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-   -   Compact Home Refrigerator or RV Refrigerator? (https://www.airforums.com/forums/f425/compact-home-refrigerator-or-rv-refrigerator-75165.html)

Truebrit 03-18-2011 03:40 PM

Compact Home Refrigerator or RV Refrigerator?
 
So I have a 24" 1977 Airstream Argosy. Refrigerator died and right now I don't have the $$ to replace with a new 3 way unit which is my goal. I was wanting opinions on using a home compact type unit for a season or two. We probably won't use the trailer more than 3 times a year for the next few years so I was just wanting to get buy with a much less expensive unit. I planned to make a frame that would hold the unit without modifying the overall area so a RV unit could be easily installed later.

I know that the Manufacturers often state not to be used in an RV but I see folks online doing exactly that. Opinions? Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,

M

eubank 03-18-2011 03:47 PM

I suspect folks are going to want to know what caused your current fridge to croak! (I'm one of them.)
:)
Lynn

Jim & Mitzi 03-18-2011 04:00 PM

The Dometic / Norcolds are expensive, complicated in some ways but good. We bought a Magic Chef 10,0 Cu Ft in SS for our 31' 1973. I only lasted 2+ years and was plugged in maybe 3 - 4 months of that 2+ years. I'm now going to buy a Whirlpool 10.0 cu ft from Lowes and buy an extended warranty. One of the challenges is installing the replacement as well as the Dometic was installed. The original could not move and was made to be fastened into a trailer. Fasten it top and bottom so it cannot move. I believe too much motion / shaking caused the Magic Chef to quit too soon. Plus a Magic Chef is a cheap / throw away fridge...( Magic Chef disagrees )Thats my story and I'm stickn' to it....JC

Jammer 03-18-2011 04:01 PM

Fridges don't necessarily last forever. 33+ years isn't a bad run. Rust never sleeps.

It's not unusual to see "dorm fridge" units installed in older Rvs. There are several things to be aware of however.

1) Few of the compact fridges have a useful freezer section.

2) Obviously it's not going to work without shore power. A fact to consider is that the fridge will defrost when you don't have power (these aren't frostless units) and the water will go somewhere. Think about your travel situation, whether you have power in the location where you store your trailer, and when and how you're going to load food.

3) There have been reports that these things don't hold up well to the rigors of travel and so you have to be prepared for the possibility of an early failure. I haven't seen any failures firsthand but I would guess that this has a lot to do with the compressor bouncing around and causing metal fatigue on the refrigerant lines, leading to breakage.

4) You will not have the rails present in modern rv fridges to keep the food more or less in place during motion.

Everyone's situation is different. You might also consider one of the 12v thermoelectric coolers (Koolatron and similar). Ice chests work too.

bwoodtx 03-18-2011 04:03 PM

M, I have a GE under counter fridge in my argosy and it works just fine. We will plug up the trailer about 2 days before camping and after unpluggibg for the trip, things have stayed cold in there for up tp three hours-food going in is always cold or frozen. hope this helps.

TG Twinkie 03-18-2011 07:57 PM

Are you sure it's dead or just unconcious?
 
Can you explain what happened when your refer died? It may be easily repaired. Do you know if it has failed in both the gas and electric mode?

Truebrit 03-18-2011 09:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TG Twinkie
Can you explain what happened when your refer died? It may be easily repaired. Do you know if it has failed in both the gas and electric mode?

Last September I had service work done on the trailer (I installed new stove top) and had the stoves hooked up by a professional tech. I also had him look at the Refer, the elec heating unit had completely shorted out. Gas still worked however he thought that the refer might have been run in the past without being level. As he suspected the unit failed to completely cool during a 10 day trip in October. And there was a great deal of moisture buildup inside the refer to boot.

In addition the previous owner had not stored with refer door open. Even after a deep cleaning with bleach mold continued to appear.

It was just time to replace it.

ddstech 03-18-2011 11:34 PM

Advice
 
If your looking for advice and money is your concern, save your money, and use a cooler. Apply the money towards the right fridge. Pick up a couple side jobs, its worth getting what you want in the end rather then get by with temporary solutions. If you buy a regular fridge your going to have to strap it down or possibly modify your space. Since you will have to unload and load the fridge between travels anyways, why not just use a cooler? I'm just saying. . .

Good luck.:)

DKB_SATX 03-19-2011 12:52 AM

I think if I end up finding a trailer with a dead fridge or have a fridge the eventually dies, I'll probably go for a marine fridge with a Danfoss compressor that runs on 12V. They're not as silent as an ammonia absorption unit, but are great for solar boondocking and good for anytime you have an electrical hookup. My impression is that they don't cost any more than an absorption fridge.

lewster 03-19-2011 09:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DKB_SATX (Post 966029)
I think if I end up finding a trailer with a dead fridge or have a fridge the eventually dies, I'll probably go for a marine fridge with a Danfoss compressor that runs on 12V. They're not as silent as an ammonia absorption unit, but are great for solar boondocking and good for anytime you have an electrical hookup. My impression is that they don't cost any more than an absorption fridge.

