Installing a 21" deep fridge into a 19" space on a Trillium 4500 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-04-2011, 01:20 PM   #1
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Installing a 21" deep fridge into a 19" space on a Trillium 4500

Hi,
I had an original Dometic 211 3 way fridge into my Trillium 1977 that was in poor condition. The interior shell was broken in several places, the door seal was shut and the cooling system in questionnable condition. Looking for replacement unit made me aware of the following problems:

Problems
1- The only replacement units available are 3 inches deeper than the Dometic 211. Original unit is 19" deep, all replacement units need a 21" deep space to fit. The Trillium curved shell does not allow anything deeper than 19" and installing newer units protruding 3" from the cabinet would be very ugly and not practical.

2- The Norcold fridge gas line is on the right side, the Dometics on the left side. I found a used Norcold 323 in excellent condition, so I had to change the gas line side.

3- The potential replacement units are 1.5" narrower than the old unit

Solutions

1- I did cut the outside fiberglass shell, installed a board shelf protruding 2" outside and rebuilt a shell to hold the original bottom vent out of aluminum.


2- I installed a wood frame inside the interior cabinet opening to make it level and 1 1/2" narrower on all sides and protruding only 1" indoor.

3- I cancelled the old gas line and routed it on the right side

4- I adapted the funnel shape fiberglass ventilation insulator, so heat is routed completely outside.

All I can say, it fits and it works just fine. Most people would think it is original, except when they open the fridge.

I prefer the Norcold unit because temperature is automatically regulated under 110V or 12V, as opposed to the Dometic 2193 which is the only other option that is now available in that small size.
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Old 09-04-2011, 02:46 PM   #2
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Hello Martin. Most folks solve this problem by extending into the living area. I think I like your approach better. Very nice job. A while back someone suggested using an old shower surround (easily obtained) as a source for fiberglass sheeting. Might work in place of the lexan should others go this route. Thanks for sharing, Raz
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Old 09-04-2011, 05:38 PM   #3
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Now if you repaint the blue line trim no one will ever know!!
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:24 PM   #4
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Fridge upgrade on Trillium 1977

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Now if you repaint the blue line trim no one will ever know!!
This blue line is made of reflective tape (like road signs). Buying matching tape or paint may be an economical option the day I decide to strip and refinish the exterior (currently painted with Tremclad almond color).

I found a local vendor that sells Lexan sheets of all sizes cheaper than most vendors sell plexiglas (too brittle) or aluminum (too thin or too expensive). I used another sheet of 4mm lexan to replace the door window that had a broken piece of 5mm glass on the bottom. It is unlikely to ever break again !

Martin, Qc Canada
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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It is threads like this that make this site a great one. Excellent job on the switch and explaining it!
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Old 05-03-2017, 06:23 PM   #6
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Wow looks great and wonderful approach.

Now that its been a few years how is it holding up?

I a thinking about replacing my 211 in my scamp. Dometic 2193 gets good reviews but the norcold doesnt, what is your opinion.

Thanks!!!!!
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Old 05-03-2017, 07:00 PM   #7
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Hi,
The used Norcold fridge i found was the closest size i could find for replacement of the Dometic 211. It works fine. What reviews won't point out is the fact there is a huge advantage to position the pilot flame on the forward position, so it remains in propane operation as you drive, without being shut up continuously otherwise, as the Dometic did on my trailer tent too because the flame was on the rear end of the fridge. Using 12v is another solution, if you can, but keep in mind the fridge can drain your car battery in very little time if you stop for lunch.

Norcold and Dometic make good reliable units with easy to find spare parts. As long as you find a close size match that fits in it should work just fine. Of course, make sure the one you install has been fixed in case there has been recalls on some models. It does not mean the model is bad because it has been recalled. I suspect this is what makes you think Dometic is better than Norcold. Actually, i have less trouble with spider intrusion and reliable operation with the Norcold than the previous two Dometic I used.

