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Old 06-04-2019, 02:34 PM   #1
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Back to the fridge problem

I'm read lots of posts on fridge not operating on propane.

So far: I've verified it operates fine on AC.

I've lit all three burners of the stove on high and plenty of gas.

Checked the lower access panel- all looks clean, removed the screw holding the burner cover- and there I'm stymied, there isn't room to remove it. So I can't see the flame (if there is one). There is weather-stripping on the inside of that hatch but even without it I"m not sure there is room to remove that cover. I decided to cool it back down on electric and then turn it back to propane and see what happens, and when it is dark, maybe I can see a flame or not.

There is a pressure test valve but I'm not sure how to use it- some posts mentioned releasing the pressure there but again, not sure how.

Here are a couple of pictures. The diagram, and my own system. And yes, I did try removing it with that screw completely out, it is sitting there now for safekeeping.

It may be just trouble-shooting as if the burner opening is clogged I"ll have to get someone to clean it- I'm not at all confident that I have the fine-motor skills to remove and reinstall it in a small space.
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File Type: jpg Dometic diagram.jpg (109.4 KB, 56 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_4813.jpg (198.7 KB, 37 views)
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:20 PM   #2
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If the flame is on you should be able to hear it. Stand near the burner, have someone turn it on on gas. You should hear the igniter attempting to light the gas (ticking sound), if it lights you'll hear the whoosh of the flame. Last I knew it would try a few times then stop and give you an error.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:33 PM   #3
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You don't say which model Dometic fridge you have. They ain't all the same. With the shield removed you absolutely should be able to see if there's a pilot light. If the stove pipe going up in back is hot to the touch you know the pilot light is working. If not, check the gas pressure adjustment at the regulator attached to the propane tanks. (Don't change anything there if you are clueless.) I replaced my regulator. I also gave a short blast of canned air into the orifice sleeve, and getting a Whoosh confirmed the gas was getting through to the pilot. A tiny spec of anything can block gas passing through the orifice.

If trying any of this exceeds your confidence level your best move may be the nearest RV shop.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:39 PM   #4
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You don't say which model Dometic fridge you have. They ain't all the same. With the shield removed you absolutely should be able to see if there's a pilot light. If the stove pipe going up in back is hot to the touch you know the pilot light is working. If not, check the gas pressure adjustment at the regulator attached to the propane tanks. (Don't change anything there if you are clueless.) I replaced my regulator. I also gave a short blast of canned air into the orifice sleeve, and getting a Whoosh confirmed the gas was getting through to the pilot. A tiny spec of anything can block gas passing through the orifice.

If trying any of this exceeds your confidence level your best move may be the nearest RV shop.
It's on the diagram- RM2354. I can't remove the shield. I can't see if there is a light in the daylight so will have to try looking at night. It appears the cover needs to slide straight back towards the edge of the compartment and there isn't room. (Should I rip out the weather stripping there?)



I seem to have plenty of gas pressure- I can run the furnace or all three burners of the stove (have not tried both at once.)
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:43 PM   #5
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If the flame is on you should be able to hear it. Stand near the burner, have someone turn it on on gas. You should hear the igniter attempting to light the gas (ticking sound), if it lights you'll hear the whoosh of the flame. Last I knew it would try a few times then stop and give you an error.
I can get someone to do that later today. I do hear it from inside and it never gives an error- just doesn't cool.
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Old 06-04-2019, 04:18 PM   #6
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I have a different fridge, yours may differ as far as errors go.
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Old 06-04-2019, 06:39 PM   #7
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Bobbie54, if you look into the opening of housing you can see where the burner jet is aimed at a 3/8 inch hole. Beyond that hole and a little above, is another 3/8 inch hole in the next piece of shield. The flame can be seen through that second hole.

I’ll try to remove the shield on my burner, same model as yours, and report back.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:02 PM   #8
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The shield came out without much trouble. It slides toward the opening in the hatch, then pull it toward the back of the trailer and up. No need to remove the weather stripping. Sorry, no video.
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Old 06-04-2019, 07:43 PM   #9
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Oh man, you have my sympathies. I just went through a year of diagnosing a frigerator problem. It would light, cool down, and then at some point stop working. Usually after traveling down the road. Four service technicians....clean the orifice and said the flame was okay and operating. It was. But...at some point the dam thing would stop cooling. I could see the flame, but it was not big enough to get the frig cold enough. I replaced the gas manifolds at the cylinders thinking they were clogged. Worked for 6 hours and then same thing, flame there but not enough to cool. I then heard that oil or whaterver migrates from the tanks into the system and may be settling in low spots. I unhooked the gas line and gave it a shot of compressed air. Guess what? Everything stopped worked so I assumed I had shot the oil or whatever into the electronic regulator and plugged the gas line. Oh...I was told by service technician that the furnace and stove will operate as they require a higher gas volume than the frigerator. So if you have a plugged line, it will affec the frig first. But...I plugged up the lines at the regulator on the frig. Moral of the story, I spend $500 on regrigerator repair technicians doing the same dam thing with cleaning the orifice. I pulled the plug on them and just bought a new refrigeratory for $900 bucks. Wish I'd have done that in the first place.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:20 PM   #10
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The shield came out without much trouble. It slides toward the opening in the hatch, then pull it toward the back of the trailer and up. No need to remove the weather stripping. Sorry, no video.
I can get the left side to move but so far not the right side or slide it back. Not sure what hole I should be able to see through as it doesn't have any. It has a flap on the left I can see through but not the one on the right.

