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Old 05-11-2014, 10:03 AM   #1
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1970 25' Caravanner
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Refrigerator troubleshooting

Hello. I just bought a 1970's refrigerator to put in my AS. I had to transport it on its side for a day and was wondering if this would affect its ability to run. I did allow it to stand upright for several weeks before I installed it but now it won't cool. I tested it on 110 before transport and it cooled great. I didn't test it on propane but the seller told me it tested great. The back of the fridge gets warm but the inside does not cool. Any suggestions? Thanks.
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Old 05-11-2014, 11:09 AM   #2
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Give it at least 12 hours to test if it is cooling. It is possible you have a bubble in the cooling coils. Try turning it upside down to "burp" the fridge.
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:48 PM   #3
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enosburg , Vermont
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The back of the older fridges get you can't hold your hand on the coils hot within 2-3 hrs. Very often you loosen up rust, dirt, ect in the chimney when you remove and transport. All that crap falls down around the burner or element when you stand it back up and insulates the boiler pot. You should clean out the burner/chimney every couple years to avoid the problem. Very few owners ever did. I've seen mud dobbers set up nest in a chimney!
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:00 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions. I cleaned out chimney by using the included spiral coil inside and by banging on it. A little rust came down but not much. No luck with cooling fridge though. I also tried burping the air by leaving it upside down for a day and by another method where you rotate it from side to top to side then back to top and side and upright followed by 45 degrees forward and backwards for 3 minutes each. No luck with cooling with either method.

I bought this one month ago in Arizona and it cooled great. But then I transported it on its side to nevada and it won't cool.

Any other suggestions? Are there other ways to clean the burner and chimney? Do I need to disassemble the whole chimney unit? I don't smell ammonia and I can hear the fluid running in the coils when I rotate it. The casing around the chimney dies get warm when it is plugged in.
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Old 05-23-2014, 09:23 PM   #5
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Problem solved. I leveled the fridge and it works perfectly. I feel a bit stupid but I didn't realize how necessary that is. I was not that far off level to begin with but I guess it matters.
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Old 09-13-2014, 06:40 PM   #6
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2005 31' Classic
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Dometic RM 3862

My fridge seems to have bit the dust.

I recall seeing a note about a business (in Oklahoma?) that repairs the ammonia tube part of the unit.

Can anyone help me with identifying that company?

Fridge worked fine until we defrosted it and seemed to be good for several days, but soon it would not cool. Took it to RV repair place and it worked well there.

Brought it home and it would not cool, either on propane or electric. Coil gets hot but no cooling.

On a 3 week trip now so relying on a 12v portable cooler and ice chest.

Dwight
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Old 09-13-2014, 06:44 PM   #7
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Turn it upside down.

Perry
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Old 09-13-2014, 07:38 PM   #8
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My Dometic would do that, too. It was usually dirt and dust and "stuff" in the chimney.

The first time it did that I took it to the dealer. "Perry" took the metal shields away from the gas flame area, and blew up through the chimney with compressed air. He had a cloud of "stuff" come out of there like a mini mushroom cloud. He kept blowing until all was clear air coming out. (big mess)

I did that the first of every camping season, and never had another problem with the fridge.
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:02 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by 16595 View Post
My fridge seems to have bit the dust.

I recall seeing a note about a business (in Oklahoma?) that repairs the ammonia tube part of the unit.

Can anyone help me with identifying that company?

Fridge worked fine until we defrosted it and seemed to be good for several days, but soon it would not cool. Took it to RV repair place and it worked well there.

Brought it home and it would not cool, either on propane or electric. Coil gets hot but no cooling.

On a 3 week trip now so relying on a 12v portable cooler and ice chest.

Dwight
If your heating systems (LP and 120VAC electric element) are both heating the boiler tube and you are not getting cooling from the unit, you either have:

• a leak, in which case you would have noticed a very strong ammonia smell and possibly seen bright yellow staining at the back of the fridge

••••••••••••••OR•••••••••••••••

• you have a total blockage somewhere in the cooling unit. These are generally caused by clumping of the sodium chromate salts that are an ingredient of your cooling unit's refrigerant.

If the latter is the case, you might be able to get your refrigerant flowing again by shaking the fridge in a rather violent manner, driving down a very bumpy road, removing the unit and repositioning it up side down and on all four sides and then replacing it.

This action might loosen the blockage, but it will not remove it and from my experience, it will re-block the flow in another location.
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:38 PM   #10
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Dometic Fridge

Thanks everyone!

So it is not remedied by anything other than replacing the fridge?

Lew, have you heard of repairing or replacing the cooling coil?

Dwight
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Old 09-13-2014, 11:23 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone!

So it is not remedied by anything other than replacing the fridge?

Lew, have you heard of repairing or replacing the cooling coil?

Dwight
Most newer fridge units like yours have replacement cooling units available, either from the manufacturer like Dometic of after market suppliers like Nordic, Nucold and many others. If your box is in good shape, it will be less expensive to secure the services of a qualified RV tech who has substantial experience in removing the unit from Airstreams and doing the actual replacement.

It's not rocket science, so it is entirely possible for you to attempt it if you: are handy, can follow directions and have a helper or 2 for the heavy lifting.
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:44 PM   #12
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I bought a RM 2811 Dometic fridge today. Very clean from a junked motorhome from the 80's 20.00
I got it home hooked 12 V to it and plugged it in and have lights and it will click a bit but hours later no warm or cool tubes on the back. I haven't been able to try LP yet. i haven't tried the upside down deal yet and i did lay it down to get it home. Anyone know more about it working on 110 V it did have to have 12 V to get lights on dash to work kinda stuck
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Old 09-17-2014, 08:24 AM   #13
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Call these guys - they fixed an rv refrigerator in my friend's SOB. This place rebuilds the coils and can provide you with detailed instructions for re-and-re. Trailer & RV Refrigeration - Sales and Service Gas RV Refrigerators
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Old 09-17-2014, 06:37 PM   #14
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enosburg , Vermont
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The ones I've dealt with have been late '80s and older. 12 volt ran the interior light and gas igniter [ on those that had elec igniter]. The electric heating elements have been 110 volt. As far as I know a 2 way fridge is gas & 110 volt. A 3 way is gas / 110volt & 12 volt. I expect the clicking is the igniter trying to fire the gas burner. If the dial is set to gas and there is none available it will "click" until it fires. Nice warning feature on the road if the burner blows out, can save your beer! You can bench test it with a grill tank and most any common regulator to see if it works. Your looking for a gentle BLUE flame, not a blow tourch, not yellow or orange. 11 column inches of gas pressure to the unit. Google up manometer [? I think that's the name of the gauge?] You can make a very accurate one for a few bucks in short order.
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