Refrigerator won't get cold on propane - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 05-07-2018, 06:26 PM   #1
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Refrigerator won't get cold on propane

I just got back from a 2 week trip and about half the time I was boon docking. While in campgrounds with hookups the refrigerator worked great on electric. But, as soon as I went in the boonies, the refrigerator refused to get cold. I had plenty of propane and was in the Mississippi River region, so elevation wasn't an issue. Is there any where I can look for a solution? BTW: this was the first trip after a very cold & long winter with my 2014 17B stored in my driveway in Wisconsin.
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:33 PM   #2
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Low Gas Pressure to the refrigerator
If I remember correctly the refrigerator requires 11 WC inches

GB Disclaimer : I do not own an Escape so my 3 way RV refrigerator may not operate in the same manner as yours
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:45 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by sharonm3394 View Post
I just got back from a 2 week trip and about half the time I was boon docking. While in campgrounds with hookups the refrigerator worked great on electric. But, as soon as I went in the boonies, the refrigerator refused to get cold. I had plenty of propane and was in the Mississippi River region, so elevation wasn't an issue. Is there any where I can look for a solution? BTW: this was the first trip after a very cold & long winter with my 2014 17B stored in my driveway in Wisconsin.
Try to turn on refrigerator and go to the back , remove cover and make sure there is a little flame . Otherwise it will just keep clicking and can't start . That means it needs a little cleaning . Happened to us when we were on the road . We were lucky cleaning burner with a pipe cleaner and canned air . Must of been a spider web in ours . Pat
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Old 05-07-2018, 06:49 PM   #4
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Hi Sharon
A good starting point would be to see if the burner is operational.
To do this remove the lower outside fridge cover, at the base of the chimney there will be a cover plate held in place with a phillips screw, remove the screw and metal cover/shroud. There could be some dust, cooled spiders or a lot of other stuff that has fallen down the chimney and is impeding the proper operation of the burner. After a quick cleaning try starting the fridge on propane and see if you get a nice blue flame.
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Old 05-07-2018, 09:54 PM   #5
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Hi Sharon
A good starting point would be to see if the burner is operational....
After a quick cleaning try starting the fridge on propane and see if you get a nice blue flame.
It should look like this
Fridge stopped working.. Any Thoughts?
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:08 AM   #6
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Sharon,
Some of the causes that have been mentioned in the past are: mud daubers or spiders in the flame area, a failed propane regulator (located next to the tanks), propane igniters in need of adjustment, weak or failed house battery or a clogged exhaust flue.

Before starting anything I would operate your cooking stove and be sure that you are getting a strong flame on all burners simultaneously. If not, I would swap out the propane regulator for a model made by Marshall.

Also check that you have an operable battery and that you have power coming to the refrigerator. One of many methods would be to try the furnace, it will test gas and electric at once.

Removing the shield around the burner that has been described is a good starting point. Then you can tell if there is any effort to start the ignition process. Some pipe cleaners work well in getting at the burner tube and a larger brush will get up the flue. You may not see or feel any obstruction but it is still good to clean the area. There maybe some additional shields to remove, depending on your refrigerator model. You can get pipe cleaners at your local vape shop. Blowing out the area with some of that "canned air" is a good idea.

There are one or two igniters over the burner, if you hear clicking but no ignition they may have gone out of alignment and are not able to ignite. They are easily adjusted. It should not be necessary however.

Some of these tests are a two person operation, one to press the controls on the refrigerator and a second to observe the process through the outside access door.

Worse case is a failure on refrigerator electronics, however the model of refrigerator in a 17 has been very reliable.
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Old 05-08-2018, 08:42 PM   #7
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I'm in the Madison area, and if I can be of assistance, PM me. I did bring back my legacy Casita refrig for 110V use with some replacement parts, but RV refigeration is not my specialty. I've also cleaned the orifice, successfully.
I may be of assistance.....or not.
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Old 05-20-2018, 01:14 PM   #8
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fridge on propane

I was finally able to look at the fridge. I removed the shroud and cleaned the line with a pipe cleaner and narrow brush. There is only a small red glow but no flame. And, there is no clicking sound. I'm guessing it's the ignition. But, would love a second opinion. Thanks. BTW: I have a 4.2 cf Dometic, not the standard one that comes with the 17B.
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Old 05-20-2018, 02:37 PM   #9
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The clicking is the igniter, which stops after ignition. the red glow is the flame, but with poor propane flow the flame can be small or large and with a small flame, little cooling. It also takes awhile to cool down, like over night. I turn mine on electric, cool it down and then switch to propane for on the road cooling.
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Old 05-20-2018, 05:28 PM   #10
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First, can we confirm what model of refrigerator you have. The RMD 8551 is a 4.3 cu ft, do you have a model different than this? If so, what?

