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Old 11-15-2018, 09:21 PM   #1
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Default Travato 59K-TRUMA electric heat not working

QUICK ANSWER HERE: FIND GFCI UNDER THE DRIVER SIDE TWIN BED IN A TRAVATO 59K BY REMOVING VENT COVERS TWO SCREWS. FLASHLIGHT IN HAND, UNPLUG AC POWER CORD FROM GFCI AND SEE IF GFCI IS TRIPPED. IF SO, RESET, PLUG IN THE CORD AND CHECK TRUMA COMBI FOR PROPER OPERATION AT THE CONTROL PANEL WITH TEMPERATURE SET ABOVE AMBIENT AND EL2 OR EL1 (NOT PROPANE) SELECTED AND FAN IDEALLY SET TO HIGH. WAIT A FEW MINUTES TO SEE IF COLD FANNED AIR BECOMES HOT OUT OF THE VENTS.

The longer story of my journey to get mine working -

When I turned on the TRUMA Combi heat this morning while inside the shop, I set it to "EL2", to run on one of the electric heating elements. The shop and Travato interior were not extremely cold but a little heat while I was working inside the Travato would be nice. And then I discovered... no heat. Fan working. Everything else working on shore power so that sinking feeling was starting to surface that I had a problem with the TRUMA. Fortunately, not so! But it took me a little time to pin down the problem. Those of you with a 59K Travato will want to know this. Maybe a Post already exists for this but I am not aware.

Of course I did the usual; re-checked shore power in my shop was working even though I could see the Microwave clock was on and other indications in the Travato. I checked the breakers. I even turned Coach 12 volt power back on. Still no go. Tested the TRUMA in Propane mode and that worked fine. Hmmm.

First things first before diving into the rest of this story. Disconnect shore power. Do not run the generator. And I turned off the Coach power switch. At this point I used a portable LED light and a couple of flashlights to do the work ahead inside the Travato. The main thing here is no AC power when you open up the TRUMA electronics cover and side panel.

So I took the driver side bed deck off to get a good luck at the TRUMA. Now that operation itself isn't fun. You should do that with two people because that deck is long and heavy. I remove it when I Winterize because that process is a lot easier than doing it through the pidgeon hole cover they provide for this. It can be done through that side wall hole but if you want to have a more pleasant shot at working on the filter cartridge and easier cleanup if you do spill, the deck removed for access it the better way to go. And you can just check everything out under there while your doing the Winterization steps.

With a little online reading, I was aware of a Reset button and two fuses, one of them specifically for AC power. Getting at the Reset button and the two fuses should be a piece of a cake. Not so! If the TRUMA Combi unit was turned 180 degrees, it would be easy or at least easier. It is not the TRUMA that is the problem here, it is the tight quarters and in the WINNEBAGO Travato 59K's bed cabinet that requires the TRUMA to be placed like it is. With all of the hoses, water lines and electrical running through there, it is a real challenge to lean over the cabinet and work more or less upside down to get into the TRUMA's electronics access panel. And taking off the panels you need to do here also requires you to unplug some of the wiring going in and out of the TRUMA.

And once you have that cover panel off the electroncs area, you still cannot directly see the Reset button (because it's not under this cover). You can see the 12 volt circuit fuse. But you cannot see the AC power fuse. It is located farther down the side of the TRUMA which requires removal of another plastic access cover just to get to it. And even then... you cannot see that fuse without a bright light and a mirror. When you can see this fuse, getting to it with hands in the way of your mirror or doing it by feel gets ugly. Since all I wanted to do was confirm this fuse was good, I took another tact.

With two alligator equipped 18 inch long jumpers, I blindly and by feel only -
1. Clipped one end of a jumper to the end of the fuse holder and let the other end lay in sight. I clipped my second jumper to the other end of the fuse holder and again laid the other end in plain site. I then took an ohmmeter and checked that fuse for continuity. The good news was the fuse checked out fine because getting it unclipped and a replacement put in its place was going to be more blind work and perhaps a curse like "Fiddly Sticks" repeated a few times. The bad news is the fuse checked out fine. which saved me the horror of trying to replace it but also meant I either had something else wrong in the TRUMA, or external to the TRUMA. Hmmm So where does the AC power to the TRUMA come from? Not obvious in this cabinet because of the layers of heater pipes, water plumbing and electrical.

