Refrigerator not cooling on gas or AC - Repair or Replace??? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 01-25-2022, 08:39 AM   #1
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Texas
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Refrigerator not cooling on gas or AC - Repair or Replace???

Casita 2017 Spirit Deluxe. Dometic 2454 fridge and freezer will only cool to 68 on AC and 58 on gas. Mobile RV repair came out, and their diagnosis was a failed cooling unit.

Their remarks - "Checked the power sources to the refrigerator(12v,120v,LPG). All are good to the appliance. Got the appropriate amp readings from the 120v/12v heating elements and the temp reading from 3 heat sources. The appliance should be cooling."

They gave me an estimate to replace the cooling unit. $2000 total which seems high to me. They sourced the cooling unit for $1000 and five hours of labor at another $600. Does this seem right?

I priced a brand new Dometic 2454 at Camping World for $1500. Would replacing the entire fridge be the way to go? The repairman said that removing and installing a new fridge is difficult, because the unit has to be taken apart to go through the door. This would bring labor cost close to replacing the cooling unit anyway. I have also read where the fridge should be replaced through the back window. Is this a feasible and better option?

If these fridges have a 10-15 year shelf life, others have had to cross this bridge before. I hate that I have to cross it in only five years. Please help!
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Old 01-25-2022, 09:28 AM   #2
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Five years is WAY too soon

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottcparks View Post
Casita 2017 Spirit Deluxe. Dometic 2454 fridge and freezer will only cool to 68 on AC and 58 on gas. Mobile RV repair came out, and their diagnosis was a failed cooling unit.
I hate that I have to cross it in only five years. Please help!

What must be taken apart to get through the door? If it is as minor as removing the refrigerator door, I’d go new to get the warrantee. I replaced mine a few years ago for $1200 from the local RV dealer, but prices are up.

Just a side note, you did not give the ambient temperature. All of mine have been lucky to get more than 35 degrees cooler than out side temperature. That's not good on a 95 degree day.


https://www.rvpartscountry.com/Domet...na-Fridge.html
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Old 01-25-2022, 09:36 AM   #3
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What must be taken apart to get through the door? If it is as minor as removing the refrigerator door, I’d go new to get the warrantee. I replaced mine a few years ago for $1200 from the local RV dealer, but prices are up.

Just a side note, you did not give the ambient temperature. All of mine have been lucky to get more than 35 degrees cooler than out side temperature. That's not good on a 95 degree day.


https://www.rvpartscountry.com/Domet...na-Fridge.html
I've read where the fridge is too big for the main Casita door. In order to get it through, you must take apart the old fridge and remove door from new fridge which could void warranty. That doesn't make much sense to me. Surely Casita would have a better solution. Maybe this is where removing the back window trick comes into play. How involved would that be with extra labor? Who knows?
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Old 01-25-2022, 01:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottcparks View Post
Casita 2017 Spirit Deluxe. Dometic 2454 fridge and freezer will only cool to 68 on AC and 58 on gas. Mobile RV repair came out, and their diagnosis was a failed cooling unit.

Their remarks - "Checked the power sources to the refrigerator(12v,120v,LPG). All are good to the appliance. Got the appropriate amp readings from the 120v/12v heating elements and the temp reading from 3 heat sources. The appliance should be cooling."

They gave me an estimate to replace the cooling unit. $2000 total which seems high to me. They sourced the cooling unit for $1000 and five hours of labor at another $600. Does this seem right?

I priced a brand new Dometic 2454 at Camping World for $1500. Would replacing the entire fridge be the way to go? The repairman said that removing and installing a new fridge is difficult, because the unit has to be taken apart to go through the door. This would bring labor cost close to replacing the cooling unit anyway. I have also read where the fridge should be replaced through the back window. Is this a feasible and better option?

If these fridges have a 10-15 year shelf life, others have had to cross this bridge before. I hate that I have to cross it in only five years. Please help!
Before you do anything check on recalls on the fridge. Some of them had recalls. If yours has a recall it may be replaced for free. Just go to the Dometic website and check on recalls. Have the model and serial numbers available as not all of the same models were recalled. I would also take it to a shop and have a second opinion. Also call Dometic and see if they'll do anything for you. Sometimes a few calls and the company will help in these situations. When you are parked are you keeping the fridge level? Check the fridge and not the trailer only. When we are parked we find the fridge is not level eventhough the trailer is. Levelness is very important for a fridge and some are more touchy than others.
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Old 01-25-2022, 02:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
Levelness is very important for a fridge and some are more touchy than others.
Newer fridges ( 2017 would qualify ) are not as sensitive to level as antique fridges. Your fridge manual will describe how much of an issue this is.
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Old 01-25-2022, 04:22 PM   #6
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Name: Scott
Trailer: Casita
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jann Todd View Post
Before you do anything check on recalls on the fridge. Some of them had recalls. If yours has a recall it may be replaced for free. Just go to the Dometic website and check on recalls. Have the model and serial numbers available as not all of the same models were recalled. I would also take it to a shop and have a second opinion. Also call Dometic and see if they'll do anything for you. Sometimes a few calls and the company will help in these situations. When you are parked are you keeping the fridge level? Check the fridge and not the trailer only. When we are parked we find the fridge is not level eventhough the trailer is. Levelness is very important for a fridge and some are more touchy than others.
Great advice. Unfortunately no recall for this fridge and no longer under warranty. I contacted Casita, and they are unable to help. I then contacted Camping World. They will install a new RM2454 3-way for $2387 total. I then started looking for cheaper RM2451 2-way fridges. Priced one at around $1000 which is the same amount quoted for the cooling unit on the RM2454. I am going to go back to my mobile RV mechanic and see if he will get that quote down to replace with a new 2-way. The bad news is that Casita did confirm that the unit must come through the back window.
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Old 01-25-2022, 05:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottcparks View Post
Great advice. Unfortunately no recall for this fridge and no longer under warranty. I contacted Casita, and they are unable to help. I then contacted Camping World. They will install a new RM2454 3-way for $2387 total. I then started looking for cheaper RM2451 2-way fridges. Priced one at around $1000 which is the same amount quoted for the cooling unit on the RM2454. I am going to go back to my mobile RV mechanic and see if he will get that quote down to replace with a new 2-way. The bad news is that Casita did confirm that the unit must come through the back window.
Just my opinion, stay far away from that camping big box store unless you have very deep pockets and like wasting money. There are much better choices out there!
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Old 01-25-2022, 07:20 PM   #8
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I’d plug the electric element in direct to 120v let set overnight check temperature. If cold and freezer below zero, would be thermostat.