Good luck and have fun !
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Old 05-04-2017, 04:38 AM   #8
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Thanks for the great response. Is the position of the flame something I can do or is that a factory preset thing. I have always heard that dometic and Norcold are the best. Both the small ones appear to be the same size. As for reviews I have seen comments on Amazon and then two RV and boat sites. I'd hate to drop that much money for something that doesn't work well. Your comments definitely help
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:05 AM   #9
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Installing a 21" deep fridge into a 19" space on a Trillium 4500

From models I found that could find that fit the size as a Dometic 211 replacement, Norcold burner is on the left, Dometic is on the right corner. It can't be changed. The most current problems occur when spiders sneaked into the burner and chemny, or if you don't level the fridge. Spider nests can be a pain to clean up, but overheating the ammonia refrigerant compound (if not level when operating) may lead to permanent damage to the refrigerant which will reduce the fridge performance, possibly to the point of being unusable. Your LP pressure regulator must work perfectly and the door must be perfectly airtight, otherwise, even a brand new unit won't work properly. In short, do what 95% don't: read the user manual. :-)
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:15 AM   #10
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Installation manual and service manuals are also very useful if you are performing installation and maintenance yourself.
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Old 05-04-2017, 05:29 AM   #11
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Installing a 21" deep fridge into a 19" space on a Trillium 4500

I have been told that turning the old fridge upside down is the magic fix to ammonia crystals that block the free flow of refrigerant... i suspect crystals to occur as a result to refrigerant degradation from overheating, very long periods of being unused, or both. Because of such deductions from my part, i would NOT buy a used fridge without testing or warranty and i would avoid buying units that are older than 4-5 years. I am not qualified to verify or confirm my suspicions as to what can kill a 3way fridge, but i don't beleive on magic... i prefer to read and apply manufacturer's manuals.
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Old 05-04-2017, 08:28 PM   #12
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I forgot to mention another advantage of the Norcold over the same size Dometic fridge: 120v ac has thermostatic control. No more temperature variations from day and night to adjust when you spend a few days on a campground with AC. It works just like a home fridge.
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Old 05-05-2017, 05:10 AM   #13
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Great job...I replaced mine in my Boler, with same fridge, and just took the space from the inside. Put it one and half inches + the door frame.
Fridge worked good but had hard time adjusting the temps between night and day ambient temps where on sunny days fridge was not cold enough and on cool nights, food was frozen...I thought my wife boiled the eggs when I wasn't looking when I cracked one for a fried egg in the morning but it was just frozen.
MMMM that lettuce is nice and crunchy.
I think I would use cedar and not pine for wood that will be getting wet in the back of fridge. it will rot and you will need to replace it.
Looks good.
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Old 05-05-2017, 05:43 AM   #14
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Temperature control

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry View Post
Great job...I replaced mine in my Boler, with same fridge, and just took the space from the inside. Put it one and half inches + the door frame.
Fridge worked good but had hard time adjusting the temps between night and day ambient temps where on sunny days fridge was not cold enough and on cool nights, food was frozen...I thought my wife boiled the eggs when I wasn't looking when I cracked one for a fried egg in the morning but it was just frozen.
MMMM that lettuce is nice and crunchy.
I think I would use cedar and not pine for wood that will be getting wet in the back of fridge. it will rot and you will need to replace it.
Looks good.
I don't know if you installed a Norcold or Dometic version, but the Norcold I installed on mine does NOT produce crunchy lettuce at night under 120V AC. Under LP, both brands have similar performance, so crunchy lettuce is a permanent overnight risk. I use the outdoor sensor of an electronic thermometer to monitor inside the fridge compared ambiant temperature. That way i can set the ideal temp on day time and it remains ok at night. The tricky part is the fact every time the door is opened, it takes a couple of hours to get back to the coldest point. 3way fridges are not as quick as a compressor based fridge to cool down. It is best to keep cool a new load of groceries on an ice chest prior to load the 3way fridge as you probably know.

Cedar is a good idea, but so far, the area remains bone dry and the risk of rot is limited with a good coat of paint.
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