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Residential Refrigerator Installation


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#1 rorr1821

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 11:44 AM

UPDATE: Residential Refrigerator Installation

I reported on Feb18 and 27 of 2011 that I was going to install a residential refrigerator in my 2008 Monaco Diplomat 36PDQ motorhome. I am happy to report the project is complete except as noted in this report. The results are better than I had anticipated and I hope I will not be disappointed in the performance.

I worked on this residential install between other projects around my house. My last update ended with several unresolved issues. After more research I decided to block off both the side wall and roof opening. I made this decision bases on several points. First, when an OEM installs a residential refrigerator they do not have these openings. These opening have the potential to create a vacuum effect because a residential refrigerator is not sealed from the living quarters like a gas absorption unit. In talking with several aftermarket installers of residential refrigerators they seal off both wall and roof opening. When I blocked these opening I also insulated them with R4 foam board to insulate from the outside heat and cool.

My two other biggest concerns were a method to secure the refrigerator so it would not move even under the most severe road conditions. The roads we encountered on our trip to Alaska in 2009 convinced me that things need to be very secure. My other concern was a method to make sure the refrigerator doors did not open while traveling.

The opening for this refrigerator has very close tolerances in my application, especially the depth. The residential refrigerator without the doors is 24 3/8' deep and the depth of my opening is 26". I initially was going to use a method obtained from a local RV converter and repair business to secure the refrigerator to the floor. They use a piece of wood secured to the bottom of the refrigerator and another piece secured to the floor. These pieces of wood are cut at an angle so they lock together. You push the refrigerator back and lift it over the wood attached to the floor and then bring it forward to lock in place. Then attach a bracket to the front so the unit cannot move toward the back. I decided that this method would not work well for me because my depth is marginal.

I developed a cable method using the original leveling legs which I removed from unit. I used 1/8" coated cable which is rated at 340 lb load which far excesses my requirements. According to Samsung this refrigerator requires a surface to support a fully loaded refrigerator weigh of 223 lbs. I am not sure of the dry weight but based on this information this refrigerator weighs less than the Norcold 1200. These two cables have a compression fitting on one end and are run through a washer then through a slot on the bottom back of the refrigerator. I did this for each side. I connected the other end to eye bolts and ran then through a slot in the floor toward the front to the leveling leg brackets which I attached with bolts to the underside of the floor. The cable must be run through the refrigerator bottom before it is crimped to the eyebolt. I also should mention that I reinforced the underside of the floor with 2x4's using Kreg system and pocket screws. I also used ¾" new plywood flooring. This cable method provides a way to adjust the unit to the opening and also will prevent any forward movement of the refrigerator. I found that getting the refrigerator even and square in the opening in very tricky because you are dealing with x and y axles of the opening and the refrigerator.

I also made two 90 deg angle support brackets with 7" leg and 3" leg. I had to carefully match drill the 3"vertical leg so it matched the hole pattern in the original leveling leg. I could not use the original leveling leg because I needed the horizontal leg to be flush with the floor. I attached these new bracket supports to where the leveling leg supports were originally attached to the front of the refrigerator bottom using the original 10mm bolts. The bottom 7" leg of the bracket is positioned toward the back of refrigerator and bolted to the floor. This was a very tedious process because you are working in very confined area with very close tolerances. However, the end result makes the refrigerator solidly attached and it cannot move out of the opening even under the most severe conditions.

I plan on attaching cabinet latches to the refrigerator to insure the doors stay closed while traveling. I saw these latches used by Tiffin Motorhome on their OEM installed residential refrigerators. These are plastic and spring loaded. They seem to work very well on cabinet door and drawer applications. I have found that these latches in different load rating's for both heavy and light applicants.

To install the refrigerator I had to make a platform with wheels. I saw this used by another person when they did their residential refrigerator install. This makes installation of the refrigerator in the opening a one man job and allows for easy removal. I pushed the refrigerator approximately 2/3 into the opening and then went outside and positioned the cables through the slots in the floor. I also ran the electrical and water line for the ice maker through a predrilled hole. Then I attached the door hinges and the top control board prior to pushing the unit completely into the opening. Once it is in the opening I attached the eye bolts and then the two front leg supports. I determined that securing the leg supports first and then tighten the cables provided the best method to align the refrigerator edge to the opening edge.

