Dometic Fridge in van not working coolly

Submitted: Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 07:21
ThreadID: 110151 Views:5159 Replies:15 FollowUps:8
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Hi There,

Our Dometic 3 way fridge in the camper van has decided not to cool things down as of last weekend. Its been average for quite a while but last weekend it was useless, operating in gas, which usually is the most efficient way these things run, I thought.

I am about to embark on a fact finding mission by pulling the covers off the side of the van and peering in, and would appreciate some advice on what to peer at, please.

Thanx for for any assistance
Bonz
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Reply By: Tony F8 - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 07:49

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 07:49
Bonz, I had a rc1180 3 way some years ago, it would occasionally do the same thing as yours. More so if we travelled on rough roads, it happened the first time in Karumba and the local fridgee told me to shut it down, empty it and turn it upside for an hour and bingo, it would be as good as gold. They are a absorbtion fridge and apparently the (i'm happy to stand corrected) material used to creat the cold gas can become packed down, either that or the thermostat is playing up and the fridge is icing the cooling system.
Cheers.
Tony F8.
AnswerID: 541711

Reply By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 08:35

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 08:35
Gday
Wes and I had cold beer last weekend, you should have called out.....

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Reply By: noggins - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 09:19

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 09:19
This is from Caraveners Forum

If you go over the original thread started by xxxxxxxx on this issue you will find the following information regarding the modifications performed on his and David's fridges.

To meet my expectations of freezer performance, Dometic removed some of the thermal insulating paste from behind the cooling fins and moved the thermostat from the RHS of the fins to the LHS (the warmer side of the fridge as the flu runs up the back of the fridge on this side). This was done to both fridges.



I think the biggest issue now is getting Dometic to accept that this needs to be done to all fridges.

On the Jayco forum the following response from Dometic was posted.

Dometic Australia Rebuttal statement regarding RMD8551 and RMD8555 models
As a response to several inaccurate and in some cases ill-informed and possibly defamatory statements being posted in this forum regarding the above Dometic refrigerator models, Dometic Australia Pty Ltd would like to make the following corrective statements;

1. These models are indeed “T” or tropical rated. This means that they have met or exceeded required approvals testing standards between 18 and 43 degrees Celsius. They are fully approved and suitable for sale in Australia.
2. There is no “known defect” with either of these models. When installed as per our instructions in Jayco Silverline vans they work as designed and required to meet all necessary approvals.
3. It is true that two customers have recently had their refrigerators inspected and undergo minor modification to satisfy higher expectations of these two owners with regards to higher freezer performance.
4. Food safety standards are not compromised by these models in any way.
5. The freezer section is not designed as a “Deep Freezer”, it is small in size and as such there is no need for long term deep frozen storage of food. Irrespective of some comments in this forum, frozen food does not “go off” or become unsafe to consume above a certain sub-zero temperature, the storage life simply becomes shorter depending on the temperature. One example easily found at the CSIRO website is that Pork Stored at -18C should still be of good quality after being frozen for 10 months, whereas the same pork stored at -12C will also still be of good quality after being frozen for 6 months. The point once again is, the goods don’t “go off” or become dangerous to consume, they just don’t store for as long a period.
6. Dometic Australia are committed to meeting the needs of our customers, and in the event that a product malfunction occurs, which of course can happen with regards any refrigerator manufacturer, we are more than happy to stand behind our product and assist customer both in and out of the product warranty period.
7. Whilst internet forums do have their place and can be a valuable source of information at times, we encourage consumers to make use of our free-call technical help line (1800 21 21 21) if they are experiencing difficulties with any of our production rather seeking answers from people in forums who with all due respect, do not necessarily hold or provide accurate information.
Technical and service department
Dometic Australia Pty Ltd.



