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Old 04-19-2011, 04:36 PM   #1
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refrigerator

Can they be charged
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Old 04-19-2011, 04:45 PM   #2
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Greetings, scottstream, and welcome to the forums! I'm sure you'll find more information here than you'll sometimes even want!

The refrigerator in your Airstream is pretty much a standard unit in RVs: It works with ammonia. These refrigerators involve a sealed system and would only need to be recharged if somehow the ammonia leaked out, and even then you'd have to have the system repaired before the recharge. Generally speaking, since a leak often means that the system may have rusted out, your choice is to locate one of the replacement systems, or to purchase a new (and, unfortunately, expensive) refrigerator.

But are you sure that it's the ammonia system that's the problem? These refrigerators generally work either with gas (propane) or electricity (an element) to heat the ammonia at one end of the absorbtion cycle. Are you sure it's being heated (either with propane or with the element)? Before ours finally went belly up (rusted out pipes, leaking out all the ammonia), it would work only with propane, the electrical element having long since died.

Again, welcome to the forums!


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Old 04-19-2011, 05:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for the greeting and the info I will research further on the problem. I smell ammonia. When I open the fridge door. Nothing seems rusted out but the person I bought. The airstream from said the refrigerator slowly stopped cooling . Still. Troubleshooting. A friend. Said you can turn them upside down? Anymore advice would be appreciated thanks again
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:44 PM   #4
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Welcome to the Forums! Yes, you can turn them upside down (called "burping") to break an air lock in the cooling system (it doesn't always work, but it's worth a try as a trouble-shooting effort). However, if you smell ammonia, and the previous owner said it was slowly failing, it's no doubt leaking somewhere...and that is most likely your problem ... and "burping" will not resolve that.

Have you research the "Refrigerators" sub-forum? Here: Refrigerators - Airstream Forums
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:48 PM   #5
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Thanks I will check it out
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:00 PM   #6
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Leak

If you smell ammonia; it has a leak. You can get new cooling units installed in your refer; cheaper than buying new. I've heard that there is a limit on how old your refer can be. Not absolutely sure though.
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:17 PM   #7
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Thanks for the greeting and the info I will research further on the problem. I smell ammonia. When I open the fridge door. Nothing seems rusted out but the person I bought. The airstream from said the refrigerator slowly stopped cooling . Still. Troubleshooting. A friend. Said you can turn them upside down? Anymore advice would be appreciated thanks again
Scott,

The 'refrigerant' mix in an gas/absorption (G/A) refrigerator is a mixture of ammonia, hydrogen gas, water and an anti-corrosive called sodium chromate, which is bright yellow.

If you are smelling ammonia, your cooling unit has definitely been compromised and the 'refrigerant' has leaked out of the tubing of the cooling unit. You will probably notice yellow staining around the boiler tube, which is inside the 'stack' where the electric element is located; just above the LP burner.

If the box is still in good shape and the seals on the doors are still soft, pliable and doing their job, you can usually purchase a new or reconditioned cooling unit for almost any G/A unit out there. There are also many places that will take your existing cooling unit and re-build it for you.

As a factory authorized service center for Norcold and Dometic, I am limited to replacing these failed units with new factory replacements, but you can google 'RV refrigerator or gas-absorption refrigerator cooling unit repair/replacement and a whole bunch of leads will come up.

OTOH, if your box is not in great shape, you might want to consider replacing the entire unit.
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:19 PM   #8
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My wife and I replaced the cooling unit with a rebuilt unit in our Dometic RM 2820 in about two hours. Pretty straightforward work. That was three years ago and so far, so good.

Back then, the rebuilt cost us roughly $450.

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Old 04-19-2011, 08:13 PM   #9
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Can they be charged

Welcome! The refrigerator in my trailer had some rust on the bottom panel, some rust on the metal shelves, a couple broken knobs, and some stains on the inside plastic. It cooled the freezer and the refrigerator storage bay stayed at 60 degrees. My wife didn't like the old looking refrigerator. I could have liked it if it had cooled.

I removed the unit from the trailer and that was a bit of a workout. It must have weighed 200 pounds. To me a old refrigerator is a replace item like the refrigerator in the house. I quickly realized that it's the same amount of work to reinstall the old refrigerator as it is to install a new one. I bought a new Dometic RM2820 last fall. It's currently seasoning inside my shop.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:41 PM   #10
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To me a old refrigerator is a replace item like the refrigerator in the house. I quickly realized that it's the same amount of work to reinstall the old refrigerator as it is to install a new one. I bought a new Dometic RM2820 last fall. It's currently seasoning inside my shop.
I don't have a choice, my TT only came with a 120V unit. It works fine, but I want one to stay cool while we travel.

I've been considering the RM 2820, Splitrock. If you had the choice of models to do again, would you still go with that one? I can't really tell any difference from the specs, except for small size differences.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:23 PM   #11
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I don't have a choice, my TT only came with a 120V unit. It works fine, but I want one to stay cool while we travel.

I've been considering the RM 2820, Splitrock. If you had the choice of models to do again, would you still go with that one? I can't really tell any difference from the specs, except for small size differences.
I think the reason I picked this one is it was the recommended replacement. The size works. I wanted a pilotless ignition, electronic control dual gas/electric power. It's on the pallet still wrapped in shipping plastic in the shop. It's gonna be mid summer or so before it gets installed. I can't recommend it . . . yet. I got it from Palomino. I can recommend them:-)

Gary
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:52 PM   #12
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Yes, no pilot will be a plus, and I suppose that the electronic control should be a stable item by now. It seemed for a while like most of the refer complaints were for bad boards.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:30 PM   #13
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To the original poster:

Not sure if this helps. It's from my copy files.

Click image for larger version

Name:	DOMETIC REFRIGERATOR BURNER.jpg
Views:	257
Size:	342.5 KB
ID:	127682

I have a service manual for RM2612 to RM2852 in PDF if it's needed I'll post it.

Gary
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