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Old 03-27-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
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All-gas Refrigerators?

Hi,

I'm hoping to replace the 2602 propane Dometic fridge (which requires 12V) in my 2004 International with an all-propane model. Crane's RV in Northern California has suggested the older Dometic 2600 or 2604 models, but they don't ship the fridges. I'm a full-timer living between western and eastern Arizona. I have a few quick questions, if you don't mind:

1. Does anyone know of a good source for any reliable all=propane full-size fridges in the Southwest, used or new?

2. Once installed, there will likely be gaps along the sides, because the all-propane models tend to be smaller than my 2602. I'm looking for advice for sealing these gaps properly to prevent propane leaking into the cabin space.

3. Another option is installing a smaller all-propane model like the Norcold N-300. If anyone owns a Norcold, are you happy with it?

Thanks very much,
Scott & Liz
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:21 PM   #2
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Woa Scott

You slould not have any propane leaking unless you have bad joints in your gas line connections. Test each connection with soapy water to make sure there are no leaks.

I would fill any gaps with styrofoam insulation to cut down on the heat gain to the fridge.

Dan
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:17 PM   #3
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I bought the fridge for the Limited at Arizona RV Salvage in Phoenix a year ago. It works great. it is a Norcold. Check with them to see if the have any units in stock.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:46 PM   #4
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All modern fridges require 12 volt to power the board. I do not think there is a way around this. Even an LP only unit will require 12 volt unless you use an old school fridge.
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Old 03-27-2012, 04:52 PM   #5
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So you are stuck with 12V or use a vintage unit?

Perry
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:17 PM   #6
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I think that is what I just said.
The amount of 12 volt is very low. I bet you can use a small solar cell to keep a battery charged if you are living off the grid. In Arizona with 335+ days of sunshine it should be a piece of cake.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:16 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply with such helpful information.

62--Yes, we're looking for an older propane-only fridge. They're not easy to find--Crane's RV in the SF Bay Area is the only place I've found so far that restores and sells them. If anyone knows of anywhere else in the southwest I'd be obliged.

Thanks,
Scott
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:51 AM   #8
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Scott

Good luck with your search. I'll keep an eye out and send you a note if I see anything.

I don't know what your particular situation is but I do understand the frustration with depending on a 12v supply for the fridge. A fact to consider though is that the mechanical fridges are not as reliable as they will not relight the burner if it blows out due to wind while the electronic ignition ones will. But the electronic ignition ones do depend on the batteries. In neither case would you want to leave perishable foods unattended for very long.

If you're having problems with dead batteries you may want to take a closer look at the phantom load on your 12v system. You may find that you have to disconnect the propane detector as these use 2-5 Ah a day which becomes a huge problem if you're trying to go for two weeks.
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:45 AM   #9
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Scott

I gave my 66 TW gas/120v fridge away and replaced it with about an 86 model. The 86 model needs 12v to operate, but it is significantly lighter than the 66 model.

Dan
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Old 03-29-2012, 02:53 PM   #10
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Thanks Dan and Jammer--I really appreciate the info. I did not know about the relighting issue. Yes, we'd rather not have to depend on 12V, though I do see the advantages of it.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:03 PM   #11
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Are you planning on not having any lights in the trailer? No vent fans either?
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:10 PM   #12
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I think Norcold has, or at least had a fridge that did not require 12 volts to run.
I haven't checked lately though.

I would prefer to have one that did not require 12 volts also as it is just one more phantom load when boodocking, and they do add up.
I have not had any problem with blow out on my old Dometic RM60A. Just completed 2 month on propane only as the 120 volt element died the day we were leaving. Just replaced it this morning
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:37 PM   #13
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Scott: Instead of all the hassle of swapping fridges etc. How about what Frank said, put in a small solar system. I put in an AM Solar kit last year and love it. I no longer have to shut off the battery while it is in "storage", I even leave the LED step light on 24/7. I have to panels a 50 and a 100 watt. I use a 200W Morningstar Controller. Just a thought, I know it's not answering your original question. Good luck no matter what you do.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:45 AM   #14
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Here is a link to an RV refrigeration repair/rebuilder in Tucson AZ. He swapped in a cooling unit in a friend's SOB 5th last winter --> Trailer & RV Refrigeration - Sales and Service Gas RV Refrigerators

From what I gather, he rebuilds the cooling units himself and warrants them for 1 year (same as a new one). I would suggest that you discuss your project with him.

As for wanting an LP gas only refer, the rationale that it is a "phantom load" on the 12-volt system inhibiting boondocking is like killing a mosquito with a cannonball. Firstly, the electronic ignition is far superior to the old manual gas-only refer with a pilot light (which often blew out, causing the stuff in the freezer compartment to thaw). If you really intend to boondock, you should look into using solar panels and/or a wind generator to keep your batteries charged. You do intend to use your fresh water system and toilet, I would assume, and the water system runs off an electric pump.

This past winter I was only off the grid for about 2 weeks - the previous year, 6 continuous weeks. Solar power makes it all possible. My only limiting factor is the waste tank - its capacity is good for 1 person-week and then I have to move to a dump station.
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