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RVing message boards => Winnebago-specific issues => Topic started by: John Canfield on March 08, 2016, 06:49:18 AM

Title: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 08, 2016, 06:49:18 AM
mickey53usa had a great suggestion - why not start a survey thread patterned along the lines of our popular Survey of CRT to LCD TV replacement topic.  So here we go!

I'll start with my conversion of a few years ago of our Nocold (misspelling intentional) 1200LR four door with a 17' Frigidaire purchased from Lowe's.  I'm not going pull all of my pictures from my website write-up and duplicate them here so please go here (http://janeandjohn.org/pages/NorcoldReplacement.html) if you are interested in details from my conversion.  Our only regret about the conversion is that we didn't do it years sooner.

So, lets see your conversion (pictures, we want lots of pictures!)
Title: Re: Survey of refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: kdbgoat on March 08, 2016, 07:06:45 AM
Would it be more popular if you put it in the "Remodeling" section instead of the "Winnebago-specific issues" section?
Title: Re: Survey of refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 08, 2016, 07:28:31 AM
Possibly but we have precedence with the TV conversions sticky here and it is indeed Winnebago-specific, so here it remains.
Title: Re: Survey of refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: Gary RV_Wizard on March 08, 2016, 07:33:42 AM
Quote
it is indeed Winnebago-specific, so here it remains.

So no non-Winnebago conversions should be contributed here?
Title: Re: Survey of refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 08, 2016, 07:37:03 AM
So no non-Winnebago conversions should be contributed here?
Those belong in the Remodeling board.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: judway on March 08, 2016, 07:58:34 AM
I installed a 10 cu ft Whirlpool and a 1 kW inverter to power it. Works great.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: afchap on March 08, 2016, 09:07:09 AM
I replaced our Norcold 1201 with an 18.2 cf Frigidaire in 2014. There is a complete write-up on my site at http://www.pjrider.com/ReferReplace.htm (http://www.pjrider.com/ReferReplace.htm) including a pic of charred wood and melted Styrofoam in the ceiling. It's a wonder our coach wasn't destroyed by fire years ago!!
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: BigJohn on March 08, 2016, 11:41:02 AM
Had our Norcold 1200 replaced with a Samsung RF18. A few days ago. Did not add a new inverter. Chose Samsung because it's warrantied in MH and will operate on MSW inverter. Very low power usage, max dc amps 1.1. Quiet!  Deeper than Norcold so protrudes from original cabinet about three inches. So far DW happy.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 08, 2016, 11:47:55 AM
Samsung is an extremely popular brand for conversions.  We have had a PSW inverter almost since the coach was new so no worries about our Frigidaire compressor running on inverter.  So far so good, DW and myself are happy campers.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 08, 2016, 12:03:19 PM
Thanks John for starting this - I have looked at the specifications on the Samsung RF18 and it looks like I will need to enlarge my opening vertically about 5 or 6 inches. Will be looking at other brands - specifically "counter depth" or about 24" deep without the doors. Plan to put a PSW Inverter in specifically for the refrigerator - probably 1000 watt.  Gary RV Roamer is playing with an Inverter that I might try.  Getting the floors redone this year - next year the refrigerator.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 15, 2016, 12:05:24 PM
2009 Winnebago Destination 37G
Since I am the one that suggested to John that this refrigerator conversion thread be started, I guess I will start with my conversion project. This is going to start with the planning stage (which where I am now) and move into the purchase of parts, including the refrigerator and the modification of the opening.
Our motor home came with the 1201LM Norcold refrigerator. I have had the “recall” done three times as each time the “recall” box failed. The refrigerator is not big enough, especially since my wife cooks a lot when we travel with friends. It has never kept the refrigerator part as cold as the unit in the stick & brick. The freezer works wonderfully, but the refrigerator part was never at our expectation. We live and spend most of our time travelling in Texas. The exterior of the motor home is primarily black. Texas and black means a lot of heat.
The other issue, which a new refrigerator will not resolve, but does figure into the replacement refrigerator specification is height. We have seven (7) foot ceilings and the refrigerator is currently mounted to within three (3) inches of the ceiling. Getting into the freezer and looking into the bottom of it is on tiptoes or by stool. Under the current refrigerator is a single drawer that is currently filled with cooking utensils.  We don’t want to lose this drawer, but it might either come to that or at the least make in shorter in depth. So, a bottom freezer unit or a side by side is probably where we are headed for the replacement unit.
Another issue is the location of the refrigerator. To the right of the refrigerator is a wall and on the other side is the shower. No room to move to the right. To the left is the kitchen counter and cook top with drawers under the cook top. Below the drawers is the home of the furnace. I mention this as I need to find a location for another inverter.
This brings up power. I currently have two 12v Group 31 deep cycle house batteries and a 600 watt MSW Dimensions inverter. My thought is to install a new 1000 watt PSW inverter with an included transfer switch (internal) or add an additional transfer switch. One suggestion by another board member is to put in a DPDT 10A switch to switch the refrigerator between the new inverter and line/generator power. My though is to add a third 12v Group 31 battery (will just fit) to the house battery bank.
That is about as far as I have gotten. I plan to make the conversion next year (new floor in the motor home installed by Ernie Ekberg is this year) so I do have some time to firm up my plans. I will post some pictures of the current install, including the existing cabinets, drawers and what is under and behind both. I will also update this from time to time on any changes that I make, and on the actual install.
So, suggestions or comments, especially from those that have gone before on this project would be helpful. – Stay Tuned - Michael
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mrschwarz on March 15, 2016, 08:49:47 PM
Anyone with a 42AD make the switch?
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 16, 2016, 06:07:47 AM
...So, suggestions or comments, especially from those that have gone before on this project would be helpful. – Stay Tuned - Michael
A third battery would be useful.  Is their space to upgrade your current Dimensions to a larger version?  What gauge are the 12V cables going into the inverter/charger?

