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Old 05-31-2015, 04:19 PM   #1
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1985 32.5' Airstream 325
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Refrigerator- ammonia smell?

So, we're driving down the road today, and notice a strong ammonia smell in the MH. Fridge was warm when we got home (still had green power light on). Kiss of death?
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Old 05-31-2015, 04:21 PM   #2
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Yup, time for a new cooling unit or new fridge.
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:12 PM   #3
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We had the same thing happen to our 2005 Safari about three years ago. You will need to replace the cooling unit or get a no refrigerator.

We got estimates for replacing the cooling unit and replacing the whole refrigerator. We ended up replacing the refrigerator. It was about double the cost to get the new refrigerator, but got a new two year warranty from Dometic.

Brian
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:47 PM   #4
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AleChemist,

Encountered same issue several years ago on our first coach (1995 AS Land Yacht), here is the process we followed to replace the cooling coil:

Cooling Unit Replacement - External Connections

Reviewed forum advice and YouTube Videos, so decided to perform a little advance prep work.

Shut off Propane at Tank
Lit Stove Top to burn off residual propane in the lines.

External Connections
- Removed Outside Access Panel

Pulled Power Cord from 120V Receptacle

Disconnect Propane Supply Line

Removed bolt securing Right Side of Refrigerator

Removed bolt securing Left Side of Refrigerator

Disconnected 12 volt power lines

Capped 12 volt power lines

More to come...

Daniel
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:51 PM   #5
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Continued...

Remove four (4) screws from the Refrigerator Interior that secure to unit to the coach.

Remove the four (4) rubber protectors from the bottom of the cooling plate:

Remove the four (4) screws & nuts that retain the cooling plate in the freezer:

Remove the Refrigerator Plate Screws (3 each)

Gently pull the probe covering away from the refrigerator cooling plate

Probe Covering

Place a small stool in front of the refrigerator. Gently rock the refrigerator from side to side until is removed from the cabinet.

In my case, I was able to lower the dinette table, laid out the cushions and covered with a blanket to protect the cushions and the front of the refrigerator. I lowered the refrigerator to the cushions in order to access the rear of the cooling unit.

More to come...

Daniel
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:53 PM   #6
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Continued...

Remove obvious parts such as burner assemblies, heat elements etc.

There are several screws around the cooling unit frame that require removal. Disconnect the various electrical connectors that are running around the tubing.

Use a pry bar under the "big tube", (#7) in the graphic below, will usually do the job. The "big tube" is the only pipe that should be pried on.

Since you will be prying against the refrigerator body, a board or some other protection is necessary between the pry bar and the refrigerator to prevent poking a hole in the box. This is usually enough to pull a cooling unit, but not always. If yours is stubborn, peel up the edges of the aluminum backing paper to expose a line between the foam of the cooling unit head and the insulating foam of the refrigerator box. If the cooling unit has already been replaced before, the backing may be a piece of sheetmetal instead of paper. With some effort, the sheetmetal can be removed and slid out from the cooling unit.

I had to run a knife around the of the cooling unit and box (about 4" deep) and pryed to finally remove the unit.

When the cooling unit is out, remove fin assembly by prying off the cooling unit head.

Pull the baffle from the cooling unit chimney and remove any other parts from the unit. These parts will be transferred to the replacement cooling unit.

Today, I will thoroughly scour the interior of the refrigerator and freezer compartments and wire brush the shelving (looking a little corroded).
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Old 05-31-2015, 05:55 PM   #7
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Continued...

Friday morning, installed the replacement cooling unit in preparation for afternoon departure. It took about two hours to complete the replacement and install the refrigerator. Delay was due to a bracket on the replacement unit that was not on the original. The bracket had to be modified to accommodate the existing burner unit.

Wrapped up installation by 1100 hours.
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Old 05-31-2015, 06:02 PM   #8
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For pictures, here is our original thread...

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f312...y-89972-5.html

Good luck!
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Old 06-01-2015, 08:20 AM   #9
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Look into a 12 volt compressor fridge.
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:33 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone. I ended up putting in a new one. Pretty easy swap.
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