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Old 10-30-2015, 01:55 PM   #1
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Dometic RMD8555 Frustration

Let me start by saying that we love our Escape 5.0TA. However, our experience with the Dometic RMD8555 has been very frustrating!

We began having trouble with our Dometic RMD8555 on the inaugural trip home with our 5.0TA from Chilliwack in May. The RMD855 would cool fine, but it was unable to maintain a safe temperature in warm weather while driving for an extended length or while running the MaxxFan in exhaust mode. Tests showed that the cooling system just couldn’t overcome the enormous amount of hot air intrusion from the backside. We worked with Reace and tried several suggestions to no avail before taking the 5.0TA to a Dometic Warranty Center (DWC) per Reace’s suggestion.

That was August 18th. The wait began. The DWC performed the standard tests and ordered new gaskets for both the fridge and freezer doors and a new sensor\switch for the external fan, per Dometic’s instruction. We waited. On September 11th, the DWC contacted me to let me know that the sensor\switch had arrived but they were told that the gaskets were a “special order” and would not be in until early October. The DWC then requested new doors in lieu of door gaskets but were told those would also be a “special order” as well. Again, we waited. On October 5th, I receive a call from the DWC saying that a freezer door (not gaskets) had arrived but a fridge door had not. They assumed Dometic had decided that new doors were necessary, not just gaskets. Again, we waited. A few days ago, they finally received the fridge door. The doors and the sensor/switch were installed and we were supposed to pick up the 5.0TA yesterday so we would finally get to go camping! Yippee! Now there are new problems – now it is the circuit board. How long will we have to wait for a circuit board?

We are just very disappointed that we have had the camper since May and have only been able to use it once since the delivery trip. Sadly, I don’t have confidence that Dometic’s recommendation of new doors, a new sensor/switch, and a new circuit board are going to stop the enormous amount of hot air intrusion into the fridge.

Still waiting…….. and disappointed with Dometic.

Mark
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Old 10-30-2015, 02:14 PM   #2
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You never say what temps or where you were. In August, was this very high temps? That is very disappointing to not use the trailer, for sure.

Edit: See this was May at first.
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Old 10-30-2015, 02:22 PM   #3
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Wow Mark, if I were at the point you're at, I'd probably be going off like Mt. St. Helens. I feel so lucky to have the dependable, old-fashioned, non-high-tech 2510 in my '09 19. I sometimes wonder why no owner suffering from fridge frustration hasn't hunted up an older model fridge and just replaced the 8555. I'd also be tempted to start looking for ways to make direct contact (repeatedly!) with anyone who night be able to help at Dometic. Good luck with your problem.

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Old 10-30-2015, 04:00 PM   #4
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Rmd8555

Mark, I don't know what area you were going through when you had problems. We picked up our exchange refridge in June and headed home down the coast. It worked well, although the single door unit was almost OK with the mods, when parked at home for a couple of weeks and then I went to turn it on, nothing. A mobile tech came out and trouble shot it with help from a domestic tech on the phone. The result was a replacement circuit board and then it started right up for the next trip. Worked fine, came home, plugged in, turned fridge off. Two weeks later and we had once again no lights and nothing on the control panel would light. Tech returned, checked unit and conferred with a domestic tech, another circuit board ordered and installed.
Now it appears to be working very well, off and on and keeping thing very cold on 3 bars, 80 degree days and 60 degree nights. Tuesday we crossed the desert to Palm Springs at 90 degrees and used 12 volts, temps held at 10 and 36 for 400 miles. Plugged in to 110 and temps went to 0 and 35 on 4 bars. We're happy now, but frustrated when we had 2 bad circuit boards.
Good luck on having yours work OK.
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Old 10-30-2015, 04:29 PM   #5
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Bruce, I believe he is referring to the new two-door model that is being put in after earlier ones were not as good while sitting. I love our new refrigerator but we never drive with the propane on. Ours, which is what Mark has, cools into the 30s in 3 hours after arriving at a campground unless maybe it is very hot, and then would take longer. The complaints about propane not working while driving seem to apply to most models.

Mark, we keep a cooler in the car with gel ice packs. We switch the ice packs at night and may only put some food in the refrigerator or we put some in the freezer while it and the refrigerator cool down. If the refrigerator is not working well, it is still very likely able to freeze the freezer packs enough overnight to use. They can also be put with food in the refrigerator during the day instead of the cooler, maybe using little bins.

