Experience with National Luna fridges.

Submitted: Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 21:03
ThreadID: 109574 Views:15040 Replies:15 FollowUps:7
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I have just got back from a trip through Corner Country and the Birdsville Races, Birdsville track and Flinders Ranges and will be leaving in less than 2 weeks for another short trip, however as I am currently the unlucky owner of 2 Eva-Kool (I should say Never-Kool) fridges which need to be replaced before I go and I am considering National Luna and Engel. Both Eva-Kool Fridges failed again and I had to resort to buying ice at roadhouses to keep the food okay. This makes the 2 fridges very expensive eskys and defeats the purpose of buying fridges. I now that sometimes every company produces a lemon but I have two, different models and the failures started under warranty and have continued for 10 years now.

I lost a whole fridge of meat in the Kimberlys when the thermostat blew up, took six weeks to get parts.Cape York, both fridges stopped and this trip again both failed. The faults not diagnosed yet but I have already spent a lot of money on repairs and services that I am now throwing good money after bad. I actually told the techs at Eva-Kool this last time and they talked me into spending more money on repairs and services, which appears to have been a waist of money again.Well I am not spending any more money on trying to maintain something that is faulty. I recall a saying, "Purchase right the first time so you dont have to purchase again" Although Eva-Kool are not cheap they are not as dear as Engel or National Luna but what I have spent on repairs has already made the Eva-Kools dearer than Engels. Not going to make the same mistake this time as I need fridges that can be relied upon in remote areas. Eva-Kool make great eskys which is why I went for their fridges, however that hasn't equated to good fridges.

Battery power is not an issue with either brand as I have plenty built in and both appear to be reasonable in usage.

I don't need any info on Engel as I have always travelled with people that own Engel and have seen their reliability especially compared to my Evakool's. In fact each time mine failed I had to rely on their Engels.

I have searched the forums re National Luna Fridges and most comments are number of years old and was wishing to hear from current owners. I am not interested in the cost argument of different brands as if I had spent more the first time I would not have wasted my money with Eva-Kool. I don't want to spend money on fridges again but when you cant rely on them and travel to remote areas you have to bite the bullet and fix the problem buying something decent.



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Reply By: Member - Howard P (WA) - Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 21:38

Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 21:38
Hi Dave,

I have owned a National Luna 90 Twin SS for about 5 years now, it lives in the back of 100 series when travelling and has being on quite a few rough roads in W.A & S.A, no problems at all and works very well. The only thing that I had changed is when I purchased mine the internal baskets were made from SS wire and were replaced with the new type plastic crate ones - which are much better.
Hope this info helps
AnswerID: 539371

Reply By: Jos - Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 21:53

Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 21:53
I have the large 90 litre National Luna fridge/freezer. I've only had it for 6 months, but absolutely love it. It's done a lot of rough roads with me, including a trip across the Simpson. After seeing the National Luna, most of my travelling companions with other brands of fridges put the National Luna on their want/need list.
AnswerID: 539373

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 21:55

Sunday, Sep 21, 2014 at 21:55
Sounds like you have had a bad run with fridges. Not going to weigh in on a which is best debate as they are all good when they are working, I think it is more important to consider what is the deal when they stop.
One of the fridges I own is a Bushman and my main reason for choosing their product is because their electronics are plug and play so anyone can replace the module themselves on the side of the road, the parts are only about $100 and they will express post them to you anywhere in Australia, in the meantime there is a toggle switch that allows you to manually cycle the compressor to keep your food cold until you receive the parts.
I know this will not solve every issue but I figure it is the best option available when you are on the road
I had a mate who's Engel failed him on route to the Kimberly, even though it was under warranty he had no choice but to purchase a replacement one to continue on his trip with and carry the faulty one the whole trip on his roof.
When he returned home he had his one repaired under warranty and sold the other one on a Ebay to recoup some costs.
AnswerID: 539375

Follow Up By: Road Warrior - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 16:40

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 16:40
How old is your Bushman? Because I know they have changed compressor brand at some point the past year or two. I dont know whether that effects its "fixability" in the bush.
FollowupID: 824021

Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 16:53

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 16:53
Mine is about 3 years old now and from memory it has the Italian compressor and I believe they are now using the German Danfoss ??

The DIY repair aspect relates to electrical componentry not the compressor or gas side of the unit so I would assume that nothing would have changed in that regard. (hopefully I never have an issue to find out)
FollowupID: 824022

Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 05:02

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 05:02
Hi Dave,
I have had a twin National Luna (40l fridge and 10l freezer) for about 7 years. I had two Engels before that - I would never go back.

The NL is a tough bit of kit and parts are modular so they can be fitted in the field - not that I've ever had the need.

They aren't cheap in comparison to Engel, Waeco or similar but you get what you pay for in my opinion.