https://fourwheelcampers.com/NewDome...atorManual.pdf
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Old 01-26-2022, 03:24 PM   #9
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Replacement cooling unit.

An Amish replacement cooling unit is $535 from < https://rvcoolingunit.com/Search.aspx?k=RM2454 > plus some shipping.
Over 5 years ago I used them to ship a unit to me here in Canada which I was able to replace myself and it is working fine, able to make ice cubes even into the 90s (35C). While a bit scary to start, it required pulling the fridge into the center of the trailer, (1993 Bigfoot 17C , laying it down and removing the unit from the back. You MUST have room to do that to even consider doing it. However, they will provide instructions, aluminum duct tape, gasketing, caulking, and some other odds and sods to do the job yourself. It seems daunting and not for the faint of heart, at first, but is really not that complicated to do. In Canada, a new fridge is exorbitantly expensive and my unit is, basically, now newish. In general, the Dometics are designed in a way that it is simple and sequential to replace that rear unit as a whole complete unit, with very few tubes, wires, and odd fittings. It was shipped to me well packed and in good shape on arrival. Your mileage may vary! The prices you were quoted are well under half of what I was, even allowing for the Canuck Bucks.
I am satisfied.
Mike .....>
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:25 AM   #10
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I suggest you contact Ford’s RV Refrigeration in KY with your complete story.
https://rvrefrigeration.com/
If they can’t help solve the problem, maybe they can furnish the name of a recommended local repair service.
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:35 AM   #11
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After struggling with an old 3-way for years, never being able to trust my food was being safely kept cool, I opted to discard and replace it with a 12/120v Danfoss-compressor fridge. In other words ... a real fridge. It runs off my solar during the day and off my batteries during the night, or, 120 when hooked up to shore power. At that time it was about $800 since I installed it myself. I got more storage space for the same cabinet room. It's an Engel which I don't think is still being offered but there are others available. Good luck!
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:38 AM   #12
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Modern RV frig does not have to be perfectly level .
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:43 AM   #13
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Did anyone check the sensor that is on the fins inside the fridge that controls the temperature .
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Old 01-29-2022, 11:44 AM   #14
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Shot in the dark but worth a try since you are looking at replacing. A buddy of mine is an HVAC guy and used to repair these types of fridges for several hotels. He said half the time they stopped cooling enough you just flip them upside down for a day or two then give it a shot. The reason is the gas in the cooling unit is a mixture unlike many other cooling devices and gets separated. This mixes it all up again and could be your issue.
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Old 01-29-2022, 12:00 PM   #15
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I have replaced the refrigerator on a Spirit Deluxe. The only way to replace the unit without taking it apart is to remove the rear window and pass it through the opening.
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Old 01-29-2022, 12:02 PM   #16
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So these are sealed system refrigerator. Pretty basic absorption concept.
I have heard of running out of level making it not perform well but usually not the case. You can read up on burping rv refrigerator.

Theoretically should cool equally on electric or gas, however if gas jet is dirty or pressure is off due to bad regulator, or spider, wasps or such made a home inside burner tube it may be less than optimal.
Ventilation is also a key as heat build up around the outside of box defeats cooling, odd wind direction....

Outside facing bright sun can render unit unable to cool well.

Finally control board can have issues but if operating some unlikely.

Good to have a heat scan gun so you can be sure the top of flue is emitting high temperatures.

Just some things to check, I wouldn't consider a single opinion that it is dead as final word.
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Old 01-29-2022, 01:16 PM   #17
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Ours died a year ago and not only was the price crazy but there was no supply so I want to Walmart and bought a mini fridge for under $200. If we donít have power, we use ice. I couldnít justify the cost for the few times we didnít have power.
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Old 01-29-2022, 01:49 PM   #18
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Have an RV tech check the motherboard. I had a similar problem...2017 SD. Replaced it for $300. Fridge worked fine.
LB
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Old 01-29-2022, 02:55 PM   #19
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Just a comment- I love to read the posts in this site. So much experience, knowledge, wisdom and creativity. Even if I do not have the problem being discussed I probably will experience it or something similar in the future. Thanks all!!!!
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Old 01-29-2022, 03:19 PM   #20
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Turn Upside Down

I know this sounds crazy and I'm not a tech guy, but we had the same problem. Our RV guy took it out, turned it upside down for 48 hours and then reninstalled. It has worked fine for a year now.

Not sure of the science about this but something about the coolant getting stuck and being upside down allows it to return to it's proper place.

If you are taking it out anyway - it can't hurt to try.
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