Fridge not working all the time - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-27-2006, 08:19 AM   #1
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Name: burton3
Trailer: 1978 17 ft Boler
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Hello all, we just bought a 17' and the Fridge at first didn't work then the next time we plugged it in it worked, then didn't work...you get the picture. I called the RV place and it is $65 just to have it looked at. Anyone had this experience before and if so what did you do? The one place said to try taking off the coolant coil and inverting it for 24 hours then putting it back on. Anyone know how difficult the coil is to get off? Thanks all, I really don't want to spend $1000.00 on a new fridge. Thanks!
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Old 04-27-2006, 03:51 PM   #2
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DO NOT ATTEMP TO REMOVE THE COIL, you will get blasted with some really nasty ammonia!!!
Just invert the whole unit. I have heard that sometimes this works.
Has to do with remixing the ammonia inside.

They can be fixed, I had one rebuilt for the 28 ft Terry years back in Elkhart Ind. ( I drove it over there) on a saturday morning. The guy just replaced the coil refilled and it was fixed. Much cheaper than a new one. The guy also had some rebuilt ones there.
He also metioned that there was a Amish guy that he trained to fix them, but of course he has no phone.

The place stunk to high heaven of ammonia, my eyes were tearing the whole time I was in there.
I can't find the name of the place, but someone should know. Maybe Ray Horner as he is from there.
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Old 04-27-2006, 06:55 PM   #3
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Does your 'fridge work OK when running on Gas? If so, this would indicate a problem in the electrical system. Maybe not a problem with the 'fridge electrical system, but a poor connection someplace else.

-- Dan Meyer
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Old 04-28-2006, 12:07 AM   #4
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Quote:
Hello all, we just bought a 17' and the Fridge at first didn't work then the next time we plugged it in it worked, then didn't work...you get the picture.

Anyone had this experience before and if so what did you do?
Quote:
Does your 'fridge work OK when running on Gas? If so, this would indicate a problem in the electrical system.
This exact thing happened to me when I first got the Fiber Stream! I discovered the cause quite by accident one day when I heard a small, staccato buzzing sound when I stood outside next to the fridge vent. The fridge's 110 volt plug was arcing in the wall socket. It seems that a spyder had laid it's egg sac inside the electric outlet for the fridge, causing an intermittant connection. I replaced the outlet with a new one and my 2-way fridge works on both gas and electric all of the time now!
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Old 04-28-2006, 06:29 AM   #5
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Karen, this is very basic so if you already know this, please disregard... but... ammonia absorption refrigerators take a very long time to cool; on the order of four to six hours. Once cool, they work very well.

All that happens when you run your fridge on electric is that a heating element gets hot next to an ammonia-cocktail filled tube in the back of the fridge. The ammonia heats up and expands, and then is forced through a very tiny orifice causing it to cool as it re-liquifies and draws heat out of your fridge box. That's an oversimplification, but generally how it works. If your fridge cools using the gas burner, then the ammonia cooling system works fine; it's merely a troubleshooting issue to figure out why the electric heating element isn't working.

The heating elements are very much like a standard lightbulb in that they are seldom intermittent; they are, in most cases either on or off and work or don't work. It's unlikely to be a heating element issue, or a cooling system issue if it's intermittent.

There are a number of things to troubleshoot electrically to determine exactly where the problem lies. First, when you plug the trailer in, and the fridge doesn't work, do the other 110 AC outlets work? If not, the problem could lie in the outlet that the trailer is plugged into, or the pigtail for the trailer, or the circuit breaker/breaker box connections.

If the other outlets do work, then the problem could be the refrigerator cord, the plug on the cord, the on-off switch on the fridge, or the wall outlet/wiring that the fridge plugs into.

Good luck and please let us know what you figure out!

Roger
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Old 04-28-2006, 08:18 AM   #6
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Name: burton3
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Thanks all, we have taken the fridge out and are in the process of rotating it on all sides to "shake" it up as suggested. We will test it out tomorrow so will let you know!
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Old 04-28-2006, 08:43 AM   #7
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Thanks all, we have taken the fridge out and are in the process of rotating it on all sides to "shake" it up as suggested. We will test it out tomorrow so will let you know!
Karen, although it certainly won't hurt it, rotating it likely won't help your situation either. When they're 'dead' and don't cool at all, sometimes the 'turning over' method will help to re-mix the ammonia cocktail. You won't get intermittent cooling with a fridge that has either a tube blockage or a chemical separation. They just won't cool at all, and in fact, the inside will actually heat up.

You still didn't mention whether or not the fridge cooled using the gas burner. If it cools using one energy source, but not the other, the ammonia absorption system is fine; that's when you start troubleshooting your alternate energy system for problems. If it won't cool on either gas or electric, that's when removing and turning the fridge over may be helpful.

Here is one of the best primers I've read on ammonia-absorption refrigerators and why they fail.

Roger
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Old 05-01-2006, 08:25 AM   #8
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Name: burton3
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The fridge works! The Fridge works! We took it out, tipped it on all sides, and low and behold it works! We haven't tried it on propane yet as the fitting to the propoane tank have been removed and have to be replaced. But it works on Electic so yipppeee!! thanks all for your tips and ideas.
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