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Old 10-03-2011, 09:30 AM   #1
cjack99's Avatar
1989 32' Excella
Hurst , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 20
Dometic 2801 refer works backwards?!

2 things happened this summer, I think they are connected.......

1 - Lovely Texas had the hottest summer ever, and I mean HOT. My poor 89 Excella spent the time sitting in the heat.

2 - Upon our first trip we could take when things cooled down, the refer appears to suddenly work in reverse, inside hot, outside near the bottom of the coils, it's cool.

I can't find anything similar on the site here, so I thought I would see what folks think of this one. Works the same on both electric and propane. Will start with a cool interior and within an hour or two the freezer cooling plate will almost toast your fingers, and temp easily goes off the scale, in the wrong direction. Inside the main section, temp slowly builds to above 60 degrees, and again proceeds off the scale. All this drama is accompanied by a fine sound of severe stomach distress,,,, not mine, the refers. Lots of gurgles and what not. Yes, it's level.

No smell of ammonia at all, and no visible residue inside or outside.

Topping all this off, when I go outside and open the access door, the cooling coil input (I think it's the input) to the bottom of the reservoir is nice and cool. Geeze.

My plan is to remove the refer, and "burp" it........ although I read that burping does not usually do any good on the units after the early 80's. At least I'll have the thing out for the next step........ which would be???

thanks for your thoughts


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Old 10-03-2011, 09:39 AM   #2
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,592
After you "burp it" and find that does not work, the next step is to replace it. Don't put it back into the AS to test it, just operate it on 120 volt power on the bench.

I have had some of the same results with a failed cooling unit. I never tried to feel the "cool" part, but the interior plates did get hot, just like yours.

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Old 10-11-2011, 11:17 AM   #3
cjack99's Avatar
1989 32' Excella
Hurst , Texas
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 20
To wrap this up, indeed, burping was a total waste of time, other than the fact that it got the unit out of the A.S. and ready for the next step, a new cooling unit.

I did some web searching, and managed to find a 2801 cooling unit on sale, just under $400 delivered, not bad, you can certainly pay more.

Not too hard to remove and replace, although I found I could not get the old one out with the dometic laying down (which is what the instructions advise). Instead I found that by standing it up I was able to grasp the "big pipe" fairly easily, and use my arm against the top as leverage, and it slid out pretty easily.

The replacement fit without trimming, although the last 1/4" took some pressure on the back, with dometic in prone position, and I actually walked on the back to gain that last 1/4". I did a test drive before the final fitting. Per instructions.

Tightened it up, tested it in the garage on AC for 12 hours, all appears well. Back in the A.S. and gave it a full test, seems to work as if new.

Definitely can be a single person repair, although I needed help to lift the dometic up to the door after the cooling unit was replaced. It could have been done with the dometic in the Airstream, but I did not want to crud up the interior, and I was glad of having the freedom to move it around when it was in the garage.

Hopefully this is the end of refrig adventures in our Airstream.......

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Old 09-28-2012, 04:16 PM   #4
3 Rivet Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 245
Images: 3
I have a Dometic 6 cubic ft. 3804 with a bad cooling unit up for grabs if anybody needs it
I'm in Cumming GA
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2801, refrigerator

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