Rv Refrigerator Repair, No 1 Reason Why Your Rv Fridge Will Not Get Cold




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Andrew Armstrong: The best thing i ever done was pull my fire hazard in waiting "No it won't cool" out and put it on the curb and replaced it with a GE/with ice maker. 8 years later i have had ZERO problems with the GE. It always cools perfectly on level ground, going up hill, going down hill, leaning left, leaning right. What was funny was all the snickering and rude remarks that were tossed my way over using a "forbidden" residential style refrigerator in an RV. Go look at what all the new RV's are using for refrigerators. That says it all. I dry camped for five days on 3 house batteries plus 1 15 watt solar panel and 2 to 3 hours gen use a evening. Not one time did the GE, on an inverter, pull the batteries dead or to low to use other 12 volt sources in my RV. And not one time have i had a gen start to recharge the batteries, as my set up does this automatically.. Why people still insist on fire hazard absorption refrigerators in there RV is beyond me. Battery technology is awesome, some of the solar panels out there is awesome. So why not have a awesome "home" refrigerator that keeps your food at the correct temperature without the risk of burning your RV down and does not need constant costly repairs or added fans to work properly. Not to mention the extreme cost difference you will save.

Lori Hoover: We have a '77 Airstream with Dometic RM100 refrigerator that just started not getting cold. It was frosted up and we defrosted it and now it won't get cold but the freezer works great. Up until that point it would get super cold. We run it on the electric not on the propane. Thanks for any help on how to fix this problem.

mark evans: How do you put the suggested level in the freezer when at camp and with food in freezer compartment. Under 3 days, use dry ice.It melts dry as well.

Ron Davis: Hello I have a Norcold N61X Refer. I live in my 37' Jayco. Now I saw a wire on the fins with a clip in my refer. The clip was rusted but the sensor looked good. Don't now how to test it. Both the refer and freezer are not working. I run on 120 volts only. Do I need a new refer. I hope not I'm on Social Security. Any ideas how to see about getting this fixed? My rig and the refer is level. Any suggestions you can give would be great. I live in Idaho Springs Colorado. It has been snowing. Thanks

Johnny DeBarge: matt don't know if youll see this video about fridge repair but I cant open the first video

Gary Campbell: OK after reading and re-reading the paperwork, I've come to understand clearly what they want to do to get the cord up to the eyebrow. Now, since I'm living out of the fridge now in the desert, I've decided to wait and eat the stuff up in my freezer and then do the switch when my frozen load is low so if the whole shooting match fails for some reason, I won't lose a lot of food. Thanks again for your site. I'll get back and let you know how it worked in about a month's time.

scottntexas: No, the freezer is only cool, it does not freeze. In my old trailer i had to junk the fridge from factory, a dometic, and purchase a compact electric fridge. Hoping that wont be necessary with this newer trailer. Im moving to Phoenix very soon, where its triple digit weather much of the year.

Gary Campbell: Matt, I got the part Thermister for the Norcold. The paperwork is confusing... It says drill a 5/16" hole through the cabinet at locating dimple. Why can't I just tape the new wire to the old one and pull it through? Where is this dimple? Use a 3/16" x 16" rod and push the connector through the cabinet. Not sure here if I'm pushing the connector end of the new thermister through the wall of the box? There was no new clip to clip on the new thermister, any ideas? Insert changing device, a 30" x 3/8" tube in 5/8" hole (at eyebrow access) lower cable and find connector through lower door vent door secure connector and pull up through tube and make new connection. Can you shed some light on the pushing the connector through the cabinet. Thanks, Gary

laronis: WOW, so complicated I did not even log in my normal name. I am escalante58.

scottntexas: By the way, my fride is a 2 way, and i only use the 120v setting.

laronis: wow, youtube has become very complicated from the early days. took me forever to log in. anyway, thank you for the info!!!

