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Old 07-10-2008, 01:42 PM   #1
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Exclamation poor refrigerator performance

While at Bozeman I began to experience poor performance of my fridge. It used to cool very well, but during the hot weather it became less effective. Temps now vary from 30's to low 60's depending on outside temp.

So if this fridge is defective, what (other than a fire hazard) will become obvious? Did I lose coolant and not get the explosion? We were on propane.

Guess it is time to find a Dometic repairman.

Dwight
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:42 PM   #2
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(took the liberty of moving your post to a new thread, as it has nothing to do with the recall being discussed in the other thread...)

Is this the first time you've run the fridge whilst being parked in the wide-open hot sun?

If your cooling unit went south, you'd smell ammonia. see here:Tour of America Meltdown

It could just be poor air circulation behind the fridge. This is a problem more with newer trailers with side-wall venting, (the old style floor-to-roof type venting creates a better natural chimney effect), particularly those with the trailer doors can actually cover up the fridge vents.
you can get aftermarket kits with little 12v fans that'll help keep the air moving back there. First, though, I'd check the flue area and make sure its clear of any obstructions, etc.

here's a link to a kit that can help, if the problem is poor air circulation:
http://www.snydersrvrefrigeration.com/2301.html
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:28 AM   #3
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I'm interested in what you find out about your problem. We're experiencing the exact same problem with a brand new 2008 (less than 5 months old). I've emailed the dealer and am waiting on a response.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:52 AM   #4
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Chuck is right, and his link to Snyder's WILL SOLVE YOUR PROBLEMS.

Technically, the condenser (top section of the cooling unit with the fins on it) is overheating and this extra heat degrades the performance of the fridge (PM me if you want the full, in-depth explanation). Why do you think this section has fins on it???

Anyway, the best way to keep your fridge temps within the specified operating range (36* - 43*) is to have cooler air constantly moving across the condenser. While just a fan might do it, Snyder's kit has a plenum and thermostat which will direct the air properly over the condenser....when it's needed.

If the kit alone is not enough, then you will need an additional boxer type fan sucking the hot air OUT of the upper vent. I have an arrangement like this and the fridge never goes above 40*....even in 110*+ temps or direct sun.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:00 AM   #5
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Lew,

I just installed a Snyder cool kit - and it helps but still I feel there needs to be some more decrease in fridge temps for the food to be stored for a while. The freezer is ice box cold now. Did you close all but the fan opening for a better pull out the top vent? I'm afraid that my 2nd fan is still pulling air around the left and right of the large top vent opening and I have some dead air inside the fridge void that remains hot.

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Old 08-11-2008, 11:22 AM   #6
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MIke,

The 2 side door arrangement that A/S uses does tend to trap heated air in the upper section of the refer compartment. I use the second fan to blow OUT thru the upper vent. It is fastened to the top of the upper door frame, and does a good job of pulling the remaining hot air out of the compartment.
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Old 08-11-2008, 11:39 AM   #7
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fridge performance

When our 06 31' classic was new we had a similar problem and did all the "fan things" mention here trying to get it cooler. They helped some but never really fixed it. Come to find out the out the switch that turns the interior lamp on was not turning it off. That little halogen lamp will bring interior interior temps up into the 60's. The problem with the switch was the plunger didn't make contact with the door when it closed and shut the lamp off. The best way to check it is open the door and quickly touch the bulb. If it's warm you can bet that's the problem----pieman
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Old 08-11-2008, 02:01 PM   #8
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Lucy (our '05 25FB) had all the same refer problems described in this thread. We especially had this problem when on LP in the real hot weather.

About a month ago, I installed a small 12 volt fan (from Home Depot for $23) in the outside refer box, and aimed it up on the coils. I use it mostly while underway. It has made a phenomenal difference in refer performance.

Before I installed the fan, I would bring the refer down below 30 during the night. I would run on gas all day on 5. When I would make camp that night, the refer would be up at 45-50 degrees.

Now I start in the morning at 35 degrees. I run all day on 4. At the end of the day the inside temp in the refer is 30! What a difference.

We do a lot of camping in hot damp weather, so this has been a great find for us.

Brian
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Old 08-11-2008, 04:26 PM   #9
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Dometic cooling

At our luncheon today several of us discussed the cooling fan issue. Location, that is.

I see that a fan mounted on the floor of the compartment has brought good results.

Some of us have purchased computer fans (12 volt) to be placed where they will blow upward on the coils. Others talk of installing the fan(or 2 fans) so that air is drawn in the louvers of the door vent. This may blow against the heating element (gas/elec) and cause loss of efficiency?

