Dometic fridge won't cool on Propane

Discussion in 'Refrigerators and Coolers' started by ve3tiz, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. ve3tiz

    ve3tiz Member

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    This is something I didn't notice until year two when it was out of warranty. My Dometic fridge won't cool on propane. It works fine on AC. But on propane it just sits at the ambient temperature. I brought it to a reputable RV shop twice, would have cheerfully paid to get it fixed. First time they "serviced" it and said it worked fine. Brought it home and it did the same thing - lit and just stayed at whatever temperature it was at. Second time they claim they spent an hour on it and even called Dometic for advice. Conclusion? Fridge is pooched for "unknown" reasons. Solution? Replace fridge. $1000+. This year I replaced the propane regulator thinking that might be it. Fired the fridge and up and let it run overnight. Came home from work the next day to find the fridge at 74F while ambient temp was 84. So it was cooling a *little* bit. On the advice of a Youtube video I took the cover off the burner and "tapped" on the chimney to release soot. Blew the whole thing out using my air compressor, then fired it up again..... now it's not cooling at all. Temp just rose up to low 80s and it looks like it's going to sit there all night. We'll see. Very frustrated. Any tips before I hack this thing out and by a fancy rotomold cooler instead??
     
  2. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    If your frig works on AC the frig is FINE - BUT - you most likely either have a clogged flame orifice or a clogged chimney above the flame - which - in my case - necessitated removing the entire frig in order to inspect and clean.

    The only hard part was breaking loose the flare nut on the gas line - it did not want to release!!

    I had a wasp nest, carbonized, in my boiler chimney.
     
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  3. RetAF

    RetAF Member

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    I've had my fridge quit working on propane 2 or 3 times during the life of my PUP. Cleaning the orifice and burner tube fixed it every time. I now clean them at the beginning of every camping season as preventative maintainence.
     
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  4. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    I agree that I would start by cleaning the burner and orifice. I would also check the gas pressure. Just because it lights doesnt necessarily mean you are getting enough gas. You need a manometer for the job...I have had to adjust my regulator a time or two over the past 5 years.
     
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  5. ve3tiz

    ve3tiz Member

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    So I take it properly cleaning the gas burner and orifice is more involved than what I did already, and as the first response indicated may require removing the fridge entirely. Today I am getting 73F in 89F ambient temps so it's working a *little* better after hitting it with the air compressor, but still not anywhere nearly as well as it should.
     
  6. Sjm9911

    Sjm9911 Well-Known Member

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    How long have you had it on? They take a while to get going. Most pre cool them with ice bottles etc and turn them on a day before they need them. I would freeze some food and place it in the fridge for a few days later. Mostly kept, bevrages and condiments in it. Real food went into a good 5 day cooler.
     
  7. ve3tiz

    ve3tiz Member

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    My first popup had a Norcold fridge that would cool down to polar temps in eight hours. I do realize that is an exception and that generally speaking they take overnight. I am giving this comparable Dometic fridge over eighteen hours to drop a mere 10-14F on propane mode. Definitely not normal. And as I said, it works fine on AC.

    What I did do is watch a short Youtube video on how to clean the orifice and burner, realized how damn easy it actually is, so I grabbed my wrenches and screwdriver and got to work. Took less than half an hour. The fridge is now back on again under propane power and we'll see how things go from here...
     
  8. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    if the orifice-burner cleaning does restore function - your boiler chimney is obstructed.
     
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  9. ve3tiz

    ve3tiz Member

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    So I went out to check on it and discovered the flame was out, so I tried again for fifteen minutes. Kept getting that nice "whoosh" sound but no matter how long I held down the valve button to hold the gas open it would not maintain a flame. Since I did shut the propane off while I did the repair I reasoned that there was air to purge but that usually only takes a minute or so, not fifteen, so I might need to tear it down again and inspect for a possible mistake in re-assembly.
     
  10. xxxapache

    xxxapache Well-Known Member

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    Light a stove eye for a few minutes
     
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  11. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    If the light won't stay on, you may have damaged or moved the thermocouple when you cleaned everything out. Thermocouplers are cheap and easy to replace. Just youtube for how it should sit on the flame.
     
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  12. ve3tiz

    ve3tiz Member

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    GOOD NEWS! I woke up this a.m. to discover the fridge at 35F. Outside overnight temp was 70F. That's extremely good cooling in my books. It's now been on continuously nearly 12 hours. I'll have my DW monitor the fridge temp throughout the day as we do expect another scorcher (high 90F). Thanks to all for your advice/responses.
     
  13. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member

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    90 deg is not a scorcher, not even toasty.
     
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  14. BuddyRich

    BuddyRich New Member

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    Can you post a link to that video. I think I need to do the same. Fridge is fine on battery and shore but won't stay working on propane.
     
  15. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Well-Known Member

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    My first trip to Ottawa, Ontario, I arrived during a major heatwave... It was 90 degrees F.

    Another time, a Canadian friends was going to a bbq on New Years Eve due to the unusually warm weather... It was 53 degrees F.

    I have to say, I prefer their definitiom of hot over ours. :)
     
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  16. ve3tiz

    ve3tiz Member

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    90 is definitely hot! Especially when RV fridges cool to a certain temp below ambient (for those who understood the context of my mentioning the outdoor temp relative to the subject of this post!). Got home from work today to find the fridge had climbed to 45 which is still a good run considering the outside temp is now creeping just above 90 and the fact the sun had moved around and the RV is now in a bit of full sun. I have a temp sensing fan on the way which I'll install behind the fridge to help keep that area from overheating - others have had success with that. A battery operated fan inside the fridge apparently helps too. We'll see. I like my beer cold, not 45... ;)
     
  17. ve3tiz

    ve3tiz Member

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    (very easy to follow, clear and concise, good video)
     
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  18. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    I know it’s a big no-no, but I cleaned out my jet with a .010” guitar string. Works like a charm now.
     
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  19. SteveP

    SteveP Well-Known Member

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    I soaked the orifice in alcohol overnight and blew compressed air through it. It works great now.
     
  20. ve3tiz

    ve3tiz Member

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    I might do this a second time (including the guitar string technique already mentioned) to see if I can squeeze a little more performance out.

    Day 2 and it's 92F right now at 6:20PM and the fridge is 48F. Do y'all think I can do better than a 44 degree spread?
     

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