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Old 08-14-2011, 04:59 PM   #1
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Unhappy Freezer cold, fridge NOT... I give up!!

It's a Dometic RM2351 and it's in our 2007 16' Bambi. It's the original fridge. I'm at my wits end. I feel like I've tried EVERYTHING, including taking it to a Dometic authorized service center. They tested the cooling unit to make sure it was good, and apparently it is because the fridge actually got down to 39 degrees. But that was back in May when it was only maybe 75 degrees outside. The service tech commented that Airstream broke every single rule about rv fridge installation, specifically the need for tight clearances behind and around the fridge for proper airflow, not to mention the placement of the vents to the outside not being spaced properly according to Dometic's installation requirements. He sealed around the back of the fridge as best he could with baffles etc. We have the Snyder cooling kit on, as well as 2 silenx fans (each is 120mm, 72CFM) mounted to the upper vent to blow out the warm air. We got rid of the noisy useless fan that came from the factory. I even replaced the fan on the Snyder kit with a more powerful fan, 53 CFM versus the original 32, thinking increased airflow would be a good thing. But now that it's summer and ambient temps are much higher, around 90 most of the time where we store the trailer, with the fridge side out of the sun, the coolest the fridge ever gets is 50 degrees. I tested the thermistor to make sure it's working, and it is. (unplug from control board, tip in ice water - 33 to 35 degrees - wait 8 - 10 minutes, should be between 8000 - 10,000 ohms resistance) It's mounted on the right hand side of the fins in the fridge, with the tip of the thermistor right about even with the top of the fins, not protruding above the fins at all. I checked the seals all around with a dollar bill and they're tight, no loose spots. I haven't put a fan inside the fridge box because I've recorded temps in every corner of the box and it's a consistent 50 degrees in each corner, ie no cool air inside to blow around. So now I give up. I don't know what else to do. This fridge has been a problem all summer and it's making me crazy! I understand that the 16' trailers are notorious for warm fridges, and I think it's mostly due to the poor airflow, but I had such high hopes that I could overcome the bad design with all of these fans. Does anyone have any words of wisdom, tips, helpful hints, brilliant ideas??? I'm now going to mix myself a giant cocktail and try to visualize lettuce freezing in the back corner of a fridge that actually gets cold!!!



Thanks for any advice. It's much appreciated.
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:17 PM   #2
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You may want to install a fan to move the air up and out of the space between the fridge and the interior wall of your Airstream. This really helps. Aside from this technological solution, always remember fridge discipline:
1. Your Dometic does not have a compressor. It works on ammonia evaporation in a closed loop.
2. Try to cool milk, juice, soda, beer in your home fridge before you put it in your Airstream fridge. Only buy cold beverages when you travel.
3. Don't cram it full of stuff. This type fridge relies on air circulation inside and out.
4. Your fridge doesn't like to be empty. It need thermal mass. Some folks keep empty milk cartons (well cleaned) to put in the fridge when it's otherwise empty.
5. If you have a choice, park with your Airstream aligned east and west and the fridge on the north. Second choice is fridge on the east. Last choice is fridge on the west.
I hope this helps.
I'm sure others can add to this list. This thread is going to have staying power.
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:26 PM   #3
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Thanks Klevan. I'll try that additional fan at the bottom to blow out the air between the fridge and the wall. I actually have a back-up silenx fan, so I'll try that and see what happens. I'll report back with results in a few days.
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Old 08-14-2011, 05:31 PM   #4
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You certainly do not need bigger fan than the Snyder kit comes with. After all, the fridge is designed to operate with just the draft provided by the thermal draft. A bigger fan may be counter productive. With the Snyder kit, you really should not need other fans, although some baffling to make sure that the hot air is ejected rather than recirculated may help.

If you are running on propane, beg, borrow, or buy a manometer and check the gas pressure. It should be 11" of water with half of the propane appliance load in the trailer turned on. I checked mine with 2 stove burners on high and it was 8". Bringing it up to 11" fixed my propane operation problems.

Another question, is the performance the same on AC operation and propane operation? I would check in both modes to see if they differ. It is not impossible that the AC heating element could not come adrift in the boiler due to a bad weld or not be properly seated.

BTW, my fridge now holds the low 30s on both modes at 105 degrees here in Texas with just the Snyder kit.
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Old 08-14-2011, 06:21 PM   #5
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Pahaska, you think the stronger fan on the Snyder kit could be a problem? I've read so much about airflow being key to these fridges working properly. Seemed like more would only be better, but then I'm certainly no expert.

I thought that my Dometic authorized service would have checked gas pressure etc. I'll see what I can do about finding a manometer and checking gas pressure. By the way, I looked at the flame and it was nice and blue, so I assumed all was well in that area, but perhaps it's not.

I've only been running it on propane. I don't know what it does on AC. Good idea to check that. But again, I would have expected my service call to check that. Perhaps I went to the "wrong" authorized service center. I wonder if any fellow Airforums people know of a good, reliable service tech in LA. I wish Lewster wasn't so far away!

About your great fridge temps in high ambient temps... does your fridge have a roof vent? My vents are on the side, and the top of the upper vent is actually lower than the top of the fridge, hence my 2 fans attached to the upper vent, blowing out air. Maybe a bit more baffling is in order to direct the air being blown upwards with the Snyder kit out the side vent. But would it really make that much difference in terms of reduced temps in the fridge? Seems like that might get me a degree or two cooler?