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AnswerID: 539379

Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 05:14

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 05:14
Hi Dave,
I have had a twin National Luna (40l fridge and 10l freezer) for about 7 years. I had two Engels before that - I would never go back.

The NL is a tough bit of kit and parts are modular so they can be fitted in the field - not that I've ever had the need.

They aren't cheap in comparison to Engel, Waeco or similar but you get what you pay for in my opinion.

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AnswerID: 539380

Follow Up By: Member - Mary W NW VIC - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 20:37

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 20:37
Likewise I have had the luna 40/10 for 7 yrs.Has done all the rough tracks AB/Canning all over the country.Just brilliant and runs from a solar panel to 100ah battery.rarely need to plug into house battery
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Reply By: Member - Norm & Lisa - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 07:53

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 07:53
Just back from a trip myself and probably had a drink with you at Birdsville. I have a Snapper fridge and the thermostat broke on one of the rough tracks. What I found was that most outback towns that do have parts for fridges know all about engels as they seem to be the most popular. Obviously the preferred option is not to need parts but when it happens you want them readily available.
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AnswerID: 539384

Reply By: Member - Boobook - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 08:58

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 08:58
I have a 73l dual zone National Luna. Had it about 6 years. It is the best fridge I have ever had. It uses about the same power as my old 50l waeco and less than my old 38l Engel which was pathetic in the heat for power use.

The thick insulation really helps keep things cool with minimal power use.

National Luna are bloody expensive but I would buy one again in a heartbeat.

I also recently got a 60L Primus fridge which was on unbelievable sale at Anacondan ($200). I reckon it is made by National Luna,everything looks the same, take a look at them too.

I would never ever buy a Engel again and probably not a waeco.
AnswerID: 539387

Follow Up By: chisel - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 16:22

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 16:22
$200 for a 60L primus??!??! wow
I have a large Primus mammoth (92L) and did a fair bit of research before buying it. They've definitely modelled their units on the national luna and in some cases I think the dimensions are identical but other bits and pieces (eg. control panels, lid hinges etc) are a bit different.
Who knows - could be the same factory??
FollowupID: 824019

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 06:25

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 06:25
I'd been eying it off for about 2 weeks when it was marked down from $1500 to $1100. Then it went on sale at $600. I was really in 2 minds. Do I really need a second fridge? Yes I do, no not really etc. Nah, and went home.

Then 1 week later I went back to the store for something different. They were out the front at $600 still. While I was in the store I though bugger it. I'll buy it. I went out to get it and the price was crossed out and marked down to $200. I thought a kids must have done it so I went back in and went to buy 2. The guy at the counter said that it is wrong. Can't be $200. He called the Manager who confirmed he got an email the morning from HQ to get rid of them for the new model. HE even rang to conform the email. I got 2 ( all they would let me buy) and the other 8 or so were gone in 15 minutes.
Great timing.

It is a fantastic fridge. I have also used it as a freezer and it goes down to -22. Most only go to -18
FollowupID: 824039

Reply By: Evakool - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 09:38

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 09:38
Hi Dave,

I am sorry to read of your problems with your fridges.

I am happy to try help you diagnose your problem if you can give me some further background information on your issue.

Please contact me at warranty@evakool.com so I can run through some options.

Thanks, Brodie
AnswerID: 539391

Follow Up By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 10:11

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 10:11
Hi Dave,
I wouldn't knock this offer back.....keep us informed on how you go :-)
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FollowupID: 824004

Reply By: Rod - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 19:23

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 19:23
Both my brother-in-law and I bought our Evakool's in 2002. They are still going strong and we have been very happy with them. His muffin fan on the condensor went last year and we replaced it with an identical one from Jaycar. Sad to hear that your experience was not as good.
AnswerID: 539406

Reply By: Member - i'machocoholic - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 20:27

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 20:27
Hi Dave,

We have a current 72 litre double door National Luna model. The fridge is only 9 months old and we have just returned from a 9 week Kimberley trip taking some great off the beaten tracks where everything got thrown around a bit. We used the fridge as a fridge/freezer and also took a second 39 litre Engel fridge. After being an Engel girl for over 25 years, I'm sold on the National Luna! It's quiet, easy to use, reliable, really efficient and well insulated. We had no issues with power and it handled the rough tracks no problems. We'd definitely recommend them and wish we'd had got one years ago.

AnswerID: 539410

Reply By: Bongo (NT) - Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 22:03

Monday, Sep 22, 2014 at 22:03
I heard lots of positive reports about the National Luna so I purchased a 90lt about 2 weeks ago. Only had it running on 240 so far but very impressed with the separate thermostats on the 2 compartments. On compartment is running as a deep freeze cycling between -15 and -18 and the fridge side cycling between 3 and 5 degrees.