Can you confirm that the gas is working on other appliances, both the stove and the furnace?

Here is a photo of a working flame, notice the nice peaks on the light blue area. The red glowing areas are the igniters. They will not glow red unless there is a flame below making them hot. If you look at this area with bright sunlight shining into the compartment you may not be able to see the flame. It may be necessary to hold a shroud around the opening to get a good look at the flame.

Any audio or visual alerts on the refrigerator?
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File Type: jpg Refrigerator Flame.jpg (89.1 KB, 57 views)
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:11 PM   #11
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Here is a photo of a working flame, notice the nice peaks on the light blue area. The red glowing areas are the igniters. They will not glow red unless there is a flame below making them hot.
Minor clarification but the front one is the igniter and the one up and further back is the flame sensing thermocouple. I point this out because depending on the age and model of the fridge you may not have two. The functions are combined in one device.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:55 PM   #12
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fridge on propane issue

Here's some more details about the fridge:

1. It's a Dometic 4.3 cf model #RM8551
2. Both stove burners have good strong flames.
3. The furnace blows warm air.
4. I heard clicking when I turned the fridge to the propane setting.
5. It looks like there is a faint flame.

I'm going to leave it on with a cup on water in the freezer to see if it gets cold.

I had tried cleaning with a wire brush & pipe cleaner, but I think it needs a better job. Habberdabber said he'd help me clean it out.

Stay tuned...
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Old 05-21-2018, 07:18 PM   #13
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I would like to learn how to clean the fridge propane gas orifice of a RM8551 FRIDGE. Please see the attached picture. Do I loosen the nut where it is painted red, plus the screws holding the burner and thermacoupler and ignitor? What is the name of the red material used to stop to gas leak? Thanks.

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Old 05-21-2018, 07:42 PM   #14
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Yes, that's pretty much it.

The orifice is actually a small disk with a very small hole in it. Mine's never come out despite blowing it with air and Myron's didn't come out when we cleaned it at Q'site but the next time he cleaned it the disk fell out and was lost. So watch out for that.

I wouldn't worry about sealant. I've never used any. You can check with soapy water and if necessary pipe sealant is readily available. But it's vented to the atmosphere on the the other side so there's no real pressure on the connection.

You have to look closely at my out of focus photo but you can see a piece of black carbon just to the side of the orifice.

There's a how to clean the orifice video on youtube.

Ron
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Old 05-21-2018, 08:21 PM   #15
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Ron,
Thanks for the quick reply. I could see the carbon on the copper tube. What is that long aluminum tube next to the red pipe sealant in my posted picture. I have watched the cleaning procedures of the propane gas orifice on youtube, but none of them showing the aluminum part. I am curious as to how to clean it.

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Old 05-21-2018, 09:56 PM   #16
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Ron,
Thanks for the quick reply. I could see the carbon on the copper tube. What is that long aluminum tube next to the red pipe sealant in my posted picture. I have watched the cleaning procedures of the propane gas orifice on youtube, but none of them showing the aluminum part. I am curious as to how to clean it.

Tonny LR
Thatís the burner tube. In Ronís picture it is facing up and you are looking down into it.
This video is a different model fridge but burner components look very similar and may help.

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Old 05-21-2018, 10:43 PM   #17
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Rubicon327,
Thank you for your help. The video explained the propane gas orifice and the burner structure very well. The burner is very similar to my burner. Now I am confident to proceed to do the cleaning. I appriciated you taking time to teach.

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Old 05-22-2018, 12:38 AM   #18
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I didn't watch the video for long enough to see how they actually cleaned the burner, but my recipe for cleaning the burner/orifice is to remove it and soak it in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes. This was recommended to me by an RV shop. Just don't lose the tiny orifice disk that Ron pointed out and you should be OK. Never had any problems with propane leaks after tightening connections.

PS. I find it easier to remove the entire skinny propane tube from the left side of the fridge first, then remove the burner from the tube after it is out of the fridge cavity.
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Old 05-22-2018, 07:45 AM   #19
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Kirk,
Thank you. I was wondering what solvent that people used to clean the orifice. I won't be buying the gas sealant for the burner tube either. your info was helpful.

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Old 05-22-2018, 12:38 PM   #20
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Just about any solvent will work from car gas to acetone. The parts are metal and won't be affected by anything short of acid. Use what's convenient.

Ron
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