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Old 06-15-2009, 09:02 PM   #29
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That is an interesting suggestion. But the fact remains that once the fridge stops working, it stops until it is turned off and all thawed out, it works again - mostly.
I am struggling because I looked closely at the mounting surfaces at they all seem level with respect to the trailer itself. And I have to believe that the trailer is going down the road level enough - except the fact that the hitch height for the trailer with respect to the hensley and the receiver on the H2 causes the trailer to lean towards the rear. This despite the fact that the Hensley tow bar is the longest that Hensley makes.
The real question is how level is level enough.

In removing the fridge today, I discovered that the fridge was only held in by one bolt on the floor and whatever was in the sides, most of which was not actually grabbing any wood or anything for that matter. The shop we had that installed in, Mountain Family RV in Reno, Nevada has of course gone out of business. The job they did putting both our Fridge and Air Conditioner was so poor that 3 years ago when we had it done, we swore we would never go back. That Fridge was hanging on by a thread, or one bolt for that matter. Not to mention the broken wheel well and various other little things they did (like a big 'ol greezy pay print on out curtains).
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:04 PM   #30
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I just don't think being that much out of plum would cause this problem all the time. There must be another answer for it not working while in travel. I don't have an answer but your problem just bugs me.
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:19 PM   #31
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Hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like the wheel well behind the fridge has a good size hole in it. Could you be getting a blast of air through that hole when going down the road?
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:54 PM   #32
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Out of level going down the road is no big deal, level at campsite is also not a big deal. You gotta be WAY OFF, in which case a good night's sleep is impossible. Both Coleman and Dometic state that in their literature. Is it running on 12-volt or propane when traveling?
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Old 06-16-2009, 10:38 AM   #33
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No, The hole doesn't penetrate the wheel well, lust between the inside and fiberglass insulation.

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Originally Posted by azflycaster View Post
Hard to tell from the pictures, but it looks like the wheel well behind the fridge has a good size hole in it. Could you be getting a blast of air through that hole when going down the road?
Mike,

I know! it shouldn't make a difference. But something does. I do not believe that it is the pilot light going out because once it stops working it stops. I also suspect what could be called "mechanical priming" whereby the water in the fridge is being atomized due to vibration caused by those #3500 (verses the stock #2800) axles we have. I was assured that that can not possibly be the problem.

I am calling Dometic today to get the scoop - I will tell you all what the outcome is.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:14 PM   #34
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I would really doubt that your new axles are causing the problems your seeing. It is more likely an airflow condition over the evaporator while in motion. Are you operating on 12 volt or gas while driving? It sounds like the fridge is getting gas bound while driving. Which i believe is caused by improper airflow over the evaporator. Instead of the airflowing up the chimney pipe as when at rest, it is flowing under the trailer while at speed. This happened to a few years back. I thought the fridge was shot, but it just needed to completly defrost and cool down, and then worked fine. I've heard of people actually having to remove the fridge and turn them upside down to burp them. To this day I don't travel with the propane on. We pack the true perishibles in an ice cooler and use ice packs in the fridge to keep it cool. Also, driving with the flame on is very dangerous. God forbid that thing catches fire you won't even know it until you see flames in the rear view mirror.
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Old 06-16-2009, 12:34 PM   #35
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mee too

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getting gas bound while driving. .
That happens to me from time to time, thank goodness for rest stops.
Smile buttercup, just adding a little humor.
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:48 PM   #36
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I am struggling because I looked closely at the mounting surfaces at they all seem level with respect to the trailer itself. And I have to believe that the trailer is going down the road level enough - except the fact that the hitch height for the trailer with respect to the hensley and the receiver on the H2 causes the trailer to lean towards the rear.

If you have a constant lean towards the rear when traveling you could have a situation where the gas/ fluid isn't flowing through the coils. It sounds like the problem only occurs when traveling, so It makes sense to me to check it out more thoroughly. Is it possible to borrow a tow vehicle with the correct hitch height for your Airstream to tow level, and take it for a ride?
Also, I have a hatch on the bottom of my Safari under the refer, to allow combustion air to enter. It's about 6" by 24", and has a screen on it to keep critters out. It seems to me that it would blow too much air when moving down the highway, or create a suction effect that would pull hot air down from the burner. I don't know if this is typical or not.
It sounds from your description of the problem, that it is not a lack of heat from the burner, as it wouldn't need to rest to recover from that. It sounds more like a flow problem causing a blockage in the coils. That would take time to recover from.
Waddayathink?
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Old 06-16-2009, 03:12 PM   #37
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Absorption chillers can not work when the trailer is in motion. You will end up with the hydrogen gas mixed in with the ammonia coolant. That is why hitting the coils works. The fluid is tapped to the bottom and the cooling cycle can run.
You noted that when you did not run the unit until you got to the camp site, everything worked fine. This is normal. The best way to use the chiller is to let it run for about 24 hours at home before you leave. Load it up with your cold items and turn it off. If the door is kept closed, food will keep cold for up to 48 hours.
DO NOT restart the chiller until the trailer is still and level. I don't think you have any problems at all. You just need to opperate the unit as it was designed to be used.
Check this link for a nice diagram of the system:
Greenline What is an Absorption Chiller?
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Old 06-16-2009, 04:25 PM   #38
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Absorption chillers can not work when the trailer is in motion. ...
Then why does Dometic make and sell a three way refrigerator, 12V, 110V and Propane?


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Old 06-17-2009, 11:59 AM   #39
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My understanding is that they work while moving because the movement keeps the process operating and that's true even when the unit is far from level—going up and down hills, off camber roads. I have also read the newer refrigerators are less sensitive about being out of level than the older ones.

We've not had any problems with ours and 1 1/2 years and 14,000 miles. We leave it on all the time and it maintains a reasonably constant temp of 39˚. When the outside temp goes up to around 90˚, the refrigerator runs at 40-41˚.

On the other hand, a friend got a new one a year or two ago and had a lot of problems and eventually Dometic replaced it. I believe it was one of the 3 way ones and I seem to have read there are more problems with them than the 2 way ones. We have a 2 way.

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Old 06-17-2009, 12:59 PM   #40
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These units ARE designed to be operated down the road. In fact the tech I spoke with yesterday echoed that. And he also confirmed that the problem is likely NOT a problem of combustion, but rather blockage. As of yet he has not heard of a unit ever suffering from mechanical priming due to vibration.
So the final answer is the leveling of the unit. He recommended leveling the unit based on the freezer compartment, as is discussed in the diagnostics manual. That I will have completed shortly.
But there is one other leveling issue - the fore to aft level. When the trailer is hitched to the TV, the trailer does slightly lean towards the rear. Our tow combination is a Hummer H2 with a Hensley and the longest tow bar they make. I have not thought of this until yesterday and now suspect that it is likely to be a contributor. This seems to be a situation I can do little about at this time.
Just a side note, I did go ahead and "burp" the unit per instructions received by a forums members. It took about a half an hour to do it on all sides and top and then gently roll it around to get all the liquid to settle. I will put it back in as soon as I have the space all baffled and sealed.
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Old 06-17-2009, 01:21 PM   #41
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Maybe time to have the Hummer slammed?

Or put a lift-kit on your Airstream.

How far does it tilt the Airstream back when hitched up?

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Old 06-17-2009, 01:26 PM   #42
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that's easy enough to test. does it run better hitched or unhitched?
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