Dometic frig not cooling enough - Fiberglass RV


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Old 05-29-2019, 11:28 AM   #1
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Dometic frig not cooling enough

I have a 2014 Parkliner with the Dometic 3 way frig. When we arrived at our camp site yesterday, 88 degrees ambient outside temp, we noticed the frig was struggling to get cool. The DC system works, the 110 AC works, and the LP works well with a good blue flame. The back of frig is warm, chimney is hot, etc. and everything seems to be working well with all 3 systems. Just struggling to cool and canít get below 52 degrees.
Has anyone else experienced this frig efficiency problem when camping in warm environments? We have over 30,000 miles on this camper with 3 x country trips but mainly in cool temps. Frig has always performed well on mid thermo settings.
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Old 05-29-2019, 11:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeH View Post
I have a 2014 Parkliner with the Dometic 3 way frig. When we arrived at our camp site yesterday, 88 degrees ambient outside temp, we noticed the frig was struggling to get cool. The DC system works, the 110 AC works, and the LP works well with a good blue flame. The back of frig is warm, chimney is hot, etc. and everything seems to be working well with all 3 systems. Just struggling to cool and canít get below 52 degrees.
Has anyone else experienced this frig efficiency problem when camping in warm environments? We have over 30,000 miles on this camper with 3 x country trips but mainly in cool temps. Frig has always performed well on mid thermo settings.

That sounds about right. Ammonia absorption RV refrigerators can get to about 40į below ambient temperatures. That is all.
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:08 PM   #3
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Dometic frig not cooling enough

Thank you for your reply. Thatís encouraging. Outside temps are supposed to drop by Friday and I hope this unit can recover.
George
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Old 05-29-2019, 12:16 PM   #4
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Ditto what Byron said. Our 3 way fridge can keep food below 40 degrees as long as daytime highs do not exceed 80 degrees and night time lows drop at least 20 degrees. Even then to keep fridge temp below 40 degrees, we freeze a water container in the freezer at night and then move it into the food section during the day. Then repeat.

You can google various tweaks that people use to squeeze better performance out of these fridges, i.e.,

- add baffles to the back of the fridge to improve air flow
- add a fan to the back of the fridge or inside the fridge
- open the vent panels on warm days
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:10 PM   #5
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Thank you. It will be a relief if performance improves when temps drop some. Helping with Frozen food/frozen water is a good idea and is one my list to try.
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Old 05-29-2019, 04:47 PM   #6
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Also make sure the outside fridge vents are in a shade. This helps a lot to improve cooling.
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:53 PM   #7
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Hopefully there is not damage in the system from running it off-level too long…

Try a few things.
*Keep the fridge side of camper out of direct sunlight.
*If you do not have a fan, then a small fan in outside compartment, about the size of a computer fan, will move enough air to help keep air moving across the fins. Best to put it high to suck air out like an attic fan. Temp sensor are available so the fan comes on when hot and off when cool enough. Usually on at 110 and off at 90, or you can set the "on" temp lower.
Although, if you "just arrived" then the driving would have moved air through the back area enough to do what a fan does. Does your back of fridge area have a roof vent or two side vents?
*Insulate the sides of the fridge box if you can. A pink foam board will help since you are loosing coldness out the sides and the door of the box. You notice your freezer box is still freezing, it has extra insulation, but the amount of cold put into the fridge box is not enough to counter the amount of cold radiating out the sides.
*check that the door seal is perfect and no cold air is escaping. Get a new seal if needed.
*keep the fridge full, or keep a few jugs of liquid (water, milk, juice) in the fridge so it has more mass to keep the fridge area cold longer.
*don't open the door very much.
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Old 05-29-2019, 07:00 PM   #8
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On the right hand side of the ‘fins’ located at the top of the fridge is a white plastic piece attached to a wire. This is the thermistor.
Slide it up to provide more fooling to the fridge. Careful not to pull the wire out of the plastic ‘clip’.


