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.