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Old 05-05-2010, 10:45 PM   #1
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Tradewind Refrigerator does not cool on gas

I have a 1966 Tradewind with a Dometic model 52 refrigerator. It cools fine on electric, but does not cool using gas. I cleaned the burner assembly and the spark ignitor and I get a nice flame. How do I know if the flame is hot enough so the refrigerator cools properly? I have heard that the chimney may be the problem. How do I get at the chimney to clean it? Do I need to remove the refrigerator? I have started doing this but this is no easy task. There appear to be some aluminum brackets that secure the refrigerator to the bottom of the counter top. It looks like I will have to dissassemble the entire cabinet and counter top around the reefer to remove it. Thanks for any help. I really want to camp without power on occasion, but I need my refrigerator to work on gas.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:53 PM   #2
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What about the freezer portion when you're on gas? Does it get cold?

Make sure the gas line isn't plugged up with spider webs or other crud. Also, do you have sufficient 12v power. Your fridge won't work unless there is sufficient power for the control board. A bad control board is another possibility.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:57 PM   #3
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Fridge

So the good news is the fridge works on electric so the ammonia and piping works. You should be able to access the guts of the fridge by removing the outside panel at least it was that way on my 72 TW. If the pilot lights on gas then your problem will be in the burner/orifice assembly. Could be carbon buildup preventing flame heat to penetrate chamber. I'm sure someone has diagrams and advice on your specific model
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:03 PM   #4
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Mr fridge in the 72 had no circuits or 12v power. A flint igniter created a spark to light on gas. One thing about the older fridges is the trailer MUST be perfectly level when the fridge is working to prevent the ammonia from blocking flow when parked. When moving it's ok to run on gas as the trailers motion keeps the ammonia circulating through the system
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Old 05-05-2010, 11:28 PM   #5
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Dometic Service Manual

Hope this helps
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File Type: pdf MAN_SM frige.pdf (2.66 MB, 55 views)
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:16 AM   #6
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Thanks for the service manual RichHog.

The trailer is level. The freezer is not cold. I don't think there is any 12v power to the fridge as none is needed. If I can remove the fridge by only having to remove the left cabinet panel, then I will do this. That way I can clean the fridge inner workings completely and do some painting on the metal cabinet. I suspect it has not been out since new in 1966. I will post some pictures if I can figure out how to do this. I am at my daughters babysitting my new grand daughter for the next 3 days, to I can't do anything until Sat or Sun. Thanks all.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:53 AM   #7
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Fridge

I'm sure there are a few differences between the 66 and 72 models. On mine I had to take the end panel off, take out the counter over it and unscrew the side brackets and back bolts to get it out. it didn't take long but i felt that I had taken half of my trailer apart. My fridge heater element worked on both gas and electric it just didn't get cold. Tried the burping process which is flipping it over for a day to unclog the plumbing. In the end it went into the dumpster and I bought a new one for just over $650 from PPL here in Houston. The new one was slightly different in size so further modifications to the counter top, pantry and floor were required. Good luck with getting her to work.
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:20 PM   #8
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Rich

I had a similar problem with my 1984 Excella and I ended up replacing the fridge. It does not fit perfectly, but it sure works fine. I am glad I replaced it. I may end up doing the same thing with the TW. Once I go through all the trouble of removing the fridge and even if I can get it running properly on gas and paint the metal trim, do I want to put the old fridge with old plastic that is not perfect and not fixable back in. I don't know at this point.

I looked at your pictures and you have a beautiful TW. Where did you get you soft goods redone? What kind of floor do you have? Have you replaced your shower and vanity faucets? I just replaced all the old copper plumbing with Pex. It looks and works good.
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:52 PM   #9
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Try this.

Have you tried adjusting the thermostat on the gas side to the highest setting? Are you sure you have a good flame in the burner? You may be able to access the burner from the outside hatch. I'd run the thermostat up and down a few times and try it. If you can access the burner see what the flame looks like. It should be blue with just a hint of yellow at the tip of the flame. If you turn the thermostat to the minimum the flame won't be as high as it will with the thermostat at max.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:31 AM   #10
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The fridge flame is very small, not much larger than a pilot light. In fact on my 71 there is no separate pilot just a thermocouple.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:56 AM   #11
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TG I think I have a strong flame, but I don't know. It looks like it is about 3/4" from top to bottom. I will try to adjust the thermostat to see if that adjusts the flame (this weekend). Mine also does not have a pilot.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:57 AM   #12
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Hey Dan, The wood flooring was replaced before we bought the trailer. When we took the fridge out and took apart that side it made since to replace the orange formica with something new. It's funny how one simple thing like replacing a fridge starts a chain of events in updating the trailer. I found 12V (BTW) from the overhead 12V cig lighter style plug above the fridges overhead storage bin. We had JPA do the drapes but chose our own fabrics with the help of a decorator friend. When the end panel was off to get the fridge out we decided to replace it with a 1/4" red oak panel and stained with Minwax Provential 215 which very closely matches the woodgrain plastic panels that are original. From there we began to redo all of them as the real wood looks much better. Had to replace the sink counter in the bathroom and found a replacement out of another Tradewind. Also bought a fake "burl wood" trim to redo the counter edge trim from Alysa. looks much better than the woodgrain plastic that cracked apart as the counter came up.
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Old 05-07-2010, 02:32 PM   #13
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Are you sure you are giving the fridge enough time to cool. At least 12 hours.
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Old 05-07-2010, 08:33 PM   #14
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Pilot

There is no pilot on the fridge? Just low and high flame.
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