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Old 03-23-2016, 07:48 PM   #1
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 32
Upgrade Existing 2016 21QB Refrigerator?

Have a 2016 21QB. Hate having to do this, but would like to replace 2-way for 3-way due to state regulations. Has anyone done an in-place upgrade meaning just keep the shell and replace compressor/control board?

Trying to see if I can save $$ on new one especially since this one is < 10 months old and works great. Just *really* don't like running it on propane while on the road. Never liked gas and like it less when on the road for fear an accident could cause a LOT of problems including liability.

If anybody has done this. Also if I have to do replacement can I get a used one somewhere? Is there a dealer who will buy my "new" one?


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Old 03-30-2016, 04:32 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,026
The only real difference between a 2 way and a 3 way fridge is the addition of a 12V heating element. The 12V element is usually quite a bit less powerful than the 120V element to keep the current (amps) draw within reason. Your 120V element may be 200 watts, but your 12V element is unlikely to be much more than 120 watts (10 amp draw). For this reason, you may find the fridge performance to be disappointing when on 12V. The control board may or may not be different.

If the fridge 12V element is more than 120 watts, the tow vehicle is going to have a tough time keeping the TT battery charged and run the fridge due to the voltage drop in the wiring harnesses.

Furthermore, you have to be careful to unplug the tow vehicle or shut off the fridge during a long pit stop while on the road to prevent running down your TV battery.

All that said, I run my A-frame fridge on 12V while towing. But my little fridge only draws 5-6 amps on DC, and I have dual 6V golf cart (232 AH) batteries for the camper. Being a continuous-run fridge, there is no automatic re-light when running on propane. The short height when folded makes blowing out the propane flame a more likely event in the right cross-winds while towing.

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan

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Old 03-30-2016, 06:31 PM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 248
Have you considered an inverter instead? The residential fridges run off an inverter while in tow since they don't have gas. Still have to be careful not to run the battery(s) down.

Eastlake, Ohio
2013 F-350 Turbo Diesel
2016 Heritage Glen 368rlbh
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:23 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 32

Fred W
2014 Rockwood A122 A-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage minivan

Wow thanks for sharing your experience. It's pretty helpful to know you operate on little over 200AH comfortably. I've been wondering what I should be striving for.

My situation is a bit different. I'm just a class-C. No toad. I actually don't like the idea of running on gas at all. So given the switch configuration I can force mine to never use gas.

You may be right, I may be disappointed with 12v. But I just wanted to keep left overs from spoiling on road trip. Not anything heavy duty like making ice.

Thanks a bunch on the battery capacity number. Very useful info, indeed.
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Old 03-30-2016, 07:28 PM   #5
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 32
Yeah, that's a good idea, especially based on Fred W's comment that I might be disappointed with 12v option. I pretty sure in the long run inverter is where I'm going to end up.

But doesn't it surprise you that 3-way isn't standard since coachman seems to be so concerned about safety and liability. For example, my coach you cannot have the backup camera on and play music. I'm told this was a safety issue. Likewise you cannot run TV in from the dash monitor.

(But I just think this is poor manufacturing. All these modern dash monitors have a wire that goes to the parking break and only when it's engaged does it allow you to watch TV.)

So again at the risk of repeating myself, why would coachman so concerned about safety and liability force RVers in a situation where they have no choice but to have gas on in a moving vehicle if they are going to keep perishables safe?

Maybe someone from coachman can raise this to manufacturing and reconsider this as this choice to reduce cost is also a safety issue now.
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refrigerator, upgrade

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