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Old 08-03-2015, 11:58 AM   #1
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1976 Argosy 20
Pinehurst , North Carolina
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'76 Argosy Land Yacht needs new Refrig

Hi all, relatively new here and have talked with some of you before about our refrig that went kablooey. We are trying now to remove it from it's cubby hole but have no idea where to start. Hubby asked me to come here and ask for help. Can anyone give us a hint or two on how to remove said refrig and suggest something that doesn't cost $800 to replace? Thanks, enjoy reading all the comments here.

We will be retiring in about 4 years and plan to take our Land Yacht on a trip across America. We'd love to have a refrig that works on AC and DC if possible. In the mean time, once we have it repaired we'll be taking it on short trips around NC,SC and VA!
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Old 08-03-2015, 01:41 PM   #2
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Well, in my 21' '73 Airstream, the fridge is removed by starting with a cabinet panel that covers the side of the galley cabinet/fridge. Once this is removed, you will see many of the fasteners that anchor the fridge in place. So think along these lines, as its construction is probably pretty similar.

Once it is removed, do a google search of the Forums for "refrigerator troubleshooting," and similar search terms. There are several threads with advice that may help you to determine the extent of your problems. It could be something as simple as a bad heating element ($50 repair), or as drastic as a leak in the coil (coil replacement or fridge replacement $$$). As for replacement, anything (that qualifies as an RV fridge) you buy new is going to be pricey, as you have already observed. If you are patient and keep your eye on the local Craigslist, you might find something that is used that you can pick up for a few hundred.

good luck!
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Old 08-03-2015, 02:27 PM   #3
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1974 Argosy 20
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since to my knowledge there was never an Argosy "land yacht" (that was a term used with Airstream only) I am not sure if you are talking about a 20' Argosy motorhome or a 20' Travel trailer.

If it is a travel trailer I might be able to help, as I have a 74 Argosy 20' TT.
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:13 PM   #4
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1976 Argosy 20
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We were told that it was an Argosy and Land Yacht is on the side? When we purchased it the owner told us that they got it from a guy in Florida that refurbishes them to make them look like Airstreams, so the outside is silver but not shiny. The Dometic refrig went out on us last fall while we were working on it. The Ammonia smell chased us out. I've looked at the side panel and it looks like the counter top would have to come off first. Help!!!

PS: it is a TT
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Old 08-03-2015, 09:43 PM   #5
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1974 Argosy 20
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Ah, then someone has added Airstream badges to your Argosy. So, I am now assuming it is a 20' standard Argosy trailer.

The easiest way to remove the refrigerator (at least on my '74, 20' Argosy) is in fact to take the kitchen countertop and cabinets apart. In my Argosy the countertop was supported on the refrigerator and the end panel next to the door was also part of the support system. Then the refrigerator was on a metal stand which was lag bolted to the floor. It was almost impossible to get at the lag bolts without dismantling the cabinets.

Understand that Argosy trailers were the experimental test vehicles and they tried any number of ways to assemble them and they tried new materials too, so it is very hard to be sure how yours was built. Argosy's had many variations.

But my experience was that dismantling the countertops and cabinets may be the only way to remove the refrigerator. On mine, it appeared that the refrigerator went in first, then the remainder of the cabinet which holds the sink and range next to it were built on and over the refrigerator.

When I replaced mine, I decided to put a larger refrigerator in, which went to the floor and also caused me to split my counter level, to allow more height on the new refrigerator unit.

I am camping now, and have a very poor net connection. I will try to post photos later.
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Old 08-04-2015, 08:50 AM   #6
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If you smelled strong ammonia, then your coil is very likely shot. Replacement of a coil usually costs about half of what a new unit would.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:03 PM   #7
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To change the coil

Would we still need to remove the fridge? Where is the coil?
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Old 08-04-2015, 01:59 PM   #8
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Yes, the coil is mounted on the back of the fridge, and you would need to bring the whole fridge into a shop that does this kind of repair. Again, if you have been living right, (or are just lucky), then maybe the coil isn't rusting away, and merely has a single hole or leaky fitting, or something repairable.
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Old 08-07-2015, 11:36 AM   #9
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photos of argosy kitchen

I promised some photos when I could get to a better net connection.

The first is the kitchen as I started with. A PO had already replaced the countertop at some time.

The second and third photos show how it looks now with my new, larger refrigerator and raised countertop to allow the extra height.
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Old 08-07-2015, 08:06 PM   #10
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This is a really great remodel of the kitchen. I really like the way you went with light colors.
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Old 08-07-2015, 09:00 PM   #11
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'76 Argosy Land Yacht needs new Refrig

There are a lot of people who frown on what I did, but here goes anyway...

I used a 10 cuft Haier residential refrigerator. Of course it cant run on propane but it does run off of 12 volt through my inverter or 120 via shore power.

It draws a little less than an amp on 120v, (120 watts) and requires seven or eight amps (1,000 watts) for about four seconds to start the compressor.

The 1,000 watts translates into 10 amps DC plus one amp for inverter loss to run the compressor which both of my tow vehicles supply handily while traveling.

My two 100+ amp hour batteries will run the fridge for about 20 hours before discharge without charging. (The compressor does not run full time).

My fridge cost a lot less than an RV fridge.
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Old 08-07-2015, 10:08 PM   #12
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Typo!!!

This paragraph...

"The 1,000 watts translates into 10 amps DC plus one amp for inverter loss to run the compressor which both of my tow vehicles supply handily while traveling. "

Should read;

"The 120 watts translates into 10 amps DC plus one amp for inverter loss to run the compressor which both of my tow vehicles supply handily while traveling. "
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Old 08-16-2015, 08:57 PM   #13
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The statement that the "coil" (cooling unit) costs about half of a new refer (fridge) is correct, but does vary some by model. They are relatively easy to install.

Click here to see the manual from one of the small under-counter units that is what you appear to have. This link is to Dometic's site, and might even have a copy of your exact unit.

But if it doesn't, you will be able to see the basic layout. Coil in the back circulated ammonia to chill the box's interior; when it ages out, generally, it will develop a leak.

I have dealt with this seller of re-manufactured and new parts and had good satisfaction. He knows his stuff.

There are (in general), four wood screws on the front that attach the unit to the floor: two at the top behind the control panel, and two at the bottom, (some models hide the screws behind trim panels.) There are usually two more screws that are accessed from outside, by way of a locked vented hatch.

As I said, it isn't really complicated to do, and you will wind up with a refer that should last as long as the original one did. Also, whiie they are slow to cool down initially, they make NO noise, and are usually able to thoroughly chill their contents.
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