Our Enormous RV Refrigerator Swap – the Nova Kool RFU 7300

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If you look back at our criteria for selecting our RV, a “large, non-absorption fridge” was on our list of criteria.  But exactly how large is “large”?

28% Larger!  That’s how much!


Our Norcold fridge had been working without issue since day one in our Winnebago EKKO.   But I had installed – and we had gotten used to – a larger refrigerator in our previous RV, Lance.  And after a while, a larger fridge started creeping its way back up our projects list.  Even though I wasn’t certain it would fit, we took the plunge and tried to install the Nova Kool RFU 7300.  It worked (thank goodness)!

But Why?

Several reasons, really.  The first of which I describe in the video as an “ice cream sandwich problem”.  Basically, if a refrigerator has a single compressor, you have to set a single compromise thermostat that will keep the freezer and refrigerator contents at approximately the right temperatures.  But depending on how the appliance is insulated and what exactly you’ve got in it, that can be a tough compromise to make.  If you set it cold enough to have solid ice cream sandwiches in the freezer, then the lettuce in the fridge might freeze.  The Nova Kool we install in this video has TWO COMPRESSORS.  This means we can set separate temperatures in the refrigerator and the freezer.  We get solid ice cream and unfrozen lettuce.  WIN!

The next reason has to do with capacity.  The Norcold 2152 has 5.3 cubic feed of total space.  The Nova Kool 7300 has 6.8 cubic feet – in approximately the same sized cutout!  That’s 28% more stuff we can fit in the fridge.  Not only that, but the freezer space is nearly tripled.  0.6 cubic feet before, 1.7 cubic feet after.  So now, our freezer is the right temperature to bring ice cream sandwiches… AND we have the space to do it.  In fact, we have so much space now, we buy extra stuff when we feel like it!

Finally, the Nova Kool has a drawer freezer.  That’s way better than the door-within-a-door freezer in the Norcold.  It’s easier to access, and it’s not way up above head level.

Any Negatives?

We took the fridge on a three week trip, and we haven’t found anything I would call a negative.  There are some differences worth pointing out though.

First, the venting is different.  The Nova Kool blows warm air out the front near the bottom.  We’ll likely appreciate that during the winter, but in the summer, it is something you’ll notice blowing on your legs.  The warm air has to go somewhere.

Next, the Nova Kool could use slightly more battery power than the Norcold.  I say *could*, because it really depends.  It depends on how you have your temperatures set in the fridge and freezer.  It depends on how hot it is outside.  It depends on how much you open and close your refrigerator and freezer doors.  The list goes on.  The one thing I can tell you for certain is that when I checked our overnight battery consumption in the mornings, I couldn’t really detect any difference.  The battery power used overnight is the same as we had been experiencing.  So for us, it didn’t seem to use any more power.  But the Nova Kool does have two compressors, so while both of them are running, it will be drawing more current than a one-compressor fridge.  I elected to run a new circuit for this, so it is something to be aware of.

About That Door!

The Nova Kool comes with either a black or stainless door panel.  Those are fine, but the panels are easily removable.  So before we left, we decided to have a little fun with it and we created some magnetic, dry-erase refrigerator door panels.  It’s not hard to do, it works with most RV refrigerators out there, and you can see it in this short video.

That’s about it for now.  Any comments or questions, sound off below and I’ll do my best to answer them.


James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    54 thoughts on “Our Enormous RV Refrigerator Swap – the Nova Kool RFU 7300

    1. Joanne Palmisano

      Hello James

      Do you think that the Novo Kool swap out would work in the new Sprinter EKKO? I am assuming that the Norcold currently in that model is the same as in the Transit EKKO, though the placement in the van is different and the positioning is different as well. Any thoughts on this as I know you did a thorough review of both models (so much appreciated!). I believe the Novo Kool is the model in the View. Too bad this is not a swap out option at the factory build.

      1. James - Post author

        I anticipate it would work… with the same amount of difficulty that you see me having in this video.
        Is it possible? Most likely.
        Will you enjoy it? Absolutely not.

    2. Drew Thornton

      Hey James, I’m thinking of replacing my RFU6809 single BD50 with a RFU7300 with the twin BD35’s (same cutout) . I’m concerned that the fans will blowing hot air into the van (caravan is in Australia with very hot summers). I’m wondering whether reversing the fans and sucking air back across the BD35’s to the back of the fridge & out the existing top & bottom outside wall vents, would be a viable solution. I’m thinking that this may not be as efficient as blowing directly onto the BD35’s. What do you all think?