My fridge has done very well on test runs since we returned home (sitting in the shed). As asked, our time in Bozeman was the first time we have used the fridge in real hot weather. I see the weather channel indicates it was 102 in Bozeman on the 4th of July. That is when we had the problem. Sitting in shade and set on "4" the freezer gets down to -13. That will keep ice cream any day.

Part of this is obviously a learning curve thing. Comments?

Dwight
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis View Post
When our 06 31' classic was new we had a similar problem and did all the "fan things" mention here trying to get it cooler. They helped some but never really fixed it. Come to find out the out the switch that turns the interior lamp on was not turning it off. That little halogen lamp will bring interior interior temps up into the 60's. The problem with the switch was the plunger didn't make contact with the door when it closed and shut the lamp off. The best way to check it is open the door and quickly touch the bulb. If it's warm you can bet that's the problem----pieman
Mike,

Are you sure that it was the door contact, and that you don't have a 'low ambient temp' switch somewhere on the door frame. The purpose of this switch is to keep the interior light on, which tricks the fridge to keep working in low outdoor temps...like under 40*F. If that bulb is on in normal temps, it surely will keep the interior over 55*!
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster View Post
Mike,

Are you sure that it was the door contact, and that you don't have a 'low ambient temp' switch somewhere on the door frame. The purpose of this switch is to keep the interior light on, which tricks the fridge to keep working in low outdoor temps...like under 40*F. If that bulb is on in normal temps, it surely will keep the interior over 55*!
I am going to have to follow up on Lewster's information on an ambient temp switch and the interior light bulb staying on, but I will relate our experience with our 2005 25' CCD. Bought used one year old it never seemed to be as cold as the refrigerator on our previous 22' CCD. Even noticed the odor of propane under the cover at all times. Decided the regulator must be leaking and replaced it but no improvement. Talked with Marshall Brass (regulator manufacturer) and did the leak down test as directed. No leaks in over 36 hours.

Decided to put a wireless thermometer inside the refrigerator and record the temps, as high as 54 degrees on a 100 degree day here in Southern California. Ordered and installed the Snyder fan kit. Temps dropped about 2 degrees, to 52 on 100 degree days. Not what I hoped for.

Re-evaluated what I did know, the refrigerator worked well on electricity, ~40 degrees on 100 degree days, but poorly on LP. Decided that maybe I wasn't getting enough heat on propane to the boiler tube so I when through all the instructions about making sure the flame is centered, air adjusted well, etc. Made no difference. I finally decided I would check the LP pressure at the refrigerator, Dometic states it should be 10 1/2 to 11 inches of water. Built a manometer using readily available materials from Home depot (30 year hydraulics engineer and auto/motorcycle mechanic) and finally checked the pressure; WOW only 8 inches of water! Adjusted the pressure to 10 1/2 inches and then redid the wireless temperature monitoring on 100 degree days. Max temps now about 42 degrees.

My recommendation, if your trailer is under warranty or if you are uncomfortable working on critical systems in your car, motorcycle or trailer, take it to a dealer and have them check the gas pressure at both the refrigerator and stove. For good measure have them check it with the furnace burner running to make sure the regulator can maintain the pressure under adverse conditions.

BTW, one of the Sierra Nevada Unit members had the same problem after the dealer replaced the refrigerator cooling unit under warranty. We pulled out the manometer at last years Twin Lakes Rally at Bridgeport, CA. Same problem about 8 inches of water pressure. A quick adjustment and it worked like new.
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Old 08-12-2008, 04:48 AM   #12
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I bought a small 120v fan at Walmart. There's an outlet inside outside access door.
I just set the fan in there and run it on hot days. Otherwise refridge cools well.


Tom
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Old 08-12-2008, 05:19 AM   #13
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My 2007 Safari came with a 12v fan from the factory. You turn it ion qith a wall mounted switch, then it cycles on a thermostat as needed. It make a big difference especially when the Safari's door is open or that side is getting direct sun.
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Old 08-12-2008, 09:57 AM   #14
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My 86 Excella has the same lackluster performance on both propane and 110V.usually only happens when it's over 90F outside.I put a 110V fan directed up in the area between the reefer and body, helps a little. When not hooked up to shore power I freeze a few water bottles and place them in the fridge section. This has seemed to work best, and I have a small blue cube fan in the fridge section also. The freezer always works superbly!
Funny, I've been monitoring my temps with a indoor/outdoor thermometer recently. fridge always 38-40F in the am then rises up to mid 50 late afternoon.
My findings indicate the use of frozen water bottles to be helpful.
DG
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