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Author Topic: Freezer is cold, fridge isn't  (Read 5107 times)
John Z
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« on: July 21, 2008, 02:37:00 PM »

This is an older Dometic propane refrigerator/freezer. The freezer is down to 0 degrees, but the fridge portion is about 50 degrees yet. Any ideas what needs to be done? It has been running a bit over 2 1/2 days.
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« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2008, 03:59:17 PM »

john , it could have a air bubble or the unit is bad use this web site for answers they have a forum that you can ask a question or the answer may already be there for you.   www.rvmobile.com  it's not full of shrimp and bbq from Texas is it    have a great day
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« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2008, 04:05:21 PM »

man! you sure know how to rub it in... we talk so often of the good times and food we had down there. Sadly, with the fuel cost and work situations, not sure we can get enough time off to make it pay to drive all the way down there again. Fuel costs have really changed the way we are looking at things. But if there is a way, we will make it! So tell me, is your fridge loaded with shrimp and tx bbq? Thinking of Hinzes great food still makes my mouth water.
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« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2008, 05:31:49 PM »

You may try taking it out and turning it upside down
tap on the coils with a rubber hammer and let it sit
overnight.

Set it back upright and let it sit for a couple of hours
and then try it again to see if it cools any better.

The heating/cooling unit could be losing charge or going bad.

The upside down trick will slosh the working fluids around
and break any particles or crystals loose and might allow
you to get a bit more life out of it.

The working fluid is ammonia-water and a hydrogen gas charge.

Dave....
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« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 06:14:30 PM »

JohnZ,

STOP!  The thing is working fine and if you "fix it"...well, you know.  The cold for the refer comes from the freezer then to the refer.  You can't have one work without the other.  If your refer is cooling down at all that demonstrates to me that the entire system is working and zero degrees in the freezer is way cold enuf.  Your problem is with the gasket on the refer door or the door is warped.

Tear off a strip of news paper and put it in the door of the refer and close the door.  It should not slide out without a slight tug.  Do that all the way around to check the gasket.  They shrink with age and the doors get warped from people tugging on a locked door or leaning on them or closing them on an obstruction.  If warped....just twist it the other way.  I have a Dometic that was made in 73 and it will still freeze every blessed thing I put in the refer, let alone the freezer, if I don't have that little blue fan running that uses two drycell batteries.  I knew the guy that invented that thing and may he be ultra rich to this day....great product.

I personally have never seen one fail gracefully.  They seem to either work or not.  If they did go slowly, then the freezer would work and the refer would be weak but I doubt you would see zero degrees anywhere.  I have led a comparatively sheltered life, though.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2008, 06:34:31 PM »

John have to disagree with you on this one it will happen like John Z describes did to me
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« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2008, 06:48:53 PM »

Luv,

WELL! Shocked  Never actually having been wrong before Tongue, is my face red or what? Roll Eyes  I did say I wasn't completely seasoned. Cool  Let alone fully baked on this side.

Now, are you saying that he shouldn't do what I suggested before he jerks it out to roll it or buy another?  Just asking now.  Heh, Heh, Heh Grin Grin Grin

Thanks for the info as I would not have thought it possible...really.  If the seal isn't bad I would get a dealers repairman's opinion.  I know that inverting them and laying them on their side works but my repair manual says that if it is an old Dometic it will probably start working if you turn it on and run it down a rough road,,,,I swear to God.

Good luck,

John
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« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2008, 07:33:15 PM »

Hi John,

Don't jolt it too much, those rusty old steel cooling units tend to Crack and spill their yellow guts all over...

Good Luck
Nick-
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« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2008, 09:11:07 PM »

I would sure as heck try driving it over a medium rough road before removing it and doing the upside down thing, but I'm the lazy type!

One other thought. If you have nothing in the frige side it is very hard to cool since you are trying to cool air which is an excellent insulator. Try filling it with milk jugs full of cold water since water is much easier to cool than air. Cold beer would be even better, but get rid of as much air as possible.

If none of this works get a Norcold.
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2008, 10:22:29 PM »

perhaps there is junk (sometimes ice, but your has not been running long enough) in the port between the freezer and the refrigerator blocking the cold air from migrating to the refrigerator.
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« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2008, 10:56:47 PM »

I am not familiar with that unit.  Is there a separate cooling element in the frig section or does it cool from the freezer?  If it cools from the freezer, how does the transfer take place?
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2008, 09:34:08 AM »

I have a Dometic RM7030 and it does the same thing. The freezer will work on both electric and propane but the the refer part. Have not pulled it apart jet so if you find out what is wrong with yours let me know it May be the same thing with mine.

Don
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2008, 09:48:35 AM »

LuvrBus,

So how did you "fix" yours that failed the same way.  I am interested.  How could you leave that part out Huh Smiley

Nick,

I have a repair manual for "all things RV" and what I said about the "rough road" is a quote. 