Put up a few pictures of your current fridge if you can.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 16, 2016, 07:41:20 AM
Current Dimensions Inverter is located next to the transfer switch in the electrical compartment and IIRC, there is enough room to put a larger unit.  I have a separate converter\charger. Both, according to the wiring diagrams, appear to be fed with #3 wire.  Will get photos this weekend. Have included a pdf of the 110v wiring for the passenger side and the passenger side appliance layout to give you a little idea what I am working with. - keep the ideas coming -
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 16, 2016, 11:55:09 AM
As I get to looking at the wiring diagrams, existing Inverter is on opposite side of the motor home and it shows a 14ga wire Daisy chaining the five Inverter outlets. Would need to tap directly off the new larger Inverter and bring the new 110v tap direct to the refrigerator. Plus would need to upgrade the DC wiring to the Inverter. Running a separate 12v run of #1 to an additional Inverter installed close to the new refrigerator might be the easier solution. Need to ponder this some more.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 17, 2016, 06:32:24 AM
This would be a great time to upgrade to a 2,000 watt PSW inverter/three-stage charger.  My  Xantrex RS2000 easily powers the coach and fridge.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 21, 2016, 08:46:30 AM
Removed the drawer below the refrigerator. The area where the furnace is located is under the cook top counter/cabinets and separated by a wall to the left of the refrigerator. With the drawer removed, there is seven (7) inches from the bottom of the drawer opening to the floor. There is an electrical outlet and the propane sensor located in the area. It might be possible to relocate those two items to the left of the refrigerator area and orient them vertically. This would allow me to drop the height of the drawer and still keep it full height. There are water lines for the kitchen sink going through this area as well as the drain line and vent for the shower. Picture one shows location of the refrigerator - right across from the "One Place." Photos 2,3 & 4 show the front of the refrigerator, the drawer below and the electrical outlet and the propane sensor. Picture 5 looks into the drawer area to the left of center. Photo 6 looks into the drawer are to the right of center. Photos 7 & 8 show the left side of the cabinet and the water lines for the kitchen sink, which also connect to the shower on the right of the refrigerator. Photo 9 is the left side wall of the area and photo 10 is the right side wall of the area. Notice the shower drain pipe.  There is some area along the left edge of the refrigerator that could be trimmed if more width is needed, but I think height will be more of the problem, since what I can measure shows an existing height of 66 inches. Replacements seem to be in the 70 to 72 inch area. My choice would be to take an inch from the top and then take the remainder from the bottom.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: PAHipskind on March 21, 2016, 03:26:24 PM
Had our Norcold 1200 replaced with a Samsung RF18. A few days ago. Did not add a new inverter. Chose Samsung because it's warrantied in MH and will operate on MSW inverter. Very low power usage, max dc amps 1.1. Quiet!  Deeper than Norcold so protrudes from original cabinet about three inches. So far DW happy.

I can't find the specs for this model for sure. Is this the French door style refrigerator? How did you discover a MSW inverter was ok?
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 21, 2016, 03:36:48 PM
PAHipskind - Check here for the specifications - it is a french door with bottom freezer - http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/refrigerators/RF18HFENBSR/AA (http://www.samsung.com/us/appliances/refrigerators/RF18HFENBSR/AA) Cannot answer about the MSW Inverter. I plan to use a PSW Inverter.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: BigJohn on March 21, 2016, 10:52:26 PM
When researching the Samsum refrigerator, I chatted on their website with a representative. I got the info on warranty and MSW from the rep.. I was looking at several brands and did not keep a copy of the chat. I chatted again tonight and was told it will void warranty. Sorry for the misinformation. It appears that it depends on who you ask. Tonight I chatted with Hampi B chat#4306827435.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 23, 2016, 05:45:40 AM
MSW inverters are fine for inductive or resistive loads, the compressor motor would be considered an inductive load.  MSW power can wreak havoc on some electronics though.  Knowing this in advance when we ordered our Horizon, the first modification was installing a PSW Xantrex.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: bobmacc on April 10, 2016, 08:49:49 PM
I replaced my Norcold 1210 2 years ago in my 2009 Journey 39Z. It is an exact fit from a width perspective but I lost a 6" cupboard that was above the Norcold. Changed my 4 Grp 31 batteries to AGMs from Sams Club. I put in the Samsung RF-197 which is the predecessor to the current RF-18.  The RF-197 / 18 are both counter depth fridges which was mandatory as there is a diagonal wall in front of the fridge opening that limits depth. I found there were really no other french door fridges that would fit when I installed it. The fridge compartment had extensive wiring running through it at the rear. I installed a new floor of 3/4" plywood to protect the wiring and firmly support the fridge.

Getting the fridge in was no problem. I removed the fridge doors and the pasenger seat. I disconnected the door stop so it would open 180 degrees and provide an additional 2"+ in the opening.  Added hardwood trim above and below the fridge. Used 1.5" angle aluminum screwed to hardwood trim and held on the fridge top with heavy duty double sided tape. Fridge can't move so I am comfortable that it is secure. Added steel straps to the rear of the fridge attached to the floor. Hasn't moved in 18,000 miles so is well secured.

