cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Dometic Refer Recall - Possible Fire Hazard -Update 2/13/07

MELM
Explorer
Explorer
Click here to go directly to Updates.
Update Number 1 Nov 23, 2006
Update Number 2 Dec 5, 2006
Update Number 3 Jan 10, 2007
Update Number 4 Jan 19, 2007 - Recall Instructions - click here: Dometic Recall You need your model and serial numbers.
Update Number 5 Feb 13, 2007 - Added links to new info on the NHTSA website including the info/form for claiming reimbursement for a failure. These are at the end of the post below where all the updates are posted.

Also, edited the below Recall to include the change made prior to the Dec 5 update showing the proposed remedy.

Below is information from the NHTSA website on a recall of certain Dometic refrigerators. This recall is in its very early stages, and there is no resolution in place as of Nov 1, 2006.

From the NHTSA website:

Dometic Recall NHTSA Campaign ID 06E076000

Make / Models : Model/Build Years:
DOMETIC / NDR1062 9999
DOMETIC / RM2652 9999
DOMETIC / RM2662 9999
DOMETIC / RM2663 9999
DOMETIC / RM2852 9999
DOMETIC / RM2862 9999
DOMETIC / RM3662 9999
DOMETIC / RM3663 9999
DOMETIC / RM3862 9999
DOMETIC / RM3863 9999

Manufacturer : DOMETIC CORPORATION

NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number : 06E076000 Mfg's Report Date : AUG 28, 2006

Component: EQUIPMENT: RECREATIONAL VEHICLE

Potential Number Of Units Affected : 926877

Summary:
CERTAIN DOMETIC TWO-DOOR REFRIGERATORS MANUFACTURED BETWEEN APRIL 1997 AND MAY 2003: SERIAL NOS.
713XXXXX THROUGH 752XXXXX;
801XXXXX THROUGH 852XXXXX;
901XXXXX THROUGH 952XXXXX;
001XXXXX THROUGH 052XXXXX;
101XXXXX THROUGH 152XXXXX;
201XXXXX THROUGH 252XXXXX;
301XXXXX THROUGH 319XXXXX,
INSTALLED IN CERTAIN RECREATIONAL VEHICLES AS ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT AND SOLD AS AFTERMARKET EQUIPMENT. A FATIGUE CRACK MAY DEVELOP IN THE BOILER TUBE WHICH MAY RELEASE A SUFFICIENT AMOUNT OF PRESSURIZED COOLANT SOLUTION INTO AN AREA WHERE AN IGNITION SOURCE (GAS FLAME) IS PRESENT.

Consequence:
THE RELEASE OF COOLANT UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS COULD IGNITE AND RESULT IN A FIRE.

Remedy:
THE VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS WILL NOTIFY OWNERS OF RECREATIONAL VEHICLES THAT HAD THE REFRIGERATORS INSTALLED AS ORIGINAL EQUIPMENT AND DOMETIC WILL NOTIFY OWNERS OF THE AFTERMARKET REFRIGERATORS. DOMETIC WILL INSTALL A SECONDARY BURNER HOUSING FREE OF CHARGE. THE RECALL IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN BETWEEN APRIL AND JUNE 2007. OWNERS MAY CONTACT DOMETIC AT 888-446-5157.

Notes:
CUSTOMERS MAY CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION'S VEHICLE SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-327-4236 (TTY: 1-800-424-9153); OR GO TO HTTP://WWW.SAFERCAR.GOV.

The following is extracted from the notice provided by Dometic to the NHTSA dated 8/26/06:

The potential defect is associated with cooling unit at the back of the refrigeration cabinet.

A fractional percentage of the potentially affected refrigerators have experienced a fatigue crack that may develop in the boiler tube in the area of the weld between the boiler tube and the heater pocket. A fatigue crack may release a sufficient amount of pressurized coolant solution into an area where an ignition source (gas flame) is present. Dometic's investigation has shown that a simulated release of cooling solution (refrigerant) in the area of the boiler, under certain conditions, could be ignited by the presence of an open flame. A boiler fatigue crack with the loss of cooling solution without ignition would result in a non-operational refrigerator that is not a safety issue. Under certain conditions, the released coolant could ignite and result in a fire. In order to have a fire, at a minimum, all of the following conditions must exist:

    1. The refrigerator must be on and normally operating and gas burner must be lit;
    2. 'There must be an oversized heating element in the refrigerator;
    3. The boiler tube must develop a throughway fatigue crack of a
    specific size;
    4. There must be a release of the cooling solution at a rate which will
    allow the accumulation of the cooling solution at a concentration within its range of flammability; and
    5. There must be ignition source (gas flame) present.

If any of these conditions are not present, a release of the cooling solution will not result in a fire.

