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Old 04-01-2013, 02:46 PM   #1
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1993 30' Excella
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Help with Dometic RM3807

I am a new AS owner and hope that this is the proper place for my post...

I just bought an AS 30' Excella. The previous owner has had 3 AS, but this one has been sitting for several years so I am certain that are many little things I will need to do to make it road worthy. Everything seems to work OK, except the fridge. It is a Dometic RM3807 that has a bad coil (had a leak). A new coil is $500 + $50 for shipping. I believe this replaces the entire coil/evaporator/boiler the entire unit. That would leave only the box as original. But in the back of my head I'm concerned about investing $500-600 on a 20 yr-old item (sure would hate to see something else crap out). So this raises several more questions:
  • Why was this particular model installed in my trailer?
  • Can a different model be installed? Why/why not would I want to do this?
  • Are there better models available? How are they better?
  • Anyone have a good source for buying a new fridge?
  • Is there a difference between Dometic and Norcold? Is one better than an other?
  • Is there anything else I might need to know that I haven't asked?
I should be picking up the trailer and the owner's manual later this week. Please feel free to comment. Thanks for all the help!
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:33 PM   #2
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Basically what you are replacing is the cooling unit. We did it 5 years ago and so far, so good. That said, there is a mildly pricey circuit board as well but if that is good, then a rebuilt cooling unit is pretty easy to swap out. You are then out 550 bucks vs 1200 or so for a new unit. If the box is solid, I'd rebuild.

If you want new, the Dometic web site has a table of what replaces what. Replacement is dead easy, just be sure to leak check the propane fitting carefully.

Mike
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:36 PM   #3
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Rm 3807

Thanks. I am rather handy and have plenty of plumbing experience. Changing the cooling unit should be no problem and I will be sure to check it out thoroghly. How can you check the circuit board to make sure it works OK? Would you have to replace the cooling unit first, and then check it out after the installation?
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:07 PM   #4
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Fire it up. See if the electric element heats up on AC and see if the burner fires up on propane (you need to have 12vdc to power the board).

Everything worked on mine except that the coil was plugged somewhere so the freezer would freeze but the reefer was warm. Rebuilt cooling unit solved the problem.

Mike
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:30 PM   #5
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A friend who has a SOB was able to get his cooling unit replaced from Trailer & RV Refrigeration - Sales and Service Gas RV Refrigerators - they rebuild them and will warranty their stuff. In is case, he took his camper to them and they swapped in the cooling unit at their shop. From what I gather, they were reasonable in their pricing.
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:11 AM   #6
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I replaced the coil in our 3807 Dometic about 3 years ago and it cools better than it did with the old coil before it failed. Purchased from Pines RV Refrigeration. They have a rebate offer of $100 when the old coil is shipped back to them. That lowers the price of the coil to $425. Fast shipping times and a quality product. The install was simple and the instructions that came with the coil were right on the mark.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:53 AM   #7
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I spoke to the Dometic customer service rep - he receommended I replace the entire unit. And after he quoted me the prices for a new coil & a new fridge, it makes sense to buy a new one (its only $200-300 more). And a new one carries a 2-yr warranty.

The rep said that there were two models that would work for me - the RM2820 & the DM2862 (formerly the RM2862). The 2820 is 57" tall while the 2862 is almost 60" tall. I believe they are both 8cu ft and the cost differnce is negligible. And while the taller unit would require that I modify the cabinet a bit, it would certainly fit. Are there any other differences between the two models? (If there are, I don't know what they are). Any thoughts or comments on this? Just curious...
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:41 PM   #8
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Dometic is obviously interested in selling you a new unit. The question you have to ask yourself is: is the box (not the cooling system) still good - if it is, then it does not make any sense to spend that much more for a new unit. Call1-800-950-4874 and visit their website (which I referred you to) Trailer & RV Refrigeration - Sales and Service Gas RV Refrigerators located in Tucson. From what I understand from others who have dealt with these folks, they rebuild the cooling units to meet or exceed the OEM standards and they provide you with the same 2-year warranty. My friend who had his unit repaired went there and they did the work for him. His case was more difficult, because he had a SOB and it was not possible to remove the refrigerator through the door (as it is for AS trailers) so these folks slid it out of the wall onto a tarp on the trailer floor to change the cooling unit. In dollar terms, the repair cost him less than all other options (he spent a week researching the cost and efficacy of the various quotes he obtained) and the quality of workmanship was excellent.

What my friend was told was that the failure in absorption-type refrigerators is generally caused by leaks at welds - these folks do a first class job of inspecting and repairing all the welds. They retain the old cooling unit and rebuild them.
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:53 PM   #9
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Hate to state the obvious but Dometic sells new reefers. Of course they recommended a new one. You could have told them your interior light was out and they would probably recommend a new one, something like: "Well, Sir, the light bulb failing is like a canary in a coal mine, clearly your refrigerator is going to explode in a matter of moments. Thank goodness we can help you out. That will be $1400, please".

Then, again, I am known to be cheap so maybe I just go for the least expensive option by nature...

Mike
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:27 AM   #10
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I spoke w the guys atTrailer & RV Refrigeration - turns out the RM3807 has a gas valve that has been discountinued. Seems there was a problem with an internal O-ring and rather than correcting the problem, the company simply decided to discontinue the mfg of this valve. Furthermore, I may replace the cooling unit only to find that I would have to replace the PCboard as well - another $225! Given the problems that this unit experienced, its age, and the fact that parts have been discountinued, he suggested I consider the purchase of a new replacement unit. Now to do some browsing/shopping on the internet. Do you know of a good place to purchase new replacement units? Thanks for the tip.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:20 PM   #11
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Start the unit up to see if everythings works ,gas igniter, etc !!
I replaced the cooling unit in my airstream trailer refrigerater.
It still works good , three years later and counting!!!
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:15 PM   #12
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I may be able to do that but the guage reads '0'. The PO told me there was a leak - and it appears that there is no coolant left in the system. Without the coolant it won't work anyway. I have read that the system is prone to leaks where the tubing was welded - and fixing this will only cause leaks in other areas at a later time.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MtnCamper07 View Post
blkmagikca

I spoke w the guys atTrailer & RV Refrigeration - turns out the RM3807 has a gas valve that has been discountinued. Seems there was a problem with an internal O-ring and rather than correcting the problem, the company simply decided to discontinue the mfg of this valve. Furthermore, I may replace the cooling unit only to find that I would have to replace the PCboard as well - another $225! Given the problems that this unit experienced, its age, and the fact that parts have been discontinued, he suggested I consider the purchase of a new replacement unit. Now to do some browsing/shopping on the internet. Do you know of a good place to purchase new replacement units? Thanks for the tip.
Arrrrgh! Sorry to hear that. I don't know any suppliers offhand. I guess if it was me, I'd most likely go to JC and have them do the replacement - might cost a bit more, but at least you know it's done right.

You might want to call various RV service and parts places to get some quotes. Keep in mind that some may never have worked on an AS, and as much as it seems unlikely, in their ignorance they can cause damage.

Let us know what your research determines.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:03 PM   #14
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Furthermore, I may replace the cooling unit only to find that I would have to replace the PCboard as well - another $225
I see the Dinosaur boards all under $100 at several places. If it was the Dometic rep that quoted you $225, well...
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