Electric Fridge for RV - replacing 3 way - and a/c, gen QUESTIONS

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an RV or an interest in RVing!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

RJake1

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Posts
20
I just bought a 1985 Coachmen class A 24' Classic.? It only has 9,000 miles on it and is really cherry.? A couple big problems though.? The fridge is broken; no a/c; and no generator.?

I would like some advice if you please:

1) What is best electric only fridge to replace the Norcold 838EG2 model?? I don't need propane model so a cheaper electric only is fine.? Can I buy one at Sears, Lowes, etc that would fit?? Any recommendations?

2)? I don't want to pay $1,000 for installed roof a/c unit.? Can I use a small window unit from Walmart?? Is there a portable window shelf it could sit on?? I measured the a/c unit and it should fit the window.? Anybody use a window unit?

3)? Generator:? Assuming I buy the electric fridge and window a/c, what's the smallest generator I might need in a pinch?? I'm thinking something in the 2000W range.

FYI - I paid $5,000 for the rig which isn't a lot but OTOH I don't really want to invest tons more in it since its so old.?

Any help, advice, or critical thinking would be appreciated.? Thank you.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

Site Team
Joined
Feb 2, 2005
Posts
74,650
Location
At our Silver Springs FL home
Personally I think $5000 was far too much for a 21 year old rig with no fridge, a/c or generator, but you seem happy with the deal and that's all that is important. 

Please check the date codes on the tires (Tire Date Codes) and replace them immediately if they are 7 years old or older. You should also plan on replacing the belts and hoses and changing the transmission, brake and radiator fluids unless you have service records showing this was done in the past few years. Odds are that it has not been done on a low mileage RV.

As for an electric-only fridge, sure you can buy one elsewhere. You will have to do some cabinet work to fit it in the existing space.  Same for a window a/c unit - building a small support should be easy. If you aren't a handyman, perhaps a friend can help. If you have to a cabinet shop or finish carpenter to do this for you, it might get expensive.

A 2000W generator is probably the very minimum to run a small window a/c unit, which typically draws 10-14 amps or 1200-1600 watts.  That leaves a few watts to operate other small things at the same time, but nothing large (e.g. a coffee pot or toaster). If you want to be able to run the a/c and a coffee maker at the same time, get a2500-3000 watt generator.  A super quiet and efficient Honda eu2000i or similar Yamaha is the best choice for this.

A 5000 btu a/c would probably cool the main living area adequately but you may have difficulty getting the cool air to circulate to the bedroom. A small fan might help.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,261
Location
Davison Michigan
I once had a window AC that ran on 1,000 watts.. Just  Would suggest at least 2,000, for a Roof Top AC 2,500, and if you want to run anything else 3,000.  Add another 1,000 for a small fridge if you get an AC only one (Compressor unit) if you get one of the new Norcold high efficency AC units, add a lot less (Say 100 watts)  I don't have a Norcold unit, but I have a portable cooler/freezer which when run on 12VAC draws a great grand 3 amps, that is 36 watts.  It is expensive though

Item two.. I used to use a small Compressor (AC only, traditional house type) Refrigerator,, I'd cool it down good, fill it up, head out and it was still cold when I hooked to "Shore power" at the campground.

When I traded up to the Class A I kept that fridge and passed it on to some friends, who do exactly the same thing, works great, Got it at Sears btw.  I hoped it would run on my inverter but alas, it would not, takes way more than 400 watts starting
 

Lou Schneider

Site Team
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
11,173
I put a G.E. apartment size refrigerator in my Arctic Fox trailer when the original refrigerator died a week before I was going on a trip.  The starting surge isn't a problem if you get one of the $150 1500 watt (2000 watt surge) inverters sold in Pilot truckstops and mount it close to the batteries.  I don't know what the starting surge is but it's well within the capabilities of the inverter.  Running it draws about 9 amps from the batteries at about a 25 - 30% duty cycle.  A pair of golf cart batteries will run it and the lights for a day or two, although I turn the inverter off when I go to sleep and back on in the morning.
 

