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Propane fridge not working as good

swimmer_spe
Explorer
Explorer
We have a 1999 trailer with a 2 way fridge. I only use it on propane setting.

Lat year, I could turn it on the night before we left, leave it set at 4, and be below freezing in the fridge. I would then turn it down to 2 for the rest of the trip and it work well to keep things between 0-5C

This year, doing that and the fridge does not seem to cool. I have to turn it to max to get it below 5C and keep it there.

I have tried to blow out the dust from the back.What should I check or other maintenance should I do before hiring a tech to fix it?
24 REPLIES 24

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
swimmer_spe wrote:
lenr wrote:
1999 is pretty old fridge. When you give up completely and if you can get to Indiana, check our National RV Refrigeration North of Shipshewana. They know their stuff. They rebuild units, install scratch and dent units, or install new units all at likely less money than anywhere else. They also do AC.


I am in Canada. I can get a working fridge for a reasonable price. I'd rather see what is causing this one to not work before buying a new one.


The problem is, there is nothing to be able to "see" internally, no window to watch the Ammonia mix movement so you can't see if the is a intermittent blockage inside the cooling unit.

If you are having intermittent cooling issues, it could be caused by control board, thermister for control board, gas valve issues, gas burner issues along with internal blockage issues in the cooling unit.

If you are getting cooling in one place like freezer and not fridge, pretty fair chance that the control board, thermister, gas valve, burner is all good.. That leaves the cooling unit as the suspect.

If that is the case, then replacing the cooling unit or replacing the fridge is the best you can do..

That Ammonia in your cooling unit is under high pressure and is industrial strength (much stronger than anything you can buy in a store) and is not really something a general shade tree handy man can tackle.

New cooling units cost about half of a new fridge not including labor. So unless your fridge is 100% new looking, no rust, no broken plastic or lost shelves, door gaskets are good, hinges are good and latches are good a new fridge may be a better deal over all because you now have an old control board, gas valve, burner ect which all can go belly up at any time.

Sometimes putting lipstick on a pig can come back and bite you.

dougrainer
Nomad
Nomad
StirCrazy wrote:
lenr wrote:
1999 is pretty old fridge. When you give up completely and if you can get to Indiana, check our National RV Refrigeration North of Shipshewana. They know their stuff. They rebuild units, install scratch and dent units, or install new units all at likely less money than anywhere else. They also do AC.


not that old, mines a 1991 and runs like a top. take care of an adsorption fridge and they last forever. its when people run them out of level and so on they have issues.


BINGO. RV refers WILL last forever. Unless it breaks a weld and leaks. BUT, the main thing is OFF LEVEL running that ruins refers. I know, people will state they NEVER run off level. But they are fooling themselves. They always forget that time they were traveling and stopped for an hour or more and left the refer ON parked slightly unlevel. THAT starts the very small blockage. Do that scores of times and then 1 day when it is hotter, the refer fails to perform as needed. It is because it has a small blockage. NOT enough to not cool at all but enough to not cool the lower section as when new. The system is VERY SIMPLE. As long as you have level operation the Ammonia will go to vapor and reform to liquid and cause cooling. The only thing that stops it is that blockage that starts out small and eventually gets large enough to impeded correct cooling. This is why burping NEVER works. The blockage is as hard as a weld and attached and cannot be broken loose or removed. Burping just realigns the ammonia in the CU and once the blockage stops the normal flow again the cooling stops. Doug

swimmer_spe
Explorer
Explorer
lenr wrote:
1999 is pretty old fridge. When you give up completely and if you can get to Indiana, check our National RV Refrigeration North of Shipshewana. They know their stuff. They rebuild units, install scratch and dent units, or install new units all at likely less money than anywhere else. They also do AC.


I am in Canada. I can get a working fridge for a reasonable price. I'd rather see what is causing this one to not work before buying a new one.

StirCrazy
Navigator
Navigator
lenr wrote:
1999 is pretty old fridge. When you give up completely and if you can get to Indiana, check our National RV Refrigeration North of Shipshewana. They know their stuff. They rebuild units, install scratch and dent units, or install new units all at likely less money than anywhere else. They also do AC.


not that old, mines a 1991 and runs like a top. take care of an adsorption fridge and they last forever. its when people run them out of level and so on they have issues.
2014 F350 6.7 Platinum
2016 Cougar 330RBK
1991 Slumberqueen WS100

Sjm9911
Explorer
Explorer
Gdetrailer wrote:
Sjm9911 wrote:
dougrainer wrote:
Sjm9911 wrote:
Doug, and what advice do you have have that is maybe helpful to the situation? I did say some like it and some dont? And i believe I said to do it as a last resort? At least now we know where you stand. Almost like we needed the helpful advice. Oh, no , we didnt. Lol.