In April of 1997 Dometic modified the design of the affected refrigerators by increasing the wattage of the heating element from 325 watts to 354 watts. All production of the affected units from April 1997 through May of 2003 utilized the 354 watt heating element. In May of 2003, in order to improve the operating life of the refrigerators, Dometic returned to the use of the 325 watt heating element which it continues to use today. It is now believed that the use of the higher wattage heater contributed to abnormal fatigue in the boiler tube.

The products in question are all refrigerators used in the original manufacture of recreation vehicles or as replacement equipment for recreation vehicles. The total population of refrigerators potentially containing the defect is 926,877. Dometic estimates a potential maximum incident rate of 0.01% related to boiler fatigue cracks that leak and may result in a fire. There have been no incidents of injury or death related to the affected population of Dometic refrigerators.

Dometic became aware of the occurrence of fires which may have involved their products and retained an independent engineering testing laboratory to fully evaluate and investigate any potential defect in their refrigerators which might result in a fire. A number of returned units were analyzed and microscopic fatigue cracks which could release coolant into the area of the burner were identified in the boiler tube metal in the area of the weld between the heater pocket and boiler tube. Tests simulating the cracks were conducted the week of August 18, 2006 and confirmed a possible cause of fire in the refrigerators under certain conditions. These test results prompted the preparation of this notice.

Dometic continues to gather information on the potential defect and will forward additional relevant information as it becomes available.

Dometic has not yet identified a proposed remedy for the potential defect. Dometic will continue a testing program designed to identify and evaluate possible remedies. This evaluation will take place both in the United States and in Sweden. Once a remedy has been identified, Dometic will initiate or participate in a remedy campaign initiated by the original equipment manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers who have purchased, sold, and distributed these products. A list of original equipment manufacturers and aftermarket suppliers to whom Dometic has sold the potentially defective refrigerators is being prepared and will be provided to the NHTSA upon its
completion.

The following is extracted from the NHTSA response on 9/18/06:

Please provide the following additional information and be reminded of the following requirements:
    Dometic must provide an estimated dealer notification date as well as an owner notification date including the day, month, and year. You are required to submit a draft owner notification letter to this office no less than five days prior to mailing it to the customers. Also, copies of all notices, bulletins, dealer notifications, and other communications that relate to this recall, including a copy of the final owner notification letter and any subsequent owner follow-up notification letter(s), are required to be submitted to this office no later than 5 days after they are originally sent (if they are sent to more than one manufacturer, distributor, dealer, or purchaser/owner).

    Dometic must file a sample of the envelope which you intend to use to mail the recall notice to owners. The words "SAFETY", "RECALL", "NOTICE" in any order must be printed on the envelope in larger font than the customers name and address.
Mel & Mary Ann; Mo'Be (More Behave...) and Bella
"If you have an RV, you don't need another hobby." Comment from a friend...

90 Champion LaSalle MH 29 ft P30 (89 Chassis)

Visit The Official Blog of the Open Road
854 REPLIES 854

BillWing
Explorer
Explorer
Absorption refrigerators use as refrigerant R-717 (ammonia), R-718 (water - yes, water has an "R" number), and hydrogen, with a corrosion inhibitor added.
As flammable as hydrogen is, when it escapes it goes UP very quickly, as it has a very low density even compared to helium.
Ammonia will burn, if atomized (like hissing out of a cracked cooling unit tube), in the presence of a flame, and in its range of flammability as mixed with air.
Once leaking all the hydrogen will escape rather rapidly.

Hopefully Dometic will move quickly as not only is this somewhat of a fire hazard, the refrigerators won't work without refrigerant (uvcawss!). The amount of refrigerant is fairly critical for efficient operation (as efficient as the inefficient absorption process is), so the cooling will drop quickly once leaking begins.

balvert
Explorer
Explorer
I emailed Dometic and they gave me a number to call for information (1-888-446-5157). It is an automated system that takes your name and phone number. Unfortately it does not work for Canadians with postal codes as you have to use a touch tone phone to enter your ZIP code. So I called them directly and spoke to a gentleman that took my info. Said they were fixing the automated system to allow entry of the Canadian postal codes. He did say that he thought the fix was going to be relatively simple. Only fix I can see would be to replace the element.

vcrazy8, the element is next to the propane chimney that is located on the right side of the compartment as you are facing the cooling unit from the outside. You can see the end protruding from the sheet metal cover and there are two wires attached to the element.
Casey & Karen, Border Collies, Polly & Babe
08 Newmar Kountry Aire 5th with tandem duals, disk brakes, 7K Onan, Pullrite 25.5K Super 5th, MorRyde, RotoChoks
03 Dodge DRW Sport, Cummins, 4.10, 6 spd, MBRP SS Exhaust, Jacobs E-Brake, Tire Sentry, BrakeSmart