Purchased it from Battery World in Darwin. The sale assistant said they get free freight if 2 units are purchased. I gave her my telephone number and told her to ring me when they had the second sale. Within a week she said she had the second order and did I want to go ahead. i said yes but told her I would be away for 3 weeks and did she require payment in advance. She said no and she would have the fridge waiting for my return. Great service and customer relations.
AnswerID: 539415

Reply By: Member - kwk56pt - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 15:59

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 15:59
Hi Dave, seems there are happy National Lunar Fridge owners out there. I would have expected some other upset Evakool owner to respond and vent there frustrations but not one. Perhaps try a quick google to try and flush out some other unhappy evakool owners least you will know you are on the right path.

Sounds like you have investigated the issue and its not caused by a voltage issue such as caused by wiring, fault in generator, solar or inverter used and the best course of action is a new fridge as you have purchased two lemons

Those National Lunar fridges look well made. I was at a show once and a row of stalls were selling car fridges and the afternoon sun was beating into all the stalls. I put my hand on all the fridge cabinets. the evakool was cool to touch, but the waeco and National Lunar were red hot to touch. The National Lunar Fridge even had a sign on it warning caution hot.

It suggests to me the hot cabinets would absorb more heat when out of the sun. My understanding is that apart from engel they all use the danfoss compressor.
I have been luck with my two evakools. I like the light weight and reflective cabinet. Without a full evaporator plate I find the other end good for vegetables and fruit and the evaporator plate end best for drinks and meat.

I hope the new fridges solve the issue but I am wondering if the problem is not the fridges.
AnswerID: 539433

Reply By: Travis22 - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 22:23

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014 at 22:23
Im sure if you have searched online regarding National Luna fridges you would have come across my experiences over the passed 4-5? years..

Just in case you havent, basically in a nut shell our fridge has given us a few issues but they seem to be sorted - for now. Our fridge is the National Luna Twin 50L.

Over 12months our fridge seemed to become less efficient. The duty cycle got longer and longer. We took it to one of the National Luna authorized service companies and over a couple weeks they determined the fridge was fine and returned the fridge to us. I was not happy with their findings and 100% certain something was wrong with our fridge i decided to try a different authorized service agent to look at the fridge.

He found the compressor was low on gas. He could not find a leak so the fridge was re gassed and returned to me. Unfortunately the fridge and freezer were now cooling to around the same temperature. A second trip back to the service agent saw the fridge monitored again and it was determined it was over gassed. It was adjusted and returned to us. However i discovered it only worked properly in turbo mode (In normal mode the freezer would only drop around 2 degrees lower then the fridge). Third time lucky and the fridge is now running as good as i think it will.

It is still not as good as it was when it was brand new, it uses about 0.5Ah (In normal mode and 1Ah more in turbo) then it used too but the duty cycle is back in the same sort of ball park as it used to be. The freezer now gets about 8-10 below the fridge instead of the 12below that it should...

Over the years that this went on, at times i was ready to just write the fridge off. Would i buy another honestly i doubt it. The lack of support and information out there drove me insane while trying to get our fridge diagnosed and eventually repaired.

The fridge never stopped working, even in extreme conditions it always worked ill give it that - however in the end before getting it serviced it was running 90% of the time at 20deg ambient.


AnswerID: 539467

Reply By: Rod W - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 08:54

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 08:54
So as has been stated above the NL's parts are modular so they can be fitted in the field, so what parts do you take? If it did breakdown out bush or anywhere would you know where/what to look for? If you're not a refrigeration mechanic then probably not. Seems to be one of those get sucked in cons to buy me statements.
AnswerID: 539478

Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 09:40

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2014 at 09:40
Rod, I inquired about this when I bought mine. There is basically one board in mine plus the compressor. They would send the board to me or a service agent across Australia or to any fridge repairer that you may end up with. The do a basic diagnosis on the phone.

I then went to a fridge repair place that specialized in Waeco and Engel. He said that would work for him and should be easy to determine the fault anyway then get spares if necessary.

Interestingly he said buy any Danfoss compressor fridge and don't touch engel as the latter are very expensive to repair. He had lots of all kinds of fridges on the shelf for repair. He was in Clayton, Vic. He didn't sell any fridges.

Anyway touch wood no problems in 6 years so far.

FollowupID: 824098

Reply By: mike39 - Thursday, Sep 25, 2014 at 08:08

Thursday, Sep 25, 2014 at 08:08
Seems you do some long term camping, often in high ambients and rough tracks.
Before you commit to the NL could I seriously suggest you look at the Aus. made Trailblaza.
Based in Caloundra Qld. they only sell direct from the manufacturer so you wont see many adds for them.
Not going to wax on lyrical about our 20+ year old one except to say it has been faultless.
AnswerID: 539506

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