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Old 10-18-2015, 12:25 AM   #1
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Refrigerator won't stay on during travel

We have a forest river A-frame trailer with a Dometic refrigerator. It has a 3 way switch, 12 volt, 120 and propane, when we travel we put it on propane, but, it doesn't stay on when we travel and our food is spoiled. What are we doing wrong?

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Old 10-18-2015, 03:54 AM   #2
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Evidently you will have to experiment with putting a baffle to block off the louvers that are close to the burner. Just start taping something over a few on the inside of the cover. Use regular alum duct tape, not anything that can burn.

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Old 10-18-2015, 04:56 AM   #3
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Used to happen to me when I had my Winnebago MH on windy days. Going down the highway with a strong wind hitting the side where the fridge was would guarantee a flame failure. On my model it would try to relight. Once it tried to relight and it sounded like a shot gun went off. Wife and I both were shook up pretty bad. Thought we were shot at from some highway shooter nut. After we pulled over and inspected the fridge, found no apparent damage from the explosion and felt relieved. We did turn it off for the rest of the trip though. Never again traveled with it on gas, especially when windy.

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Old 10-22-2015, 06:23 PM   #4
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Sorry if this is too obvious to you, but do you have 12 volts to the refrigerator when you are driving? It needs 12 volts for the circuit board to open the gas valve and ignite the flame.

Of course, I'm assuming you have a DSI model, not a standing pilot.
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:02 PM   #5
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Is battery switched on? Do you get a pure flame at the stove to be sure the line is clear?
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Old 11-04-2015, 03:07 PM   #6
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I'm not sure whether you have a High Wall a-frame or standard. The way the fridges operate are different between the 2. The standard a-frame has a continuous run fridge with no thermostat or automatic relight on propane. The following is for a standard a-frame:

1) you have to run the fridge at least 12 hours before traveling to get it pre-cooled. I plug my a-frame in to a standard socket using an adapter, and turn on the fridge to "9" coldest setting on AC. This also charges my battery before the trip.

2) Many pop-ups (a-frame or tent) struggle to keep the fridge working on propane while being towed because the exhaust is in the side of the camper, not the roof. And they don't relight themselves (except some high wall models).

3) The technique that works best for these pop-ups (a-frame or tent) is to pre-cool the fridge, switch to DC while being towed, then switch to AC or propane at the campsite. The DC cooling is usually weaker than the AC or propane, so it will only hold the fridge, not cool it any further.

4) Upon arrival, I set the propane or AC to max cool for the 1st 12 hours or so. The next morning, if stuff is starting to freeze, I back off the cooling to "7". Check cooling about every 12 - 24 hours and adjust.

There are easy mods to make these small fridges cool more efficiently. Some are pretty good as they are, some need the mods to cool enough in hot weather.

just my experiences
Fred W
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then 2000 Coleman Westlake PUP
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Old 12-11-2015, 07:51 PM   #7
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Thank you OldCoot we took your advice and it worked.

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refrigerator, travel

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