2. Off to the WINNEBAGO web site, Resources page. Downloaded a few electrical diagrams and from there I saw after blowing up the size of one drawing on screen, there is a GFCI outlet inside this driver side bed cabinet AND it is labeled that the TRUMA Combi plugs in here. HURRAH! I mean was it just going to be a simple reset on a GFCI outlet?

3. Back inside the Travato and with flashlight in hand, I could see what looked like a common electrical outlet wall box, attached to the floor inside the bed cabinet. But again with layers of stuff, I could not really see enough, particulary the face of this potential GFCI outlet from this angle. Ahh, but there is a fairly large vent cover on the aisle side of this bed cabinet. two phillips screws removed and PRESTO, I could see an electrical cord plugged into a GFCI duplex outlet. I had to unplug the cord before I could tell but yepperee, the GFCI was indeed, tripped Off.

3. Now I still could not see where the cord set went except in the direction of the TRUMA. Yes I can fiddle around with moving the various hoses, wires, etc. to see where this cord went but rather than do that, I unplugged the cord, connected shore power, set my multimeter to measure AC voltage and stuffed it's lead tips into the outlet. Zero voltage. Reset the GFCI button and wala, 120 volts present and accounted for.

4. At this point I disconnected shore power again and put the covers back on the electronics section of the TRUMA including plugging in the cables that I had removed earlier.

5. With everything about the TRUMA restored, I reconnected shore power, plugged in the cord to that hidden GFCI. So far so good. I mean, no smoke or strange fizzly noises.

6. Down the hall (turn around) to the Combi Plus or whatever the control panel is called, I set it for Furnace temperature, EL2 and Fan to High. BINGO. The proper little noises and a rush of cold air from the vents at first. And then heat came forth.

ALL THAT WORK AND ALL IT WAS - WAS A TRIPPED GFCI OUTLET THAT YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHERE IT IS OR THAT IT EVEN EXISTED AT ALL.

MAKE NOTE TO SELF TO SEE IF I CAN LOCATE A GFCI RESET THAT I CAN MOUNT VISIBLY ON THE AISLE SIDE OF THIS CABINET WHILE STILL HAVING THE CORD SET PLUGGED INTO OUTLET THAT IS BETTER PLACED INSIDE THIS CABINET.

At least now I know I can pull the vent panel in the aisle and with flashlight in hand, reach in to unplug the cord, push the GFCI reset and put it back together again in just a few minutes.

Would a RV dealer's Service Department know about this? Maybe if it sells and or has dealt with Travato's long enough to have seen this problem. And the guy that figured this out still works there or is on duty the day you roll into the dealer with this issue.

I would imagine this is documented in a WB Tech Bulletin somewhere. That should mean an actual WB dealer service department could find this info fairly quickly but that depends on the service person. This is not going to be covered by warranty because its just a GFCI that tripped out for who knows what reason just like they do on your house or business. I suspect you would be hit with at least one hour of labor because the dealer will likely invest that much time regardless of knowledge, bulletin found or some smarts of a tech on something similar.

Misc: If you do not already know this, you can run the TRUMA Combi heater on electric or propane even if you have drained the TRUMA's water for Winterizing season. The heat comes from a chamber that the furnace blows air through. It also heats the inner side walls of an outer jacket of water for your sink and shower. This is the combination part of the TRUMA Combi and because of this really cool design, you can run the heater without having water in it's outer chamber. Info available online about this. The TRUMA folks made a really smart unit that works great. The fact that it is in a Class B with limited space for ideal troubleshooting or servicing is just something we have to deal with versus lots of room in a larger class RV should have.
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Old 11-16-2018, 12:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Storysrvwego View Post
Misc: If you do not already know this, you can run the TRUMA Combi heater on electric or propane even if you have drained the TRUMA's water for Winterizing season. The heat comes from a chamber that the furnace blows air through. It also heats the inner side walls of an outer jacket of water for your sink and shower. This is the combination part of the TRUMA Combi and because of this really cool design, you can run the heater without having water in it's outer chamber. Info available online about this. The TRUMA folks made a really smart unit that works great. The fact that it is in a Class B with limited space for ideal troubleshooting or servicing is just something we have to deal with versus lots of room in a larger class RV should have.
This is a good feature - glad the Truma has it. But apparently you are not supposed to leave RV antifreeze in the hot water heater if you are running the furnace, because the heated antifreeze will break down.

