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Old 10-07-2016, 06:20 PM   #1
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RM4223 Refrigerator Propane Cleanup

I got a lot of good information on the forums about the operation of refrigerators on propane but could not find a couple of things that might have helped: What does a good flame look like? Can I clean the flue without pulling the refrigerator?

Last week we were boondocking and one day I noticed a sooty, stinky smoke coming from the flue of the fridge. I didn't have an air compressor with me to attempt cleaning the jet. The soot was stinking up the inside of the camper and putting a big black stain right above the chimney exit. I rigged up an empty beer can as a "chimney extender" to get the sooty smoke beyond the edge of the camper so we could at least try to get some cooling. Gradually, the fridge would no longer cool but we were about to go home then anyway.

From researching the forums here I was pretty sure either the flue was plugged or the flame was not correct.

Now that we were home, I pulled the jet/ignitor assembly and in the spirit of voiding the warranty and burning down the trailer, I took before and after pictures. I am adding pictures of the flame before and after cleaning it with compressed air. In these pictures, I have removed the burner assembly from its usual position at the base of the chimney just to see the flame clearly.

I would guess just that little bit of yellow flame was enough to make things sooty. I also removed the T-shaped chimney and was able to remove that twisty ribbon (I think they call it the flue baffle) and clean it without pulling the fridge out of the camper!

After putting everything back together and being amazed there were no extra screws laying around I fired up the burner and in two hours the fridge was below 36 degrees! There is no smoke and the exhaust smells fine, but you probably don't want to smell it for too long.

I know a lot of others have posted great information about these refrigerators and I thought perhaps a couple of pics might help too.

Cheers!
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Old 10-08-2016, 10:02 AM   #2
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Good pics and good information. proper flame and air flow are the secret to good operation of a fridge on propane or elect.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:07 PM   #3
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Thanks for posting this. The manual says you have to pull the fridge to clean the flue and baffle. But at least in your case, that's not necessarily correct.
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Old 10-15-2016, 07:12 AM   #4
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Pulling the fridge

Hey Bama Rambler:

Yes, everything I read started with "Remove the unit from the trailer..." Yikes. And maybe there are some configurations that require that, but I had plenty of room. Now maybe they advise that because part of the cleaning process is to run a brush down the flue and that might be difficult if you don't have a clear shot over the flue?

While I was playing with the burner lit, I turned the thermostat up and down and noticed that when you hit the cutoff point, the flame drops to very small. I always wondered if the when you turned it up for more cooling, was the flame correspondingly larger? But it seems like the flame has two levels; cooling and idle.

All in all, this is a great refrigerator and the ammonia refrigeration system is pretty simple and efficient. I'm really glad I am not trying to work on a compressor or condensor in there!
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Old 02-25-2017, 04:39 PM   #5
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An Expensive Spider

Wanted to add a note to this refrigerator thread...

We went camping last weekend to Shades State Park. It's rustic. Went to light the refrigerator and the flame was kind of small, but it lit.

Before I could get the cover back on, two little flames started streaming out of the sides of the burner! These two holes would normally draw air in to mix with the propane on its way to the burner. But in this case there were two flames about an inch and half tall and yellow. They were quickly melting wires and creating smoke.

I shut down the gas and of course I had to try it a couple more times just to make sure. Each time, the flame in the burner would jump down to those holes, light up and start to burn up the camper.

So we finished our trip using the generator to cool off the fridge for an hour or so a day, it was quite cold at night anyway.

Once we got home, I took the burner assembly apart and put on a 10x Jeweler's Loupe to look inside. I shone a light in the burner end and put my loupe right up to the end where the gas line attaches. There was a spider in there, and with the magnification of the loupe, it looked like it weighed a pound or so!

I blew him out with compressed air into a pile of snow, put everything back together and it works great again.

I really think that spider might have burned up our trailer if I hadn't noticed that funny yellow glow. I had almost put the cover back on!!
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Old 02-26-2017, 02:25 AM   #6
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On our A122, we had unreliable operation of the Dometic 4223 fridge. Some trips it worked great, other trips it would barely cool. Sometimes the plywood baffles between the fridge and the sink compartment would get quite hot.

There's a thread in the A-frame section about trying to fix this problem. The cause is the poorly designed Dometic vent panels that won't pass air unless it's nearly a hurricane blowing. I lined the compartment with Reflectix to insulate the baffles and to prevent hot air from collecting at the top above the vent. Helped some, but didn't solve the problem.

Following the lead of others, I then installed a 12V computer case fan on the top exhaust vent using tie wraps. What a difference the fan makes, and it only draws 70 milliamps. I have to dial propane or AC back to quite low to keep the fridge from freezing with the fan on. In cold weather, I just turn the fan off (I put a switch on the fan).

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Old 02-26-2017, 02:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinneweeseMI View Post
Wanted to add a note to this refrigerator thread...

We went camping last weekend to Shades State Park. It's rustic. Went to light the refrigerator and the flame was kind of small, but it lit.

Before I could get the cover back on, two little flames started streaming out of the sides of the burner! These two holes would normally draw air in to mix with the propane on its way to the burner. But in this case there were two flames about an inch and half tall and yellow. They were quickly melting wires and creating smoke.

I shut down the gas and of course I had to try it a couple more times just to make sure. Each time, the flame in the burner would jump down to those holes, light up and start to burn up the camper.

So we finished our trip using the generator to cool off the fridge for an hour or so a day, it was quite cold at night anyway.

Once we got home, I took the burner assembly apart and put on a 10x Jeweler's Loupe to look inside. I shone a light in the burner end and put my loupe right up to the end where the gas line attaches. There was a spider in there, and with the magnification of the loupe, it looked like it weighed a pound or so!

I blew him out with compressed air into a pile of snow, put everything back together and it works great again.

I really think that spider might have burned up our trailer if I hadn't noticed that funny yellow glow. I had almost put the cover back on!!
You must have some really good karma.
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