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Old 05-23-2017, 08:14 PM   #1
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Fridge Fun, again

My Dometic RM 8551 was working fine on shore power and on propane, sitting in my yard prepared, three days before our big last trip. A cool 34 degrees. 269 miles later when we got there it was at 50f.

I thought I was done with this problem. We then remembered what Ron did at Quartzsite, got out the tools, took apart the nozzle feed into the piezo thing where the heat goes, blew it out with compassion, prayers, and compressed air.

Now turned the fridge back on. The piezo just clicked happily away trying to light the pilot, but never could. After many tries we knew the fridge had given up because now the front door display was a blinking red light.

The iceman cometh, ice chest to the rescue. The next day we had snow.

Home again 5 days later I took the thing apart again, used fine steel wool on it, blasted away again with the canned air, but still no joy. As a test just to be certain propane was really in there when the piezo began its rapid clicking I poked the area with a King XD157 grill lighter. Ka-woosh, flames erupted bigly all around the cylinder. Yet, the pilot refused to light. Refused!

Doug advised taking the trailer to a shop to let the experts tackle it. Before I do that I am wondering if the problem is isolated at A on picture number one, or at B at picture number two, that propane pressure-chamber-feeder thingo. Why pay for something when I could do a parts replacement? R-o-n-n-n.
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File Type: jpg Piez1.jpg (77.8 KB, 85 views)
File Type: jpg piez2.jpg (119.0 KB, 80 views)
File Type: jpg deChel070.jpg (172.5 KB, 81 views)
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:05 PM   #2
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I had my 2510 serviced. Then it wouldn't work so I had to take it to the RV shop where they pulled the fridge and did something. Took it home and it wouldn't light. Dragged it back and they had to replace the igniter. They used a part from the recycling bin. Works now.
I'd look at the igniter, since you've done everything else.

Somebody can explain to me why spell check here thinks igniter is flagged as spelled wrong.
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
My Dometic RM 8551 was working fine on shore power and on propane, sitting in my yard prepared, three days before our big last trip. A cool 34 degrees. 269 miles later when we got there it was at 50f.

I thought I was done with this problem. We then remembered what Ron did at Quartzsite, got out the tools, took apart the nozzle feed into the piezo thing where the heat goes, blew it out with compassion, prayers, and compressed air.

Now turned the fridge back on. The piezo just clicked happily away trying to light the pilot, but never could. After many tries we knew the fridge had given up because now the front door display was a blinking red light.

The iceman cometh, ice chest to the rescue. The next day we had snow.

Home again 5 days later I took the thing apart again, used fine steel wool on it, blasted away again with the canned air, but still no joy. As a test just to be certain propane was really in there when the piezo began its rapid clicking I poked the area with a King XD157 grill lighter. Ka-woosh, flames erupted bigly all around the cylinder. Yet, the pilot refused to light. Refused!

Doug advised taking the trailer to a shop to let the experts tackle it. Before I do that I am wondering if the problem is isolated at “A” on picture number one, or at “B” at picture number two, that propane pressure-chamber-feeder thingo. Why pay for something when I could do a parts replacement? R-o-n-n-n.
Myron .... isn't that the igniter just above arrow "A"? Question: is there some sort of set gap that could be adjusted? I'm a thousand miles away from my trailer and manuals so I'm shooting in full daylight (its almost Summer Soltice).

Tom
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Old 05-23-2017, 10:21 PM   #4
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You call this FUN?

I have the same fridge, and the same symptoms. Trouble is, the fridge can work on the driveway, but conk out on day 2 of a trip.

My fix is to soak the propane orifice in rubbing alcohol. I haven't tried canned air. I am sure there is some dirt or contaminants in the propane line that get stuck in the tiny orifice.

Up until yesterday the fridge has always lit, but just no or little cooling was the only symptom. But yesterday I brought the trailer home from storage, and fired it up on propane to check it out. It lit, but when I went back to check later, the flame was out, and the red light was flashing. I took the propane tube and burner apart and rinsed the orifice. Reassembled and it started right away. Came back to check 10 mins later, and flashing red lights. Oops, forgot to open the propane tank after shutting it off before disassembly! It's been at a steady 3*C (~37F) all day on propane.

