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Old 06-03-2024, 09:17 PM   #1
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Fridge that opens from both sides - I'm not a fan

We have this new Rockwood 2906BS travel trailer that came with a Magic Chef refrigerator where both the freezer and refrigerator doors open from both sides. It does take a little extra effort to fully close these doors since they first seem to partially latch but then fully latch as you add extra pressure to the closing door. I knew this would be a bad idea right away and told my wife to insure that she fully close/latch the doors after each opening and that I would do the same, because if not the doors could fall off.

Well, she didn't, and so without realizing this, I went to open the freezer one morning after she had partially shut it the night before, and the freezer door fell off, hitting me in the lower right shin as it fell to the ground, tearing open my lower leg pretty good. No damage to the floor or door as my leg took the brunt of the fall.

After a little swearing, well, a lot of swearing/yelling - but not at her, at the freezer door, the refrigerator, the dumb designer who came up with this stupid idea, at my hurting leg, and at the blood running down my shin into my sock - I fixed it so it will never do this again by disabling the latches on the left side of the fridge.

But, am I the only one this has ever happened to?
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Old 06-03-2024, 10:00 PM   #2
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Moved thread from the General Community Discussion section to the Appliances and Electronics sub-forum since the OP's post is strictly about Appliances and not a general topic.
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Old 06-03-2024, 10:29 PM   #3
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What does "opens from both sides" mean? Many fridges have doors that can be installed as left hand or right hand but only one side works unless you move the hinges to the other side.

Magic Chef makes a lot of fridges. Which is your exact model number?

If a door fell off file a complaint with the Consumer Safety Product Commission and with Forest River themselves. This could turn into a recall.

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Old 06-03-2024, 10:47 PM   #4
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NXR - It's a 12vdc 10 cu ft Magic Chef fridge. I don't have the model number handy right now. By saying that it "opens from both sides" means its not reversible. It actually opens from the right side by pulling on the right latch, and/or opens from the left side by pulling on the left latch. No swapping hinges. Just walk to the right side of the fridge and pull on the right handle to open the door to the left, or walk to the left side of the fridge and pull on the left handle to open the door to the right.

Never heard of it? I was told it's new this year.
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Old 06-03-2024, 10:47 PM   #5
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That would be a terrible design. Sorry about your injury.
I can see where it would appeal to rv manufacturers because they wouldn't have to worry about positioning it next to a blocking wall.

We have a dryer at home that has a door that will open from the side or the top depending on where you put your hand. We managed to have the door fall off when the door wasn't completely closed between openings. Luckily it's not far for the door to fall. It was a surprise and it took a bit of investigation to figure out how to put it back on.

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Old 06-03-2024, 10:51 PM   #6
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And it's not a side-by-side fridge, just one door for the refrigerator and one door for the freezer.
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Old 06-03-2024, 10:52 PM   #7
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Reverse Snowbird - I'm glad you agree with me that it's a bad design!
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Old 06-03-2024, 11:39 PM   #8
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For anyone interested, here's a link to an Everchill/Furrion fridge, same as my Magic Chef fridge. They call it a refrigerator with a "dual swing door".

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Old 06-04-2024, 12:17 AM   #9
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Impressive.... how easily he could take the door completely off. Think what would have happened if your door had a glass jar that broke.

Think you might need to take your safety concerns to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and tell them how the refrigerator injured you.
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Old 06-04-2024, 03:58 AM   #10
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Reverse snowbird - I probably should contact Consumer Protection as you and NXR suggested.

Although my leg is healing, I keep having thoughts about a couple of days before this happened to me, my 4 yr old granddaughter was visiting our RV with my daughter and I asked my granddaughter if she wanted an ice cream bar. Of course she said yes. So we walked over to the fridge and I opened the freezer door to get her one. There wasn't a problem that day with the door (or a hint of what was to come a couple of days later), but can you imagine if the freezer door had fallen off then and hit my granddaughter in the head! I try not to think about that, but this horrific thought keeps popping into my head every now and then. Just a terrible design!

I only found 2 youtube videos on this dual swing fridge online with only a few comments each, probably cause it's such a new design, but there were comments about how hard it is to fully close/latch the doors on these fridges, and that someone had a door fall off and was asking how to put it back on.
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Old 06-04-2024, 06:36 AM   #11
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i would invest in a drill and a small bolt/nut to disable whichever side you don't want to use
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Old 06-04-2024, 07:38 AM   #12
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See this line in post #1: “I fixed it so it will never do this again by disabling the latches on the left side of the fridge.”
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Old 06-04-2024, 08:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuickGS
Reverse snowbird - I probably should contact Consumer Protection as you and NXR suggested.

