Read this before replacing nonworking absorption fridge

gary-736Dear Gary,
I have a refrigerator that needs to have the cooling unit replaced.  Do you know of any place that I can get a new or rebuilt cooling unit for it? Thanks! —Tom R.

Dear Tom,
Any respectable RV dealer or service center can order a new or reconditioned cooling unit from a number of rebuilders around the country. Any certified RV service tech should be able to replace the cooling unit – after all, it is in the curriculum we teach the professional technicians!

It is not typically a do-it-yourself project without the proper training, however, but it is an easily learned task. Any established service shop should be able to swap out the unit in a few short hours, assuming they can fit you in. You’ll need to know the brand and serial number of your absorption refrigerator and be sure to call ahead to inquire about availability first. 

It’s a shame, but many RVers are coerced into buying a completely new refrigerator when a less-expensive alternative may be to just replace the cooling unit. A lot depends on the age of the refrigerator and if there are any other extenuating circumstances to consider before deciding whether to replace the refrigerator or just the cooling unit. Proper diagnosis, however, remains the number one consideration! Be sure it is indeed the cooling core at fault. 

Read more from Gary Bunzer at the See Gary’s videos about RV repair and maintenance.




6 Thoughts to “Read this before replacing nonworking absorption fridge”

  1. jane shure

    The best thing to do with these kind of refers is to pull them out and take them to the gun range and shoot them full of holes. Be sure to video tape and put it on utybe and address the video to the manfacturer. Who ever design this type of refer should be casterated with a dull rusty knife. These kind of refers are expensive pieces of junk. I refuse to even own one of pieces of junk. I use a boat rv style refer with a compressor. It is far better than the gas operated piece of junk. Many a RV has been burn down by these pieces of junk.

  2. PETE

    Does pulling the absorption frig and flipping it up side down for awhile still an option?

  3. Bill & Kitty BATEMAN

    I noticed a skim of yellow dust below my burner area … was told by a service tech that it is ammonia residue from a leaking cooling coil and that with that amount of residue my refer should not even be cooling. Happy Day .. on a lot of further inspection found that cooling unit had been replaced by previous owner and they had not cleaned the yellow residue from the burner area. Fridge, as always, is still performing beautifully. (Knocking on wood as I write)

  4. rvgrandma

    We knew it was the cooling unit when we walked into the MH and smelled ammonia. We have a terrific mobile RV tech that tries to repair vs replace if possible – unless you demand new. His prices are labor plus whatever his cost is for the part (part and shipping).

  5. Harry

    My Nocold was 14 years old, door fell off, sometimes won’t light, freezer seal leaking.
    New Nocold about $2300 so I replaced it with a larger residential Whirpool refer, cost $360! Have 40% more storage in same space, freezer stays at 0 if I want, cools down fast.
    Added solar to run it, cost about $1500, still under new refer cost!

    1. AH

      Smart, and leveling not quite as important.

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