Fridgerator In Camptailer

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by big rockpile, May 30, 2006.

  1. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Got a Small Camp Trailer at the Lake.The Refridgerator we can't get to work,tried plugging it in to Electric,nothing couldn't get it lit on Gas.Thought we would just pull it out take it home work on it.Couldn't get it pushed out.Thought it might be bolted in but can't find where it is.

    Ok any ideas?

    big rockpile
     
  2. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    In my experience with those refrigerators, they take as much as a couple of days to get cold. They make cold using heat generated from either electricity or propane...it takes a while. There is no electric motor runing a compressor that works instantly.

    By the way, if the thing hasn't been used in a while, remember that it takes a long time for the propane to make it all the way to the pilot light...as much as 2 to 5 minutes. Press the pilot light button and listen for the gas. If you hear it, you'll just have to wait until it pushes all the air out.
    If you can't hear gas escaping, then usually the problem is that a spider has built a web/ cocoon thingy just inside the tip of the pilot light tube. Fashion a paper clip into a tiny hook and insert it in where the propane comes out for the pilot light and try to snag it out. If that doesn't work, then remove the whole pilot light tube. When it is off, press the button and listen for the gas. If now you can hear it, then you know the tube is plugged and it's your job to figure out how to clear it...try compressed air, baling wire, blow really hard, etc.
    All in all these propane burning devices are pretty simple and pretty long lasting and it only takes a little tinkering at the beginning of the season to get all them to fire up. It shouldn't be necessary to remove it in order to fix it
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    The little camper frigs we had were electric only and used amonia as the cooling agent. You had to slide them out and flip them 180 degrees upside down over night before they'd work after sittign too long. I forget why though, the amonia collected to one side or the other........????????
     
  4. susieM

    susieM Well-Known Member

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    Is there a starter button, that you have to push, as well as the go button (when going by gas)? I have a 30 year old electrolux, and that's how it starts.
     
  5. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Yep,they call that 'burping' em.Its even better to do a 1/4 turn per day.
    Agree with taking several attempts to purge air from propane line,mine about 7-8 times to get it lit.

    Most will be pretty cold in 8 hours.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    A discussion from an RV club .


    I have a different manufacturer fridge but they may start the same. On mine, you turn the gas valve "on" which forces you to turn the AC off. Then you have to push the valve button in for a few seconds to "prime" the line. Then you hold down the pilot button and light the pilot. Hope this helps.

    Reply


    it's probably a dometic. it might be easier to light the fridge from the back. push the button up on the thermal protection device[you'll notice how the linkage connects to the inside of the fridge box] make sure the gas lever is on and use a barbeque lighter at the burner. if it lights great! let go of the plunger on the thermal protection device after a minute or so and see if it stays lit. if it does better still, the thermalcouple is ok. finally, don't let it run too long [less than 15 min.] if the fridge isn't level. the old ones can't be tilted or the chemicals will crystallize in the tubes and stop the process[cooling]. i'll be surprised if it cools.people weren't careful with these old fridges and burned them out by not being level. good luck! there is lots of info available on these fridges. O

    Reply


    I agree w/ the previous 2 messages. Some tricks that help mine get lit are to light the stove burner and then go outside to the frig and hold the button in for a minute or so and then use the lighter, once it lights hold the button for awhile and then it should stay lit on its own. Do not forget to turn the stove off, I have. I also leave my temperature knob about 3/4 of the way open and I never move it when the frig is on or off because it is very sticky and I do not want to break it. If you frig is working good and then for some reason stops cooling but the flame is still on then shut the gas off and try it again in a few hours. My frig is the original dometic.
    Reply


    AS TO LIGHTING THE REF. YOU MIGHT HAVE TO PULL AND CLEAN THE THERMOCOUPLE. IF CARBON HAS BUILT UP IT WILL NOT SENSE THE HEAT AND LIGHT. I USED 00 STEEL WOOL TO CLEAN MINE.


    Reply


    "I've pretty much figured out that the ammonia has crystalized in the fridge and is not going to work so I am using it as my bookcase for now."

