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Old 12-21-2013, 05:01 PM   #1
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Dometic Fridge Failure Repair

As many of you know, I lost my previous trailer to fire and had no idea what caused it until I got a recall notice on the refrigerator four months after the fire. There's no way to prove it was the fridge that cause the fire, but there's a pretty good chance.

I replaced that trailer with my Airstream, which of course had a recalled Dometic fridge. I had the recall work performed and hoped for the best.

Well, lightning struck twice. After six years of use the fridge failed. Thankfully the safety equipment installed by the recall campaign worked. The heat-sensitive switch shut things down and I still have an Airstream.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:22 PM   #2
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Options

I researched my options and found that the dealership could replace my fridge with a new one for $2,066. The new fridge isn't even any different than the old one, so there would be no "upgrade" incentive. Just one digit difference in model number, 2652 vs. 2662.

I found the new fridge online and could get it for $1,099 shipped and do it myself. The weak weld in the burner tube that was causing failure and potential fires was supposedly fixed and "shouldn't" fail.

Another option I found locally, and the reason I'm writing this thread, is K&M RV Refrigeration in St. Elmo, IL. Ken and Mandy Berg run a small business taking your failed cooling unit and rebuilding it.

Ken beefs up the burn tube using hydraulically formed seamless tubing. No seam, no failure. The cooling unit gets thoroughly cleaned out, repainted and recharged.

With my common 2662 model, Ken already had a rebuilt cooling unit ready for me. I brought my trailer in at 10:00 and helped remove the fridge from the cabinet. By 1:00 I had a perfectly functioning fridge at a cost of $654.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:26 PM   #3
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I want to stress that I didn't go with the rebuild option because it was cheapest. I went with it because I believe it was the safest option. I have a beefed up cooling unit PLUS I still have all my recall-installed safety equipment in place as a backup. A new fridge doesn't have that backup.

Here you can see my cooling unit and all the yellow escaped coolant.

In the second photo you can see the beefed up seamless burn tube.

And finally my finished installation.
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Old 12-21-2013, 05:31 PM   #4
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So the point of this thread is that there are options out there. I had no idea there was a small, family-owned business out there repairing failed RV refrigerators, and I wanted to make sure everyone knows about them. Good folks.

K&M RV Refrigeration
618 N Main St.
St. Elmo, IL 62458
618-829-3745

K & M RV Refrigeration and Repair
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Old 12-21-2013, 06:16 PM   #5
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As many of you know, I am NO FAN or RV type gas/absorption refrigeration!

There are many viable alternatives that work far better, use NO PROPANE and cost a similar amount as a standard RV fridge. While I'm sure that there are some folks out there that can build a slightly better mousetrap for RV refrigeration, the use of a highly combustible mixture in a gas/absorption fridge no longer makes sense!

Some of the viable alternatives are:

Indel Webasto:*Fridges & Freezers
Vitrifrigo America
Nova Kool, refrigerators, freezers, Marine, RV, Truck
Tundra Refrigerators for Boats

IN fact, I just finished installing a large solar charging system on a week-old FC/30 and the owner wanted nothing to do with the Dometic LP/AC fridge! We replaced it with this: Indel Webasto:*CRUISE 195 (Classic)

What a nice unit!!!!

It gets cold quickly, has 2 Danfoss compressors so it has many options for use as a fridge/freezer combo, a single fridge or freezer, or you can use only one of the compartments if you like. Very efficient and VERY well insulated.
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Old 12-21-2013, 07:44 PM   #6
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This seems to me to be an important thread: Mine is a 25' '05 safari so I may have something to worry about though I only test my Dometic on propane from time to time.
Steve: The improved model is a 2662? and the 2652 is the recall? (I'll check next I see the trailer) I'm the 4th owner so I've no idea if changes were made.
Lewster: The "all DC volt" refer looks nice.. I like the freezer on the bottom (makes sense). My question concerns boon docking. Is running on DC a serious drain on the batteries (I'm in Washington state after all where sun is scarce).
Thanks for the info.
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Old 12-21-2013, 07:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lewster View Post
IN fact, I just finished installing a large solar charging system on a week-old FC/30 and the owner wanted nothing to do with the Dometic LP/AC fridge! We replaced it with this: Indel Webasto:*CRUISE 195 (Classic)

What a nice unit!!!!

It gets cold quickly, has 2 Danfoss compressors so it has many options for use as a fridge/freezer combo, a single fridge or freezer, or you can use only one of the compartments if you like. Very efficient and VERY well insulated.
That's me. I love my new fridge. We don't need the freezer this week so I turned it off today and we're just running the top refrigerator. Solar is working great, too. Thanks!