Also - on my Truma, if the battery gets disconnected, the control panel shows an error code that doesn't reset itself until you power off the control panel and power it back on. That's not a good design.
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Old 11-17-2018, 02:48 PM   #3
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Storysrvwego: great write up! As a T-59k owner I really appreciate you sharing this info! You may have saved me from the same long testing procedure one day in my future

Also thanks Michael for the battery disconnect knowledge!
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Old 11-17-2018, 04:06 PM   #4
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EnduroRdr,
Glad to share. I have found a lot of good information for my own needs on this forum.
Misc - The electronics cover plate on the TRUMA is captured with two Torx head, T25 screws. Access to one of the two is easy enough. Getting a torx tool on the right hand one (as viewed from the aisle) was somewhat blocked by the propane exhaust tube from the TRUMA to the van side wall. The exhaust tube is a double wall. The outer wall is to keep the temperature at or near ambient whereas the heavier duty inner wall could be more than just warm. Disturbing the thin outer wall from its set-formed shape may easily cause it to break along one of the bellows-like surface so I would be careful not to move that even slightly.
This pair of torx screws are facing backwards to where you are standing so you have to insert the tool blindly. Easy enough but as you extract these screws, they could easily drop below the TRUMA and perhaps lost forever in the sea of stuff in that cabinet.

Fortunately you are not likely to have to get into this unit. If you do, just be careful not to drop these buggers. I am pretty sure finding ones just like these around town might take some hunting. Fortunately that cover could be temporarily held in place by something like electrical tape without any harm to the black plastic surface here nor is there any heat in this location to be a problem.

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Old 11-17-2018, 04:11 PM   #5
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Michael -
When Winterizing, you can drain the TRUMA and set the valves such that the TRUMA itself does not fill with RV Antifreeze. In any case, I would not want to test it by turning on the water heating.

Even if RV antifreeze was in the water heater chamber with any heating applied, I don't know if it would harm anything but I haven't studied that. Hopefully will never find out...
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Old 11-17-2018, 04:16 PM   #6
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Michael -
When Winterizing, you can drain the TRUMA and set the valves such that the TRUMA itself does not fill with RV Antifreeze. In any case, I would not want to test it by turning on the water heating.

Even if RV antifreeze was in the water heater chamber with any heating applied, I don't know if it would harm anything but I haven't studied that. Hopefully will never find out...
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As far as heating a water heater full of antifreeze damaging the water heater, that info came to me from more than one source, so I'm goin' with it.

Specific to my Coachmen CrossFit, my dealer says there are no shutoffs on the Truma hot water heater, nor could I find any, so I had to fill and drain the Truma with 2+ gallons of anti-freeze.

I might be able to add shutoffs - not sure. It's really tight under there.
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Old 11-17-2018, 04:49 PM   #7
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Just properly blow out the fresh system with compressed air and stop worrying. Putting that pink stuff in your fresh system is unnecessary and silly.
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Old 11-17-2018, 07:26 PM   #8
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By the way, if you put the setting on EL2 or Mix2, both electric elements are energized, not one as stated above. That's the meaning of the 2.

And you can reset that GFI without pulling the vent cover or unplugging it. Just use a small wooden dowel through the vent, or some other non conductive item. Easy peasy (except for being on the floor)
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Old 11-17-2018, 10:56 PM   #9
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Just properly blow out the fresh system with compressed air and stop worrying. Putting that pink stuff in your fresh system is unnecessary and silly.
I am in this same camp. I have owned 3 travel trailers over the past years (one I purchased from a guy up north that winterized it), it took me several flashings before I was happy that I purged the antifreeze before spring camping.
Since then I have only ever drained systems and used compressed air (regulated at 40psi) to blow out the lines.
Living in Deep South we often have opportunities to camp mid winter on warmer days so getting things ready now is just a matter of filling up the fresh tank and go.
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Old 11-26-2018, 11:47 PM   #10
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26Nov18
Bobojay,
You are correct. I might have muffed that in my original text. When EL1 is selected, approximately 850 watts is in play. Or stated another way, if your shore or generator AC power is at or close to 120 volts, your Power panel will show 7+ amps. Since Power = Volts x Amps, then 120 x 7.0 = 840 watts. Depending on what you read, you may see the element is rated at 900 watts. I can just tell you that with 120 volts right on the nose, the Power Control Panel in my Travato shows the TRUMA pulling 7 and sometimes 8 amps of current from shore power. This would be the same if I were running the generator if the gen was providing exactly the same voltage; the current drawn by the heating element would be the same. Unless a relay contact or wire had some resistance but we're getting off on another tangent.

