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Old 05-13-2013, 01:41 PM   #1
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Problem with getting the Freezer and Refrigerator to get cold

OK... got a small challenge here and not sure if it is me or I need to arrange for service. We bought our 2011 Berkshire 390BH a couple of weeks ago used with 13K miles on it. It's practically brand new and we love it. The other day I approach the RV, run in the gas (just turn the knob on the Tank), set the Freig/Freezer to AUTO and Level 5 on Temp. The lever on the icemaker is set to on. Thus it should work... get cold and work on Propane, the generator or Shorepower when hooked up. I run the generator all day while tinkering on other things. After 8 hours the Temp drops from 60 to 57. I then turn off the generator and turn on the inverter (I am testing something with the DVR an satellite I installed overnight.) When I come out the next morning I am expecting a cold frig, freezer down nice and low and fresh ice. Instead, I have a warm frig and no ice and the freezer is showing 60 but still on. Is there something I am missing here? Is there something I need to do to the gas? A pilot light I did not light, a button i did not switch on??? Hmm.... I mist be missing something as this seems almost to easy. Any advice or thoughts?
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:22 PM   #2
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Do you have propane flowing to the stove and water heater? If not, check the switch by the propane detector. Mine had to be switched off and on this spring after waking up the unit after its winter nap.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:13 PM   #3
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We have water heater and stove gas. That's good. Hmmmmm
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:19 PM   #4
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I had this happen to me...... Not a new coach, but fridge never used. It's a Dometic four door with ice maker.

First tech took a VERY cursory look and claimed it need a new cooling unit..... $2200. Get second tech; Dometic trained. He tested for over an hour and said the first tech was probably right.

But then as a last thought, he tapped on the coil (behind the lower outside door) with a rubber hammer. VOILA!! A working fridge!!!

Apparently, they can get a bubble stuck in the system somewhere and tapping on the coil causes it to break loose. He said it's sorta like Cholesterol in your veins.

And before anybody posts..... Yes, I already told the DW if I ever have a Cholesterol problem just beat on me with a rubber mallet!

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:31 PM   #5
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LOL..... good thought. I'll try tapping a vein and see what gives. Thanks boowho!!!
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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LOL..... good thought. I'll try tapping a vein and see what gives. Thanks boowho!!!
Just like the other day, we watched a news report on how if your dog gets snake-bit it would cost $2500 to save it's life. If a human gets snake-bit it'll cost $100,000 to save his/her life.

I immediately told the DW if I ever got snake-bit, take me to a vet!!

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Old 05-13-2013, 07:33 PM   #7
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Make sure your propane detector is turned on. If it is off it wont' allow the fridge to operate. It's on the floor across from the fridge.
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Old 05-15-2013, 07:40 AM   #8
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I had almost the exact same experience. However the fridge worked great the two weeks we stayed in it right after purchasing used from the dealer. Even the ice maker worked.

Then, it spent 10 days in the shop getting setup to tow my Jeep. I bring both home to load in the evening, turning on as you describe between gen and propane, and the following morning it's only at 57. I try again the following night in a campground, still 57. So, I turned it off (the manual says if it isn't working don't keep trying to turn it on, take it in), packed the fridge with ice and assume we're going to need to take to shop.

A couple days later I had a little time, I posted on this forum or maybe iRV2 and a guy (Herk) responds with a diagram showing how everything is supposed to work - basically the cooling unit is a long tube with two different liquids so that the expansion of one compresses the other producing cold.

Anyway, from that I conclude that if the system hasn't leaked, there's little to go wrong if the burner end of the system is heating up. Maybe I'm wrong but that was my conclusion.

So I start troubleshooting, and noted that when on propane, I can hear the gas flowing and the ignite, and the pipe getting warm - so I followed the advice to tap on the tubes, then left it on again and what do you know, it works!!

What a relief. Anyway, since then I've noticed that it occasionally it doesn't seem to work on A/C, so then I'll switch it to propane. That's been three weeks and over 2000 miles, and seems to be working. Strange.

Bottom line, if the burner ignites, try the tapping on the coils as Boowho suggests....

I'll tell you about the ice maker another time.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:55 AM   #9
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Bottom line, if the burner ignites, try the tapping on the coils as Boowho suggests....

I'll tell you about the ice maker another time.
I haven't checked myself, but my "hammering tech" told me that you could tell exactly where the blockage is by feeling the tubing. If it's hot one place and cold in another, then the blockage is right where hot meets cold.

I've also heard of turning the whole fridge upside down to dislodge the bubble, but I just ain't up to that task!!

Finally, how HARD to hit it is subjective at best. Don't want to break it of course, but my tech whacked it really hard.

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Old 05-17-2013, 08:59 AM   #10
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Well let's see. I banged on the pipes... No love. I even checked the flame color. Looked a bit orange and as I understand it a blue color is what i should see. Called a tech for some pointers and had him come out to give me a hand. So... I turned off the gas, got a wire brush and cleaned out the Carbon build up in the lines so it's nice and clean. Now that was interesting. So now the lines are clean and flame is blue. Ran it overnight again on Propane only... and still no love. :-( Still looking for a solution. The thing gets cold while using the generator but not the propane. Hmmmmmmmmmmm
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:15 AM   #11
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Hmmmmmm indeed. The only difference is how the system is heated. If it works using the generator I don't see why it wouldn't work using propane. Very strange indeed. Wish I could give you some insight as to what should be checked. I would call Dometic to see if they can give you any leads (I am assuming it is a Dometic).
Let us know what the problem was when you get it working.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:27 AM   #12
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Dometic it is. Gonna be giving them a call first thing this morning. Hopefully they don't just tell me... bring it to the dealer.... buy a new unit. LOL. Fingers crossed, :-)
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:37 AM   #13
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Dometic it is. Gonna be giving them a call first thing this morning. Hopefully they don't just tell me... bring it to the dealer.... buy a new unit. LOL. Fingers crossed, :-)
Might see if the chimney reset button is tripped. Follow the red wires up the chimney and press the button.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:51 PM   #14
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Well so here the scoop. According to Dometic.... it is the Cooling Unit... which seems strange. They have agreed to replace it under warranty as I have one of those 2 plus 3 extended warranty on the Frig... so no out of pocket. Still doe not make sense but the verdict is........ REPLACE THE UNIT!
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Old 05-19-2013, 09:27 PM   #15
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Well so here the scoop. According to Dometic.... it is the Cooling Unit... which seems strange. They have agreed to replace it under warranty as I have one of those 2 plus 3 extended warranty on the Frig... so no out of pocket. Still doe not make sense but the verdict is........ REPLACE THE UNIT!
Way to go, Doctor...... Replacing that cooling unit is around $2200!

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Old 05-19-2013, 10:33 PM   #16
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Our Dometic just died. I turned it on four days prior to our departure date and on the morning before it was still showing 68 degrees on the internal thremometer. According to a post on another newsgroup, there's a good check to see if it's dead.

Apparently, if the cooling unit springs a leak, there's a reaction between the ammonia cooling fluid and the propane powering the system, that produces sulphur. If you open the outside panel and see a ring of yellow flour-like powder at the base of the flue, the cooling unit is dead. The ammonia has leaked away.

The general consensus is that, if you're going to get professional repair help and your fridge is more thah 10 years old, it's better to replace the whole thing rather than just the cooling unit. Labor costs are much greater to replace the cooling unit than to install a new fridge, and the delta for the new fridge is only about 10%.

We'll be getting our 11-year-old fridge replaced next week.
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