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Old 03-09-2015, 01:01 PM   #1
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2004 25' Safari
Shelby , North Carolina
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Dometic will not work

We have a 2005 International 25 foot with a Dometic refrigerator. It will not cool. Lights come on, the 110V plug is powered and the 12V part of the system is powered as well. All the lights on the upper panel are working, adjusting the temp does nothing. This unit has been parked for a few years. We have turned it on and off, tried it on gas then electric...all to no avail. Help!!
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Old 03-09-2015, 01:32 PM   #2
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Houston , Texas
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I don't know your level of experience with this kind of fridge, so excuse me if I am telling you things you already know. First, these fridges take a LONG time to cool down. I mean like around 24 hrs. They make no sound, so don't expect to hear a compressor running. Also, they need to be level to work properly.

So my recommendation to start with would be to make sure the trailer is level, put it in electric mode, turn it on to cool, and then leave it for 24 hrs before checking to see how it is doing. After a few hours, remove the access door that allows you access to the back of the fridge, and check to see if the coils are heating up. If you find no heat in the back of the fridge then either your electric heating element is shot, or you aren't getting any juice to it for some other reason. If you find not heat, then try switching to propane mode. Again, make sure the fire lights up and that the coils are heating up, and then give it a good day to start cooling down.

good luck!
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Old 03-09-2015, 01:59 PM   #3
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Good advice <points up>. These fridges are fairly simple. Boiling amonia exchanges heat and cools the interior of the box. You should see a long column on the right side. It will have a small burner similar to a pilot light if on gas. If you try gas, make sure the gas valves are on, and when initially switched, you should hear a little spark ignitor going off till the flame comes on. After that, it will take hours before the box starts to cool.

IF its on electric, there is a 110v heating element higher up in the column that does the same thing as the little pilot light. You should be able to feel the outside of the column and also the coils above and feel them getting warm to hot.

If you dont get anything from either gas or 110, suspect the control board (the only part of it that runs on 12v). Sometimes they can go bad. If you have a meter, you can check voltages for either the 12v or 110v sides. The boards are available, even for older model fridges.
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Old 03-09-2015, 04:27 PM   #4
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In electric mode open the access panel and look for the wiring going to the chimney. Follow those wires back to the terminal on the control board. With a volt meter check for 110 volts across the 2 wire. If there is voltage there the control board is working in electric mode. If after a few hours you don not feel the freezer plate in the frig getting cold you can check the heater element by unplugging the frig. lifting one of the heater wires coming from the control board and reading for continuity across the heater wires. Or check for about 300 ohms across those wires. An open, no continuity is a bad heater element. Storage should not cause that but that is a check to see if it is working.

On the gas side remove the sheet metal panel, about 3 x 3 inches at the bottom of the chimney to see the gas burner. Set the frig on gas and look for a flame from the burner. If no flame or poor flame, color or size, remove the burner tube and clean the spiders nest out of it. That is common after storage.

To protect against that in the future place a dozen moth balls in a sealed plastic bag. punch 15 or 20 holes in the bag with a pin and put the bag in behind the frig. This will keep the spiders away.
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Old 03-09-2015, 08:25 PM   #5
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My new fridge quite just before our trip last summer. The control board went bad. Neither gas or 110v would heat the burner. The control board was behind the "on off" and "auto or gas" switch on my dometic unit. I had to take my trailer to an RV tech (camping world) to get it diagnosed and repaired.

David
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Old 03-10-2015, 07:42 AM   #6
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2004 25' Safari
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Thanks for the info. The "stack" on the left(when looking at the rear of the unit) is getting warm-hot. I can hear the gas light click on but can't see a flame. It gets warm-hot as well on electric. We have left the unit on and untouched for 2 days with no cooling so I don't think it's a question of patience. I can understand the possibility of bugs or similar in the stack when we are on gas but why does it not work on electric? I have been told to "tap" on the coils or turn the unit upside down for a bit?? Not sure this is relevant or good advice but I could try anyway if it will not damage anything.
Thanks again for any advice.
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Old 03-10-2015, 08:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tbstill View Post
I have been told to "tap" on the coils or turn the unit upside down for a bit?? Not sure this is relevant or good advice but I could try anyway if it will not damage anything.
Thanks again for any advice.
This is called "burping" the refer and there are those who swear by it, others who consider it a useless maneuver.

The idea is that you remove the refer, and carefully turn it on its top for a few hours, on one side then the other for a few hours each, (very carefully, using pads if you feel the need) on its face again for a few hours, and finally back to regular vertical and re-install.

The theory is that this can potentially release any existing bubbles in the ammonia contained in the system. It can't hurt, and all it costs is a bit of work. Removal and re-install is an exercise that gives you a good chance to carefully inspect and test the refer, so what's to lose?

Good luck!
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Old 03-10-2015, 10:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbstill View Post
We have a 2005 International 25 foot with a Dometic refrigerator. It will not cool. Lights come on, the 110V plug is powered and the 12V part of the system is powered as well. All the lights on the upper panel are working, adjusting the temp does nothing. This unit has been parked for a few years. We have turned it on and off, tried it on gas then electric...all to no avail. Help!!
It could be the control unit, but first check in the outside compartment for any signs of yellow fluid or yellow powder. If there is, the cooling unit has most likely developed a fatigue crack and is leaking so the cooling unit is bad. Also, if this is the case, DO NOT try running the refrig as a fire can result. The cooling unit or refrig must be replaced.

More likely than not, your refrig was the subject of a recall that occurred back in 2007. Do you know if the recall work was performed? Here's a link to some recall information...
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/acms/cs...8e032-4305.pdf
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Old 03-22-2015, 09:59 AM   #9
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League City , Texas
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This past week, my husband and I had to work through an entire troubleshooting regime to get our own Dometic back into operation. Rather than repeat all that here, please see this blog post:

THE INTERSTATE BLOG: TROUBLESHOOTING A DOMETIC 2351 PROPANE FRIDGE
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Old 04-01-2015, 06:56 PM   #10
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2004 28' Classic
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Just went through the same problem with my 2004 Classic with Dometic RM3862. Since the chimney is Hot. The cooling unit is bad. I just finished replacing the cooling unit with one made by Arctic Cold. After 4 hours on electric; freezer at 4 degrees F refrigerator at 10F.

I spent a long time troubleshooting...upside down--waste of time, 12 hour electric heater element burn, etc. Just because you don't smell ammonia or see yellow the unit can be bad. Also if the unit makes a gurgling sound cooling unit is bad. Replacement cooling unit $550.00, replacement refrigerator $1,200 to $1,700. The hardest part is getting the old cooling unit out of the back of the refrigerator. When I opened up the back, with the refrigerator laying on the front got a face full of ammonia vapor---really bad stuff. If you have a little bit of mechanical skills and can follow instruction a fairly straight forward process.

On the subject of the recall, dealer finally did it before I bought our new to use 2004 in 2014. When I went back and complained about failed refrigerator. I was told the recall Does not cover a faulty unit.... They installed the recall parts but would not cover a faulty unit.

Hope this helps.
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