Despite their success in coming with a fix for xxxxxx and xxxxxxx they appear to be sticking with the line that their product is working as per specifications. If you look at their brochure on the Dometic Australia site it claims these are good for fridge temperatures down to 7 degrees and freezers down to -12 degrees at 32 degrees ambient, however the brochure says they are SN rated and the label in the fridge says they are T rated. Based on the brochure specifications mine is just meeting this for the freezer at -13 and easily meeting the fridge performance at between 2 and 4.
AnswerID: 541714

Reply By: TomH - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 10:32

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 10:32
Perhaps you could post the model number to get more definitive answers

The post from the Caravanners Forum only describes a problem with a specific model fridge
AnswerID: 541718

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 21:26

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 21:26
Thanx Tom, thats a good idea, I will get into the van tomorrow and have a dekko mate.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at 23:19

Monday, Nov 17, 2014 at 23:19
Its a RM 2350 Dometic Tom
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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 10:58

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 10:58
Many, Many years ago I undertook a 12 month Tech College course in refrigeration mechanics.
At the final session the instructor said..... "Now we come to absorption fridges. The best advice I can give you is to roll the whole fridge the length of the back lawn, put it back in the kitchen, and by the Grace of God it may start working."...... End of lesson!

For what it's worth. LOL
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AnswerID: 541721

Reply By: Slapsy - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 11:31

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 11:31
Could easily be the gas bottle regulator. I would check or replace that before getting the fridge out and shaking it.
AnswerID: 541726

Reply By: 322 - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 11:45

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 11:45
I've been told by heaps of Fridgies that they are pretty bullet proof in functionality and reliable. I've also been told of the blockage problem and to shake the fridge as previously described. I was also told during WW2 the yanks would put the fridges in the back of their Jeeps and drive them over the roughest ground they could to clear the blockages. Could be an old wives tale but it was amusing.
AnswerID: 541731

Reply By: Erad - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 12:04

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 12:04
Sorry to sound gloomy, but I had the same problem with my Dometic caravan fridge. I followed the advice of a fridge mechanic - take it out, turn it upside down , leave it for a few hours and then see how it goes. I did this - several times, each time getting more desperate and it still didn't work. I checked the electric elements. From memory, the 240 V one had 300 ohms resistance and the 12 V element had 2.4 ohms. T^hey were OK.

I ended up buying a new fridge, and as I dismantled the old one (to get the 240 V and 12 V electric elements), I finally saw the problem - the refrigerant had leaked out. This was a yellow stain around the insulated cylinder where the elements slide in. It wasn't visible until I stripped the insulation. The fridge was dead. I kept the elements because I had to buy a new 240 V element some years ago and it was very expensive then - about $130, so I have spares if needed.

It is possible to repair the fridge, but this costs about $700, I am told, and there is no guarantee that it will work properly after that, so I opted for a new fridge - $1200+ OUCH! The new fridge works so much better - the old one obviously had been running low on refrigerant for a long time. It even freezes on 12V - something unheard of with the old one. A point to note is that the thermostat doesn't control the fridge on 12 V. One it is plugged in and 12 V is selected, it goes all the time. So does your battery if you are not careful.

Incidentally, the new fridge, although it has the same dimensions and connections as the old one, has a curved door which sticks out further than the old one. The design of the surrounding cupboards etc doesn't allow for the thicker door, but we barely scrape by and get our stuff in and out of the cupboard OK.
AnswerID: 541734

Reply By: garrycol - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 12:35

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 12:35
I have had enough playing around and trying new things with my camper 3 way and have bought a compressor fridge as a replacement.

The 3 way worked OK below 27 degrees but above that really was not much chop - I cleaned the elements, put in fans, cleaned the gas burner - freezer always worked fine but the fridge temp was always too high.

The compressor is more reliable and provides a good temperature in the fridge but not as good in the freezer but continues to work over 27 degrees. The downside is better battery storage and management is needed.