This has been an interesting project. In my next report I hope to be able to provide performance measurements as to DC Amp Hour requirements and battery bank recharge cycle requirements.

I have pictures but unable to upload because I do not understand the process.

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#2 rhaeflin

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 06:08 PM

Can you tell me which make and model of refrigerator was used? I have very limited depth and height.

Any help would be appreciated.
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#3 wolfe10

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 07:07 PM

Can you tell me which make and model of refrigerator was used? I have very limited depth and height.

Any help would be appreciated.

Welcome to the FMCA Forum.

There are such a number of sizes and models of refrigerators used in RV's, that what fit in another rig may or may not fit in yours. Go to your refrigerator manufacturer's website with your refrigerator model number to determine the dimensions of your current refrigerator (see links below). From the back of the refrigerator (outside of the coach) look closely to see what extra space you have in addition to the dimensions of the refrigerator.

If you happen to have a Dometic refrigerator, here is there size chart: http://www.dometic.c...317a7cff0.fodoc

And, if a Norcold: http://www.thetford....61/Default.aspx

Brett
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#4 kingfr

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 08:44 PM

I just had a 21.7 CF Whirlpool Side by Side installed to replace my Norcold 1210. :)
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Frank
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#5 rhaeflin

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 08:51 PM

Thanks for the response.

I have spent several hours looking at specs. The info in the original post indicated that they had the same depth problem I have. I only have the 24 inches that was required by Norcold. Most manufactures require some clearance at the back for air flow. In height and width I can make more room. I can adjust to fit most units in the 18-22 CF range except in depth. Even smaller unit do not gain me anything in depth.
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#6 rhaeflin

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 08:54 PM

I just had a 21.7 CF Whirlpool Side by Side installed to replace my Norcold 1210. :)



Do you have the model number on the Whirlpool? Thanks

I found them. They are to deep for my application. Thanks
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#7 Guest_BillAdams_*

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 09:03 PM

I have a 20cf GE Profile side-by-side refrigerator but that may or may not be available any longer. At Tiffin they are installing the Model ED2KHAXVL01 Whirlpool Side-by-side (21.7cf) as an after market replacement. It may take some modifications including relocating plumbing and/or electrical as well as lowering the floor your current fridge is mounted to. It's not a plug and play operation in most cases but someone who is handy with tools and some plumbing and electrical experience should be able to handle the change-out. You are going to have to get the new fridge in by removing the windshield or a large side window so be sure you have the right people and lots of hands available. Having a forklift available to get the old/new fridge in/out is very helpful as well.

#8 kingfr

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 07:41 AM

I have a 20cf GE Profile side-by-side refrigerator but that may or may not be available any longer. At Tiffin they are installing the Model ED2KHAXVL01 Whirlpool Side-by-side (21.7cf) as an after market replacement. It may take some modifications including relocating plumbing and/or electrical as well as lowering the floor your current fridge is mounted to. It's not a plug and play operation in most cases but someone who is handy with tools and some plumbing and electrical experience should be able to handle the change-out. You are going to have to get the new fridge in by removing the windshield or a large side window so be sure you have the right people and lots of hands available. Having a forklift available to get the old/new fridge in/out is very helpful as well.

This is the unit that I had installed. Everything Bill says is involved, including relocating the electric plug to the basement of the coach. It makes a very nice installation when done. Brannon Hutchinson at Custom RV in Vina, AL did the work. Vina is about 6 miles from Red Bay Al which is where Tiffin Coaches are built. Brannon worked for Tiffin for a number of years before striking out on his own. They did use a fork lift to get the old unit out and the new unit in through a side window.
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Frank
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Allie - Beagle

Rascal - Beagle

2015 Tiffin Phaeton 42LH
2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Toad
F294035
"Not All Who Wander Are Lost"
"It's never too late to have a happy childhood!"





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