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Old 06-09-2019, 12:33 PM   #1
Winnebago Camper
ArmyGuy51's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Oro Valley AZ
Posts: 15
Norcold 1201 Ammonia Smell and Replacement

Good morning, Looking for the thread or owner experiences on replacing our fridge. Still receiving class action checks but fridge has ammonia smell and mobile tech says it is time to replace vs cooling unit (fridge is 15 years old). In Las Vegas and will use coolers/ice until we head home to Tucson on Wed.

2004 Win Journey 36G 330 Cat
Mike Robinson
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:17 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 419
I'm guessing it is a Norcold? Go up to "Search" on the line that has User CP, Files etc. Type in Norcold. A ton of related threads with be listed.

Interested in why tech believes you should replace fridge rather than replace cooling unit. Our double door Norcold is approaching the age of yours. We stay on top of the PMs. The fridge looks great. But we are keeping a close eye on the chiller.

Doing pre planning research, came across Pines RV selling Amish built cooling units. Also a compression cooling unit they say retrofits.
Hurry home. Looks like the monsoon is setting up early this year.
Fair Winds and Following Seas
Terry & Rosalina
2007 Winnebago Journey 34SE
Retired Navy Mustang & Navy Wife
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Old 06-09-2019, 09:27 PM   #3
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Location: Tucson, AZ
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Correction. JC Refrigeration https://jc-refrigeration.com/products/

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Old 06-09-2019, 09:46 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2018
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They are absorption units with ammonia charges. The smell is a leak in the circuit and you will never get it right trying to repair the leak and recharge, assuming you find someone who is qualified to do so. Replace the unit IMO.
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Old 06-13-2019, 01:40 AM   #5
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Location: Santa Clarita, CA.
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There is no reason to replace the entire fridge. If you want to stay LP, replace the cooling unit. There are several different options now: Ammonia and Helium.
Helium is a tad more expensive but is inert gas and works as well

Jeff - WA6EQU
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:07 PM   #6
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Location: Grayson, GA
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Sounds like you have the 4 door unit like I did ---- I am still getting the checks also but, I replaced my Norcold with a residential frig. We never dry camp so I did not need the propane option for the frig. Replaced the Norcold with a 16.5 cu ft frig (6.5 more than the 4 door unit) ---- it was a Frigidaire model that was actually not as wide as the Norcold and the height needed no mods to slip it in the old space. Just thoughts to ponder.
Dave and Karen -- '02 Ultimate Advantage 36 C, 350 HP Cummins, Allison 3060 Tranny
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:26 PM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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I would recommend the JC refrigeration replacement. They have the standard ammonia units or the newer compressor in both DC and AC. I chose to replace mine last week with the AC compressor unit and it was an easy R&R. Video and instructions were great and the purchase and shipping was very easy. I have a 2002 Journey DL and replaced the fridge in 2012 and this replacement was 1/4 the cost and did not require me to remove the fridge from the coach...just removed the dining table and worked on it there...was done in about 4 hours.
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:49 PM   #8
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Yes time to replace and seriously consider the JC or other improved cooling units.

I have serous reservations about putting a residential unit in the confines of a Motor Home considering they all use a Propane or Iso-Butane refrigerant that have increasingly been in the news around the world for the horrific explosions they are causing.

Even LG warns of the danger of using their residential refrigerators in small rooms without enough air to dissipate the explosive refrigerants used in them and warns of the potential for a blinding flare up when servicing them, cleaning the coils, etc.
Neil V
2001 Winnebago Adventurer WFG35U
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ace, norcold, replace, replacement, smell

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