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Old 07-20-2013, 12:02 PM   #1
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Improper OEM install of Refrigerator

The Dometic frig in my new Forest River, Work & Play toy hauler passed the PDI on an overcast day when temps were in the low 80's. When I got it home a few days later, I noticed the frig had trouble staying below 50 degrees when outside temps got above 90 degrees. Open the door a few times and it would start hovering around 55 degrees--not even cool anymore--more like luke warm

Did some online research and noticed quite a few folks were installing small fans behind the frig to improve airflow and cooling. Installed a 120mm, 70 CFM, 12vdc fan just behind the right side of the upper louver, near the condenser coil on the frig. An improvement, but the frig still had trouble staying below 45 degrees when outside temps were in the 90's.

Luckily, the installation instructions for the frig were included with my toy hauler. A quick read revealed the "baffle box" on the rear of the frig had been installed improperly. The baffle box on this particular model is supposed to be less than 1 inch from the rear of the frig. In actuality, it was almost 3 inches away. You'd think it would be better to have more clearance for better ventilation. But, it turns there's more efficient air movement (especially when it's hot outside) when it's closer--the smaller space creates a "venturi" effect.

I guess I could have taken it to the dealer to have it repaired/modified under warranty, but for various reasons I elected to do it myself. Decided to access the area behind the frig via the upper and lower louvers on the outside of my toy hauler. A little tight, but doable--definitely less hassle than moving the frig. I took the existing baffle (which were the correct dimensions, top to bottom, left to right) and moved it closer to the frig about 2 inches using 7 or 8 "L" brackets. Of course, this left about 2 inches of open space between the outside wall and the baffle. I filled in this space with a hefty amount of fiberglass insulation and also left the 120mm fan installed.

These two mods resulted in a significant improvement in cooling! With NO a/c on inside the toy hauler (very hot inside, making the frig work even harder), combined with outside temps of 95-100 degrees, the frig still managed to keep temps down around 36-38 degrees. If I open the frig door and raise the inside temps to approx. 45 degrees, it takes about an hour for temps to drop back down to 36-38 degrees. Wait another hour and the temps dropped to 34-36 degrees. Bottom line, I got about 15 degrees of improvement just by moving the baffle closer to the frig and adding a ventilation fan. In a real camping situation the a/c unit would be operating, dropping inside temps approx. 20 degrees--further improving the performance of the frig.

COLD beer camping on a hot day---yup, that's the ticket
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:18 PM   #2
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Great info
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:32 PM   #3
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Yep it werks! 32 in 6 hours.

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Old 07-20-2013, 12:33 PM   #4
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6 hour mark

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Old 09-18-2013, 10:40 AM   #5
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WP Owner

Thanks for the post, I have a 275ULSBS on order and I was concerned about the side wall venting.
I previously owned a Hi-Low camper that had cooling issues.

Attached is the refrigerator installation manual.

GeoFish
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Dometic Refrigerator Installation.pdf (9.74 MB, 22 views)
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Old 09-18-2013, 11:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geofish View Post
WP Owner

Thanks for the post, I have a 275ULSBS on order and I was concerned about the side wall venting.
I previously owned a Hi-Low camper that had cooling issues.

Attached is the refrigerator installation manual.

GeoFish
Just took a quick look at your attached .pdf. Yup, that's the .pdf version of the hard-copy installation manual I have. The ideal installation uses the roof vent. The side-wall venting is somewhat of a compromise situation. I believe the 1" or less rear clearance (between the of back of the frig and the "baffle") applies to all the frigs. I'd also check the clearance on the insulation around the frig. The insulation was touching the coils on my toy hauler--a definite no-no!

Congratulations on your new 275ULSBS! I assume you'll be picking it up this fall sometime? Unfortunately, you're probably not going to have a good opportunity to really test it until temps get over 85-90 degrees. I would give it a good test as soon as possible in the spring.

Enjoy!
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