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Installation of Auxiliary Ventilation Fans for Norcold Refrigerator in 2022 LEII


dhaig

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Nice work, and I'm sure you'll see a performance bump with the addition of fans.. I also added a couple of them recently, and with the arrival of Idalia  I finally got to see how the fridge performed with them of the course of several days. Not too bad for a 13 year old fridge considering it's been running in 90+ deg temps during the day. IMO, these fans should be standard equipment on absorption fridges.

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2010 Elite II, Hull #45.  2014 Toyota Sequoia Platinum 4WD 5.7 with tow package.

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On 8/28/2023 at 10:18 PM, Katjo said:

WoW, thank you for this incredibly thorough explanation and photos of your trouble and solution for the Norcold refrigerator. Very helpful!

@dhaig:  We totally second @Katjo's comment - thanks for posting your findings about the Beech Lanes!

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This "story" is a bit embarrassing but ....🥵

At the end of last year my original exterior fridge fan bit the dust.  It had been making noises for some time, but, finally, mercifully, it made no more noise.  Certainly these poor things do live in a rather harsh environment and get little "love".

So, over the winter I decided to get a replacement (I ordered THESE).  

While TWIST was in storage I looked at how the old fan was installed and decided to replace the rubber isolation bushings too which I got at Lowes.  I also noted how the existing fan was wired and did all that I could in my home workshop (i.e. I installed spade connectors on the fan wires) so that when it came time to install the fan in the Ollie the process would not take very much time.

Fast forward to a day before leaving for the Owner's Rally and I installed the fan with my plan proceeding very smoothly.  Except for one "small" detail - when I hit the switch just inside the Ollie's door, the fan didn't come on!  Of course I rechecked all my work - to no avail.  I got out the multi-meter and started checking my wiring and found out that I was only getting a little over 8 volts in the fan wiring.  THAT would tend to indicate a bad ground or loose connection but with the time I had before leaving I could not find any problem.

Due to lack of time - fast forward to a month ago when I stopped at the Mothership for annual wheel bearing service.  I mentioned my fridge fan problem to Jason and asked that if the Service guys had time would they take a look to see if they could identify the issue.

That afternoon when I picked up Twist I asked if they had enough time to look at the fan .  With a grin and a wink I was told that the issue was with a faulty crimp in one of the spade connectors!  Yes - I did the "tug test", yes I've done hundreds of crimp connections over the years without any issues, I even double crimp each connection.  Due to the environment that these things live in I also took the extra step of putting heat shrink over these connections!  Just shows what being in a hurry will do.

Now that things are back to normal - I can report that the fan I installed actually works better than the original and it is quieter too.

Bill

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2 hours ago, topgun2 said:

This "story" is a bit embarrassing but ....🥵

At the end of last year my original exterior fridge fan bit the dust.  It had been making noises for some time, but, finally, mercifully, it made no more noise.  Certainly these poor things do live in a rather harsh environment and get little "love".

So, over the winter I decided to get a replacement (I ordered THESE).  

While TWIST was in storage I looked at how the old fan was installed and decided to replace the rubber isolation bushings too which I got at Lowes.  I also noted how the existing fan was wired and did all that I could in my home workshop (i.e. I installed spade connectors on the fan wires) so that when it came time to install the fan in the Ollie the process would not take very much time.

Fast forward to a day before leaving for the Owner's Rally and I installed the fan with my plan proceeding very smoothly.  Except for one "small" detail - when I hit the switch just inside the Ollie's door, the fan didn't come on!  Of course I rechecked all my work - to no avail.  I got out the multi-meter and started checking my wiring and found out that I was only getting a little over 8 volts in the fan wiring.  THAT would tend to indicate a bad ground or loose connection but with the time I had before leaving I could not find any problem.

Due to lack of time - fast forward to a month ago when I stopped at the Mothership for annual wheel bearing service.  I mentioned my fridge fan problem to Jason and asked that if the Service guys had time would they take a look to see if they could identify the issue.

That afternoon when I picked up Twist I asked if they had enough time to look at the fan .  With a grin and a wink I was told that the issue was with a faulty crimp in one of the spade connectors!  Yes - I did the "tug test", yes I've done hundreds of crimp connections over the years without any issues, I even double crimp each connection.  Due to the environment that these things live in I also took the extra step of putting heat shrink over these connections!  Just shows what being in a hurry will do.

Now that things are back to normal - I can report that the fan I installed actually works better than the original and it is quieter too.

Bill

@topgun2, Bill, I appreciate the story of your fan installation experience.  Thanks for sharing.

I dread projects which I must do a hurry, because they invariable turn into a huge PITA.  Fortunately, I had no deadline pressure for modifying the installation of the remote control for my fans.  Nonetheless, I had to re-do all of the electrical connections and add a few, due to the additional of the switch in the control panel, so there remains the possibility of problem "in use".  The acid test will be our next road trip, where the shake table torture will be applied.  I have very high confidence the fans can deal with extreme heat, as my driveway tests proved.

One of the benefits of DIY projects is gaining the knowledge of where to look to diagnose problems appearing later.  I try to take photos, before, during and after and keep notes.  These are great aids in dealing with problems such as you described.  Smart phones are a tremendous aid in doing so.

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20 minutes ago, dhaig said:

I dread projects which I must do a hurry, because they invariable turn into a huge PITA.  

Yep - I probably spent 2 hours trying to trace down the issue.  Even if I had not put the shrink tubing on the faulty spade connector connection I still would not have found the problem until I got around to specifically checking that wire before the connection and after the connection.  Of course - I simply ASSUMED that all of my crimps were good.

