3 Way Fridge Temp - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-22-2016, 08:21 AM   #1
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3 Way Fridge Temp

Yes, this has been beat to death...

Just some questions.

My fridge is useless once it gets over 60 degrees outside. It cools great if it's in the 40s. Just fine in the 50s. In the 60s it starts to struggle and once it hits 70, my fridge quickly makes its way up to 60. Last night it didn't even recover at all. With temps down at 60, my fridge was still 60 this morning. So all my food sat at room temp for the last 16 hours or so.

The flame seems to be a nice blue. So either the fridge just isn't up for real work anymore, or I've just got one of those that needs better ventilation. It seems like, reading over other threads, some people's fridges just do fine, others don't. I guess mine "don't"

Just curious with people who have been down this road, do you think putting a fan at the top vent, blowing out, is worth a try? Does this sound like that kind of situation?

It's pretty disappointing. I mean this basically means my fridge is useless in the summer. Only useable in the spring and fall. Unless fans work.

I know from experience the fridge is an expensive thing, if it needs anything other than routine maintenance. I put a brand new Dometic in my last camper, and had the same exact issues. Annoying.
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:34 AM   #2
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I have the 3-way Dometic. Have you tried running it on AC? There's one thing you can try and that's taking it somewhere "bouncy". I always heard nightmare tells of having to take them out and roll them since they're "absorption" (ammonia-based) refrigerators and once it's settled in the tubes wrong, you have to do the above. Not saying this is the case.

The flame in mine is small as well as it doesnt take much. I did a little research for you and I'm going to post the link here that you may want to read/study a little. This would be my best choice for now. You're going to get alot of opinions and suggestions. It seems this article covers most.

https://rv-roadtrips.thefuntimesguid...tor-repair.php
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:01 AM   #3
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I put a solar fan on the top vent.
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:14 AM   #4
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Do you have a manual? If not check here in our Documents Center to see if there is a download on your make and model(or close to it). Follow the maintenance procedure for cleaning the coils, flue and jet.

Here is a link to the refrigerator portion of the doc center:

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/d...p?do=cat&id=18

Also, here is a link to a helpful video on cleaning the burner.

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Old 04-22-2016, 09:16 AM   #5
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Problem with fridge.

Zach;
I have a 93 B17CB and the fridge works great. The separate upper freezer section keeps frozen food rock hard and the lower fridge is cold with, sometimes, frozen drops of water on the rear fins.
That is on both propane and 110VAC.
This was when I first got it in 2007 and again after I had to replace the cooling unit which leaked out it's ammonia charge a few years ago. I did post an article about my changing it on this usegroup. You can do for a search on my name for it.
However, the fridge itself seems to work great even in temps over 90F.
I would check the venting in the back and make sure that it is totally clear. My CB version has the venting in the roof with a long channel but, I think, your Gaucho version has a smaller rear vent that doesn't go very high. A 'chimney' effect wouldn't be as pronounced. Perhaps an auxiliary 12V fan may be needed - but definitely ensure that a good path is available for the heat to escape from the rear. Maybe someone put screening in the rear vents? Or the fridge is pushed in too far, close to the rear.
It should work almost as well as a home fridge.
Good luck.
Mike .....>
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Old 04-22-2016, 09:48 AM   #6
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A common cause of this condition is a dirty chimney , very difficult to clean properly but often a good blast of compressed air will do the job.
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:19 AM   #7
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The fridge is 25 years old! I'm just curious as to just how long do you expect it to last?
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:55 AM   #8
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More recommended reading here.

BTW, at the end of that article the author says he has seem absorption fridge units working after 40 years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Casita Greg View Post
The fridge is 25 years old! I'm just curious as to just how long do you expect it to last?
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Old 04-22-2016, 11:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachO View Post

Just curious with people who have been down this road, do you think putting a fan at the top vent, blowing out, is worth a try? Does this sound like that kind of situation?

.
While my old fridge struggles in warm weather it does not normally start to struggle until the temps get in high 80's low 90's.

