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RV Service and Repair??????????????

SGTJOE
Explorer II
Explorer II
Am I the only one who is seeing downright bad RV repair/service these days?
My fridge stopped cooling back in June. I called Dometic who gave me a local certified Dometic repair company. He came out, disconnected a wire and said he would be back in a few days to check the fridge. Still waiting for him as of today. In the mean time about 4 weeks later my propane detector went off, I removed it and was told they only last 5 years, the next day my carbon monoxide detector went off and when I opened the door to the MH I smelled the worst smell ever. It appears that my cooling unit leaked out the ammonia. Since that happened I went looking for a shop to repair the fridge. I found one that wanted me to bring the MH in and they would check the fridge, said it would be 60 bucks for a 30 min check. Set the appointment up for 1 Aug and stopped in the day before to confirm the appointment, then the guy says they would need it for 24 hrs to check the fridge and that the labor was 120 phr. I asked about the previous quote and he said I would never say that. Funny thing I wrote it down on his business card. Went home and called and cancelled the appointment.

I drove to several repair facilities to get quotes on a new cooling unit, costs were within a few hundred dollars for the unit and the labor was 4-5 hours. Biggest problem was warranty, all but one was 1 year, then I found one that said the cooling unit would have a 5 year warranty. I decided to go with them, when I stopped in to set it up it turns out the guy that I had talked with was no longer there. They didn't have any info on where he was getting the cooling unit so they said they would look into it and call me. This was a week and a half ago--still waiting. So I went to a Nation wide rv facility and was surprised at the two labor rates--Service @ 145.00 phr and Parts 99.00 phr, weird, huh? Anyway the parts guy took my info for the cooling unit last Thursday and said he would call me with cost and warranty, on Friday or Sat. No call, I called him yesterday and he said he would check it out and call me later, guess what NO CALL. Still waiting today.

So is it just me or has RV service gone to heck in a hand basket?
2001 Trade Winds 7390
Toad 03 Grand Am
30 REPLIES 30

MiminPapa
Explorer
Explorer

My name is Mike T. I was broke down and stranded thanks to Jayco and Blue Compass Manteca. I ended up going to Blue Compass Prescott, AZ and dealt w/Kimberly and her team of service technicians. What an amazing experience. The corrected problem 1, found why problem 2 occurred and corrected that and finally found the 3rd problem and corrected that. In just 2 days. 
The problems and issues all stemmed from incorrect wiring by Jayco which fried the inverter, and ruined a leveling pump motor.  Incompetent troubleshooting by the original dealer is what led us down the road.
SO! If you are near the Prescott, AZ area, and need a service team go see Blue Compass RV in Prescott (not Prescott Valley) and they will help you figure out what is going on. Less than an hour from Sedona, 3 hours f Quartzite.

pianotuna
Nomad II
Nomad II
Hi,

What may (and only may) have happened is the fridge was running "flat out". That may have caused an over temperature situation where the anti rust chemical started to crystallize, which then clogged the tube. The boiler can get up to 700 when best operating temperature is about 180. I don't remember if those numbers are C or F.


SGTJOE wrote:
When the Certified Dometic Tech came out and disconnected a wire and set the fridge on high cool it started cooling. I kept track of the outside temps and also the fridge & freezer temps in the morning and afternoon. It was cooling really good, like it was supposed to. The next day as I walked by the MH the carbon monoxide detector was beeping. When I opened the door the smell was horrible.


Is it possible that the thing that controlled the fridge temp from going too high that was disconnected caused the ammonia leak? The Tech never came back or returned calls.
Regards, Don
My ride is a 28 foot Class C, 256 watts solar, 556 amp-hours of Telcom jars, 3000 watt Magnum hybrid inverter, Sola Basic Autoformer, Microair Easy Start.

ajriding
Explorer
Explorer
Well your detector would not go off if you had a fan blowing all the bad gases away.

Propane leak could be in a lot of places, at the fridge where the flange nut attaches, or a cracked line, or another connection along the line.If this is the first you seen of the leak, then look first to what the tech guy did, maybe he affected something and a leak happened.

CO would likely be just from the fridge gas flame. CO is normal, but should not be going into the cabin, it should go up the fridge compartment chimney.
You have a cabin leak, likely along where the fridge is framed along the inside wall. It could be up the chimney too.

I do not know anything of "thing that controlled the fridge temp from going too high".
I thought "high cool" would be set from your fridge controls, some have Low to High, some have a specific temp setting. Some need DC power, some do not.

SGTJOE
Explorer II
Explorer II
Originally my fridge wasn't cooling and I had no ammonia leak. When the Certified Dometic Tech came out and disconnected a wire and set the fridge on high cool it started cooling. I kept track of the outside temps and also the fridge & freezer temps in the morning and afternoon. It was cooling really good, like it was supposed to. I placed a household tall fan outside the MH blowing into the back of the fridge and this helped it to cool down even more. After about 3 weeks with no ammonia leak/smell I turned off the fan and a few days later my propane detector went off. I removed it and found that it was 8 years old. No smell in the MH. The next day as I walked by the MH the carbon monoxide detector was beeping. When I opened the door the smell was horrible.


Is it possible that the thing that controlled the fridge temp from going too high that was disconnected caused the ammonia leak? The Tech never came back or returned calls.
2001 Trade Winds 7390
Toad 03 Grand Am

ajriding
Explorer
Explorer
!. If you have ammonia smell then the cooling unit has a hole, lost its gases and needs to be replaced. If a repair shop says they need a few hours to figure this out then they did you a favor, go somewhere else bc they are ignorant or tying to soak you for more money.
Holes can be repaired, but the unit is corroded from within and the next hole could be just a flake of rust away from appearing. It is unwise to repair.
Buy the cooling unit yourself $600 and if you have to then pay someone to install it.

