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Old 06-09-2015, 06:21 AM   #1
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How to (remove) and Clean Fridge Burner?

We run our original 1980 Dometic fridge on gas the night before leaving and it works excellently. Then when we would arrive at our destination, we would switch to electric, also fine.

However, when we tried to run the fridge on gas at our destination, the pilot lights, but does not maintain the fridge/freezer temps. IDroba advised that we likely have a two stage flame system. (When you light it, you are not lighting a pilot light but a low flame. When the refrigerator thermostat says to cool, the flame is turned to high and cooling begins.) Thank you for that info!


When we returned home, there was a marble size ball of soot that fell out of the burner tube. At the advice of several others here, I used a extra fuzzy pipe cleaner (several, in fact) to sweep along the insides of the burner tube and had a few other bits of soot fall out. We ran the fridge on gas again and had another smaller marble of soot fall out. I used the pipe cleaners again, and then removed the fridge after a day long battle. Nothing more came out, so we turned it upside down to sit for several hours. It is now back upright and I'll see if I can get any compressed air into the tube. I can't figure out how to remove the burner to clean it thoroughly (and the service manual is no help) so I have attached photos...

Also mentioned was a possibility of low gas pressure, but we had installed a new regulator last fall, so would that eliminate that issue?

We enjoy being able to use our fridge on gas, but I am baffled on how to fix this!!
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Old 06-09-2015, 03:41 PM   #2
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I forgot to note that there are two screws on the rectangular panel on the outside and to the left of the burner tube enclosure, but they do not help to access the tube itself.
Help!
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Old 06-09-2015, 05:36 PM   #3
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There really is no pilot. It is a variable flame controlled by the thermostat.
I was having a similar problem with the refer in our '74 Argosy. Did all of the normal cleaning and checking. Not really much help.
I did find that the safety shut off valve was not shutting the gas off if the flame went out. I bought a new safety valve and installed it. Now it shuts the gas off.
In the process of replacing the safety valve I discovered that there is a filter in the gas line just to the left of the square aluminum block with the test port. It resembles a gas fuel filter in shape. I removed it and found that I could not blow thru it. There was a pink filter medium inside. It was totally saturated with a liquid. Could not find a replacement. So I dug the filter medium out and replaced it with the filter from a cigarette.
Now the refer works fine.



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Old 06-09-2015, 06:00 PM   #4
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When you have the refrigerator out, the access from the top of the burner tube should allow you to clean the tube itself to see if there is any more soot balls closing it. There is a spiral metal baffle which is suspended from the top of the tube, and it should be removed and something like a bottle brush on a long handle pushed down the tube to clean soot and rust out.

The burner removal should not be difficult, I have not done ones like yours in a long time and can't give you specific instructions, but starting at it should help. Especially if you have it out of the trailer.

TG Twinkie's suggestion of looking at the filter in the gas system is also a good one. over the years sometimes oils and grunk get in the gas lines and can do what he found, plug things up.

Sooting of the burner tube generally means that there has been a flame with too much gas, and too little air, which indicates to me that the burner and burner air intake need to be carefully checked to be sure they are clean. Spiders like to build nests in burner tubes reducing the air flow in which mixes with the gas. Also, rust falling down the burner tube can clog the burner top, which may be a metal mesh (however I cannot tell from your photos).

If you have a new gas pressure regulator that should solve any gas pressure issue, however, if you can test it, be sure it has 11" of water pressure on the output of the regulator.

lastly, it is possible that the burner is not going on high flame due to a defective thermostat, but that is fairly rare. If you can hook it up to an external propane gas source while it is out of the trailer, you should be able to see the flame change size when you turn the propane thermostat from 0 to the maximum number. The flame should always be a fairly clean blue, high or low flame. On high, you may hear it if you listen carefully, there may be (but not always) a slight noise associated with a proper hard blue flame.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:51 PM   #5
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My hearing is shot. So I had my wife listen while I changed the thermostat setting. She could hear the intensity of the flame change.


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Old 06-10-2015, 10:25 AM   #6
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Thank you both for your help. I will see what I can find out tonight when I tackle it again.

We really appreciate your suggestions.
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Old 06-10-2015, 12:31 PM   #7
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I had a different model Dometic fridge and had to clean the nozzle at the end of the propane delivery tube several times a year. Backpackers are familiar with cleaning gas and propane nozzles, and carry fine wire or stiff plastic [dental] loops. It screws out with a small wrench. BUT the fridge nozzle must NOT be enlarged by the poking device. Often, I could see the obstruction fall onto a clean cloth. Flyfishing backpackers also carry magnifying glass.
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Old 06-11-2015, 01:13 PM   #8
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Thanks again!

It was an interesting night of work! I was able to remove the long sleeve on the right side of the burner and with it, came the top covering the burner tube. I was able to remove the spiral baffle and clean it as well as use a bottle brush to sweep the inside of the burner tube. There wasnít a lot of soot left, but it is much cleaner now. I was also to dislodge a small clump of dirt or possibly mud-dabberís nesting from the mesh covered air tube, so I am hoping that IDrobaís thought of not enough air may have been the key factor.

I am also going to see how fine a piece of wire I have to possibly clean the nozzle and will also try to check the filter material as DBull suggested.

TG Twinkie - Is the filter the part I circled in red? I just want to be sure I am trying to unscrew the correct part!

Iíll try it out tonight and let everyone know what happens!
Thanks so much!
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Old 06-11-2015, 01:16 PM   #9
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Well, shoot - the red circle did not save. I am thinking it is the cylindrical part that appears to have the white wire going through the bottom and out the top (though that is just the electrical cord positioned behind it.)
Thanks!
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Old 06-11-2015, 01:39 PM   #10
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That is the filter. DO NOT use a wire to clean the orifice. You will damage it.
If you are talking about the burner screen, try some carb cleaner. But be careful, stuff is flammable. Carb cleaner and a tooth brush on the screen.



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Old 06-15-2015, 05:36 PM   #11
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Thank you!

I am happy to report that the refrigerator is back in place and is working perfectly! Thank you to everyone who helped we really appreciate it, particularly since it was a very hot this weekend!!
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:44 PM   #12
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Note to all who read this thread!
The orifice is actually a small ruby with a hole drilled through it, so as has been mentioned don't try to mechanically clean it. If it is dirty just soak in denatured alcohol. I wouldn't even wipe with a cloth. Just soak and then blow through it.
Most often it is rust or soot that has fallen down from the chimney and obstructed the end of the burner.(the part that actually has the flame coming out of it).
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Old 06-24-2015, 07:54 AM   #13
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Thanks!


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