Replacing our RV Fridge – Part 5: We’re Done!

Eventually, all good things that make your knuckles bleed must come to an end, and so it has with our refrigerator replacement project.  The Nova Kool RFU 7300 is in, the dual compressors are running, we’re camping, the beverages are cold, and the salads are no longer frozen.  Life is good.  I walk you through the finished product in this video:


Beyond the video, and the fact that we do not miss our absorption refrigerator one bit, there’s not much more to say.  There was a flurry of not-very-interesting-activity-to-video towards the end.  Lots of cutting, trimming to fit, moving things in and hooking things up. There was a bit of excitement when I had to drill some holes into our microwave that Stef didn’t know about…

I’ve also continued the carbon-fiber-door theme from my last cabinet rebuild.  Stef is after me now to do something to the lone woodgrain wall in between the two sets of laminate cabinets.  That means it will probably happen.

Beyond that, the project is what it is.  I’ll be doing a post at some point in the future where I figure out the electrical load of the refrigerator, how long it takes to cool, how long I can run it off of batteries, etc.  But those will have to wait, because like I said… we’re camping now!


Oh.  Also.

FOR SALE:  One RV absorption fridge.  Slightly used.  Excellent lettuce freezer.

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling certified 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.

    37 thoughts on “Replacing our RV Fridge – Part 5: We’re Done!

    1. Charles Hasman

      Seriously considering ordering an RFU7300 for my Coach House B+ RV that is on order. Would love to see your promised follow up reporting on the Nova Kool RFU7300 performance. My biggest concern is how noisy the refrigerator and compressor cooling fans are and how often they run.


      1. James - Post author

        Oh wow. I never did that, did I?
        Well, to answer your questions, the fans aren’t very noisy at all. Yes, you can hear them, but they’re not objectionable (and I find people talking in the next RV objectionable).
        Their run time is highly variable. If it’s cool out, they don’t run so much at all. But if it’s 110 out, then they run pretty frequently.
        Personally, I wouldn’t worry about them. You’ll never hear them over your air conditioner!

    2. Rudy

      Question: How do you regulate the temp in the freezer? Is there a separate dial? Could you run the freezer as a fridge?
      That info seems to be missing from the NovaKool website….or it is hidden very well..
      and one more: Are the doors reversible?
      Keep up the good work…

      1. James - Post author

        Yes, there is a separate dial. I don’t know if we could run the freezer as a second refrigerator – we’ve never tried. (Stef likes ice.)
        If I had to guess, I would think that even on the lowest setting, the freezer would still be too cold for a fridge. There’s a lot more coolant coil area per unit volume in the freezer.
        And yes, the doors are reversible, though we ordered ours swinging the way we wanted from the get-go.

    3. Tim Lundell

      James, didn’t know if you are aware that the Nova Kool RFU7300 is now standard equipment in the 2018 Airstream Interstate Grand Tour. We are considering replacing the separate R and F units in our 2015 model (the refer has failed and will probably have to be replaced, so we are going to upgrade).

      1. James - Post author

        Cool! An Airstream is where I first saw the RFU7300. It was a special edition or something at a show once.
        Glad that they’ve gone further ahead and adopted it as standard. We’ll kill off absorption refrigerators yet!

    4. Phil Bailey

      And I’ve also have 2 Grape Solar panels to supplement 360w solar power for my electronic’s source.

    5. Phil Bailey

      Dear James,

      Due to a predominant Healthy Choice frozen diet, to reduce dietitian and preparation time required, would you know of a quality 12v refrigerator/freezer with inverse proportions (Freezer>Refrigerator size)?

      I am trying to use your dual alternator/(600ah)li-ion methodology with no lead-acid batteries OR no lp gas as well. With my front pickup truck hood on Nissan NV 3500, you have approximately 4 more linear feet storage than I on your model. And since I’m also packing a 650cc motorcycle too, it’s greedy heuristics all the way for room and space: I don’t have room for lp gas containers!

      It will be hard enough installing an interior 30 gal fresh water AL tank!?!?

      Any expert guidance would be greatly appreciated! Thank You for helping the RV community survive.

      1. James - Post author

        I’m not really aware of any combo units that have a bigger freezer than refrigerator.
        BUT – I believe if you look at Vitrifrigo, you can get some freezer only units and refrigerator only units. You could just mix and match to get the sizes you wanted?

    6. Dan

      Thanks for all that you contribute to RVing. You are nearing a one year anniversary for this refrigerator. How about a “trip report” of sorts! How has it performed, held up and energy usage are of interest to me. Thanks.

      1. James - Post author

        It’s on my list.
        Unfortunately, it’s not as exciting as some of the other projects I come up with, so it keeps getting pushed back down the list.
        I will say that – as much of a pain in the rear as this was to do… I would definitely do it again. This fridge is superior in every way to what we had before.

    7. Serhiy Levkov


      Where did you get this RFU 7300? I like it and would like to put it also but cannot find it on Nova Kool site or anywhere online.


      1. James - Post author

        I got it directly from Nova Kool. They did tell me they weren’t ready to offer it to the general public yet.
        It seems they’re still not quite ready.

    8. AL

      Enjoy watching all your videos for this mod. I noticed you only went with the 12v version. Is that the default choice or would you have preferred the 12v/120v as in the K. Any advantage of one over the other, since when plugged in, you are charging the batteries anyway.

      1. James - Post author

        In my mind, there’s really no difference. 12v off a charger, or 120v from shore power/inverter. Six of one, half dozen of the other.
        12v did mean that there was one fewer set of connections that I had to hook up. So there’s that I guess…

    9. Clay and Cait

      Hi James and Stefany,

      Wondering if you have any long term thoughts on your Nova Kool fridge replacement? We have had quite enough of our 3 way hunk of junk, I am ready to rip it out of the wall. Cait directed me to your videos, and I couldn’t agree more with the frustration surrounding the dinosaur.

