'84 bigfoot fridge modification - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:10 PM   #1
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Name: peter
Trailer: 1984 17’ Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 17
'84 bigfoot fridge modification

I have removed the dometic rm 361 fridge, flipped it upside down, sideway, front way, backways. reinstalled, have a fan in the backside fridge comp. blowing on the coils.seems to have helped some and will go down to 30 deg. at night but in the daytime when outside temp reaches 90 the fridge cant do any better than about 50.
the fridge has a rough opening of 20 3/8x 29 3/4, if i were to remove the drawer above the fridge i could achieve a RO hight of 34 1/2.
Has anyone any recomendations for a new fridge and where to buy?
if the new ones operate on the same principal would it be any better.
Thank you in advance for any info.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:32 PM   #2
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Posts: 926
That maybe the best it will do at 90*.
Need to get air moving over coils if need be prop open freezer door some. Also get a fan for the inside to move cooled air around.
Manual for a rm361

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Old 09-06-2020, 04:37 PM   #3
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Name: peter
Trailer: 1984 17’ Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 17
would a new fridge be any better or just more of the same
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:46 PM   #4
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Name: Z
Trailer: Sasquatch
Posts: 2,550
The older Bigfoot fridge installs were, I think, even worse than the install in my 91. Before replacing the fridge, check out the install manuals for your fridge or similar fridges.

Chances are, if you install a brand new fridge into that same space, you'll have the same issues. There are clearance requirements for the top, sides and back of the fridge. With the way Bigfoot installed mine, there was way too much space between the back of the fridge and the wall of the camper, so there was too much space for air to flow, and it wasn't flowing over the coils as well as it should. Then there was around 2" of space on either side of the fridge, allowing heat to collect and get stuck. Then there was a space right at the top, where the upper vent is, that allowed air to be trapped.

Add all that to the very restrictive vent covers, and it's a wonder these fridges cool at all!

What I did, and what you should do before spending hundreds of dollars:

Install baffles at the back of the fridge. These somehow attach to the camper wall, filling the gap between it and the fridge coils, forcing the upwelling air to go through the coils instead of around them.

Fill the gaps on the side of the fridge with insulation.

Use the same thin piece of flexible sheet metal you used for the baffle to create a ramp in the upper rear compartment, at the upper vent, to coax the air out of the vent instead of getting trapped in the box-shaped area.

Install a fan in the upper compartment, blowing air out of the upper vent. I went as far as to cut a hole in the upper vent so the fan could blow straight out, unobstructed, and it made a huge difference.

I also take off the bottom vent cover when it gets into the 80s. That also makes a big difference.

Another thing to check before spending a bunch of money on a new fridge is the propane pressure at the fridge.

This is a long, rambling thread, but everything you need to know about getting your fridge compartment set up correctly is in this thread.

You will not have a functional fridge if the compartment in you camper isn't set up correctly, no matter how much you spend on it.

Being unsure of your experience, I'll say this: an RV absorption fridge is a very finicky thing and they take a lot of work, even when they're working well. You need to constantly adjust the temp and be very careful about opening the door, making sure the door seal is sealing, not parking with the vents in the hot sun, etc. They aren't like a household fridge that just works, without constant attention.
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Old 09-06-2020, 04:46 PM   #5
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Name: Mike
Trailer: 1986 Bigfoot FT20
Posts: 926
It will be the same, absorption refrigerators are all the same.
You need to learn how to work with what you have.

Good fan outside and one inside. Park camper facing away from sunny side.

Trying running it on 12v. It’s not thermostatically controlled. My cause food to freeze. You will need to watch.
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Old 09-08-2020, 08:42 AM   #6
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Trailer: Trillium
Posts: 989
My new norcold n3150 in a 1981 Trillium will make ice when it is 32*c or 89.6 *F, so a new one will work better, if I had put fans in, i expect it could handle 100*F

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