Does it do better when on Electrical? If it does then you know it can do better on propane. If it does not then you know its probable in need of a major clean out. The stacks as someone mention need cleaning along with the propane jets. If it does not do better on Electrical then it does on propane I would suggests it may well have reached the end of its shelf life.

One thing people often make the mistake of doing is to set the temp to low causing the freezer to ice up. If the freezer ices up that will have a negative impact the fridges performance.

Check to see where the temperature probe is located inside the fridge. If it up to high near the freezer that may also impact it.

I covered my fridges sides and tops with foil bubble insulation that helped it a lot in hot weather. I also installed a fan in the rear outside compartment and run a small battery fan inside the fridge.

A last resort would be to pull it out and leave it sitting upside down for a few days to unclog it - seems you have a 50/50 chance of that working.
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Old 04-22-2016, 11:42 AM   #10
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Fridge was new in 2010. Two years later I pulled it out for service and everything looked fine. Last season it stopped cooling much like you describe. While the flame looked fine, the jet needed cleaning. Once done it worked like new. Follow the instuctions, it's strait forward. I needed a microscope to actually view the orifice otherwise have faith. Raz
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Old 04-22-2016, 12:54 PM   #11
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I had done everything that I had read about getting better performance out of the 3 way in our 13' Scamp. Took it out, rolled it, let it stay upside down over night, cleaned everything, insulated, applied fans below to blow over the coils and above to help expel the hot air, but nothing worked in our Arizona temperatures. I finally replaced the unit with a NovaKool 12 volt only danfoss compressor refrigerator, and liked it so well, that when we purchased our new Lil Snoozy, I had the factory install a Truckfridge 12 volt only danfoss compressor refrigerator. This type of refrigerator does limit one to campgrounds with electricity, or shorten camping to a couple of days, or add solar or a generator to the mix in order to camp off the grid (boon docking/dry camping), we have both. I hope never to go back to an absorption style refrigerator again. YMMV.
Dave & Paula
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:25 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone. For the record, I should have included in my post:

I'm level
It's not overfilled
Vent is on the shady side of the camper
I have a battery powered fan inside the fridge
Nothing is obstructing the vents


My model Bigfoot doesn't have the chimney, that is correct. There's just a vent at the bottom, and a vent just above. So definitely less chimney effect.

I'm glad to hear cleaning can make such a big difference! I will try that. And probably install fans while I'm at it.

One thing someone else pointed out is the need for a "baffle". When I bought the new fridge for my last camper, I'm pretty sure the instructions mentioned the baffle. The instructions for this fridge say nothing about it, and it's not in any of the diagrams. There is no baffle behind the fridge in this camper. Thoughts?

And yes, especially with the older models, you can expect a lifetime of use out of them. Certainly some die or need major work, but often 40-50 year old 3-way fridges you see for free because they don't work, just need some basic maintenance done and they're back in action.

Barring abuse or something like the ammonia all spilling out, I expect this fridge to last quite a while still.

Thanks!
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:35 PM   #13
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Oh, and it's hard for me to say how it works on electric vs gas. The couple times I towed with it on 12V, stuff froze inside. But it was also in the 40s/50s, and obviously venting is no problem when driving.

If I plugged in right now, at 80 degrees outside, I have no idea if it would work better than gas.

In the 40s and 50s it can freeze stuff on gas, too.

When I get back to town I will clean the gas components, add a baffle, and see how it goes. For now I guess I use the cooler.
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Old 04-22-2016, 01:53 PM   #14
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References to the chimney or flue are not to the roof vent but to the flue in the middle of the boiler. The boiler looks like a vertical cylinder or box on the rear of the unit off to one side. The burner is on the bottom of the boiler. There is a top that can be taken off so you can take out and clean the baffle, a helical metal strip which controls heat distribution in the boiler. You need to clean out the flue and clean the baffle. Compressed air may do it, but it may require a proper sized bottle brush if there is a lot of carbon build up. Any thing you knock loose is going to drop right down on the burner, so do this before you clean the burner.

Have fun.
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