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Old 07-05-2013, 01:03 PM   #1
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Gas/Elec Refrigerator

Friends of ours have a Dometic RM660 gas/electric refrigerator that has been working fine until the other day. Now it won't cool in either mode. The element(s) heat up ok, the gas lights, and the chamber gets hot - but that's it. I don't know anything about them, other than the principle they operate on. I'm also relaying second hand information, so consider that as well.

Searching for the common causes in the online service manuals, only the thermostat is common to both modes of operation for this unit.

Is there anything I can offer them as to how/where to look? They have a 20' (?) 1983 Holiday Rambler AlumaLite (dual axle).
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:02 PM   #2
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H'mm an 83 fridge, the LP gas & electric works and there is no cooling going on.

Heads up! He may have a cracked/rusted cooling unit. Look at the burner area. If there is yellow reside there, that is a tell tale sign of a failed cooling unit. This is one common areas of failure but not the only one. Look anywhere for yellow reside that rusted leaked out of the cooling unit tubes.

If this is the problem, stop using it. It will no longer cool and the unit can overheat and increase the risk of a fire. The newer units have shut down control to stop them from overheating but the old one, odds are high they do not.

They do sell just new or rebuilt cooling units verses an entire fridge. Just do not know for one that old.

Hope this helps

John

PS here are a few options for new cooling units. There are more out there too.

RV Cooling Unit Warehouse

RV refrigerators for sale

RV Cooling Unit Warehouse LLC Home Page This seems to be the same place, just different address as the other/web site one.

RV Mobile does not seem to work any more on my links

I have never bought from any of these places so cannot speak to them. Had them in my bookmarks.
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Old 07-05-2013, 02:10 PM   #3
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Look for yellowish-green resides on coils or tank also check for ammonia smell in back. Both signs of leaking coils.
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Old 07-05-2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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Thanks, guys. I passed these comments on to him. They did say they haven't smelled any ammonia, but that doesn't mean there isn't a leak.
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:54 PM   #5
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No residue anywhere, but there is some surface rust. No odors.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:02 PM   #6
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How critical is levelling with respect to propane appliances such as refrigerators? How level do they have to be?
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:49 PM   #7
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Here is the text from Dometic taken from my manual:

1. IMPORTANCE OF LEVELING A REFRIGERATOR
In an absorption refrigerator system, ammonia is liquefied in the finned condenser coil at the top of the refrigerator. The liquid ammonia then flows into the evaporator (inside the freezer section) and is exposed to a circulating flow of hydrogen gas, which causes the ammonia to evaporate, creating a cold condition in the freezer.

The tubing in the evaporator section is specifically sloped to provide a continuous movement of liquid ammonia downward by gravity through this section. If the refrigerator is operated when it is not level and the vehicle is not moving, liquid ammonia will accumulate in sections of the evaporator tubing. This will slow the circulation of hydrogen and ammonia gas, or in severe cases, completely block it, resulting in a loss of cooling.

Any time the vehicle is parked for several hours with the refrigerator operating, the vehicle should be leveled to prevent this loss of cooling. The vehicle needs to be leveled only so it is comfortable to live in (no noticeable sloping of floors or walls).

When the vehicle is moving, the leveling is not critical as the rolling and pitching motion of the vehicle will pass to either side of level, keeping the liquid ammonia from accumulating in the evaporator tubing.
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Old 07-05-2013, 09:03 PM   #8
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Thanks, Gene. That helps me understand it. I passed it on.

(I'm trying to get them in here, but they haven't done it yet. I told them they wouldn't be the only SOBs here. <G>)
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene View Post

Any time the vehicle is parked for several hours with the refrigerator operating, the vehicle should be leveled to prevent this loss of cooling. The vehicle needs to be leveled only so it is comfortable to live in (no noticeable sloping of floors or walls).
Gene brings up a good point. The comfortable to live in level part I have heard is for the newer fridges. The older fridges where even more suspatble to cooling problems being out of level. The unknown is, what year did they change the coil design to be better than the older design?

Since your friend has a 1983 camper that might be in the older category.

So the question now is, was their camper fairly level?