Used the original Dimensions 2000 watt MSW inverter with no problems. Also added 400 watts of solar panels to the roof as we boondock a lot  and is more cost effective than adding batteries plus was easy to install. Fridge will run for 24 hrs plus before batteries need recharging by which time solar has kicked in on sunny days. Seldom need to run the generator for the fridge. Maximum current draw is 3.7 amps and the fridge cools down completely in about 4-6 hours. Wife loves it and has a lot more room than the Norcold at 17.6 cu.ft. 
Would never buy a coach without a Res Fridge and highly recommend it. Did all the work myself excluding getting the Norcold out and Sammy in - strong son in law and a friend helped there.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on April 11, 2016, 06:25:41 AM
Good job Bob!  Any pictures?
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: Old Grape on June 21, 2016, 10:25:36 PM
Howdy all. I have an 06 Tour 40KD. It has the Dimensions 2000 watt Quasi Sine Wave Inverter/Charger. I plan on having a side by side Whirlpool 22 cu ft refrigerator model #WRS322FDAM installed next week to replace my Norcold 1201. I queried Whirlpool on whether or not the Quasi Sine Inverter will damage the electronics in the fridge. By chance do any of you all have the same inverter in use with a Whirlpool fridge?
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on June 22, 2016, 06:50:57 AM
Welcome Galen. You would be doing yourself and your electronics a huge favor by upgrading the Dimensions (AKA "Dimented" inverter) to a pure sine wave version.  The Dimensions I believe was a product built to Winnebago's specifications, read that as Winnebago gave them a target price and they engineered it to the price.  It is functional but I would compare it to a Xantrex/Magnum like a Yugo to a Lexus.  I replaced my Dimensions when my coach was about two weeks old and sold it on eBay.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: Old Grape on June 22, 2016, 11:55:37 AM
Thanks for the response. Did your new Inverter Charger connect to your existing inside control panel or did that have to be replaced also?
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on June 23, 2016, 06:34:13 AM
It was basically a drop-in replacement except for having to run new cable for the new control panel.  Here's a simple write-up (http://janeandjohn.org/pages/Xantrex.html) when I swapped mine out.  My Xantrex RS2000 inverter/charger is no longer in production; Xantrex was bought out by Magnum and I think Magnum was bought by somebody else so I'm not sure which product would be a no-fuss replacement.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: Old Grape on June 23, 2016, 11:51:15 AM
Thanks! The control panel wiring may be just a bridge too far for me. I have found some Inverter chargers. The jury is still out though. I was thinking about a Tripp-Lite 3000 watt  inverter Charger. Just found out they are a modified sine also. So scratch that idea. :)
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: Old Grape on June 24, 2016, 09:47:18 AM
So I'll ask the $64K question. If I just wait till the Dimensions Inverter dies, what delicate electronics are the ones that the modified sine like the Dimensions Inverter Charger will be harmed? I have changed out two of the three TVs with LCD/LED TVs. I have the Dish receiver, a Panasonic surround sound DVD system, the original Sharp Microwave, and the original CD Changer. An of course the IPADs an IPHONEs get charged with the inverter sometimes. The TVs would run $300 to $500 to replace as well as the surround sound. Whirlpool has no responded to my query about use of the fridge with the inverter. I'll call and ask them. Hopefully they won't blow me off.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: Old Grape on June 24, 2016, 10:14:32 AM
Update: Received response from Whirlpool that said follow the manual. So I called them and asked the question on whether the modified sine power source would harm the fridge. The call center rep said it should be ok for short periods of time but would not recommend it for full time use. I doubt he know the difference between modified and pure sine. :)
So I am about where I was with the last post a short while ago on what will the modified sine power source actually harm.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: afchap on June 24, 2016, 04:27:28 PM
When I put a Frigidaire in my coach a couple of years ago, I asked them if it could be run on an MSW inverter. The only answer I was able to get out of them was always "Just plug it into a normal outlet."  ... they seemed to have no idea what I was asking.  As far as I know, we have not run it on the inverter. When we need ac we always have the generator running. We very rarely use the inverter at all.
Title: Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: vbanks98 on October 23, 2016, 04:31:23 PM
I need to replace my 5 year old Norcold 1211IMT with a compatible residential refrigerator.. What brand // model has the same measurements??
(H: 63-1/4" ,W: 32-11/16, D: 24").. Pretty disgusted @@ this point, already replaced 2 control boards and now ammonia leakage!!!!
OBTW:: This refrig is in my 2010 Winn Adventure 35Z..

[email]vbanks98@yahoo.com
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on October 23, 2016, 05:26:35 PM
Welcome!

I'm assuming you read through the two pages of this thread and didn't find a comparable example?  If not, you are going to need to do your homework on a replacement. Search for counter size fridges or start at Samsung or even Lowes and look at different models and compare sizes. It's likely you will need to do some cabinetry modifications unless you are real lucky.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on November 21, 2016, 12:14:06 PM
Back in March of this year I posted some photos of the Norcold that is coming out and photos showing what is behind the drawer below the refrigerator. Yesterday I took measurements to figure out how much of the drawer I will lose. Well, just about all of it. I have attached another photos showing the current Norcold and the measurements of the vertical opening I will need. Plan on using the Samsung RF18 (been on sale at Home Depot for last couple weeks for $998, just not ready for it), and need a minimum of 71 inches vertically. I thing that the opening left where the drawer is will become an access door, or maybe a very narrow drawer (cookie sheets). Plan to do this the end of February, first of March 2017. Will post photos along the way.