John From Detroit

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 12, 2005
Posts
25,261
Location
Davison Michigan
I wound up getting a larger inverter as well, a kilowatt (1000 watt)( job from Costco about half the price of your 1500 one, it did the job, heck, If memory serves I've tested the kilowatt inverter with my freezer here at the house (full size) and it did the job

I have 4 inverters, a 450 watt job that basically has reached the end of it's life, a 750 I've never actually used other than testing

The Kilowatt job from Costco and a Xantrex Prosine 2.0, 2000 watt (main inverter in the motor home) headed back to Xantrex cause it lost it's mind  (Prosine Memory Error)
 

RJake1

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Posts
20
Thanks for all the advice.  Sorry to hear I paid too much.  I've made bad RV deals my whole life so one more just adds to the legacy. 

From the used RV's I'd seen locally this one was the cleanest with lowest miles.  I don't really use fridge or a/c or gen much so I guess I was just looking to get the lowest miles for cheapest price.  I could've had a pretty clean '91 class a with all the works for $4k more but it had 54,000 miles.  I was torn but went with the cheap.  We'll see how it works out. 
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
If you truly like the unit, go to the Library and check the RV salvage for your parts/? You can save a ton of $ if you're handy.? I? and a couple of friends have bought well used and damaged units and rebuilt them.? We lived in the midwest and usually dealt with Colaw in Mo, they ship and are honest? people, from what we found. Yet there are others thru-out the country and many here in the forum have used them and will recommend them.? What you paid to us may be too much but it's only worth what 2 people agree on. Once you straighten it out you may well have found a gem.? Who knows.? Good? Luck.  PS Gens and fridges or A/c's can be replaced, Body and interiors are hard to come by.
 

RJake1

Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2006
Posts
20
Thanks for the encouragement and advice, Shayne.  I'll check it out.  And I agree with body/interior.  This rig looks brand new not a scratch on it or in it.  With a few parts I'll have a classic MH with 9,300 miles for under $8k so I didn't think that was too bad.

OTOH, I'm not the poster child for good purchases.  I had an 89 that broke down so often I kept a decal map of the states where I got stuck.  And I also fell in love with an 89 LeSharo conveniently forgetting that Renault doesn't really have a presence in the USA anymore.  I've learned to roll with the punches.  Hey, its only money.  LOL . 
 

Shayne

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2006
Posts
4,324
I bought repaired and sold old cars and a few Rvs over many years and always looked for the best bodies and interiors.  Mechanical parts can all be repaired or replaced.  Making body and interior to perfection is nearly impossible but can be done.  At one time I had partnership in an upholstery shop and I still won't mess with them too much.  In fact one of my friends back in ILL just bought an A/C from Colaw and they shipped it to him and it works great.  You can also check with A/C Installers and they might be able to cut you a good deal.  These Salvage yards are pretty good, they know what unit interchanges with one another and generally always have several fridges, gens, and etc on hand and will explain the differences to you.  At least that's what I found.  Good Luck./
 

supercab78

Member
Joined
May 11, 2005
Posts
8
If your fairly handy with tools you could get a rebuilt cooling unit for your frig. and replace it youself. These come as sealed units that require no real refrigeration skills. It's about 1/2 cost of a new RV frig.
 

Lou Schneider

Site Team
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Posts
11,173
Norcold makes a 7 cubic foot (52 7/8" high) built in 12v / 120 volt compressor refrigerator for "mobile and marine use".  It's probably pricy, but will bolt right into a RV installation.  Current draw is 2.2 to 3.2 amps on 12 volts, 0.4 amps on 120 volts.

http://www.norcold.com/acdc_de461.cfm

There's also several smaller 12v / 120 volt compressor models, both built-in and portable on the Norcold home page.  Click on "Markets" then look at what's available under Trucking.  Commercial trucks aren't allowed to have open flames in the cabs or sleepers, so a LP refrigerator is out.

You might ask Norcold if a compressor cooling unit could be applied to your existing absorption refrigerator.
 
Top Bottom