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Old 03-14-2015, 08:03 AM   #1
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1991 25' Excella
1995 34' Excella
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New Refrigerator Dimensions Help

Hey Guys,

So, we've got our 1991 25' Excella Classic gutted and are starting to put it back together. The only thing we left intact was the refrigerator enclosure. We're going to replace our old Dometic with a new Atwood Helium fridge. The 6 cubic foot and 8 cubic foot model both have the same footprint (24 depth/23.5 width) but differ by 7 inches in height (53 inches vs 60 inches). We would like to go with the 8 cf model if possible. The new fridge will fit in the enclosure with a relatively minor modification of the enclosure height, so no problem there.

Okay, so here's my issue/question....when I measure 24 inches back into the enclosure, and then 60 inches up the wall it looks like the 8 cubic foot will technically fit, but the top back edge of the fridge will touch the interior skin. Does anyone know if this is okay? Does the fridge need unobstructed air flow from the lower vent to the roof vent? Are rv fridges build to ventilate through the condenser and coils in the back even if they are in contact with a wall. This may be a dumb question, but I'm not well versed in the finer points of refrigerator ventilation. The installation seems simple, but I don't want to ruin a brand new fridge.....it could be a really costly mistake. Any help ya'll can offer would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
Jeff
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:19 PM   #2
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I'm thinking it would not be a great idea to occlude the airflow upward. When on propane your are creating a small but potentially troublesome amount of exhaust gasses including carbon monoxide. Nice to have them venting upward unimpeded.

In gas or electric, the heat from the inside of the fridge gets transferred to the coils on the back of the unit. Nice to get the heat out of there for efficiency, especially on those warm afternoons. Many of us run auxiliary vent fans in the outer frig compartment for that very reason. I suspect, again, that impeding that airflow would be less than ideal.

If you are going new, and have upgraded your battery capacity, you might want to consider a 12vdc marine refrigerator with a Danfoss compressor. Because they don't have all the coils and stuff on the back, they tend to have a smaller footprint than gas/electric refrigerators of the same internal volume.

Mike
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:36 PM   #3
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1991 25' Excella
1995 34' Excella
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Thanks Mike,
I contacted Atwood and they basically said the same thing you did. I decided to replace it with the Dometic Classic 6 cf unit.....basically, exactly the same fridge I had before, only new! It's actually a relief not to have to worry about venting, modifying the cutout, or installing it.
Thanks Again,
Jeff
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Old 03-27-2015, 07:11 PM   #4
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One thing to keep in mind that marine specific Danfoss based units use thru hull cooling for heat transfer. Not sure how they are modified for dry land use. I have built from scratch and installed at least a dozen on cruising sailboats. They are definetly power hogs. On my sailboat I had 700 watts of solar and two Bates wind generators. Result: I went months without plugging in to shore power and I never ran out of ice.
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Old 03-29-2015, 01:21 AM   #5
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I know you would have liked the extra capacity but you play the hand you are dealt. Glad you have a plan and I was happy to help.

Enjoy the journey,

Mike
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Old 03-29-2015, 06:36 AM   #6
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Dometic calls for a max of 1" clearance on the rear of the unit as per page 5 of their installation manual . I added some sheet metal behind mine to close the gap .
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