3 way fridge problems

Submitted: Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 13:23
ThreadID: 54568 Views:6572 Replies:5 FollowUps:2
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Hi everyone, I have been having problems with my 3 way fridge in my Jayco Swan. First it stopped working on 12volt on the way back from a trip, then a few months after that it stopped working on 240 volts. I runs fine on gas so the gas hasn't escaped. I asked my local Jayco dealer what he thought it might be and he said it sounded like the elements needed replacing. I got my Father, who is a retired electrician, to have a look at it and he said that there was still current going through the elements. He had a look at the selector switch at he thinks that it may be the culprit. We couldn't investigate further without pulling the entire fridge out which I wouldn't have a clue how to do.
I just wanted to know if anyone else has had this problem occur and what sort of costs I may be looking at to get it fixed. The fridge is about 20 years old but in excellent condition otherwise.
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Reply By: Wizard1 - Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 13:51

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 13:51
Had a problem with ours runnig on gas....took it to a 3 way fridge specialist.

Cost? How long is a piece of string? They will tell you how much it will cost to fix when they determine what is wrong.
AnswerID: 287445

Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 14:09

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 14:09
When a fridge reaches 20 years of age I believe it has passed its Useby Date. If it plays up it is time to turf it and buy another one.

A fridgie probably charges $80 per hour. So it shouldn't cost you more than $80 to find out what's wrong. The parts then may be $320 and another hour of labour and you are near the $500 mark'

You then have to make up your own mind if you want to take this path of throwing good money away instead of buying a newer fridge.

AnswerID: 287447

Reply By: Member - DAZA (QLD) - Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 15:23

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 15:23

Eighteen months ago, our 26year old Engel Fridge stopped, took it
to the local fridgie, he charged $30-00 to work out what was wrong,
said it was the compressor, $400-00 please, So I thought thats
better than paying $1200-00 for a new one, so he fixed it, We
claimed insurance, and only payed $100-00 excess, we took it home
tried it out for a week, was running good, switched it off and left it
for two months, went to use it and it wouldnt work. I took it back
and he said the compressor was stuffed, I said how about the warranty, he honoured the warranty with out any problems, while I
was in his shop I noticed that he sold new Engles, so I bought a 40
litre fridge for $1100-00 he threw in a Protective Cover and Fridge
Slide, that man has got my business for life

AnswerID: 287456

Reply By: GerryP - Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 20:50

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 20:50
Fridge is not that hard to pull out. If you replace it, you'll need to pull it out anyway. Usually just a few screws around the front trim, some wires and a gas pipe from behind. If your father is an electrician, he should have no problem tracing the fault (has to be wiring, switch or elements). Parts should still be available. The thing about these 3 way fridges is that there are basically no major moving parts like a compressor or fan motor to "wear out". If the gas side is OK, I'd have a go - nothing to lose eh?
AnswerID: 287520

Follow Up By: Arielle - Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 23:06

Thursday, Feb 14, 2008 at 23:06
Thanks Gerry, at least you didn't suggest to get a new one. Can't exactly afford to spend over $1000 on a new one which was the whole point of posting this question so I wouldn't have to. I figured that if the fridge still had its gas, then it must be worth fixing as it must be electrical. I checked all the gas pipes behind the fridge and they are all in excellent nick. I believe it's worth fixing. Suppose I should ring our local fixit man and ask him the price of a new selector switch for that model.
Anyway, thanks for the advice.
FollowupID: 552795

Follow Up By: Moose - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 14:34

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 14:34
Amanda - with respect, finding out the price for a switch is not the right way to go about it. Why - because it might not be the problem - refer to Mike's reply below as to other potential problems.
First you need to isolate the problem - Mike's way if you/father know what Mike's saying, or else take it to a repair guy.
FollowupID: 552898

Reply By: Mike Harding - Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 08:23

Friday, Feb 15, 2008 at 08:23
Ask your father to do two resistance tests by applying an ohm meter to the 12V DC supply wires and the 240V active and neutral wires. This test will also give you an indication of the condition of the selector switch.

If the switch and the elements are working properly they should read around the following:
12V = 1R
240V = 380R

If the reading for either is open circuit then, probably, the element has failed (new element about $80 for my Chescold) if the reading is above about 3R for the 12V or above about 450R for the 240V then it's probably either a corroded switch or a poor connection in the wiring. Try to clean the switch (with all power turned off) by switching it back and forth 20 or 30 times. If possible use an aerosol "switch cleaner" (Dick Smith/Jaycar) and spray that into the switch - ensure ALL power is removed first.

Mike Harding
AnswerID: 287569

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