BTW, those that have done this, did you just cap your propane line behind the refer, or plug the mainline where the tap came off.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: afchap on November 21, 2016, 01:28:00 PM
BTW, those that have done this, did you just cap your propane line behind the refer, or plug the mainline where the tap came off.
I capped my line behind the fridge.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on November 21, 2016, 02:30:10 PM
What Paul said. Here's a link (http://janeandjohn.org/images/Norcold/GasWaterRemoval.jpg) to what it looks and the plug part number.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on November 21, 2016, 03:57:16 PM
Thanks Guys!
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on January 20, 2017, 12:56:52 PM
The refrigerator (Samsung RF18) has been purchased and will be delivered to the Arizona location where my friend and I will be doing the work. New inverter and AGS ordered, along with the proper sized cabling. Building the tool list and the "To-Do" list now. Scheduled for the last week in February. Will post photos and the steps and tool list when all is completed. Long time planning - can't wait to get the job done.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: RGrimm on January 24, 2017, 08:03:01 AM
Coach: 2006 Winnebago Journey 34H
Old Refrig: Norcold N842IM (two door model)
New Residential Refrig: Whirlpool WRT111SFDM


Back in June 2014 ( Here (http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,75476.0.html)) I started a thread about cooling concerns with my Journey's Norcold (NoCold - as  John says)  Refrig. The original subject was cooling issues I thought I was having with my Norcold N842IM refrig. The thread's direction changed to a discussion about Inverters and Modified Sine wave vs Pure Sine wave. The thread was very informative - I learned a lot about the operation of my Norcold (49 hour defrost cycle) through my own testing and data collection and about inverters from other members' posts.

Since then I have made some changes so felt it is justified to post an update.

Last year on a trip I lost my Dimension 2000w Inverter and replaced it with a new 2000 watt pure sine wave inverter. This opened the door for me to change from my Norcold to a Residential Style Refrig. After my last trip this summer (GNR-2016) and having issues with the Norcold do to its defrost cycle I decided it is time to move to a Residential Refrig.

My desire was to find a residential refrig that would fit into the existing opening with minimal modifications so that I did not loose the two slide out Pantries or the drawer below the Refrig (directives from my DW). After some research I settled on a Whirlpool WRT111SFDM 10.7 cu ft refrig as it appeared that all I needed was about 1 inch more width and about 3/4 of an  inch more height.
In prep for getting the old and new refrig out of the coach I removed the passenger seat. Both the Norcold and the new Refrig fit thru the Coach Door with the seat removed. 

Getting the Norcold out was relatively easy -

-Disconnect LP (shut off a Tank first)
-Shut off Refrig Circuit Breaker and Unplug 120vac
-Disconnect 12 volt feed (+ (yellow) and ground (white))
-Disconnect Ice Make Water feed
-Remove 4 Bolts on rear sides of Norcold
-Disconnect Upper Strap (access thru Roof Vent)
-*** REMOVE AC Receptacle from left side as it is screwed thru the left rear mounting plates
-Remove Refrig Doors
-Remove upper and lower black plastic trim pieces and mounting screws

New Whirlpool Installation:

-I removed a 1/2" from each side and 3/4" across the top edge
-I removed the side and upper rubber seals that contacted the top and sides of the Norcold
-I removed both Front Feet and Rear feet (rollers) from the new Refrig
-I screwed two 1.25 " Steel straps to the floor of the Refrig area
-After the Whirlpool was in place and level (coach was leveled) I bent the bottom rear straps over the refrig frame/base
 and screwed them to the frame
-I attached the Upper (original) strap to the top of Whirlpool
-Attached existing water supply to Ice Maker Solenoid
-Remounted 120vac receptacle and plugged in refrig (I had the Refrig Circuit Breaker - Off)
-Added trim to cover gap around refrig
- I did added a 12 volt DC Muffin Fan in the Roof Vent (switched) to assist with exhausting heat on hot days from the back of the refrig (optional) I left both original Vents intact for air flow.

Absolutely love this latest Coach Modification. Now to go and purchase Ice Cream  :) :) :)

  Here is a link  (http://www.rgrimm.com/refrig/0index.php)to a number of photos I took during the Swap.


Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on January 24, 2017, 11:44:27 AM
Russ,

Great information - great pictures - this will help a lot.  Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on January 24, 2017, 12:04:56 PM
^^ Indeed! ^^
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 06, 2017, 04:01:43 PM
Well it is done! Before and a kind of after photo. Still have some trim on the bottom to do. Will have a complete write up in a couple days. Not a bad job, took longer than I estimated, but we only worked on it for about six hours a day for five days. Most of it was doing something, looking at it and then taking it out and changing it. Doing something, thinking about it overnight and changing it in the morning. Learned a few things and hope to share with others going down this path. All in all, I think it was a great change.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 06, 2017, 08:14:34 PM
Good show old boy! You lost your drawer but what a great trade-off! You certainly spent the time to do it right the first go-round. I had my incredibly talented buddy Bob help me when we did our transplant, two heads (especially his) made the job go much quicker and without any issues.

Looking forward to more pix.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 16, 2017, 09:34:17 AM
Though not 100% complete - here goes - Will include a link to a blog post that integrates the photos better at a later date. This will be long, so I will break it up and attach photos to each post to keep them with the text. Also, as with other projects, I intended to take photos at each step, well once we got started, the camera kind of got forgotten. I am also copying from the original document, so we will see how the formatting holds up.

