Repairing a Dometic Frig? - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-10-2018, 08:37 PM   #1
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Red face Repairing a Dometic Frig?

Just bought a 1965 '15 Aristocrat Landcommander which is really retro and cool. But the Dometic frig doesn't work. Is it repairable. The Pilot light works, but it doesn't refrigerate. A repair shop said that it's too old to repair. The previous owner had said it "just needs a part". Any knowledge? Advice?
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Old 08-10-2018, 10:00 PM   #2
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Just bought a 1965 '15 Aristocrat Landcommander which is really retro and cool. But the Dometic frig doesn't work. Is it repairable. The Pilot light works, but it doesn't refrigerate. A repair shop said that it's too old to repair. The previous owner had said it "just needs a part". Any knowledge? Advice?
The pilot light may work, but does the gas valve open to fire up the burner? Might be all it needs (if it has power at the valve.)


The thermocouple must get hot if the pilot light stays on as the thermocouple generates a few millivolts to keep the pilot feed open. Need a working solenoid gas valve to open the main gas feed to light up the burner; if no 12V present, that's where to start troubleshooting.
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:55 AM   #3
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A repair shop said that it's too old to repair.
If the unit is complete with no ammonia leaks try a different repair shop.
Old isn't a reason something can't be repaired, but parts could be a problem.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:45 AM   #4
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Thanks. Wife agrees. Helps!
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:45 AM   #5
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There have many post in the forum on repairing these refrigerators on the forum. There are also several posts on you tube.
What I have most often found is that they are either dirty inside flue and on the tube so the chemical reaction won't won't work effectively or the chemicals have gotten into the wrong place, usually from not being level side to side while operating for a long time.
Make sure it is clean inside the flue.
If that doesn't work what I have done in the past is to put the refrigerator on it's back in my truck and drive for the day. This can mix the chemicals up and when heated they can redistribute correctly. It an old trick an ac man taught me years ago. it's worked for me several times.
The pilot is in many cases the burner supplies the heat for the reaction. If the flame isn't hot enough to heat the flue up you may won't to clean the assembly.
Sorry this wasn't very linear, but it is from hands on experience in my father's old trailer park where he had many old trailer with these in them.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:47 AM   #6
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Thanks. I know nothing. But now know more about what I don't know. Appreciate it.
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Old 08-11-2018, 09:54 AM   #7
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The's old units generally only use the thermocouple to generate the electricity needed to hold the supply valve open. If it works, it works. They don't us outside power, unless you have a 2 or 3 way unit. Some of the newer ones have fans that need outside power to operate.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:22 PM   #8
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Probably what we are looking at. Thanks, adding this to the "note book".
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Woof70 View Post
Just bought a 1965 '15 Aristocrat Landcommander which is really retro and cool. But the Dometic frig doesn't work. Is it repairable. The Pilot light works, but it doesn't refrigerate. A repair shop said that it's too old to repair. The previous owner had said it "just needs a part". Any knowledge? Advice?
:maybe it is the thermocoupler?
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Woof70 View Post
Just bought a 1965 '15 Aristocrat Landcommander which is really retro and cool. But the Dometic frig doesn't work. Is it repairable. The Pilot light works, but it doesn't refrigerate. A repair shop said that it's too old to repair. The previous owner had said it "just needs a part". Any knowledge? Advice?
Blaine,

As noted, they can run for many years. Some issues I see pretty commonly mentioned include cleaning the jet, cleaning the flue, and checking the gas pressure. If it is a two-way or three-way and works on 120VAC but not on LP gas, then the above items relating to operation on gas all become suspects.

The manuals have information on troubleshooting and maintenance. I don't know what-all Dometic makes available on their site anymore, however you can also find Dometic manuals posted unofficially on various websites. Even a manual for a "similar" model will likely have information that is common to different models, so potentially useful to you.

There's even a document center on this web site.

Fiberglass RV - Document Center - Refrigerators
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Old 08-11-2018, 07:57 PM   #11
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parts for very old Dometic refrigerators

Does anyone have a source for buying parts for these?
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Old 08-11-2018, 08:05 PM   #12
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Just bought a 1965 '15 Aristocrat Landcommander which is really retro and cool. But the Dometic frig doesn't work. Is it repairable. The Pilot light works, but it doesn't refrigerate. A repair shop said that it's too old to repair. The previous owner had said it "just needs a part". Any knowledge? Advice?
:if was me I would carefully remove it and find a repair person for these old fridges and they do exist out there just takes time to find the right person.
There is a used parts person in Centralia, WA we use for a lot of stuff, might be wise to get in touch with them they are on the internet. Donna D knows of other and them.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:06 PM   #13
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NICE! I'm putting the wife in charge of this project, because, truth, she is more mechanical than I and loves to research. Looks like a lot of dealers would prefer to sell new than fix fearing dissatisfaction. And so we press on.
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Old 08-11-2018, 10:07 PM   #14
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Wow. Thanks!
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Old 08-12-2018, 12:39 AM   #15
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Looks like a lot of dealers would prefer to sell new than fix fearing dissatisfaction. And so we press on.
It is unfortunate that the times have changed from doing a repair to just replacing the whole item. The old school techs are almost a thing of the past . Good luck with it.
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Old 08-12-2018, 04:23 AM   #16
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Agree that to find a repair shop, you start at the parts supply places. Ask them if they know folks who do RV refrigerator and RV HVAC repairs to the component level. Itís getting harder to find them.

Most repairs are easier and more profitable to swap the whole thing for $1000. Thatís a starting price for a swap repair.
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Old 08-12-2018, 09:26 AM   #17
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A "swap repair". Damn. A different world.
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Old 08-15-2018, 01:41 PM   #18
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You do not mention the model number, or manufacture of the fridge. I have found that for about $100 you can buy a fridge on kijiji, or Craig's List. Then your broken fridge becomes a source of spare parts.
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Old 08-15-2018, 03:08 PM   #19
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Does anyone have a source for buying parts for these?
Have you tried the Smithsonian? That thing is nearly 50 years old! They don't last forever. Why dump good money into a tired old POS? Seriously, you'd be money ahead to just scrap it and buy a new one. Yes, they are expensive, but by the time you're done dinkin' around trying to fix that old one, you're still gonna have an old one, that is if you can even find parts=(unlikely,) and you'll end up paying about as much as a new one costs. Some things don't make sense to do, and this "rebuild" is one of them in my book.
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Old 08-15-2018, 05:26 PM   #20
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Here's why. We ain't rebuilding. It's in great condition except for the frig, which works fine as an ice box [ ]. Just enjoying not traipsing across the park looking for the restrooms in the middle of the night. If I wanted some thing new I'd have them build me a Relic.
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