Beddows
Explorer
Explorer
Our organization has someone checking with Dometic (who has a pipeline to the top) on this. If I find out anything I will post it.
2004 Chevy Dmax 3500 DRW
2008 SnowRiver 10.8 Prestige Signature edition
Honda Eu2000i & 125 watts Solar
Polar Cub A/C
SuperSprings
Torklift tie downs/fastguns/Stable Loads
2009 Continental 5 x 9 Cargo trailer/ Superhitch
10 ft Portabote
2009 Mexico Trip Blog

HaroldG
Explorer
Explorer
Sounds to me like Dometic didn't change their sticker on the inside door from 2.7amps to 2.9amps.
Harold

vcrazy8
Explorer
Explorer
Where is the heating element in the fridge anyway? Mine says 2.7 inside and 2.9 outside also.

roman_traveler
Explorer
Explorer
Mine also says 2.7A on the door sticker, but when I opened the outside panel, on the black box that has the fuse it says 2.9 A. Now I'm really confused. Bottom line, I think I'm stuck.

RT

HaroldG
Explorer
Explorer
Phil,
Sent you a PM.
Harold

stevenal
Explorer III
Explorer III
You would think the serial number would cross to the element size. Mine also is labeled 2.7 A, but serial and mod numbers match the list.
'18 Bigfoot 1500 Torklifts and Fastguns
'17 F350 Powerstroke Supercab SRW LB 4X4

va_jay55
Explorer
Explorer
Got the model, but not the serial #. Whew. Dodged that bullet. Thanks RV gods. :C
TV: 2007 Chevy Silverado 2500HD Classic CCSB, LBZ
Andersen Aluminum Ultimate 5th Wheel Connection 2
RV: 2008 Cedar Creek 34RLTS

RVN_S_4_US
Explorer
Explorer
Since the notice says that the problem requires all 5 elements, and the later units that returned to the smaller element are not part of the recall, it would seem like the best cure is to have the recall based on installing the 325 watt element.

Edit: Oh yeh. And hire a better welder to do the welding on the parts that replace the ones that get the fatigue cracks.
Plan for tomorrow. Live for today. Learn from yesterday.

balvert
Explorer
Explorer
fixruprbob wrote:
My Model/Serial are affected according to the list.

But hold on, maybe not.

The current and voltage listed on my S/N label is 2.7 amps at 120
volts. That is only 324 watts, not the high power element that is supposedly a major contributor to the problem. Looks like it is time to make some measurements to see what I really have.


Mine is on the list but says 2.7 amps also. And my math makes it 324 watts as well. :? Nothing on Dometic's website about the issue. Guess I have until next spring to figure it all out.
Casey & Karen, Border Collies, Polly & Babe
08 Newmar Kountry Aire 5th with tandem duals, disk brakes, 7K Onan, Pullrite 25.5K Super 5th, MorRyde, RotoChoks
03 Dodge DRW Sport, Cummins, 4.10, 6 spd, MBRP SS Exhaust, Jacobs E-Brake, Tire Sentry, BrakeSmart

Chris_Bryant
Explorer
Explorer
I've got to say- it's pretty sad when a Dometic service center has to read this forum to find out about these things 😉
Thanks, Mel!
-- Chris Bryant

Phils
Explorer
Explorer
Harold,

No, what you've been finding isn't related to the recall but has also been a problem with my two Dometics (both on the list).

I have to clean that substance off of the thermocouples no less than twice a year on both. They are mounted side-by-side in our kitchen (like one BIG 4 door). We aren't on the power grid and propane is the best way to refrigerate.

What you are cleaning off is drippings from the baffle that slides down into the flame tube. It melts the metal which then drips down. Eventually the "check fridge" light comes on because the thermocouple doesn't cool down fast enough that the computer knows something is wrong and shuts the fridge down. Before your post I thought that my problem was peculiar to our house since the fridges never travel or bounce or move. Unless you are stationary, my theory was incorrect.

I've had these installed since July of '99 and started having this "slag" problem after about the 1st year. It's been just a twice-a-year maintenance item now, always hoping to do it BEFORE the light comes on the the fridge shuts down.

I've thought of replacing the baffle with stainless steel but haven't yet. I tried operating the units without the baffle (doesn't cool very well). As it is, my baffles are probably 1/3 shorter than they are supposed to be.

Phil
'03 F250 7.3 deezle and '01 Komfort 27FS
Off the grid and outta sight at home
Go camping to have neighbors and amenities

HaroldG
Explorer
Explorer
Now, maybe I know what's going on with my Refer. Twice with in the last 4 yrs mine quit working on propane. What I found was a hard like substance wrapped around the ignitor. It looked liked something had melted and then hardened after it had dripped on the ignitor. Is the heater located above the flame in the flue? My Refer has a double match!
Harold

GoneCamping
Explorer
Explorer
Mine has a double match too! While my trailer is a 2004 model, it was built in 2003...model & S/n match the list provided above!! Great....
*Cliff*
"The American Indians found out what happens when you don't control immigration!"

2000 Ford F-150
2005 Coachmen Spirit of America 300 TBS
Chesapeake, Virginia