The orifice is a little round thin sheet of metal that goes between the propane line and the square burner tube. I remove the propane tube and burner (at the B end) first, then remove the narrow tube from the burner with 2 wrenches. The first time I did this, the orifice stayed in the rectangular burner - I assumed it was part of the burner, but the second time it fell out. Good thing I found it before reassembling!

I would give an alcohol rinse a try before spending on an RV tech, if I was you.

The other possibility is that the piezo and thermocouple got bent, but if you are getting a spark and there is some gas but no lighting, then I suspect the orifice is the problem.

Good luck!
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Old 05-23-2017, 11:55 PM   #5
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Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the new improved Americana in my Escape stopped functioning when it got to 108 in California, temperature rose to 50 degrees for at least 12 hours before dropping again. I think it is blowing out while under tow, will try some furnace filter.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:52 AM   #6
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Good morning

I would just to see how strong of spark you have in picture A. Follow the two black wires. At the end of wires is a copper electrode that sparks against the burner tube. If there is no spark (maybe hard to see in daylight) there maybe a ground in the wires to the electrode that sparks against the burner tube or the igniter capacitor maybe faulty. Check all the connections. may not be able to see the igniter capacitor (usually a white box) as it is usually buried.

Also the the slots in the burner tube on the side electrode sparks maybe dirty or partially plugged.

On our RM2510 I had issues with it blowing out after cleaning the tube. It would not stay lit or relight I guess would be a better explanation . I found that I had left a small gap in the front side of the tin shield that covers the burner tube, electrode and thermal couple.

My two cents (or nickels worth, as Canada no longer has pennies)
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:12 AM   #7
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Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the new improved Americana in my Escape stopped functioning when it got to 108 in California, temperature rose to 50 degrees for at least 12 hours before dropping again. I think it is blowing out while under tow, will try some furnace filter.
FWIW, ETI was strongly recommending running on 12V while under way when they gave us the orientation. I didn't pay any attention to that recommendation at the time, but now I'm wondering if that would help your situation?
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:16 AM   #8
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Good morning
If there is no spark (maybe hard to see in daylight) there maybe a ground in the wires to the electrode that sparks against the burner tube or the igniter capacitor maybe faulty.
Shannon
Make sure the spark is going to the burner tube and not to somewhere else. If it is sparking to somewhere else adjust it closer to the burner to the spark goes to the burner.
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Old 05-24-2017, 11:47 AM   #9
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A word of caution when cleaning out the orifice on the fridge, don't put anything in the hole. That hole can be very delicate (precision drilled) and can be ruined by even a small needle is used to clean it. Use alcohol and some air to clean it. The electrodes are usually preset to a certain distance from the burner and don't need adjusting. Burners and the flue need to be cleaned regularly to remove the soot, some recommend this annually. Best of luck ... Bill
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Old 05-24-2017, 02:35 PM   #10
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Currently soaking the burner in acetone. Kirk your mention of an "orfice" had me scrambling because I saw nothing like it and am guessing that's the missing link here. Explains the weird or absent, ineffective gas flow I got. Research has in fact confirmed a part is missing. It's part #2922033101, nozzle, or orfice. Must have somehow gotten away from us. Will be ordering a new one.
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File Type: jpg NozzleRM8555.jpg (30.0 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg orph1.jpg (38.0 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg orph2.jpg (41.7 KB, 28 views)
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:11 PM   #11
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Nice find.

That definitely explains the big whoosh of flame when you lit burner with barbeque lighter.

