Jump to content
judatt

Norcold Refrigerator

Recommended Posts

Greetings, everyone.  First, when I logged on because I had a question I realized I need to get on the forum much more often.  I see several names of people that are regular responders who helped me greatly when we first bought our motor home in November 2015.  I met many of you at the FMCA rally in Perry at our meet and greet so it is really good to think about a personality when I see a photo or a screen name.  Just wanted to say thanks for all the help along the way. 

I guess its a good thing that I haven't been on here more often - we have simply been having a ball in our motor home.  We have sold our house and are now full time in our 2008 Newmar Mountain Aire.  We have joined the full timers chapter and are attending the rally in New York in July and then will also be at the FMCA rally in West Springfield.  Looking forward to seeing many of you.

Now, the reason for my post.  We have a Norcold refrigerator.  At the Perry rally we realized that there were some problems with Norcold so we checked and ours has never been recalled.  Even so, we bought the fire suppression bottle that you put under your fridge and have had it installed since Perry.  Everything worked fine until about a month ago.  We noticed it wasn't making ice in the auto icemaker anymore and checked and realized the temp in the freezer was about 28.  The fridge temp runs between 36 and 40 so it seems to be ok. 

Had a guy look at it and he said the fan wasn't running properly.  At first he put a paper clip in the wiring so the fan would run and it immediately got cooler.  He put a thermostat in and it is cooler but not as cool as it should be.  I'm assuming it is an original unit and so is about 8 years old.  I guess my question is should I be looking at something else?  Should I be looking at a more permanent fix for our current unit?  I understand to get a new fridge in you have to take the windshield out and that gets expensive.  We are going to a Newmar Kountry Klub rally in Colorado in September where they send techs from the factory in Indiana to make repairs.  Thought we would try to do whatever we are going to do while we are there.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.  David

p.s.  Our unit has what looks like an ice chest in the first door of the basement.  When you put it on its lowest setting it is a freezer and is keeping our frozen food quite frozen.  Its about 14 degrees in there. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David, glad to hear from you and to hear your experience has gone well for you. Is the coach level when you are experiencing this issue?

My opinion of those Norcolds is not good after the experience we had with ours. If it were me I would replace it with a residential unit, but that depends on what you use the coach for(boondocking or you mostly have electric hooked up), and how your unit is equipped (inverter and battery supply). The removal of the existing unit also depends on the dimensions of your door opening, some coaches no side windows have to be removed to replace the unit, some they do (like in our case).If the Norcold has bit the dust I wouldn't replace it with another, IMHO they are too expensive and just do not perform well for all of the money you will spend on it.

Yours just might need a simple fix and for that I am hoping someone else will chime in. Great idea for the fire suppression system for the refrigerator. Safety first!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jleamont said:

David, glad to hear from you and to hear your experience has gone well for you. Is the coach level when you are experiencing this issue?

My opinion of those Norcolds is not good after the experience we had with ours. If it were me I would replace it with a residential unit, but that depends on what you use the coach for(boondocking or you mostly have electric hooked up), and how your unit is equipped (inverter and battery supply). The removal of the existing unit also depends on the dimensions of your door opening, some coaches no side windows have to be removed to replace the unit, some they do (like in our case).If the Norcold has bit the dust I wouldn't replace it with another, IMHO they are too expensive and just do not perform well for all of the money you will spend on it.

Yours just might need a simple fix and for that I am hoping someone else will chime in. Great idea for the fire suppression system for the refrigerator. Safety first!!

Yes, it's level and plugged in to a 50 AMP post.  We do not do much boondocking but plan to on occasion.  Thanks for the reply and yes, we also are looking for/hoping for a simple fix. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Judatt, does the Norcold frig work any different when on LP?

Check the door seals very closely - clean the contact surface on the seals and the refrigerator, look for any openings in the seal rubber gaskets.

Rich.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted the details of our change from the Norcold to a household (Whirlpool) refrigerator in 2011.  Take a look at that post and the following discussion for a wide variety of thoughts on the process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are original owners of a 2002 AC Tradition with a Norcold 1200.  I replaced the cooling unit in May 2015 at National RV Refrigeration in Shipshewana, IN.  In additional NRVR installed an ARP control unit.  Pulled our coach out of storage in May 2016 to begin full-timing and found refrigerator did not work on AC. Traced problem to worn out AC heating elements, but only after dealing with an RV tech who had no knowledge of the ARP device, disconnected that and refrigerator still blew control box fuse on AC.  At that time I called Paul Umack who owns ARP, LLC  and he walked me through re-wiring the ARP to work properly and directed me to his website which has abundant information on LP absorption refrigeration, the Norcold recall issues, and his ARP device.

We have opted to stay with our Norcold because of the amount of boondocking we do, and also after doing the research we believe the ARP provides the best level of safety against potential refrigerator fires.  That said, we also have the FireFight Products auto discharge extinguisher installed in back of the refer in outside access compartment because we just  feel better taking the "belt and suspenders" approach to this critical component of our "home."

