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Old 09-29-2013, 08:14 PM   #1
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Fridge Door hinge failure

Has anyone had issues w/ their Dometic fridge door's hinge failing? We stopped today for a trailer check while towing and noticed that the fridge door was jammed shut. After finding a plastic piece - which ended up belonging to the door - the portion that slips over the metal pin to keep the door on the fridge, I realized what the problem is.

The piece is made of plastic and it simply failed. This is the 2nd piece to fail on our fridge - the other was the larger/wider interior door shelf. It failed on a trip in 2009 and I had to order a replacement to the tune of $40. I was not pleased. You'd think a manufacturer would make things out of materials with a lesser failure rate. To say I'm annoying is a vast understatement.

This is not something to blame on Airstream as all RV's use pretty much the same internal equipment (fridges, water heaters, etc). I am angry with Dometic.

So far, we've been lucky in that the entire door hasn't completely fallen off. We are able to latch/jam it shut, but we're at the beginning of a multi-week trip and the thought of not having a freezer and living out of a cooler just makes me angry.

Has anyone else experienced this issue? If so, tips, techniques, advice to offer?

Thanks-
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:42 PM   #2
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We have the same year (2005) 19-foot Bambi. Our refrigerator door popped open (along with the closet, all cabinet and oven doors) on the infamous dirt road to Madison Arm RV Resort in West Yellowstone, MT. In addition, the first year, we also had to replace all of the plastic shelves that hang on the door. However, we probably contributed to those failures, because we put soda cans and heavy stuff in the shelves, which we no longer do.

See our saga at these links:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ml#post1158902

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f42/...ml#post1356233

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f38/...tml#post973779
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Old 09-29-2013, 09:57 PM   #3
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Phoenix -

We're on our way to YNP now and we were going to stay at Madison CG. There's snow in the park now and some roads are closed, so our plans are in flux. Perhaps we'll just avoid Madison after hearing of your stories.

I am frankly very surprised that our door didn't completely fall off yet. We are treating it VERY gingerly and opening it as little as possible (it takes both of us to open it - one to hold it while the other puts stuff in/takes stuff out). We're also putting shims to lessen the strain on the one remaining bottom hinge.

Dometic must make a killing off of replacement parts. I'm sure it's a great revenue stream for them. Make products with parts that fail frequently! Awesome! Out of spite, I really don't want to replace the part, I want to fix it ourselves using some sort of solution. I just need to noodle around ideas for a few days and get a better idea of what our options are for fixing it ourselves vs. just breaking down and shelling out a couple hundred bucks for a new door.
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Old 09-29-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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The Madison campground is inside the park, near the west entrance. The Madison Arm RV Resort is outside the park, a few miles north and east of West Yellowstone. We stayed at the Madison Arm Resort, because the Madison CG fills fast in the summer (we were there the week after July 4th, a couple of years ago).

The roads to Madison CG are all paved, and you should not have any problems like the rippled, washboard dirt road to Madison Arm Resort.

We have always wanted to visit Yellowstone in the winter. Can't wait to hear about your travel adventures in the park, plus photos! I'm also curious about what is open in the off-season.

I'll have to look at the door hinges on our refrigerator. I thought they were pretty sturdy metal, but have to look closer. We have not had any trouble with the hinges.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:49 AM   #5
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We can't get into the park now b/c of the gov't shutdown, so we have to revise all of our plans now. In addition, the water pump is not working properly and we have little to no water pressure.

I am ready to just turn around and head home.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:56 AM   #6
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I'm not sure I'd recommend traveling at this time of year again. The road conditions are iffy - if it snows, then they'll close and it's really annoying. We also hit some major wind yesterday on the WY interstates and there was a "no light trailer" advisory on the roadways. We proceeded slowly with caution and were passed by many a travel trailer, motorhomes and other trucks hauling trailers like we were standing still. There are two levels of "trailer advisories" in Wyoming. No travel trailers means you shouldn't be on the road, but if you do, you won't get pulled over. However, if you crash and/or blow over, you're subject to a $750 fine, 30 days in jail and you are responsible for any cleanup costs and damage to public property. If you are on the road during a "Closed to trailer" advisory, you are pulled over and receive a ticket for $750 and up to 30 days in jail.

Today there aren't any wind advisories and knowing that the parks are closed, I have half a mind to get the hell out of here before they kick up again.
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:21 AM   #7
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I never had any problem with our fridge either in A/S 20' or current 23 FB. I have also heard good comments in this forrum regarding Dometic customer service. my suggestion is to do not give up and talk to them.
The Govt. shutdown is a bummer for folks planning to camp in National Parks
Good luck
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Old 10-01-2013, 10:43 AM   #8
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The Govt. shutdown is a bummer for folks planning to camp in National Parks.
Not exactly a good thing for those of us who work for the Government, either!

On the plus side, Corps of Enginners campgrounds might still be open, especially those staffed by volunteers who aren't paid anyway. You may want to check into that.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:04 AM   #9
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It might be repairable.