Garry
AnswerID: 541738

Reply By: M&N's - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 13:45

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 13:45
Hi I don't know if you have solved your problem as yet but have just this week fixed my mates fridge problem which was two fold problem one was wasps had built a nest in the top of the flue resulting in 90% blockage of hotair flow. This was in the aluminium bit at the very top .Cleaned it out and within 24 hours had a very cold fridge[#4 setting] Go for the simple stuff first as IMHO these fridges are the ants pants and I live in north queensland.The second problem was again that ali pipe flue it had separated from its keeper plate and the flue was cut of so short that it had rotated into the void at back of fridge and blockage or no blockage that fridge was never going to get cold as hot air was heating fridge from outside.The 32mm thin wall pipe was replaced with a piece of old vacuum cleaner handle of such a length so the flue can't fall {rotate} back into the airspace{viod] and spill hot air into this area.Hope your problem is a easy fix See ya Mickb
AnswerID: 541742

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 21:08

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 21:08
Thanks everyone, many different avenues of investigation. Much appreciated to everyone.

Bonz
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Follow Up By: MUZBRY- Life member(Vic) - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 21:47

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 21:47
Gday
So it looks like you have to tie a rope around the fridge and tow it around the footy/cricket oval...
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Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 22:11

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 22:11
I am googling rough tracks and how to get the covers off
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 17:42

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 17:42
Which covers are you talking about? You will get limited access through the vents from the outside of the van. You get those off by turning the plastic screw head looking device a quarter of a turn and carefully pulling that end of the vent off first. If you need to get more access you need to take the fridge out of the cabinet.
Instructions are in the manual, I gave you the link for it further down the thread.

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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 18:40

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 18:40
The outside covers Pete, I got them off and the jet out and it was clean as a whistle, I need to light it now but I dont reckon the gas is getting thru properly.
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Reply By: Member - cherrywipe - Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 22:30

Sunday, Nov 16, 2014 at 22:30
Hi,
We had trouble with Ours ,would hardly cool on gas but ok on 240 volt.
Found the gas jet partially blocked,after a clean with air and soak in soapy water all was
Good.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 18:29

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 18:29
I pulled the jet out and it was clean as a whistle! next step ..... more serious stuff
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Reply By: Member - IanLR - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 10:00

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 10:00
Hi all
My Electrolux rm4211 3way absorption fridge works fine on gas and 12 volts but now doesn't work on 240volts. The fridge is in a avan aliner year 2000 vintage. I recently replaced the gas burner successfully and the 240 was working at that time. I have looked for a fuse that the install manual says is required. I know the 240 v earth leakage and circuit breaker work and have confirmed that 240 is at every outlet. I have also confirmed with a multimeter that the 4 pole switch on the fridge works. I am wondering if I have a faulty thermostat or 240v heater element fault. How do I test this eg can I easily measure the element resistance without dismantling anything? My nearest big center is Toowoomba but previous telephone enquiries usually said the cost of removing such an old fridge to look for faults would be excessive.
Any advice would be appreciated
Ian
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 17:35

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 17:35
I take it you are posting because you don't have a handbook for it. Download it from here. On pages 11 & 12 you will find some pointers for the gas maintenance.


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Follow Up By: Member - IanLR - Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 20:48

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014 at 20:48
Thanks for your response. I do have a manual for my rm4211 but it doesn't have the more useful info I see in the manual for a different and probably more modern model you pointed me too. One of my major frustrations with Avan is the unavailability of a wiring diagram for a liners. This frustration is shared by other owners who have responded to my forum questions in the past. Since my original post I have done further troubleshooting after reading something elsewhere on this forum. With 240v connected to the van I do not have live wires at the switch on the fridge. However every power point is live so I am now looking again for a hidden fuse buried in some inaccessible place in the fridge cabinet. Any further advice would be appreciated.
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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 18:23

Thursday, Dec 11, 2014 at 18:23
I do have the handbook Peter, but I was looking for some wiley clues, as it all seems intact when I look at it.

Thanx for the download link I couldnt find one. Much appreciated mate.

Bonz
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