Need Help : Dometic Refigerator not working

Discussion in 'Refrigerators and Coolers' started by samsin, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. samsin

    samsin New Member

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    Sep 12, 2012
    Hi, i just purchased a 2002 Niagara Elite tent trailer and the Dometic Fridge (model RM 42230 does not cool - factory installed). does anyone have any advice on troubleshooting and fixing the fridge?

    In propane mode, the back side of the fridge is hot (i.e. touching the fridge manifild components from the exterior panel on the trailer), but the fidge on the interior is not cool....I had the proane on for one day with not cooling in the fridge).

    I appreciate and advice you may have.

    Thanks,

    Sam
     
  2. DigitalGuru

    DigitalGuru Member

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    Jul 5, 2011
    Michigan
    First of all, welcome to the Portal!

    I'd check around the forums here, I'm sure there is info already to help you with your issue. My first guess is the burner assembly needs to be cleaned out, might have some spider webs / bug nests in there. Is this your first camper? Keep in mind that these fridges take a long time to cool down, so if your opening it frequently to check the coolness, you maybe delaying the cooling process. I recommend getting a indoor / outdoor thermometer to be able to check the temp inside the fridge without opening the door. If it's a fridge that can work on 120v, I'd try that to see if it works. It would help you know if its just the burner or the entire cooling system. Also, is your camper level? These fridges need to be "perfectly" level to work properly. Good luck, and let us know of you progress!

    DG
     
  3. trikebubble

    trikebubble New Member

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    Apr 23, 2012
    My burner (looks like a crack pipe) was very dirty when we bought our pop-up. I believe you should be getting a nice blue flame, orange signifies a dirty flame. I took mine all apart, cleaned it all out (search around here and you will find a number of good "how to's" on fridge maintenance), cleaned up the end of the thermocoupler, and now it works just fine.

    I also added a fan to suck air over the correct route, and baffled the area to also help direct air where it should be drawn. (again, search for "fridge fan mod" or "fridge baffle mod" and you will learn a lot). Baffling the fridge and adding the fan increased the efficiency by a huge amount.

    I also pre-cool my fridge for a couple days before I leave for a camping trip. I throw a frozen pop bottle inside and run it on 120V. Remember it is not a refrigerator in the true sense of the idea, they will loose their cool very quickly with repeated openings of the door (try to explain that one to my Wife...Ha!) It is best to pre-cool your foodstuff's in your home fridge and then put them in the pop-up fridge if you can. It works better keeping things cool if they are cool going in I find.
     
  4. rabird

    rabird Howdy!

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  5. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 New Member

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    Feb 9, 2011
    On propane, if the chimney is getting hot, you should be cooling; it's generally an indicator that everything is working. Do you have the temp setting turned up all the way? What is the ambient temperature where you are? Are you using anything to help things along a bit?

    Personally, I've found these refrigerators to be pretty weak on their own. I've always gotten the best results when, during the cooling down process, I stock with some frozen bottles of water, etc. Once I'm comfortable, I'll stock it with other cold beverages and the like and I've found that the temperature really drops and stays more stable when it's fully stocked with already cold stuff. Left on it's own, it's never seemed cold enough to me.

    Also, I've found that I have the best results when temps are below mid 80s. Once ambient temps outside go above 85* or so, the cooling power of the fridge seems to exponentially decline. If temps are in the mid 90s and up, I've had very little success keeping the fridge very cold, to the point that I do not put perishable foods in it at that point and prefer to just keep my beer in a cooler as well.

    Like I said...these things need a lot of help IMHO and have nowhere near the cooling capacity left on their own, that your at home compressor fridge has. I can't speak to the mods that others have done in RE to baffling and fans, but they seem to make a big difference.
     
  6. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    Aug 2, 2011
    THIS!^

    It should cool somewhat but it does take several hours to notice an appreciable difference. It's always going to cool better on LPG than 120v or 12v, but the baffle and fan mods make a world of difference.

    After adding a baffle and two fans, mine works equally well on 120v and LPG. Now when starting it up, it only takes a couple of hours to reach operating temps. I was able to freeze beer and pop on "7" and had to turn it down to "5" to reach 2-3 C (35.6-37.4 F ). It was totally worth doing.
     
  7. Mickeyrv

    Mickeyrv Week day camping is great

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    Jul 22, 2012
    On one of my prior travel trailers I had the reefer (dometic) stop working 1 month after I purchased the travel trailer brand new. It turned out that a very small spider built a little cob web in the propane feed line to the burner. Removed the little copper line, blowed it out with air hose at 100 PSIG. Could have just run a small pc of cloth thru it, Anyway, worked perfectly after that. On my new unit with a norcold reefer, I hot melt glued a pc. of nylon screen over the inside of the lower and upper removeable outside vent covers. No spiders, wasps, bees, birds, etc. as of yet.

