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Robert
Robert, RV Mechanic
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 12185
Experience:  18 yrs. RV experience including Cummins North West, Country Coach, Monaco Coach - vendor certified.
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I have a pop up tent trailer with a small Dometic

Customer Question

hello,
i have a pop up tent trailer with a small Dometic refrigerator that isn't cooling. it's a 3 way model, 12v, 110v, and LPG, and I've tested all 3 methods of power with no success. this leads me to believe that it's the refrigerant but i don't know enough to know what to look for. please help. thanks in advance -rob
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: RV
Expert:  Robert replied 1 year ago.
Hi my name is Robert....

Did the fridge actually light off on LP and you got no cooling? Understand about the AC and DC....

Robert
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

if by light off you mean fired up then yes. the coil got warm but no cooling in the box.

Expert:  Robert replied 1 year ago.
OK

And did you hear a gurgle, see a yellowish powder on the back of the fridge or smell ammonia at all?

What is the make and model of the fridge?

Robert
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

no stains or odd smells. the make is dometic, unsure of model number. the trailer year is '02 and the unit is stock if that helps narrow it down.

Expert:  Robert replied 1 year ago.
OK

They have all kinds of different models. Normally if you get no cooling at all on any source the problem is with the cooling unit. IF you want to get back to me with the model number I can have a better look.... Robert
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok, i'm away from the unit currently but ill get it and get back to you today.

Expert:  Robert replied 1 year ago.
Sounds good, no hurry on my end, I am around daily and respond when I can.....

Robert
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok, it's a domestic RM 4223. it draws 10a 12vdc, so, not the most efficient thing on the planet. hope this helps. should i be hearing the compressor pumping or is it too small for movement internally?

Expert:  Robert replied 1 year ago.
OK

It does not have a compressor, an absorption style fridge will have no moving parts, the solution in the cooling unit will circulate. Feel the coils on the back again and make sure they are warm from top to bottom, any cool spots or very hot spots would indicate the cooling unit is not working. A cooling unit can become blocked OR rupture, for a rupture you might see a yellowish powder on the back of the fridge, smell ammonia or hear a gurgle when you turn it on, for a blockage you might not have any symptoms at all but no cooling on all sources. The only other item this could be is a faulty thermostat. Click HERE for some info on this fridge..... Robert

Also make sure the fridge is level, if it is not level get it level and let it sit a few hours and then try again....
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok,

the bottom most tube, the one that leads directly from the bulbous object, the "compressor", does get quite hot, hotter than is comfy to touch for more than a spit second but nowhere near an ignition type temp. this has been noted in both the LPG and 110 modes but not tested in 12v mode. is this indicative of blockage? if so, whats the procedure for un-blocking? i've tried tapping all tubes in hopes of dislodging something but i can't tell anything.

Expert:  Robert replied 1 year ago.
OK

There really is no cure when the cooling unit gets blocked, you can try and pull the fridge out and flip it a few times then let is stand level for a few hours and see if it works. IF possible run it outside as it would also have the proper ventilation. IF it does not cool still I would have to say the cooling unit is at fault. Robert
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

what do you mean by run it outside. it's already exposed to fresh air. does this mean i replace the whole unit of can the cooling system be repaired?

is there a means to by pass the thermostat, like bypassing a switch, for the sake of diagnostics?

Expert:  Robert replied 1 year ago.
OK

If it is exposed that is fine, normally when you pull them out you can run them on level ground not enclosed at all...

I am not aware of any testing on that model for the thermostat. Normally the cooling unit would have to be replaced OR the fridge. The cooling unit will cost about 1/2 of what a new fridge will so many owners will opt for a new fridge as you would get a warranty.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

ok, being that it's nearly 2o years old and draws 10 amps for 1.9 cu ft, can i expect higher efficiency from a new unit?

would you recommend a dometic portable cooler?

Expert:  Robert replied 1 year ago.
OK

I was looking and not even sure if you could get a thermostat if it was bad due to the age of this. Sorry for the delay I had to cross reference your model and figure out the specs for that fridge. A Norcold N260.3 will fit right in.... Click HERE and you can see the specs on it. Click HERE for an idea on cost..... Robert

IF you are satisfied with my efforts please feel free to select a rating... Robert