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Repair or Replace Refrigerator


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Ron P., 2004 Monaco Executive 

My refrigerator in my 2004 Monaco Executive is worn out.  I am told that the cooling unit needs to be replaced.   My question is should I replace cooling unit or replace the entire refrigerator. 

If anyone has had any experience with this,  please share.  If you replaced your refrigerator and it was a good fit, works fine, please provide,  model,  price,  etc. 

I saw that someone replaced their refrigerator with a Samsung RF18A5101SG. 

 

I have not used my refrigerator on LP.

 

RON P.  2004 Monaco Executive 

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Ron,

There are hundreds of posts on this very topic where many members including myself have replaced the NotSoCold with a residential fridge. Back in 2012 I had a Samsung RF-197 installed and it has been one of the BEST upgrades I have ever done. The Samsung RF18 is the newest version of the same fridge.

Search the Monacoers web site and you will have plenty to read.

It should be an easy fit going into an Executive.

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You are going to get a lot of advice. 

Surprised you have not used your refrigerator on propane as that is the main benefit of an absorption refrigerator, pretty efficient on propane, not so much on electric.

Our Norcold never was great, freezer would stay colder but refrigerator would fluctuate wildly.  I had to keep temp monitors in both and if it got too warm in refrigerator would transfer ice blocks from freezer.  Hate to think how much $$$ in food we threw away.   Finally replaced my Norcold after it finally gave up.  It had the recall (black box) and it kicked a couple times, at which point I reset, but there is a risk in doing this.  Ultimately it started to leak. 

Replaced with a Samsung RF18, very pleased, says cold.  In july I was in WY, outside temps +100, sun beating down on the side of the RV and Samsung dropped ice all day long. 

Depending on how your refrigerator is mounted the change can be easy or very difficult.  Mine was very difficult but I'd do it again.

 

I see Richard recommending a search but the search function on the Monacoers site is pitiful (unless I'm doing something wrong), I've never been able to use it with any success. 

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Don’t do what I did, Amish cooling unit,  new control board, extra fans, more insulation, you name it, I tried it… what a waste of money. I bought into the “no residential for a dry camping” which is NOT true. It takes 1 extra battery to power a residential refrigerator, IF you dry multiple days the. 2 is better.

I had to take the drivers window out to get a Whirlpool 21 in that was almost a perfect fit… 1/2” too tall. Required lowering the floor but saved the large drawer below. BEST MOD EVER and I’ve done quite a few… 04 Dynasty.

Unfortunately some of the pictures are no longer available in my DIY install.
https://www.rv.net/forum/index.cfm/fuseaction/thread/tid/29110550/print/true.cfm

Edited by Ivylog
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I know some people have not been happy with the 'Amish Cooling" unit but I think that 'depends'! The recent replacement models are much different and are actually compressors types, not absorption units. I replaced mine with their 12v compressor unit and could not be happier!! Coach is sitting outside in 90 degree heat and is -2 and 34. Have had it in the Florida sun for 4 months of over 100 degrees and it still stays the same temp. I went this way when the Norcold stopped cooling after trying many things. As long as the seals are still good, the 12v or 120v replacements are great. I have one with the 12v so we could dry camp, if wanted. I have 4 6 volt batteries and it will last more than 24 hours before having to run the generator to charge batteries. I do wish they offered a 12v/120v unit like I have on my boat but they so far have not done that. I chose to not replace the Norcold with a residential unit because: my wife really loves the matching front panels on the existing one, I don't have an inverter and it would have required major upgrade to install one and it was a MAJOR problem to change the configuration necessary to install something that might fit.

So I travelled to Indiana to have the 12v conversion done (didn't want to do it myself although doable) and the total was shy of $1400, not including getting the coach there. Done in less than three hours and no changes required.

I'm an example of a happy customer.

 

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Ditto SteveJ. We installed the amish 120 volt unit in our 2000 Dynasty and did the replacement ourselves.  It was all accomplished inside the MH.  Very happy with the results.  Keeps ice-cream rock hard in 100 degree weather.  

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Either way is good and I have done both. I did the Amish 120v conversion and after refitting it the second time it worked good. Downfall to it is you still have an old fridge with failing door seals that or not replaceable. With the Samsung you have all new, in warranty and much more capacity.  We like the Samsung way better.

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So I’ll come from a different angle. We currently have 2 5th wheels (long story) both with residential fridges. One a Samsung and one an LG. Our coach has a Norcold with the updated Amish Evap guts 

We love the residential fridges, both work great. However,  RV forums for both brands are littered with complaints about how they cannot get service on the fridges. I’m sure shortage of qualified techs is one of the issues, but others have commented that the manufactures have denied their claims based on the idea the refer wasn’t designed to be “mobile” 

It’s just an observation. I’d be curious to know if anyone has had to have the Res refer worked on, and any thoughts on the experience. 
 

