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Dometic..cooling..the RV was parked at an extreme slope and ran…

Customer Question
i have an RV with...
i have an RV with a dometic RM3762 or RM 3962 (not sure which one) and it used to take approx 2-3 hours for it to get to the proper refrigerator temp. now it takes 24 hours to reach the proper cooling temp(freezer still gets to proper temp in 2-3 hours), and it happened after we had a situation where the fridge was left running while the RV was parked at an extreme slope and ran out of electric, then gas, and shut itself down. the dometic help person was useless. i need it fixed so that it cools in the previous time frame of 2-3 hours after it is turned on.
Submitted: 12 years ago.Category: RV
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
8/4/2010
RV Mechanic: Steve F., RVIA Certification replied 12 years ago
Steve F.
Steve F., RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 443
Experience: Journeyman and Master RV technician, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineer. RVIA Technical Consultant
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Do you experience the excessive cool down time on both propane and electric modes?

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Customer reply replied 12 years ago

i would say yes but cannot be 100% certain. normally it is plugged into a 50amp power source at home. the normal procedure was to turn on the fridge a few hours before we leave for a trip. now, after the little "incident" a month ago where the fridge was left running while not level, we have to start it 24 hours ahead of leaving on a trip. it is not in propane mode very often, but when it is, it does not seem to cool down at all, it actually seems to start warming back up.

RV Mechanic: Steve F., RVIA Certification replied 12 years ago

Well if the electric mode and propane mode both cause you problem, I am thinking you have damaged the burner tube by it being off-level.
A couple of things happened when you ran it off level. RV Fridges are absorption fridges, which means they do not use a compressor. Therefore, they rely on gravity for the coolant to flow. With the fridge severely off-level, the ammonia could not properly flow from the top of the cooling unit to the bottom. The ammonia is heated into a vapor, which is how it gets to the top of the cooling unit, then it begins to condense while it flows back to the bottom. When it was off-level, the ammonia would probably have been pooling somewhere in the cooling unit tubing, and therefore you were probably not getting proper cooling of the interior while it was off-level. Also, there is a chemical in the tubes with the ammonia that is used to prevent corrosion of the inside of the tubing. It is possible that some of this has crystallized, affecting the ability for the ammonia to flow properly. Sometimes these crystals can be re-suspended and sometimes they can't. The ammonia will eventually settle back into proper flow when the fridge is re-leveled, but the anti-corrosion chemical can easily crystallize in cases of severe tilt, and can easily cause a problem if it doesn't re-suspend, which it probably won't

 

Second, and more importantly, when the fridge is off-level, the flame is not sending it's heat straight up the burner tube, which also acts as a flue. Instead, the flame would have been burning the side of the burner tube, probably doing damage. Also, there is a baffle inside the burner tube that allows the heat from the flame to be maintained and distributed across the burner tube evenly. This baffle is a helical piece of metal that may now be severely burnt and damaged. If this baffle can't do it's job, the burner tube will not adequately and evenly heat up, and the fridge will not cool.

 

You can replace the baffle, but you need to pull the fridge out of the cutout to do so. The baffle is inserted in the TOP of the burner tube, so if you were to pull the fridge, you would see a wire sticking out the top of the burner tube vent, which is the baffle. You can pull that out and inspect it for damage and replace it if it is damaged.

 

It is possible that this problem will start to improve as the absorption cooling cycle is allowed to continue. The ammonia flow MAY re-suspend the crystals, if in fact this is the problem.

 

I recommend that you continue to run the fridge and monitor the situation. Are you experiencing a decrease in cooling efficiency at all?

If the problem doesn't get better, but your fridge eventually cools down all the way, then i would leave it alone. If the fridge never really cools properly, you will have to replace the fridge or the cooling unit. You should replace the baffle if it is damaged. If you are going to pull the fridge to inspect the baffle, be SURE to turn off you propane at the container, and tape off the positive 12V lead.

 

Steve F.
Steve F., RVIA Certification
Category: RV
Satisfied Customers: 443
Experience: Journeyman and Master RV technician, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineer. RVIA Technical Consultant
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