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Old 09-30-2005, 05:11 AM   #1
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Fridge pilot blowing out

My refrigerator's pilot light now blows out when going down the road. Since the fridge cools great when sitting at a campsite running on gas, I do not think there is anything wrong with the gas supply. Unfortunately, I think my current problem was created by me as I fixed a totally different problem.

In my Airstream, the refrigerator sits next to the oven with a plywood partition between them. Since the oven is shorter than the fridge, it is elevated allowing for pots & pans to be stored beneath. Ever since the Overlander has been back on the road, we have arrived at our destination to find dust covering the pots & pans.

I think this dust had been blowing in through the refigerator's floor vent, and then through a squirrel-sized hole in the plywood partition between the fridge & oven to settle on everything stored beneath the oven. I did not patch the hole during the refurb because I did not think it would hurt anything. But since it appeared to be responsible for the frown on my wife's face, a piece of luan was scabbed over it. With the air's escape route blocked off, I am left to think that it must be swirling around under the fridge a lot more forcefully than it used to, and blowing the pilot out in the process. I checked, and the roof vent is clear.

I shared this dilema with Overlander63 at the Fort Desoto rally (back when he was a regular member, and not the lofty moderator he now is ). (Congrats on the new status, Terry ). He was surprised at how large my floor vent was. Measuring 8-5/8 square inches, the vent was apparently much bigger than the ones he had seen, and he recommended blocking off part of it. Finding that to be an excellent suggestion, I whipped out my trusty roll of Duct Tape, and masked off about a third of the inboard side. No joy. The flame still blew out going down the road even when it was going full tilt.

There are two things I plan to try before leaving on next week's trip to Disney World. The first is add additional 20 gauge, metal baffling around the pilot light. If that does not work, I will try covering more of the floor vent than I did at Fort Desoto.

Does anyone have other suggestions on how to keep the pilot light lit and dishes clean at the same time?

Thanks,
Tom
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Old 09-30-2005, 02:09 PM   #2
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The hole should definitely be closed. The area behind the refrigerator should be well sealed from the interior of the trailer to keep CO out. Keep the luan.

Some folks place a furnace filter inside the louvers of an outside refrigerator door; you could do the same over your vent in the floor. The filter allows airflow but has enough restriction to curb the gusts.

If that doesn;t work, some creativity with a tinsnips and some sheet metal may yield a workable baffle.
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Old 09-30-2005, 02:13 PM   #3
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The summer issue of Airstream Life showed a plate that an owner had made to fit inside of the door to prevent the pilot from blowing out. You might want to take a look at that.
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Old 09-30-2005, 08:04 PM   #4
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Looking at TomW's installation at the rally, I was impressed by the rather large hole exposed to the rear in the baffle around the heater flame. I looked at my Excella and my Argosy back at home from the rally, and both are rather tightly baffled, and neither has ever blown out when towing.

Tom, the vent under my Argosy's fridge is every bit as large as your's, and yes it does collect some road dust.

Let us know what solution you find.

Lamar
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Old 09-30-2005, 08:20 PM   #5
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When I bought my trailer the PO had regularly travelled with the fridge running. He had both a baffle around the burner, and a furnace filter over the hole in the floor. Apparently this worked quite well. I will have to try this myself, as I was parked at a windy campsite on our last trip, and the wind was enough to blow our pilot out while we were out exploring, causing us to come home to a warm fridge and ruined food!

I have a re-ignitor on the water heater. How come fridges don't come with those? I guess I should look into having one installed.
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Old 10-16-2005, 01:20 PM   #6
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Smile Pahaska wins the prize on this one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pahaska
... Some folks place a furnace filter inside the louvers of an outside refrigerator door; you could do the same over your vent in the floor. The filter allows airflow but has enough restriction to curb the gusts.

If that doesn;t work, some creativity with a tinsnips and some sheet metal may yield a workable baffle.
I don't know which of John's suggestions worked because both were implemented for our 1400 mile (round trip) to Disney World from which we have just returned. A 12" X 12" furnace filter was Velcro-ed to the vent, AND a custom trimmed piece of sheet metal was secured to the works with aluminum tape. The pilot remained lit the entire trip.

Number 1 son, in the picture below, shows "Option C" which was not needed - A piece of sheet metal trimmed to fit all but a small portion of the 8-5/8 square inch grate. Thanks John!

Tom
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