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Old 02-18-2010, 01:13 AM   #1
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charred underside of refrigerator counter?

This past weekend we removed the defunct RM60A refrigerator from our 1971 Tradewind. The PO had told us it had smelled of ammonia and stopped working. When we removed it from the cabinet (well, removed the cabinet work from around it ), I noticed that the underside of the counter just over the fridge exhaust vent was charred; the vent is centered above the fridge and thus the small flue on the rear left of the refrigerator exhausts underneath the counter. This seems ... dubious. Is this common, or is the rear vent opening supposed to be offset to the left to permit the hot gases to mix w/ the circulating air and thus cool somewhat before encountering heat sensitive surfaces?

We are likely going to purchase a new refrigerator as the door seal is shot, the aftermarket electric ignitor appears broken and the freezer door won't stay shut in addition to needing a new cooling unit. I need to rework the cabinetry anyway as the new unit listed as the replacement is 1.125" taller and most of the clearances are very tight as per manual's instructions. Realigning the vent w/ the flue might be possible; I'm certainly unimpressed with the clear leakage paths (complete w/ dark smudges) between the rivets securing the plastic vent material to the inside wall of the trailer.

It would seem wise to fit a heat shield underneath the counter if the flue cannot be aligned with the vent; since the flue is aluminum anyway clearly temperatures are moderate, and a bit of woven fiberglass & aluminum would protect the counter from possibly catching on fire .

Venting -

- Bart
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:42 AM   #2
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Hi Bart;
Be sure to check the fridge vent above the screen on the roof. It is possible that mud dubber or wasps have build a nest inside the vent's exit collar. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 02-18-2010, 04:44 AM   #3
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When I pulled mine there may have been some heat discoloration but not what I would call charring. Not even sure to what extent the discoloration was due to heat or just plain age. I never heard of a fire due to exhaust placement. I don't know that heat shielding is necessary although I guess it could not hurt. I added a bit of extra blanket insulation to the outside when I put my RM60 back in.

If I have to pull the RM60 again for any reason I would be considering having it rebuilt vs replacing with a new unit, which of course may mean redoing the cabinetry.

I still have my RM60, which is living on borrowed time. If you are junking yours I could use the burner and valve assembly and the trays and shelves from inside the fridge for extras.

2 problems it has is:
1.hard to light with the factory lighter, and the way it is installed could not be lit manually. So I cut a hole in the bulkhead next to the door so I could light it from there.
2. The pilot won't stay lit. I replaced the thermocouple and valve but no luck. So I have jury rigged the pilot to stay in the open position.

I have already gotten the No No safety lecture and decided the risk is very minimal, because there is good venting, propane goes downhill out the vent and the amount of propane the burner uses is minimal. But if anyone feels like doing the lecture again for the other members go for it.
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:38 AM   #4
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Take a look at the photos on my blog for the back of the fridge. After 39 years of heat rising you do get dirt accumulation on the area above the flue vent. I did find three nasty wasps nests in the roof dome as well. The ammonia smell means it leaked and if so much is broken, by the time you fix it, it may be cheaper and more satisfying getting a new fridge.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:54 AM   #5
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On my 1967 Tradewind the cabinet bottom was charred and I had smoke trails on the flue/chiminy.My flue/heat diffuser on the frige was very sooty.and the orifice was dirty and erratic in operation. Also the flame was large and yellow. After cleaning and ajusting the gas portion of the fridge and replacing the door gasket and epoxing all the cracks and holes. The fridge works well, the flame is blue and much smaller.
Adios, John
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:21 AM   #6
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You did say WOVEN FIBERGLASS but even at that I would say do not install anything above the exhaust that can change shape over time, fall down over the exhaust.

A friend had the original fiberglass fall over his vent and just as he pulled out of the campground we say smoke coming from the top of his trailer. Had we not stopped him the complete trailer, a plywood box would have been burning behind him as he drove home.
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumatic View Post
I still have my RM60, which is living on borrowed time. If you are junking yours I could use the burner and valve assembly and the trays and shelves from inside the fridge for extras.
I'll pull them for you this weekend. PM me w/ your address and I'll send 'em along.

- Bart
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
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You did say WOVEN FIBERGLASS but even at that I would say do not install anything above the exhaust that can change shape over time, fall down over the exhaust.
Understood; I'll cover the woven heavy Fibreglass cloth (actually steam line insulation) w/ a aluminum shield to reflect as much heat as possible; that will prevent anything from coming loose as well.

- Bart
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