Older fridges may not have available cooling units for them. Slap out of luck if this is the case, the whole fridge is junk.

What frige you needs all depends on how you use your camper. Do you drive from campground to campground, do you boondock for days on end, do you do long trips, short trips, how often do you camp…

If you plug in every night or you will run a generator the rest of the time then maybe a regular house frig will work.

If you are never plugged in and don't carry a generator then the propane frige makes sense.

If you tour around and maybe are parking off-level a lot in parking lots then consider a DC powered frig with the Danfoss compressor. (lots of post about this topic).
Those fridges use very little power (two batteries usually enough coupled with 100-200 watts of solar or drive every day or two to recharge). You can get an upright if you spend enough, or get a chest type. One or two compartments in different sizes. The two have freezer and fridge temp settings, and the one has one setting. Do you need to freeze food as well as chill food?
The chest would need to sit out, not in the fridge hole, and you would close off the fridge vents on roof and side.
These are great units.

There is a compressor conversion for some propane fridges available.

SGTJOE
Explorer II
Explorer II
Found a shop that is going to look at MH to see if it can be converted over to a residential fridge on Monday and see if cost would be close to getting the current fridge a new cooling unit.
2001 Trade Winds 7390
Toad 03 Grand Am

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
"First repair shop has been telling me for almost a year now they are short staffed, missing first one tech, and now the latest story, they are missing 2. Second repair shop said they are just swamped."

Good economy combined with lotsa RVs because of that, combined with less people wanting to go into trades work means this could be a very accurate statement and part of the problem.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

ReneeG
Explorer
Explorer
A lot, I mean a lot of RVs have Dometic in them. So far we haven't had any cooling issues. I know that our RV tech says that fridge replacement alone is worth have an extended warranty for.
2011 Bighorn 3055RL, 2011 F350 DRW 6.7L 4x4 Diesel Lariat and Hensley TrailerSaver BD3, 1992 Jeep ZJ and 1978 Coleman Concord Pop-Up for remote camping
Dave & Renee plus (Champ, Molly, Paris, Missy, and Maggie in spirit), Mica, Mabel, and Melton

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
^ How big is the fridge?
You can get a new 10cf for about 2 grand and they're not that hard to remove and install. $5k is robbery
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

SGTJOE
Explorer II
Explorer II
I still have not heard from the two RV repair outfits. So I found another one that has some of the highest reviews in the area. Went out there today about getting a cooling Unit and install. This guy tells me that Dometic fridges are junk and that the Cooling Unit place he orders from won't make one for my Dometic NDR 1292. He says he would install a Norcold in my MH, because it's a better choice. Gee, for him @ 5 grand I guess so. I'm about ready to just go to Home Depot and buy a small fridge for under $200. and tie it in place behind the passenger seat.

So can someone tell me is Dometic really bad or was this one persons opinion?
2001 Trade Winds 7390
Toad 03 Grand Am

I owned a 2000 class A motor home till this past fall. 80,000 plus miles. The original Dometic refer was still working when I sent it down the road. At least the older Dometic’s seemed fine. It was a 115v and propane unit.  
Always kept it level, even when it was stored for the winter. 

MFL
Nomad II
Nomad II
I took a previous FW to a propane distributor/service center. They installed a new cooling unit, keeping it over night to assure working properly. They did a great job, cost for labor $200. To be fair, that price was 10 yrs ago.

Jerry

Big_Katuna
Explorer II
Explorer II
Charlie D. wrote:
That smell was probably ammonia. If so, you will need a new unit.


You need a new Amish built cooling unit.
My Kharma ran over my Dogma.

JimBollman
Explorer
Explorer
Having a similar problem between price and just not wanting to do the work, which may mean they can't and don't want to admit it. I wanted to have a bigger battery box made under my B and add a small gray water tank, it currently doesn't have one.

The first place I went was recommended by a neighbor. I just wanted them to put it on a lift take a look and tell me if it was possible and give me a back of envelope estimate. Silly me I expected to just drive up and have them do at least the inspection while I wait. I had to make an appointment for 6 weeks later, when I showed up they had no record of the appointment but told me to drive it around back and they would squeeze me in shortly. This was an early morning appointment, when they had just opened. An hour or so later they had me go back in the shop and the B was where I parked it and they sent a fellow out to look underneath on his back asking me what I wanted them to do. He couldn't figure out how they could do it, I made a couple suggestion that I had thought of, he agreed they might work but I would have to come back when their fabricator was there to see if it would really work and how much. He had spent maybe 15 minutes and had told me nothing. Minimum 1 hour labor $117. I have not gone back.

Second place, smaller, 2 man shop plus a wife running the office. He came out and looked shortly after I got there. Made a couple of good suggestions but said it was his busy season and would not be able to get to it for months. No charge, had my hopes up. Stopped back Late Winter early Spring he made some measurements and said he would get back to me with a price after he talked to his fabricator, no charge, and also no return call. I called the next week and he said his fabricator was very busy and it would be a few more weeks to get the estimate. I did get him to put a MaxxFan in place of the original fan and he did a good job (did use mismatched screws, he must have lost one of the ones that came with it) and price was fair. I have called every week or so since with either the same answer or boss is not in and he will call me back but doesn't. Guess what we are in his busy season again, year has passed. I'm looking into doing it myself or getting the parts and see if a local garage will do the lift work for me. Third option is to reach out further from home for a good shop, these two were within an hour drive.

Anyone know any good shops within a few hours of NE TN?