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Old 09-24-2004, 07:56 AM   #15
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Mine in the '84-sovereign 27fter is fairly fussy. The staging area for trips allows level for-and-aft but it's not side to side. It's still comfortable to walk and such in it but the fridge won't work unless I get the bubble near the middle.


as always, I'm a half-a-bubble shy of level.

cheers.
jb
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Old 09-24-2004, 08:36 AM   #16
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Tom,

Unfortunately, the off-level refrigerator failure story appears, from anecdotal evidence, to have a cumulative effect as well. The longer or the more frequently it's used off-level, the more likely the ammonia is to crystallize. I don't know why that is, and I don't have any definitive evidence to support that view, but that seems to be the opinion of folks in the know. I'm not a refrigerator guy, and most of what I think I know, I've gotten from here and other info on the web.

It appears that refrigerators die from one of two causes; either the pipes develop a pinhole and the ammonia leaks out, or the ammonia crystalizes inside the pipes. I just tried unsuccessfully to resurrect a Dometic RM 2201 fridge after it had sat unused for almost nine years. I presume that the ammonia crystallized somehow while sitting unused. While it appeared to have not leaked ammonia, it wouldn't cool even though all of the burner systems worked like champs. I did everything I could to get the system working, but nothing seemed to help.

The $64 question then becomes, how level is OK, and for how long. Once again, there is no definitive answer, but according to the manufacturers, the round bubble in the bottom of the fridge is probably the most reliable method, and if the bubble is in the circle, you'll (hopefully) assure yourself of a long and lasting relationship with your fridge! We have the Dometic side-by-side in our 34', and I leave it on A/C basically all summer long. I hope I NEVER have to replace that one as they're unGodly expensive!

Roger
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Old 09-24-2004, 11:15 AM   #17
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I read on a Dometic Web site somewhere that if you are level enough to be comfortable sleeping the refrigerator will work fine.
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Old 09-24-2004, 11:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by argosy20
My OEm Dometic from 1972 works fine at almost a full bubble off plumb. Any more than that and the water won't drain out of your sink or shower, either.
Terry
What about the commode , & if that spills ??? The refer then becomes the 2nd most important appliance!!
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Old 09-24-2004, 11:44 AM   #19
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Thumbs up Thanks for the help

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Originally Posted by tcwilliams
...Are we talking an hour, a half-day or ...? Any insight you care to share?
I appreciate all the insight & helpful "rules-of-thumb" offered in all the responses to my original, and followup questions. Thanks all!

I just found out that Trailer Life magazine published an article a few years back and they suggested that you not run your refrigerator off level for more than 20 minutes. Thanks Ben!

Another person advised me that, after pre-cooling & turning the power/gas off, he has "driven for three hours straight without ice cubes melting or beer getting warm ". Thanks Christopher!

I love this place!

Tom
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Old 09-24-2004, 06:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcwilliams
I just found out that Trailer Life magazine published an article a few years back and they suggested that you not run your refrigerator off level for more than 20 minutes. Thanks Ben!
Tom
Tom, I have to concur with the statement above. Its a cumlative effect. Sort of like artierial blockage in a heart. It builds up until one day things go south. I'm pretty careful about this even to the point of shutting off the fridge when we are on the road and stopping for fast food if the stop exceeds 10-15 minutes and we are out of reasonable level. My orginal travel trailer fridge lasted 14 years before it failed due to a pin hole in the pipes.