These refrigerators are just not like your home one. They operate differently and cannot do as much. These complaints about driving with them not working are very common and maybe not even fixable. So I would look at what else you can do. You can try more food that will last longer. Try to keep less food cold. Start out with a little frozen food and have it in the first day or two. There are various things like that to try. Some people use blocks of ice but I don't know where they get them. Some just keep using ice they pick up which we would find too much trouble so we use the gel packs. They may not freeze solid but good enough.
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Old 10-30-2015, 05:33 PM   #6
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My RMD8555 has the same problems. Using battery position while traveling has helped the most, will stay under 42 on long travel days, usually in the 30's. For some reason on propane it goes up to the mid 40's, probably higher if I let it do so. We also took a good cooler for all our drinks, we can get a few days out of a block of ice. If need be we can move the milk and such to it.

I had notice the fan brings up the temp back when we had the single door fridge. Not a big issue, we don't use the fan much. Luckily for us, the freezer seems to be just fine, I can live with the fridge in the 40's, if the freezer were to thaw it'd be a real hassle.

There's a lot to be said about finding a mobile repairman, they work on the unit at your house, leaving the questionable parts in place till they receive the new ones. At least it leaves you with the trailer so you can go camping if you wish. I know it's a hassle, but I refuse to let a goofy fridge stop me from using the trailer.

I also expect very little from Dometic, I got the impression the good experienced engineers left when they got into financial trouble a year or so ago.

Best of luck, you're not alone.
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Old 10-30-2015, 05:52 PM   #7
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Sure hope this doesn't come close to the RML8555 in the dissatisfaction index. I think what I like most between the two is the separate door for the freezer. Was actually amazed at how fast the unit cooled down after deciding to head straight to the campground after having new tires installed yesterday. I unhooked it, turned fridge on with nothing in it, went home and packed some things into a cold bag and put it inside. Went for a 45 minute walk and when I came back the freezer was pretty cold; before going to bed I put milk, OJ, etc in the fridge and they were cold at 41 degrees.

Out in Moab a few weeks back with mid-80's it was fine; do see it tend to creep up to 43-44 while driving and may go to dual 6V to better handle going to 12V for travelling as we did do it a couple of time last June and am thinking it does work better than propane.

We bought new Thermador appliances during a KT remodel and the wall oven tried to start a fire as it wouldn't limit the element during warm-up & started to scorch a pie(at Thanksgiving of course). Technician first thought it was a sensor, installed and declared it fixed before verifying. Same thing happened next time we fired it up. Circuit board-had to order so we used a neighbor's oven for the turkey. That's why although I don't buy extended warranties for most things I do for these kinds of things. It was just out of warranty when it happened.
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Old 10-30-2015, 06:14 PM   #8
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There have been a number of us who have had issues with the refrigerator cooling while driving. To date the solutions have mostly dealt with the lower outside vent. I have to use the word solutions rather loosely because I cannot state definitively that the issue has been solved.

To date there have been several owners who have restricted the air flow into the lower outside access vent with products such as furnace filters up to closed cell foam. These efforts are used while driving and must be removed when stopped. I think it is to early to determine their success.

I believe this is an issue separate from the inability of the single door model to keep the refrigerator cool in 90 degree temperatures. Perhaps next season will bring more analysis and testing as more of the two door models enter service and we are able to collect more information.
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Old 10-30-2015, 06:16 PM   #9
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We like the RMD better then the RML. Being careful we haven't had to toss out any food with the RMD, which was the case with the RML.
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Old 10-30-2015, 07:52 PM   #10
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My RMD8555 is inadequate above 90+ F. It is better than the RML8555. All the non-US Dometic info says both are SN rated. This is a problem in Phoenix and the southwest US.

I have previously
1) Added an additional fan in the rear
2) Installed a thermostat control for all 3 fans, bypassing the Dometic fan switch
3) Added insulation between the baffle and trailer exterior skin
4) Added 1.5" insulation to each side of the unit
5) Added 3" above the unit
6) Installed the upper rear baffle the authorized Dometic repair center ripped out

I also had problems on propane until I
7) Replaced the ETI-installed lower vent with a Dometic-recommended (outside the US) LS300. I have checked the door seals and do not have the same air leakage problem as Mark. I cannot explain why a larger vent has cured this problem. Dometic LS300 Polar White Complete Vent Assembly - Refrigerator Parts - Refrigerators - RV Appliances

I also
8) Added 1" insulation to the inside of the fridge and freezer doors.