      PS: I’ve also asked the Aussie distributor for Nova Kool but yet to get an answer.

      1. James - Post author

        We live near Las Vegas (it gets rather hot here) and we haven’t found the heat generated in the cabin to be a problem. But I understand the concern.
        I’ll defer to the Nova Kool team to give a proper answer.
        My gut feeling is that if you have a way to get very free-flowing air to the outside, it might be OK. But my experience with reversing fans on other appliances has been less than successful.
        I once had an oven with a cooling fan that was designed incorrectly: It sucked in hot air from over the stove, and vented it out down below the oven, where it could be ingested and heated again. Worst design ever. I tried to reverse the fan, and while I could get it to blow properly, there was a sail-switch that I could never get adjusted right, and the oven kept shutting itself off. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.
        There were no sail switches on the RFU7300, so at least you won’t have that problem.

    3. Dave Press

      Do you happen to remember how much space was there behind the old fridge?
      (I’m looking for ways to route a heat duct to the bedroom, but am hesitant to pull out the fridge only to discover there’s not enough room for a 2-3” duct)


      1. James - Post author

        I don’t remember with any real certainty how much space was behind the original fridge.
        I feel like there was enough for a 2-3” duct, but I don’t want to tell you that and set you up for failure. There was a bunch of wiring back there as well, so you’d also have to go over or under the wiring.

        It’s pretty darn easy to pull the fridge. I think it’s just four screws and the safety cable. Then you’d have your answer.

    4. Dellos


      I am hoping you can provide a little insight or help with locating the EKKO’s interior laminate-faced plywood. I contacted Winnebago and was told they purchased the product from Genesis Products in Indiana. I contacted Genesis and was told they only sell in bulk to manufacturers. I was able to find out the laminate product they use is a Schattdecor product. I tried contacting Schattdecor with no luck. You appear to have found a source. Could you share that source? The panel already laminated or just the laminate? I have the ability to laminate to baltic birch plywood. I have a couple of EKKO Mods if I can find the material. Thank you

      1. James - Post author

        I actually got mine from Winnebago. They were selling it for a time. It seems they may have stopped?
        Technical info – the panel is already laminated from the manufacturer, but the laminate is rather thin. I kind of wish it was just a laminate that I could apply to pieces myself, but that’s not what it is.

        In the EKKO Owners and Wannabes group on facebook, many have shared paint codes that are REALLY good matches for the green at least. (I’ve seen it in person… extremely good matches when the paint is applied by someone who knows what they’re doing.)

    5. John O'Brien

      Hi James:

      I, like so many others, dream about all of your amazing mods while we wait for our EKKOs (21 months so far). It is difficult to rate one over another but the larger fridge seems to be a must have for me since I will be full-time.

      Is it possible for you to recommend any person or business that could do the larger fridge install? I am in CO but would travel wherever necessary. TIA


      1. James - Post author

        I don’t have any “mod shop” that I am personally familiar with, so I’d be hesitant to recommend anyone.
        You might try a local marina. (Though that seems a strange recommendation, in Colorado.)
        Those marine guys usually do good work, and modifying boats can be more difficult than RVs (compound curves!).

    6. Clinton

      Thank you for posting this really interesting video James. As I write this, I have a brand new Nova Kool 6400 sitting in my garage (delivered this morning!) After watching the electrical part of your install, I am thinking that having a couple of those orange connectors that you used would be VERY helpful. Could you -lease post a link here.

        1. Clinton

          Thank you so much for taking the time to post the Amazon link James. May I trouble you to tell me why you prefer that model rather than this one.


          I have no experience using these devices and wonder if there are advantages to either model. Thank you in advance for all your advice

        2. James - Post author

          Well, my main reason for using the older style (222) connectors is that I have a stockpile of them on hand.
          I see no issue in using the newer style (221) connectors.

    7. Dave

      Great video, you need to establish a project score based on difficulty, extreme working temperature, number of band-aids or Advil required, and number of trips to the store.

      Happy with the 7300 in our B Van, only challenge is defrosting the freezer section, Please post if you find an easy way to defrost the freezer without water dripping out the front or removing drawer. We don’t have the option to leave it running between trips and need it completely dry before storage.


      P.S. – How about designing custom 3D printed guards to go around the thermostats to keep the settings from being bumped during use/transit?

