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Old 07-20-2015, 08:21 PM   #1
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Re-thinking the RM8551 4.3

From all I have read and heard this battered sad sack of a fridge sure got issues. I don’t think it’s a lemon but who can ignore them issues. Not insignificant is the big mystery behind why some owners have drastically differing versions of the same fridge! I mean like, why do some got the 4.3 with fans, others not, or other components found in back, or on top, that are different from other 4.3 owners. Some get an insulated trailer cavity, but others did not. My 4.3 warms up inside big time when it is 90° f plus outside after I do something foolish, like open its door for a cold one. That’s not nice for the price, is it? Isn’t it strange we get tropical weather here but cannot get the Dometic “T” version?

Therefore to satisfy curiosity about these things I submit pictures of my 4.3’s behind, and open this thread for others to submit their differing versions, if you got one. My serial number is 13700005, purchased 19 Sep 2013. Show us what you got!

PS: I pulled mine out to do some of the mods I have been reading about, and they are these:
  • · Built framing for that baffle Reace liked, then didn’t like. I liked Ron of BC’s design and did my modified version of it. A metal baffle is easier to install because of its flexibility. Logic told me it has to help.
  • · Insulated the be-Jesus out of the fridge cavity. (Ditto sentence 3 above.)
  • · Replaced the thermistor with a Snip-the-clip thermistor. (Why not?)
  • · Designed a plastic curtain acting as a barrior for escaping cold air. (Better than nothing.)
  • · Removed the freezer compartment. (I always bring an ice chest anyway.)
  • · Struggled with adding a manual switch for them two factory “Texas fans,” then rejected the idea. (If it ain’t broke, etc.)
I don’t want a new door, or to upgrade to the bigger two-door model. 4.3 is fine for me. Like I said, I do not think the thing is a lemon…not yet.
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File Type: jpg batwire1.jpg (66.5 KB, 61 views)
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:39 PM   #2
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Myron, I am FAR from an expert, but my gut tells me that being able to run those two fans on the back on command (mine had two also), is a BIG part of the solution. That and insulation are the keys to success I believe (notice I didn't say "know"). -Rich
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:45 PM   #3
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My 19, delivered in November, has only one fan (that I know of) and it's mounted lower down. The wires disappear into the bowels of the apparatus, and don't appear to be linked to a second fan. I'll try to post a photo tomorrow, and locate the serial number as well. Pulling the refrigerator isn't going to happen, but I am going to pull the front facia and top insulation to see if I can trace the fan wires there. I don't know about this automatic thermister thingie, but I know I'd like to be able to actuate the fan manually.

Bob
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:47 PM   #4
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I have heard my fans cycle on and off. I do not think they stay on long enough or come on often enough. I bought a manual switch but balked on defacing the black plastic top front control section.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
I have heard my fans cycle on and off. I do not think they stay on long enough or come on often enough. I bought a manual switch but balked on defacing the black plastic top front control section.
You can get some small, black classy looking switches that would fit right in on the front section...even have a blue light.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:53 PM   #6
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One should take note of the fuse on top of the 4.3 frig as seen on the right side of Myron's photo. This is the jumper in the terminal block between the battery positive supply wire and the wire to the control panel. If you loose 12v power to the frig and the fuse in the coverter box has continuity then this fuse should be checked.
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
From all have I read and heard this battered sad sack of a fridge sure got issues. I don’t think it’s a lemon but who can ignore them issues. Not insignificant is the big mystery behind why some owners have drastically differing versions of the same fridge! I mean like, why do some got the 4.3 with fans, others not, or other components found in back, or on top, that are different from other 4.3 owners. Some get an insulated trailer cavity, but others did not. My 4.3 warms up inside big time when it is 90° f plus outside after I do something foolish, like open its door for a cold one. That’s not nice for the price, is it? Isn’t it strange we get tropical weather here but cannot get the Dometic “T” version?

Therefore to satisfy curiosity about these things I submit pictures of my 4.3’s behind, and open this thread for others to submit their differing versions, if you got one. My serial number is 13700005, purchased 19 Sep 2015. Show us what you got!

