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Old 09-22-2019, 08:40 PM   #1
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2019 23' Flying Cloud
Fresno , California
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Flying Cloud 23CB - Fridge Problems

Hello,

We have a 2019 FC 23 CB and traveled this past summer from CA to FL. The fridge worked fine in the winter months in CA, but the fridge does not work properly in warm/hot weather. Fridge temps ranged from 42-65 degrees making the fridge useless. We used a Yeti cooler to get us through. I am hoping somebody can answer some basic questions.

1. Why does a 316w fridge only use 175w heating element?
2. I can cup my hand around the furnace when plugged into shore power and it is just warm. Not hot. Is that normal?
3. The hot air that accumulates behind the fridge has nowhere to vent in the 23 design. Has anybody made any modifications to help with venting?

Thanks for your time. We thought we purchased quality, but we are now realizing that Airstream and Dometic really don't care. The AS is now at shop number three and the only advice thus far is to add another fan. Looks like we will be selling and taking the loss.

Thanks,
JT
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:47 PM   #2
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Brenham , Texas
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JRDT,
In short, yes a lot of us have added fans to help move air out of the fridge area, check out this one, http://www.airforums.com/forums/f142...ml#post1977719

There are a lot of mods and upgrades in the 23D (CB) forum.

David
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Old 09-22-2019, 08:53 PM   #3
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BTW a quick, FREE HELP to the fridge compartment is to prop open the upper door when it is hot out. The 23CB is not perfect but is a great unit, with a few tweaks it is a fantastic travel vehicle, we have spent up to 7 weeks at a time in ours and the only real regret is we had to head home!
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Old 09-22-2019, 09:23 PM   #4
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Thanks for the link. Yes, we have propped open the upper vent but that did not help. Thanks again.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:28 AM   #5
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2019 25' International
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You have a 2019 model with a 3-year warranty. Surely this can be fixed, especially if you take it to Jackson Center. I am so sorry you're giving up on Airstreaming because of a frig problem. Take care.
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Old 09-23-2019, 09:50 AM   #6
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2019 25' Flying Cloud
Hendersonville , North Carolina
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23CB Refrig problems

You absolutely have to add some fans in the top opening blowing air out to get some flow over the coils. The factory provided fan blows up towards the coils but is noisy. Make sure your factory fan is working. You can simply jump the terminals on the little dime size thermostat to insure fan is good. If it is good leave a jumper wire on it for now to get some better performance. The "23D" thread has a bunch of great write ups and pictures of the fan set ups owners have installed to help the poor refrig back cabinet ventilation.

I made prop open sticks for the refrig cabinet doors out of a couple of the larger paint can stir sticks. (free at Lowes). I mounted a couple of the larger spring steel type paper clips on each end to keep them in place. Really helps.

Loved our 2017 Int. Serenity 23D but have since moved up to 2019 FC 25 RBT. Happy travels.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:02 AM   #7
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2014 23' Flying Cloud
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Mare Island , California
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Our first trailer was a 23CB. We didn't have any reference for what fridge performance was supposed to be. In cold weather, the fridge was great, in the hot west in summer, it struggled often above 50. We put in three fans in the compartment, one 12v circulating fan inside just under the freezer near the metal vents. We tried everything and often brought another 12v cooler which kept freezing . We traded in for a 25 rear bed and were concerned that rear bed design duplicated the problematic design where there wasn't a proper vent for the fridge - only the same upper and lower external doors just like the 23. The 25 has a bigger fridge and separate freezer. It rocks! We've been out in 110+ temps and the fridge just stays nice a cool at 40 for the fridge and -1 in the freezer. It uses only the one factory installed fan in the exterior compartment and no fans inside the fridge. We even pack it tightly and it works this well. I now realize the 23 had serious problems. It was a new 23 (2014) but it clearly was unsatisfactory compared to the 25. Same compartment for both: no roof vent, just the two exterior doors, so apparently, it's not (necessarily) a problem with lack of a roof vent: There's some big difference between fridges. Perhaps it's the larger size of the 25 fridge. I can't figure it out. But the 25 fridge acts like a real fridge. It even can make... wait for it... ice cubes on our trips! I hope you find some fix. Wonder if other 23 folks (or others) have problems.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:39 AM   #8
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Park City , Utah
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With all due respect, if you feel itís time to sell and take a loss because the fridge isnít working, RV or Airstream life likely isnít for you. The issues that pop up will make you miserable. I mean this in the kindest way. Do things that bring you joy! This might not be one of those things.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:44 AM   #9
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Good point about checking the factory fan and thermostat, the 2019 has an inside switch to kill power to the coil fan, I forgot to turn that switch on one time and the fridge did not cool well at all. Normally the one fridge in ours works well, will freeze ice overnight and during the day in 100 degree weather.
I do keep the left hand awning deployed most of the time, it REALLY helps the fridge and interior stay cooler!
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Old 09-23-2019, 02:00 PM   #10
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On our current trip with our 20 (currently in Saco Me and its 88 deg outside). We always open the top refer door, have swapped out the oem fan for a quieter and more effecient fan. I will be adding fan #2 upon our return home.

