Fridge Flame Surging On Low Settings - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-03-2019, 07:52 AM   #1
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Fridge Flame Surging On Low Settings

I know the first thing to do is check out the burner, but how I'm parked right now makes it impossible to get to the back of the fridge. I'll pull out of here in a week or so.

In the meantime I'm looking for ideas. My fridge was working fine all summer, but at one point about a month ago it didn't seem like it was cooling well. I took out the burner and noticed the jet ruby was cracked.

I ordered a new once and installed it. It's working great on high settings, which in July and August are almost all I'm using. But now and then when it cools down enough at night and starts freezing my food, I turn it down towards the low settings, and it starts surging. It'll almost go out, then I hear a quiet roar/pop of propane lighting, then it dims...until it sort of pops on again. It eventually works itself out and is fine on the low setting.

It's also much harder to get lit than it was before. It takes a few minutes and running a stovetop burner to get it to stay lit.

Does anyone who cleans their fridge burner enough know if a washer is required on the burner jet? The original had one, but when I installed it with the new one, it didn't seem to fit the same and warped out of shape. It was a very soft, malleable washer.

Anyway, all other causes aside (propane pressure, dirt etc.), any ideas? I'll clean everything and check pressure, but things were fine with the old jet. All I did was put in a new one, nothing else changed.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:10 PM   #2
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Edit: It doesn't eventually work itself out. At least not today. It stopped "burping", and seemed to be fine for about an hour, but eventually went out, and took almost 5 minutes to get started again. I guess I'll pull the trailer forward a ways and check the gas pressure. Not sure why it would have changed suddenly, but who knows! Propane regulator was new last summer.
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Old 08-04-2019, 04:15 AM   #3
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When I changed my regulator, I found oil in the line. A couple tablespoons perhaps. Others have reported finding oil as well. Might be the cause of your problem?
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Old 08-04-2019, 05:50 AM   #4
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When I changed my regulator, I found oil in the line. A couple tablespoons perhaps. Others have reported finding oil as well. Might be the cause of your problem?
Mine had water in the regulator.. I'm sure it was because the reg was not mounted in the correct orientation. The reg was actually leaking gas.

Sorry but I can't answer your primary question. However a bad regulator is a good suspect. With the small flame, the fridge is more susceptible to pressure problems. A full system test with a manometer should have been done, including pressure drop, lock-up tests. Experts say to do the testing annually in fact.

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Old 08-04-2019, 08:13 AM   #5
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Thanks.

Well this seems to be the summer of projects rather than getting out in the mountains, so I'll pull the camper forward today and do an in-depth check of the lp system.

In my old Chinook, I remember hearing that oil gurgling as I ran the propane. Not sure if I have any in this system or not. I'll do some checking today on a bunch of stuff.
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Old 08-04-2019, 07:09 PM   #6
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No leaks, and I didn’t really check for sludge, but for some reason the pressure was down at about 9.5. I bumped it up to around 10.7. I’ll see in the morning when it’s cooled off if it still has issues at lower settings. Struggling to keep up in this heat!
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Old 08-04-2019, 08:09 PM   #7
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Regulator pressure, ruby orifice, clear passage through the gas line...

...it seems like that's about all there would be to the system here.

Do you have the service manual with troubleshooting guide?

I have a bunch of them filed away here. If you don't mind posting what the fridge is, (yeah, I should know by now!), I'll try and see if there's anything else listed as a possible cause...
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:25 AM   #8
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Thanks. I have the stuff that came with the fridge. Installation and user guide with troubleshooting section. When I google the issue, I don’t see anything similar.

It’s a rm2301
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Old 08-05-2019, 07:31 AM   #9
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This morning, if I turn the dial down below 1/4, I see a flickering flame, with lots of orange instead of blue. At least through the glass viewer on the front of the fridge.

Ruby is clean, burner is clean.

At 1/4 or higher, I see a nice, steady blue flame.
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Old 08-05-2019, 08:50 PM   #10
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Well the only thing that’s changed, that I know of, is the missing washer. I see it in my replacement parts manual, but I don’t see that anyone sells them, so I’ll just bring the jet to the hardware store and buy a washer that fits. We’ll see...not sure how critical the size of that air gap is, when we’re talking about millimeters.
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Old 08-08-2019, 12:34 PM   #11
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I looked at the installation and operating instructions here.