Started refrigerator replacement project at about 11AM. Used the steps listed in my outline and ran into very little problem.

                                 

The refrigerator was held in by two straps on top going from the side wall to the top of the refrigerator, and held to the top with four not very efficient screws.
Found the four bolts, two in each side that went through metal plates attached to the side of the refrigerator and into metal plates mounted to the interior wall of the motorhome. These bolts were easy to get to. The interior edge of the refrigerator has a flange around it that has screws into the wood cabinetry at both the top and bottom of the refrigerator. These screws are cover with caps. Gas line disconnected and later removed entirely. Pushing from the back freed the refrigerator and let it slide forward. We did find polyurethane sealant/adhesive on the bottom of the refrigerator. Dan and I then slid it completely out and lowered onto the furniture dolly. We then moved it into the center of the motorhome where we then removed the steel flanges along both sides in the back. These flanges bolted to the wall plates in the back.
We then positioned the refrigerator in the doorway, removed it from the dolly and laid it on its side. The dolly was then placed under the refrigerator side toward the top. We put the heavy end out the door first. With one person outside on the heavy end and one person on the "light" end controlling the dolly, we were able to "roll" the refrigerator out the door and gracefully down the steps. Since this is a side entry motorhome, the doorway is 27 inches wide. We did remove the grab bar on the back side of the door and this gave us the full width. The refrigerator with the cooling unit measures 25 inches wide at the widest point which is where the stack is. Once out of the motorhome Dan and I could easily carry the refrigerator to a spot outside his fence along the street. All on the doors that we had removed were stacked there also, and about five hours later some people showed up and asked if they could have it. Off it went in the back of a trailer.
With the refrigerator out we needed to remove the existing floor and framing. The existing floor was held in place with polyurethane sealant and two screws. The drain pan for the refrigerator was plastic mounted along the back wall about four to six inched wide. We removed the drain pan first, cutting it with a multi tool into sections.
Once that was removed we simple cut the floor from front to back with the multi tool and removed it in two sections. The floor appeared to be a piece of motorhome side wall that was left when a window opening was cut into a side wall during the construction. It consisted of a piece of Luan, two inches of white open cell foam and then the exterior filon or fiberglass.
Having removed the floor, we found that the frame work that supported it was 3/4 x 3/4 wood strips, with a occasional 3/4 x 2 inch piece serving as a vertical support. There was no center support structure. This kind of gives testament to the strength of the laminated side wall, at least this small section. We removed the frame work along the edges and some light metal angle material that was screwed horizontally along the back wall. We then started the removal of the cabinet framing on the inside of the motorhome. we did this with great care as the original plan was to shorten it and reuse it. This frame work contained the opening for the drawer, and below that the mounting area for both an electrical outlet and the gas detector. These two items were mounted in particle board that was stapled to a 3/4 thick frame. the material used to create the frame was a particle type board covered with wood grain vinyl. This was slow going as we cut through staples and carefully pried things apart so as to not create more damage. This was very slow and in hind sight probably not worth the effort. The frame of rails and stiles (cabinet talk) were held to the refrigerator side framing with some 3/4 x3/4 strips staple to the inside frame, which was then screwed to the interior supports. The project continued after a beer and sandwich. Since we needed to put an inverter under the refrigerator, we needed to run two 1/0 and one #6 cable from the refrigerator to the batteries. The easiest path was to removed the drain line and use that hole for one cable (inside split loom) and the hole that the gas line went through was used for one 1/0 and the #6 cable, both inside split loom. Since the propane tank sits directly below the refrigerator it made finding and running the wires much easier. One more hole had to be made to accommodate the battery sensor wire for the Inverter. This did not take much as the exterior floor is just two layers of thin metal with foam insulation in between. This sensor cable was also placed in split loom. With that part started (wire in the split loom and run through the floor and stretched out along the ground we could move to other tasks. We found that the gray water tank sits in this area, below the refrigerator, and the area that the wiring and gas lines penetrate the exterior floor is beside the tank. Care was needed to make sure that any holes that had anything put in from the top did not penetrate the tank. The sub-floor is ½ plywood with 2 inch white open cell foam (foam is easily pulled apart) with another layer of plywood underneath. Dan  started on the design for the new floor. We decided to use 2x2 material. This was easy to source (big box store) and to work with. It was off to the store for supplies and the end of day one.


Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 16, 2017, 09:45:01 AM
Continuation - You might also check posts #10, 14, 16, 33 and 41 for a little history and some "before" pictures.
Day two found us starting out with the layout of the frame for the refrigerator floor. First thing we needed to do was lower the vent stack of the grey water tank. We purchased a female threaded collar and cut the existing vent stack off to about an inch above the fitting into the tee. We glued the collar on above the Tee and then threaded the vent fitting onto the Tee. This lowered the stack about three inches. Since the vent cap has a one-way valve it in, hopefully we will not get any water (or fumes) splashing out as we drive down the road. We had looked at alternate routing locations, but could not find one that would work. Since we decide to use 2x2 material, which is easy to handle, a small 4.5 inch circular saw was used, (Compound Miter saw would have been better) to cut a series of 6 1/4 inch uprights. We then measured for our front to back stringers. We glued the uprights and put them between a top and bottom stringer, screwing them through both top and bottom stringers. We then took some 1/2 inch plywood and made a gusset that we then attached to the upright and the top and bottom stringers, with 1 ¼ 18ga brads, like making a truss. We then anchored the bottom stringer to the subfloor with glue and screws. The end frames we also anchored to the sidewalls. We built a small center frame that we attached to the outside wall of the motorhome. We then located the UPS unit where we wanted it and anchored with some 3/4 x 1 lag screws. Then a diagonal frame was built that goes from the rear right corner to the left front corner. This gave us the center support. A front stringer was made with a 2 x 4 flat and using three 2 x 4 uprights. This gave us the front support, a little stronger than the 2 x 2 stringers. We positioned the uprights in a fashion to give an opening about 9 1/4 x 16 for access to the outlets and the inverter. The battery cabling was run for the inverter. We were fortunate that we were able to follow an existing wiring bundle back to the battery cabinet. Not that this was without a little difficulty, but much easier than we had envisioned when we first looked at the problem. To get past the axle, I ran a fiberglass wire fish rod along the existing wire bundle, connected the cable and pulled it through. For the refrigerator floor, a piece of 3/4 plywood was sourced and a trial fit was made. The initial cut was made with the width of the opening, about 34 inches x 25 inches deep. This put the front edge of the floor right at the edge of the cabinetry. That ended the second day of construction.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 16, 2017, 10:22:26 AM
Continuation -
On day three we decided to add a gusset to the frame against the outside wall. Again we used a piece of 1/2 inch plywood. Metal angle braces, metal "T" braces and metal corner braces were added in various locations on the frame work to give the frame more structural rigidity. Connections were made to the Inverter using end connectors that are held to the wire with set screws. These connectors were then well taped with the proper color tape to show polarity. We used 1/0 for both the positive and negative lines and #6 for the frame ground. All three were flexible welding cable which made working with it much easier. Connections at the battery were made using the same type of connector. The positive cable goes through a 200 Amp T Class fuse in a holder that includes a clear plastic cover. The cable is held to the fuse with set screws. A ground wire connector, normally seen in a home circuit breaker panel was used to make the frame ground connection. The remote for the Inverter was mounted in the wall to the right of the microwave. Not a great location as you cannot get directly in front of it, but a usable location. Once the hole was cut, since we had access to the back side, two furring strips were added for the mount screws to penetrate. The remote cable was shortened to the proper length so that 30 feet of wire did not have to be stuffed between the wall and the refrigerator. With the Inverter in place and connected to power, it was load tested with a small vacuum cleaner and it worked perfectly. The floor was then trimmed and notched in the back to accept the refrigerator power plug. With these things done, it was wait for the refrigerator which is scheduled for Tuesday.

Day four was a day of frustration. The Home Depot crew (actually GE) delivered the refrigerator at about 10:45. As soon as they saw it was going into a Motorhome, they stated no way. They stated that it was considered a liability issue. If they delivered it into the Motorhome and the refrigerator fell over damaging property or people that they could be sued. An offer of $20 ea did not work. So after unboxing the refrigerator and confirming no exterior damage - off they went leaving the refrigerator sitting next to the Motorhome. The next 45 minutes was spent taking the doors off the refrigerator, removing the freezer drawer/door and other items, like the trim over the levelling feet on the front and the bracket to hold the levelling foot. Then Dan and I and a couple of his friends hoisted the refrigerator into the Motorhome. This refrigerator is a little heavier than the Norcold, but not by much. Once inside we put it on a furniture dolly and moved it into position in front of the opening. We did not build up the level of the furniture dolly to the same as the refrigerator opening, and that would have helped. So, we lifted it into the opening and pushed it back into place, tight against the back wall and the next frustration happened. Though the refrigerator is only 24 inches deep, for it to sit properly on the floor, the floor needs to be deeper than 25 inches, which is what we built. The wheels on the refrigerator were on the edge of the floor, I mean inhale deeply and the wheels would roll off the edge of the floor causing the refrigerator to tilt forward. So, the question got to be what can we do to resolve the problem. The ideas ranged from adding another 1.5 inches on front of the floor and opening with a 2x4, to building a bracket to hold the refrigerator in place anchored to our existing frame, removing the wheels somehow and hope that the bottom of the refrigerator would support the weight, but still leave ventilation, to cutting a new piece of floor that would extend past the front of the refrigerator enough for the leveling feet to sit on it. Anchoring the refrigerator was also part of the discussion. Long story short, we removed the refrigerator and cut another piece of 3/4 inch plywood. This time we cut it at 29 inches deep, about four inches deeper than the first one. This gave us ample room to place the refrigerator, and set it a couple inches away from the exterior wall. Once we had the new floor piece cut and set in place, we positioned the refrigerator on the new floor, and marked where the front levelling feet would set, except we had removed the foot and would drill a hole in the floor to accept a bolt. We also marked three locations through the exterior refrigerator door where we could place bolts to anchor the refrigerator to the floor. These locations through the base of the refrigerator were near the center and left side (looking at the refrigerator from the front) of the refrigerator. There was no way to reach to the right side (again looking at from the front) to mark any holes. The holes through the plywood where the levelling feet reside was reinforced with an 18-inch piece of predrill steel 1/16 thick strap. This was anchored at four points with 3/8 by 1 1/2 inch lag screws. The intent was to reinforce the hole in the plywood should the refrigerator try and slide forward into the Motorhome. The refrigerator was put back into place and it was anchored through the floor both front and back using the holes that we had drilled. Through the holes we used 5/16 diameter bolts with fender washers and nylock nuts. We found that since the power cord came from the top of the refrigerator we were short about 2 inches of reaching the outlet under the floor. This was solved with a short extension cord. The shelves were replaced into the refrigerator, it is a good thing to do this prior to replacing the doors, as the doors might not open enough to get the shelves in. The doors were installed, though there is little clearance once the refrigerator is installed, it is doable. The freezer drawer was assembled, the baskets lift out and the door comes off the rails. The unit was plugged in and seems to function properly.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: schoolsout2 on March 16, 2017, 10:27:04 AM
We converted by hanging to a newer unit.  Does this count?  It was #1 on DW wish list just ahead of stack W/D.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 16, 2017, 10:41:20 AM
Continuation -
Day five we woke to a nice cold refrigerator (38 degrees) and a chilly freezer (-2 degrees). Today we reviewed our anchoring system and decided to add two blocks, one on each side of the exterior access door, to keep the refrigerator from sliding backwards. We also installed three straps to the top of the refrigerator. Coming from the factory installed anchor point, one strap was placed to both front corners and anchored to the top of the refrigerator using the screws that hold the top control panel in place. A third strap connects from the factory anchor to the top of the refrigerator in the rear (left) side, toward the inside of the Motorhome. Two self tapping #8 by 3/4 were used.
Spacers will be added under the leveling foot bracket - right now it is just a 5/16th bolt going through the foot and through the plywood, with a fender washer and nylock nut on the bottom. Nothing really for the bracket to sit on.  Door latches were also added to the refrigerator. Don’t want the doors flying open as you drive down the road. We used “Lamp Locks,” these are the same used by several RV Manufacturers. We placed one in the center of the door handles to hold the two doors together. Another was placed on the left door connected to the freezer drawer. We contemplated putting it on the side of the freezer door to the frame, but I was concerned with it getting in the way of the drawer to frame seal. I used 3M mounting tape – the 85 pound variety. The doors stayed closed on our 800+ mile trip home.
The final step in this process will be to finish out the opening below the refrigerator. Across the top and down the sides. - This has to wait as the Motorhome is currently in the shop getting the patio awning replaced, paint repaired and other items from a high wind event on the trip to Yuma.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 17, 2017, 07:16:53 AM
...The Home Depot crew (actually GE) delivered the refrigerator at about 10:45. As soon as they saw it was going into a Motorhome, they stated no way. They stated that it was considered a liability issue. If they delivered it into the Motorhome and the refrigerator fell over damaging property or people that they could be sued. An offer of $20 ea did not work....
Sorry my $20 tip idea didn't work, we were in a rural area and the Lowe's delivery guys had zero hesitation to take the twenty bucks and carry our new fridge in the coach. (I have news for those delivery guys, they could be sued for any reason no matter how frivolous.)

