Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-17-2008, 10:01 PM   #1
Rivet Master
 
vswingfield's Avatar
 
1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,773
Images: 32
Rivet Norcold N841 IM Replacing a Dometic RM 1303 AES

The original Dometic RM 1303 AES (Automatic Energy Selector system, AES for short) finally gave up the ghost. The seals were shot, the freezer would not keep things frozen in the summer, the temperature in the lower compartment was unsafe in the summer, and frost was a nightmare all the time. It finally quit completely, and it will not be missed. According to the repair manual I downloaded, 1983 was the first year for the AES system.

I decided to replace it with a Norcold N841 IM (IceMaker). After reviewing many options, including Lewster’s about the icemaker being a frequent source of business for him and the space that it takes up in the freezer, I still decided on the IM model. One thing that helped was finding a post on another forum where a SOB owner found a replacement for a Whirlpool refrigerator that was the same except for the water inlet valve and the ice bucket for $49. It is a “Whirlpool Automatic Ice Maker Kit, item # 57773 and Model # ECKMF94” for anyone who is interested. This made me feel a little better about getting the icemaker. I live in the Excella and really appreciate having a steady supply of ice. I have filled my last ice cube tray!!!

There were complications, however. The Norcold is 1½” narrower than the Dometic, and a couple of inches taller. The 1½” narrower dimension was a piece of cake. I used 2 pieces of ¾” Styrofoam insulation on each side. Extra insulation, what a bonus! It was the height where I ran into a curve. Literally. The curve of the wall interfered with the top of the piping and fins. This necessitated moving the fridge down and out into the hall slightly.

I got a piece of ½” Styrofoam insulation, held it up against the side of the new unit and traced around the outside with a carpenter’s pencil, giving myself a little extra margin. I used this to determine the final offset requirements as you can see in the photos below.

The move down was achieved by replacing the ¾” plywood floor with ⅜”. Upon removing the original floor, I discovered the original gas line twisted almost completely! Wasn’t there a thread about things you have found under the floor? There were also some unattached “mystery” wires as shown. Anybody have any ideas what they are for? There was also an unattached phone jack on the wall. Perhaps they are related? A new gas line was installed with a shutoff valve, just in case, and the new floor was installed.

The extra ⅜” allowed the protrusion into the hall to be reduces to ¾”. This was covered with ¾” x ⅛” aluminum angle as shown in the photos. A top shelf was fabricated from 3/16” Masonite (shown on my portable workbench) and installed to complete the installation. The floor and top shelf were given 2 coats of exterior latex primer and premium exterior latex for maximum protection. I didn’t buy panel inserts for the doors because I plan to replace the cabinet fronts and closet doors. I will build inserts to match then.

The last photo shows the freezer temp and humidity. Humidity of 16% on top and temp of 14 on the bottom of the thermometer. You can also see that the max temp was 25 during a frost reduction cycle, I just got some ice and noticed it had reset to a max of 14 today. Finally a well stocked freezer. I can’t remember the last time I bought a ½ gallon container of ice cream!

It was a lot of work and interrupted the project that I had planned for the summer. I saw hampstead38’s thread, “Pulling a string on a sweater” today. Know exactly how you feel, buddy. And to think, I bought this one because I wouldn’t have to work on it.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Template-DSC00516-sm.jpg
Views:	171
Size:	176.3 KB
ID:	65804   Click image for larger version

Name:	Crimp-2-DSC00522-sm.jpg
Views:	186
Size:	225.8 KB
ID:	65805  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Mystery-Wires-1-DSC00523-sm.jpg
Views:	196
Size:	305.0 KB
ID:	65806   Click image for larger version

Name:	New-Floor-1-DSC00535-sm.jpg
Views:	285
Size:	194.0 KB
ID:	65807  

Click image for larger version

Name:	New-Propane-Line-1-DSC00538-sm.jpg
Views:	186
Size:	154.3 KB
ID:	65808   Click image for larger version

Name:	Spacer-Detail-DSC00587-sm.jpg
Views:	175
Size:	284.0 KB
ID:	65810  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Top-Shelf-1-DSC00566-sm.jpg
Views:	216
Size:	161.0 KB
ID:	65812   Click image for larger version

Name:	Top-Shelf-in-Place-DSC00582-sm.jpg
Views:	188
Size:	174.4 KB
ID:	65813  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Install-Complete-DSC00588-sm.jpg
Views:	677
Size:	308.0 KB
ID:	65814   Click image for larger version

Name:	Freezer-Temp-DSC00593-sm.jpg
Views:	208
Size:	152.0 KB
ID:	65815  

__________________

__________________
Vaughan
vswingfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2008, 11:09 PM   #2
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,282
Nice work Vaughan.

I have to ask this and please don't take any offense: Did your installation manual for the new Norcold include a diagram for the shape and size of the baffles required in the rear enclosure of the fridge to properly channel cooler air from the bottom vent it up and over the condenser section? This is key to having your fridge work well in high ambient temperatures, and is the single biggest cause of uneven cooling in RV refrigerators.

If you notice your fridge section creeping above 42* when it gets hot outside...this is usually the main culprit....but one that can be easily remedied by the proper application of 12VDC cooling fans or a Snyders kit.

Keep us posted on the performance!
__________________

__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2008, 11:51 PM   #3
Rivet Master
 
vswingfield's Avatar
 
1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,773
Images: 32
Rivet

Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Nice work Vaughan.

