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Old 04-15-2011, 11:15 PM   #1
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Dometic RM100 not working

I have a 77 Soverign I recently purchased. Previous owners stated the refrig no longer works. Are there any checks I can do on the appliance before I consider a replacement? Are there any replacements available that fit in the same space?

Thank you
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:22 PM   #2
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The RM2820 is a popular replacement for that original model.

Typically, it seems that with age, often the ammonia cooling system develops a leak. The entire cooling system can be bought from a few online suppliers, thus making the refer operate like new.

Of course, you need to make your own decision if the overall condition of the refer warrants making the investment in renewing the innards. If the interior is clean, is there any apparent rust on any of the visible components?

Last time I looked, it was somewhat less than half the cost of an entirely new refer.

Good luck with your project, and if you decide to buy a new one, please offer the RM100 to members here; there may well be someone in your part of the world that wants to put it back in operating condition.
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:50 PM   #3
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The RM 100 in my 77 has control knobs on the inside bottom of the fridge. Maybe the control that controls Off, Gas, 12V & Elec settings has failed?? Maybe the 110 receptacle that the fridge is plugged in to has failed? See if the gas burner will light. There is a metal cover held in by 2 screws that protects the burner. Remove the cover and vacuum out all the rust and debris that collects in the bottom just below the burner tube and the tube itself, being careful not to damage the burner. Don't even try lighting the gas with the push knob piezo inside the fridge. You will be there forever. I light mine from outside the cabinet with a long tipped lighter. If it lights and stays lit with a blue flame, let it run for a few hours and see if the fridge starts to cool. If not, the amonia may have leaked out. The electrical heating elements have been known to fail and I'm told can be replaced. But you need to see if it will work on gas only to determine that. I dread the thought of having to replace mine one day. Knock on wood it still works well. (I hope I'm not jinxing myself as I'm leaving for a 23 day trip in 1 week)
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Old 04-16-2011, 08:57 AM   #4
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Do your controls look like this? I've also shown how to light it from the back side.
Make sure it is plugged in to 120 volts AC and has power. If it uses 12 volts, that needs to be present as well.
There is an electric heating element in a tube in the back. If you put it in the electric mode. Making certain you have 120 volt power. After a few hours the cooling unit (the funny looking piping system on the back) should feel warm. If it does not get warm; the heating element may be bad; it is easy to replace.

Even if your model doesn't look like this. There are a number of things you can check to determine if it will work. There is help here. I was successful in getting mine to work; the PO was going to trash it.
There is a web site that you may be able to get a manual. www.gasrefrigeration.net
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Old 04-16-2011, 12:33 PM   #5
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My wife said no to fixing the old refrigerator because if it were fixed it'd still be old. It's just as much work to re-install the old refrigerator as it is to install a new one. I kind of hate to fix a trailer all up and use old components. So far the only component I haven't replaced is the 12 volt water pump. The PO had replaced the 12 volt converter before I bought the trailer. I may still replace those two items with new just to start with all new.
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitrock View Post
It's just as much work to re-install the old refrigerator as it is to install a new one.
This is true. However for some folks, it's a question of budget...
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Old 04-16-2011, 03:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aage View Post
This is true. However for some folks, it's a question of budget...

$1 a day = new refrigerator every 3 years:-) Seems cheap enough . . .
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Old 04-16-2011, 04:15 PM   #8
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Splitrock:

You have pretty much gutted and replaced everything on your trailer. If I were doing the same I would probably replace everything with new too. That said, some of these old trailers are in better shape than others and the appliances may still be salvageable with a minor fix. The RM100 has its disadvantages...you have to get on your knees to work the controls inside the box instead of today's modern push button controls outside the box. Mine has no electric light. There is a battery powered box that mounts on the side with a spring, but my spring long since broke/disappeared. I guess it is a question of budget.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:18 PM   #9
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$$$$$

Is that $1.00 a day for every day it is used? 14 to 30 days a year makes it between $60.00 and $30.00 a day. I would use the old one for as long as it lasts.
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Old 04-16-2011, 05:42 PM   #10
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A buck a day is $365 a year. That's not a budget buster for too many people I know. I save all my pocket change in a jar and it adds up to more than a buck a day.

The original refrigerator in my antique trailer cooled the freezer section on 120 volt electric but not the refrigerator section. That's not good. I didn't care if it worked on gas. Didn't even try it. My wife didn't like it . . . so it's out:-) The golden rule = she with the gold rules.

Neither of us liked the cabinets, beds, or the sofas. They're all out. The original wall panels will be handy for templates.