I am just stating a FACT. After 43 years as a RV tech, I think I would know what works and what does NOT work. If a person wants to take the time to remove the refer and then spend a couple of days rotating the refer and then reinstalling. Then do it. A LOT of work for something that will not work. Years ago People with a blocked refer would burp when selling and the refer "appears" to work when they sell it, but a few days later it is blocked again and the new owner is stuck. Newbies have no idea how much RV refers cost and cost to replace a cooling unit. Blocked refers, the freezer will work, THAT is what gets buyers to think the refer is OK. Doug

Ok so it works just dosen't last? Trying to read in between the lines. I dont know how it would appear to work. It works or it dosen't. I get it may not last, depends whats in the tubes blocking it. I do know with the smaller ones, people have had sucess that lasted years.




If it doesn't last or last long, did it really "make it work"?

So, one must ask themselves the question, how many times per trip am I willing to remove a 120+ lb fridge, turn it upside down, turn it back over then reinstall it and cross all your fingers and toes and hope it works again for the rest of the trip????

Really, if it is dead (IE not working properly), either do a proper repair (like a new cooling unit) or replace entire fridge.

Burping is a temporary bandaid which may last 1 hr or it may last yrs, one really does not know for sure since there is no magic window to peer in to see where the blockages are. Once you start having internal crystallization (which is what creates the blockages) the game is over, one crystal begats another and another each cycle..

Take a fridge out ONCE and I can assure you that you really will not wish to do that again.. Bigger fridges takes two people, might get away with one person on a 3 cuft ones but anything of 10 cu ft or larger you are in the 120 lb+ weight and they are insanely top heavy.

See thats the info and knowlage you should share. Given you experiance and all that. I get people get board helping others, but tbh, you have good things to say, then say them. Not the boilerplate it will not work. Dont be that guy doug, your much better then that.
2012 kz spree 220 ks
2020 Silverado 2500
Equalizer ( because i have it)
Formerly a pup owner.

Gdetrailer
Explorer III
Explorer III
Sjm9911 wrote:
dougrainer wrote:
Sjm9911 wrote:
Doug, and what advice do you have have that is maybe helpful to the situation? I did say some like it and some dont? And i believe I said to do it as a last resort? At least now we know where you stand. Almost like we needed the helpful advice. Oh, no , we didnt. Lol.


I am just stating a FACT. After 43 years as a RV tech, I think I would know what works and what does NOT work. If a person wants to take the time to remove the refer and then spend a couple of days rotating the refer and then reinstalling. Then do it. A LOT of work for something that will not work. Years ago People with a blocked refer would burp when selling and the refer "appears" to work when they sell it, but a few days later it is blocked again and the new owner is stuck. Newbies have no idea how much RV refers cost and cost to replace a cooling unit. Blocked refers, the freezer will work, THAT is what gets buyers to think the refer is OK. Doug

Ok so it works just dosen't last? Trying to read in between the lines. I dont know how it would appear to work. It works or it dosen't. I get it may not last, depends whats in the tubes blocking it. I do know with the smaller ones, people have had sucess that lasted years.




If it doesn't last or last long, did it really "make it work"?

So, one must ask themselves the question, how many times per trip am I willing to remove a 120+ lb fridge, turn it upside down, turn it back over then reinstall it and cross all your fingers and toes and hope it works again for the rest of the trip????

Really, if it is dead (IE not working properly), either do a proper repair (like a new cooling unit) or replace entire fridge.

Burping is a temporary bandaid which may last 1 hr or it may last yrs, one really does not know for sure since there is no magic window to peer in to see where the blockages are. Once you start having internal crystallization (which is what creates the blockages) the game is over, one crystal begats another and another each cycle..

Take a fridge out ONCE and I can assure you that you really will not wish to do that again.. Bigger fridges takes two people, might get away with one person on a 3 cuft ones but anything of 10 cu ft or larger you are in the 120 lb+ weight and they are insanely top heavy.

Sjm9911
Explorer
Explorer
dougrainer wrote:
Sjm9911 wrote:
Doug, and what advice do you have have that is maybe helpful to the situation? I did say some like it and some dont? And i believe I said to do it as a last resort? At least now we know where you stand. Almost like we needed the helpful advice. Oh, no , we didnt. Lol.


