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Old 01-02-2012, 06:41 AM   #1
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gainesville , Florida
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Refrigerator check lite on gas

i'm new to rv's and my 2008 airstream refrigerator wont seem to go into gas mode. it keeps getting a check lite. i smell gas at the outside access panel. i've checked the fuses and they are good. any ideas. also is it ok to smell gas at all when you open the access panel? thanx

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Old 01-02-2012, 06:48 AM   #2
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Our check light comes on if we haven't used it for some time. I find lighting the cook top pulls gas into the lines, then the fridge works fine.

I don't think you should smell gas at the panel. That indicates you either have a leak, or you have enough gas in the lines (referencing the first paragraph) which isn't igniting. This means you may have an ignition problem.

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Old 01-02-2012, 06:52 AM   #3
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yes, that kind of confirms i might have an ignition problem. i'll lite the cooktop and check any way. thank you very much. if that fixes it i'll let you know.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:00 AM   #4
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It does take a few tries sometimes after not being used for awhile. I turn the gas on and wait a few minutes before turning the fridge on. Also, you can go out to the access door right after turning it on and hear if it is trying to light buy hearing it sparking.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:06 AM   #5
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When you try to use LP mode, you should be able to hear the igniter clicking for a few seconds to a minute after you switch it on. If you can't, you may have a bad board, bad igniter, or even a blown fuse on the board. If you hear the igniter, but get no flame, you could have a blockage in the burner assembly. That would give you the gas smell, but no flame. A blockage could be a spider or mud dauber nest in the line or burner.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:10 AM   #6
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Running out of propane can cause this. If the tank runs out, there is a short period of time that propane is still flowing, but not at a sufficient rate to burn in the burner. The refer will allow this final puff a gas to flow and try to light. You will smell gas, and the refer will say "check".

The advice to light a burner on the range and the water heater is good Just switch the to the full bottle first. This will allow propane to flow throughout the plumbing.

I have been fooled by the auto change-over on the propane tanks before. I didn't know it had switched and burned both tanks. Make sure you have propane.

Good Luck,
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by stuartkaye
... also is it ok to smell gas at all when you open the access panel? thanx

Make up a solution of soapy water, something like Dawn works okay. Apply it to the fittings on the copper gas line going to the burner, and look for bubbles indicating a leak. I suspect a different problem. The check light comes on when the electronics have attempted to open the gas valve and started ignition, but didn't detect a flame. This may be something as simple as a spider nest in the burner tube. You may have to temporarily remove a heat shield to get better access to inspect the burner tube and clean it out as needed. If the spark electrode got moved somehow or its wire disconnected, it would also fail to light.

The electronics board could be faulty also and most RV techs have a tool to test it.

There should be a user manual that came with the fridge that has a troubleshooting section and details as to cleaning, electrode position, etc.

Be sure to shut off the gas and power before working in there.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:16 AM   #8
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gainesville , Florida
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lite the range then the refrig and seems to be working fine. thanks for everyones help.
I think this time you saved me some money and a trip to the rv service center.
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:29 AM   #9
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Gas burners on refrigerators sometimes need cleaning. On my 2004 Safari the burner needed replacing. It got very difficult to light as a result.
I had the repair shop do the work because I don't like to work on gas appliances.
If it is cold, it may take a couple of tries to light a refrigerator in good repair. If the trailer runs completely out of propane, the airlock must be purged before the refrigerator will light. I purge the airlock by running the stove and making a few tries to light the refrigerator. Warm up a cold refrigerator by running it on electricity. Refrigeration occurs by heating up ammonia with an electric heater. After the heater runs a while, the refrigerator should easily light on gas.
When the refrigerator tries to light, a little gas is discharged. If it doesn't fire, the gas isn't burned and smells. There isn't enough gas to cause an explosion and is not in itself indicative of a malfunction.

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