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Old 05-15-2015, 11:20 AM   #1
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Refrigerator not running on propane

We have no problem with the refrigerator when we are hooked up to electric but it will not work with propane. We have had the flue cleaned, the regulator replaced and finally my husband cleaned the orifice. We thought that finally did the trick and headed out but refrigerator stopped running again until we plugged in. Any suggestions? My husband thinks we may have gotten some bad propane and we might need the tanks emptied and cleaned. Boondocking is out till we figure this out!
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:26 AM   #2
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When switching to LP do you hear the electronic lighter clicking?

What setting is the fridge on LP? On when mine is set on 3 and the temp is 40deg from running on electricity the fridge won't light until it needs to start cooling down.


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Old 05-15-2015, 11:35 AM   #3
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Could be air in the line. Cycle the on/off switch every few minutes and see if it will light.
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:14 PM   #4
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Hi from AZ. . . I like the 'air in the lines' idea. Try turning on all burners on stove, the turn reefer to LP. . . that worked for us. . . regards, Craig
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Old 05-15-2015, 12:23 PM   #5
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If your water heater, furnace, stove, and oven are all working normally on the propane, your propane should be ok.
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Old 05-16-2015, 12:21 PM   #6
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Same happened to us once while traveling across Texas. Called a local guy...he figured it out. Apparently, where the thing fires, was too far off. He adjusted the tube..all is well.
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Old 05-16-2015, 12:36 PM   #7
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There are a lot of possibilities that could cause the problem, unfortunately. Some have been mentioned above.

I would look at cleaning the contacts on the main circuit board with a contact cleaner and plugging and unplugging them several times (board from wires that is). The other thing which is critical is the location of the spark electrode to the flame location. If it is not correctly positioned the flame sensing feature will think it has gone out and try to re light, but only 3 times until it goes to lockout. Then it will not try again until the power has been shut off and cycled on again (the eyebrow switch which controls the refrigerator that is). There is no thermocouple as such on these units, only a flame sensing feature of the ignition electrode. It must be properly positioned to keep things going. A Dometic service manual will give the specs on the position.

But these problems can be tricky and hard to isolate. My hope is that you can find the problem soon and go camping again.
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Old 05-16-2015, 12:42 PM   #8
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Not trying to insult you, but is the valve at the tank in the on position after latest fill up? Is there an in-line cutoff switch in the fridge compartment? If so is it in on or off position? A lot of people have made costly and time consuming DIY fixes when it was something simple like this. Myself included.
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Old 05-16-2015, 01:06 PM   #9
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cutoff partly shut, kink in line to fridge, if the fridge is at the end of the line of propane appliances, it may not get the correct pressure to stay running. Regulator might need changing or have a tech check the fridge feed line for 11 inches water column, iwc.
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Old 05-16-2015, 01:34 PM   #10
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AirSkeen....I had a similar problem with my refrigerator last year. I would first light the burners on your gas range to get the air out of the system. If the flame on the range burners is normal (blue) you probably do not have a bad load of propane. I would unplug the refrigerator’s 120 volt plug from the trailer supply receptacle in the refrigerator compartment to make sure the unit knows it should be in the propane mode. If the start is unsuccessful it waits a predetermined period of time and tries the start sequence again. If unsuccessful for a number of tries, it stops and lights the trouble light on the refrigerator panel. If you listen at the access panel on the outside of the trailer you should hear the igniter making noise while it tries to start the unit. If you are not getting the sound of the igniter you can try to unplug the igniter and then plug it in again. I would also make sure that the screw holding the ground wire to the refrigerator frame is tight. I was unable to get my igniter to fire. I first tried to replace the igniter ($19.35 + 7.75 shipping) on my refrigerator and that did not solve the problem. I ended up purchasing a new electronics module ($87.21 + $25.00 shipping from Dometic) and that solved the problem. Dometic has a high minimum shipping charge so I would try a different supplier if I were to do it again.
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Old 05-16-2015, 01:43 PM   #11
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Besides all the above checks, confirm that while hitched and TV running and no shore power that you're still getting 12v from the tow vehicle, in order to keep your house battery juiced up. If house battery isn't being recharged then it eventually peters out so can no longer light the fridge burner, until you connect to shore power again and the on-board charger brings house battery back up to full charge.
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Old 05-16-2015, 02:58 PM   #12
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We have had this problem twice in the past year. Both times the circuit board had to be replaced. Seems to be a notoriously faulty Dometic part based on my internet research.

Caroline
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Old 05-16-2015, 06:29 PM   #13
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Bad propane?