Check on U Tube for videos about this.
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Old 05-29-2019, 08:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
That sounds about right. Ammonia absorption RV refrigerators can get to about 40į below ambient temperatures. That is all.
That is exactly why I switched out or Scamp 3 way refrigerator from a gas absorption style to 12 volt danfoss compressor Nova Kool refrigerator, and why our Lil Snoozy has the same type but in a Truckfridge brand. Arizona near Phoenix is often over 80 degrees. . I did try everything I could read on this site about to improve the absorption refrigerator output, but could not get it to cool anywhere nearly as good as a compressor refrigerator.
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Old 05-31-2019, 08:32 AM   #10
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That happened to me a couple of years ago at the beach, so I bought a marine cooler and that's all I have used ever since. Not as convenient, but I just left in the back of tow vehicle and got what I needed when I needed it.

Since I tow with a van now, I have been considering putting a compressor refrigerator in the van.
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Old 05-31-2019, 09:04 AM   #11
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I've been through a lot of ordeals with my fridge. The roof vent setup works much, much better than side vent. Until or unless I decide to make mine vent through the roof, I've just accepted the fact that during July and August, my fridge will be borderline at best.
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Old 05-31-2019, 10:33 PM   #12
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I've been through a lot of ordeals with my fridge. The roof vent setup works much, much better than side vent. Until or unless I decide to make mine vent through the roof, I've just accepted the fact that during July and August, my fridge will be borderline at best.
I just couldnít live without my icecream.
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Byron Kinnaman View Post
That sounds about right. Ammonia absorption RV refrigerators can get to about 40į below ambient temperatures. That is all.
I do not agree.
We have a 2-way with a roof vent.

For the past week or so we have had daytime temperatures close to 100, cabin temperatures over 100 when towing for multiple hours/day, fridge happy in the high 30's or very low 40's.

Thats closer to a 60 degree drop.

Maybe our thermometers need calibrating
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Old 06-01-2019, 05:04 AM   #14
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Iím another convert to the danfoss compressor fridge (norcold). For years I fought the absorption fridge in my Casita. It was like a hobby I didnít want. I did every mod I came across to coax cold out of that thing. I finally threw in the towel and purchased a 12v/120v unit. It works just like a real fridge...turn it on and it gets cold (quickly) and stays there.

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Old 06-01-2019, 03:29 PM   #15
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I do not agree.
We have a 2-way with a roof vent.
For the past week or so we have had daytime temperatures close to 100, cabin temperatures over 100 when towing for multiple hours/day, fridge happy in the high 30's or very low 40's.
Thats closer to a 60 degree drop.
Maybe our thermometers need calibrating
I have to agree with you on the temp drop. Mine is a side vent, I'm in the 90-100* outside temps too. I do have a thermometer in it but the beer is always nice and cold so all is good .
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Old 06-02-2019, 10:21 AM   #16
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I think it’s mostly an installation issue, sometimes a build quality of the fridge issue, but its obvious that some people win the fridge lottery, and some don’t. I didn’t. Like Pat and others, I’ve spent hours and hours when all I wanted to do was camp, working on my fridge, and it’s still only marginal.

Maybe a new one would solve the problem, but I think it’s more likely I’d have the same problem but $700 less in the bank.
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Old 06-02-2019, 01:52 PM   #17
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My 3-way worked fine in the winter (LOL). Just replaced it with an Engel AC/DC that runs below 40* in upper 80* weather on the medium setting. It's larger than the old one and cost about the same as it would have to replace the old one. I haven't wired the DC side yet so it's running off my solar and a reverter.
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Old 06-02-2019, 02:24 PM   #18
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What is a reverter?
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Old 06-02-2019, 02:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by widgetwizard View Post
I do not agree.
We have a 2-way with a roof vent.

For the past week or so we have had daytime temperatures close to 100, cabin temperatures over 100 when towing for multiple hours/day, fridge happy in the high 30's or very low 40's.

Thats closer to a 60 degree drop.

Maybe our thermometers need calibrating
I see the same close to 60 degree drop on the hottest days also.
At least on 17' Casita's it's more of an installation problem that can be overcome once you grasp how it's supposed to work.
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Old 06-02-2019, 03:16 PM   #20
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Pretty clear he meant inverter.

The only thing that saves me in the summer is cool nights. My fridge is at about 32 right now, almost 80 outside. But thatís because the low last night was about 50. If it can recover overnight, then it just slowly creeps up all day and is only over 40 around dinner time. I can mostly squeak by this way, but when temps donít drop overnight, I start using my cooler instead.
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