Need a Recommendation Based Upon Experience RE. an RV Fridge


Junior Member
I just need a recommendation—but not an unbased opinion--about a problem that I’m experiencing.

A little background: We own an old 1986 RV that has a Dometic fridge in it. The fridge has always worked great, but a couple of weeks ago, it gave up the ghost and I started to smell ammonia, which, of course, means that the cooling unit leaks.

After researching it online, I realized that it’s not too difficult to replace the cooling unit, if I were to get one. So I pulled the fridge from the RV, removed the cooling unit, and am now thinking about whether or not to order a rebuilt one online.

New fridges are about $1,500, which is a big chunk of change, compared to the $450 that I would have to spend on a rebuilt cooling unit which comes with a two-year warranty.

I have been told by two RV supply stores that it’s not a good idea to spend money on an old fridge, because it will just become a money sinkhole, kinda like the proverbial idea of ‘putting new wine into old skins.’ However, bear in mind that both of these comments came from those who would love to sell me a $1,500 new fridge; not exactly unbiased sources of recommendations.

So my question: Based on your experience (not your opinion), should I go ahead and order the cooling unit, thereby saving myself about $1,000 or just bite a bullet and order a brand-new fridge? Are those dealers right in saying that it’s not a good policy to repair the old one? Obviously, old fridges can become begin to become troublesome, but I would like to know—once again, from experience, not opinion—whether or not putting a rebuilt cooling unit has worked for those who have tried it.

Thank you for reading this rather lengthy post!

C Nash

Senior Member
Rayzen, I bite the bullet and bought a new fridge. Found it online for a lot less even paying shipping. Son just replaced just the cooling unit in his with the one supposedly made by the Amish. It works fine ,but just did it so don't know if it will last. I see no reason it want be fine. Just be sure door seal is ok


Junior Member
Okay, well, after reading all of the posts, I'm going to go ahead and order a rebuilt cooling unit, and give it a try myself. I really appreciate all of the answers that I received from all of
! Now I just hope that I can get that thing back together again without messing something up. Thanks again for all of your help!
Kinda like your 'favorite' old car, paid for, comfortable, pretty reliable and gonna keep it. If you've got a rig that old, and the only problem of the moment is the 'fridge, you're doing well. A rebuild kit / unit will probably be just fine.