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Old 12-31-2019, 10:40 AM   #1
1 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 18
Cool Replacing AC, Stove & Fridge on a budget

Hi AS'ers.... (I mean that in the best possible Wally Byam way)

Here's wishing you a clear 2020 vision (on this last day of 2019)! I'm starting to plan for a repair/replace project on some major appliances for my 89' Excella 29'er. She's been sitting a while, and I'm now planning to take her out again in about 12-18 months, and she needs some lovin.

She's generally in good health, although recently, my Domitec fridge quit for some unknown reason, the AC is original, and the thermostat on the oven isn't working properly. And the last time I had the awning out, the seam at the roller came partially loose. All original stuff, but all are in good general-working condition (except the fridge now).

Looking around on the websites, the OEM replacements are N-I-C-E, but pricey. I'm wanting to know about options. What are your experiences with other products, which could save me 15-20% per appliance if I choose to replace? Any values out there that are direct replacements and that can give me good performance (Fridge/Range/AC)?

What about DYI repair options for AC (I've read some already), and the oven? Are there any as-new rebuilt appliance sites if I want to stay with the original look? Are there places I can bring my appliances for repair/trade?

So let me know your thoughts and questions. Any and all helpful info is truly appreciated. I'm just looking to see what some of you guys have done that could save me time and cheddar. (and of course I'm going to keep looking here on the various postings at as time permits...)

Safe and happy RV'ing to all!

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Old 12-31-2019, 11:03 AM   #2
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1973 21' Globetrotter
Houston , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,648
You should pull your refrigerator out and do some bench testing. There are several fairly simple things that could fail that would give the illusion of complete apliance death. In brief, some things to check would be, does the electric heating element heat? If not, the heating element can be replaced for about $50. Anyway, many of the repair parts are still available for these old fridges, in fact there are companies who can repair/rebuild the ammonia unit, but the cost of doing this gets you a long way toward a new fridge. Anyway, there are several threads on these forums talking about about troubleshooting refrigerators--try using search terms like: dometic troubleshooting refrigerator, etc..

Can you give more info on the AC (ie, brand and model, and it what way is it not working)? Again, not working could be the result of anything from a bad thermostat (easy) to a bad starting capacitor (easy) to a frozen compressor (look for a total replacement).

I have found good deals on appliances at PPL RV. I also bought my AC at a scratch and dent sale that a shipper was holding., but this kind of thing is about being in the right place at the right time.

good luck!

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Old 12-31-2019, 01:04 PM   #3
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1981 31' Excella II
New Market , Alabama
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 6,099
Well appliances for RV are a bit pricey with the fridge being the worst. Check to see if the fridge will work on gas if it won't work on electric. First issue is heating. No heat no cool on the inside. So if nothing is warm on the bottom end nothing will get cold at the top end. If no heat on electric or gas then suspect bad control board. If you have heat and not cooling then suspect a bad cooling unit (leak). A new fridge is something like $1400 if you go with the propane one like what you have.

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Old 01-01-2020, 08:25 AM   #4
1 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 18
Thanks for the responses, both good advice and info. Without getting into the refridge too much (since I haven't yet dug into it), i use it as a remote to keep drinks and stuff cold - kinda as a secret spare stash if you will - and I went out there a couple months ago, and it had just stopped cooling. I shut it down and cleaned it and looked for obvious "something" in the outside access panel, and nothing looked out. So, as perryg mentioned - I then kringed at the cost to replace.

So, let me recover from the new year, and I'll start digging more into it. I appreciate the hot/cold comments. Will help when I turn her on.

Scratch and dent on the AC eh! Humm,,,,, I have time, so I may put out some feelers. great idea. Thanks Belegedhel!

I'll post more after more reading and doing. Thanks Guys!
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Old 01-01-2020, 08:48 AM   #5
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2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3,256

Don't give up w/o a good effort on the appliances. They don't last for ever but don't give up yet.

Look at this website for a library of appliance tech documents from mfgr's and his mobile rv repair videos.

