Norcold Nonsense

 Posted by at 5:18 am  Dailies
Dec 312010

We were up and busy early yesterday morning getting our motorhome ready to go to our appointment at Camping Connection to get our new door lock installed, and to have our second Norcold refrigerator recall work done.

We left the Thousand Trails campground a little after 8:30 to be at the shop for our 9 a.m. appointment. Camping Connection has been doing a lot of Norcold recalls, and I’m sure this sign helps. Along with the fact that they have such an outstanding reputation for professional RV service work.

Camping Connection Norcold

This company doesn’t jerk you around like a lot of RV repair shops we dealt with when we had our Fleetwood Pace Arrow Vision, which we called the Motorhome From Hell. I can’t count the number of places where we arrived for an appointment, and then sat around all day, and more times than not they finally strolled out and tell us the parts needed for our repairs weren’t in stock, even though they had weeks to order them.

Not so with Camping Connection! They may be a small shop, but a lot of the big places, even the nationwide powerhouse in the industry, could take a lesson from them! Within five minutes of our arrival, they had pulled our Winnebago back to the service area and a tech was working on our repairs; a new entry door latch installed and the Norcold recall work done. We were finished and on our way by 11:30.

Camping Connection 2

Compare that to the four hours we spent at Camping World in Mesa, Arizona back in May while they replaced two tire valve stems that they had screwed up in the first place! And by the way, one of the two valve stems they replaced failed again, because they crank them down so tight they mash the little O-rings in the stems.

We feel a lot more secure now that we can actually lock our entry door again. The original door latch was white, and this one is black, because Winnebago no longer stocks the white unit. But it looks fine, and more important, it works!

There were two other coaches besides ours at Camping Connection having the same Norcold recall work done. And remember, this is the second recall, because their first fix didn’t work. But, considering the number of RVs that have burned to the ground from refrigerator fires, it has to be done. We have seen RV fires, and trust me, they are an ugly sight!

trailer fire

RV motorhome fire

Actually, we had two fires in our bus conversion, but thanks to Miss Terry’s quick response, and the lessons she learned in Mac McCoy’s RV Fire Safety classes, both were extinguished quickly with little damage.

Norcold was supposed to send customers a $50 gas card as compensation for their time and trouble after the first recall, not that $50 makes up for the hassles of calling around trying to find a shop that can do the work, sitting on your thumb for weeks waiting for Norcold to send the parts, because they won’t send a part out until you make the appointment, and then driving to a shop and sitting around waiting for the work to be done. This time around they are not even offering the $50 compensation. Not that it matters, since we never received the card from the first recall!

I have no idea why Norcold won’t just send their authorized repair shops a batch of the parts needed for the recall, so they could take care of customers as they come in.  Instead they make you wait while they send them out on an individual basis. I mean, they know that there is a potentially hazardous problem that could result in a fire, and even deaths, but they are either too cheap/lazy/stupid/incompetent (you pick an adjective, they all work) to just get the damn parts out there and installed. What a way to run a business!

We have one of Mac McCoy’s refrigerator fire extinguishers installed in our refrigerator compartment, and that makes us feel a lot more secure. Every RV should have one.

But Terry and I are in agreement that if our Norcold breaks, or if they have yet another recall (and I would not be at all surprised if they do), we’ll pull the piece of junk out and install a residential refrigerator. We had a Maytag refrigerator in our bus conversion for over eight years, and it never gave us a bit of trouble.

Thought For The Day – I’d like to help you out. Which way did you come in?

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Nick Russell

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  8 Responses to “Norcold Nonsense”

  1. That’s why I’ve always been happy that our Eagle has a Dometic refrigerator. Although Dometic has had some recalls, it’s been nothing like Norcold. And our fridge has never been on the recall list.

    But I also have one Mac McCoy’s fire extinguishers in mine anyway. After all, I am a belt and suspenders type of guy.

    But like you, if ours dies, I’ll replace it with a residential unit. If only because a new Dometic is over $3000.00 WOW!

  2. When we built our MCI it had come with a res. frig. The when we bought ‘Liberty’, an 01 Eagle, it had a res. frig. The original one was white and was not self defrosting. We repaced that one with a SS looking unit that is self defrosting I mean who has time to do those kinds of tasks when you are retired?
    See ya in Yuma.

  3. We just had our Dometic fixed at a cost of $1600. It’s not on the recall list. It still isn’t as cold as it should be so will have to have it looked at again. If we can wait until we get up to Orlando, we will use Camping Connection. Is it hard to switch over to a residential refrigerator? That sounds like that would be the thing to do. Not now but in the future.
    As a little side note we went to see Solomn’s Castle and the Lipizzan Stallions. The castle was very interesting, and we really enjoyed both of them. I didn’t know about them until I read it on here. So thanks for the info. Lyn

  4. Here in the SKP park in Benson, AZ, there was a motorhome fire yesterday morning at 8:45 AM. Yes, a Norcold refer! However, this one was not on the recall list as it was 11 years old! Everyone needs to heed the warning signs. If you smell something “rotten” turn off the refer and unplug it immediately! If it was not for the fact several “walkers” were going by, and our park requires a separate water hose to be hooked up on each lot, this motorhome would have looked like your pictures and no doubt damage would have been done to the casita on the site. Our neighbors have been waiting for 6 weeks for their Norcold parts and no firm date for delivery. We have borrowed a freezer and refer for them so their Norcold is now off! Glad we have a Dometic even though they are not home free on their recalls either. In my research of “home-style” refers it looks like Sears/Whirlpool make several that will slide right in to the existing RV refer space. Their efficiency is such many are not using them on inverters while dry camping and have no problems keeping the temp at the correct level. I think Dometic and Norcold will lose in the end!

  5. Ooops at Typo! Should be “many are now using them”. Sorry!

  6. There are some pics over on the wanderlodge owners website of a new class A motorhome that pulled into a campground and while hooking up, caught on fire. From what they said it only had 80 miles on it. Burned down to the frame.

  7. Linda,
    A lot of residential refrigerators are the same dimensions as RV models, so basically all you have to do is take out the RV refer, cap off the propane lines to it, put the new one in, anchor it down, plug it in and go. In our bus, we put two I-bolts in the floor, and used heavy duty (250 pound) zip ties to hold the refrigerator to them. On the doors, we used 3M hold downs that you can buy in RV stores to hold down TVs, etc. We run with our inverter on all of the time, and never had a problem. For years we had a modified sine wave inverter and it powered the refrigerator fine. Eventually we upgraded to a true sine wave model.

    Here is a link that blog reader Terry McKnight sent me about swapping out his RV refrigerator with a residential model

  8. We have had experience with both Dometic and Norcold units. The Norcold 1200 in our 2000 HR has always performed extremely well in all types of temperature conditions. We keep a remote thermometer in the fridge and it has always maintained a 36-40 degree temp. Which is what we want. This coach has been full timed in for 8 years without any fridge problems, except that Robert Christ and Co in Mesa, AZ broke the gas valve while doing the recall and then had the audacity to want $100 labor plus the valve to replace it. I did it myself in about 15 minutes. We did have the first “fire-safety” recall done about 3 years ago and did receive the $50 gas card from Norcold. We will do the second recall while we are here in Apache Jct, AZ. I have never been happy with any Dometic refrigerator I have had in the 3 other RVs that we used. The temperature in them was all over the place and the temperature rise while in hot weather was actuall scary. I am going to have the recall done, purchase a refrigerator extiguisher from Mac in Yuma and continue to enjoy the use of my Norcold fridge.

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