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Old 05-20-2019, 08:21 AM   #1
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I'm guessing I probably ruined my fridge...

We packed up from a weekend camping trip yesterday morning and since it is a CG not too far from our home I turned off our fridge just before I got ready to pull out & head home. Except, I didn't - I actually pushed the "Auto" button instead of the On/Off button and didn't realize it.

When I got home it was raining so I just parked the TT in its spot and figured we'd wait till the rain stopped to empty it out. Unfortunately, where the TT gets parked leaves it in a nose down orientation of over 5 degrees. The trailer sat at that angle for around 6 hours before I finally discovered the fridge was still on (DW had already emptied out the food but didn't notice the light was still on). By then, the fins on the back of the fridge were room temperature.

I shut the fridge off then - for real this time. Today I will get the TT level and see if it survived or not. Just wondering, are there any "tricks" I might use when bringing it back on line? Rub it with a rabbit's foot or???
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:29 AM   #2
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We packed up from a weekend camping trip yesterday morning and since it is a CG not too far from our home I turned off our fridge just before I got ready to pull out & head home. Except, I didn't - I actually pushed the "Auto" button instead of the On/Off button and didn't realize it.

When I got home it was raining so I just parked the TT in its spot and figured we'd wait till the rain stopped to empty it out. Unfortunately, where the TT gets parked leaves it in a nose down orientation of over 5 degrees. The trailer sat at that angle for around 6 hours before I finally discovered the fridge was still on (DW had already emptied out the food but didn't notice the light was still on). By then, the fins on the back of the fridge were room temperature.

I shut the fridge off then - for real this time. Today I will get the TT level and see if it survived or not. Just wondering, are there any "tricks" I might use when bringing it back on line? Rub it with a rabbit's foot or???
AFAIK, parked out of level will not harm a RV fridge..other than making it go warm.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:30 AM   #3
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You are probably Ok with only 6 hrs. Let it sit level for a while before starting it Remember don't panic as it will take quite a while to get cold and opening it every hour or two to check will make it worse.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:32 AM   #4
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It will be fine. The ammonia solution will just have to normalize. No harm done.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:32 AM   #5
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Interested to hear what others say.. I had someone tell me it was only an issue if it was ran like that for an extended period of time.. a lot more than 6 hours..

I had one go bad because (this is what the dealer told me) the camper was always stored nose-down. I'm fanatical about keeping it level so I haven't had trouble since then.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:47 AM   #6
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Well, this is encouraging! It's still raining so I won't get it leveled until later today. Once I do that and get it fired up, I'll let ya'll know the results. I hope the "should be fine" folks are correct!
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:52 AM   #7
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It will be fine. The ammonia solution will just have to normalize. No harm done.
Only takes abut a couple of hours once it is turned off.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:56 AM   #8
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I'm guessing I probably ruined my fridge...

Yeah I donít think 5 degrees off level will harm permanently.

In our drive I canít get completely level and probably about 3 degrees off - never had an issue with ours.

Let us know how it goes.
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Old 05-20-2019, 08:57 AM   #9
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My vote is you will be fine.... about half the time I am having fridge problems either A) The thermostat probe has fallen out of that cheap arse clip design or B) I have an empty gas tank.

Be good to hear the end result.
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Old 05-20-2019, 12:49 PM   #10
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Out of level

