Well, we have our new refrigerator and it is installed and working just fine. Everything turned out super. Miguel (better know as Mickey) was the tech assigned to the install. He is quite the craftsman and it shows in his work. I was able to stay with the coach all day and watch him work. I also took many pictures and video of the entire process.
We started at 8am sharp and Miguel stayed late by 2.5 hours to finish it all up in one day. The install went very smoothly and the result, well, let’s just say that so far we could not be happier. The fit is really well done and if you didn’t know better, you would think it came that way from the factory.
I’m going edit all my video clips and make a single movie out of it and will post it up on YouTube as soon as it is ready. It will be so nice to have this done and not have to worry about losing our food or the fires that the old Norcolds are so well known for.
While I stayed with the coach all day (except for lunch), Carol was out and about the town. I kept her informed with text messages and pictures all day long. Here are some of those pictures of the process:
8:30am: Our Bounder backed into the work bay.
9am: Mickey (Miguel) has removed the old Norcold – that only took him about 5 minutes! Me thinks he has done a few of these before.
10:20am: We were really lucky as the old unit fit through our door with no problems. It is really heavy though and once it was out, it slipped out of the hands of Two Bears (owner of Apache RV Service) and crashed to the ground. It really made a thud too. Surprised it didn’t break the concrete! And very glad it happened outside the RV!
10:40am: Here you can see the old space with the floor and back baffle wall removed. If you look carefully, you can see a black spot along the back edge in the center. Turns out our old unit had a water leak and that caused some floor rot.
11:45am: Here is the new floor which is slightly lower than the old to accommodate the height of the new unit. The black streak on the front is special glue that will hold it all in. This dried over lunch.
1:00pm: Mickey is now measuring and getting ready to cut about one inch off of the top. This will give us the total height needed. Notice the yellow tape along the top of where he is working. This is masking tape that he put along his pencil line to make it easier to see as he cut. For the actual saw, he has both a normal saws all and a much smaller saws all that is air driven. This cut of slightly less that 32 inches took almost 6 minutes to make. He is very deliberate and measures several times.
1:50pm: The space is ready, now Mickey removes the doors off of the new unit so that it can fit through the window.
2:05pm: With Art’s (the service writer) help from the inside, the front passenger window is removed.
2:10pm: Three guys (Art, Two Bears, and Mickey) lift the new unit to a horizontal position and start passing it through the window.
As more of the unit goes inside Mickey goes inside to catch it and then Two Bears joins him inside. Art is left holding it outside.
2:20pm: The three guys carefully lift it into the space for the first fitting. It actually required no modifications except for the hinge caps which was expected. Mickey did a great job getting the space ready to receive it.
2:45pm: Here is the unit now in position with the doors off. Mickey was so proud that it fit the first time! He measured it for the hinge caps, then pulled it back out so he could cut those out. Then he re-installed the doors and worked on making brackets to hold it down in place. These are actually accessed from the back of the unit and they are quite strong.
Also the propane is tested to make sure the permanent cap has no leaks, the water is connected and checked for leaks, and the AC power is connected and the unit begins to cool.
5:15pm: The front window goes back on and is caulked with silicone so that it can’t leak. We have already heard the first ice cubes drop into the tray!
5:30 Mickey begins work on the trim pieces to go around the new unit to give it a good finished look. This takes until about 7:30. Carol did bring Mickey and I some dinner about 6pm, so we stopped for about 20 minutes to eat.
Above is a picture of the final result. It is at a crazy angle because my camera on the phone does not have a wide angle lens and you can’t get far enough away to get a good shot.
Also during the last 30 minutes or so, Two Bears came out and checked in with Carol and me. There were some slide marks on the floor and he got down on hands and knees to clean them.
At this point, Carol went back to the RV park and I went into the office to settle up the bill. Originally this was going to take two days to do but Mickey wanted to get it done in one day so that we would not have to come back over. It would take them extra time to get us back into position and set up and then when done, get us back out. By getting it done in one day, we save several hours plus we can sleep in tomorrow.
Now the best part……..which of course I saved for last……the estimate for the install was $2,000. The actual final bill was $1,380 total (parts, labor, tax, etc.). That was quite a relief!
We had some fears about how far the doors would open and whether they could open with the slide in, etc. Safe to say all are great and there are no problems like that at all!
Time will tell whether we chose the right option to solve the refrigerator problem. But so far, it is thumbs up. We were so fortunate to find a unit that was a close fit (thank you Whirlpool), that could be delivered in time (thank you Sears) and capable installers to do it (thank you Mickey, Two Bears, and Art of Apache RV in Las Vegas).
Oops – just heard some more ice cubes dropping! Tomorrow we will move our food from outside into the new unit. And we will be able to keep ice cream in the freezer without it getting all mushy. Yippee!