And this channel and website has more on fridges and fridge diagnostics

S/OS #001
2005 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L 6 Speed
16" Michelins, Hi Spec Wheels, Max Brake, Carslile Actuator, Equal-i-zer, Dill TPMS. Campfire cook.
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Old 01-01-2020, 10:36 AM   #6
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1998 36' Land Yacht Widebody
Shepardstown , West Virginia
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For used RV appliances, I would suggest checking with the guys at Visione RV

They are an RV salvage yard and have almost everything needed.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:18 PM   #7
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1977 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
1973 21' Globetrotter
1975 26' Argosy 26
Vista , California
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 386
If the air conditioner works, I would not replace it, maybe get new capacitors. Seems like the replacements aren’t as effective , and just as loud!
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:19 PM   #8
1 Rivet Member
1991 34' Excella
Kewadin , Michigan
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 13
I bought a remanufactured Dometic frig from RV Cooling Unit Warehouse for about $550 or so.. Person there was very helpful and responded to my email questions must quicker than I thought anyone would. Good Service.

Check out the Q&A, technical section at the bottom of website for things to look at before you order so you are sure you need to replace. You might be able to repair unit as others suggested.

here is the web site.

Took me a while to read directions and understand how the process worked but taking out old unit and reinstalling was the hardest part. I was quite proud of myself when it was completed and it works great.
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Old 01-01-2020, 03:34 PM   #9
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2020 27' International
Miami , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 16
I have a 2019 Dometic fridge for sale in Miami. $400. 42-1/2” tall. Let me know
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Old 01-01-2020, 04:26 PM   #10
"Space A" S/O Registry 11
2006 34' Classic S/O
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 981
if you Refer is worth repairing, I would recommend Wick (below). He has been in business for close to 25 years. When he did my cooling unit with improved swirl tubing he had not had a comeback ever. He said the new tubing replaced the cheaper tubing Dometic uses. He will either rebuild your cooler or ship one already rebuilt. I had him pull mine rebuild it and reinstall it for me. He did a great job for about $650. That was about five years ago. He did the job in four hours or so.
RV Cool-Refrigerator Repair
60 Hwy 287
Greenbriar, AR
800 515 6823
wick /
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Old 01-06-2020, 08:18 AM   #11
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1980 31' International
1966 22' Safari
Cincinnati , Ohio
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 238
I am also interested in recommendations for an oven replacement. Our thermostat is bad and the option to have it rebuilt is tedious. I don't mind tackling the process of the install, but would rather not spend an arm and a leg for a new one.
Thanks in advance!
Robb, Jenn & The Brown Dog (Dex)
Maizie, The Black Dog, May You Rest Peacefully
1980 International 31
1966 Safari 22
WBCCI #4447
AIR #70157
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:30 AM   #12
1 Rivet Member
1989 29' Excella
Boerne , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 18
Domitec Test Update..

So for my next test, I removed power to my RV (simulating boondocking) and the refridge was set to Auto. It switched to Gas, and (since I haven't run the unit on gas for years, and I had the gas off at the tanks) all I heard was the pilot light trying to ignite (tick-tick-tick.. pause, tick-tick-tick, pause...). When I finally remembered the gas was off, and turned it back on, it took about 4 attempts before it did ignite. Once the pilot stayed lit, I left it overnight to see if it would cool down - well it didn't. So, at this point I know the electricity and gas parts to the refridge seem to be working it's just not cooling. Thoughts (as I read more on this)?
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:30 AM   #13
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2007 30' Classic S/O
Somewhere , South Carolina
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 3,256
If its making heat to boil the "soup in the fridge" should/could work. Look at the fridge plumbing, any signs of yellow stains on the plumbing?

S/OS #001
2005 Dodge Ram 2500 5.9L 6 Speed
16" Michelins, Hi Spec Wheels, Max Brake, Carslile Actuator, Equal-i-zer, Dill TPMS. Campfire cook.
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