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Open Roads Forum  >  Class A Motorhomes

 > NEED HELP

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2ndhom

Eugene, Oregon

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Posted: 04/30/12 10:51am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Gulfstream 8378 wrote:

Have had it on about 5 hours and the bottom part is the same temp as when I turned it on it seems. The ice maker does not seem to be doing anything either.

Is this the first time you've ever fired up the fridge? You should always wait 24 hours!! It doesn't cool as fast as a home fridge!!

Gulfstream 8378

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Posted: 04/30/12 07:07pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

In 5 hours would it not be a little bit cool? The freezer is cold in 10 minutes.

wolfe10

Texas

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Posted: 04/30/12 07:10pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Good answers. Check it in the morning and let us know-- should be just fine. They DO take that long for the refrigerator to reach operating temperatures.

If the refrigerator is not down to 40 degrees F in the morning, THEN let's look at "tuning it up".


Brett Wolfe
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riggarob

Farmington, NH

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Posted: 04/30/12 10:41pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

What model Dometic ?

Gulfstream 8378 wrote:

We have a dometic fridge that the freezer is getting cold in but the bottom will not get cold any ideas? I have medicine that I have to keep in the fridge and it will not stay cold. We can't go on anywhere until I figure this out. All the recalls have been done and I was told everything was good to go. Turned it on today and the freezer works fine but not lower fridge? Also this is on a class A Gulfstream coach if that helps. When I dewinterized it there is also a line under the sink that still has some pink fluid in it that. Could that be the ice maker?



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Grey Mountain

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Posted: 05/01/12 11:16am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

This issue is addressed in the February Family Motor Coach magazine under "Tech Talk." The unit in question was a Norcold 683. I don't know if all RV refrigerators work on same principle.

Following is excerpted:
QUOTE:
It's likely the cooling unit is starting to fail. It has either developed a partial blockage, causing a loss in efficiency and circulation,or it has lost some of the refrigerant of hydrogen charge. With the lost efficiency, it is not distilling enough ammonia to supply both evaporators. The freezer evaporator is first in line for the refrigerant, and there evidently is enough refrigerant to keep the freezer cold, but there is not enough ammonia to satisfy the secondary evaporator for the food storage compartment. The condition will continue to deteriorate until nothing gets cold. Unfortunately, it sounds to me as though you will need to have the cooling unit replaced or purchase a new refrigerator.
//BIG SNIP//
UNQUOTE

I have the same issue, just discovered it on a return trip home Sunday.

GM


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wolfe10

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Posted: 05/01/12 12:55pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Grey Mountain wrote:

This issue is addressed in the February Family Motor Coach magazine under "Tech Talk." The unit in question was a Norcold 683. I don't know if all RV refrigerators work on same principle.

Following is excerpted:
QUOTE:
It's likely the cooling unit is starting to fail. It has either developed a partial blockage, causing a loss in efficiency and circulation,or it has lost some of the refrigerant of hydrogen charge. With the lost efficiency, it is not distilling enough ammonia to supply both evaporators. The freezer evaporator is first in line for the refrigerant, and there evidently is enough refrigerant to keep the freezer cold, but there is not enough ammonia to satisfy the secondary evaporator for the food storage compartment. The condition will continue to deteriorate until nothing gets cold. Unfortunately, it sounds to me as though you will need to have the cooling unit replaced or purchase a new refrigerator.
//BIG SNIP//
UNQUOTE

I have the same issue, just discovered it on a return trip home Sunday.

GM


Could be. But drawing that conclusion when an absorption refrigerator has only been on 5 hours might lead to some VERY expensive and unnecessary repairs.

Overnight? You are quite likely correct.

Grey Mountain

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Posted: 05/01/12 02:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My fridge is a Norcold 1200. The fridge had been on for six days, working perfectly, when I noticed the problem. It was only by serendipity that I read the referenced article. It is not my opinion; it is the opinion of the technical experts at Family Coach. Take it or leave it.

GM

wolfe10

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Posted: 05/01/12 02:35pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

GM,

Sorry if you thought that comment was directed at you. As I pointed out in my post, the OP was trying to evaluate their refrigerator performance after only having it on for 5 hours.

BTW, I am very familiar with the article you referred to-- I am Chairman of the FMCA Technical Advisory Committee and must review all technical articles that go in the magazine.

Grey Mountain

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Posted: 05/02/12 04:42am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not a problem. Answered before I put my brain in gear.
I asked the question on the Discovery Owners forum and got the following:
QUOTE

-- Loss of ammonia is often accompanied by a smell of ammonia and if that's the case, you'll need a new cooling unit or a new refrigerator. There's a sodium chromate rust inhibitor that's in the solution that can leave a yellow stain or even yellow powder if there's a leak. Look around and under the burner chamber and if you see yellow, the cooling unit is done for. They aren't repairable in the field but there are a few places that recondition them.

A non-cooling refrigerator can have several causes that are fixable, though. The one that Norcold likes to push to the front is proper installation, probably because that's something the coach manufacturer has done and not their responsibility. Your manual that came with the refrigerator will have some installation guides but I think Fleetwood has done enough of them to know the requirements.

Another common problem is ventilation. Your fridge probably came with some cooling fans mounted above the outside access, about half-way up and unreachable. If you don't hear them come on from time to time, the heat is building up behind the back of the fridge and penetrating the insulation. You'll notice it first in the lower compartment and while the freezer may seem fine, it's really sitting at 20 or 25 degrees when it should be zero. This is especially important if the fridge is in a slide-out since the upper vent isn't straight up. The fans are controlled by a thermal switch that looks like a little hockey puck and is mounted high up on the coils and often unreachable. You can, however, bypass the switch so that the fans run continually. This will pretty much eliminate ventilation as the problem.

Having the rig perfectly level will help the refrigerator. A defective control board can cause cycling too often between cooling and defrosting and that is the indication your fridge is giving you but the board will probably test OK even if it doesn't perform correctly. The final test is to direct-wire the electric heat element, bypassing the board and all controls. When this is done and left overnight, everything in the box should be frozen. If it is, then the cooling unit is OK and I'd recommend replacing the board and hoping for the best. If it's not, though, the cooling unit is toast.

The latest trend is replacing the refrigerator with a house style which has its own complications but can be done for maybe $1000 while a new 12 cubic foot Norcold is about $4500. By comparison, changing the cooling unit will run somewhere around $2500. These are, of course, very rough figures; you mileage may vary.
Gary Osburn
2001.5 38D & 2005 Town&Country
osburnrvservice.com
END QUOTE

I'm working my way through some of the above, but also will have the coach in next week to have window awnings installed. I'll have the fridge checked at the same time. In my reply to Gary, I mentioned that I do not have the ammonia smell or the yellow residue. Been through that with another rig.

Appreciate you guys who know a whole lot more about these things than I. When it comes to mechanical stuff, I'm a pretty good carpenter...

Lonnie

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Lower Alabama

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Posted: 05/02/12 06:11am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

ploiselle wrote:

I have the computer fans that attached to the fins. I have not defrosted since I turned it on in mid January.Paul

If you don't wire these fans to your interior light switch, where else can you get 12V? How do you go outside the refer with the wire to connect to voltage not inside the unit? Thanks for any replies!


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