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Old 11-14-2010, 01:49 PM   #1
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Dometic fridge belly up.

Our fairly fresh (8-03) #RM-2820 "Classic" has quit cooling on ac/propane. I shut it down, checked for level (not too important on the newer ones), let it defrost and sit for 24 hours with the doors open. Went to re-fire on 115 and, while sitting outside next to the door, suddenly smelled ammonia with a hissing sound like the propane was on. Shut it down, pulled/shut-off the ac and propane. Smell and hissing quit after a few minutes. Question is, what should I advise the mechanics to have ready to fix this problem? I don't relish sitting on the hook while parts are ordered, since we'll have to go to Oasis in Tucson for service and we're in Ajo. Thanks for any input.
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:20 PM   #2
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I've not had one fail, but from what friends have told me that have, you either replace the cooling unit, or the entire refrigirator.

I'm sure when you tell Oasis what happened, they will know what to do.
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Old 11-14-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
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I've not had one fail, but from what friends have told me that have, you either replace the cooling unit, or the entire refrigirator.
I agree, labor to repair could be more or as much as a fresh fridge. Oasis has a good reputation, I'll call them tomorrow.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:02 PM   #4
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Mine . . .

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Currently residing in a pre-trash staging area.

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Old 11-14-2010, 03:14 PM   #5
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Currently residing in a pre-trash staging area.
Understood, I had our previous original fridge "re-built" because of the same smell I'm having: lasted a year, if that.
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:52 PM   #6
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Hi Mike,

The original fridge in my 1983 Excella quit cooling a couple of years ago. I decided to replace it even though I didn't have as exciting a failure as yours. Even when mine was working, the old seals didn't really keep the cold in.

The new fridge ranks right up with the new AC for the best improvements to my 1983.
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:35 PM   #7
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I'm still on the fence. A fresh Dometic runs around $1300+ plus labor. I'm hoping ours is new enough to be re-built, but looking at all the tubes connected to the cooling unit and the associated labor to re-do, plus either staying in Tucson or coming back from Ajo, I'm not sure. I'm not going anywhere until either parts or a fresh fridge are available. We're lucky to have a friend who has a (kinda sorta) fridge available for us, but our smoked salmon from the PNW is looking rather thawed.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:15 AM   #8
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Check and see if there is a recall for your unit, just a though?
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Old 11-21-2010, 01:36 PM   #9
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I'm still on the fence. A fresh Dometic runs around $1300+ plus labor. I'm hoping ours is new enough to be re-built, but looking at all the tubes connected to the cooling unit and the associated labor to re-do, plus either staying in Tucson or coming back from Ajo, I'm not sure. I'm not going anywhere until either parts or a fresh fridge are available. We're lucky to have a friend who has a (kinda sorta) fridge available for us, but our smoked salmon from the PNW is looking rather thawed.
Mike,

The general 'fix' for your depleted cooling unit (it has failed and there is a hole in the tubing that has let the coolant, a mix of ammonia, water, hydrogen gas and sodium chromate, totally escape) is to remove your bad cooling unit and replace it with a new one.

If you chose to have this done, I would specify that you want an original Dometic cooling unit, as I have seen that the off-brands which are cheaper never perform as well or last as long as the original. Plus, they are always very hard to get any type of warranty service from, unlike Dometic which will stand behind their warranty.

PS: if your unit was part of the Dometic recall, they will not replace the cooling unit, as the recall had to do with adding a thermal sensor to your unit that shuts down the unit in the event of a fire of over-temp situation.
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Old 11-21-2010, 02:50 PM   #10
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PPL here in Houston has pretty good prices on Dometic, bought a replacement unit for my 72 Tradewind and they were cheaper than others and have a lot in stock.
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