      Planning to replace ours with 1 of 2 smaller model (RF 3800 or RF 4500) because it is be an easy replacement in the cabinet opening. The 3800 draws 2.2 amps, the 4500 4.4 (I am presuming 1 versus 2 compressors). If you have any thoughts there, all ears to your suggestions if that would make a big difference in performance. The lower power draw on the slightly smaller unit is attractive.

      How is the nova kool performing in the summer heat? Any decrease in performance at higher temps? How does the temperature control setting work? We are ready for a fridge that works.

      Thank you for your time,

      Clay and Cait (TwoPlusLu)

      1. James - Post author

        I do owe a post with a “trip report” of sorts for our refrigerator, don’t I?
        Not to spill the beans, but the refrigerator has performed exactly as expected. In hot and humid temperatures, the compressors do run more, but they have never frozen our lettuce or spoiled our milk. The temperature control is a simple dial affair with settings from 0-7. In the summer, we’re keeping it at around “6”. We’re particularly impressed with the freezer section, which has been keeping ice, frozen yogurt, whatever – solidly frozen.
        I will admit a lower amp draw from a single compressor unit would be nice, but I think it all evens out in the end. Each compressor only runs as often as it needs to. And if we ever didn’t have anything in the freezer, we’d save a little battery power. Since I only have one rig and one refrigerator, it’s kind of difficult for me to do a true side-by-side test.
        In short, I think you’ll be happy with the Nova Kool. You will certainly eliminate the propane fridge issues at the very least!

    10. Paul V

      Great work. Recently started binge watching your videos as Travato research. I agree that the refrigerator would have to go for me to live with an otherwise appealing 59G. But after watching your videos on this mod, I had simpler idea.

      Would it be feasible to take the Nova Kool fridge from the 59K, rip out the cabinets below the propane burners and mount it there? And then rip out the existing fridge and put storage in its place. I don’t need a ton of capacity and the smaller fridge might be more battery-friendly with stock batteries.

      1. James - Post author

        Well, with enough time and money, everything’s possible… but.
        There are two pumps, a bunch of water lines, a propane line, and a bunch of wiring inside that cabinet. All of that would have to be relocated. Also, I don’t know if that cabinet has the depth necessary to house the refrigerator from the K. It’s something I’ve never looked at.

    11. Interstate Blog

      I’m looking forward to seeing your energy numbers on the new fridge. My husband and I just got done with our retrofit yesterday – we chose a Vitrifrigo marine model, to replace our Dometic 3-way which wasn’t working well despite being less than 2 years old. We had to do some cabinet surgery to make it fit, but thankfully did not need to move major pieces of infrastructure, just work around them in reframing the space. Now the real question can be answered: How much better will this investment function as compared to the old 3-way, especially in our brutal climate? That’s TBD.

      1. James - Post author

        To my way of thinking… it would be difficult for a compressor fridge to perform *worse* than a 3-way!

    12. John L

      Always enjoy your projects! I agree that the manufacturers should take note of your upgrades. The evolving decor inside Lance is one of them! I was inside an old Winnebago Rialta and it’s lack of woodgrain made it seem fresh and modern, despite it’s age!

    13. Velda

      I’m Considering eventually replacing fridge in my LT Sprinter. When you have time what are rough dimensions of the new fridge. Thinking could get rid of cabinet over micro and move micro up. Add another solar panel to the 180 we have. Already have two AGM house batteries.

      1. James - Post author

        No problem. The cool thing (is that a pun? or should I have said Kool thing?) about this fridge is how narrow it is.
        Internal volume
        Refrigerator 5.1 cu.ft.
        Freezer 1.7cu.ft.
        Cut out Dimensions
        58 H x 16 3/4W x 18.75D
        Frame dimensions
        58.5H x 17 3/4W

    14. Jared Quandt

      I have a question of the heat that is put off by the compressors. Have you thought of venting that heat outside in the hot months and leaving venting inside when you need heat? It seems that would take some of the load off of your RV ac unit.

      1. James - Post author

        The heat put off by the compressor fridge is so minimal, there’s not a lot of benefit to be had by either venting it or trying to recover it. I’m not looking into either.

      1. James - Post author

        Sure. I got them from the local distribution center of Wurth Louis in West Jordan, UT.
        They have locations all over the west though. You can see if there is one near you here:
        And just to be clear – it was just ready made drawer *sides*. You’ll still have to nail/staple/dado/rabbet/dovetail your drawers together in whatever size you want.
        If there’s no Wurth Louis near you, any lumber yard, or heck, even Amazon ( should have the stuff available.

    15. Joel

      Hi James, I just left the sea otter classic and I looked at the winnebagos but did not see your rv there, where did you park? I like your videos, especially the composting toilet, so keep up the great work! I will be hitting the road soon in an older Winnebago im currently rennovating and was hoping to exchange some ideas with you but maybe il see you on the road sometime. I’ll let you know when my Youtube channel is up! good luck if you are racing!
      Best regards,

      1. James - Post author

        We’re not in the display, there are a group of us camping in one of the campgrounds.
        We’ll be spending plenty of time at the Winnebago booth though. If you get there and we’re not there, have Russ or Chad or Zack give us a call and we’ll swing by.
        I spent a good bit of time today out riding.

    16. Eric Wilhelm

      You do excellent work. I hope industry people are taking note of the things you are doing and maybe we will see such improvements work their way into future production. Enjoy your ride and be sure to save something for the Laureles Grade, it can be brutal if hot. Not to mention the entry into Laguna Seca itself.


    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Comment moderation is in use. Please do not submit your comment twice -- it will appear once we have had the chance to review it.