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Now I Fly
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PostMon Mar 06, 2023 6:00 pm 
We need some work done on our 02 Casita. Can anyone refer a trustworthy shop? Anywhere in western Wa. would be great. Needs a new Frig and tow hitch. Thanks in advance, Brian, smile.gif

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Randito
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PostMon Mar 06, 2023 11:08 pm 
IDK, the last time I did some checking around most RV service shops had months long waiting lists for getting an appointment, even for new rigs still covered by the warranty. There are lots of YouTube videos covering many aspects of DIY RV repair. For a fridge , One thing I discovered is the RV specific / big brand name appliances are priced many times higher than something similar not RV specific/ big brand name. I was recently outfitting my daughter's van with a 12 volt cooler. The big brand name 12 volt cooler was $1400 , the one I bought off Amazon was $350 -- but they both had the same warranty period -- just 1 year. I follow a number of vintage RV forums, many people when faced with $2000+ cost of replacing a RV refrigerator, that can run on propane or 110volts ac instead opt for a $250 "apartment sized" refrigerator, some additional solar panels , deep cycle batteries and a small inverter to just run the fridge.

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cdestroyer
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PostTue Mar 07, 2023 7:54 am 
how about a small portable generator there some available for a couple hundred

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Randito
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PostTue Mar 07, 2023 8:22 am 
Whether solar panels or a generator are used, storage batteries and an inverter are needed to run an "apartment" refrigerator at night / quiet hours at a campground. Most campgrounds don't allow generator usage from 10PM - 7AM Even if there are no such rules , if there are other campers nearby , expect to be harassed if you run a generator for more than a few hours. In warmer areas of the country "full time" community covering the roof with enough solar panels to run the air-conditioner is something that people do. Silent operation and no need to refill propane / gas tanks. The price of solar panels is now less than $1 per watt. When I outfitted my daughter's van with a 23 quart 12 volt cooler , I used two 100watt panels and two 33 amp hour deep cycle batteries. It has really worked well for her. So much less hassle than dealing with ice. Only downside is that she can't camp in deep shade, the van needs to be in the sun at least a couple hours a day to keep the batteries charged.

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Schroder
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PostTue Mar 07, 2023 8:38 am 
The hitch can be done at any welding shop. Most of them do RV's - Glenn's Welding in Mukilteo, Airport Welding in Snohomish, Smiley's in Mt Vernon. I've dealt with them all and they're all good. The fridge is not a hard job for DIY but you'll probably find that anything today is a different size so most of the work will be adapting the surrounding enclosure. I can't think of a shop I'd recommend. The latest trend is to go with compressor refrigerators, because they're about 5 times more efficient than propane absorption types, and power them with lithium batteries and solar. I have an Escape trailer and am sorry I didn't go for that option from the start.

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Now I Fly
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PostWed Mar 08, 2023 9:01 am 
Randito wrote:
I was recently outfitting my daughter's van with a 12 volt cooler.
Oh, that's a great idea, and I actually already have one. I'll see if I can figure out how to hook it up to the trails 12 volt.

Randito
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Now I Fly
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PostWed Mar 08, 2023 9:05 am 
Schroder wrote:
The hitch can be done at any welding shop.
Cool, more great information! Thanks!

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Malachai Constant
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PostWed Mar 08, 2023 9:52 am 
We have a compressor fridge in our pop up camper. I added 100 watts of solar on the roof and a 100 w portable briefcase and it works indefinitely in the SW. we do not stay in one place for more than a couple days. With sealed deep cycle batteries it fully recharges in an hour or so of driving. Have not switched to lithium yet due to hidden costs.

"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn

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contour5
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PostWed Mar 08, 2023 11:17 am 
Check explorist. https://www.explorist.life/ Itís Vana centric, but includes a startling amount of information including full wiring diagrams for serial and or parallel electrical set ups. Iím getting ready to strap about 400 Watts of solar onto the roof of a van myselfAnd Iím finding the site useful for waiding through all the various options.

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Now I Fly
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PostThu Mar 09, 2023 9:31 am 
contour5 wrote:
Check explorist. https://www.explorist.life/
Wow, that's a great site from what I've read so far! Thanks!

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Riverside Laker
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PostThu Mar 09, 2023 6:53 pm 
Malachai Constant wrote:
Have not switched to lithium yet due to hidden costs.
This winter, I did the work to convert our Four Wheel Camper to lithium -- our AGM battery was starting to fade. That involved a new charge controller that handles the truck alternator and solar, a new battery, and bigger wiring. I did spend more than I wanted to... but am very happy with the change. Our 90W suitcase folding solar has been good enough, but I added a flexible 100W portable panel. It's only 5 lb and I may leave the 22 lb suitcase at home.

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Damian
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PostThu Mar 09, 2023 10:08 pm 
Old RV fridges are pretty repairable for cheap. YouTube is great source and can save you a fortune on RV stuff. Sometimes itís simply a matter of blowing cob webs out of a small jet. Sometimes a thermocouple. The fridge and stove in our 1967 Silver Queen trailer are original and still work great. Good luck!

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Randito
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PostFri Mar 10, 2023 12:24 am 
Depends on what's broken. The propane fridge in my 1992 motorhome is the original, but not the circuit boards , I've replaced those with new boards bought from Amazon. However, the tray below the heater tube collects more rust flakes each time I drive , eventually the tube will rust out and the ammonia will leak out and there is no repairing that.

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Slugman
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PostSat Mar 11, 2023 12:23 pm 
Iím not retired yet, so my trips are on the short side, usually four or five days. It just isnít worth bothering much with my fridge that is original to my 1997 camper van. I havenít run it on propane in at least ten years. The only amenities important enough to me that I would pay to get them fixed are the heat and the toilet. I donít use solar because I only use electricity to run the heat exchanger fan.

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Damian
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PostTue Mar 14, 2023 6:27 pm 
Speaking words of wisdom, let it rust. What's a circuit board?

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