We have been spending our time in Montana this summer, and made it a point to go see Paul (he's in Butte).  At that time I swapped out our basic ARP for one with a fan controller and added the cooling unit fan. 

Our Norcold works just fine, and better now with the added air flow past the cooling unit thanks to Paul's updated controller and fan unit.  We chose the best option for us. Everyone has to weigh the pros and cons and make their own decision on going with a residential refrigerator or staying with one designed for RV use. But regardless of which refrigeration route you take, I think all RV owners should educate themselves on critical systems and related safety issues so as to make informed decisions on how to bes protect their rigs, property and lives.  

Good luck with your refrigerator decision.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greetings everyone. Thanks for the info. The fridge continues to work fine but the freezer is now at about 38*. Needless to say won't freeze!  Fortunately we have a cooler in our basement that can be cranked down and used as a freezer so that's what we are doing but need to solve this sometime soon. We will be incspringfield in a few days but have also notified Newmar about our problem and will be at the Newmar rally in September where they are sending techs to fix things. Hopefully we will be able to get something done. 

We don't do a lot of boondocking so I'm thinking seriously about Tom Butlers discussion about moving to a residential unit. 

Thanks again everyone - hope to see some of you in Springfield. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

David, Perry seems like a long time ago!  I have heard and read so many posts about "Nocold" in the past 3 years, that I can't see any benefit to keeping them!  As Shelby said, it's designed for RV's, so was Dometic, but back in does days, that's all we had and we did not have all the tech advantages of today. My advise for both safety and reliability, get a residential fridg !

See you down the road...

Carl Christensen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi everyone. I used to be judatt but now have a new user name. Wanted to update this topic. At the rally in West Springfield the Norcold guy looked at our fridge. He said it needed a defrost panel. Had it sent to our local RV repair place and they put it in about 10 days ago. No charge to us - our local place said Norcold indicated they should be billed. The next day the freezer was colder and within 36 hours it started making ice again and has worked fine. 

We still think we may want a residential fridge at some point but for now it's working well. Thanks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, Manholt said:

Hope it keeps working better than your Jacks...He, He!  Sorry David, could not help it !  :lol:

So far so good in the fridge. The jacks - not so much. I'm very frazzled right now having driven the 5 hours from Little Rock to Shawnee with the alarm screeching at me off and on for most of the way. Look forward to seeing you here in Shawnee. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We're actively looking for a residential fridge to replace our Norcold 1200.  Up until the trip we are on now, our Norcold has been working fine but now does not work well when using LP.  I know Rich and Joe have recommended running on LP to reduce the risk of fire but we are now on electricity to keep our perishables from spoiling.  After reading other posts regarding conversions here's my thoughts.

  • Safety.....reduce risk of fire by replacing Norcold with a residential unit.
  • Space limited.....we have a furnace under our Norcold.  I've peeled back some of the trim pieces and removed the furnace cover in attempt to get true maximum dimensions for the new fridge.  I don't think I can get true dimensions without totally removing the Norcold though.
  • New fridge....once we locate a fridge that will fit, determine how to get it into the coach.  It may not go through the door and our largest window is the driver's side.  Don't want to take the windshield out!  So, If we can't get the new fridge in will have to recycle thoughts and perhaps look for a different fridge.
  • New fridge....I think our Norcold has a total capacity of just under 11 cu. ft.  A small residential has at least 15 cu. ft.  Much more room for beer :D:D:D:D:D !
  • Budget....replacement Norcold 1210 is $3500!  I'm sure I can install a residential unit for a fraction of that cost even if I have to do some cabinetry work.
  • Boondocking....Yes, we find ourselves without shore power on occasion.  Most recently during race week at Talledega and Walmart parking lots.  At Talledega we ran the generator during the day for air conditioning and set the generator to auto start during the evenings.  Our current configuration is 4 wet cell 12v batteries for the house. 
  • Inverter....have to understand if our current inverter will support the new fridge with respect to sine wave and wattage.
  • For now......considering buying a basement fridge and making do with that until we get home to rip out the Norcold.  Haven't totally decided yet.
  • Question....It looks like I have plenty of room to modify the furnace cabinet to gain some vertical height.  Is there a minimum headspace requirement for the furnace?  I guess I should research installation requirements for that.
  • Question, Joe.....please see attached picture.  We have a trim piece above our Norcold.  Did you find you had extra space above your Norcold that gave you more vertical height?
  • Other thoughts I haven't considered?

Thanks folks......Blake

20160905_081508.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Blake, once I removed the wheels under the residential fridge it squeaked in. I didn't put trim on top, the residential door stickes up higher than the fridge box so there was no need for trim on top or bottom (bottom is open for air circulation). The top I had to notch the wall just enough for the upper hinge to slide into the opening. I put trim down the sides since the replacement is not as wide as the Norcold. The roof vent and wall vent are sealed closed also.

image.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×