In one of our 5vers, you couldn’t get the to the back if you wanted to. It faces an island, barely misses it when opening, and it’s in a slide. I guess you could that the slide out? 

Edited by JDCrow
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10 minutes ago, klcdenver said:

Downfall to it is you still have an old fridge with failing door seals that or not replaceable. With the Samsung you have all new, in warranty and much more capacity.  We like the Samsung way better.

Plus doors that fall off when you least expect it!

Control boards that fail both eyebrow and main. Less than 12 cu/ft storage versus 18 cu/ft. Having to defrost the freezer versus frost-free. No air circulation in the fridge compartment which means you can't stuff the fridge full and expect it to keep the food cold enough not to spoil.

i was in the same position back in 2012. Had the appointment setup with the shop to have the Amish Unit installed. A friend came over and we were talking about my decision to have the Amish Unit installed and she proceeded to list all of the downsides listed above and more. That's when I cancelled the appointment, ordered a Samsung fridge to be delivered to a shop in Louisiana and then on my way to Alaska had the fridge installed.

I have NEVER been disappointed in that decision.

1 minute ago, JDCrow said:

It’s just an observation. I’d be curious to know if anyone has had to have the Res refer worked on, and any thoughts on the experience.

JD,

Our Samsung was installed in April of 2012. Went to Alaska to spend the summer with my sons and grand-kids. While up there we noticed water collecting on the bottom under the crisper bins. Once we were back to the lower 48 staying at a RV Park in Santa Clarita California I called Samsung to setup an appointment for diagnosis. They had a local service tech come out to the coach and he determined that the defrost drain line was frozen up and clogged. He called and found out that there was a "bulletin" issued about this problem and ordered two new larger defrost clips which hang down into the drain line preventing the line from freezing up. He installed one in the fridge area and one in the freezer area.

Problem solved and under warranty.

No more problems for the past 9 years.

 

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16 minutes ago, Dr4Film said:

Plus doors that fall off when you least expect it!

Control boards that fail both eyebrow and main. Less than 12 cu/ft storage versus 18 cu/ft. Having to defrost the freezer versus frost-free. No air circulation in the fridge compartment which means you can't stuff the fridge full and expect it to keep the food cold enough not to spoil.

i was in the same position back in 2012. Had the appointment setup with the shop to have the Amish Unit installed. A friend came over and we were talking about my decision to have the Amish Unit installed and she proceeded to list all of the downsides listed above and more. That's when I cancelled the appointment, ordered a Samsung fridge to be delivered to a shop in Louisiana and then on my way to Alaska had the fridge installed.

I have NEVER been disappointed in that decision.

JD,

Our Samsung was installed in April of 2012. Went to Alaska to spend the summer with my sons and grand-kids. While up there we noticed water collecting on the bottom under the crisper bins. Once we were back to the lower 48 staying at a RV Park in Santa Clarita California I called Samsung to setup an appointment for diagnosis. They had a local service tech come out to the coach and he determined that the defrost drain line was frozen up and clogged. He called and found out that there was a "bulletin" issued about this problem and ordered two new larger defrost clips which hang down into the drain line preventing the line from freezing up. He installed one in the fridge area and one in the freezer area.

Problem solved and under warranty.

No more problems for the past 9 years.

 

Sweet thanks for the good info 

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FYI,

My wife is getting ready to go on a trip so I started the refrigerator, within 2 hours the fridge temp was down to 38F and within 3.5 hours the freezer was down to -2F.  Should have a partial tray of ice by tomorrow morning. 

With my old Norcold it would take over a day for the freezer to get down to temp and longer for the fridge. 

On my last trip I dry camped a number of nights.  Usually went to bed with 90% batteries and woke up with ~80%.  Very pleased.

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I have the original Frigidaire res. refer.  Has the cherry wood door panels to match the cabinets.  As far as I know they don't make anything like that now.  To say the DW loves the cherry wood drawers is an understatement.  Therefore, I will be looking to "rebuild" the guts of this thing at some point.  Seems like it will be the compressor or controls that will fail.  Anyone ever have a res refer rebuilt?  Can get to the backside of the refer with no problem to change the compressor.  My first cab-over camper had the Nevercold, and the travel trailer had one, too small and they never worked well.  Love the Frigidaire.

Woody Miller

09 Dynasty 

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