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Old 09-11-2002, 04:33 AM   #1
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1993 29' Excella
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Refrigerator died

Bummer! I went out to turn my refer on in preparation for a trip and when I checked on it a couple of hours later, it was hotter inside than when I started. Further inspection revealed a strong amonia oder coming from the refrigerator compartment. My rig is 10 years old and has been pampered a lot. I usually turn the refer off when we get home and leave the door adjar after cleaning it. Then I turn it on a couple of days before we want to use it. My question is: Is it better to leave it on all the time or do it like I have done? What do some of you do?
I will be replacing the whole thing in a couple of days and it ain't cheap!
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Old 09-11-2002, 06:07 AM   #2
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Leaving fridge on

A few years ago, there was a letter quoted in one of the newsgroups from either Dometic or Norcold that said that it didn't matter whether it was left on long term or turned off between uses.

I turn mine off since the trailer is in a storage yard between uses. In our Texas summers, it takes about 6 hours to cool down to around 40 with the help of a blue ice pack.
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Old 10-17-2002, 06:40 PM   #3
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Dead Dometic 2800

James -

My dometic 2800 just died a death like yours... lost all its refrigerant. Now I'm debating what to do. Buy new or rebuild...? What did you end up doing with yours.

BTW - mine is 15yrs old, and it's used on weekends only. Primarily on gas. I shut it down after each weekends worth of use...
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Old 10-17-2002, 07:22 PM   #4
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Chris,
You got a lot more service from your frig. than I did. Mine was 9 years old when it died. By the way my leak was in the refrigerator compartment as that was where the strong amonia smell was noted.
I opted for the new refrigerator over replacing just the refrigeration unit. While it was more expensive I got a 3 year warranty as opposed to a 1 year warranty. I also got all new controls, thermostats, printed circuit boards, etc. on a unit replacement they reuse all of these components. I used a factory authorized repair facility, it took about 3 hours and the whole package was just over $1500 bucks. I think I could have installed it myself and saved a couple hundered bucks but I was pressed for time as mine went out as I was getting ready for a trip.
I operated mine just as you do(turned it off when I was not using it). The repair man suggested that I leave it on and on the lowest setting when not in use unless it is to be laid up for a long time. He said his experience was that people who did that had fewere problems with their unit. He went into his theory about that and it seemed reasonable to me.
Good luck with yours and let us know what you decide.
James
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Old 10-17-2002, 07:45 PM   #5
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Replacing the frig

James -

OUCH! $1500 is a chunk of change. I think I'll opt not to buy a new unit, and look for a replacement. I've found a rebuilt RM2800 for $675... I probably can't do much better than that. And it has an 18 month warranty. I'm waiting for a reply from Andy at InlandRV to see what he comes up with.

Muchas gracias for your prompt reply!
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Old 10-17-2002, 10:22 PM   #6
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Hmmmm!!!!!!

This is NOT a comforting thread! My Dometic was 36 yrs old before it gave up the ghost, and yes it was used very often. Now I know my odds of replacing my old M50 are slim to none, but someone at Dometic had best get QC in gear and get the newer models to last longer than 10-15 yrs! Oscar
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Old 10-18-2002, 04:38 AM   #7
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Silver Bullet,
I agree that Dometic needs to take a look at what is going on with their life expectancy. My 1978 unit was still working fine when I sold it in 1994. I was told by the technician that the primary cause of leaks in the tubing is from corrosion caused by condensation on the coils beneath the foam insulation. This affects the outside of the coils. From the inside, the amonia attacks the coils if the sodium chromate solution weakens from stagnating from non use. That is why he suggested that it be kept running all the time(on the lowest setting). Whether the coils fail from the inside or outside, it seems that better material should be used.
It would be interesting to see what others are experiencing with their refrigerators. How about it folks?
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Old 10-18-2002, 06:15 AM   #8
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boy, you would think they could make it out of stainless steel. unless the ammonia would react with the nickel.

might be a new business venture, lifetime reefer coils.

just a thought.

john
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Old 10-18-2002, 10:53 AM   #9
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Dometic corrosion theory

James -

The tech's theory may be "right on" in my case.... My A/S Excella is located along the cliffs of the Pacific in Baja, Mexico. To combat the humidity and condensation inside, I use 3 calcium chloride dessicants (Dri-Z-Air). They get changed every 2 months or so. I may need to increase the number of dessicant units - I never concluded how many would be needed for effective use within a 34' space. They seem to do the job - no mold or mildew problems to speak of.

The frig is left open during none use - which can be several weeks at a time. Maybe I should consider toweling the interior as part of the "departure routine".... as we do for the shower stall.

Thanks for the valuable info.
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Old 10-18-2002, 11:59 AM   #10
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The refer in my '92 also died. I just priced replacements. The cost ran between $1365 (installed inc. taxes) at one place to $1600 in another. At one RV supply I asked the parts man which was better, the Dometic or the Norcold. He was non-committal. So I rephased my question to: "Let me put it this way - which brand do you have fewer customer complaints with?" His answer was Norcold. However, the Norcold was 3" taller & he said with the curved walls of the A/S (even tho I have a cabinet over), it probably wouldn't fit. We've had 3TT or 5th wheels - all had Dometic refers & all went out!
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