I had my Dometic Freezer door upper hinge break this year on a 5-week trip from VA to NM. The plastic piece could not be securely taped or glued back on. So I order another to be shipped to relatives I was staying with. I saved the broken door and part, and when I got home I inserted a short piece of right-angle aluminum for support and epoxied that corner hinge back on. Appears to be strong enough and looks fine, but I have no need to remove and replace the new door. Therefore if you have the time and talents, it could be repairable.

It is a 2006 Safari, and it was my fault by closing the door on something sticking out- -that Ice tray takes up space into the freezer compartment. However, Dometic could do a better job of making better hinges and not using plastic.
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Old 10-01-2013, 11:47 AM   #10
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Desidou, not sure exactly where you are; but the link below contains some boondocking locations in Wyoming. I would think that many of these would still be accessible, even with the government shutdown. However, most of the places do not appear to be in developed campgrounds, so there will be no hookups. Also, if the weather is really bad, boondocking might not be a good idea. (Just trying to help you salvage your vacation.)

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f382...ing-39193.html

If you post your exact location (nearest city or GPS coordinates), others may be able to offer suggestions/alternatives to "national" sites affected by the shutdown; e.g., boondocking sites, and state, regional and local parks.

While I am sure you must be disappointed at not being able to see all of the geysers and wildlife inside Yellowstone NP, Wyoming has a lot of other camping opportunities outside of the park.

If you decide to head further south to avoid bad weather, please advise your travel plans, as many have camped extensively in Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, which have many state parks that are not affected.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:03 AM   #11
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Thank you to everyone on this thread who offered support, advice and assistance.

We stayed outside of Cody last night. We had a friend we wanted to meet here and wanted to see the Buffalo Bill Center. The fridge door is still holding the food inside during travel, we just have to be VERY careful opening it and we open it as little as possible. We will try to repair it when we get home, I am thinking.

The water pump is still acting up. The trailer is 8 years old, not sure the lifespan on those. We checked the batteries (suggested by other RV friends of ours) and the batteries are not the issue, they hold a charge just fine. They think it might be a screen that is blocked on the pump.

We're heading out of Cody to Jackson next - staying at a KOA where we'll meet up with a cousin and her family there. I haven't read great reviews of this KOA and I hear CG down there can be pricey. Oh joy. We really do need to have hookups or stay in a developed CG with water as our water pump prevents us from get pretty much any water in the trailer from our tank. It's down a trickle and we don't have a water jug (poor planning on our part) to help us out in the meantime. It would be a bonus to have electrical to run our ceramic heater during the night to stay warm.

There's a storm heading into the area and some snow accumulation expected. Our biggest fear has been towing during ice and snow, so we're going to get settled in Jackson and wait out the melting/thaw after the storm, then proceed on with our plan.

Thanks!
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:31 AM   #12
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Fridge Door Hinge

I had the door hinge break on our previous 21' AS. Dometic has a hinge repair kit and it worked well. It took about 30 minutes to install. I found that our smaller trailer bounced around a lot on rough roads and am sure that was the cause of clothes hangers coming off the pole, cabinet door latches breaking and the fridge door problem. Have not had and similar problems with our 27' Classic which is much heavier.
Hope you have good luck finding a campground this time of year. It is difficult up north after Sept 15.
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Old 10-06-2013, 09:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desidou View Post

The water pump is still acting up. The trailer is 8 years old, not sure the lifespan on those. We checked the batteries (suggested by other RV friends of ours) and the batteries are not the issue, they hold a charge just fine. They think it might be a screen that is blocked on the pump.
I've had water pumps fail, both in a '94 LY moho and my '87 Excella. So I bought a replacement pump from Amazon which I keep as a spare in a box right beside the installed pump. I can swap out the water pump at any time at any place (which is what happens when boondocking).
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Old 10-06-2013, 10:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desidou View Post
Has anyone had issues w/ their Dometic fridge door's hinge failing? We stopped today for a trailer check while towing and noticed that the fridge door was jammed shut. After finding a plastic piece - which ended up belonging to the door - the portion that slips over the metal pin to keep the door on the fridge, I realized what the problem is.

The piece is made of plastic and it simply failed. This is the 2nd piece to fail on our fridge - the other was the larger/wider interior door shelf. It failed on a trip in 2009 and I had to order a replacement to the tune of $40. I was not pleased. You'd think a manufacturer would make things out of materials with a lesser failure rate. To say I'm annoying is a vast understatement.

Has anyone else experienced this issue? If so, tips, techniques, advice to offer?

Thanks-
I've had the hinge fail on 2 different Airstreams. On the first the door fell off while in storage and smashed the oven door across the aisle. Bought replacement doors that time. We found the broken hinge on our current trailer when packing for our winter trip south. I took the door off and Gorilla glued the broken hinge which lasted thru the winter. Of course Dometic doesn't have a repair kit for our particular model. With the help of Airstream Customer Service, Dometic agreed to replace the door when we returned home in the spring.

To remove the doors on the 2 door models, you remove the top pin on the freezer door hinge, lift that door off then remove the pin that holds the bottom of the freezer and top of the frig doors. Then you can lift the frig door out. I needed a 10 mm open end wrench to do it.

So now, nothing heavier than marshmellos are kept on door shelves.
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