The last motorhome I bought, everything worked good. It wasn't as old as this Airscream. Right after the first big trip I took with the motorhome I spun the main bearings. I got to put in a new crate engine. I'm very unlucky with toys.
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:42 PM   #11
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I'd try to run it on electric first, just to verify that amonia is still in it. As described by others, make sure it is getting power and the back is getting warm. If not, replace the heating element and go from there. If you get it working we can discuss gas operation after that.

TG, I like that little flap you have for manually lighting the burner from outside. I use the piezo and if it hasn't been run on gas you can be waiting a while for it to fire up.

Christopher
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Old 04-16-2011, 06:55 PM   #12
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I like that flap too. Mine does not have it.
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:19 PM   #13
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A two way refrigerator runs off of propane or electricity and costs approximately twice as much as an electric only refrigerator. If you only camp in a campground where elctricity is always available, you may nor need the propane capability. Just something to consider.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:22 AM   #14
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I have a 1972 Argosy with I believe has the orginal Dometicometic refrigerator and the inside looks as posted by T.G. Twinkie .
Now I did notice in the fuse box there were a few fuses missing and I have replaced them . I have the Argosy pluged in to a land line and have set the control knob to Electric and shut off the side for propane . Still nothing ? before removing the refrigerator should I replace the heating element??? and if so were can one be purchased ?.
Also not know much about Airstreams do I have to remove the refrigerator to replace the heating element . Also is there any thing elese I can do before the purchase. I am stumped and can use any help out their.
Thanks George
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gosman View Post
I have a 1972 Argosy with I believe has the orginal Dometicometic refrigerator and the inside looks as posted by T.G. Twinkie .
Now I did notice in the fuse box there were a few fuses missing and I have replaced them . I have the Argosy pluged in to a land line and have set the control knob to Electric and shut off the side for propane . Still nothing ? before removing the refrigerator should I replace the heating element??? and if so were can one be purchased ?.
Also not know much about Airstreams do I have to remove the refrigerator to replace the heating element . Also is there any thing elese I can do before the purchase. I am stumped and can use any help out their.
Thanks George
Have you attempted to run it on propane? If so, did it cool? If it cools on propane and not electric, it might be as simple/cheap as the electric heating element. If it doesn't cool on propane either (but the flame burns) then it's a more involved problem that might require "burping" the ammonia heat exchanger or might require a new heat exchanger, which people on the forums have indicated costs about half the price of a new fridge.
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Old 04-19-2011, 01:10 PM   #16
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There are two temperature setting knobs (thermostats); one for electric and one for gas. Did you set the electric knob to at least five? Your heating element could be bad; it is easy to replace.
In the center photo I posted; just above my hand there are wires inside a rust colored sheath. The original element had ceramic beads over the wires to protect them from the heat. These go to the heating element which is behind the metal shield that covers the burner, the one with the name plate on it in the photo. Some fiberglass insulation is covering the pipe (or well) where the element is located. Just follow the wires and you will find the element.
But before you go to the trouble of removing the shield, check to make sure you have 120 volt AC power to the heating element terminals, which are just above where my hand is in the center picture; just follow the wires, they are connected with stab on connectors.. Set the electric thermostat all the way to max, make sure the refer is plugged into the outlet and make sure the outlet has power.
If you have power to the heating element terminals. Check the piping that comes out above the shield previously mentioned. If it is not warm to the touch, the heating element is bad. It is only 150 watts, so give it a couple of hours with confirmed power on before you check the piping.
This refer does not use 12 volt power; it only runs in the electric or gas mode. You need 120 volt AC power for it to work in the electric mode.
My refer was out when I replaced the element, the PO said it didn't work and had removed it, I threw it in my truck and brought it home with the trailer. Turns out that all that was wrong with it was the heating element was bad and it was missing the thermo couple for the gas mode. I installed a new element and a thermocouple. It has been working fine.
I think you can get to the element without removing the refer, but I'm not absolutely sure. If you can get the shield off you can replace it in place.
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Old 04-22-2011, 10:25 AM   #17
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Dometic Diagnostic Manual

This might be helpful; also there's good folks at RvIceBox.com - Dometic and Norcold RV Refrigeration repair for info about refurbishing.

I like about the old RM100 that it runs on 12V or 120V or LP although you have to wonder when it's going to quit, after 28 years!
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:38 PM   #18
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Mine is 34 years old and still going (knocking on wood with one hand while typing with the other)
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:21 PM   #19
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I would like to know where you can get a replacement for a RM100 for $1095.00 ($1/day X 3 years). The last one I priced was nearly $2800 and that did not include installation. On the other hand, I just fixed a '74 model RM100 for $39.00 and it works fine. All it needed was a new electric heater element. $39 vs $2800....I can live with old.
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:37 PM   #20
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I have a new RM2820 on a pallet with factory wrap still on it FOB my shop at less than $1 X 365 X 3. One must know where to shop.
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