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Old 06-11-2019, 05:38 PM   #1
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My first issue

New to me 1990 T2663,.. Ive been going through all the appliances and such, everything seems to work as it should except;
I have the fridge hooked up to 120v and turned on, the element is getting hot as is the flue,...(I even ohm checked the element and it checked out at 44ohms),... but the fridge is not cooling,... do I need a recharge of Freon ?

I have not checked the fridge on LP yet,... but if the element and the flue are getting hot so why wouldnt it work ?? Thank You.
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Old 06-11-2019, 05:44 PM   #2
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RV fridges don't use freon. They run on ammonia. If the fridge isn't cooling when the element is heated, the fridge probably needs replacing
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Old 06-11-2019, 07:34 PM   #3
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RV fridges don't use freon. They run on ammonia. If the fridge isn't cooling when the element is heated, the fridge probably needs replacing

Ouch ! ,.... I know those units are $$$$
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Old 06-11-2019, 08:26 PM   #4
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On ebay, there is an Amish company remanufacturing the coils for around $500. Don't know anything about the process of replacing the coil.
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Old 06-11-2019, 09:50 PM   #5
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Well,... for the past 3 hrs I been watching youtube videos on replacing the cooling unit,... doesnt look too terrible.

https://www.rvcool.com/

These guys have re-manufactures units for $425 plus $65 shipping,.. looks like a job in my near future.
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Old 06-12-2019, 03:05 PM   #6
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How long have you been waiting while plugged in?
These things take very long time to get cold...
You won't notice cold in minutes, more like hours for freezer probably longer for fridge.
Also important camper is level
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Old 06-12-2019, 04:37 PM   #7
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Yes you actually can, some doors are too small to get the dang thing outside but you still can rebuilt it on the kitchen table!
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:11 PM   #8
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As said, it can take 8 plus hours to cool down the fridge and freeze ice in the freezer. And the chimney area will be warm. And the fridge must be level or it will overheat and cause damage as the liquid is not moving correctly.

Did you see any yellow residue in the burner area? Look for it, take the gas burner cover off and look in there with the gas burner is. If the cooling unit failed, one of the most common locations for failing is the burner area.

If after some trouble shooting you end up needing a cooling using change. I have bought a new cooling unit from RV cool. I was impressed with the all new cooling unit. I cannot speak to the rebuilt units but if they do them as good as the new ones, they should be good.
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:40 AM   #9
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Thank you for all the help. Yes Ive left it on for several hrs,.. Stack area is getting hot,.. element is working good,...but nothings getting cold at all. Frig is level.... and I see no sign of yellow residue in or around the burner area, or anywhere for that matter.. Stack and flue area are clear, no obstructions,.. I can feel the heat rising up to the roof vent.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:55 PM   #10
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Forgot to ask before, while the stack area is getting hot, did you feel the pipes on the opposite side? As far over as you can from the burner area.

If yours did not leak out of the fluid, there is sort of a backyard fix that some have done. It is sort of a 50/50 shot if it works. Sometimes a blockage occurs and gets stuck in the tubing. Reports have been made that turning the fridge upside down and hearing and letting the fluid move around, can sometimes break the blockage free. Then it may work. If a prior owner ran it enough off level long enough, it could of overheated and created a blockage of the rust inhibitor in the cooling fluid. If the blockage is big enough, it may never move.

I have never done the tip over and get it to work trick, but heard of it. This much I can say, if the cooling coil does have a leak, the fluid should be gone. The ammonia will evaporate out and the sodium chromate rust inhibitor should leave a trail somewhere.

If and when you remove the fridge you could rock it left to right and you should hear fluid running in the pipes. Lay the fridge on the sides and rock it back and forth. You should hear it as that is part of the start up of a new coil to get the fluid down in the boiler area. I have done that and can hear it. If you hear nothing, then somehow the fluid drained out. And if it did, somewhere the the yellow stains of the sodium chromate should be there. Even in the wood cabinet under the fridge. That stuff bonds itself to the steel. Yet, Dawn dish soap cuts it quick I have found.

