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Old 03-13-2010, 11:19 AM   #1
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Refrigerator when driving?

While our refrigerator works perfectly when parked, I have discovered that it does not cool while driving. Thus I have to put food in an ice chest until we can hook up. For instance, departing a campground in the morning, ca 8 am, and driving all day to the next campground, by the time I set up around 7 pm, the ice in the freezer is melting and water is pooling in the freezer. The refrigerator is somewhat warm - cool, but beverages are not cold, as they were in the morning.

It's a 1987 Excella, we've used it four times, and I've managed to repair all the plumbing problems... I'm getting ready for this year, and would appreciate some guidance. Thanks!
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:44 AM   #2
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Have you checked to make sure it works on propane? That is where I would start looking. Check the basics first. Did you turn on the propane before you left? We have forgotten before and had melted ice cream as a result.
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Old 03-13-2010, 11:53 AM   #3
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No, I use the electric only. Read the owner's manual which came with the trailer, and there's nothing about use of the refrigerator while driving. Unless it's in a different section than "refrigerator".

So does that mean I should use the propane while driving?
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:16 PM   #4
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The larger fridges don't have the ability to run on 12 volts. They require 120 volt power, or propane. This is because the larger fridges require considerable amounts of power (around 300 watts) and would drain the batteries unacceptably quickly, so the manufacturers don't include the 12 volt feature.

The safety of running a propane fridge while under way is endlessly debated with passionate feelings on both sides.

I am unaware of any fires that have been attributed to running a propane fridge while under way, and the available literature that states a concern about doing this focuses on the hypothetical and not on any actual incidents.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:22 PM   #5
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So does that mean I should use the propane while driving?
If you want it to cool, the answer would be YES. As Jammer notes whether you should is a matter of contention. I do. But I turn it off before pulling into a gas island to refuel (but not an all diesel one).

As a side note, I would take a look at your door seals. A cooled refer with the doors kept closed ought not heat up that much in my opinion over the course of say 6 hrs or so.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:25 PM   #6
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What model and mfg is your frig? Is it original to the trailer? Many tmes people will remodel their RV's and replace the RV frig with a household electric only model or dorm size frig. These are much cheaper than RV frig(we replaced ours last year for $1300!), but cannot operate while driving.

If you do have the original frig it is probably a 2 way gas/electric model, most likely a Dometic. While you are hooked up to electric, you run it on electric and while you are driving you have the option to run it on propane. You most likely will have to switch it over manually from one mode to the other, but it is very quick and easy. If you don't have a manual for the frig, they are easy to get.
We have an 88 excella bought last year and so far have replaced the twin mattresses, frig, microwave and the converter. Right now we are redoing the floor and the curtains.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:27 PM   #7
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You can either run your refrigerator on LP gas while traveling or not run it at all. We run ours on gas while underway, others don't.

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Old 03-13-2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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You can either run your refrigerator on LP gas while traveling or not run it at all. We run ours on gas while underway, others don't Brian
We do the Same...
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:07 PM   #9
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Propane Fridge

I would do test at home where you can monitor the situation. Turn on propane. Newer models need 12 volts from the battery, don't know about your year or model but having battery charged is good disconnect AC power so that the fridge doesn't try to run off that.
The older Dometics had to be lit with a button on the bottom that created a flint spark to ignite. A good idea is to have a Carbon Monoxide detector (WalMart sells) just to make sure that all gas goes up the plastic vent and out of the trailer. The seals around the fridge need to be good to help make sure she vents properly. Might not be a bad idea to take off the outside cover to take a look at the propane couplings and ignition chamber. You can usually put your hand on the back and feel heat coming off the chamber.

Sure someone can send you a technical manual on your unit or you can find it somewhere through this forum.
If she works good at home then you'll fee ok with it on the road.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:24 PM   #10
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No, I use the electric only. Read the owner's manual which came with the trailer, and there's nothing about use of the refrigerator while driving. Unless it's in a different section than "refrigerator".

So does that mean I should use the propane while driving?
The manual was written by a Lawyer.

Turn your gas on and run the refg while on the road or you will have melted ice cream.

I run as much as 15 hours in a day when traveling home. If I did not have the gas on nothing would be worth saving when I got home.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StevenG View Post
No, I use the electric only. Read the owner's manual which came with the trailer, and there's nothing about use of the refrigerator while driving. Unless it's in a different section than "refrigerator".

So does that mean I should use the propane while driving?
Take a look at the refer manual. Mine says its okay.
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Old 03-13-2010, 01:36 PM   #12
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I use the propane while traveling. Adios, John
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:10 PM   #13
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The propane frig will work great while underway - provided the flame doesn't get blown out. Prior to the recall on the fridge (---search the forum) I had to use a foam a/c filter on the inside of the access door to keep the flame going. The recall fix involved an additional baffle over the flame chimney and that took care of the "blow out' problem.
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Old 03-13-2010, 05:32 PM   #14
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Thanks all, that answers that question.
I do have the combination gas/electric reefer. I also have the manuals for it, indication is it just might be the original, but still cools great on electric. I'll follow the manual's instructions for checking the gas, and run it on gas while driving. Makes sense.
Thanks again!
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