PS: I pulled mine out to do some of the mods I have been reading about, and they are these:
  • · Built framing for that baffle Reace liked, then didn’t like. I liked Ron of BC’s design and did my modified version of it. A metal baffle is easier to install because of its flexibility. Logic told me it has to help.
  • · Insulated the be-Jesus out of the fridge cavity. (Ditto sentence 3 above.)
  • · Replaced the thermistor with a Snip-the-clip thermistor. (Why not?)
  • · Designed a plastic curtain acting as a barrior for escaping cold air. (Better than nothing.)
  • · Removed the freezer compartment. (I always bring an ice chest anyway.)
  • · Struggled with adding a manual switch for them two factory “Texas fans,” then rejected the idea. (If it ain’t broke, etc.)
I don’t want a new door, or to upgrade to the bigger two-door model. 4.3 is fine for me. Like I said, I do not think the thing is a lemon…not yet.
Myron how did you get 2 fans? Lucky I guess . Did you mean to say 2013 instead of 2015? They also put the wiring block on top of frig? Ours is in the back of frig . We picked up our trailer Nov 14 , 2013 . What the heck is Dometic doing with all these different frigs ? Are you sure you don't want to manually turn them fans on . You said you never heard them come on . Believe me if they come on you will hear them and will move the heat . Isn't this fun ? You do great work . I know you will do what you think is right . Pat
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Old 07-20-2015, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jubal View Post
One should take note of the fuse on top of the 4.3 frig as seen on the right side of Myron's photo. This is the jumper in the terminal block between the battery positive supply wire and the wire to the control panel. If you loose 12v power to the frig and the fuse in the coverter box has continuity then this fuse should be checked.
I don't believe the top of the refrigerator is the normal location for that fuse, is it? I'm pretty sure mine is at the bottom of the rear of the unit, accessible from the outside panel.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:00 PM   #9
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I have heard my fans cycle on and off. I do not think they stay on long enough or come on often enough. I bought a manual switch but balked on defacing the black plastic top front control section.
Myron if you still have the fridge out do the Kountrykamper bypass the thermal snap switch with a manual switch mod.The fans are then either controlled by the thermal switch or the manual switch you control. A little defacing never hurt, at least not much.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:12 PM   #10
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I don't believe the top of the refrigerator is the normal location for that fuse, is it? I'm pretty sure mine is at the bottom of the rear of the unit, accessible from the outside panel.
So what is normal for ETI and dometic. The fuse holder was installed by ETI.
If so, yours is wired differently then mine and Myron's. Are we talking about the 4.3 fridge ? The batt positive and ground wires were spliced on the left side of the fridge as viewed through the lower vent.
The fuse on top is the only fuse I have seen after removing the fridge. I would rather have a fuse that is easier to access.
You may be able to rewire the fans through the lower vent. Battery positive is supplied to the thermal switch from the junction block on top of fridge. The ground wire is also attached to the same terminal block. You would have to remove the existing battery positive wire from the thermalswitch, insulate it , and the wire in a switch supplying battery positive from another source. Leave the ground wire connected.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:15 PM   #11
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You can get some small, black classy looking switches that would fit right in on the front section...even have a blue light.
It would have a blue light if you also ran a ground wire to the switch.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by santacruzer View Post
I don't believe the top of the refrigerator is the normal location for that fuse, is it? I'm pretty sure mine is at the bottom of the rear of the unit, accessible from the outside panel.
That is where our 's Is too . I am confused hey all these differences for same frig about same time . Pat
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:34 PM   #13
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It would have a blue light if you also ran a ground wire to the switch.
The switch itself has a blue bulb (or LED).
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:06 PM   #14
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Myron, I think our refrig's are similar as I took delivery 5/2013. With all the retrofitted baffles, fans, thermistors, and insulation, I'm as happy as a nice, cool clam. We had a 106 degree day or two coming home in June and the beer stayed plenty cold.

We dry camped enough for me to conclude the current draw to run those two fans is minimal.