What is bad propane? Honestly, I've been filling and emptying with use propane tanks on my trailers since 1972. I've never had "bad propane." I think your problem is with the pilot light. Does it stay lit? Can you confirm that with visual inspection? If it doesn't stay lit, then the thermocouple will not open the valve that allows propane to flow. And that's a good thing. You know the joke about the parachutist falling without his chute deploying? As he plumets towards the ground, he sees a guy coming UP towards him at the same speed. When the guy gets close he shouts: Hey! Know anything about parachutes? And the guys says:

No! Know anything about propane RV refrigerators?
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Old 05-16-2015, 08:01 PM   #14
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There is no pilot light or thermocouple on the 2008 refrigerator the OP asked about. It is electronically controlled and lights the main flame automatically on thermostat demand.
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:46 PM   #15
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From AirSkeen....Thank you to everybody for all the great input! We are on the road right now and trying some different ideas out. We arrived at one destination and while we were on the road, the refrig stopped cooling and wouldn't work correctly once we were parked so we packed everything in an ice chest and hit the road again. At our destination we plugged into electricity and the refrig again worked fine. As a test, we switched back to propane and it is working fine. Will see what happens when we hit the road again! I love this forum...can't wait to check it every time I get on the computer. Hope to meet some of you on the road sometime!
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:54 PM   #16
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Some trailers, mine included, but i dont know about 2008s had a problem with the flame blowing out while on the road. A recall for another reason put a shield around the burner area. I have seen posts that said an A/C filter in the door stopped the problem as well as people who have made a shield out of sheet aluminum. Use the search function and search for refrigerator flame blowing out or similar wording.

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Old 05-18-2015, 07:11 AM   #17
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Al, is right on in my opinion. The flame is being extingquished from too much air while traveling. The pizzo igniter will only re-ignite a fixed amount of times until it quits and signals a problem with the trouble light on the inside of the trailer. My unit has a shield installed by po around the bottom of the burner stack. Be careful not to close it off completely. I personnally like the metal shield on the grated door idea better.
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Old 05-18-2015, 08:19 AM   #18
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Running on gas but not cooling?

I hope I am not intruding but didn't want to start a new thread since this seems to overlap our issue...

We run our original 1980 fridge on gas the night before leaving and it works excellently. Then when we would arrive at our destination, we would switch to electric, also fine.

Recently we tried boondocking, and ran the fridge on gas the evening before. We checked the fridge prior to getting on the road, everything was very well chilled, so we turned off the gas to travel. Upon arriving, I turned it back on and lit the pilot. I did have to have my husband shield the area while lighting, as it was a bit windy and so sunny that I wanted to be sure the pilot was actually lit. We have the factory shield around the pilot light, but then just the factory access door. After several hours, the temp did not seem to be maintaining, and when I checked the pilot light, it was still lit. However, the wind was picking up quite a bit. I ended up emptying everything into coolers because the temp would not stay cool even though the pilot was still lit.

I haven't tried turning it back on here at home yet because the trailer is slightly off level (not in her normal parking space) and I don't want to damage it further. I LOVE being able to use the fridge and freezer and it was a pain to have to use coolers...

Thoughts??
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Old 05-18-2015, 11:21 AM   #19
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Your (I assume original) 1980 refrigerator apparently uses the two stage flame system. When you light it, you are not lighting a pilot light but a low flame. When the refrigerator thermostat says to cool, the flame is turned to high and cooling begins.

I suspect that you have a clogged burner from rust falling down the flu that the heat action takes place in. So, the first thing I would try is to either remove the burner to clean it thoroughly or, if that is difficult or impossible without removing the refrigerator, to blow it as clean as you can with compressed air, maybe with a small flexible tube attached to your air hose so you can get it in place.

The next most likely cause would be low gas pressure. With an older rig like yours it is quite possible that the regulator is not supplying gas at the proper pressure (11" of water column) and thus the high flame is not producing enough heat.. that is it is not high enough.

Third possibility would be a partly clogged high flame orifice preventing enough gas from reaching the high flame.

Forth possibility would be that the thermostat is defective, not allowing the high flame to establish.

Fifth possibility would be that the vertical burner column that the heat rises in is clogged. That would require the refrigerator to be removed to clean.

Hmmm, I think that covers it... there could be more though. Try cleaning the main burner first.
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Old 05-18-2015, 11:27 AM   #20
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On my 2008 Classic I had the problem with the fridge not performing while towing. I had the Dometic recall performed on the fridge which is additional sheet metal shielding around the burner box. Since that was installed I have no issues with the fridge towing. After the recall and the problem went away, I figured the wind turbulence from passing traffic and wind must have been blowing out the flame and now the extra sheet metal shields the flame from wind gusts.

The recall is supposed to suppress fires that may occur in the flue to ammonia leaks if the cooling unit fails. No charge for that recall. It was performed at a Camping World location.

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