I can now keep the fridge at or below 40 in temperatures up to about 92F running on 5 bars running on propane or 110V. If I try 4 bars I get 40-42.

In temperatures above 92 the fridge interior temperature rises. I have been toying with the idea of drilling a few 1" holes in the freezer floor to bolster fridge performance in hotter weather. I could seal them with silicone stoppers when I need the freezer. I have not gotten up the nerve yet - don't know where the control wires are.

I have had better luck NOT using my 2 D-cell fridge interior fan, which I can not explain.

I have not tried 12V - it draws less power than 110V or propane and should (in theory at least) have less cooling capacity.

Just got back from 3 days camping near Phoenix in 85F daytime temperatures (nights in the 50s) using the fridge normally!! Opening it briefly for meals, drinks, etc. is a real luxury.
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Old 10-30-2015, 08:25 PM   #11
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What I had read way back on a UK site was that this refrigerator is supposed to work to 89.6 F or 32 C. So it is not supposed to work in the 90's.

My understanding of absorption refrigerators from the past is that they will not work past the low 80's or maybe 85F. So this one is a few degrees above that and above what we had in the previous models.
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamman View Post
My RMD8555 is inadequate above 90+ F. It is better than the RML8555. All the non-US Dometic info says both are SN rated. This is a problem in Phoenix and the southwest US.

I have previously
1) Added an additional fan in the rear
2) Installed a thermostat control for all 3 fans, bypassing the Dometic fan switch
3) Added insulation between the baffle and trailer exterior skin
4) Added 1.5" insulation to each side of the unit
5) Added 3" above the unit
6) Installed the upper rear baffle the authorized Dometic repair center ripped out

I also had problems on propane until I
7) Replaced the ETI-installed lower vent with a Dometic-recommended (outside the US) LS300. I have checked the door seals and do not have the same air leakage problem as Mark. I cannot explain why a larger vent has cured this problem. Dometic LS300 Polar White Complete Vent Assembly - Refrigerator Parts - Refrigerators - RV Appliances

I also
8) Added 1" insulation to the inside of the fridge and freezer doors.

I can now keep the fridge at or below 40 in temperatures up to about 92F running on 5 bars running on propane or 110V. If I try 4 bars I get 40-42.

In temperatures above 92 the fridge interior temperature rises. I have been toying with the idea of drilling a few 1" holes in the freezer floor to bolster fridge performance in hotter weather. I could seal them with silicone stoppers when I need the freezer. I have not gotten up the nerve yet - don't know where the control wires are.

I have had better luck NOT using my 2 D-cell fridge interior fan, which I can not explain.

I have not tried 12V - it draws less power than 110V or propane and should (in theory at least) have less cooling capacity.

Just got back from 3 days camping near Phoenix in 85F daytime temperatures (nights in the 50s) using the fridge normally!! Opening it briefly for meals, drinks, etc. is a real luxury.
Just wondering saw a post before stating the vent on our trailers is for Norcold not Dometic . Is that true ? Is this also the correct vent for 4.3,8551? I did almost everything you did to fix frig .except I do use a inside fan with all outside fans I can control and on my last trip got real good numbers on 4 down to 31 -42 , never 56 like before . The 42 was in high heat 90+. But interested if I have a incorrect vent . Pat
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:30 PM   #13
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Well, I have an update. However, before I get to the update I want to clarify a few things.

1) Our RMD8555 proved its' ability to cool (on electricity and propane) even in 95+ degree Fahrenheit temperatures with near 100% humidity. In fact after moving the thermistor, the fridge would maintain 26 to 33 degrees in those conditions while sitting in direct sunlight.

2) While traveling in northern climates (above Nebraska) the fridge and freezer temperatures would actually drop while running on battery. We have dual 6v batteries.

3) After talking with Reace, subsequent tests revealed a large amount of air intrusion into the fridge from the back side. In places it would almost blow the candle out that was being used to look for leaks. Nothing we tried would stop the airflow. At one point, we watched the temperature in the fridge rise from around 30 degrees to the upper 50s in short order just by turning the MaxxFan on in exhaust mode. You could feel the cold fridge air pouring out into the cabin.

