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Old 08-04-2006, 12:36 AM   #1
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1979 31' Sovereign
vancouver , BC
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Exclamation Emergency refridgerator extraction help needed!

So the original dometic fridge on our "new" 79 sovereign (31ft) "doesn't work". The heating unit in the back heats up fine, but the cooling unit doesn't cool. My friendly RV repair guy suggested I take it out and "burp it": flip it upside down, shake it, wait 24 hours, and then flip it back, hoping that the problem is crystallized ammonium in the tubing. If it works then, great, if it doesn't I'd get a new one (would probably get an AC only one, to save some $'s and because I need one quickly and it won't be on the road anyway, so AC is guaranteed). Either way I have to take the old one out.

Problem is we're hoping to put it on a one way barge to its final resting place in two days, which gives me very little time to do it all, especially as I've spent the last couple of hours trying to get it out of there and can't!

The fridge doors are off. The propane and electric connections have been disconnected. I've unscrewed lots of screws from the cabinetry into the fridge, taken the cabinetry above the fridge (with tambours) out of the way, clearing the top of the fridge. There are no screws visible from the outside access door. There are no holes in the underbelly hiding bolts.

Right now both sides "feel" relatively loose, the back feels loose, and by yanking on the top of the fridge it feels like it is detached from the side panels, and from the back. However it feels very strongly attached at the front base. I've tried to lift the front with a crowbar with no success. The PO put in newish carpet which makes access to the underside of the front difficult, but with a little push I can get the crowbar under there. I can lift it a few millimeters, but it feels like it's still attached.

Some people have mentioned screws hiding behind some front paneling. The base of this fridge is metal of the same color as the "edging" of the frame. It doesn't look as if it's paneling that can be removed...

I took a few pictures (love the flash, it's really dark in there!) if that helps:

http://flickr.com/photos/davidascher...7594223652596/

HELP! What am I missing??
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:46 AM   #2
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I can't help you but feel your pain... We had to remove the counter in our 77 to get the fridge out.

Why don't you just wait until you get it moved and then do all this....?
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:50 AM   #3
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Janet: the main reason to hurry is the place we're taking it to is hard to get to, hard to get parts when you're there, etc. I suppose you're right that I can do it there, but everything will take 10x as long...
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Old 08-04-2006, 12:55 AM   #4
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Have a manual?

Did you look in the manual?

The base sounds screwed down. Could the base be unscrewed from the refer?
Mine had some bent aluminum straps screwed like anchors. Very clever.
Think they did not want this unit to move.
Can you move the carpet back a little and slide an inspection mirror around the bottom?

R
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:08 AM   #5
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fastrob: RTFM is a brilliant idea (!). Just did, but unfortunately it says nothing useful except "Additional information available in the Airstream Service Manual". I guess when the sun is back on this side of the earth I'll have to pull or cut away some of the carpet.

I just realized as well that I didn't try to run it on AC. The RV guy said that "if it doesn't work on LP and it's hot, it's not going to work on AC", but I would feel stupid if it did and I hadn't tested it.

--da
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:21 AM   #6
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There maybe an aluminum flange mounted on the top of the fridge going up the chimney. This holds the chimney open to the back of the fridge.

There may also be aluminum right angles screwed into the floor on the sides and into the fridge keeping it in place.

You may have to remove that cordenza and then the panel next to the fridge to really see what's going on.
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:27 AM   #7
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Safari Tim:

I don't think there's anything connecting the fridge to the chimney. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be surprised if you're right that there are angles screwed into the floor, and that it'll take a complete take apart of the living room. My wife will be pleased (not!).

I read all about how these things end up sucking time and money, but I had no idea how quickly. I've already got a hot water heater to repair, a battery drain to investigate, a fridge to fix or replace, and this is after paying a pro $600 to fix the water system, check the propane, fix a skin rip, and install a water pump. All in a couple of days of posession! =)

--da
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Old 08-04-2006, 01:31 AM   #8
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Picture

In case anyone wants to see a picture of the fridge (RM100 I think)
...
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Old 08-04-2006, 05:40 AM   #9
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look for 2 large screws in the back. they are screwed through the floor.

don't toss it if it doesn't come back to life. i found a place that rebuilds the cooling units!

i just did mine and it works great!

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Old 08-04-2006, 12:50 PM   #10
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Success!

Safari Tim was mostly right. The right way to remove the fridge was to remove the credenza. I didn't want to take the time to do it right (tsk tsk), and didn't want to believe it was true, so applied some brute force and somehow ripped out the screws that were holding the right angle flashing that was holding the fridge tied down to the floor. Taking out the panel between the credenza and the fridge was the last thing that needed doing, and that was easy because it was poorly attached in the back anyway.

Fridge is out, flipped upside down, shaken _and_ stirred, and I'm hoping that the crystals are on their way to being dissolved and that that's all that's wrong with the little !@#$. Will find out tonight when I flip it back and plug it in I guess!

Thanks for the help all.

Other bits of wisdom for future readers of this thread:

- use a flashlight to scan between the fridge and the paneling to point out screws or other attachments points

- also handy is a long thin metal plate, like a ruler or aluminum brace, to point out screws and to rip up foam glued onto the fridge and the paneling.
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Old 08-05-2006, 10:50 AM   #11
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Just FYI, the burping worked! Plugging it in last night, and today it's quite cool (as I bypassed the thermostat and switch, one of which isn't working).
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Old 08-05-2006, 11:56 AM   #12
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so you should be able to clean the burner and flue tube while you have it out. then at least, it will work on gas until you get the electric side fixed.

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Old 08-05-2006, 12:13 PM   #13
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John: do you have any steps to do the cleaning? Remove the shielding in the bottom only, I assume, since the top part of the shielding seems harder to take apart?
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Old 08-05-2006, 12:23 PM   #14
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just remove the shroud around the burner, leave the stack alone.

then you can blow it out with compressed air. the flue tube can be cleaned using a wire brush taped to a stick or what ever.

before cleaning the flue you must remove the baffle, it is a spiral piece that is suspended in the flue by a piece of wire. it comes out of the top.

you can look here http://www.airforums.com/forum...air-23857.html to see what the flue baffle looks like. mine is a different model but the idea is the same. get the flakes of rust out so they do not fall down into the burner as you go down the road.

john
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