browse (browse) wrote in vw_campers,

My kingdom for a fridge!

Before this latest road trip, I had finally gotten a new fridge installed in the bus. What a massive trial that has been!

I bought this bus, a 95 Eurovan, Winnebago conversion, Spring of 2004. The original fridge had been screwed up by the previous owner and didn't run at all. On the very first roadtrip I took with it, I found a shop that specialized in RV and marine fridges. They said the fridge was a total loss and I needed a new one. That original fridge was made by Norcold, and this guy was an authorized Norcold repair shop, so he could just put in a new one, right?

Sigh, not so fast. This fridge was a special model made but Norcold especially for Winnebago. So, you can't get it from Norcold direct. The only solution was to find a Winnebago shop and have them order the fridge for me. Grrr. Fine. So I had the Norcold dealer pull the old fridge for me (since he had it out for troubleshooting anyway) and figured I would find a local Winnebago dealer when I got back home.

So, that Summer I started looking for a local Winnebago dealer. After doing some digging, the only option turned out to be 30 miles away in the Santa Cruz mountains. I called them, explained what I needed, gave the the part and model numbers from the original Norcold fridge and helped them find the part numbers for the modern version of the same fridge. They took my credit card number, put through a charge for the new fridge, and placed the order wit Winnebago.

Once a week after this, I would call and ask if the fridge had arrived. "Not yet - sometimes these things are back ordered - I'm sure it'll be on the next shipment." After a month of this routine, I called again and started raising the volume a bit. And finally got a response of "Huh. I just got off the phone with Winnebago. They don't seem to have a record of the original order. Want me to place the order again?" Arrrgggh! At this point, I was ready to start a major cross-country roadtrip that I had been planning for several months. So, to hell with the fridge (for now), I decided to get on the road.

Fast forward to this Spring. I spent some time looking for any alternative to this Winnebago dealer. And failed. So, I went back to them again, and again asked them to order the fridge for me. This time, it arrived within a couple of days. Amazing! I scheduled an appointment to have the fridge installed, and within a couple of weeks I finally had the bus back, with a shiny new fridge. I'm grumpy because they cracked the black plastic facing on the control panel just above the fridge, but I plug in the shore line and run the fridge on AC overnight and it works just fine. So, that counters my grumpiness about the cracked plastic. The next day I ran the fridge off battery for a while (just to make sure it worked) while I switched the hinge on the fridge door so that it would open the other direction. No problem.

Then I took off on the latest roadtrip. And quickly found that while the fridge runs fine on AC (when the shoreline is plugged in) and on DC (while the bus is running, so the alternator is keeping the camper battery charged), I cannot get the fridge to run from propane. I carefully followed the lighting procedure from the fridge manual, but it just won't stay lit.

This trip passed through Portland again, home of the Norcold repair shop I first visited a year ago to have the old fridge pulled. So, I had them look at the fridge installation. They found a number of mistakes in the installation, including a screw that kept the electronic propane lighter from engaging. When I arrived to pick up the fridge , it had been running off propane for several hours and was suitably cold. And best of all, they didn't charge me a dime, but billed it all as warranty work on the fridge. Excellent!

So, a happy ending. Except... on the back end of the road trip on the way home, I tried running the fridge off propane again. And still couldn't get the damn thing to light.

I'm cursed. That's the only possible explanation.
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