I understand that fridge performance may not be that great in hot weather while traveling. I guess I can accept that. However, it is not acceptable for a fridge to not be able to maintain a safe temperature when simply turning the MaxxFan on in exhaust mode. That is a typical boondocking situation and one of our favorite modes of camping!

Now for the update. Dometic has suggested replacement! We are getting a new RMD8555!

Hopefully thing will be looking better soon.

Mark
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:36 PM   #14
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I'd hold out for the Dometic Diesel.
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:42 PM   #15
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Absorbtion fridges can be made to work in over 100F - and most of the older ones did. The older RV Dometic fridges all worked at least well into the 90s or higher. (Including the pre-RMx8xxx models in Escapes.) The Australian discussion boards really lit up when the RMx8xxx fridges came out because they were the first ones to work poorly in Australia

See "Climate Class"
Making caravan fridges work as claimed
Forum | Caravan & Motorhome | RV Tips, Travel, Camping, Swap, Social Chat. - View topic - How does Dometic make the ‘T’ Rating
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:22 PM   #16
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We do most of our camping in warm weather (high 90+)- we have not had any problem keeping things cold in our refrigerator in our Nash. We make the Popsicles. The refrigerator runs on propane except when we use our generator to charge the batteries(every other day) I was hoping solar would eliminate the need for the generator, does not sound like it! Hope this refrigerator issue is figured out!
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:51 PM   #17
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Thats great news Mark.



.
.
.
.

Looking forward to trying some fixes/improvements that Doug and others have mentioned. Like extending the thermistor wire so it hangs farther down and getting some furnace filter to plug up the outside vent.

Doug, was there room to slide the side insulation in without removing the fridge? Also wondering out loud if getting some insulation on the "feet" of the fridge might help.
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Old 10-30-2015, 11:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drumstick63 View Post

Now for the update. Dometic has suggested replacement! We are getting a new RMD8555!

Hopefully thing will be looking better soon.

Mark
Good deal!
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Old 10-31-2015, 07:54 AM   #19
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Thats great news Mark.

Looking forward to trying some fixes/improvements that Doug and others have mentioned. Like extending the thermistor wire so it hangs farther down and getting some furnace filter to plug up the outside vent.

Doug, was there room to slide the side insulation in without removing the fridge? Also wondering out loud if getting some insulation on the "feet" of the fridge might help.
I moved the thermistor and got poorer performance, which I do not understand. So I am running the fridge with the thermistor in the factory position.

The baffle cover had to come off so no way to insulate the baffle without pulling the fridge.

At this point I figure it is about as good as it will get. The only 3 additional items I can think of (short of switching fridges or getting a rebuilt cooling sytem a la Klem I think it was) are 1) adding interior insulation to the back wall below the fins, 2) researching/improving the heat transfer goop between the interior fins and the cooling system, and 3) installing a fridge guard (Refrigerator guard).
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:09 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Wray View Post
Wow Mark, if I were at the point you're at, I'd probably be going off like Mt. St. Helens. I feel so lucky to have the dependable, old-fashioned, non-high-tech 2510 in my '09 19. I sometimes wonder why no owner suffering from fridge frustration hasn't hunted up an older model fridge and just replaced the 8555. I'd also be tempted to start looking for ways to make direct contact (repeatedly!) with anyone who night be able to help at Dometic. Good luck with your problem.

Bruce
We too never had an issue with the 5cf fridge in our 2009 19 being able to cool enough, even it hot climates. It was very rare that we could leave it set at 5 bars, other than during the high heat of the day where we would bump it for a few hours.

Not really understanding why Dometic doesn't put the effort in to make these new fridges work better, you would think it would be more profitable for them, as opposed to all the warrant work they have to do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Floating Cloud View Post
The complaints about propane not working while driving seem to apply to most models.
Are you referring to all models of fridges, or all models of trailers with the new fridge? Because other than the issue of these newer fridges, almost every last person I know runs their various trailers and mohos with the fridge on propane while driving, and it always seems to work fine. Well, other than one buddy with a $130k motorhome that has this same problematic fridge, that since being replaced by Dometic, seems to work fine.
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