2002 or Older Casita

This page shows what should be done if your frig needs to be replaced in a 2002 or earlier, Casita.  It appears that if you have a 2002 model Casita or earlier, the factory first installed the refrigerator and then built the rest of the trailer around it.  In later models, 2002+, the rear window was made large enough to pass the refrigerator through that opening.  It is not clear to me how much this helps because it still looks like the coolant unit needs to be removed.  In older model Casitas, additional modifications are needed to the refrigerator besides removal of the cooling unit, in order to remove the refrigerator through the usual side door opening.  The following information is for use in learning how to remove or reinstall a refrigerator from an older model Casita.  The included photos and text are only meant as an aid.  Refrigerator removal and replacement should be undertaken only by a trained and experienced professional.  If you decide to use the following information, you do so at your own risk knowing that the author is not liable or responsible for damage to you or your refrigerator or to your Casita Trailer and that this article is intended as an aid, not as a complete procedure.  The author is not responsible for the use or miss-use of this article.

The following details how to install a new Dometic RM2454 Frig in an older model Casita (2002 and earlier):  What is shown first, are the modifications needed to make the refrigerator small enough to fit through the Casita door.  To remove the old refrigerator, do the reverse of this installation procedure but with less concern about damage.

 View from the rear of the new frig showing the cooler/absorption unit..

The cooler/absorber as shown above, has to be removed.  From inside the refrigerator, remove 4 screws from between the cooling plates, open the freezer section and remove  3 more screws.  Remove the cable from the front panel and make sure it is free and unattached all the way back to the cooler unit.  (Hint: save the plumbers putty from the three access holes to reapply when putting every thing back together.)  Remove the defrost drain hose and punch out the drain tube.  On the inside of the frig, liberate the thermocouple and push it out the back of the frig.  On the outside four corners of the cooler, remove one screw each.  Remove the cooler with a tiny bit of prying as the thermal compound used to install the cooler unit acts a tiny bit like an adhesive.  A reasonable amount of force may be required by levering the four corners with a screwdriver or pry bar. Remove the frig door.  Remove the feet from the bottom of the frig.  Shorten the feet to match the length of the feet on the removed frig.

Measure the distance from the outside to the inside of the square cooler hole in the back and mark a cutting line as shown on the outside.  Drive a steak knife through in a few places to ensure correct placement of the cutting line.  Using the steak knife, cut as necessary to liberate a section of insulation from the back of the frig.  On each corner, there is a sheet metal strap the cooler assembly attaches to.  Use a Sabre Saw or hack saw blade to cut through the sheet metal as needed.  (Does not require a lot of effort.)

Appearance of the refrigerator box after removal of the insulation.  Try not to damage the removed piece of insulation as it will have to be reinstalled.  The cleaner cuts that you make will facilitate a cleaner reinstallation.

Placing the reduced size refrigerator into the trailer.  The widest part has just enough clearance to make it through the door. Notice the frig is upside down.  Then by lifting the frig up to clear the counter on the left, the frig will clear the rest of the way into the trailer.  The rope around the frig, helps maneuver the frig without risking damage to hands.

As seen from the inside.  

While upside down, install the shortened feet and then rotate the frig 180 degrees.  Reinstall the door.  

Now refit the removed insulation onto the back of the refrigerator.  Notice the application of Aluminum tape over the joints and then the addition of tabs on the left and right corners to repair the sheet metal sawed through in the removal process.  Adhesive is not needed to fix the removed insulation back in place.  (The force of the installed cooling unit by itself should be adequate.)  Spread "Dometic" refrigerator compound on the cooling side of the coils where it goes inside the repaired pocket.  Fit the cooling unit back in place, attaching all four corners on the back and then reinstall the screws on the inside of the freezer and refrigerator. Caution, the seven screws on the inside are not screwing into anything solid.  Be careful not to overtorque them.

Slide the frig back into its cabinet and attach A/C, DC, and Gas.  Test for a proper cooling cycle.  If everything works, then secure the new refrigerator in the same manner as the old frig that was removed.  Then caulk to seal as necessary.  The better you do the caulking, the less drafty your cabin will be in inclimate (windy) weather.

Email me .  I'm happy to answer questions or to discuss in general.

Revised 10/23/2017 (added instructions for feet and screws, general update)

copyright mark  All of the images and text on this post are copyright protected and have been digitally watermarked.  The images and text displayed here, in no way implies consent for any form of distribution or reuse.  Email me if you desire permission to do so.   The process to remove or install a refrigerator in a Casita as shown above, in no way implies that you can do without injuring yourself or permanently damaging the refrigerator.  The author assumes no risk or liability in the use or misuse, interpretation or misinterpretation, of this information.   

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