Gary Campbell: Matt, Thanks for your video. I live with a Norcold 8683 gas/ac unit that continually freezes. I am in the desert and living on propane and manage it by shutting it off when the interior temp of the lower box gets down in the 20's. Can you advise me as to repair or I love how it keeps everything nice and cold, but I want to be safe and not have to fool with it. Thanks so much for your suggestions. By the way, I also have to replace my black water tank and it would be great to have a video of something like that to inform people like me to have to do it themselves because we can't afford anything else these days. Regards, Gary

scottntexas: I live in a camper trailer, it is a 1996 Salem Cobra, with a norcold fridge. Most of the year it works flawlessly, during the summer it barley works. The freezer stays cool, and the fridge is warm. I live in the desert, so its not uncommon to have triple digit weather. I estimate my fridge and freezer are about 6.5 cu. ft. Is it possible to get it to work in the high heat of the desert? I had an old airstream before this one, with the same troubles. 

escalante58: I have a 2009 20’ Van RV with a 2 way (12/120) Dometic refrigerator (does not use propane). Do I have to keep this RV level when parking also? My understanding is the problem of keeping the RV level was for propane refrigerators only and I did not have to worry about it. Thanks in advance.

Matt Willis: Well he never lost volume but he ran the rig off level many time overheating the mix and eventually weakened it to a point it would no longer cool properly. The same thing happened to another customer with an older Airstream. He is on his third fridge this one was a 2010 RM2810 No sign of leakage and he finally admitted he did not even own a level. I tested it and the mix was weak. Lou I think you burnt the mix. contact me and I will tell you how to test it. Matt

Jubilee1009: Thank you, Matt. It's a Dometic DM2652RB Americana RV Refrigerator 2-Way. Great idea with a regular refrigerator if we can't get this one to work.

Nazir Stones: Hello Matt, The fridge has quit on me twice in the last month, when parked, This is a 2014 Freelander 30' RV! Any idea! The ground is fairly leveled

richard83813: matt; have fridges improved since 2-18-2012 as far as needing to keep them level? am wanting to put 1 in a van, very hard to get those level for a fridge

Matt Willis: Well apparently it was level enough to work for the last 3 years, with that said I would have to know the make and model of the fridge to tell you where to start. I can tell you this, If your rv is going to be used as a guest home behind your house for ant length of time, you should buy a park model fridge basically a household fridge the will fit in the same place. Make sure you keep the rv fridge if the cabinet is in good condition. If you sell the rv you can fix it later.or give a discount.

Jubilee1009: Thank you so very much, Matt!! We'll sure give it a try and let you know the outcome.

Matt Willis: I don't exactly understand your question? The moisture problem is easy, as I said earlier. Unless you own a $5000.00 Norcold Polarmax fridge with auto defrost. all other rv fridges have a problem with frost/ice build up the best way to limit the problem is to not put open containers in your refrigerator/freezer also if you in a high moisture area and open and close the fridge allot you will get a build up of ice. The other problem could be a failing cooling unit.

Matt Willis: Infact your entire cooling unit is made of steel tubing unlike your household fridge which uses copper tubing we all know steel rust so why not use copper? Your Rv fridge uses Ammonia as a refrigerant your household fridge uses Freon, and Ammonia is like hydrochloric acid to copper and yet it does not harm steel. By the way household fridges can be as much as 30 degrees of level and still work, that's why they use them in boats instead of ammonia absorption fridge.

Matt Willis: Here is what happens if you continuously run you fridge off level. I just had a 91 Servel S820 dometic that the cooling unit was in mint condition ( no rust on the evaporator) and it had loss some pressure but not much. When I tested the aqua ammonia mix the the ammonia was weak, now this gentleman has owned this rv since new and obviously he had not used it much or the rv fridge would have shown signs of corrosion on the evaporator. So how did the coolant loose ammonia? To be continued.

Matt Willis: I tell anyone in a van it it better to get a 12/120 compressor type refrigerator they are much more forgiving and can run as much as 30 degrees off level and still work fine. When you get a rv the size of a van people tend to treat them as a car and forget about parking with their (ammonia absorption) rv fridge left on. The only pitfall is adding an extra battery and maybe a solar panel on the roof to keep your 12/120 fridge happy an running.

