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Old 04-04-2012, 02:13 PM   #1
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1972 Argosy 24
Austin , Texas
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Dometic in '72 slowly **** the bed

Hi. I am new to all this and the fridge in my '72 Argosy, which I believe to be original, worked when I plugged it in for around a month, then over a period of a week, I noticed it getting warmer and warmer...then I went away for ten days and it was no longer cold. Quit working. **** the bed. Bummer. It is only possible for me to run it on electric, as I haven't yet figured out how to fix the propane challenge (it isn't working for stove and I don't know why..but that is another question for another time...)
I checked to see if the freezer was level. It was. I unplugged it from the trailer's built in plug and directly plugged it to the power source with appropriate voltage. Today it seems cooler, but I think I may be imagining it. No ice in the freezer.
Is it possible for ammonia to leak out over a period of time? Would I have smelled it? Is repair for these things possible? I am in a back yard and cannot take the trailer to was a crazy adventure getting it here!! (another story for another time : )
Any ideas? All help is appreciated, thanks!!!
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Old 04-04-2012, 02:19 PM   #2
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If the unit had an ammonia leak, you should have noticed it. It is possible that the heating element has failed. You should be able to check it with an ohm meter and see if it is open.


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Old 04-04-2012, 02:23 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forums, it's nice to see more and more people rescuing Argosies. Someday I hope to see another one while camping!

It is possible that there's something wrong with the electric heating element. A normal test is to check operation on gas (which you've said isn't an option in this case.) There may be someone who has at least a ball-park figure for the temperature you'd hope to find at the electric heating element or something like that, so you could get an idea.

If you're getting the right amount of heat in the right place, good air movement up the vent and it's not cooling, it's likely to be an ammonia issue.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:04 PM   #4
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With our old unit I could feel the flu on the back of the fridge and tell if the electric element was warm. It was not hot enought to burn but it could get hot. This will only tell you if the heating element is getting hot.
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Old 04-04-2012, 04:10 PM   #5
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Houston , Texas
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I had a similar adventure with the fridge in my '73. I think the model was something like an M-40--the short one, about 30 inches high. I plugged it in, but got nothing. Fired it up with propane, and eventually it cooled, so I knew the cooling unit was OK. I ordered a new electric heating element for about $40, and that did the trick. Unfortunately, I had already gone ahead and bought a used replacement fridge, so now I have a garage unit. If the electrical heating element is working the "chimney" in back will definitely be hot to the touch. If you can feel the heat after it has been on for a day, but it isn't cooling, then your cooling unit/ammonia system is probably shot. The costs of rebuilt/replacement units are so high (several hundreds $), you might as well buy a new fridge.

It isn't that difficult to get the fridge out of the trailer, if you resort to professional assitance. I believe if you take the panel off that covers it on the side, it is just a matter of half a dozen screws, and it is free to pull out.

good luck.
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Old 04-07-2012, 08:51 AM   #6
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1972 Argosy 24
Austin , Texas
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Thanks to all who responded. I will test the heater with the ohm meter and see. As I thought about it more, it got warmer over time, so it is possible it went out and slowly lost its cool. Is replacing the heater something a beginner can do easily? Thanks again for your response!!!!!!
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:24 AM   #7
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1974 Argosy 20
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The electric heating element will either work, or not. So, if the chimney in the back is warm, and you are having no cooling, I would expect your unit has gone south and will need to be replaced. I have had units go bad with no ammonia smell ever apparent to me. One died over the winter, when I was not in the rig.

It is too bad you cannot test it on Propane, that would tell you more.
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