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Old 09-24-2004, 07:24 PM   #21
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very perplexing....

having been an hvac tech in another life, but no working experience on ammonia systems, i am puzzled...i fail to see logically why ammonia would crystalize, and if in fact it does... not change state once the unit is leveled....ammonia has an affinity for water ...it readilly dilutes...that is how the ammonia system works....i always fire up the refer b4 leaving on a trip ...and also run with it in operation while traveling(i like cold beer when i stop).... . while i am open to new knowledge... i just dont get it.....hoping for some new revelation...
norby
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Old 09-24-2004, 08:47 PM   #22
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Thanks for the info, the web site. This question comes up alot. This is a great source of information!
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Old 09-24-2004, 08:54 PM   #23
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I don't know how ammonia crystallizes either. If it did, it would melt back to a fluid as soon as the temperature got above -107 F.
I thought the reason to keep the refigerator level was:
1. to keep the flame centered on the boiler
2. to provide for proper drainage of the condenser and evaporator.
I would appreciate knowing more about the ammonia crystallization phenomena. If someone can give a reference to a web page I would like to review it.
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Old 09-24-2004, 09:20 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by markdoane
I don't know how ammonia crystallizes either. If it did, it would melt back to a fluid as soon as the temperature got above -107 F.
I thought the reason to keep the refigerator level was:
1. to keep the flame centered on the boiler
2. to provide for proper drainage of the condenser and evaporator.
I would appreciate knowing more about the ammonia crystallization phenomena. If someone can give a reference to a web page I would like to review it.
gasrefrigeration.net

I don't know either, Don. I may have been wrong as well. According to the website above, perhaps my unit lost it's hydrogen rather than the ammonia crystalizing. I had loud boiling sounds, and even after repeated attempts at letting it 'stand on it's head', it wouldn't cool.

Here's the reason not to run your fridge unlevel (according to the website above):

Quote:
Running While Not Level

The second biggest killer is running unleveled. When the refrigerator is operating, water moves around the pipes and flows down the coils on the back into the main storage tank. The pipes on the back all slope down from side to side. When the RV is off-level, one direction of the coil will be flowing up-hill and the water flow will stop. When this happens there is no flow to the boiler section and the water in the boiler pipe boils dry. The rust inhibitor dries up and blocks the boiler tube. If the unit is kept running the boiler pipe will get so hot that it will crack from the gas pressure inside the coils (450#). Now the cooling unit is really dead.

Never believe the stories that the newer units do not need to be run level? They are made to run more off-level than the older units BUT there is still a point where they will stop working. Always try to level you RV, as best you can, and if you have to park for a long time and cannot level the unit, shut down the refrigerator. It will keep the food cold for hours. Most of the newer units we repair have all been run unleveled and cracked the boiler. (This can be a very costly mistake)

Roger
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Old 09-24-2004, 09:29 PM   #25
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once again we come full circle again.....how much off level is off level as to impede proper operation....
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Old 09-24-2004, 09:49 PM   #26
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Roger,

Thanks. Great refererence!
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Old 09-24-2004, 09:55 PM   #27
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Inefficient cooling...

My '90 Dometic frig was not doing a good enough job of cooling and the unit was level.

But I observed that the coils in the center of the freezer that are covered with stainless steel that you put your ice trays on to freeze was NOT perpendicular to the back of the freezer. It was tilted down (toward the door).

This did not allow the free flow of fluids and the temp esp. in the frig section stayed in the upper 30s to lower 40s.

The cure was to take off the ss tray. It has screws on the bottom of the plate and it slides out. Then according to http://www.rvmobile.com you had to pry it straight. This simple procedure made an immediate difference in the temp and it lowered by 5-8 degs in top and bottom.

From all I have read, I would agree with turning it off when temporarily out of level for > 30 minutes.

However it is not a concern to be out of level while driving down the road according to rvmobile because it is continuously shifting and that keeps the fluids moving. RVMobile is a great site BTW..

Steve
BTW: How many of you run the frig when between camping trips. I don't. Just crank it up the day before.
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Old 09-25-2004, 08:49 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norbert
once again we come full circle again.....how much off level is off level as to impede proper operation....
I guess its just a matter of how close you want to push the envelope. Sort of like how fast can you go around a curve before you lose control?

I've just always gone by the rule to get as level as possible. To me this means using my little round bubble level placed on the floor of the freezer compartment, and making sure that at least half the bubble is within the inner circle. That translated to my big outside level is half a mark from side to side...and that translates to one Lynx leveler block under each wheel on the low side.

Jack
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