Here are some pics of the yellow residue I am referring too. The bottom of the fridge wood cabinet where it had puddled was also full of it.







Hope this helps

John
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Old 06-13-2019, 05:07 PM   #11
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This is very helpful John,..thank you,.. I see no sign of residue,..but it certainly cant hurt to try the tip and rock method. TY
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:27 PM   #12
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I pulled the unit from the camper,.. I was tipping and rocking and at first heard no liquid movement,... then I turned it upside down and heard a gusher of liquid move from top to bottom,... did that a couple time and could then REALLY hear the fluid moving,...its now in the garage, leveled and plugged into 110 ac,... I'll report the temp findings in the morning.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:33 PM   #13
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Great!!! Well, it didn't leak out. Now if you can be in the 50% that works, you will have it made.

FYI in case you didn't know, the fridge also needs 12 VDC to run, even on electric. 12 volts runs the controls, 120 VAC runs the element once the controls turns it on. Just hook it up to a battery and your good to go.
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Old 06-13-2019, 10:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnB View Post

FYI in case you didn't know, the fridge also needs 12 VDC to run, even on electric. 12 volts runs the controls, 120 VAC runs the element once the controls turns it on. Just hook it up to a battery and your good to go.
I did not know this John,.. I had it hooked up to JUST 120 AC and the element was getting hot,.. maybe because the controls were already set to coldest position,...so if the element is getting hot and the fluid is starting to flow,.. will it still get cold even if its not hooked up to 12 VDC ???
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Old 06-14-2019, 06:57 AM   #15
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If the boiler is getting hot that's all it needs. If it has lights/controls etc it will need 12 volts to basically do any thing but if it's getting hot it should cool. Yeah I know "getting hot to cool makes no sense".
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaw520 View Post
I did not know this John,.. I had it hooked up to JUST 120 AC and the element was getting hot,.. maybe because the controls were already set to coldest position,...so if the element is getting hot and the fluid is starting to flow,.. will it still get cold even if its not hooked up to 12 VDC ???
OK, H'mm There may be more to this, one thing at a time.

As mainah stated, if the electric element is on and getting hot, then the fridge cooling process will be starting. The system is basically mechanical and as long as the boiler area gets heat, from LP gas or an electric element, the boiler starts heating the gas and if the fluid can flow, cooling begins.

That would be the cooling coil part of the system.

Now to the controls. Something is not adding up right and may be why the fridge became blocked in the first place.

A few things to confirm:

1. We are "assuming" you did not hot wire the 120 VAC heating element direct? Please confirm.

2. You said, you did not have 12 VDC hooked up, just the 120 VAC 3 prong plug, plugged in and the element started to heat. In my mind, if you did this in that order, there is/could be a controls issue. Please confirm we have this right.

3. At this point, give us the model number of the fridge as the control boards have changed some over the years. There should be a sticker inside the door in the fridge compartment.

4. Any chance of a picture of the back of the unit along with the control board with the black cover off?

Here is the issue I'm seeing. If the 120 VAC electric element just starts heating with no 12 VDC control, this is a problem. That means there is no onboard controls running the system. You could then have a run away fridge and it can become a hazard given the right situation. And if the electric element never shuts down, the system can overheat, the sodium chromate rust inhibitor can get too hot and possibly create a blockage in the piping. Then the hazard comes of a crack in the tubing from being overheated enough times. The liquid drains out and the system keeps heating. Given the right circumstances the boiler area overheats and can start a fire with surrounding combustible material. At this point, your fridge has not yet cracked the tubing as you have the fluid moving again, but it may have controls issues.

Dometic issued a recall on this overheating problem and any fridge that does not have the recall put on, can get one for free, still to this day. Yours may or may not be in the recall but I suspect it is. A picture can for sure tell is if the recall heat shields and controls are in place. And the model number can confirm it needs it.

Your control board, I'm going out on a limb not knowing the model number or the board number, but the PC board I believe uses a triac control on the 120 VAC electric element. The 12 VDC elements when one is used, uses a relay but the 120 VAC ones I believe uses a triac to switch the AC power.

