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Old 06-05-2019, 04:13 PM   #1
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It wasn't the gasket

On the prep run-up to departure for the Osoyoos Rally My RM8551 fridge worked great but then, for the 3 days up, on propane it had clearly failed. 39 degrees F on 3 dots propane at the start, but 2 days later in Boise, on 5 dots it was 45 degrees F. Very disappointing.

I kept it on shore power all during the rally. The best minds available now huddled together, to ponder the situation. Had pilot light, chimney was hot. I bought a can of compressed air but decided not to blast the orifice. Jim’s dollar test made it clear the fridge probably was working, but leaking all cold air out the very poorly sealed door. There’s your trouble! The gaskets. Backup ice box would do me fine for now.

Got home, and it was 55°F in there. Googling Dometic website to buy parts turned out to be a waste of time. They don’t like to sell any parts, I guess. Best their fancy website would do is find me the nearest dealership. I went to Tom’s RV to order a new gasket. But Tom said he didn’t think the gasket had failed, and anyway, said it was “pressed” into place in the door. Nobody at Dometic was answering their phones, and Elaine couldn’t pull up an exploded parts list. Maybe they were all out to lunch.

I left Tom’s, go back home inside the trailer and re-study the problem. Feeling like the detective whose boss tells him, go back to the crime scene and look again, harder. That’s when I noticed my fridge door was also just not latching shut. That latch should be catching. Door opens without pressing down on the latch release button. Then, I noticed the blue plastic latch catch on the inside wall was clean busted! Also, the top door hinge is very loose. Door wobbles. (There’s your trouble!) A eureka moment.

Tightened down the 3 screws for the top hinge pin and door now no longer wobbly. Also inspected/cleaned up gasket, confirmed what Tom said: Dometic had indeed made the gasket not removable. Damned if I was going to buy a new door.

Now need a new plastic door latch catch but, being hot on the trail, could not wait days for Dometic. So, went into my garage shop. Searched for something I could use to fabricate a replacement latch catch. Had ¾” square aluminum tubing. Is it perfect? Yes, and, metal beats plastic but if I can’t make this work, well, there’s always calling Dometic.

No bending required, just cut and trim on the table saw and file off burrs as needed. It works! Who knew? Just in case that was only part of the problem I couldn’t stop there so went outside and took apart that orifice thing, blasted it away.

It was 63°F in there at 10 AM. Now for the Moment of Truth: Turned fridge onto propane 5 dots. By 2 PM it was down to 35°F!
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File Type: jpg FrigLatch2.jpg (114.4 KB, 90 views)
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:18 PM   #2
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Perseverance and ingenuity....an unbeatable combination!
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Old 06-05-2019, 04:21 PM   #3
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Good for you! Persistence and a second look paid off.
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:33 PM   #4
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Glad you fixed it Myron, I knew you could.....that metal latch should outlast the refer....
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:39 PM   #5
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Most excellent solution The same part broke on my refrigerator while I was on my Big Trip. I have found just the latch part and will order one sometime in the next week or so. IF anyone else needs the part and doesn't have Myron's ability (like me!), get it here: https://bastens.com/products/dometic...idge-latch-lef
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Old 06-05-2019, 05:55 PM   #6
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Wow, Donna, how did you find that bastens source?? Never heard of them. A worthy bookmark.
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Old 06-05-2019, 06:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
Wow, Donna, how did you find that bastens source?? Never heard of them. A worthy bookmark.
Love Google. I actually started looking for the part back in October. When I found out what the entire lock and light part was going to cost, I decided I'd use duct tape . Persistence pays off.... especially for 11 bucks! Too, with the advent of 3D printers, we'll see more smaller parts being manufactured and good prices.
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Old 06-05-2019, 09:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MyronL View Post
On the prep run-up to departure for the Osoyoos Rally My RM8551 fridge worked great but then, for the 3 days up, on propane it had clearly failed. 39 degrees F on 3 dots propane at the start, but 2 days later in Boise, on 5 dots it was 45 degrees F. Very disappointing.

I kept it on shore power all during the rally. The best minds available now huddled together, to ponder the situation. Had pilot light, chimney was hot. I bought a can of compressed air but decided not to blast the orifice. Jim’s dollar test made it clear the fridge probably was working, but leaking all cold air out the very poorly sealed door. There’s your trouble! The gaskets. Backup ice box would do me fine for now.

Got home, and it was 55°F in there. Googling Dometic website to buy parts turned out to be a waste of time. They don’t like to sell any parts, I guess. Best their fancy website would do is find me the nearest dealership. I went to Tom’s RV to order a new gasket. But Tom said he didn’t think the gasket had failed, and anyway, said it was “pressed” into place in the door. Nobody at Dometic was answering their phones, and Elaine couldn’t pull up an exploded parts list. Maybe they were all out to lunch.

I left Tom’s, go back home inside the trailer and re-study the problem. Feeling like the detective whose boss tells him, go back to the crime scene and look again, harder. That’s when I noticed my fridge door was also just not latching shut. That latch should be catching. Door opens without pressing down on the latch release button. Then, I noticed the blue plastic latch catch on the inside wall was clean busted! Also, the top door hinge is very loose. Door wobbles. (There’s your trouble!) A eureka moment.

Tightened down the 3 screws for the top hinge pin and door now no longer wobbly. Also inspected/cleaned up gasket, confirmed what Tom said: Dometic had indeed made the gasket not removable. Damned if I was going to buy a new door.

Now need a new plastic door latch catch but, being hot on the trail, could not wait days for Dometic. So, went into my garage shop. Searched for something I could use to fabricate a replacement latch catch. Had ¾” square aluminum tubing. Is it perfect? Yes, and, metal beats plastic but if I can’t make this work, well, there’s always calling Dometic.

No bending required, just cut and trim on the table saw and file off burrs as needed. It works! Who knew? Just in case that was only part of the problem I couldn’t stop there so went outside and took apart that orifice thing, blasted it away.

It was 63°F in there at 10 AM. Now for the Moment of Truth: Turned fridge onto propane 5 dots. By 2 PM it was down to 35°F!
Good for you Myron ! would of been nice if Dometic made a better latch in the first place Pat
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:27 AM   #9
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I meant to tell you this at the rally Myron, but you fabrication skills amaze me, all the little items you have made for your Escape, the front box is a work of art. I have visions if you ever lost an appendage that you would disappear into your shop and reappear with a replacement that works as good as the original.....
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:40 PM   #10
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Just installed that inner fridge curtain you gave me, Jim. Thanks much - it's flexibility might make a difference. Also moved my little computer fan to the side so it doesn't push air toward the door so much. Finally, removed door and added a fender washer on lower hinge pin just to raise the door up a hair.

Final summation -- all is so far so good! This morning was 29°F in there.
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File Type: jpg frig1.jpg (101.4 KB, 32 views)
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