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Old 10-21-2020, 06:23 PM   #1
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2007 Que Refrigerator at Altitude

We recently bought a 2007 Que and installed 2x100W solar panels. We then entrusted it with our 23 year old daughter and her friend to take on a cross country trip from our home in Virginia, they are now in Grand Junction, CO! They were boondocking near Dinosaur National Park yesterday and noticed that the refrigerator stopped working. We found the manual (Dometic 7401L) and saw a note that gas operation is not guaranteed above 3200 feet. They were at 4500, so my guess is that was the issue. Anyone have any tricks to get it working at altitude? The solar panels are great for running lights and the fridge on gas but not enough to run on DC for long.

On a completely separate note, a wheel bearing gave out just now about 10 miles from Grand Junction, fortunately they were near a popular area and found someone that was able to replace both sides and they are back on the road.
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Old 10-22-2020, 07:56 AM   #2
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We have had our 2006 T-1950 fridge running at elevation for months, if not years at this point, and it has always worked well, so I'm wondering if that is the issue. Just this summer, we spent over a month at over 9K feet (three weeks at 9K and 2 at 10K). We have never had problems with it lighting or cooling related to elevation on gas.

Our fridge did fail between this summer and last (sprang a leak, which is common). You may want to have them check for the yellow "chromate" on the refrigerator coils in the back that signals a leak (ours was not visible until disassembly). Another symptom is gurgling when running and ours defiantly made grumbling/popping noises after it failed when it was trying to chill.

I'm guessing you meant running the fridge on AC via an inverter and yes, the batteries are not going to run a long time. Have them plug into AC for several hours and see how it works on AC.

Quite an adventure they are having!
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:03 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Tod, it's a 3 way fridge and there is no inverter, but there is a DC setting and that does not last long on solar. They stayed at a KOA last night with AC power and the fridge is working fine, so the issue is with gas operation. Good to know that you can run at way above 4500 feet, so we will keep looking for other issues!
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ibirman View Post
Thanks for the reply Tod, it's a 3 way fridge and there is no inverter, but there is a DC setting and that does not last long on solar. They stayed at a KOA last night with AC power and the fridge is working fine, so the issue is with gas operation. Good to know that you can run at way above 4500 feet, so we will keep looking for other issues!
I had no idea there we 3 way fridges in the 2007 Ques, learn something new every day... Sorry.

Obviously the gas is running the other appliances... Did they look for a flame in the back of the fridge?
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:21 AM   #5
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They checked that the stove works, and they can hear the clicking of the igniter, but they haven't yet popped off the panel on the outside, I'll try to talk them through that later today. Thanks!
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Old 10-22-2020, 08:26 AM   #6
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They checked that the stove works, and they can hear the clicking of the igniter, but they haven't yet popped off the panel on the outside, I'll try to talk them through that later today. Thanks!
Lot of youtube videos for them to look at. There isn't all that much that fails on the gas side from what I've read about. It seems like the two most common things are a spider or bug in the burner area or a bad board, both of which are pretty easy fixes once diagnosed.
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Old 10-22-2020, 01:01 PM   #7
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Update: we tried looking at it over facetime, got the panel off, but didn't get too far and it was checkout time at the KOA. They called an RV place, they didn't have time for a mechanic to look at it, but the wonderful person there offered to meet them with an air compressor. He blew it out, they said a bunch of junk flew out and they have flame, so hopefully all is great, and thanks to the RV place, I don't know which one!
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Old 10-23-2020, 10:02 AM   #8
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, but the wonderful person there offered to meet them with an air compressor. He blew it out, they said a bunch of junk flew out and they have flame, so hopefully all is great, and thanks to the RV place, I don't know which one!
I too never knew the Que had a 3 way fridge. Good to know for the future. The pop up's often had them, they were more an option when towing. The DC option is only to help maintain the fridge, it does not really help bring it down cold or keep it cold a long time. Plus on battery only with no recharging going on, it is not very efficient and draws a lot of power for not a lot of gain.

The gas burner area does get rust build up and carbon buildup on the electrode over time. Both can, when bad enough, prevent the spark at the gas burner from working and you end up with a Check light, (flame fault) inside. As Tod said, mud daubers seen to love the scent of gas and build nests in the burner area also. On my sons popup, the bees plugged the burner tube solid with mud.

If you camp often and use the gas operation frequently, ideally once a season you clean out the rust and look for carbon build up between the electrode and gas burner. This are often never gets looked at, a long time passes. (years) and then the problem shows up. It does not take long for rust to start even if the unit was only used a few time on gas. Once the rust starts, then it will even rust when only on electric.

Not sure of the exact model in your Que, it should look similar to this RM 2652 fridge in the gas burner area that is in many of the Sunlines. Here are some pics and the cleaning process. Yours should have the Dometic recall done, and if so, you will see this sheet metal panel. If yours does not have that panel, then the recall was not done and you need to check the serial numbers to make sure yours would be included. The recall is free and still active, any RV or repair center who handles Dometic can do these.

Here is the panel outside over the burner area. These pics are from a normal annual startup cleaning.


Once the panel is removed it looks like this


To the right of the brass gas valve at the bottom of the burner stack, is a small cover with a screw that when removed, you can jiggle, wiggle and tug a little to get the burner cover off. Sometimes the sheet metal from the recall gets in the way and you have to bend it over to get the burner cover off. It then looks like this. There are sheet metal depressions that lock in the cover from moving and they can make it hard and when rust forms to get the cover off. Take care to not bend the cover. With wiggling, and gently tugging it will pivot out of the area.

The one screw holding it on


The cover off


The 2 depression tabs (one on each end on the screw hole side) on the top of the cover that hold the cover in place.


One tab is in the rust and hard to see, but it is there.


Then the dirt/rust. This fridge is not as bad as some I have seen. It all depends how many years went by and the burner never cleaned.




To clean the area, I start with a vacuum first. Great care needs to be taken to not blow or force dirt/rust back towards the gas valve. The end of the brass gas valve setup has an orifice (jet) screwed onto it that is precision cut. You do not want to blast any dirt in that direction and do not poke anything in the hole. If you need to use compressed air, blow gently directing the air away from the gas get. Cover the jet with a loose rag helps too.


Here is a close up after cleaning. You can see the brass gas jet with the orifice in it on the left. The electrode has the white porcelain insulator, the gas burner is the tube with the slots in it. Above the gas burner is the flame sensor to tell the flame is burning.


This pic is from a different fridge, but it shows the parts a little better.


You need to see a gap between the electrode and the burner. The book setting for the gap is 3/16 between the burner tube and the electrode. I have seen them work at 1/8, but much less can be a problem. There is not really anything you can bend, do not try and bend the electrode as you may crack the porcelain insulator. Loosening the screw and trying to position it to create the gap, then tighten the screw is how I have had to do it.

Here is flame burning as it should. Hard to see in a pic.


It is good to test the fridge on gas while you have it apart for cleaning to see that the flame is working right.

Hope this helps for the future.

John
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