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Old 11-07-2018, 12:54 PM   #1
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Refrigerator help needed

I still have the factory original dual fuel refrigerator on my Sunny. My house fridge is having issues and I need to remove all the food and unplug it for a few days to de-ice it and get it serviced, so I decided to use the fridge on my Sunny. Iím connect to a 110v line to keep the battery charged, so I turn the fridge on last night. Almost 24 hours later and the plate is barely cold to the touch and the is a very strong ammonia smell that was not present when I turned on the fridge last night. There was also a gurgling sound when I turned it on, but thought nothing of it. The last time the fridge was used was in June and there were no issues. I checked the coils on the back side, they are warm to the touch.

Is my fridge on its deathbed?
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:19 PM   #2
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I think that strong ammonia smell indicates a leak in the system, which means your fridge will not cool down. The coils might be warm from the electric heating element used when running on shore power instead of propane.
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:25 PM   #3
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I think that strong ammonia smell indicates a leak in the system, which means your fridge will not cool down. The coils might be warm from the electric heating element used when running on shore power instead of propane.


I was afraid of that ...

Is it something that can be repaired or is this unit toast?
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:42 PM   #4
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I don't know the answer to that one. Maybe one of the fix it gurus like JohnB can help.My first guess would be the toast option.
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:49 PM   #5
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When you checked the rear coils, did you see any yellowish material in the area?
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Old 11-07-2018, 03:04 PM   #6
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When you checked the rear coils, did you see any yellowish material in the area?


Nothing yellow, but rust is forming on the coils and something that looks like a small holding tank. Iím any from it now, but I can snap a few pictures later today or tomorrow;

no change in the temp of the plate, itís cool, but not cold and itís been on for over 24 hrs. The ammonia smell is strongest in the freezer section.
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:15 PM   #7
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It's toes up, they do have replacement cooler units but it means removal of the unit to replace the innards.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:07 PM   #8
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If you are smelling ammonia, that is not good. It can be a leak in the cooling coil and very likely is. Like mainah said, toes up... if this is the case.

The cooling coils normally fail in the burner area but that does not to mean they cannot fail somewhere else. Rust can corrode a pin hole where ever it wants to. For the burner area, if you remove the little cover that is over the flame, burner, and you see yellowish residue there, that indicates the coil has leaked and it is not going to work.

If this is the case, unplug it and stop using it as it can overheat and there is a fire hazard. If yours never fell into the recall (too old) or you did not take it in to have the recall done if it was included, then there are no controls to shut if off in the event it overheats. You keep pumping energy (heat) into it and it is not cooling and it can overheat and in some cases catch the camper on fire.

The coil can be replaced. There are places that sell them, some are new coils while others are rebuilt coils. Warranties and prices differ.

Often times the cost of a new cooling unit can approach 1/2 the cost of a new fridge or ever higher.

I have never bought from these folks, but saved the links. Consider this a place to start your search for a new or rebuilt cooling unit. I had several other links on cooling units but the sites may have gone out of business as the links do not work. These 2 still work.

https://rvcoolingunit.com/Default.aspx

RVCOOL.COM - Supplier of replacement Cooling Units for Norcold and Dometic RV Refrigerators since 1994. We build brand new aftermarket cooling units as well as our industry leading remanufactured cooling units for Norcold and Dometic rv refrigerators

Hope this helps

John
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:16 PM   #9
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This post is from one of our members on replacing the cooling unit.

Cooling Unit Replacement Dometic RM2501 - Recommendations

We also had a post with pics when a member replaced the cooling coil inside the camper as the fridge would not fit through the door. I cannot seem to find it. Maybe another members recalls it and can link it.

Hope this helps

John
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:31 PM   #10
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Thank you everyone for the information. I will shut it down and unplug it as soon as I can and start looking for either a replacement coil or replace the entire unit, depending on whatís available and what fits my budget (after I figure out what my budget is for this part of the project).
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Old 11-08-2018, 09:34 AM   #11
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Thank you everyone for the information. I will shut it down and unplug it as soon as I can and start looking for either a replacement coil or replace the entire unit, depending on whatís available and what fits my budget (after I figure out what my budget is for this part of the project).
Depending on the route you go too, if you replace the whole thing, the wood panel on the front of the refrigerator will slide out, and you can install it in a new refrigerator door. So you can make it look like nothing ever changed.
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