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tkbowers

Helium Refrigerators

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The refrigerator on my 1994 Foretravel Grand Villa (U-240) has stopped working. I opened the door several days ago and was hit by a wall of ammonia gas. The existing refrigerator is a Dometic model 4804.004 and I believe it is original. Dometic makes a number of suitable replacements, but I've learned that Atwood has a refrigerator that uses helium rather than hydrogen. Does anyone have any information on this unit. I'm reluctant to spend money on what may be an unproven technology. Thank you. Tom Bowers (Sonoma County, CA)

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Tom,

Very familiar with replacing a refrigerator in a 1993 U240. And the Dometic 4804 is unique in that it has a 120 VAC compressor in the lower front. To install any new refrigerator means re-designing the floor to remove the "stair step". Not a big job if you are even reasonably handy.

We replaced our 4804 with a Dometic 3962-- one of the new generator (larger interior and external temperature display) refrigerators and are happy with it. Other than the floor modification which you will need with any refrigerator, it required minimal trimming of one side of the trim.

I have no first hand experience with any helium units.

Brett

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Hi Brett. Thanks for your reply.

I purchased a Dometic RM3762 (external temp display) today at Camping World. I could not find your model (3962) on the Dometic website. I do not plan on removing the "stair step" because of the location of the lower outdoor air vent. Removing the step will place the bottom of the unit below the vent which is not recommended. I will however have to extend the step forward in order to support the front of the refrigerator. Also, I was thinking of reinstalling the existing ice maker grill to camouflage the void below the refrigerator.

Tom

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Tom,

Yes, removing the step REQUIRES installing a large-diameter "drain" through the floor (built-in vacuum compartment) and basement floor below the propane burner in case of a propane leak. On your U240 this is an easy modification. The gain is a larger refrigerator-- two cubic feet larger.

A quick google for the 3962: http://www.campingwo...-0-cu-ft-/34425

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Brett,

I'm headed over the vehicle now to disconnect the existing refrigerator and perhaps take a look at the empty compartment. If I choose to return the new refrigerator for a larger one, I will need some guidance and clarification from you. First, is the "drain" a liquid drain or a opening (size unknown) allowing propane to escape from behind the refrigerator to the basement compartment? (For your information, my vacuum is located next to the entrance stair.) The thought of then putting a hole in the basement floor concerns me. How do you prevent water from entering the compartment when driving in rain?

Thanks.

Tom

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but I've learned that Atwood has a refrigerator that uses helium rather than hydrogen

This seems to have been glanced over from the original post, but am I wrong or is the refrigerant in an RV fridge ammonia or the highly flammable gas known as hydrogen (can you spell Hindenburg)?

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