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Main Forum => Tips and Tricks => Topic started by: gandalf42 on August 20, 2017, 05:13:40 pm

Title: Refrigerator level requirements
Post by: gandalf42 on August 20, 2017, 05:13:40 pm
Often for non-leveler folks and occasionally for folks with levelers, the question comes up whether the RV is too tilted to be safely running your refrigerator.

Some time ago I put together a general memo on how to determine this. I have simplified the memo for PC RVs and provided calculations for current model sizes.

Here tis...

                                                The level requirements for your refrigerator

When talking about how level the RV has to be for your refrigerator to safely work, too often the answers are general ones about being “close to level”. Here’s a way to determine exactly, for your RV and refrigerator.

 1)   Determine the manufacturer’s specs for your refrigerator how much tilt is acceptable.

The info in the Norcold’s owner’s manual states that the refrigerator should not be operated tilted more than 3 degrees side to side, and not more than 6 degrees front to back. This is the spec for my current 2017 Norcold, just as it was for the 1999 Norcold that was in my previous RV, so I believe it has remained the same throughout that time frame.

The refrigerator is mounted on the side of the RV so the side to side spec of the refrigerator equals the front to back tilt spec for the RV and then the front to back spec for the refrigerator would equal the side to side tilt spec for the RV.

 2)   Find or measure the wheel distances on your RV:

    a)   Find the wheel base for your RV. This will be used to calculate front to back RV tilt.

    b)   Measure the distance in inches across the RV, the width between the center points of the tires. I use the distance between the midpoints of each set of dual tires. This will be used to calculate the side to side RV tilt.

        For E350s and E450s I will use 78” as I have measured on an E450 chassis

         If you have a Mercedes chassis, you will need to make this measurement.

 3)   Now for a little trigonometry! If you picture a right triangle sitting on the x-y axis, the x axis will represent the tire distance, the acute angle (A) is the refrigerator tilt spec, and the vertical rise (Y) opposite the angle, the max tilt in inches allowed for the RV.
         (tire distance)*tan(max refrigerator tilt) = max tilt of RV in inches

 4)   So here are the formulas to use:

         Max RV tilt side to side= Tire distance across RV *tan(max refrigerator tilt front to back)

                                         = Tire distance across RV * .1051

         Max RV tilt front to back = PC wheel base * tan(max refrigerator tilt side to side)

                                             = PC wheel base * .0524

 5)   Results:

        E350/E450: Max RV tilt side to side= 78*tan(6) = 78 * .1051 = 8.2”

        Max RV tilt front to back:
             2100: 7.2”
             2350: 8.3”
             2351: 8.9”
             2400: 8.6”
             2551: 10.2”
             2552: 10.8”
             2910/3100: 11.4”

I have placed a graduated bubble that indicates tilts from 0-7” on a kitchen and a wall cabinet. I have marked each with permanent marker black lines at the 7” level. A quick look will tell me if either is maxed out at or past the 7” point. If it is, I know the tilt is 7” or greater and either move the RV or turn off the refrigerator. If it is not up to the 7” point, then the tilt is OK for the refrigerator.


Title: Re: Refrigerator level requirements
Post by: gandalf42 on August 20, 2017, 06:26:57 pm
As a side note, here is another statement in the owner's manual:

Effects of High Altitude on Propane Gas Operation

When you operate the refrigerator on propane gas at altitudes higher than 5500 feet above sea level:

•   You may experience reduced cooling performance of the refrigerator

•   You may experience burner outages

To avoid these possible problems, Norcold recommends that you operate the refrigerator on AC when at altitudes above 5500 feet above sea level


 >( 5500 feet isn't all that high! Colorado Springs is over 6000'. Something to keep in mind, although haven't had any problems in the mountains that I am aware of.
Title: Re: Refrigerator level requirements
Post by: gandalf42 on October 17, 2019, 07:21:36 am
Here is a simper, less technical (and hopefully as or more accurate) approach that I posted in the facebook page..

The Norcold N621 frig in my 2552, per the manual, is fine up to 3 degrees side to side tilt and 6 degrees front to back. I got a digital level from Amazon (Gemred 82412) and check the tilt. When I found a place that hit those limits I mark a permanent marker line at the bubble and the same distance on the other side on a bubble level such as the Hopkins 08526, one each of the pair mounted in the two directions of the frig. (Under the lip of the kitchen counter can be a good place) Then all you have to do is look at the levels and if the bubble is inside the line, the tilt is safe for the frig. You will probably be surprised how much tilt is allowed and still be in spec for the frig.
Title: Re: Refrigerator level requirements
Post by: garmp on October 18, 2019, 11:57:56 am
Thanks for the input. On our 2100 we use our bathroom door as a guide. If it barely creeps open or closed, we're fine. If it moves rapidly to either position, re-level. Not rocket science, but we did test it will level apps. And seems to work.
Just my two cents.