I am just stating a FACT. After 43 years as a RV tech, I think I would know what works and what does NOT work. If a person wants to take the time to remove the refer and then spend a couple of days rotating the refer and then reinstalling. Then do it. A LOT of work for something that will not work. Years ago People with a blocked refer would burp when selling and the refer "appears" to work when they sell it, but a few days later it is blocked again and the new owner is stuck. Newbies have no idea how much RV refers cost and cost to replace a cooling unit. Blocked refers, the freezer will work, THAT is what gets buyers to think the refer is OK. Doug

Ok so it works just dosen't last? Trying to read in between the lines. I dont know how it would appear to work. It works or it dosen't. I get it may not last, depends whats in the tubes blocking it. I do know with the smaller ones, people have had sucess that lasted years.
2012 kz spree 220 ks
2020 Silverado 2500
Equalizer ( because i have it)
Formerly a pup owner.

lenr
Explorer II
Explorer II
1999 is pretty old fridge. When you give up completely and if you can get to Indiana, check our National RV Refrigeration North of Shipshewana. They know their stuff. They rebuild units, install scratch and dent units, or install new units all at likely less money than anywhere else. They also do AC.

ktmrfs
Explorer
Explorer
Sjm9911 wrote:
Doug, and what advice do you have have that is maybe helpful to the situation? I did say some like it and some dont? And i believe I said to do it as a last resort? At least now we know where you stand. Almost like we needed the helpful advice. Oh, no , we didnt. Lol.


before you get into "burping" or other stuff have you verified that the gas jet is not obstructed and that you get a nice blue flame on the burner?

I've found that the jet is easily obstructed by even part of a spider web or piece of dirt it is so small and a blast of air will clean it out and be back to normal.
2011 Keystone Outback 295RE
2004 14' bikehauler with full living quarters
2015.5 Denali 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison
2004.5 Silverado 4x4 CC/SB Duramax/Allison passed on to our Son!

dougrainer
Nomad
Nomad
Sjm9911 wrote:
Doug, and what advice do you have have that is maybe helpful to the situation? I did say some like it and some dont? And i believe I said to do it as a last resort? At least now we know where you stand. Almost like we needed the helpful advice. Oh, no , we didnt. Lol.


I am just stating a FACT. After 43 years as a RV tech, I think I would know what works and what does NOT work. If a person wants to take the time to remove the refer and then spend a couple of days rotating the refer and then reinstalling. Then do it. A LOT of work for something that will not work. Years ago People with a blocked refer would burp when selling and the refer "appears" to work when they sell it, but a few days later it is blocked again and the new owner is stuck. Newbies have no idea how much RV refers cost and cost to replace a cooling unit. Blocked refers, the freezer will work, THAT is what gets buyers to think the refer is OK. Doug

swimmer_spe
Explorer
Explorer
dougrainer wrote:
swimmer_spe wrote:
Sjm9911 wrote:
https://www.rvtravel.com/does-your-refrigerator-have-indigestion-burp-that-baby/


Thank you. I'll look into it and maybe give it a good burp.


Burping NEVER fixes a partial or completely block Cooling unit. Waste of time. Doug


I understand that it may or may not work. However, if after doing the other things it still acts up, doing a burp won't hurt it any worse than not burping it. Besides, this may be our last season with this RV and I'd rather fix it than not, but not spend crazy money to fix it.

dougrainer wrote:

Burping NEVER fixes a partial or completely block Cooling unit. Waste of time. Doug

Hi Doug, I know its a long shot, but sometimes we get lucky with burping a fridge, 🙂
Mine died completely one cold winter of being FT in Alberta.

I had nothing to lose, so:

I took the fridge out, rolled it end over end multiple times, waiting a few minutes between each flip, and then I reinstalled it. I gave it about 24 hours to "settle down" before running it. It worked flawlessly for years and was still working long after I sold the TT.

I know it doesn't always work, but sometimes it does. 🙂

I think it was an RM2562 - 2652?
2007 GMC 3500 dually ext. cab 4X4 LBZ Dmax/Allison - 2007 Pacific Coachworks Tango 306RLSS
RV Rebuild Website - Site launched Aug 22, 2021 - www.rv-rebuild.com

Sjm9911
Explorer
Explorer
Doug, and what advice do you have have that is maybe helpful to the situation? I did say some like it and some dont? And i believe I said to do it as a last resort? At least now we know where you stand. Almost like we needed the helpful advice. Oh, no , we didnt. Lol.
2012 kz spree 220 ks
2020 Silverado 2500
Equalizer ( because i have it)
Formerly a pup owner.

Sjm9911
Explorer
Explorer
dougrainer wrote:
swimmer_spe wrote:
Sjm9911 wrote:
https://www.rvtravel.com/does-your-refrigerator-have-indigestion-burp-that-baby/


Thank you. I'll look into it and maybe give it a good burp.


Burping NEVER fixes a partial or completely block Cooling unit. Waste of time. Doug
2012 kz spree 220 ks
2020 Silverado 2500
Equalizer ( because i have it)
Formerly a pup owner.