I have to ask this and please don't take any offense: Did your installation manual for the new Norcold include a diagram for the shape and size of the baffles required in the rear enclosure of the fridge to properly channel cooler air from the bottom vent it up and over the condenser section? This is key to having your fridge work well in high ambient temperatures, and is the single biggest cause of uneven cooling in RV refrigerators.

If you notice your fridge section creeping above 42* when it gets hot outside...this is usually the main culprit....but one that can be easily remedied by the proper application of 12VDC cooling fans or a Snyders kit.

Keep us posted on the performance!
Hi Lew,

Never offense taken at your posts, I appreciate them all! Good questions and comments on this thread.

Yes, the installation manual is quite good. Given that, I was not about to change out the vents riveted into the skin to put in the “approved” ones. I did follow the side and top clearance minimums and maximums, hence the ¾” foam inserts on the sides.

I also installed a Snyder kit, inspired by your endorsements of it. (I mentioned it to Stu, too) I will follow-up with another post. Unfortunately, the N841 is not a particularly good candidate for the Snyder kit. I am not faulting Stu here. It is a good kit and he answers questions very well. The problem is that it is a universal kit and sometimes one size doesn’t fit all very well. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still glad I got it. The problems are that the coolant pipes grossly interfere with the shrouding and the fins are wider than it too. I’m sure that it fits the smaller Norcolds just fine. I was able to remove the back of the shroud and rout clearance for the coolant tubes using a die grinder. The resulting mods look something like something from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but everything works great!

It maintained perfect temperature control during 105 degree 90%+ humidity conditions in full sun. Absolutely perfect! It was almost 100 inside when I got home in the afternoons a couple of times, even with the AC on high. It was The Perfect Storm for refrigerators.

The ice cream got slightly soft one day, but that was before I had the top sealed off and was set to AC only. We had a power outage and it couldn’t switch to LP, so it got a little warmer than usual, and that was just slightly soft. With the completion of the project, I am now running in Auto mode.

I will put up photos of my mods/butchery to the Snyder kit soon. The thermostat controlled fan works great, and I recommend the Snyder kit to anyone. The N841 just has an unusual design that requires additional modification. No step for a stepper.

I will post photos soon.
__________________
Vaughan
vswingfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2008, 11:47 AM   #4
Rivet Master
Commercial Member
 
lewster's Avatar
 
Vintage Kin Owner
Naples, FL , Hood River, OR
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 7,282
Great Vaughan!

I can sleep peacefully tonight!!!
__________________
Lew Farber...ABYC Certified Master Marine Electrician...RVIA Certified Master Tech ...AM Solar Authorized Installation Center...AIRSTREAM Solar & Electrical Specialist...Micro Air 'Easy Start' Sales and Installations
lewster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2008, 06:49 PM   #5
Rivet Master
 
vswingfield's Avatar
 
1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,773
Images: 32
Thanks Lew,

I would hate to think of you loosing sleep worrying about me!
__________________
Vaughan
vswingfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-20-2008, 03:10 PM   #6
Rivet Master
 
vswingfield's Avatar
 
1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,773
Images: 32
Rivet Snyder Kid Mods/Butchery

As I mentioned in a previous post, the N841 has a different fin/tube routings that interferes with the plenum of the Snyder kit. This is not a fault with the kit! This is just a different design that required unusual modifications.

1. The fins are wider, requiring removal of the back of the plenum. This is really not a problem, because the back of the box fulfills that function adequately.

2. The more diagonally routed large tube forced locating of the kit to the far right.

3. The more nearly horizontal smaller tube required grinding clearance with a die grinder.

4. The unit was secured in place with zip ties.

The thermostat detailed in the photo is one of the key benefits to this kit. The fan only runs when needed.

All things considered, I would recommend installing one of the Snyder Kits any time you have the fridge out. I certainly would not install a new refrigerator without one. There’s just too much work in removing a fridge later when you already have it out.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Norcold-Back-DSC00483-sm.jpg
Views:	162
Size:	407.0 KB
ID:	65941   Click image for larger version

Name:	Snyder-Kit-1-DSC00544-sm.jpg
Views:	177
Size:	226.2 KB
ID:	65942  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Snyder-Kit-4-DSC00545-sm.jpg
Views:	160
Size:	193.4 KB
ID:	65943   Click image for larger version

Name:	Thermostat-DSC00484-sm.jpg
Views:	161
Size:	148.3 KB
ID:	65944  

__________________
Vaughan
vswingfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2009, 07:09 PM   #7
Rivet Master
 
vswingfield's Avatar
 
1983 34' Excella
1967 24' Tradewind
Little Rock , Arkansas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,773
Images: 32
Rivet Longer Term Update

After living with this refrigerator for 5 months, I have to say that I am thrilled with it! The temps are perfectly controlled and the icemaker works great.

One thing I have learned is that the dropped floor of the freezer (see the photo with the thermometer, Blue Bell, and the Evan) makes defrosting a snap. All the melt water is captured and is easily removed with a sponge. No mess!!! You can defrost in a couple of hours or less and never loose temp control in the bottom. No need to empty the bottom.
__________________

__________________
Vaughan
vswingfield is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Norcold N841 experience? Mike S Refrigerators 6 07-16-2008 10:12 PM
Norcold vs. Dometic biggoofball Refrigerators 18 06-06-2008 11:21 AM
Dometic or Norcold JimGolden Refrigerators 8 07-03-2007 12:37 AM
Troublshooting Dometic 1303 gparker Refrigerators 2 08-10-2006 12:13 PM
Fridge: Dometic Vs. Norcold AYRSTRM2 Refrigerators 7 04-17-2006 11:57 AM


Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:53 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.