Triac's used in general industry controls have been known to fail burnt on. This means there is no longer any control of the device by the control system. After you sort out your cooling coil issues, you may be up against a control board problem. More on this as you troubleshoot the system. You can buy a new board if needed, they are not that expensive.

Since you came armed with 44 ohms of resistance in the electric element, it sounds like you are electrically friendly with basic 12 volt DC and 120 volt AC wiring. Please confirm, yes/no? Follow this link to our FILES section. There are 2 Dometic Fridge service manuals. One for 1998 an older and a newer 2007 manual. Both are good. Sunline Coach Owner's Club - Sunline Owner's Files - Sunline Kitchen

Hope this helps and let us know how you make out.

John
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Old 06-14-2019, 03:27 PM   #17
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Ok,.. "deep breath",... went out to the garage and after 12hrs run time frig is not cooling,... boiler stack is hot and pipe coming out of stack is VERY HOT !! ..but rest of coils are room temp.

Model - Dometic RM 2604

Judging buy the foil tape around the edges it appears that the cooling unit has been replaced before.
Yes im ok with electric,..more so with VDC then VAC.
The control board appears to be mostly mechanical except for the temp control for AC,.which I confirmed is AC.

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Old 06-14-2019, 06:17 PM   #18
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Yeah you do have a controller to light the burner but the bottom line some thing is happening and it ain't getting cold! I have to question the threaded thing that does not seem to be connected to anything in the left center. I'm so glad I have old push button fridge to light the thing and 120 volts plugged in!
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:04 PM   #19
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I have to question the threaded thing that does not seem to be connected to anything in the left center. !
You are referring to the LP Gas line....... ?
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Old 06-14-2019, 08:06 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaw520 View Post
Ok,.. "deep breath",... went out to the garage and after 12hrs run time frig is not cooling,... boiler stack is hot and pipe coming out of stack is VERY HOT !! ..but rest of coils are room temp.

Model - Dometic RM 2604

Judging buy the foil tape around the edges it appears that the cooling unit has been replaced before.
Yes im ok with electric,..more so with VDC then VAC.
The control board appears to be mostly mechanical except for the temp control for AC,.which I confirmed is AC.

Pictures'
OK, ah you have a much older fridge then I thought.

You have no control board. And as such there is no triac going bad as there is no PC board with it on it... I had thought that by 1990 they were into the PC board controls, but nope... I should of pushed for the model number sooner. Oh well, if you ever get one with a PC board in it, you will be half prepped...

Your RM 2604 shows up in this older service manual.Sunline Coach Owner's Club - Sunline Owner's Files - Dometic Refrigerator Service Manual - 1998 Vers

Page 25 shows the basic 2 way fridge wiring diagram. (you have the 2 way, not the 3 way) And yup, the 120 VAC element is a simple circuit which explains why when you plug it in, it starts running. No need for 12 VDC on this fridge to get the 120 VAC element working. The only thing that turns the element on and off is the AC thermostat.

The gas burner uses it's own control and is totally separate from the AC side.
Page 33 helps describe the T stat's and how they work.

Your right, your vintage fridge is more a mechanical control unit. It is really simple.

OK, now past that mystery... back to the cooling unit.

This seems to point to a blockage in the cooling unit. Your getting the boiler to heat, but the gas it not making it around like it should. Your excellent picture with the arrows shows the lack of heat flow where is should be.

Short of shaking it to try and unblock it, I'm not seeing much more you can do other then getting a rebuilt or new cooling unit or a whole new fridge with updated everything. Maybe others have something to add.

If you do the shake and rattle again, when your down shanking make sure to lay the fridge on it's side horizontally and rock it back and forth to get fluid down in the burner area before start up. If you watched the RVCool cooling coil install video, they shows this at the very end of the video as shipping a new cooling unit, or rebuilt, the liquid gets all over the place due to shipping
etc.

The system must of been run off level a lot in its operating life and it cooked the rust inhibitor creating the blockage.

Hope this helps

John
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