Meribeth
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Gurney View Post
This seems to me to be an important thread: Mine is a 25' '05 safari so I may have something to worry about though I only test my Dometic on propane from time to time.
Steve: The improved model is a 2662? and the 2652 is the recall? (I'll check next I see the trailer) I'm the 4th owner so I've no idea if changes were made.
Lewster: The "all DC volt" refer looks nice.. I like the freezer on the bottom (makes sense). My question concerns boon docking. Is running on DC a serious drain on the batteries (I'm in Washington state after all where sun is scarce).
Thanks for the info.
I have installed many solar charging systems in your area, and I lived in Hood River, OR for 10 solid years………….so I know the weather. If you find yourself in an area of limited sunshine, a small Honda or Yamaha generator (converted to LP if you don't like carrying gasoline) and a quality converter would also keep your batteries charged.

While the Danfoss compressors are rated at 5 amps, they will not be running constantly! We estimated that the fridge with both compressors running would draw in the neighborhood of 65-75 amp/hours from your batteries daily.

We also increased the battery bank in this rig to 600 amp/hours using 4 Lifeline GPL-6CT golf cart batteries. That also helps quite a bit.
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Old 12-22-2013, 06:58 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Del Gurney View Post
The improved model is a 2662? and the 2652 is the recall?
The recalled fridge in my Airstream is the 2662. The recalled fridge in my previous trailer was a 2862.

The brand new replacement for my 2662 is the 2652. Yeah, I don't get it either.
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:53 PM   #10
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I had a similar rebuild experience with Wick at RV Cool, Toll Free: 1-800-515-6823. Local: 1-501-679-2537. Web site: <www.rvcool.com>. He is located in Greenbriar, AR, about 9 miles north of Conway, just north of Little Rock, AR. Real family operation. Occasionally he has units on sale. Mine was $425 plus installation. His units carry a 2 year warranty. He also ship units.
He replaces all tubing not just repairs that would soon cause new leaks. He said he has never had one comeback in his 19 years. The is a large day care parking lot across from his place that let me spend two nights the in freezing rain. No hook ups.
Gus Gustafson
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Old 12-28-2013, 07:48 PM   #11
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I'm with lew.
40 years I have been fight with absorbsion refers , why ?
for the cost of a NEW absorpsiobn unit you can put in an a/c refer , inverter / charger and add to the battery bank . xantrex has the freedom hf which is great for this purpose , also has built in 30 amp transfer switch . you can run the whole trlr without a gen ( no air conditioner though) and a very sophisticated charging system .
I have 1 cust , a carriage fth with3 x 240 solar panels , 2x 8d agm batts and a 2000 watt magnum inverter . he dry camps all winter and the only time he fires his gen up is for the ac . most of us don't boondock enough for it to be a problem.
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Old 12-28-2013, 09:34 PM   #12
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What does the CRUISE 195 (Classic) sell for, Lew?
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:54 AM   #13
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The Cruise 195 (Classic) 6.7 cubic foot model has a MSRP around $2,800 but can be found via the web for ~$2,250.
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Old 12-29-2013, 08:53 AM   #14
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for the cost of a NEW absorpsiobn unit you can put in an a/c refer , inverter / charger and add to the battery bank . xantrex has the freedom hf which is great for this purpose , also has built in 30 amp transfer switch . you can run the whole trlr without a gen ( no air conditioner though) and a very sophisticated charging system .
I have 1 cust , a carriage fth with3 x 240 solar panels , 2x 8d agm batts and a 2000 watt magnum inverter . he dry camps all winter and the only time he fires his gen up is for the ac . most of us don't boondock enough for it to be a problem.
In theory it sounds good, but there are some issues that you would need to consider. My Excella has 3x75-w solar, 4 AGM's and the Xantrex Freedom 3000 inverter/charger. Because only 2 batteries are externally vented (in battery boxes, the other two are inside the cabin, behind the gaucho. Thus the batteries have to be AGM.

One thing I've learned about AGM batteries is that they don't like any rapid draw-down and that if they drop below a base voltage (I believe it is 10-volts), they are caput. Here was my lesson: I was camped in the bright sunshine in Nevada 2 weeks ago when I decided to heat up a bowl of soup. Instead of heating it on the stove, I switched on the inverter and heated it in the microwave for 3 minutes. I saw that the net draw-down was 134 amperes (approximately 140 amps less the 6 amps solar charging). The level did not drop below the baseline, and within a couple of hours the batteries were fully charged, or so said the Xantrex control panel. That night I was awakened at 11:00 pm when my CPAP machine stopped, only to find that there was insufficient battery reserves for the inverter to work. By 3:00 am, all DC activity in the trailer stopped - no LED lights, no refrigerator control. The battery level was down to 3.7 volts, too low for the Xantrex to allow the generator to provide power - I needed to back up the truck and connect the Bargman plug to bring the batteries up enough for the generator to work. The cost of replacing the AGM betteries was just shy of $1,200.
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