Quote
So, we lifted it into the opening and pushed it back into place, tight against the back wall and the next frustration happened. Though the refrigerator is only 24 inches deep, for it to sit properly on the floor, the floor needs to be deeper than 25 inches, which is what we built. The wheels on the refrigerator were on the edge of the floor, I mean inhale deeply and the wheels would roll off the edge of the floor causing the refrigerator to tilt forward. So, the question got to be what can we do to resolve the problem....
Adding to the platform to accommodate the front wheels was the right tactic. Winnebago removes the wheels (or they have a special arrangement with the fridge manufacturer to not install them) which would make service much more difficult if the fridge needs to be removed.

Very well done job and thanks for such good documentation. The fun part of a DIY job like that is you have an intimate understanding of the fridge installation and what plumbing and wiring is in the area.

You might find you have to run a drain outside from the pan (or from the tube that goes to the pan) but it might evaporate fast enough to where it won't slosh out when underway.

A general carpentry note: I like to use poplar wood instead of soft pine for a project like this. Poplar is a more dense wood (but not as dense as a hardwood) and resists splitting when using fasteners (and is stronger.)

A general primary wiring note: I've been under the impression that welding cable was not the best choice for 12V heavy current applications in an RV but after doing a little research (http://blog.delcity.net/whats-the-difference-between-battery-cable-and-welding-cable), I think it is entirely suitable and a better choice than battery cable. When we owned sailboats, I always used tinned cable due to the propensity for bare copper to grow the green 'fuzzies.'


Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 17, 2017, 07:19:48 AM
We converted by hanging to a newer unit.  Does this count?  It was #1 on DW wish list just ahead of stack W/D.
Hanging to a newer unit? Not sure what that means. Anyway no pictures means it doesn't count  :D.)
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on March 17, 2017, 12:59:24 PM
John, we could find no evidence of a drain pan or drain tube when we examined the refrigerator before installing it. Going through the manual there is no mention of an evaporation pan or drain line.

Regarding the welding cable - I did a lot of research regarding welding versus battery cable. Deciding point was when I looked in my battery cabinet and all the cabling is welding cable. Felt if it was good enough for Freightliner or Winnebago, it was good enough for me.