Jason Zinn: Hi Matt, Are you still servicing fridges in Southern California? Have a Norcold that needs help and haven't been able to reach you.

Matt Willis: If you see bright yellow powder around the burner then you have a leak and the cooling unit must be replaced. Don't believe the tech that tells you it is not worth fixing, If your fridge looks good and the door seal is in good shape it is worth fixing. Norcold and Dometic both sell replacement cooling units, and there are good re-manufactured units out there for less money. Sibur was the last rv fridge that you could not replace the cooling unit and they went out of business, I wonder why?

Matt Willis: Hello Roger, I also like your site. I also have been developing a training course that covers everything from safely discharging your unit to capturing and recycling all of the ammonia mix, it also covers prints for bending jigs for making your own evaporators, charging wrench, and charging station, Basically a turnkey rebuilding course that optimizes everything I have learn in the last 6 years. It's on hold while I tool up for my new design of cooling units. Starting with the L1200.

coachmanelite: My Norcold refrig works well when it is parked but while driving it creates condensation in the refrig. Last rip was in the mountains for about 8 hrs and all cans were covered in condensation. Any suggestions?

Lou DiBello: Is this possible indication of blockage at top of boiler pipe? If so, what would cause this if it was working perfectly and has not been run off level? Especially sitting level and just being on how would it develop a blockage? Thanks for any info this is driving me crazy

Matt Willis: I have gone as far as I can with re-building cooling units. The next step is teaching and manufacturing new units, I have R&D enough from doing chemical analysis of metals to trying every charging method out there including yours. I believe I can ad something to the industry.

Matt Willis: I know what you mean by loosing time over not listening to the people that re-manufacture these units for a living. Yesterday I went out to a warranty issue of a customer I had recently installed one of my units in he said it was working fine when he took it home but by the morning it had stopped. He had it running when I arrived and he was parked on a incline noticeably off level with his boiler section way too hot. No one warranties running your fridge off level.

ccuinhell: Hi, I was wondering if you can help, I have a norcold m# 8683 freezer is super cold, fridge, the aluminum fins are only frosting up on the left side and doesn't seem to keep thing as cold as it once did. Thanks if you can help

Matt Willis: Ammonia absorption refrigerators all have the same problem they need the coolant to be able to flow in a closed loop cycle your evaporator tubes which pull the heat out of the fridge has to be at a gradual decent to the bottom. It is the nature of the beast of these types of fridges, so if the liquid stalls from being too much off level the fridge will not get as cold or stop working all together.

Lou DiBello: Hi Matt, I have a Dometic RM2620. Have had intermittent issuers since last year, it was manufactured 2009. Last year my service guy removed it and "burped" it. I had run it off level at some points not knowing at that time that it was so critical. Anyhow, after burping, it worked fine for rest of the year. I always left it plugged in when parked/stored. It is level. At one point is stopped cooling and I parked it with front end down at sharp angle (burner down).

Jubilee1009: Matt, my 78 year old mother lives in an RV behind our house, I didn't know the RV had to be leveled for the refrigerator/freezer work properly, she has been living in the same RV for the last 3 years. This past weekend her refrigerator/freezer totally quit. Is there any hope for repairs or should I look for a new refrigerator/freezer for her? So glad I ran across your video!

Matt Willis: Even though your rv fridge will work on a winding mountain road it still may struggle a bit to keep temp. All rv fridges have a problem with moisture, depending on your area climate i.e. near the ocean or lakes there is more moisture than the desert. If you have open containers or put hot food in the fridge before it cools down there will be condensation. See if your thermometer reads the same when you get to your destination as when it is sitting. Make sure it gets cold on gas and electric.

Matt Willis: If your back home and parked try it on AC sometimes driving the flame gets blown around and goes out but in that case your check light should have gone on. sometimes the door does not get closed all the way and you get an air leak. what I would do is make sure your rig is level and try it again on AC check the temp at the hottest part of the day. If everything is fine switch to gas and do the same. Let me know if it is cooling properly if not we can check a few other things.