Chillin' out at the beach!
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:40 PM   #15
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Here's mine. My single fan is mounted about where Myron has a red grommet showing in the bottom part of his photo. My buss block and fuse are also mounted here. I can't see far enough up the cabinet back to locate anything else, there's what appears to be a wooden baffle, but I'm pretty sure there's no second fan. Serial number is 34600002
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Old 07-21-2015, 12:12 AM   #16
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Myron, I think our refrig's are similar as I took delivery 5/2013. With all the retrofitted baffles, fans, thermistors, and insulation, I'm as happy as a nice, cool clam. We had a 106 degree day or two coming home in June and the beer stayed plenty cold.

We dry camped enough for me to conclude the current draw to run those two fans is minimal.

Chillin' out at the beach!
Hi Gregg . Are you saying you did all those improvements ? Or did you manual switch your fans ? Pat
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:31 AM   #17
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Here's mine. My single fan is mounted about where Myron has a red grommet showing in the bottom part of his photo. My buss block and fuse are also mounted here. I can't see far enough up the cabinet back to locate anything else, there's what appears to be a wooden baffle, but I'm pretty sure there's no second fan. Serial number is 34600002
Is this a 4.3 fridge? If so, it's different from my May 2013 unit. My two fans are up higher like Myron's are and my buss block is on top of the fridge. Maybe Dometic knew they had issues and tinkered with moving the fans around to see what gave better performance?
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Old 07-21-2015, 06:44 AM   #18
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The switch itself has a blue bulb (or LED).
Requires a ground wire in addition to battery positive. With the lower junction block you have east access to battery positive for a fan switch.
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Old 07-21-2015, 08:18 AM   #19
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I have the same configuration as Santacruzer. Serial #3140006000 delivered 8/13. Had Main control board go bad last summer and had to pull fridge to replace. The board is located abt where the double fans are on the back of the other configuration. While out I installed the baffle as ETI was at that point thinking it would solve the issues. LOL. Since then removed freezer, veg crisper and installed the inside fans, got a new door for a fix LOL still marginal performance. the RV center really discouraged me from playing with the fan as I may void warranty. With the success many are having I will be pulling It to redo the insulation, take control of the fan, run a circuit for another fan if needed and get the snip and clip. I may angle the baffle to 45 if it will come apart easily.
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Old 07-21-2015, 09:15 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
From all I have read and heard this battered sad sack of a fridge sure got issues. I don’t think it’s a lemon but who can ignore them issues. Not insignificant is the big mystery behind why some owners have drastically differing versions of the same fridge! I mean like, why do some got the 4.3 with fans, others not, or other components found in back, or on top, that are different from other 4.3 owners. Some get an insulated trailer cavity, but others did not. My 4.3 warms up inside big time when it is 90° f plus outside after I do something foolish, like open its door for a cold one. That’s not nice for the price, is it? Isn’t it strange we get tropical weather here but cannot get the Dometic “T” version?

Therefore to satisfy curiosity about these things I submit pictures of my 4.3’s behind, and open this thread for others to submit their differing versions, if you got one. My serial number is 13700005, purchased 19 Sep 2013. Show us what you got!

PS: I pulled mine out to do some of the mods I have been reading about, and they are these:
  • · Built framing for that baffle Reace liked, then didn’t like. I liked Ron of BC’s design and did my modified version of it. A metal baffle is easier to install because of its flexibility. Logic told me it has to help.
  • · Insulated the be-Jesus out of the fridge cavity. (Ditto sentence 3 above.)
  • · Replaced the thermistor with a Snip-the-clip thermistor. (Why not?)
  • · Designed a plastic curtain acting as a barrior for escaping cold air. (Better than nothing.)
  • · Removed the freezer compartment. (I always bring an ice chest anyway.)
  • · Struggled with adding a manual switch for them two factory “Texas fans,” then rejected the idea. (If it ain’t broke, etc.)
I don’t want a new door, or to upgrade to the bigger two-door model. 4.3 is fine for me. Like I said, I do not think the thing is a lemon…not yet.
Myron, If you get a chance, would you mind snapping a picture of your inside plastic curtain? I want to do something similar and was thinking of attaching it at the top with Velcro. What material did you use? Thanks! - Rich
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