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Old 05-03-2016, 09:47 PM   #1
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Camarillo , California
Join Date: May 2016
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RM3801 refrigerator won't cool

We just bought an Airstream 345 LE 1988. The refrigerator indicator lights all work and so does the light inside. It knows if it has AC or Propane. However, it won't get cold and freezer isn't working. Pilot light is lit and the back plate is warm to hot. However chilling pipes are air temp. Recognizes when AC is plugged in but that never gets cold.

Looking for suggestions

Thank you

Ren&Quinn
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:09 PM   #2
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1986 31' Sovereign
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Classic symptoms of a failed cooling unit. Either the plumbing is corroded and obstructed preventing the ammonia evaporation cycle from functioning or the unit is perforated.

You can have it rebuilt or order a rebuilt cooling unit yourself and install it -- I did it with my wife in about 2 hours and the hardest part was removing the reefer to get access.

If you decide to replace the whole unit, you might consider going with a marine Danfoss compressor unit. Work on 12vdc, very efficient and generally accepted to be safer.

Mike
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:57 PM   #3
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1988 34.5' Airstream 345
Camarillo , California
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I am handy but never done cooling systems. How hard is it? Is it easy to convert to Danfos How would I know which size to get?

Thank you,

Ren
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:03 AM   #4
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2011 23' FB Flying Cloud
Tallahassee , Florida
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Dometic RM2551 Refrigerator

I also have a problem with my Dometic RM2551, five years old. Not cooling. I checked all fuses, the heater element is OK. Have plenty of propane and am plugged into 30A electric. I can purchase a rebuilt "coil" cooling unit for about $500 and do the replacement myself. However, I have never pulled a fridge from an 'RV and am reluctant to jump in. I've learned that a new unit plus labor will cost around $1,300. Any recommendations?
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:23 PM   #5
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1986 31' Sovereign
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Removing the reefer seems to be different year by year and model by model. Mine had two screw on either side on the front frame and one on each side on the rear of the unit holding the base frame to the deck.

So, gas line off, AC unplugged, DC wires removed, screws out and slide unit forward. Yours may be different...

The actual cooling unit replacement is pretty easy.

Mike
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Old 05-09-2016, 10:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ripley345 View Post
I am handy but never done cooling systems. How hard is it? Is it easy to convert to Danfos How would I know which size to get?

Thank you,

Ren
Both Isotherm and Virtifirgo make add-on Danfoss cooling units that enable one to convert any insulated space into a DC operated fridge/freezer. Depending on the interior size of your fridge box, you might need a BD-35 or possible the larger BD-50 compressor and cold plate kit.

Given the age of your refer, I would not sink any further $$$ into it as your gaskets are probably worn as well. I would look into a full replacement marine fridge and you will never again worry about the poor cooling capabilities of any ammonia/absorption fridge again.

And the best part..........no more 'RV soft-serve' ice-cream!!!!
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