Shannon
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:24 PM   #12
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That definitely explains the big whoosh of flame when you lit burner with barbeque lighter.
That definitely concerned me when I read it, but not knowing enough about the situation and never imagining he could be without an orifice I kept my mouth shut. Glad he found what is missing and it looks like he is on a path to a solution.
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:31 PM   #13
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FWIW, ETI was strongly recommending running on 12V while under way when they gave us the orientation. I didn't pay any attention to that recommendation at the time, but now I'm wondering if that would help your situation?
That's interesting. Are they saying this to everyone or only those with solar?
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Old 05-24-2017, 05:25 PM   #14
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Lucky it did not in ignite . Could have burned the camper down.
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Old 05-24-2017, 07:08 PM   #15
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Currently soaking the burner in acetone. Kirk your mention of an "orfice" had me scrambling because I saw nothing like it and am guessing that's the missing link here. Explains the weird or absent, ineffective gas flow I got. Research has in fact confirmed a part is missing. It's part #2922033101, nozzle, or orfice. Must have somehow gotten away from us. Will be ordering a new one.
What's the goop on the threads and on the face of the flare? If the orifice where there, that alone could plug it up.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:29 PM   #16
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Currently soaking the burner in acetone. Kirk your mention of an "orfice" had me scrambling because I saw nothing like it and am guessing that's the missing link here. Explains the weird or absent, ineffective gas flow I got. Research has in fact confirmed a part is missing. It's part #2922033101, nozzle, or orfice. Must have somehow gotten away from us. Will be ordering a new one.
Part #110 is indeed the orifice I was talking about. I found mine on my garage floor when it went missing. Don't leave home without it. I would think you would get quite a bit of propane dispensed at the burner when it is missing. Glad you survived the test with the lighter. Maybe you should order 2 if they are reasonably priced.
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Old 05-24-2017, 10:42 PM   #17
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Orifice

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Part #110 is indeed the orifice I was talking about. I found mine on my garage floor when it went missing. Don't leave home without it. I would think you would get quite a bit of propane dispensed at the burner when it is missing. Glad you survived the test with the lighter. Maybe you should order 2 if they are reasonably priced.
Good advice on ordering two. With a spare you'll never need to work on that item again and you'll be able to help someone In need if the opportunity arises. I have a magnetic small parts bowl I use all the time when working on small stuff. I like it a lot.
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Old 05-25-2017, 08:43 AM   #18
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Lucky it did not in ignite . Could have burned the camper down.


Interesting thing is... before the piezo began clicking away... when trying to ignite the pilot light, I put that grill lighter in there to see if I could manually light the pilot. No, it would not light. This told me no propane of consequence was flowing. That seemed odd. Then I did it while the piezo was clicking, and that's when we got the Ka-woosh. So why is that?

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Old 05-25-2017, 09:58 AM   #19
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Interesting thing is... before the piezo began clicking away... when trying to ignite the pilot light, I put that grill lighter in there to see if I could manually light the pilot. No, it would not light. This told me no propane of consequence was flowing. That seemed odd. Then I did it while the piezo was clicking, and that's when we got the Ka-woosh. So why is that?

Maybe it still had air in the line that had not purged out yet. Hard to say for sure.

Many years ago while working on a fridges on a boats I have seen the orifices missing that people had been messing with and it can make for quite a flame going up the boiler and even coming out the top of the flue. It can crack the boiler very quick. It can also make a even bigger Ka-woosh than you experienced and remove eyebrows or even worse.

Anyone cleaning a orifice need to make sure it gets properly reinstalled or it is basically a open propane line.

There are filters that can be installed in the lines at the regulator that can help keep trash out if you are getting dirty propane.
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Old 05-25-2017, 09:59 AM   #20
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Interesting thing is... before the piezo began clicking away... when trying to ignite the pilot light, I put that grill lighter in there to see if I could manually light the pilot. No, it would not light. This told me no propane of consequence was flowing. That seemed odd. Then I did it while the piezo was clicking, and that's when we got the Ka-woosh. So why is that?

The propane normally mixes with oxygen that gets sucked into the burner tube through the side holes. I think the burner tube slowly filled with propane, but wasn't mixed with enough oxygen next to the piezo, so no flame. As the propane cloud grew and mixed with air in the access cavity, then you got something that would light.

I also think that the propane would only flow when the piezo is clicking, trying to light, or when the thermocouple detects heat from the flame. When lighting fails and the clicking stops for a minute, likely the propane would also be shut off.
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