Matt Willis: Just to let a few of you know how bad running your fridge off level can be, it takes the proper balance of Ammonia, Water and Hydrogen to make your cooling unit pull heat from the inside of your rv fridge. And since your fridge does not have a compressor like your house fridge (in fact your cooling unit has no moving parts), it uses heat to make cold, (either a heating element or a small flame) and works more like a moonshine still. I am running out of characters so read my next post

Reddsmorris1: So if your a ful time rv-er and travel all the time then you need to keep the fridg empty?

Matt Willis: My course also covers basic welding techniques how to make charging stems for Dometics and how to weld new ones and crimp the Norcold type.where to buy the materials for all the support items, from the hydrometers, site glass, 5/16 heavy wall stem material, hydraulic crimping, the tool. and every what if a customer can throw at you. My thoughts on teaching someone is teach them everything they would need to know and from A to Z

Jubilee1009: Matt, that worked!!! (Big Smile)...freezer is freezing and refrigerator is cold!! So now to check out the access to the heating elements. I can't thank you enough!! thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!

Matt Willis: That is a great question, You have a Dometic fridge with an compressor just like your household fridge, the best thing about that is it can run as much as 30 degrees off level and still work fine. That is a major plus for these people that swap out their propane fridges for household one in the bigger rv's If you plan on never going dry camping and your fridge is need of a cooling unit it is something to consider. Although it may hurt the resale value unless you sell it to some of like mind.

Matt Willis: That is a very good question, This will eventually happen to all rv fridges the freezer section freezes but the fridge does not get cold enough to keep your food safe. Your cooling unit (the part that actually makes the cold) is starting to loose its charge.

Matt Willis: The degrees on the older Dometics with the horizontal freezer tubes is much tighter than the newer models, and I rebuild cooling units for a living there are so many variances to consider when leveling your fridge like only leveling it in the freezer due to years of your cabinet absorbing moisture will cause your interior to distort except on the aluminum in the freezer which will not change, the degrees that are given came from Norcold, which originally were more forgiving than Dometic

Hernan Lawless: Do my batteries have anything to do with my Refrigerator not working? I have a Dometic Model #RM2611. They are not charged and I have never had a charger on them. getlawless@gmail.com

Lou DiBello: It started again, ran great with full total cooling. At that time I began turning it off after using for 3 days at a time or so. No problems, did this cycle at least 5 or 6 times, start it up, it cools right down, I am careful to run it level, turn off park it. Start it again in a week or two same thing. Last week I decided to leave it run when parked (level) and after a total of 6 days running (parked for 3 days) it simply stopped cooling overnight. No ammonia smell what soever.

Matt Willis: Hello Lou; Ever since the early 80's when Dometic changed their boiler design on the cooling units and put the percolator tube inside the boiler, the process of flipping a fridge over to burp it has become obsolete. If you do run it off level it is as simple as turning off the fridge letting it cool down maybe overnight and starting it back up.in most cases everything will start to work fine . if the unit is still holding pressure. However read the flip side of running it off level.

Lou DiBello: I have checked heating element with meter/ohms law to determine wattage, seems within 10% of 295w spec. Tried to run it on gas also does not want to cool. Flue gets hot, pipes stay cold. I have noticed the shelf between freezer and frig section seems warm after running for a few hours but not starting to cool.

Matt Willis: I need make and model, remember rv fridges are very simple as far as their basic operation. they use a small flame or a heating element to make cold, so the first thing you want to do is go to your back acsess panel behind the fridge and see if the boiler is getting hot (that is the round sheet metal tube going up the right side of your fridge) DO NOT TOUCH IT !!! IT CAN BURN YOU JUST PUT YOUR HAND CLOSE TO IT. If it is getting hot and you are level then I can tell you other things to check.
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Rv Refrigerator Repair, No 1 Reason Why your Rv Fridge will not get cold