    Reply

    What typical happens to these older refrigs is that they were running while parked on an incline (bad very bad) and what happens is the crystals you speak of can not complete thier cycle and get stuck up in the top of the refrig. A old trick to solve that problems is to pull the frig out and completely turn it up side down and leave it that way for a day or so. Make sure that you have all your books out of it though :) See if that helps, it should start to work again."


    http://www.rvmobile.com/
    Refer site for troubleshooting

    A couple links from an RV club .Its OK,I got authorized to copy them.

    Not that you asked but if it doesnt cool well,make sure you are no more than 3 degrees off level,esp. with older units.That can really affect cooling,FWIW.

    BooBoo
     
  6. Countrybumpkin

    Countrybumpkin Well-Known Member

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    Our fridge in our camper gave up the ghost, and when I went to take it out, found that they had put the fridge in before the windows went in, 'cause it sure was too big for the door! So, proceeded to start hacking it up to get it out, when ! cut into the amonia line ( by accident)...NEVER AGAIN!!!!! good Lord, thought I'd died-and I well coulda, but I jumped out the door, and waited until things quieted down...made one heckj of a mess in the camper, killed the grass outside the camper, and darned neared screwed me up as well! So take it from me, if you have to remove it, go slowly, and don't cut a doggone thing!
     
  7. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    If the above fails can you tow it into an RV service center and leave it for service?
     
  8. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    There are four really common issues that will prevent the thing from functioning on propane.

    1. Air in the supply line. When you hook-up a new bottle you end up pushing a lot of air into the system. This can be really frustrating to get rid of. If you have a gas range on the same plumbing, burn the burners for a while, then try to light the fridge. If not, it may take a dozen tries to sucessfully purge the air and get a flame going. If this doesn't work, you may have to crack a bleeder plug open to purge it. They are almost never that airbound, however.

    2. Dirt in the gas orifice. There is an orifice at the end of the burn tube. It has a microscopic hole in it, and it gets clogged. Remove it from the tube, soak it in rubbing alcohol and gently blow it out. Do not try to clean the hole with any tool, you will wreck it.

    3. Spiders in the burn tube. The operating pressure of the system is very low and the burn tube is a favorite place for spiders to nest. The gas will not flow if it is blocked by a nest. Remove the tube and clean it.

    4. Rust on the burner. There is a vertical steel "chimney" that vents the heat from the burn chamber. It needs to be cleaned internally as it rusts. If it's not mantained, it will allow rust deposits to build up on top of the burn chamber, preventing it from operating.

    These four are responsible for the majority of "won't run on propane" issues. The good part is that they are all free fixes. If they don't cure it. Get the owner's manual and trouble shoot the ignitor, flame sensor and other issues, but hopefully you won't have to go that far. Good luck
     
  9. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Bear in mind he said it wouldn't operate on electric either (with the assumption the unit is actually receiving juice).

    I've seen several of these old camper refrigerators turned into ice coolers. A pan just large enough is put on the bottom for the ice. However, my observation is they don't work nearly as well as a good ice chest.
     
  10. tiogacounty

    tiogacounty Well-Known Member

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    Ken, your right, I should of read it a little more throughly. Well, I guess my four point plan for gas problems might help somebody else. But it doesn't apply to this particular situation, unless he happened to have a heater failure also. I just thought of one other thing about the original post. If this is a fairly modern refer, with any kind of electronics, it may also need a 12 volt supply to run the controls. I have a newer Dometic brand unit that runs on 120V. or gas, but it will not function without an external 12V. DC supply, it does not have an internal converter. If it's likely that it lost Ammonia, it's probably old enough that this doesn't apply either.
     
  11. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    If you find the problem, please let us know. As noted, even if you got it out of the cabinet you are unlikely to be able to get it out the door. There should be an access/vent panel on the outside of the trailer.
     
  12. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    most are mounted with screws i took one out that i removed 8 screws and 2 more were hidden under some trim..... like the builders thought it would never need replaced or worked on..... those screws were all on the outside of the unit, just barely hidden the other too were completely hidded by the trim....

    William