I turned it on after cooling on electric and went out and listened to the ignitor. Lots of clicking, then another noise (but not a whoosh like gas igniting) and when I went inside, light had come on for propane. But no idea if it is cooling and still can't see a flame. But will try again on removing the cover and worst case, look at it after dark tonight and see if there is a flame and what color.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:24 PM   #11
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Oh man, you have my sympathies. I just went through a year of diagnosing a frigerator problem. It would light, cool down, and then at some point stop working. Usually after traveling down the road.
I realized that I don't really know how well the fridge was working on propane. I always started with it cooled down and on most trips ended up plugged into electric; the ones I didn't were in cooler weather and I'm not sure how fast it would have warmed up. The longest I camped without electric was two nights (except when my battery had died completely and I turned off the fridge because the CO detector started going off.) I did keep ice cream in the freezer, though, for those two days in the fall.

Hoping I don't have to replace it but your cautionary tale is worthwhile- I won't spend a lot on it if the problem isn't easily fixed.
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Old 06-04-2019, 09:31 PM   #12
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No kidding. When an hour for a service tech costs over $100, it doesn't take long to pay for a new frig. Especially if the frig is older...why service it? I was on a couple of these forums trying to find out answers to my problem. The best advice I got, was from and R-Pod forum that told me to check the LP lines for oil or residue. Not one of the 4 service techs diagnosed that problem, except for the last that suggested replacing the manifolds. That made sense, so I replaced those. Cost me almost $300 bucks...and in the end wasn't needed. Oh well...I've learned. From now on if the repair isn't obvious, I won't have exploratory surgery done. I'll go for a new heart, lol.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:30 AM   #13
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Went out to check just now and it had gone off and onto the check light. Checked the box and it was cold so guessed it had run out of propane, and switched tanks. (Which I also did a few weeks ago when this problem started.) It came on and I can see a blue flame (even though I still can't get the cover off- from the side I can see it in the dusk.) So we'll see how it cools overnight and tomorrow. I'm not sure how well propane cools it from warm so maybe the problem before was the pressure ran low and it warmed up too much before I switched tanks. Anyway- test in progress, we shall see. This tank should be nearly full.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:39 AM   #14
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A major issue with cooling is opening the fridge to check the temp. An indoor/outdoor digital transmitting thermometer is great for monitoring temps. I've been warned several times that "somebody" didn't firmly close the door.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:57 AM   #15
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Yes, I was doing that.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:43 AM   #16
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I'm not sure how well propane cools it from warm...
Propane is generally the fastest and most efficient cooling method on our absorption refrigerators.

Quote:
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...so maybe the problem before was the pressure ran low and it warmed up too much before I switched tanks. Anyway- test in progress, we shall see. This tank should be nearly full.

Your trailer should be equipped with an auto switching regulator. Turn both tanks on simultaneously and when one runs out it will switch automatically to the other, to prevent the problem you are otherwise creating of running out in the middle of the night. The regulator also then notifies you that a tank is empty by switching the green indicator to red, so you can then go fill that one tank while it continues merrily on with the other.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:50 AM   #17
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Propane is generally the fastest and most efficient cooling method on our absorption refrigerators.




Your trailer should be equipped with an auto switching regulator. Turn both tanks on simultaneously and when one runs out it will switch automatically to the other, to prevent the problem you are otherwise creating of running out in the middle of the night. The regulator also then notifies you that a tank is empty by switching the green indicator to red, so you can then go fill that one tank while it continues merrily on with the other.
Interestingly the people at Escape are now telling newbees to turn just one tank on during their orientation? This was found out when fixing several new owner's loose propane tanks at Osoyoos due to improper install. Hopefully these issues will dissipate with time.
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Old 06-05-2019, 07:55 AM   #18
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Back to the fridge problem

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Interestingly the people at Escape are now telling newbees to turn just one tank on during their orientation? This was found out when fixing several new owner's loose propane tanks at Osoyoos due to improper install. Hopefully these issues will dissipate with time.

I wonder what the rationale is for that? It defeats the whole purpose of an “auto switching” regulator

Without some very compelling, and mysterious, reason for this advice, whomever is thus “educating” newbies is doing them a disservice.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:03 AM   #19
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Without some very compelling, and mysterious, reason for this advice, whomever is thus “educating” newbies is doing them a disservice.
Actually I can see a positive in this education. After all, it's 'newbies.' A true newbie to TT travel has no clue how long propane will last. Perhaps part of the conversation might include... pay attention to which appliances and for how long you're using propane. Whether three days or three weeks and under what conditions, you'd find out how long one tank of propane may last. I think that's important info to know, especially during the cold, winter months. Imagine boondocking and having the furnace quit because you ran out of propane... 'I didn't know a tank would only last four days...'


After a couple of times where a tank runs out, the newbie has a much better idea of how long a tank lasts and then may decide to use the auto-change over.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:46 AM   #20
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Actually I can see a positive in this education. After all, it's 'newbies.' A true newbie to TT travel has no clue how long propane will last. Perhaps part of the conversation might include... pay attention to which appliances and for how long you're using propane. Whether three days or three weeks and under what conditions, you'd find out how long one tank of propane may last. I think that's important info to know, especially during the cold, winter months. Imagine boondocking and having the furnace quit because you ran out of propane... 'I didn't know a tank would only last four days...'


After a couple of times where a tank runs out, the newbie has a much better idea of how long a tank lasts and then may decide to use the auto-change over.


This can easily be achieved by routinely inspecting the indicator on the regulator, and without the major downside of your fridge and furnace surprisingly stopping operation in the middle of the night.
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