Bad assumption!

Bill

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The double cooling fan for the fridge is officially high on our prioritized "To-Do" list for this summer's adventures.  Thanks to all for posting the links and the process to modify the standard configuration for more efficient chill!  Great info!

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41 minutes ago, MAX Burner said:

The double cooling fan for the fridge is officially high on our prioritized

I only replaced the original fan with another single fan.  I don't usually camp in very hot locations and I think that the standard single fan does a fine job.  However, if you are camping in hot locations and/or want to get ahead of "global Warming" then a dual fan setup might help.😁

It should be fairly simple to construct a mount for the two fans versus the single.

Bill

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I have a set of 3.5 inch fans where I did a very similar install. My question is how were you able to secure the 5.5 inch fans? I would like to use the larger fans, but cannot figure out a way to do it. I secured the smaller fans to the upper vent cover, but the larger ones seem to prevent me from closing the cover.  Maybe you could post a close up picture of how they are mounted.  I can't tell from the first picture. Thank you!

 

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20 minutes ago, Ray Kimsey said:

I have a set of 3.5 inch fans where I did a very similar install. My question is how were you able to secure the 5.5 inch fans? I would like to use the larger fans, but cannot figure out a way to do it. I secured the smaller fans to the upper vent cover, but the larger ones seem to prevent me from closing the cover.  Maybe you could post a close up picture of how they are mounted.  I can't tell from the first picture. Thank you!

 

I tried installing 5.5 fans on mine too but it was impossible to make them fit. Maybe differing clearances based on year of hull and fridge model?

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Note the Oliver supplied "supports" beneath the fan picture.  I used these same supports when installing my new fan.  Unfortunately, I do not have a picture of where and/or how the bottom of those supports are attached.  But I do hope this helps you.

Bill

 

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Thank you Topgun, I have a 2020 and as far as I can tell there was never a fan installed.  That is why I put in the 2 3.5" fans. Running on propane in the summer was not a good option for food safety.  The picture does give me some ideas though.  Thank you!

 

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3 hours ago, Ray Kimsey said:

I have a set of 3.5 inch fans where I did a very similar install. My question is how were you able to secure the 5.5 inch fans? I would like to use the larger fans, but cannot figure out a way to do it. I secured the smaller fans to the upper vent cover, but the larger ones seem to prevent me from closing the cover.  Maybe you could post a close up picture of how they are mounted.  I can't tell from the first picture. Thank you!

 

@Ray Kimsey and @CRM,  my apologies for not including the detail photos below in my original posting.

The fans come mounted together as an assembly.  Mounting hardware is included in the kit.  In the first photo below, at the right rear of the fan a flange can be seen with a Phillips head screw circled.  This screw and a matching one on the left side secure the upper part of the assembly to the sloped MDF panel which forms the top of the rear compartment of the refrigerator.

At the lower right another Phillips screw with a large head clamps to the front vertical edge of the vent opening.  A hex screw attached to the front lower right of the fan frame holds a small rectangular bracket which clamps to the rear side of the vertical edge of the vent opening.  Together, these two screws form the clamping mechanism to the vertical edge of the vent opening.  The same arrangement holds the lower left side of the fan to the vertical edge of the vent opening.

image.thumb.jpeg.09f75d0527175b9355ed61c388f53bba.jpeg

I editing the photo below to to brighten the interior details.  Unfortunately, I do not have the exact dimensions of the upper vent opening.  My recollection is that I did a quick measurement of the vertical height available inside the opening and concluded the 5.5" height of the fans would fit.  Amazon lists the dimensions of the 2 fan assembly as: 1"D x 12.5"W x 5.5"H.  The Beech-Lane website does not list the dimensions of the fans.  My trailer is in a storage facility about 35 miles north of my home.

The cables for power and remote control run up the left side of the compartment, across the sloped MDF panel behind the fans and up into the right corner of the compartment into the area behind the microwave oven.

Our ELII is a 2022 model.  I do not know if the size of the upper vent opening has varied over model years.

image.thumb.jpeg.4b9b6bd497e952105d64d1c130f550d3.jpeg

I hope this helps clarify the mounting method.

Don

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3 minutes ago, dhaig said:

Our ELII is a 2022 model.  I do not know if the size of the upper vent opening has varied over model years.

My 2010 has the same size vent, but I don't have the depth available near the top of the opening to be able to fit the 5.5 fans.

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@dhaig@CRM@topgun2 Thank you all and others I may have missed. The additional pictures help a lot. I actually have the same Beech Lane fans so I was especially interested in how they did that.  I will work on it tomorrow!  We are heading to Colorado, Utah, Arizona  in a couple of weeks so that will be a good test for it.  Thank you again!

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  • 6 months later...
On 8/28/2023 at 10:10 PM, dhaig said:

The 12VDC power supply to the refrigerator was also used to power the fans

dhaig,

Are the connections below the yellow caution label in your photo the power supply to the refrigerator, yellow being ground and red being 12v ?  Trying to figure where to tie in for the new fans.

John

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@johnwen, you are correct- yellow is ground and red is 12VDC.

I believe you were referring to the image below:

image.png.f08b4ef8d0b39ab2389ea292ce850f3c.png

Please note, I later relocated the fan control to the upper storage cabinet above the refrigerator and microwave oven.  The power connections for the fans remained unchanged from what is shown above.

Regards, Don

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