Originally Posted by DobeFanatic
Just back from a trip, used a wireless temp monitor and I can tell you that depending on the weather, that frig will vary hugely in reliability. Be very cautious about meats. Coldest spot is at bottom of frig and under fins. I was on shore power first night and had power failure, temp when up to 54. Switched to propane, set at 4-5 as recommended in manual, still varied as night temps down to 45, frig went to 21. I restocked ice in the cooler to be safer, very frustrating.
The more stuff in your fridge, and the less you open it, the more consistent the inside temps will be. Also, 5 is generally my minimum setting for the fridge. I typically start off at 7-8 when I first start the fridge, then back off a number on a daily basis as stuff starts to freeze inside. On hot days (80+) I'll start off at max cool until the temp gets down where I want it.
Having mostly camped in bear country in PUPs, I'm reluctant to store meat or any other food that is not sealed in the fridge. It goes in the cooler which goes in the bear box (if provided) or in the van. So the fridge has mostly beverage cans and similar - which is not a crisis if the fridge isn't doing well.
Now that I'm in Colorado (bears aren't as agressive with pop-ups as they are in California), I'm looking to mod the fridge to get consistently safe temps.
There are several mods you can do, which will increase the efficiency of the fridge, enabling it to better hold inside temps on a hot day.
The first is to improve the natural air flow through the back compartment coils with baffles. My plywood panel between the fridge and the sink was actually hot to the touch after running the fridge for 4 days, so I know I have stagnant air in the compartment. I'm using some Reflectix to line mine. The idea is to make a smooth path for airflow from the bottom grill to the top grill - airflow that goes through the cooling fins at the top back of the fridge and not everywhere else.
One fellow moved the fridge electrical controls to the bottom compartment because he felt they blocked airflow in the factory configuration. I may do the same because I also like having the electrical and gas controls accessed through the same grill.
Some folks go a step further and add computer fans to force better airflow through the grills and the cooling fins. I'm going to see how the baffles work before I add any extra 12V power consumption to the batteries.
A circulating 12V computer fan on the inside of the fridge will help even out the temps inside the fridge (and the fridge efficiency). I believe (with no data to support) that this ranks right up there with the baffles in improving the fridge.
just my thoughts and experiences
present: 2014 Rockwood A122 a-frame
2008 Hyundai Entourage (minivan)
camping Colorado and adjacent states on weekends
before: 2000 Coleman Westlake PUP
1993 Ford Explorer
camping Lake Tahoe 9 days at a time, occasional coastal CA