Mine is rusty as all heck...you are right.  I hesitate to clean it or do anything else for fear of.....  But it gets COLD.

John
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2008, 10:04:24 AM »

John my model had the electric ice maker at the bottom and Dometic did their usual thing and stopped manufacturing the unit after 2 years and no parts were available for it and the Dometic guy at a FMCA rally in Redmond OR told me just buy a new one and I did a Norcold
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« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2008, 01:26:19 PM »

JZ,

You left us all suspended, did you ever solve this problem and if so, how??
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John Z
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« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2008, 08:39:23 AM »

Sorry for the delay in getting back. I had to work a couple days and then get packed to go to the Bemidji get together, and then on to a week long trip to a family reunion in the Red River Valley in NW Minnesota.

I am parked in the WalMart lot at Bemidji this morning. I was hoping the rocking horse road i was on las night would have shook something loose in the fridge but it looks like there is no improvement in it.

For an old unit,,, and i do mean old,, the seals are not too bad. I am sure they are not the culprit. As mentioned earlier, it has not run long enough to become over iced.

I just checked the temps with my ir gun, and the freezer is 17.5, and the fridge is 68. This has been lit and running for a week now, so it doesn't look like it is getting any better.

My thoughts now are if i have to pull it out, i may as well replace it. I am getting to the point where my use of the bus will be going up, and i don't want to have problems with this. All my stuff is in a cooler under ice, so i am good for now. But that is not how i want to travel.

Next big decision is whether to go with a household electric one, or a new propane rv unit. Plus of the elec route, is i could get rid of that vent on the roof,,, don't care for the looks of that at all. Also could seal up the hole in the wall where the burner is. Neg side of elec is i would need more battery power in the house bank. Have 4 6v golf cart batteries now. I would also probably need a new inverter to go that route, , now i am using an old trusty 1000 watt Heart Freedom. The new inverter will also be justified by the need to power some sort of OTR air.

Are you guys happy with propane units? Do they keep the ice cream and popscicles hard during the summer heat?

Thanks all for your tips and help... they are all appreciated!
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« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2008, 08:55:09 AM »

I've got to say that I have been happy with both using a residential unit and an RV unit.  We presently have an RV frig.  We do not run it on propane much yet, but I like the option.  When we had a residential unit, we had no problems surviving since we really did not boondock much.  You really just have to sort out how you will be using your bus and pick the unit that supports your plan with the least hassle.
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« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2008, 09:59:05 AM »

John,

I liked my gas unit over a elect house fridge.  a couple months betwen gas fills.  I like the flexability.  Cost of gas unit is the cutter but I would sure try for gas if it was me.

Did you ever have it looked at by a qual repairman?

You get a lot of heat off of a house unit and it definately NEEDS to breath out the back.  Might want to rethink sealing up all the "holes".  Nice benifit in the winter though.

John
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« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2008, 02:50:35 PM »

Hi John Z,
Have you cleaned the burner in your frig? The reason I ask is that at the June Midwest Busnuts rally a member thought his frig was shot and had planed to buy a new one. I checked it and found that the electric heating element was burned out. He switched to gas and had the same problem you are having. I checked the burner and it was burning but very weakly so I blew out the burner area with compressed air and the flame increased somewhat. He tried it overnight and the freezer was down to ten degrees and the frig was in the fourties. After the rally he ordered a new electric element and removed the unit to install it. He also took the burner out and cleaned it better. He called me later and told me his frig is working fine now. So, before you throw away your frig you may want to try cleaning your burner if you haven't already done so.

Also, you could be using your frig as an ice box.  When our frig failed last fall (it had that expensive ammonia smell) we used it as an ice box sucessfully for four days without having to add ice. We used blocks of ice in a plastic container on the top shelf. We had a cooler too but found it more convienient to use the frig. Then last winter I replaced the cooling unit in our 18 year old frig with a rebuilt one. The cost of the rebuilt cooling unit was $420 including shipping to me and me shipping my old one back. That was about 1/3 the cost of a new RV frig of equal size.

Good luck, and let us know what you decide. Thanks Sam4106
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« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2008, 06:56:24 PM »

And the source of your rebuilt cooling unit was?Huh??  Smiley

Thanks,

John
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« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2008, 02:02:33 PM »

My Norcold propane/elec frige works so well on propane that I no longer bother to hook up the electrics when visiting friends and such.

I use it on electric only when cooling it down before a long trip, it is propane after that except during the infrequent stay at an RV park.
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« Reply #21 on: July 26, 2008, 03:58:45 PM »

Hi JohEd,

I got my rebuilt cooling unit from RV Refrigeration Service, 14 Custom Street, Calais ME 04619 Phone 888-782-6665. A good company to deal with and the service was great.

Thanks, Sam 4106
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« Reply #22 on: July 26, 2008, 05:02:26 PM »

Sam;

what model refer do you have and what did you pay for the cooling unit.