When EL2 is selected, then we are using two 850 watt elements together. And the Power panel in the Travato will then show twice the current, or about 14 amps of current flow and thus 120 x 14-ish amps the watt value is now about 1700. A bit of current but if your Travato is connected to a 30 amp supply, then we still have a bit of room left to run other things in the Travato. If your only providing the Travato with 20 amps from shore power and EL2 is working to provide heat, then the Power Control Panel might start to decide what runs and what does not at the same time. Like try to run the Microwave at the same time (about 900 watts full power I think?) as the EL2 heat; probably not going to fly since EL2 and the Microwave on at the same time means just a bit over 20 amperes of current to run both concurrently. Bopth of these will work at the same time if you are connected to a 30 amp supply. Smart stuff in the Travato.

As for MIX1 or MIX2... I might be wrong but I think these two modes which combine EL1 or both (EL2) electric heat elements with Propane only happens for water heating. I'm not positive about this without research or somebody else commenting but I really think the furnace runs on EL1 or EL2 or Propane but not EL1 or 2 with Propane. For sure any one of MIX1 or MIX2 or EL1 or EL2 or Propane only modes work if you use the water heating ability of the TRUMA Combi.

In any case, BTU's or Thermal Units for the heat (or cold) is the unit of measure you REALLY want to relate too, not volts, amps, watts. From experience, just go with Propane to get the furnace or hot water going, fast-er. EL1 is nice to use to maintain some heat in the TRUMA instead of burning through your 6-ish gallons of Propane. Especially if your keeping the interior of the Travato warm while your outside on a Snipe Hunt. Maybe use EL2 (two electric elements) for this too. That all depends on how cold it is outside and inside the Travato while you are outside, graciously donating your blood to the local Mosquitoes.

Somewhere on the Internet is a terrific document written by Dan Senie called the TRUMA PRIMER. It's really THE best document I know of to explain all of this Truma Combi stuff as it relates to a Travato. Maybe somewhere on this forum. I highly recommend finding and reading it. Print it out and keep a copy in your Travato 59G or 59K.

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Old 11-29-2018, 10:37 PM   #11
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Again, all this news has been on the Travato Facebook page for 2+ years now. Daniel Senie is one of the most knowledgeable "techies" in that group and has written several short notes on how things work.

As far as the electric and propane sides working together? They do on both the water and heating sides. If you have it set to Mix 1 or 2, the propane side become kind of a booster heating element.

Example: set on mix 2, turn thermostat up to 8-10 degrees higher than ambient and all 3 heating systems work together to bring it up to that setting, with the propane burner and fan running at whatever speed to get it there the fastest. As it gets to the set temp, the propane burner starts throttling down so to speak to let the electric side maintain it best as it can.
That's the way ours works. The Truma Combi is a VERY smart unit and it will take care of itself and it's humans with minimal fiddling.
Also, I always run the furnace side fan on ECO. The Combi will set the fan speed itself to an appropriate level to get the fastest temp rise to set
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Old 11-30-2018, 12:36 AM   #12
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Bobojay,
I confirm that Mix modes work fine in furnace mode with the water heater shut down. Nice of course because the BTU performance of Propane taking the lead makes the coach rise to a desired temperature quite a bit faster. And of course it helps to maintain the temperature if the lower BTU output of the single electric element used in Mix 1 or both electric heater elements in Mix 2 mode cannot do it on their own. Best system I have ever used. Always fun to take a trip and you find the gosh darned traditional furnace and water heating systems quit working even if you did regular maintenance. I could never go back to ye olde ancient technology after the TRUMA.
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:22 PM   #13
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I too love our Truma Combi. Six weeks ago when I last exercised the generator I had the A/C on and turned on the heater for a bigger load. I got an error code on the Truma and figured there wasn't enough juice to run both and let it go.

Last night my wife said "I can't wait to get in the van and head to Florida" so it got me thinking about heat for the trip south. Today I cranked up the genset and then I noticed that the bed quilt and sheets had been pushed under the bed because we had been using the coach as a moving van. I pulled them out so they didn't cover the furnace air intake and the heater warmed right up on both elements.