      1. James - Post author

        Not a bad idea about the guards for the control dials. We bumped them a lot in our last 7300. On this one, we haven’t had that same problem. Or perhaps the dials are just harder to turn now.
        If it becomes an issue, you’re right, I’ll probably do something.

    8. Kevin Bredenbeck

      It’s all been said, the detail of the mods is truly well thought out. Your determination and the attention to detail doing it right is also one of my personal challenges. I could feel my heart rate go up at each attempt to get the fridge to slide in. Your mods are like a Kaizen event, think it out, go thru the motions and make it reality. Again hope Winnebago engineering and design team give your ideas some attention. Love the sink and stove top mod also. Great videos and information. Truly thanks to you both.


    9. Stacy Mattson

      Have enjoyed watching all your mods.
      This is the model frig that SHOULD HAVE been installed. I agree with Steph that unless you are 6′ and over with very long arms you can’t see or reach anything in there without a step stool and since I’m only 5 ‘ 1 ” that frig/freezer was a big NO for me and the EKKO.

      James, I’m with you on the ice cream sandwiches.

    10. Stephen Baker

      nice fridge, but curious why the novacool cant use ONE SLIGHTly larger compressor ..then use two cooling circuits with the same separate flow controls?? As for me..computer fan sounds GOOD to help cool my in-chevy s-10 wagon-mounted Morningstar TS-60 PWM solar charge controller as SO hot in there w windows just a hare open to vent my 6!!battery pwr bank hydrogen gas! Good partner with my Chinese big fan-cooled 5KW 12v inverter 2 yrs!!. no BOOM// Later// Steve B.

      1. James - Post author

        I suppose we’d have to ask Nova Kool about their fridge design. In our case, we haven’t found the two compressors to be a limiting factor, energy-wise.

    11. Will

      Ah, 12 volt refrigerators. How I could go on and on. I have an under counter Dometic that works fine until the temps hit 90 and above. The compressor is behind the refer and there’s not a good flow of air back there so this summer I opened up some 2″ holes behind the cabinet and installed a couple of switched 50 mm computer fans.

      I used a couple of Sensor Push bluetooth thermometers to diagnose high temperature eddies. If you haven’t seen them, check them out. I have one in the refrigerator, one outside the truck, and one inside the camper. They provide great data.

      1. James - Post author

        I check them out.
        I have a few Govee. Probably the same sort of thing, but more data is always good!

    12. Geoff Spitzer

      So funny that this project started with a precision 3D Printer and ended with every manner of carpenter’s tools for hogging away wood. I was waiting for you to pull out an adze. My wife said, “So, is that why they call it FIT RV?” I said, they should rename it “Barely Fit RV.”

      1. James - Post author

        OK, an adze would have been hilarious.
        I should have put one in the background in one of the shots or something to see if anyone noticed.

    13. Graham Smith

      Well, there would be less trial and error if you were to do this again using what you learned. But, this doesn’t strike me as the kind of mod that’s going to be adopted by a lot of people. Also, really curious about power use because the insulation on the fridge looks like it might be thinner and the freezer definitely look thinner.

      1. James - Post author

        We didn’t notice any undue power usage on our 3+ week trip.
        And even if we had, would the increased usage be due to refrigerator construction? Or due to the fact that we *could* now keep it cold enough for ice cream sandwiches – which the old fridge couldn’t.

        (It all keeps coming back to ice cream sandwiches.)

    14. Joni Boulware

      I really hope Winnebago views your mods and incorporates some of them. I particularly love tbis one. Who doesn’t appreciate lettuce that doesn’t freeze when the freezer works properly? And more room inside eliminates the need for the exterior slide out fridge freezer.
      I also thought the kitchen flip flop of cooktop and sink were great.
      But I keep wondering why you don’t tackle a ground up creation of your own.
      And when are you going to get a portable AC set up so you aren’t working in 105 degtee temps?

      1. James - Post author

        Winnebago does use Nova Kool in some of their other products, so maybe this is something that will catch on.

        The portable AC sounds nice, but there’s so much in-and-out and leaving the door open that I don’t know how well it would work. Besides, I seem to have gotten used to the temperatures. (I do keep it cool in the shop though, so I can always go in and take a break there.)

    15. Art Cutting

      You’ve gone pretty far with that rig. It would be fun to watch you build out a shell class A from scratch.

      1. James - Post author

        I get a bit obsessive about things when I’m working on a project.
        A build of that magnitude… well… I need sleep.

    16. Ian Furqueron

      Great video and part of me definitely wants to see how I can fit a fridge like this into my self-build.