    I one saw a travel trailer go up in flames due to a bird nest inside the hot vent. This was a unit with a full size reefer/freezer and the vent was on top of the travel trailer. Destroyed the entire travel trailer.
     
  8. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    Aug 2, 2011
    Yep, check YouTube for tons of those vids.
     
  9. cwolfman13

    cwolfman13 New Member

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    Feb 9, 2011
    Also, check that your p'up is level. It needs to be level for the fridge to function properly.
     
  10. samsin

    samsin New Member

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    Sep 12, 2012
    Thanks for the feedback and advice. I really appreciate it. over the weekend, i will run thur the checks to see if i can get it working.
     
  11. byronisfinn

    byronisfinn New Member

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    Jul 11, 2012
    Wow, I found just the right forum location! Bought a 2003 Niagara Elite a few weeks ago and slowly doing repairs and improvements. What I've left 'till last ... The Dometic fridge doesn't work. The inside "fins" are blackened and I haven't done any troubleshooting ... I knew I didn't work when I bought and it "looked" like it was just a complete replacement ... I'll be working on it again in a couple of weeks. Just in case, is it difficult to replace one of these on your own or should I seek RV repair place? Thanks!!
     
  12. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    Aug 2, 2011
    It's pretty simple with a few basic hand tools.

    Loosen the (15/16"?) gas fitting from the and remove the LP gas supply line, remove the 12v hookup from the connection block on the bottom left and unplug the 120v power cord. Remove the screws from the front face trim (hidden behind the closed fridge door) that fasten it to the cabinet .

    Find a 30"x30" piece of cardboard and lay it on the vinyl flooring directly in front of the fridge door. Then carefully pull the fridge out through the cabinet opening. The cardboard should help protect the floor from getting torn up while you move the fridge around.
     
  13. byronisfinn

    byronisfinn New Member

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    Jul 11, 2012
    Thanks Dubbya! Sounds like even I can do that! I'll be working that in the next 10-12 days. Randy
     
  14. Campsnoopy

    Campsnoopy New Member

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    Nov 1, 2006
    with all the wisdom...mine works on 12v and 120v but the gas will not ignite...sounds like a clogged line?
     
  15. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    Aug 2, 2011
    I doubt the supply line is clogged. It's more likely a matter of cleaning the burner assembly.

    Here's how: http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=24205.0
     
  16. speckhunter80

    speckhunter80 Active Member

    Sam,
    You need to go to Wallyworld or Target/K-Mart and get a digital thermometer with a probe on the end of either a metal mesh covered wire or silicone wire. Put the probe in the refrigerator and turn your refrig on and close it. Give it 8 hours at a minimum and see what the temp on the thermometer is compared to the air temp outside. If it is 90 degrees outside then you are probably not gonna get below 45 even if set on high
     
  17. Dubbya

    Dubbya Wherever you go, there you are...

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    Aug 2, 2011
    Yeah, unless you do the fridge baffle and fan mod, which is TOTALLY worth doing BTW.

    With two fans, a baffle and a thermal switch, it doesn't matter if it's 105 out. Running on 120v shore power or LPG, my fridge sits perfectly at 36.5 Fahrenheit. I was able to turn the LPG thermostat down from "7" (high) to "5" and it maintains the temps automatically. No fiddling with on/off fan switches.

    Here's a thread with some great info.
    http://www.popupportal.com/index.php?topic=58114.0
     
  18. bondebond

    bondebond New Member

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    Aug 14, 2008
    After purchasing a used '06 Fleetwood Sequoia with a Dometic RM7401 refrigerator, I had trouble with getting it cool. I did the baffle and dual 120mm fan mods and still had trouble getting it to a decent temperature any time it was above 90 degrees ambient air temperature. It did not matter the source: 12v, 120v or LP. I ran for about two weeks at various sources at various settings. On the 102 degree day, it was 69 inside the refrigerator. When in the 70s outside, it will get to the 30s.

    I contacted Dometic Support and explained the situation. Here is the response provided:
    Unplugging the thermistor had no change on the cooling ability. I'm down to two options: new cooling unit or new refrigerator.
    Removing the refrigerator and turning it over and all of those gyrations may help in a very short run to loosen the sodium bromate crystals, but is not a cure.

    I do not know how the PO cared for or leveled the PUP during runtimes, so it is going to be an expensive fix for me.

    I am hoping that you don't end up in the same situation. Try ruling everything else out first.
     
  19. BigBaron

    BigBaron Dreaming of Tommy's chili cheeseburgers...

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    Jun 21, 2012

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