I'll definitely try your suggestions. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 08-14-2011, 10:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2DTube View Post
Pahaska, you think the stronger fan on the Snyder kit could be a problem? I've read so much about airflow being key to these fridges working properly. Seemed like more would only be better, but then I'm certainly no expert.

About your great fridge temps in high ambient temps... does your fridge have a roof vent?

I'll definitely try your suggestions. Thanks for the advice.
I don't think a stronger fan is bad, just that it adds noise and in all probability doesn't help. For a box intended to work on adiabatic airflow only, any well ducted fan should be more than enough. The Snyder kit surely puts the airflow where it is needed.

I had a nice blue flame at 8" of water, also. It did not look a whole lot different at 11", but it made worlds of difference in cooling.

Yes, I have a top vent in my current Airstream. My first Airstream, an International 22 had a side vent and a poorly installed fan. I didn't know about the Snyder kit then. I made some ducting out of thin aluminum to make sure the airflow went through the fins and then out the vent rather than just recirculating. That helped a lot. As it was originally, much of the hot air was sucked right down and through the fan again rather than out the vent. In the 22, the vent was behind the opened main door. Whenever the door was open. the refrigerator worked poorly. Bad bad design on Airstream's part.
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Old 08-14-2011, 11:31 PM   #7
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R2D... Man, I don't blame you for being frustrated. When we see you, let's have a cocktail and curse at it in unison. Maybe that will scare it into cooling right. Good luck...
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:07 AM   #8
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Right on, TB!! I like the way you think!

And then I'm going to zap it with my Emperor Palpatine lightning hands!

POWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH... UNLIMITED POWAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! - YouTube
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Old 08-15-2011, 12:14 AM   #9
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Pahaska, thanks so much for the great insight. I'm going to test the LP pressure this week. We're leaving for a big trip Friday morning. It sure would be nice to have a functioning fridge when we hit the road!
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Old 08-15-2011, 01:30 AM   #10
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Very interesting thread. Pahaska you never fail to amaze me with your knowledge.
and
For the un and under-informed, like myself.

ad·i·a·bat·ic (d--btk, d--)adj. Of, relating to, or being a reversible thermodynamic process that occurs without gain or loss of heat and without a change in entropy.

[From Greek adiabatos, impassable : a-, not; see a-1 + diabatos, passable (dia-, dia- + batos, passable from bainein, to go; see gw- in Indo-European roots).]
adi·a·bati·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
adiabatic [ˌædɪəˈbætɪk ˌeɪ-]adj (Physics / General Physics) (of a thermodynamic process) taking place without loss or gain of heat

n (Physics / General Physics) a curve or surface on a graph representing the changes in two or more characteristics (such as pressure and volume) of a system undergoing an adiabatic process[from Greek adiabatos not to be crossed, impassable (to heat), from a-1 + diabatos passable, from dia- across + bainein to go]


Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
adiabatic (d--btk) Occurring without gain or loss of heat. When a gas is compressed under adiabatic conditions, its pressure increases and its temperature rises without the gain or loss of any heat. Conversely, when a gas expands under adiabatic conditions, its pressure and temperature both decrease without the gain or loss of heat. The adiabatic cooling of air as it rises in the atmosphere is the main cause of cloud formation.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusLegend: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
Adj.1.adiabatic - occurring without loss or gain of heat; "adiabatic expansion"

diabatic - involving a transfer of heat; "a diabatic process"
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Old 08-15-2011, 04:33 AM   #11
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Mr. Tube,it would seem that you are exerting a huge amount of effort for one who has given up,and still you persist.Will there be any time left to enjoy the camping experience? A Dometic RM 2351 is nothing more than a high tech ice chest.Your time spent in frustration,and money lost to what end? To chill lettuce?! I gave up too and purchased a metal Coleman ice chest. Spend your cold cash on this reliable back-up.Carry on,Richie Rich.
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Old 08-15-2011, 06:47 AM   #12
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I know yours is on the other side than ours (19") but I've noticed the the fridge works fine (even in 100 +) with the awning out. It warms up in direct sun bit we keep rotating flat ice pacs between the freezer and fridge and it does help a lot. We still have the loud fan and need to upgrade it to a quieter fan. The cooler isn't a bad idea for drinks so you can leave the door closed during the hot part of the day. We also bought a small fan from camping world to help circulate the air and we use a wireless out door sensor in the fridge to keep an eye on the temps. Good luck and have a great trip!
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:37 AM   #13
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RichieRich, you make a good point! I probably should have titled my post "I WILL NOT give up!". Rest assured, this small speedbump on the road of life does not in any way prevent me from enjoying quality camping trips, especially with a little help from my good friends the Colemans. I've got a couple of ice chests that are well used, not to mention old Greenie, my all-time favorite 25-year-old camping stove! I just know that someone out there in Airforumland is going to clue me in to the secret thing that will finally do the trick to make my fridge work in any kind of weather. (Thanks, Pahaska, for the gas pressure suggestion! We may be on to something there!) This fridge has tried my patience, but I'm no quitter!


And thank you too, BLMitch, for your suggestions. I do keep the fridge out of the sun by parking with the fridge on the north side, or if that isn't possible, I deploy the small street-side awning which shades the fridge vents. This seemed to work in the springtime, but summer is proving to be a real challenge for the fridge.

I'm ready to try anything, including witchcraft. Where's Samantha with her twitchy nose when you need her??

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Old 08-15-2011, 09:47 AM   #14
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Have you tried to remove the light bulb in the fridge? If it is not turning off when the door is closed it can generate enough heat to keep the fridge part too warm. Good luck, Brian
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