      James’ “I Void Warranties” shirt has entered polo style with this mod.

    17. John

      Great project, great job!
      Just wondering, .. have you ever done a shop tour? I’d love to see some detail of your shop … really love the translucent panels in the garage doors too !
      Thanks !

    18. Van Liberty

      You now have the unit I have had for two years in my Embassy RV Traveler Sport, now (Dolphin SS) Class B Ford Transit 350 HD.
      The thing has so much space, I do COSTCO runs and never worry about space. The freezer holds way more than one might think. I did a TIKI pattern on the doors with peel and stick wallpaper.
      Nice job on Making it work!


      Another awesome how-to, but I have to say I cringe when you start pulling out your $$$$ tools and make custom parts. But that aside, If you were to do this again, would you approach the same way (removing thickness) or would you try another approach?

      1. James - Post author

        I seriously considered moving the wall, and I had Stef prepared to accept an inch less space in her bed… But when I saw the wall and cabinet construction I would have had to remove and rebuild, I became more dedicated to making it work.

        So – if I had to do it again, I probably would do it the same way. But instead of trying to remove little bits here and there, knowing what I know now, I’d leap straight to a full-side cut-out removal. One thing I wouldn’t change is that you really need to try to remove only as much thickness as you actually need to – since you’ll eventually be screwing into the edge of the plywood walls.

    20. Bill

      About to go through the second Norcold replacement in my EKKO. Obviously, the Norcold is not reliable. Do you think the Nova Cool will be more reliable and where did you source it?

      1. James - Post author

        We had one in Lance and didn’t have any issues with it in all the years we had it. I expect this new one to be just as reliable.
        We called Nova Kool directly to find one. (They’re Canadian… they’re nice.)

    21. Mason Harris

      I just wanted nstalled a NovaKool R4500 in an older Roadtrek. I absolutely love it. I have large enough battery bank to run it.
      Just one problem! It squeaks when I drive! I’ve spent 2 days and $50 on materials to quiet it. I’m giving up. I’ve had it in and out 8 times. I first removed bed all the 3:8” styrofoam insulation I encased it with. I then encased the fridge w polycarbonate plastic thinking plastic on wood would not squeak. Bought 1/2” rubber tape and taped all surfaces and taped behind the front trim that screws to wooden cabinet. I replaced the insulation I removed with foam eggcrate. It still squeaks like a bastard! I give up! I’ll learn to enjoy the squeak. Any suggestions? Does yours squeak at all?

      1. James - Post author

        Ouch. Sounds like a noisy problem.
        Ours doesn’t squeak at all, so I’m afraid I’m not much help.

        One thing I think about often, but always forget to try, is to tape over any rub surfaces with UHMW tape. I’ve always thought that would be a good squeak-busting solution.

    22. Tony

      Very nice upgrade. Hope that both compressors get enough cooling. Especially in your hot summers, there might be more air needed to keep those compressors cool. Will that single hole into the kitchen cabinet be sufficient?
      Keep,up the good work! Greetings from Belgium.

      1. James - Post author

        Since we were in 100+ degree heat during our trip, and the compressors were able to keep things plenty cold, I’m going to say there’s not an issue.
        Besides that vent in the galley cabinet, the fridge is also open underneath, and it’s also open at the top.

    23. Jason Rodarte

      Nova Kool RFU 7300 YouTube Video. Kick Butt video you two. Love the attention to detail and the candidness that you show when making the video. Bleeding thumbs, sweat, heat, temperature, etc. etc. no drama, just the blood sweat equity of doing what you do. You have me thinking this is my next Mod, I just have one idling problem, Michelle is saying no (ha ha ha) LOL, we will see who wins. Take care and always enjoy watching you two share and educate.
      Best wishes,

      1. James - Post author

        Glad you liked it! (I did cut out some of the swearing, though.)
        Everyone likes a bigger refrigerator… she’ll come around.

    24. Jim

      Well you definitely have an Ice Cream Sandwich obsession but hey it’s better than say an obsession with meth haha

      You have made me a believer on the fridge!

      One constructive criticism, the music almost made me turn the channel as it were. I just found it unnecessary and distracting at times.

        1. Jo

          Was your RV level when you started the install???
          Could that have skewed the squareness of you frig cavity some?

        2. James - Post author

          Doubtful that was the issue. We were parked in our carport. And if the RV shifted that much from just the slope of the carport, there are bigger problems.

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