Gas not working on my 3 way fridge

Submitted: Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 08:04
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G'day all, any suggestions on why my old caravan Electrolux fridge stopped working on gas? (yes the gas bottle is full 'n the taps are turned on) is there something I can do or does it need to be taken to a repairer? TIA
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Reply By: Bigfish - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 09:17

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 09:17
Assuming that your igniter is working I,d be checking jet for a blockage. Can you hear or smell gas coming from the fridge. I,d take the fridge out of van first and work on it in a well ventilated are. Process of elimination. Is there a safety cut-off valve?
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:07

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:07
Probably a blocked jet.
If you know what the jet looks like (at the end of the gas line about 12mm across the flats. looks like a nut) remove it. Take a short piece of automotive electrical wire a strip about 14mm of the end and peel back all the wire except one.
Use this as a pricker. Hold the jet up to the sun before you start to see if it is blocked. Use the pricker and repeat the sun thing. You will see the difference straight away.
Be gentle because the jet can be easily damaged.
It has an artificial ruby insert.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:29

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 10:29
Have you tried to relight it? If it lights but won't keep going after you release the over-ride button, then the thermal coupling is rooted. Otherwise blocked valve as suggested.

Some of these flexible hoses, from regulator to fixed pipes, don't last long out in the elements. They leak after only 12 months or so, just wondering if they might also block the flow of gas too?

Bob

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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 11:30

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 11:30
thanks bob, won't stay alight - please see my following post
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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 11:10

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 11:10
Aussiedingo - Have you recently re-connected the gas bottles after a period without them being in place?
Mud-dauber wasps are buggers for blocking up open holes on regulators and piping. It pays to check for this before re-connecting gas bottles.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 11:13

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 11:13
Thank you all for your help, & bob it lights but won't stay alight is the thermal coupling repairable & which is it in this pic?
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:09

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:09
Hi
If it lights then goes out it is quite possible that the thermocouple is either:
Not correctly in the flame[ the tip must be in the flame at all times]A wire has came adrift,

The by pass jet in the flame controller is clogged
The flame failure control is faulty

DO NOT CLEAN the jet with ANY METAL object ,you can very easily do permanent damage to the jet lining
Best to soak in solvent then blow air through it

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:18

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:18
Thanks PeterQ, the fridge was working normally about 1 month ago now won't stay alight - can anything be done with the fridge where it is or better to take it out?
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Follow Up By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 14:54

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 14:54
oldtrack123
The method of jet cleaning I posted is the method the Dometic tech in Alice Springs used and my fridGe has never worked better.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 09:25

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 09:25
Aussie,

As indicated by another poster, that is the thermocouple coming out of the top of that "tee" piece and going into the top of the burner area. Would be surprised if you can't get one similar, if not the same, at a gas fitting place. If not, a thermocouple for a Rheem gas hot water system will work. Many electrical white goods dealers can obtain Rheem parts.

We lived in a 'van with an Electrolux fridge of the same vintage, from 1980 to '85. Worked well in the winter, froze everything, but struggled once the temps increased. One thing it did well in Summer was keep the 'van very warm!

A word of warning! We had just shifted camp on Avon Downs, prior to constructing a new turkeys nest. We were sitting around after a feed talking, when the power went out. This was accompanied by a faint plastic burning smell, which we thought nothing of at the time. The genet was fitted with an ELB, which tripped.....something strange here, we thought.

Following up on the plastic smell, checked the back of the fridge, and it had developed a small gas leak, which was burning!!! This was to the left of where the thermocouple exists the thick "tee" thingy. Of course the junction boxes were immediately above the extra flame, and the 240v one had melted, and shorted the wires.

Often look back on that day and think how our tardiness in going to set up the job probably saved the 'van, and also our 2 daughters who may have stayed in the 'van?

Good luck with the search for a part, sounds like it's keen to go for another 40 years.

Bob

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Reply By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:19

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:19
HI
That is an OLD fridge!!
Can you give the model number?
it looks like it does not have an electric thermocouple or an electric flame failure control

The brass cylindrical device with copper tubes is the gas controller,
I doubt you would find a replacement & you should not be removing ANY tubes[by LAW]
PeterQ
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:45

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 12:45
thanks peter, the fridge would be 40 years old & not been used for the last 25 years!! still had the original gas bottle on the front stamped 1974. I have only had the caravan for 5 months replaced all of the running gear as well. the fridge was working ok but now not (works ok on 240v)
model no. RM36 0 ?
production no. 9264513
serial no. 3. 0852


another number - not sure if it is relative 070A/73
thanks again for your trouble norm
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:03

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:03
Aussiedingo - That's an Electrolux Dometic model number RM36-C.

You'd better haul it out and sell it to a museum! You won't find any parts available for it, despite Dometic supplying a good range of parts for their products.

