums you enjoy your rig.
Given the amount of use your trailer gets, my suggestion would be to buy a new refer. I am aware that other than the cooling unit these things are mostly just an insulated plastic box, but other symptoms of age and use will surely appear.
I would also believe that if you are considering doing the labor yourself setting a completely new refer in the place of an old one would be a much simpler task than swapping cooling units. That alone moves the cost difference closer.
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Old 12-01-2011, 07:08 AM   #5
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Just my 2 cents worth, I would go with the new one also and you could put it in yourself and save the $200. Doing a remove & replace is not hard at all. Then you have new gaskets on the doors and new electronics also. If you fix the old one who knows what will go out on it next.
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:05 AM   #6
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We are leaning toward going with the new Dometic. That way we will have some spares and the stainless door panels will fit.

We are also looking at a Norcold by Thetford. One of the RV techs that we are talking with recommends these over the Dometic. I have noticed that the Norcold has a 1 year warranty, while the Dometic's is 2 years.

Any thoughts on the Norcold?

Brian
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Old 12-01-2011, 10:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
We are leaning toward going with the new Dometic. That way we will have some spares and the stainless door panels will fit.

We are also looking at a Norcold by Thetford. One of the RV techs that we are talking with recommends these over the Dometic. I have noticed that the Norcold has a 1 year warranty, while the Dometic's is 2 years.

Any thoughts on the Norcold?

Brian
Hi Brian,

I replaced the original fridge in my 1983 Excella about 3 years ago. Details are at http://www.airforums.com/forums/f425...aes-44474.html. As mentioned in the thread, there were slight differences in the dimensions of my vintage Dometic and the replacement Norcold, but they were easy to deal with.

I got it at the local Camping World. They didn't stock the model I wanted, but ordered it from Norcold. Even though the didn't have it in stock, they still price matched PPL's website. (Since then, I've done business with PPL and wouldn't hesitate to order from them either.) Camping World called a couple of days after I placed the order, Norcold had contacted them to ask on which side I wanted the door to be hinged. I had seen the instructions for switching the sides in a pdf version of their manual, so I knew that switching wouldn't be a problem, but they were building it for me. It came in in a week or so.

After the 3 years, I remain extremely pleased with it. As I mentioned at the end of the thread, I especially like the dropped freezer floor that traps all the melt water when defrosting. I wouldn't have thought of that before, but it makes an unpleasant task less so.
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Old 12-10-2011, 10:16 AM   #8
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We decided to go with a brand new refrigerator for Lucy. We got her a new Dometic DM2662 which is an exact replacement for Lucy's original Dometic 2662.

We ordered the new refrigerator through and had it installed by a local Jacksonville RV Tech who we have used before. He came to SuEllyn's Dad's yard where we are camped in Lucy, and did the installation.

The install took about 2 hours. I'm glad that we decided to have it done as I'm not sure if SuEllyn and I would have been able to lift both the old and the new refrigerators over the kitchen counter to get them in and out.

The whole job ended up costing $1,400 for the refrigerator and $150 for the removal and installation. This was a better price than I was quoted by Camping World and another RV dealer here in Jacksonville. Plus this guy came to us and did it, which was more more convenient than hooking Lucy up and towing her across town.

Another advantage to replacing the refrigerator with the same model is that we were able to strip the usable parts for the old refer for possible future use. We already have used the old door pulls and a shelf from the old unit. We also kept both of the electronic control boards.

We are very glad to have Lucy's refrigerator again. We made a short trip to South Florida this past week and had to use only the refer in Ethel (the truck camper) which meant a trip outside every time we wanted something from the refrigerator.

Brian
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