Fridge replacement - Fiberglass RV
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Old 03-04-2021, 04:50 PM   #1
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Name: Josh
Trailer: Perris Pacer
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Fridge replacement

1983 13 ft Perris Pacer in need of inexpensive fridge replacement. Any and all advice or ideas welcome!
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Old 03-04-2021, 07:00 PM   #2
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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There are two kinds of 12V units. The cheap ones are thermo-electric technology and limited in their cooling ability. They may not keep meat and dairy safe in hot weather. The better ones have a 12V compressor, but they run several hundred dollars and up. You may find you have to upgrade your battery and charging capability if you spend many days off-grid.

Another option is to look for a used propane fridge. Assuming your trailer already had one, the vents, plumbing and wiring are already there. The small ones require no electric power and can run for two weeks or more on a tank of propane. The size you need is common in tent trailers, so used ones aren't too hard to find. They aren't particularly efficient, but they do work and they can last decades.
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:02 PM   #3
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Name: Gordon
Trailer: 2015 Scamp (16 Std Layout 4) with '15 Toyota Sienna LE Tug
North Carolina
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Originally Posted by 83 Perris Pacer View Post
1983 13 ft Perris Pacer in need of inexpensive fridge replacement. Any and all advice or ideas welcome!
Please pay attention to Jon's reply.. as usual... its valuable
But I think he left two things out:

1. You should research Danfoss (now Secop) compressor type fridges.. it is what Jon referred to as "the better ones {which} have a 12V compressor..." If you can provide the fairly minimal electric demand requirements then that's a great option. Trade names, TruchFridge, IndelB, etc.

2. Inexpensive fridge options are likely to be disappointing. Sure, you can get a dorm fridge for $100.. but you better have 120 volt AC power 24/7. If your want to be off grid at all with a fridge, you need to lay out some cash.

And IMHO his estimate of 2 weeks for an abspotion (propane) fridge on a 20 lb LP tank is very conservative. 3-4 weeks is more what I would expect in most climates. But there are issues when using them in hot climates and more frequent tank changes when its hot is to be expected.
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Old 03-05-2021, 08:35 AM   #4
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
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What make and model of refrigerator do you have currently?
Also the mounting size makes a big difference in what you can fit.
Are you planning on making modifications if you get something larger in some dimension?
I don't think you specifically asked about electric or absorption fridges, but what did you want?
Also the intended use.
Boondocking has different needs than camping in RV parks where power is available.
Also what electrical systems do you have? Solar, battery, etc.
If you were to use an inverter to power a dorm fridge the inverter has to be larger than you might think to handle the starting surge of the compressor. ( the surge applies to the Danfoss DC compressors as well, but you wouldn't have the inverter issue.
The swing compressor units like the Engles do not have the starting surge, but can be noisier.
Sometimes if you live near bodies of water that attract many boaters with refrigerators you can find a pull out. I found a Norcold that needed some repairs for $100 and took a chance and was able to fix it the replace a noisier, older Norcold swing compressor unit.
Your needs and desires makes a difference and also the word CHEAP, which applies to me...
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Old 03-06-2021, 06:36 AM   #5
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
The Mountains of North Carolina
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Also, camping without power is not limited to boondocking. I never, ever, boondock. But I dry camp all the time, probably 90% of the time. Where do I dry camp? Almost all of my favorite national park campgrounds do not have power hookups. In addition, many of my favorite state park campgrounds do not have hookups either. Add to that my quick overnight stops at Walmarts, Cracker Barrel, truck stops, or whatever.

I avoid most commercial campgrounds. I find the sites to be very close together, there are no other amenities (parks give you hiking, site seeing and more), and are expensive. There are a few exceptions. KOAs seem to all be located between the interstate and a freight train track. Noisy!

Yellowstone has just one campground with hookups, and its a glorified parking lot. Meanwhile, they have about a dozen other campgrounds, large, spacious sites, no hookups.

Dorm fridge? Never going to work for me. Sure, they are the cheapest option. But low cost + doesn't work where I camp = waste of money. Dorm fridge in my workshop at home? Perfect!!
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Old 03-06-2021, 08:03 AM   #6
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Name: Jon
Trailer: 2008 Scamp 13 S1
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Same here, never boondock, but almost always stay at campsites without hook-ups.

Our used Scamp came without a fridge, and I have gone back and forth between propane and 12V options. The propane fridge in our Class B actually works pretty well, but I really hate the idea of cutting large vents in the Scamp shell. If I go 12V I’ll not only have the cost of the fridge, but also the cost of solar and a better battery to contend with.

Either way, the tiny size of any fridge that will fit in our Scamp won’t come close to meeting the cold storage needs of our whole family, which includes two teens.

So for the last 8 years, it’s been a $45 Coleman Xtreme ice chest and 20# bags of ice cubes ($2 at Costco). That’s always an option. Less appealing if you camp in isolated spots where ice is unavailable or very expensive.

It really does come down to how you camp.
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