A Pommy website, leisureshopdirect.com, stocks a wide range of Dometic spares, but your model is not even listed.

Leisureshopdirect - caravan spares

If it can't be fixed simply without parts, you won't be able to repair it at all. At 40 years of product age, you can't fix too much by way of domestic items!

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:10

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:10
thanks ron, what can I do to test/ clean/ adjust anything to see if I can get it to work?
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Follow Up By: Zippo - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 22:08

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 22:08
Aussiedingo, is the gas bottle really date-stamped 1974? Yikes!
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Reply By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:06

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:06
Hi
It certainly looked that OLD
Now If you can get some one to assist
[1] turn the thermostat to full on
[2]Light the fridge & hold the gas/ ignitor button in, while you do that,
Have some check the size & colour of the flame
It should being burning blue & the outer cone /edge should just reach the bottom edge of the boiler flue tube.
When that has been done release the ignitor button & see how long the flame stays alight
Come back with the results

While they do last a long time I would suspect that one could be reaching the end of it's life, due to internal corrosion
Having said that, I do know of some domestic type absorption fridges that worked for 50years
PeterQ
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:30

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:30
thanks peter, it does burn with a nice blue flame but goes out in approx. 10 seconds. It had been under cover in the bush for 25 years so maybe less corrosion? (wishful thinking)
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Reply By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:27

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:27
Hi
Go to this link for a copy of the manual

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:28

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 13:28
oops missed the link
http://s1317.photobucket.com/user/Mikeoz22/media/manualpage4001_zpsd705cf8b.jpg.html#/user/Mikeoz22/media/manualpage4001_zpsd705cf8b.jpg.html?&_suid=141843686355102507776974946809
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 14:56

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 14:56
thanks again peter, I propped the knob open & have had the pilot burning for 1/2 hour & fridge is not any colder - does that confirm anything or fridge won't work with the knob out all the time?
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:23

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:23
it is now cold!! I was too impatient!!
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Reply By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 14:26

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 14:26
g'day again peter, there is a rusty one on ebay for $50 would be worth the risk - is it hard to swap the gas bits over?
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Reply By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:21

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 15:21
g'day again, the fact that the pilot has been burning continuously for about an hour with the Knob propped out & the fridge is now cold! - that would mean that the jet is not blocked wouldn't it? so what controls the gas flow after the knob goes in & can that be repaired? tia
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:32

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:32
HI
That clears the jet & the gas flow
The problem is pretty certain to be the small copper assemby that goes into the gas control valve
It is the flame sensor but a mechanical one that works on the expansion of the filling medium to operate a plunger which hold the gas valve open after the tip heats up.

Check that the TIP is in the flame ,

If it is ,then that unit has had it's days & has a leak
Nonrepairable & I doubt you could find a replacement.

Looks like the gas option is out
NOTE:
The gas lever should not be held open [only long enough to check f the gas system]
Jamming it open could lead to a gas explosion if the flame goes out then a spark occurs
PeterQ
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:58

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 17:58
g'day again peter, there is a rusty one on ebay for $50 would be worth the risk - is it hard to swap the gas bits over?
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Follow Up By: TTD1 - Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 23:23

Saturday, Dec 13, 2014 at 23:23
River Rina,
Oldtrack123 is othe right track,by holding the thermo valve open (that is the red button open for an hour proves that the gas system is ok) but the thermo couple is crook or not in the flame. Being that old and not used for that long my guess is that it has corroded. Very easy to replace and any gas shop will supply one. By the way it is the thin copper line coming out of the top of the valve with red button on it.
Only problem is the right thread on the top of the valve and the replacement does not need to be the same length as long as the thread into the valve is the same.
I have worked on many old Silrnt Knight kero fridges converted to gas much older that and they are still working a treat.
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Follow Up By: oldtrack123 - Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 00:15

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 00:15
HITTD1
My comment about old Absoprtion fridges still working after50years was in reference to Silent Knights
They certainly were not beautiful to look at, but they worked &
AND worked.

PeterQ
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Follow Up By: TTD1 - Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 08:11

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 08:11
River Rina and Oldtrack,
Brings back many memories,I did my apprenticeship in the Riverina and western N S W converting old kero fridges to L P G and selling new Electrolux gas deep freezes to the station owners. The old silent knight fridges were used mainly at shearing time to keep the beer cold so we were treated like royalty by both the station owners and the S shearers. Cold beer happy workers.
Regards to you both
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 18:12

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 at 18:12
G'day TTD1, as you were an apprentice in the riverina you may have converted our old kerosene fridge! our family homestead is out from Narrandera, we (family) still have lived there for 98 years! my cousins kids still live in the same farm house! thank you for your help, norm (I have since removed the thermocouple 'n placed an order a replacement - fingers crossed!!)
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