Dometic Refrigerator from 1974 Boler - Fiberglass RV


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Old 07-04-2015, 06:27 AM   #1
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Dometic Refrigerator from 1974 Boler

Hello fellow fiberglass trailer lovers! I haven't been here for a while as my renos were halted due to lack of funds. BUT now I'm excited to say I have found a fridge from a 74 Boler for my 76! The issue is I can't find a manual for it. I've been all over the internet and cannot even find reference to the model number. It's a RM23a. Besides it needing to be cleaned and repainted it is missing the propane ignition arm. Would someone be willing to take a photo of theirs so I have some idea what it looks like? Been trying to find a new one or make one but I don't know what it looks like. Thanks and happy camping!
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Old 07-04-2015, 09:45 AM   #2
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I had a working Dometic 23 in my Hunter, but removed it and sold it to a restoration guy and included the manual with it.


However, mine had a spark lighter for the propane that was controlled by twisting on a knob from the inside of the box. You also had to pull out on a tab to actuate the pilot safety device while lighting.


The bad news, I looked for over a year and could not find the proper size flints to make it work. I just used a lighting stick and it fired off fine. You will have to find a way to hold UP the lever that acrtuates the pilot safety button when lighting. I used a small tapered wedge that I removed after if was on for a few minutes.


It cooled very well and would keep ice cream hard in the freezer section.
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Old 07-04-2015, 10:40 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Bob.
Mine had the same kind of arm on the inside which I believe also would twist to spark the propane and has the tab you pull out. Could you explain what "lever" I have to hold up?

"You will have to find a way to hold UP the lever that acrtuates the pilot safety button when lighting. I used a small tapered wedge that I removed after if was on for a few minutes."
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Old 07-04-2015, 11:42 AM   #4
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There should be a small metal tab, with a finger hole in it, at the bottom edge of the inside of the box. That is the pilot safety device that has to be pulled out and held while lighting with the sparker. There is a small plastic rod at the back of the case that you can see the flame via when it's lit. The idea is to pull out on the tab, turn the sparker, and hold it out for a few minutes after lighting so that the thermocouple can lock the valve open. If the flame goes out, the lock releases and turns the gas off.
On the back side of the refrigerator, below the gas valve, is a small plate that pivots UP when the tab is pulled and presses on the safety device button. Without using that, the refrigerator will not light.


I'd suggest setting the refrigerator up on a bench and trying it on both LP and 120VAC before investing any money on restoration.


I will try to finds a few images to help with understanding.
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:02 PM   #5
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Thanks once again. I'm feeling like a bit of a sucker for buying this fridge now. I really should have done all this research first but I was so excited to see one for sale after looking for so long. Here's what the inside looks like. As you can see I also have to get a new temperature guage for the propane side. Sigh.
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:09 PM   #6
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Gotta say, you are missing a lot of parts. Send me a pic of the back. With details of what's in the gas valve area. A p.o. may have modified it to work like a later refrigerator and you may still be OK.
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Old 07-04-2015, 08:50 PM   #7
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I don't know about Boler space available for a fridge, but maybe you could check a posting I did about replacement of a dying RM211 (very similar to the one you bought) with a used but recent Norcold 323. Have a look at my old posting, in case it inspires you. Installing a 21" deep fridge into a 19" space on a Trillium 4500

You must know that absorption refrigerators (gas, 12V, 110V) require to be LEVEL in order to prevent overheating. Overheating will damage the chemical mix of water, hydrogen gas and ammonia, so it won't be as efficient again. Extended periods without use sometimes cause the ammonia to form crystals which can further interfere with gravity circulation. If you are told that reversing a fridge has cured the problem, (may dislodge the obstruction) it only means that the refrigerant is in poor shape and that the dying fridge is on palliative care. (see The RV Doctor: RV Absorption Refrigeration Basics)

Consequently, you can imagine that the older the fridge, the higher the risk of buying such used fridge. You can add that if the shell is damaged or the door seal is not perfectly airtight, such fridge will have a hard time to keep your stuff cool in a hot summer day. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absorption_refrigerator

I would suggest you check the space you have in your RV compared to what's available in terms of sizes as used fridge with a warranty from a RV dealer (what I did). It ended up being half the price of a new one and it works perfectly fine. I would not buy anything much older than 5 years old.

Finally, in order to work properly regardless of the amount of gas left or hot/cold weather, an absorption fridge requires a constant LP gas pressure that can only be provided from a two stage gas regulator. Some old RV often get equipped with a single stage regulator https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_regulator

I hope this will help you make a better deal next time.

Good luck !
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Old 07-05-2015, 01:16 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the advice. Unfortunately I've already bought the 40 year old fridge and that's it for money!! Here's pictures of the back of the fridge, as requested.
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Old 07-05-2015, 02:17 PM   #9
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That looks like the original gas system. I suggest finding someone that knows a bit about RV refrigerators and get it checked out. It looks like there are enough part still there to manually light it off on LP but the electrical part may be missing.


I also see looks like a 120VAC cord that could be investigated and tried. .


As a tip, look at that little flat plate in the middle, at the bottom of the refrigerator. That has to be pushed UP and held while lighting (with a match stick) and then held for about another minute to lock the flame protector. I drilled a 1/2" hole in the flame box to make manual lighting easier, but be sure to make a little cover for the hole


I could look at it and figure it out in a few minutes, but the drive to Riverside, CA would be a killer.
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Old 07-05-2015, 05:51 PM   #10
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Once again, thanks for taking the time to help me out. I've just discovered someone I know was a refrigeration/ac engineer in the navy and he assures me he will be able to check it all over for me and make sure it's working properly. Maybe I won't regret buying it after all!!
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Old 07-05-2015, 06:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarterBoler View Post
Once again, thanks for taking the time to help me out. I've just discovered someone I know was a refrigeration/ac engineer in the navy and he assures me he will be able to check it all over for me and make sure it's working properly. Maybe I won't regret buying it after all!!
Sounds like the "cool" guy to know !

Good luck!
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