Actually, they cost significantly LESS! :D

Very low amp draw, excellent cooling/freezing (no more RV soft-serve ice cream :lol:):lol: and are built to take a eating and can run 30* off level. They sure have my vote!

gwchitty 03-19-2011 10:54 AM

We have an older 110 ac dorm fridge and it works fine for us. I say do it. Then go camping. If it burns put in a couple years get another or go RV. These refers are cheap. When mounting, just pop rivet some brackets on it and screw them to the floor. Use steel pop rivets.

Have fun!

Cosmos

28totow 03-19-2011 11:13 AM

I know this may sound crazy, but if the ref has not lost it's amonia gas charge, completely disconnect the ref, take it out and turn it upside-down and let sit for 24 hrs. After 24 hrs., turn right-side up and hook it up and see if it works. I have talked to a number of people that swear they have done this and ref has come back to life. It's at least worth a try. Good luck.

Melody Ranch 03-19-2011 01:08 PM

I put a Kenmore compact refrigerator in. Dimensions were almost the same...I had to elevate it about one inch and used that brace as the attach to the floor Then I took some SO .040 and hand formed it to the curved door edges. Then, for the "Airstream" of it...I used Olympics (way more than needed) around the edges to give it the appropriate look. The SO polished up too.

zedex 03-19-2011 03:15 PM

I would save your cash and buy the proper rv fridge. Reason being. The compressor will always kick in on a home unit and possibly drive you nuts from the vibration. Your in an enclosed space with a compressor running so you will probably hear it. I ran into this problem and had to modify the fridge to keep the vibration down. I had to wear ear plugs to sleep . If your a heavy sleeper no worries i guess.

Truebrit 03-19-2011 05:08 PM

Thanks for the great advice pro and con. If I was paying cash out my own pocket I think I would try the upside down idea and see if I could bare a low cooling unit for a while. But since the mold is a big issue and I also have credit card points (home depot gift card) to use when buying the refer, I am really not using up my "Airstream improvements" budget. I know that it may not last but healthy and cheap refer for short term it probably the direction I will go.

I am curious, those of you that have used a compact refer. Did you fully enclose / seal it in? This would mean relying on the heat vent and the floor vent to dissipate heat to the outside. Or did you seal up the vents and allow the heat to vent into the living space?

Thanks again to you all for great responses, I love the Airstream community, so helpful!

au_ee 03-19-2011 05:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 28totow (Post 966123)
I know this may sound crazy, but if the ref has not lost it's amonia gas charge, completely disconnect the ref, take it out and turn it upside-down and let sit for 24 hrs. After 24 hrs., turn right-side up and hook it up and see if it works. I have talked to a number of people that swear they have done this and ref has come back to life. It's at least worth a try. Good luck.

Sounds like giving more life to a laser printer by shaking the cartridge:D

steven2themax 03-19-2011 05:25 PM

We use our propane option for the fridge MUCH more than I would have imagined. It's so nice if you're staying in Wal-marts for even one day of your journey. It provides flexibility. I don't have experience with having a home unit though.
Samara

gwchitty 03-20-2011 07:21 AM

On the question of venting, It would be better to ust the existing floor and ceiling vents. I didn't but then I had replaced the subfloor and the PO had sealed the roof vent with a plug. The refer works fine using the entire space under the cabinets. But then this adds to my A/C load. As far as noise, I snore much louder than the refrig.

By the way, I like the Danfoss marine idea. I might work that direction eventually. FWIW, my wife says the gas appliances bother her allergies.

Cosmos

Aage 03-20-2011 09:52 AM

28totow has a valid point
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by 28totow (Post 966123)
I know this may sound crazy, but if the ref has not lost it's amonia gas charge, completely disconnect the ref, take it out and turn it upside-down and let sit for 24 hrs. After 24 hrs., turn right-side up and hook it up and see if it works. I have talked to a number of people that swear they have done this and ref has come back to life. It's at least worth a try. Good luck.

If you still have your fridge, this is something you can try for free to see if your refer can be resuscitated. It's called "burping".

If that doesn't work, there are companies that will sell you new "guts" for your unit, thus allowing you to keep both the original look, AND functions.

It's worth looking into. At the very least, if there is any way that you can keep the old refer so that if you ever decide to change TTs, it will be very likely be a worthwhile item for the next buyer...

Aerowood 03-20-2011 12:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Melody Ranch (Post 966161)
Then I took some SO .040 and hand formed it to the curved door edges......... The SO polished up too.

Man, I haven't heard the "SO" term for years. I guess we are "Old Timers"


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