Thanks for the information about ECO mode running the fan as needed and also about having the gas burner on too to get up to temp faster, then having the Truma lean to the electric elements. We travel with two dogs and when we take them out we dump a lot of warm air and it will be nice to get back up to temp quickly.
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Old 12-01-2018, 12:27 AM   #14
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2 of the neatest features of the Combi. On ECO mode it turns the fan up and down as the temperature setting demands, and it throttles the propane burner when it's in Mix 1 or 2 to just supplement the electric heating element(s).
I'd bet most owners don't realize these things happen while in use....
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Old 11-15-2019, 05:01 AM   #15
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Thank you so much.....your post saved me so much time and agravation....my new rig is just 3 days old.
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Old 11-15-2019, 11:45 AM   #16
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Here are a couple of very useful tools for understanding how the Truma works.

Attached Files
File Type: pdf Truma Primer.pdf (57.9 KB, 4 views)
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Old 11-15-2019, 01:54 PM   #17
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Thanks for this information. I have the Truma in my Era and I just pulled up the wiring diagram and see that the GFI for mine looks to be behind the air return grill for the heater. I am going to check the access from the removable panel in the bed frame and if I can't reach it I will pull the return air cover and confirm I have access to it that way. Much better to figure it out now than when on the road and the temps are below freezing.
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Old 11-15-2019, 04:08 PM   #18
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A tip. Lots of Combi owners in the Winnebago line have replaced their GFI with a regular 20amp outlet. It eliminates the aggravation of having to reset it all the time. Some have replaced the GFI with a better brand.

I'm not saying Truma or WGO says this is ok, but you still have the breaker for circuit protection and no warranty issues doing this.....
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Old 11-15-2019, 06:51 PM   #19
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I would recommend leaving the GFI outlet in place. This is an area with a number of water lines and a leak might rise enough to pose an electrical issue if the GFI has been replaced with a common outlet.

An alternative I suppose would be to use a GFCI circuit breaker for this line and then a standard/common duplex outlet could be swapped in place. I prefer to retain the GFCI outlet as WB as engineered it. Having a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter on this line could prevent a life threatening issue if one of the many water line fittings, lines or the TRUMA Combi itself in this driver side cabinet developed a leak. That is my preference anyway. I imagine everyone has experienced a GFI trip for reasons we cannot explain and works fine afterwards with a reset. For this reason I kind of hate them like most everybody else. But I will rather be annoyed at an occasional trip instead of killing myself or someone else with no GFCI in place.

What would be really nice is to add a simple Green LED panel mount lampholder for 120 volts AC. This could easily be wired into the outlet box onto the "output" side of the GFI outlet that feeds the TRUMA. If the GFI trips, the Green LED simply extinguishes itself, indicating power loss to the TRUMA. For simplicity of installation, I would locate it on the same bed wall where the removable air intake grill is located. Hot glue or small screws mounting a small plastic plaque that you have made at an engraver shop that says something like "If LED not lit, check GFCI outlet trip button behind the grille." Or less words if you can convey the message.

With the LED mounted here, you might have to experiment with addition of a resistor in series with one of the lampholder wires to lower the brightness if a person laying on their side on the passenger side bed is troubled with this indicator light facing them in the dark of night.

Yes the LED could have appropriately sized, code compliant insulated and protected from damage to extend it for mounting in other locations. A bit more challenging location for example might be to pull out the refrigerator to run the wires into the kitchen cabinet with the LED lampholder on the facia wood, just under the countertop, facing the slider door. Sleepers won't be bothered by the LED located there. Perhaps it also means it is sub conciously checked each time we enter the coach from the slider and we are either running shore power or generator. I mean basically it is an AC power on lite, on the aft side of the GFCI outlet which is normally always providing AC power on its output side whether or not the TRUMA has been called to action. A small instruction plaque located here stating its specific purpose and what action to take might not be as fashionable but it is a practical location to place it if your mechanically inclined to pull the refrig out, run the wires, drill 5/16 hole (or whatever the lampholder you pick requires), dab hot glue to hold the holder in place and add an instruction plaque. You might want to confer with your spouse if you have one to travel with before you do something like this.

NOTE: WB smartly cable tethered the refrigerator such that it will not be a dangerous flying object should you get into a nasty accident, rollover, etc. If you pull the fridge out, it, you have to detach this cable to get the fridge to slide all the way out. Put down some poster board you can buy from office supply or arts and crafts (i.e. MICHAELS should have) on the vinyl floor before you slightly lift and pull the refrigerator out so you won't damage the flooring.

Oddly the microwave is only held in place by a handful of short wood screws by the way. Add a thin gasket behind this plate and slightly larger diameter wood screws. Ideally I would have put inserts in the wood and machine screwed into the inserts but not enough wood surround to place the inserts for the hole locations in the facia plate. I haven't added a retention cable yet but plan too.

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