Just to add the fan switch/stat, our 20 has a 1 amp fuse inside the top refer opening. If the fan jump doesn't work, might be a fuse.

I will also say after tossing some food today, be mindful of how often you open the door and more importantly....for how long. Get in and out quickly. These units do not recover quickly. Also pay attention to the temp of items you add. I have moved the beer and softdrinks to the cooler with ice. Suspect adding warm beer to the small refer wasn't helping.
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Old 09-23-2019, 02:18 PM   #11
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2012 23' Flying Cloud
Bandera , Texas
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What am I missing? We have a 2012 23D, and have a small exhaust fan, factory mounted inside the upper exterior door. Did yours not come with this,? Easy to install.
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Old 09-23-2019, 02:59 PM   #12
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2019 23' Flying Cloud
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Thanks for the message. But with all due respect, I did not buy a brand new 70K trailer to have a fridge that does not work properly. I understand that things can and will go wrong, but Airstream and Dometic are stating there is nothing more they can do. Really?!? In other words, the fridge is fine as long as you don't travel during the summer. This is a brand new unit which has a major design flaw which nobody is acknowledging.

"Do things that bring me joy?" - what a smart ass response! I bought a brand new Airstream and cannot use the fridge after several trips three different "Five Rivet" repair shops. No big deal ... its just part of JOYFUL experience. Give me a break.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:04 PM   #13
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Yes, we have a small fan but the warm air is trapped behind the fridge and will not vent out the side panel as designed.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:22 PM   #14
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I feel your pain. I bought a new 2017 23D flying Cloud with the same refrigerator problem. Took it in for warranty work twice, both times they told me itís working as designed. ďAs designedĒ. Hmm. So I added the fan as other have done and solved the design problem. However what I noticed was the original fan had the thermostat mounted on the fan not the upper heat fins as specified by Dometic. Also the thermostat used wasnít turning on until the temperature reached 130 degrees. So by the time the fan comes on itís already too late. The second fan purchased from Dometic, I put in to blowout the through the upper vent. It came with a thermostat that comes on at 90 degrees. I wonder if the original fan would of worked if the correct thermostat mounted in the correct position was installed as specified by Dometic. But I have two fans now both running off the 90 degree thermostat and the refrigerator works great. When temps got to near 100 degrees I put some ice in a baggy and placed it in the crisper section. Maybe I didnít need the ice because the refrigerator section never went above 33 degrees but I was gun shy after so many refrigerator failures. Also I havenít tried just running one fan, Maybe next year but itís working after two years of failures. Like you I was thinking about dumping the 23D just because of the refrigerator, but Iím now very happy with it and glad I did this fix.
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Old 09-23-2019, 04:37 PM   #15
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just to add, I jeep a couple of frozen blue blocks in the freezer (which is doing fine and freezing cocktail ice ) I now move the blocks down to the refer compartment when I add non chilled items and then move it back up later.



Yesterday afternoon after shopping and bumping up to 55 degrees for more than 2 hours (and tossing food ) I move some to the ice chest with ice and added a bag of ice for 3 hours. Put that bag n the ice chicest before bed time and the refer was 35 this am...held steady at 37 while traveling. Moved up to 45 briefly as we were in and outy, now dropping and approaching 40. Beer is in the ice chest so no need to open it any more. Ambient temp 88ncurrently.