On page 14 under "The Burner and the Burner Jet", they mention cleaning the burner assembly twice a year.

On page 14 under "FAULT TRACING" they mention "2) Feeler point of the flame failure safety device is not heated enough by flame."

On page 13 under "The Flame Failure Safety Device" it says "The feeler of the thermo couple shall reach in over two slots of the burner."

Pretty slim pickings.
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Old 08-10-2019, 11:44 AM   #12
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Thanks Mike. I noticed that too. Mine is over 2 slots of the burner.

I stuck a washer in there but it was so thick compared to the old one that I didn’t feel safe about it. With no washer it’s closer to the right gap than with a thick washer, and that’s all I can find so far. I’ll need to check an Rv shops repair department and see what they’ve got. Everything at the hardware store is too thick, and I haven’t found an online shop who carries them.

Still no idea if this is my problem, but I should get it right either way.

As of now, my vent fan died so that’s my priority. Amazing how poorly it cools without that fan.
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Old 08-10-2019, 02:40 PM   #13
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As of now, my vent fan died so thatís my priority. Amazing how poorly it cools without that fan.
Yeah, after seeing a photo of the sidewall vent on your trailer, I'd say it's a serious challenge to just get the heat out of that area.
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Old 08-10-2019, 05:19 PM   #14
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If you have oil in your line you have dirty propane. The things you are saying indicates that is your problem.
If you have a low tank, trade it off. You will need to clean your jet and orfice.
Have you been getting your fuel from someone driving around the park in a propane truck?
That’s where the problem lies. Oil in the bottom of their tank goes into yours, because of their setup.
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:09 PM   #15
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...
Thatís where the problem lies. Oil in the bottom of there tank goes into yours, because of there setup.
Their and their.
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Old 08-10-2019, 06:33 PM   #16
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Gordon kiss my asp, I think thatís how you spell it.
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Old 08-10-2019, 07:53 PM   #17
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https://youtu.be/xb4DCIPOQqI
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Old 08-11-2019, 05:25 PM   #18
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I like to use my own propane tanks, but Iíll consider trading them in. I get my propane from a local gas station, not a delivery truck. Thereís no reason not to make sure I donít have sludge, but again, this issue never happened till I put the new burner jet in.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:32 PM   #19
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this issue never happened till I put the new burner jet in.
That is suggestive. Perhaps it was a defective new jet, or perhaps something was disturbed during the process of removing and installing the jet.

I replaced a fuel filter one time on a 60's sedan. It was the style of filter with two short lengths of 1/4" hose, and four hose clamps.

Click image for larger version

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After I changed the filter, I had gas pouring into my carburetor at idle; so much gas that it would kill the engine.

It turned out that I had freed up a tiny sliver of rubber when cutting and squaring the ends of the rubber hose with a utility knife.

The sliver got inside of the fuel line, (on the carburetor side of the filter naturally), travelled into the carburetor's float chamber, floated up and jammed the float valve open.

It was just the right size to jam the float valve open without passing through the valve.

Worst of all, I didn't even need a new fuel filter, I was just being proactive as I'd had the experience of others clogging up.

So, maybe retracing the steps will suggest something. Maybe pulling the jet and checking it with air would help.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:42 AM   #20
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Thanks Mike. You may be right about dislodging something, or something similar. The last two nights have been cold, and I’ve had the fridge on low. No surging. Maybe my trip over the weekend knocked something loose.

Not sure. I’ll keep an eye on it, and if I ever find a washer for it I’ll clean things again while it’s apart.

With my new battery monitor I’ve realized I use very very little power. I get 3 hours of sun a day where I’m currently parked, run fans, the water pump and charge my phone, and every morning my battery is at 12.7v. Another 100w panel and another battery and I could probably run a 12v fridge and be done with all this...

Not knowing where my life is headed for sure, I’m just hesitant to spend the money. I get this feeling that as soon as I get my camper completely dialed in and just how I want it, I’ll end up selling it and moving on to other things...
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