One think I did find was no way to turn off the refrigerator. I planned to do that by turning off the circuit breaker that the "old" refrigerator (now the new UPS) was on, then I discovered that same circuit also have the Converter Charger on it. So, plan "B" is to add a switch to the Inverter output. Then I just turn off the "outlet" that the refrigerator is plugged into.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on March 18, 2017, 06:30:24 AM
.....One think I did find was no way to turn off the refrigerator....
We couldn't figure out how to turn off our Samsung fridge in the stick house so we unplug it when we leave. Fortunately our Horizon was already wired for the fridge outlet to be on the inverter so we flip that breaker when we move off the coach.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: WILDEBILL308 on April 02, 2017, 10:19:52 AM
Following with intrest. Lookes like this is my next project.
Bill
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on May 15, 2017, 01:05:38 PM
To complete this saga, we will start with a few things we found on the trip home from Arizona where we installed the refrigerator.
First thing we found was that the shelves in the refrigerator were not in the proper location. An easy fix, until you realize that the shelves can easily be adjusted if you can get the refrigerator doors open to a complete 180-degree angle. Well, guess what, the left door will come close, but there is no way the right door will open that wide. So, off with the right door so you can get the shelf in the proper place.
The next thing we found was that this make/model of refrigerator does not have an on/off switch. Once you plug it in it is on. I thought that the outlet that I was using for the A/C power to the refrigerator (Inverter 120v inbound) was a dedicated circuit. It is a dedicated circuit, but it has both the refrigerator and the Converter/Charger on it. So, I could turn off the circuit and shut off the refrigerator, but would lose the charging of the batteries when the unit was plugged into 120v power in storage. I could have used the charger in the Inverter to charge the batteries but it seemed like it would be more hassle than it was worth. It would also cause a situation where if the A/C power went out, when it was restored the Inverter would come on and the refrigerator would come on. So, I opted to put a switch on the A/C out of the Inverter. Now, I just turn the switch on above the Inverter control panel when I want the refrigerator and turn the switch off when we park the Motor Home in storage. These items were very minor and both could have been avoided with a little more pre-planning.

The next part was to do something with the space under the refrigerator and to the platform that extends out underneath it.
Filling the space underneath was relatively easy. I already had a design in mind on how to accomplish this. It did change a little, but not a lot. I knew that I needed to have access to the Inverter, so that meant a door of some sort. I knew that I had the propane detector and an electrical outlet to mount. I envisioned a frame that had a panel on one side for the electrical outlet and the propane detector and the other larger side would have a door that could either be opened or removed to service the UPS.
I envisioned using the solid maple drawer front that I had removed as the door. I could try and stain wood frame as closely as possible to the existing frame work. I started by building the frame. I had taken measurements and drawn a diagram, but the work got slowed because I did not have access to the motor home to test fit the frame, as it was in the shop awaiting parts and repairs. The motor home had been damaged by a wind event on our way to Arizona. This incident has been posted in on-line RV forums and discussed and dissected to death. For the frame, I used 11/2x3/4 Ash wood imported from New Zealand (available at Home Depot). I used a piece of ¼ plywood for the panel to hold the electrical outlet and the propane detector. (Propane Detector was replaced as the original one is about eight years old.) This left a decent sized opening in which to get to the main items on the Inverter if necessary. Then I started on the door to cover the opening and things ground to a halt. I could not in good conscious cut that 20x14 piece of solid maple down to 7x18. It is much to nice to do that.
So, I built another frame from wood, slightly smaller than my opening. Some stamped aluminum vent material was obtained to go on the back of the just competed frame. When in place it looks like the cover over the HVAC filter/return air, just smaller. It will also provide more ventilation for the Inverter. This cover is held in place with latches that have a diamond shaped protrusion on one piece and a unit with double rollers on the other stationary side. The post goes on the back side of the cover and the double roller mount on the edges of the opening. When you put the cover on the posts go into the double roller. The main frame is anchored with screws into the refrigerator floor framing. Only two screws are visible and those are covered with wooden “buttons” that are stained the same color as the rest of the wood.

The next part was the floor that the refrigerator sits on, specifically the part that comes out past the wall cabinetry.
Since we were not able to turn the leveler feet brackets inward and still use them as an attachment point for anchoring, they protrude out from the refrigerator a little. With the factory cover on, they stick out just slightly passed the closed doors of the refrigerator. One of the things that I did was to cut some circular pieces of wood the same diameter as the leveling feet for spacers. I then ran the anchor bolt through the floor, through the spacer then trough the leveler bracket and put a nylock nut on. When I tighten this bolt, it gives the refrigerator something to “sit” on other than air.  For safety sake, the bolt goes down from the top with the nut on the bottom, so if the nut comes off at least the bolt is still in place to provide a little level of security in keeping the refrigerator from moving. I then traced around the bottom of the refrigerator in the front and using a combination of a scroll (saber) saw and a vibrating multi-tool, cut that shape into the plywood floor. After some sanding, I painted all the expose plywood of the refrigerator floor black. Once the factory cover is in place, the floor is not that noticeable.

Next came closing the two (2) inch gap at the top of the refrigerator. I had kept the black trim that was around the Norcold and tried to envision a way to use it in conjunction with something else to cover or close the gap. I ended up using garage door seal that is intended to go on the bottom of the garage door. It is about 3 inches wide and has a rib on the top and bottom that is about ¼ inch wide. I cut the rib off one side, and then used the trim piece from the original refrigerator to hold it in place. I may try and use a vertical strip also from the original refrigerator to go down along the refrigerator. It was attached to a flange on the refrigerator and probably will need to be glued in place.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: John Canfield on May 16, 2017, 06:33:38 AM
Very nice Michael, great wrap-up.
Title: Re: Survey of Winnebago refrigerator replacements - gas to household
Post by: mickey53usa on May 16, 2017, 07:08:07 AM
Thanks John -

Here are a couple more photos of the bottom "frame."
This is the first project that I used Pocket Screws on - Think I am hooked on them now -