Interesting we didn't have as sever a rise this last Jan-Mar on our key west trip, so I'm pulling the cover off and checking the flame....maybe cleaning the up tube too. I use K-9 fle coolars for the spiders and wasps and have never had a problem, but we had a lot of wasps/daubers at storage this spring so just checking.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:30 PM   #16
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Owning an RV, any RV

Quote:
Originally Posted by JRDT View Post
Thanks for the message. But with all due respect, I did not buy a brand new 70K trailer to have a fridge that does not work properly. I understand that things can and will go wrong, but Airstream and Dometic are stating there is nothing more they can do. Really?!? In other words, the fridge is fine as long as you don't travel during the summer. This is a brand new unit which has a major design flaw which nobody is acknowledging.

"Do things that bring me joy?" - what a smart ass response! I bought a brand new Airstream and cannot use the fridge after several trips three different "Five Rivet" repair shops. No big deal ... its just part of JOYFUL experience. Give me a break.
I understand that your upset. I was a bit put out about the flaw in properly venting the refrig cabinet on our new 2017 Int. Serenity 23D. One look at the 23D thread and an hour or so labor fixed the problem. Please do not miss out on all the joy your new AS can bring you because of this small issue. And I do mean small issue. Many people make changes to there AS and share it through the forums to help everyone in the community out. Some personalize, some modify for better performance.

Bottom line is that if this minor issue has you this upset it is possible your not going to be happy owning an RV. Any RV. Believe me when I tell you that no matter how much you spend on any brand of RV, your going to have teething problems. My Sister owns a $200K+ Winnebago diesel pusher. It took a year or more to work out the bugs. They have had it for at least 10 years and have traveled the country with it. They love it. Calm down, relax and do the fan modification. Get the lower temp thermostat and mount it correctly. Your refrig will respond. This is not the last thing you will be fixing if you keep the AS. Happy travels.
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Old 09-23-2019, 05:40 PM   #17
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Flying Cloud 23CB - Fridge Problems

Amen to that. Improvement and preventative maintenance are part of the fun of owning an Airstream, IMHO.

Mine is 12 years old. Stuff breaks
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:08 PM   #18
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Thanks for the advice.

But IMO, this is not a minor issue. I did not buy a brand new Airstream to live out of a Yeti. We bought an Airstream because, SUPPOSEDLY, the name is synonymous with quality. I am not upset that the unit had to be serviced! As you said, things will break. You fix and move on. I have been patient, even on our 37 day trip to the east coast without the use of the fridge. I am upset because we have taken it in for repairs on five (3 in CA and 2 in FL) occasions and the conclusion is that the unit is within specs and nothing more can be done on their end. I am upset because this is a design flaw and does not adhere to the Dometic specs as outlined in the installation manual. Now, I have to make improvements and modifications, on my dime, to get the unit to work properly. And to infer that I am not an RV person because of this "minor issue" is ridiculous. We should expect more out of a company that prides itself on quality. It is like buying a new car and the airconditioning does not work properly and the solution provided is to roll down the window and install a little fan on the dash. I think we would all agree that would not be acceptable no matter the brand. The fridge is under warranty. If they would fix the issue I would not be on this forum.
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:29 PM   #19
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One more thought,
The 17 Casitas used a very similar Dometic refrigerator, for no apparent reason some worked better than others with the trailer and refrigerator compartments the same. Perhaps your refrigerator is one of those that works, just not really as well as it should. I am from south central Texas, hot and humid but fridge works well, mine is also a 2019 just like yours. I think I would call customer service at the factory and see if they might approve replacing the refrigerator.
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Old 09-23-2019, 07:44 PM   #20
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Miami , Florida
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Read up on adding baffles to the area around the coils to help it vent better. Some thin flexible sheet metal and a roll of aluminum duct tape from Home Depot in addition to a new fan will go a long way. My 16 sport had the same issues and I was able to solve it.
I agree that this issue should have been addressed by airstream when the unit was built. It was not. You can save yourself some grief and just fix it yourself so you have a fully functioning camper.
You could consider swapping the refrigerator for a compressor driven one and sell the Dometic on CR. Expensive but the run great and don’t chase ambient temps. They also take about 30 minutes to cool down. I believe these are the future for the RV industry.
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