Thanks

Don
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« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2008, 05:13:06 PM »

Don, go to www.rvmobile.com type your model # and it will give a price. If you can wait till Sept the guy in Quartzsite replaces about all model for 600 bucks parts and labor   OT here but are you busy the guys at S&S set my 8v92 at 475 hp factory setting and they want to charge me to change it if I have to pay rather pay you
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« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2008, 05:25:35 PM »

Clifford,

I have to go the Seattle the second week of Sept. Then back again the week before thanksgiving, then I go to new Orleans the first week of Dec. I was wanting to go to Yellowstone for a week in Sept and go fishing but that will have to Wait till next year.

 What do you want done, how much hp do you want, and what is your schedule looking like.I am sure we can work something out.

Don
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« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2008, 06:45:38 PM »

I had a unit rebuilt several years ago, but can not remember the name. It was in the greater Los Angeles area and possibly in Pomona.

Richard
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« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2008, 07:54:32 PM »

I also remember a place in the LA area.  I think it was around El Monte.  Whether that one is still around or not, Google has others.
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« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2008, 10:15:49 PM »

Lin,

Not often I come up short on imagination....but what would you Google to find a shop that rebuilds gas refers?

I heard it cost 6 or 8 hundred to get that done.  I hope I am wrong.

John
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« Reply #28 on: July 27, 2008, 08:53:47 AM »

i have a norcold i bought 20 yrs agao from salvage, was brand new with only some minor bends in the trim , 250.00. the freezer gets really cold but the fridge dont until i get going down the road then its ok for the rest of the trip, we use propane a lot of the time and it works about the same as elec. been pleased overall with the performace.
Frank allen
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« Reply #29 on: July 27, 2008, 09:04:46 AM »

Hi Don,

I have a Norcold Model 863 refrigerator. The price for my rebuilt cooling unit was $420 including shipping to me and me shipping my old unit back. That was just for the rebuilt cooling unit, not any labor. I changed the unit myself. A friend, who told me about RV Refrigeration Services, paid the same for his rebuilt unit for a different brand and size.

Good luck, Sam 4106
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« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2008, 11:02:27 AM »

Luvr,

That RVMOBILE site is really good.  Thanks for that.  I am looking for a new door for my ancient Dometic.  Do you know the guy's name in Quartz?  Have any suggestions?  There are so many different models and sizes that I have to carefully list what I have and the model number.  Thought you or others might know of a boneyard.

Thank you again,

John
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« Reply #31 on: July 27, 2008, 02:23:15 PM »

John,
    I did "rv refrigerator repair" and some came up.  Here's one http://www.rvrefrigeratorrepair.com/.  I suppose one could try to narrow it down geographically.
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« Reply #32 on: July 27, 2008, 08:39:34 PM »

I have a three-way 1979 Dometic that works great. When I first started using it, I was paranoid about poor performance, so I cranked it way down and accidentally froze everything in the fridge. When I have 120 available I switch over, because when camping I paid for the electricity anyways and it’s only a turn of a knob. I am not sure but I think mine uses about a bottle of gas in a week if I use only propane. One thing about these RV gas refrigerators; you absolutely need to keep them reasonably level when parked and operating. If you don’t, it will permanently damage them. The newer ones are not quite as picky as the old ones like I have, but they still need to be leveled. I bought a good used 12v compressor fridge that I thought was a good deal, and was going to swap my units, but I do like the three-way. So I will continue to use it till it quits.
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« Reply #33 on: July 27, 2008, 10:05:51 PM »

I was told with regard to leveling that the frig must be level side to side, and that front to back does not matter so much (or is it the other way around?).  Does that jive with your info?
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« Reply #34 on: July 27, 2008, 11:01:53 PM »

Quote
I was told with regard to leveling that the frig must be level side to side, and that front to back does not matter so much


There surly is more of an absolute authority here than me, but if you look at the plumbing on the back and follow the refrigerant path, it looks logical. Front to back and side to side is in reference to the unit not the RV. I know you know that, but there might be someone else reading that might have a “moment”. Because of the outrageous cost to replace one of these fridges, and the fact that I have an older design, I am very paranoid about not letting mine sit out of level for extended periods of time.

The difference in older designs vs. newer is the time and amount they can tolerate being out of level. There is a lot of info on the net about RV refer death.


A few from a Google search on keeping one level:

http://www.rvdoctor.com/KIOTL.html

http://www.fabuloustravel.com/index.php?option=com_resource&controller=article&category_id=436&article=21702

http://rvtravel.com/blog/lowtech/2007/05/keeping-rv-refrigerator-cool.html

http://www.rv-coach.com/current_category.83/faqs_list.html

http://www.americanrvrentals.com/refrigerator.htm
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« Reply #35 on: July 27, 2008, 11:31:53 PM »

Lin,

Thanks for the info.  Never thought to "simply" Roll Eyes spell out the entire question. Huh

The RVMOBILE site looks to be the west coast version of the site you mentioned.  They seem competitive.

Thanks again for your help,

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
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