In September of 2010 we replaced our Norcold with a 21.8 (or 21.7 - can’t remember which) cubic foot residential fridge by Whirlpool. Model #ED2KHAXVL. Our Norcold still worked, but was acting up. We always disliked how hard it was to get and keep the fridge part properly cooled and we worried about fridge fires. I think they change model #’s each year - so just google this model to find the dimensions, then visit a local store and see which ones match this size if this one is discontinued.
For about 6 months prior to our installation, our Norcold would not stay cooled while traveling. We had to constantly shuffle things to the freezer or add bags of ice and refreezable blocks. To me it was nothing but an oversized ice box. We read these were symptoms of bad seals and/or the cooling unit may be going bad. To fix it required finding someone to pull it, evaluate it, get the parts, and reinstall — all of that on our dime. Cooling units are not cheap and we always knew if that went bad we’d rather invest in a residential than replace it since we plan to keep our Bus for many more years. We just chose to do it sooner and move on.
All of this work was done by Brannon Hutcheson ofin Vina, Alabama (right outside Red Bay). Approx $4300. That includes the fridge, 3 guys @ $65/hr, all the wiring, and a new Xantrex 1000 inverter. It was about a 6 hour job.
FYI - We also replaced our original OEM (flooded) batteries with 4 6-Volt Lifeline AGMs — which was a separate price and installed the next day. Some Tiffin owners choose to add 2 additional batteries when they switch to the residential, but we don’t boondock and figure we’ll do just fine w/out them. Brannon also said flooded batteries will work with this fridge…it was just a personal choice to go with AGMs this time.
Back to the fridge. First step.. the prep. Brannon installs the new inverter while the other 2 guys remove the window over the sofa and begin to add wiring, etc. This is a 1000 Xantrex pure sine wave inverter dedicated to the fridge.
Below is a picture of the cabinet before they clean up the inside. They must remove the extra boards used to secure the Norcold and lower the floor about 1.5”. This is to ensure the fridge doors clear any overhead lights and nearby door jams. Every floorplan is different, but Brannon has switched out about 20 Norcolds so he’s encountered many obstacles and always seems to find a solution. He also capped off the propane connection in here.
Brannon verifying the depth after prepping the inside. We are good to go!
The guys use a forklift to move the fridges in and out of the Bus. They say the Whirlpool is about 100 lbs lighter than the Norcold. Click on pictures to enlarge.
They attach a metal piece at the top to secure the fridge to the cabinet.
FYI - Brannon only installs certain type of residential refrigerators - the ones which he knows the location of the refrigerant lines.
Here’s the story - why. Early in the process of converting fridges, one customer wanted a different type and he obliged them, but then ruined the fridge when attaching the metal bracket as it went right thru the refrigerant lines. So now he limits the choices. If a customer wants to take the risk, he’ll do it, but most don’t. He ate the fridge cost for that mistake and all the labor, but he was able to repair it and gave it to his church.
They also notch out areas for the hinges. Afterwards they add a stained wood piece to hide any remaining gaps and give it a finished look.
Pretty snazzy huh? It’s amazing - we love it. Time to go shopping and fill it up!