I know I myself really do not do well in the camper if it is out of level, left to right or front to back. I can tell right off, this thing is out of level and I go deal with it. Really do not know how my body figures this out, but it does. And as such I have never had the fridge running in a non level situation.
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Old 07-06-2013, 02:29 PM   #10
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Pretty much if you are comfortable so is the fridge. I guess case in point how do you know where the center level point is in a TT. You could put a level on the floor of the fridge but is it really level? If you feel like you are going to roll out of bed you may want to turn off the fridge.
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Old 07-07-2013, 01:05 AM   #11
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I learned a long time ago that if you pull the refrigerator out of the cabinet, set it on the floor, and flip it over upside down, sometimes that can clear a clog. It's like a 50/50 shot, but IMO totally worth it with what it costs to try it.
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Old 07-07-2013, 05:49 PM   #12
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My friends just got back from a 100-mile camping trip, and everything worked great. Apparently, it had to be a levelling thing.
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
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I learned a long time ago that if you pull the refrigerator out of the cabinet, set it on the floor, and flip it over upside down, sometimes that can clear a clog. It's like a 50/50 shot, but IMO totally worth it with what it costs to try it.
I had to do that with a refrigerator in a Spaceage TT that had sat in storage for years. We called it burping back then. We would sit them on all four sides. Burner was completely full of rust.
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Old 07-07-2013, 08:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim44646 View Post
I had to do that with a refrigerator in a Spaceage TT that had sat in storage for years.
A space age TT... I'm sure there is a story that goes with this...
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Old 07-07-2013, 10:21 PM   #15
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A space age TT... I'm sure there is a story that goes with this...
Not really. An older couple owned the trailer. I'm can't remember the year for sure but I believe it was a 1969, 20ft. single axle,self contained, sit down shower (You sat on the toilet to take a shower) gas heater, 3 way refrig. slept 4. They had it in inside storage when the husband died. It was only a year or 2 old. She left it there for about 5 or 6 years then decided to sell. That was late 70's. I bought it for a $1000. Every thing was still like new. When I got it home that's when I found out refrig, or heater wasn't working on gas. One of the guys I worked with told me to "BURP" the refrig. That meant taking it out laying it on it's side for a day then it's top for a day then other side then reinstall. Then I took burner apart and it was full of rust from the flue. Cleaned burner and it worked fine. The heater valve had to be cleaned, now that was ahead of it's time. No electric involved. The heat from the pilot onto a microvolt generator held valve open and a thermostat regulated temp. Besides the 12V lights It had gas mantle and globe propane lights (boy did that heat up the camper). I used the trailer for years. Towed it from Ohio to Florida sometime early 80's. Semi's caused me all kinds of grief. That's when I stopped at Florida"s Camping world and got my first Reese dual cam sway control setup.
One funny incident was (Back the you didn't have latches on the refrig. you had a pin) I forgot to put pin in the refrig door. I stopped at a rest stop add open the camper door only to be met with a gallon of chocolate milk flowing out the door with 1 sunny side up egg, yoke unbroken, sliding out the door with the milk. O what a mess the inside was. That gallon jug exploded when it hit the floor. Never forgot pin again.
The trailer is still in use a some guys hunting farm. It had a metal roof and all the years I had it it never leaked.
Not real sure but I heard Space age was bought out by Coachman.
Sure was long winded for not really having a story.
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:29 PM   #16
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I had the grand kids over for a weekend driveway camp out with a new "to me" 1983 T-1550 and It wasn't "that" level. Had the frig. on electric for that time with no problems. I believe the frig to be original.

I wonder if the trip may have "burped" the unit.

I can't say I'm not sure just how out of level it was as The level gauges were shot and have since been replaced, however, I did find myself changing which end of the lounge bed I had my head on. No serious blood to the head, just didn't sleep that well. That in itself may have been due to me not having slept in any bed (if one can call the lounge a bed) other than my own for many a time.
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Old 07-08-2013, 10:22 PM   #17
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I wonder if the trip may have "burped" the unit.
I guess it could have.
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Old 07-09-2013, 08:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim44646 View Post
Not real sure but I heard Space age was bought out by Coachman.
Sure was long winded for not really having a story.
Jim, LOL....

I read the "Space Age" camper words out of context. Had no idea is was brand of camper....

Looking it up, you a 60's camper what appears to originally be made in Goshen IN.


space_age [Tin Can Tourists Wiki]

Oh and good story!

John
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:45 AM   #19
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It had allot in common with. I spent allot of time in it watching it rain.
John If you ever get back to West Branch try Arnie's steak house over on Oh 14. Only about 5 mile from here.
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