Trailer does not have to be level on the old type frig need to be level not on the new ones can be more then 5 degrees and work just fine people that say must be level do not know what they are talking about
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:16 PM   #11
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We do a lot of boondocking and while for sleeping purposes we try to get somewhat level, often we are not. Our trailer is a 2011 and it can be pretty far off level and still cool fine. No permanent damage Iím sure.
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Old 05-20-2019, 01:20 PM   #12
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Trailer does not have to be level on the old type frig need to be level not on the new ones can be more then 5 degrees and work just fine people that say must be level do not know what they are talking about
That's not what Dometic says:
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Old 05-20-2019, 03:55 PM   #13
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Coming straight from the Horses mouth(Dometic) I believe there are others commenting on here that do not know what they are talking about.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:08 PM   #14
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Playing devils advocate here but what is acceptable for not being perfectly level then according to Dometic? At what degree is there no "noticeable sloping of RV floor or wall?" I'm new to TT and seems subjective.
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Old 05-20-2019, 04:56 PM   #15
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Playing devils advocate here but what is acceptable for not being perfectly level then according to Dometic? At what degree is there no "noticeable sloping of RV floor or wall?" I'm new to TT and seems subjective.
It is subjective on purpose, gives Dometic legal wiggle room.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:24 PM   #16
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Having dealt a bit in fridge repair ... I can definitely say continuously running a fridge excessively unlevel can and will harm your fridge over time ... It doesn't have to be exactly level, but as close as you can get it. There is a mixture of water, liquid ammonia, hydrogen gas, and sodium chromate, a rust inhibitor inside the gas absorption piping that makes things work. Running a fridge out of level causes the boiler section to overheat and crystallize the sodium chromate. These crystals never go away and eventually plug up the smaller diameters of the runs in the system. This is why people sometimes notice the fridge not working as well as it used to, then quitting all together. It does happen and it does take time, but why chance it? Just make the fridge as level as practical.
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Old 05-20-2019, 05:29 PM   #17
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We had to move our TH due to flooding. Unfortunately the only spots available were on a very aggressive slope. Even with eight inches of blocks under the downhill wheels it was still at least six or more inches out of level.

I thought about the fridge but the event we were at took precedence. I didn’t care if it killed the fridge or not so we ran it on propane for three days. Turned it off for the six hour ride home then turned it back on. Two years later when I sold it the fridge was still working just fine.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:07 PM   #18
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Seems to be OK - YAAAA!

So I leveled the TT up (actually 2 degrees nose down is as close to level as I can get it in our driveway), let it set for a couple hours then fired it up in propane mode. About 4 hours later I checked it and the temp was down in the mid 30's. I'm a happy camper - pun intended!

Regarding how level is good enough - according to my old Dometic manual it is 6 degrees front to back (relative to the actual refrigerator, not the trailer) and 3 degrees side to side. The Cruise Lite manual says the TT should be comfortably level - a pretty ambiguous statement to me.

But here is my real wold experience - I always try to have the trailer within 1 degree (front to back relative to the trailer). At times when I have had it off from that goal (between 2 & 3 degrees) I've found it takes longer for the fridge to cool down.

Bottom line is, I'm glad the fridge is still working and I appreciate the positive feedback - I really didn't want to have to do a fridge repair! I will also be more careful in the future on pushing the right button . I figure that mistakes like that are probably cumulative - like running down the battery. Do it too many times and your going to be SOL!

Thanks again to all!
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:14 PM   #19
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That's not what Dometic says:
This is correct. The issue with extreme out of level operation is that the coolant will not fill the boiler because it gets trapped in the coils. The temperature of the fridge will increase due to loss of efficiency; this causes the burner/heating element to remain on constantly. The boiler will eventually overheat due to low ammonia level to the point of thermal stress cracks and loss of coolant.

If there is no greenish yellow deposit around the boiler section, you should have dodged a bullet.
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Old 05-20-2019, 07:49 PM   #20
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My recollection is that - if the refrigerator is running on propane - an 'off-kilter' trailer can result in flame impinging on the 'chimney' - and can cause serious problems OVER TIME. When traveling in mountainous road - lots of ups and downs will shift the impingment zone around - and it is less likley to cause a problem. BUT - a sustained long grade - might cause problems - and there are products that monitor the chimney temperature and can turn the propane off for a period of time -then restart the propane - to prevent damage.

If you get home and plug the 120VAC to the trailer....then the refrigerator shifts over from propane to an electric heater (about 300 watts - size dependent). That electric heater won't create the heat damage that an off-kilter propane flame can cause.
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