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Old 08-11-2013, 09:57 PM   #1
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Refrigerator Baffling & Sealing

I replaced the original fridge in my 66 Tradewind shortly after I bought it with an RM2500 mode (1984)l. This was a completely different fridge than the model 52 that it replaced, but it was an easy install as I just took the old one out and put the new (to me) one in. The only change was to add 12v for operation of the RM2500.

The performance of this fridge since I installed it 3 years ago has been marginal. It will keep it in the 30's with it on max cooling position (#7) if it is below 80, but it will not keep it below 40 if the temp climbs much above 85 or higher. I generally keep a block of ice (1 gal) in the bottom when I start out to help it keep the fridge cool. I never turn the thermostat below max in the summer time.

I have read on these forums that lots of Airstream owners have had similar problems with inadequate cooling from the rv fridge and have added fans, both in the fridge and outside the fridge in the vent area behind the fridge to help the fridge keep cool.

I have also heard that baffling in the rear area may help cooling by forcing more airflow through the condenser.

I recently decided to replace the RM2500 fridge that was 29 years old with a new RM2510 fridge since I was not able to get the fridge to operate on gas recently and removing the fridge for maintenance is such a PITA. I am also planning on doing lots of camping in the future and want to minimize any problems.

I read the installation instructions for the new fridge and they recommend baffling behind the fridge to force the airflow over the coils and the condenser, and they recommend sealing the vent area behind the fridge to keep hot air and exhaust gases out of the trailer. The following two photos are taken from the installation manual. The most important points are: "All joints in the enclosure must be sealed to prevent gas leakage into the living area. The following maximum clearances specified are necessary for correct refrigerator performance: Rear 0" min to 1" max."

The 3rd photo shows a comparison between the condenser on the two fridges. The condenser appears to be about 1/3 larger on the new fridge (RM2510). This should also help fridge performance.
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:18 PM   #2
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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I tried my best to install the baffling behind the fridge to minimize the clearances to maximize fridge performance. My clearances between the chimney and the baffling (insulation) is 0.5", between the baffling and piping is about 1" and 0" clearance between the condenser and the baffling.

I also added insulation around the fridge and on top of the fridge, 0.5" on top, 0.5" on the left side and 1" on the right side to reduce heat gain by the fridge. This will allow the fridge to operate at a lower cost and hopefully to cool better in high temperature situations.

I tried to seal the vent and exhaust plenum behind the fridge to minimize any exhaust gases into the trailer and minimize heat gain from the hot vent into the trailer.

So far I am very happy with the performance of the new fridge. I think that the baffling, larger condenser area, sealing the vent area and additional insulation around the fridge have all helped to improve the cooling performance on the new RM2510 fridge. With outside temperatures between 74 and 87 degrees and with the fridge set on 2, the inside temperature is between 34 and 38 degrees.

Dan
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:25 PM   #3
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1966 24' Tradewind
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Sorry, this photo added to show the clearances behind the fridge and to show the finished installation including the seal, not supplied by Dometic, at the bottom front.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:33 PM   #4
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Dan,

Thanks for all the photos. Tonight I pulled out the fridge in our unit and was shocked to see how it was installed. The wall behind the fridge was not sealed and the mounts were minimal.

Are you still having better performance with your new set up? Also, how did you get the unit back in with limited access to the propane line and electrical hook up?

I'm planning on rotating ours which will put it on a wall and I'm puzzled on what to do about access? Any words of wisdom are appreciated.

Thanks, Jenner
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:49 PM   #5
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Now to find how ours is mounted....and hidden fasteners
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:30 PM   #6
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1966 24' Tradewind
1995 34' Excella
Lynchburg , Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jenner 515 View Post
Dan,

Thanks for all the photos. Tonight I pulled out the fridge in our unit and was shocked to see how it was installed. The wall behind the fridge was not sealed and the mounts were minimal.

Are you still having better performance with your new set up? Also, how did you get the unit back in with limited access to the propane line and electrical hook up?

I'm planning on rotating ours which will put it on a wall and I'm puzzled on what to do about access? Any words of wisdom are appreciated.

Thanks, Jenner
Jenner

I also was surprised how the original fridge was mounted in my Tradewind. I had lots of space between the wall and the condenser as you have and that shows clearly in your photo. To improve the performance, it is important to install a baffle so the airflow can not bypass the condenser fins. The baffle will force the airflow through the fins which will improve the performance on the fridge.

The only way to access the electrical connection and the propane connection is through the small access panel. No problem with the electrical hookup, just plug in the 120v ac power cord and connect the 12v dc to the terminals. The propane connection was very difficult. I tried for 2hrs to make the connection and failed. I took a dinner break and then tried again. 5 minute later my propane line was connected and tightened. The access opening really needs to be larger, but I got it done. This is one reason I bought a new fridge because I don't really want to take the fridge out again to repair it and then need to reconnect the propane line.

If you are relocating your fridge, somehow you need to have access to connect the propane line, the 120v ac and the 12v dc.

BTW, I disconnected all my 120 v power and batteries for 2 days and the fridge kept on cooling. So there is no parasitic load on your battery (s).
The fridge has stayed at 37-39 for the last two weeks with the setting on 2. I am quite happy. I don't know how much propane it is using, but by it being able to stay below 40 degrees with just being set on 2, the propance usage has to be very small.

If you want to send my your email address, I can send you all the photos I took during the installation.

Good luck.

Dan
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