Although my leg is healing, I keep having thoughts about a couple of days before this happened to me, my 4 yr old granddaughter was visiting our RV with my daughter and I asked my granddaughter if she wanted an ice cream bar. Of course she said yes. So we walked over to the fridge and I opened the freezer door to get her one. There wasn't a problem that day with the door (or a hint of what was to come a couple of days later), but can you imagine if the freezer door had fallen off then and hit my granddaughter in the head! I try not to think about that, but this horrific thought keeps popping into my head every now and then. Just a terrible design!
PLEASE, please file the appropriate complaints and hopefully include any pics you may have, even of the injury to your leg. Include the trailer VIN in each complaint. Include the fridge make, model, and serial number, which might be on a tag inside the fridge itself.

1. Notify your dealer even if you hate them and tell them to notify Forest River because you believe it is a product defect.


2. Notify FR directly because the dealer may not if you don't bring the trailer to them. FR relies on warranty claims to learn of defects. No warranty claim can mean "no defects" to them, unless the owner notifies them personally or files with the NHTSA. For Rockwood it appears to be these two contacts. I'd spam them all three with the same email:

Sales
Mitchell Dewitt
574-642-4053
mdewitt@forestriverinc.com

Service
Rockwood Customer Service
574-642-8943
rockwoodowners@forestriverinc.com

Office of Corporate Compliance
occinfo@forestriverinc.com

Set up the emails to request a Read Receipt if you know how to do that.

If you email the dealer you can copy them all on the same email.


3. Notify the NHTSA since this involves OEM-installed equipment. ALWAYS stress the safety aspect since that's all they have jurisdiction over. The NHTSA will forward the complaint to FR to reduce the chance of plausible deniability.

They also review and publish complaints within a few business days of their submission so they probably will be the fastest to act.

Keep it short, describe the issue, and include any pics.

https://www.nhtsa.gov/report-a-safety-problem#index


4. Report the defect to the Consumer Product Safety Commission: https://www.saferproducts.gov/


Good luck and thanks for posting this. You may have saved someone else with the same fridge from an injury.

Ray
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Old 06-04-2024, 09:44 AM   #14
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NXR - Thanks for all the valuable contact info. I will follow through.

I especially took notice of your first suggestion to "Notify your dealer even if you hate them..." How did you know I hate my dealer...ha?
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Old 06-04-2024, 09:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BuickGS
... How did you know I hate my dealer...ha?
I figured there was a 95% chance.

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Old 06-04-2024, 01:14 PM   #16
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60 or 70 years ago

Quote:
Originally Posted by BuickGS View Post
NXR - It's a 12vdc 10 cu ft Magic Chef fridge. I don't have the model number handy right now. By saying that it "opens from both sides" means its not reversible. It actually opens from the right side by pulling on the right latch, and/or opens from the left side by pulling on the left latch. No swapping hinges. Just walk to the right side of the fridge and pull on the right handle to open the door to the left, or walk to the left side of the fridge and pull on the left handle to open the door to the right.

Never heard of it? I was told it's new this year.
I remember 60 or 70 years ago when some company (Kelvinator, I think) introduced a residential refrigerator that opened this way. There were a bunch of comedy skits and jokes made, but the actual design prevented the door from coming off.

Just shows there's nothing new under the sun.
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Old 06-04-2024, 01:23 PM   #17
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When I was shopping for my RV I came across one of the "both ways" refrigerators and thought to myself that was just an accident waiting to happen. Sorry it happened to you.
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Old 06-04-2024, 02:00 PM   #18
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Larry-NC:

Yep, nothing new. An old concept that they tried residentially many decades ago, then again in the 50's, then about 5 years ago in Japan. But it's now a new concept/design in the RV world.

They must have learned long ago that there were problems with this concept and discontinued it though residentially, but people seem to ignore history and so lessons learned get forgotten.

And, they changed the design for the RV world so now the door can easily fall off if you don't completely latch one side and try to open the door from the opposite side (as in my case).

Designers nowadays...
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Old 06-04-2024, 02:12 PM   #19
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reidfo - If I had known about this fridge "feature" before we bought our RV, I might have had 2nd thoughts - although we really liked the floorplan and I'm not sure that would have been a deal breaker. We found out about it after the sale, and it turns out the salesman was unaware of this fridge feature since it was new for 2024, and so that's why he didn't mention it to us. We only found out after the sale, after finding a newer Youtube video about our RV online, and then we told the guy doing our walkthrough about it during the walkthrough, and he was just as surprised about the dual swing fridge feature as we were.
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Old 06-04-2024, 02:22 PM   #20
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reidfo - If I had known about this fridge "feature" before we bought our RV, I might have had 2nd thoughts - although we really liked the floorplan and I'm not sure that would have been a deal breaker. We found out about it after the sale, and it turns out the salesman was unaware of this fridge feature since it was new for 2024, and so that's why he didn't mention it to us. We only found out after the sale, after finding a newer Youtube video about our RV online, and then we told the guy doing our walkthrough about it during the walkthrough, and he was just as surprised about the dual swing fridge feature as we were.
I only knew of it since the salesperson was familiar with it and pointed it out as a feature.
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